Serbia’s Political Propaganda Blitzkrieg – Again!

While the term Blitzkrieg is usually associated with the “lightning war” tactics used by Germany in WWII it is just as applicable to political propaganda. The effects of Blitzkrieg included creation of doubt, confusion and rumours that would surely paralyse both the government and the defending military. I trust the current onslaught against Croatia and 1995 Operation Storm that liberated Croatian territory from Serb occupation will not paralyse Croatian Government in knowing how to defend its greatest and the most humane achievement in its history of plights for freedom and self-determination of its people.

Reactions to the ICTY’s Appeal Chamber’s majority ruling which acquitted Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac of any guilt in the alleged joint criminal enterprise/ forced deportation of Serbs from Croatia emanating from Serbia’s political and government leadership, its media and former ICTY Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte is nothing short of a vicious propaganda Blitzkrieg. Serbia’s leadership and media are on a vicious mission to absolve Serbia of any wrong doing, of any crimes its army had committed in Croatia during 1990’s – of any consequences for its horrible crimes in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The last couple of days Serbian and pro-Serbian Media outlets continue to pound anti-Croatian (Blic) , anti-ICTY Appeal Chamber decisions (Balkaninsight) propaganda that bears not a single word on what happened in Croatia prior to August 1995, prior to Operation Storm. Indeed, if one were to read that Serbian and pro-Serbian media gobbledegook one could easily conclude that Croatia attacked Serbian territory in August 1995 for no other reason but to expel Serbs from that territory. It is the stuff Joseph Goebbels, WWII Minister of Propaganda in Germany, thrived on.

But then, Serbia’s political propaganda knows how that works, well – for some time anyway, enough time to fool some people. Serbia has practice in Goebbels style of propaganda. After WWII it managed to throw all of its guilt in achieving 94% extermination of Serbian Jews by May 1942 onto the occupying Nazi forces – completely throwing into insignificance and forgetfulness that it was its Nazi-backed Milan Nedic puppet government that served the Serbian Jews to the Nazis for slaughter. Serbia was one of the first countries in Europe that proudly declared itself as a “Jew free” state in 1942. Came the end of WWII they managed with Yugoslav Communist leaders to throw all the guilt of the Holocaust on the territory of former Yugoslavia onto Croatia and blow out of all reality and proportions the numbers of Serbs allegedly killed in Jasenovac concentration camp. A political propaganda Blitzkrieg of shameful proportions; shameful for humanity that requires decency in truth and facing the consequences of that truth.

And Serbia’s politicians and media are doing it again. They want Serbia to come out squeaky clean after its bloody role in ethnic cleansing, genocide and mass murder in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. They helped Croatia’s rebel Serbs in early 1990’s just as they helped the Nazis against Jews in WWII.

Serbia’s Blic news portal (link provided above) goes so far that it accuses and ridicules Croatia of “buying verdicts” through spending millions of Euros on legal fees etc for the defense of Generals and other officials from Croatia who appeared before the criminal tribunal in the Hague. They totally ignore the absolute right to a defense of any official/employee charged in relation to acts allegedly done while on duty to defend Croatia from aggression and occupation. This says quite a lot that this media and probably many Serbs, including the mentioned lawyer Toma Fila, do not think that the accused should be afforded the human rights to defense as “employee”, legal costs paid by “employer”. Furthermore the article in Blic boasts that Serbia only allocated about 190,000 Euro for war crimes legal fees. But hey, that’s because Serbia has not yet fully admitted it was at war against Croatia even if the truth and evidence say differently; or, it throws its own soldiers to the wolves just as it threw its innocent victims.

Another sequence in this Serbian propaganda Blitzkrieg can, unfortunately, be found on Balkaninsight/ Balkan Transitional Justice portal (link provided above). I say unfortunately because “The Balkan Transitional Justice initiative is a regional initiative funded by the European Commission and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland that aims to improve the general public’s understanding of transitional justice issues in former Yugoslav countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia)”. How can this site improve general public’s understanding of transitional justice when it publishes articles that feed disrespect of the judicial system and rules of evidence to the general public while at the same time promoting bias against some nationalities that one can’t even find in the darkest non-democratic systems of the world?

Eric Gordy, Lecturer at University College London writes for Balkaninsight how the ICTY verdict for Croatian Generals “shows it is good to be a criminal”! Of course Gordy suggests that a majority ruling (3 out of 5 judges) isn’t enough for justice to be seen to have been done! This man is apparently a lecturer at a University in a democracy which holds that justice is done and seen to have been done if majority rules the same! Enough said on that. But, no, he also seems to think that if evidence “indicates” (not demonstrates) something that this should be enough as evidence beyond reasonable doubt in criminal proceedings! He says that Brioni transcripts “indicate” that “expulsion of Serb civilians was a goal” of Operation Storm and that is solid evidence as far as he is concerned; the fact that “indicate” also means that there can be other possible interpretations of the same evidence doesn’t factor in Gordy’s mind as a serious problem with such “here-and-there” evidence for criminal convictions. The Brioni transcripts are also interpreted by those who are well acquainted with military jargon to mean “Serb soldiers only, not civilians”.  The fact that Gordy does not seem to respect nor accept the fact that Appeal Judges have the same, if not greater, right and responsibility to weigh the evidence as Trial Judges do, is most concerning. In this he’s adding to the weaponry of Serbia’s propaganda Blitzkrieg against some ICTY Judges and Croatia, and one must ask – why? The answer seems obvious!

Of course Serbia’s leadership doesn’t like the ICTY Appeal Chamber ruling from 16 November 2012 in Croatian Generals Gotovina and Markac case. The ruling has blown out of the water their Machiavellian plan to label Croatia as having earned its independence on a joint criminal enterprise against Serbs and absolve Serbia of any wrong doing, of any horrid, horrid crimes its soldiers and rebels and para-military committed in their frenzy for a Greater Serbia! How could we expect them to react differently? Only through a miracle of self-search and humility. In the meantime the Blitzkrieg continues, but so does the need to defend justice and truth. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

A convicted person is not a plaything of justice, says Croatian General Mladen Markac’s defence

Croatian General Mladen Markac

On 31 August Croatian General Mladen Markac’s defence has filed its full reply to the ICTY Prosecution’s Brief that Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, in case the Appeal Chamber found no case for joint criminal enterprise (JCE) and therefore no case for deportation of Serbs from Croatia associated with Operation Storm (August 1995), should be found guilty of alternate modes of liability, i.e. aiding and abetting joint criminal enterprise on grounds of command responsibility.

General Mladen Markac’s defence says, in its reply to the prosecution’s brief, that he cannot be convicted of alternative modes of liability during the appeal process because the original conviction (April 2011) gives no bases for that.

That’s the same as claiming that the house will remain whole after you remove all its bearing walls,” Markac’s defence said as it sought from the ICTY to reject the prosecutions claims as unfounded.

Markac’s defence reply starts with an Overview:

That the Appeals Chamber is even contemplating convicting Markač on alternative bases of liability, at this very late stage of the proceedings and without any prosecution appeal, raises grave jurisdictional1 and due process objections.

Those objections aside, there are insufficient “remaining findings” to support such a conviction in any event.

Accordingly, the Prosecution’s submissions in its Prosecution Supplemental Brief on Alternative Modes of Liability for Mladen Markač should be rejected in their entirety”.

And concludes:

“If Markac is right in his appeal arguments, and he was wrongly convicted on the basis of JCE, then decency demands that he should be acquitted and released as soon as possible. This is especially so given that the Prosecution has not appealed the Chamber’s failure to make findings on superior responsibility and aiding and abetting as an error of law.

To allow Markač to oscillate between hope and despair, with the case against him changing even at the oral hearing, and now even post-hearing, creates intolerable mental and physical anguish.

A convicted person is not a plaything of justice. The Tribunal, which champions human rights and the right to a fair process, should show compassion in these circumstances and bring the appeal to a swift close.”

Markac’s defence Reply demonstrates the full absurdity of the eventuality where Markac could be found guilty along the lines of command responsibility or as aider and abettor of JCE, that is that he could be found guilty of something that is not even a subject to Appeal. They further say that in that case, General Ivan Cermak (acquitted in April 2011 by ICTY in proceedings against Gotovina, Markac and Cermak for JCE etc.) could also be found guilty on basis of command responsibility even though he was found not guilty and was acquitted within same Trial Chamber proceedings.

The Prosecution seeks a metamorphosis of the Appeal process into a morally deficient marketplace where established rules of evidence and justice are lost in the prosecution’s rummage for the desired product (conviction any which way). It’s a marketplace where innocent people plead for justice and are humiliated over and over again. Sad times for humanity, indeed, when prosecutors carve political agendas into the process that must only consider pure evidence and fact. The pure evidence and pure facts show that General Ante Gotovina and General Mladen Markac have no case to answer for any crimes, not even the concocted one of participating in joint criminal enterprise through alleged unlawful shelling during Operation Storm. Yet, they must sit there and endure the prosecution’s crazy antics, crazy notions, crazy hypotheses, crazy everything… I guess it won’t be long now before we see whether the Appeal Chamber is playing with the prosecution team in a most unfair game of political scrabble where, instead of words, convictions are constructed into phrases and garble that have no tested evidence nor due process to sustain them in the real terms of justice for humanity. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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