August 2010


As anyone who has even slightly followed any of the Serb-prosecuting show trials at the Hague is aware, to say that there have been “irregularities” is the understatement of the century. Bribing and threatening of prosecution witnesses for false testimony is rather the norm. And that’s not to mention judges doing things like cutting off a witness’s microphone if he or she touches on facts that are inconvenient to the prosecution.

Well, some of these irregularities must be threatening to surface more widely than to just the handful of people involved in, or aware of, them. Because the Hague’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has announced a probe into these goings-0n, even though they’ve been common practice at the Hague for more than 15 years now.

War crimes court in witness probe

The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal has ordered an investigation into claims that prosecutors intimidated witnesses in the trial of Vojislav Seselj, a nationalist Serb leader.

Judges at the UN court in The Hague referred to statements by witnesses alleging “sleep deprivation during interviews, psychological pressuring, an instance of blackmail, threats or even illegal payment of money”.

“The [trial] chamber ordered the registrar to appoint amicus curiae [a Latin term meaning ‘friend of the court’] to look into the allegations,” Christian Chartier, a spokesman of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia said in a statement on Wednesday.

Chartier said the individual would report to judges within six months as to “whether there were sufficient grounds to initiate contempt proceedings” against investigators in the office of the prosecutor (OTP).

“Certain witnesses who appeared after this trial opened, when testifying before the chamber, referred to pressure or to attempts to intimidate to which they were subjected by investigators for the prosecution as well as to irregularities during their preliminary interviews,” documents released on Wednesday said.

One witness said he and his family were subjected to “tremendous pressure” to give a statement, including 30 to 50 telephone calls a day.

Some said the contents of their statements did not match their words, another was allegedly threatened by investigators that they would “continue questioning him until he signed”.

One witness said “the prosecution had told him that if he testified, after that he could go to America, that he would get a good salary and would get money”.

Another alleged he was poisoned. […]

MORE: Carla Del Ponte investigated over illegal evidence:

Carla Del Ponte, the former war crimes prosecutor who put Balkan warlords and political leaders behind bars, is to be investigated over claims she allowed the use of bullying and bribing of witnesses, or tainted evidence.

Judges at the UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague today ordered an independent inquiry into the practices of Del Ponte and two prominent serving prosecutors, Hildegard Ürtz-Retzlaff and Daniel Saxon, after complaints from witnesses that they had been harassed, paid, mistreated and their evidence tampered with.

It is the first time in the tribunal’s 17 years in operation that top prosecutors have faced potential contempt of court rulings. [As I said, something must be threatening to blow the lid off.]

During her eight years as chief prosecutor, Del Ponte, a determined Swiss investigator now serving as her country’s ambassador to Argentina, was a combative and divisive figure. She left her post in 2007.
The allegations against her concern the working practices of her team of investigators in the ongoing prosecution for war crimes of the Serbian politician, Vojislav Seselj, a notorious warlord.

“Some of the witnesses had referred to pressure and intimidation to which they were subjected by investigators for the prosecution,” said a statement from the judge in the Seselj case. “The prosecution allegedly obtained statements illegally, by threatening, intimidating and/or buying [witnesses] off.”

One Serbian witness said he was offered a well-paid job in the US in return for testimony favourable to the prosecution.

“The statements mention sleep deprivation during interviews, psychological pressuring, an instance of blackmail (the investigators offered relocation in exchange for the testimony they hoped to obtain), threats (one, for example, about preparing an indictment against a witness if he refused to testify), or even illegal payments of money.”

An independent investigator, expected to be a French magistrate, is to report on the allegations within six months. Prosecutors in The Hague rejected the allegations while promising to co-operate with the inquiry.

“We believe our staff have conducted their work in a professional way within the rules,” said Frederick Swinnen, special adviser to Serge Brammertz of Belgium, who succeeded Del Ponte as chief prosecutor.

Seselj, who surrendered to the tribunal seven years ago, has been alleging prosecution dirty tricks for years. He is routinely disruptive in court, trading insults. He has already been sentenced to 15 months for contempt of court after revealing the names and addresses of protected witnesses.

Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti, who ordered the Del Ponte investigation and who is presiding over the Seselj trial, has himself come in for strong criticism for “bending over backwards” to accommodate the accused. [That would be a first for the Hague.]

Antonetti said the tribunal was taking the allegations seriously and refused “to allow any doubt to fester concerning a possible violation of the rights of the accused and concerning the investigation techniques employed by certain members of the prosecution”. […]

That last paragraph is what America’s foremost ICTY obeserver, Andy Wilcoxson, says he considers to be the key point:

It seems to me the result of the investigation has already been pre-determined. What do you want to bet they do some dog-and-pony show investigation and find that everything was aboveboard. We’ve seen investigations like this before. When Slobodan Milosevic and Milan Babic died in the Tribunal’s custody they had “inquiries” and found everything was OK there too, even though Milosevic had been poisoned and the ligature marks on Babic’s neck didn’t match the belt they said he “hung himself” with.

A third report: War-crimes judge orders check into reports of prosecutorial misconduct

…Antonetti ordered the inquiry on June 29, but it received scant attention until Wednesday, when a reporter asked about it at The Hague.

“[Carla Del Ponte] is only mentioned because she’s the former head of the office, but the allegations are aimed at the investigators and lawyers who worked for her,” said Frederick Swinnen, special assistant to the current prosecutor at The Hague, in a telephone interview Wednesday with CNN.

The friend of the court has not yet been appointed, he said Wednesday. “There are several candidates; it’s still at a preliminary stage,” he said, adding that he did not expect the inquiry to find any malfeasance.

The inquiry was initiated after a number of witnesses complained “that they had been allegedly intimidated or pressured” by prosecutors, said Swinnen.

“The chamber obviously took these allegations very seriously and decided that it would be wrong to leave any space for doubt arising either on the protection of the rights of the accused or on the investigation techniques by members of OTP [Office of the Prosecutor],” said Christian Chartier, acting spokesman for registry and chambers, in a statement on the court’s website. […]

I’ve written before “Why Following the Balkans is Delicious.” That time, around November 2009, it was because Obama sent both Clintons to try to talk the Palestinians out of using the Kosovo precedent as a precedent. That is, he sent the two war criminals responsible for that precedent to quell the logical consequences.

More recently, after the International Court of Justice ruled last month that anyone has the right to declare independence, we got the following article from a Svetlana Andreeva, writing for “Voice of Russia”:

Pandora’s Box opened?

…The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged all countries to support the [ICJ] verdict. Politicians in Armenia have promised support on condition the breakaway republic of Nagorno-Karabakh is granted independence.

The Prime Minister of self-styled Abkhazia Sergei Shamba has said the decision gives Abkhazia the right to claim self-determination too. The court ruling has set a precedent for other separatist-minded nations across Europe.

The court produced no clear answer to a question by Serbia about the legitimacy of the declaration of Kosovo’s independence. […]

But at least we do have a clear answer to the iconical question of the ’90s: “What harm can a blow job do?”

After all, a reasonable person might ask: To what end has the U.S. opened this Pandora’s Box? Why, oh why, would the U.S. risk a potentially global dominoe effect on behalf of a small, obscure, seemingly insignificant province in the Balkans?

No pun intended, but here is how it went down:

Discovery of his sexual indiscretions caused a president to go to war.
The war was as big an endorsement of one side’s ambitions as that side ever imagined.
This led to great expectations.
Expectations became demands.
Demands became threats.
Threats turned into bodies.
The next president saw no way out but to finish what the previous president started.
The previous president’s sexual encounters had infected the new president.
Kosova is an STD.

And now it’s been passed on to the current president.

Bill Clinton’s #1 enemy in the late 90s and early 2000’s, Newsmax’s Christopher Ruddy, describes a visit by the now apparently “affable” Clinton to the Newsmax offices in West Palm Beach, Florida. What’s more, did you know that Newsmax’s Ruddy ’shares the same passions’ with the Clinton Foundation? Did you know that Newsmax was all about “poverty alleviation and health services”? Who knew the two men had so much in common. Here is a snapshot of their shared passion. I think Clinton’s left hand is on Ruddy’s ass:

President Clinton Visits Newsmax Monday, 16 Aug 2010

Former President Bill Clinton took a break from his busy schedule in South Florida Monday to visit Newsmax Media and its founder and CEO, Christopher Ruddy. Clinton was in the area while making several stops to support Democratic candidates.

Clinton toured Newsmax’s headquarters in West Palm Beach, and had a private meeting with Ruddy. Later, he posed for photographs with Newsmax staff.

“It is wonderful seeing you all,” said the affable Clinton, who was dressed casually and clearly enjoyed himself as he shook hands, walking around the office and chatting with employees.

Later, Clinton was the focal point of a group photo in the Newsmax lobby.

“What a great group of people you have here,” the president said.

The president and Ruddy have become friends over the past several few years, with both sharing Clinton’s passion for the causes that his Clinton Foundation supports. The foundation focuses on poverty alleviation and health services in the United States and globally.

“I am a great admirer of President Clinton,” Ruddy said. “He has not only redefined the post-presidency, but has served as an exemplary goodwill ambassador for our country throughout the whole world. His efforts transcend politics and deserve support.”

Newsmax Media was founded in 1998 and is one of the largest independent news publishers on the Internet. It offers a conservative perspective, but also covers the areas of health, finance, and world news.

Because there’s no conservative perspective on health, finance, and world news? (Copy desk!)

Now, in my delicious 2007 article about this disturbing Newsmax/Clinton alliance, I hypothesized that it could all have something to do with Newsmax doing business of some sort with China, a connection that Clinton could be helpful with. Now, however, such an alliance would take on increased urgency as both men would prefer Hillary to Obama in 2012, so that’s what this could be about. (As if the Clintons didn’t pave the way to the inevitability of Obama.)

As Ruddy himself reported back when he was a person and when the world had use for him, Clinton does not forgive those who have wronged him. He gets revenge. So either there’s a damn good strategic reason for Clinton to be breaking his pattern, or Clinton will have something special in store for Ruddy when whatever this is, is done. Which by now Ruddy deserves.

Dear Readers,

As many of you know, I’ve been at this for over a decade. “This” being my efforts to interest Americans in the results of their country’s actions in the Balkans, and to warn them of the consequences to their own lives and futures (foreign ones apparently have proved uncompelling) — of our callous, one-sided, unjust, un-American, jihad-promoting, yet largely ignored policies in the lands of the former Yugoslavia.

I have been doing this at my and my husband’s expense for 11 years — since the day I learned the word “Serbs,” because we were bombing some. Sheer outrage and disgust have propelled me for this long, but these years have left me with no time or focus for any kind of career or income. (I have not had an income for 11 years except when I sell an occasional opinion column for $100.)

You’ll notice that in the five years that this blog has been active, I have never had a “Donate” button the way many other bloggers have, since I never felt comfortable asking for money. But in order to continue this work a while longer before devoting my energies to simply finding a full-time hourly-wage job, I’ve succumbed to the dreaded “donate” button and am calling your attention to it.

A donation of any amount will be appreciated. Thank you very much for your moral support over the years.

Julia

On August 8, a typically ignorant article concerning Russia/Caucasus/Balkans appeared, by Eli Lake in the Washington Times. Despite emailing three different editors there — all of whom know me — I wasn’t able to get this letter any attention and so presumably it went into the letter editor’s slush pile. But since Lake — and the apparently non-existent copy-desk — need to be embarrassed, I’m printing it here:

Dear Editor:
I’m compelled to call attention to some jaw-dropping inaccuracies in “Georgia deals with ‘occupation’” by Eli Lake (Aug. 8th). Mr. Lake wrote, “Russia historically supported Serbia and Milosevic, who died while awaiting trial for war crimes at The Hague.”

I’m not sure how that one made it past the copy desk, as we all know that Milosevic died more than three years into his trial, not “awaiting” it.

In addition to the factual inaccuracy of the sentence, it is implicit that the writer has read not one page of testimony from the said trial. Not a good thing to reveal. No doubt Mr. Lake’s disinterest in the Milosevic trial — a disinterest shared by 99% of the public and the media that billed it so momentously as “Nuremberg II” — partly accounts for his other glaring error in the article. That one came in the sentence calling Kosovo “a majority Albanian province of Serbia that [Milosevic] attempted to cleanse of Albanians.”

Think about this for a moment. Even if one knows nothing at all about the conflict, the charge is preposterous on its face. Does Mr. Lake really believe that Belgrade undertook to empty a province of 90% of its population? How would that be possible, or even desirable? The writer is attempting to revive a long-debunked myth. Between the trial and a decade of investigation and documentation — including material that was made public as early as 1999 — the wild allegations of Albanian civilians being targeted for ethnic cleansing have been disproved, and discredited.

Even mainstream press reports for several years now have adjusted their background summaries at the bottoms of articles — which used to make reference to “ethnic cleansing of civilians” — to something along the lines of: “Slobodan Milosevic waged a crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatist insurgents…”

Such “errors” — made more insidious by an underlying, pandemic anti-Serb bias that is impervious to evidence — warrant not letters, but published corrections. If only to distance a reputable newspaper from such ignorance.

In a post earlier today I cited Serbianna about an “ethnic Serb” who was targeted in the vacation town of Split, Croatia with a hand grenade and a note reading “Swimming pool prohibited for Serbs, Chetniks and dogs.” While the “warning” was intended for the presumed Serbian vacationers, based on the Belgrade license plate, it turns out that the family was mixed Macedonian-Croatian and originally from Split but currently living in Belgrade. That is, of course, if I’ve understood the Google translation of this Juturnji List article correctly. The driver of the Volvo where the note and grenade were left said, “I was expecting some discomfort, and there it happens, I know of cases in Zadar and elsewhere, I was ready for verbal incidents, a punctured tire on the car, but no bomb on the Volvo. And in the car seat was a child! And finally, not only my family was threatened, [the area was] crowded with children.”

I’ve mentioned Split before here and here.

Regarding the same post, in a follow-up to the Ustasha-fest celebrating the expulsion of most Serbs from Croatia during the war in 1995, I neglected to include the following:

Cavoglave, a Croatian village in Dalmatia, is quickly emerging as the place where Croatian patriots gather up every year to celebrate their military operation Storm which has achieved the Nazi Ustasa long-held dream to, if not kill them all then, expel all Serbs out of Croatia.


(Oluia=Storm)

…So besides prayer and the splendid company wearing Croatian traditional Ustasa hat with the large U and a Catholic cross inside, we also see the refreshment truck (above) strolling down the main square with a huge poster of the masterminds of the operation Storm – Gojko Susak and Franjo Tudjman – while Poglavnik Ante Pavelic lurks on the left.

The likeness of the Nazi Pavelic is so revered that Croat Admiral Davor Domazet Loso had to battle for popularity during his book signing at Cavoglave: everywhere, media say, liquor bottles (above) with Pavelic’s likeness are peddled….

Admiral Loso was not the only Croat official at Cavoglave. The mayor of the Croatian capital Zagreb soon joined the celebrations shaking hands with devotees of Ante Gotovina whose metamorphosis from a Croatian war criminal to sainthood is in the T-shirt stage (see below).

Finally, Thompson himself came to his birth town but pictures of all the Siegheiling during that event have not been made available.

THE DISPLAYS AND MESSAGE OF THE CAVOGLAVE FESTIVITIES THIS MONTH HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY THE US, NATO, UK, GERMANY, EU AND VATICAN.

As Dick Cheney said himself, Croatia is ready for the EU. Sieg heil!

The plight of Serbian returnees to the village Zac recently came up, and here it is again: Homes of Serb returnees demolished

ISTOK — Unknown perpetrators demolished three houses of Serb returnees that are under construction in the village of Žač near Istok last night.

The construction of the houses for the returnees is being financed by the Kosovo Community and Return Ministry and the construction of 18 more houses was planned.

The incident has upset the Serbs in the area. Kosovo police are guarding their tent camp 24 hours a day.

Kosovo police Spokesman for the Peć region Zeqir Kelmendi said that the contractor reported the incident around noon.

He also explained that a wall in one of the houses had been demolished and that concrete blocks had been scattered around the house and added that Kosovo police were working on identifying the perpetrators.

[T]he Serbs have been exposed to numerous attacks since their return to the village of Žač.

And really, could it be any other way when even a UN regional administrator for Mitrovica, David Mitchels, has said that Kosovo would be better off if all the Serbs were gone?

Not to be upstaged, here’s Croatia welcoming its own Serbian returnees earlier this month, while celebrating the anniversary of getting rid of them:

TV crew, Serbs targeted in Croatia
6 August 2010 | 13:44 | Source: B92, FoNet, Beta, Tanjug

ZADAR — Incidents were reported as fans of a controversial Croat singer gathered on Thursday to celebrate the anniversary of Operation Storm.

A group of Marko Perković aka Thompson fans, gathered in his native village of Čavoglava, threw stones at a Croatian national television HRT crew, who escaped without injuries.

The reporters were subjected to almost an hour and a half of death threats and insults, that culminated in the stoning incident.

Perković and his following are often linked with the pro-Ustasha ideology. Ustashas were the forces of the pro-Nazi WW2 Independent State of Croatia (NDH), who conducted mass killings of Serbs, Jews and Romas.

When the HRT reporter and cameraman tried to film the celebrations yesterday, that included people wearing Ustasha caps and drinking brandy with images of NDH leader Ante Pavelić on the labels, they were attacked.

The crowd, said to have been 60,000 people strong, sang Ustasha songs, and Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić was among those seen in Čavoglave on the Operation Storm anniversary.

Police in the nearby town of Zadar who last night showed up to “rescue” the HRT crew, said this morning that they did not see any persons wearing Ustasha uniforms or insignia, and for that reason did not detain anyone.

Local ethnic Serbs were also targeted in a separate incident, when Croat war veterans confronted them in the village of Donja Suvaja, also near Zadar.

Deputy Gračac municipal chief Milan Tankosić said that the Croat veterans threatened the Serbs by shouting, “Kill Chetniks”, “We will cut your throats again”, and, “Go to Serbia, this is Croatia”.

Police quickly intervened at the scene, said Tanasković.

Eyewitnesses said that the attackers arrived in a convoy of some 20 vehicles, and that they attacked the Serbs, who are returnees, physically and verbally.

“Police…did not see any persons wearing Ustasha uniforms or insignia, and for that reason did not detain anyone” —


(His shirt says “Black Legion” on it. Previously mentioned here. History here and here.)


(His shirt says Independent State of Croatia, April 10, 1941 — referring to Hitler’s “liberating” of Croatia)


(Fuhrer Ante Pavelic whiskey)


(Hero worship of 1990s war criminal Ante Gotovina)

And this is the treatment of Serbian tourists (on whom Croatia’s tourism industry relies significantly):

Croats bomb, attack Serb tourists (August 14, 2010)

Ethnic Serb, Boris D, found a bomb in his car while attempting to vacation in Split, Croatia. A message was attached along with the bomb. The message starts with the well known German language relic from the concentration camp days just before the orgy of killing was to start:

“Achtung! Swimming prohibited for Serbs, Chetniks and dogs. God and the Croats.”

Dear Croatians, I really hate to break this to you about God, but he’s just not that into you.

Via Serbianna: Albanians release a song that praises Bin Laden

August 17, 2010 – 4:57 am A song in Albanian is available on YouTube that is dedicated to the Islamic terrorist Osama bin Laden.

The title of the song is Po Usame Ilahi shqip.

The song is posted by a YouTube user that goes under name muslimfromkossova.

The song has previously appeared in the forum of the Albanian islamists in Macedonia.

The official religious body of Muslim Albanians in Macedonia, the IVZ, says that they have no clue about the song.

“We do not know about this song, but we don’t reject the possibility that such song is generally sang by Wahhabist groups in several mosques in Skopje,” said an IVZ source.


Another report, from BalkanInsight.com (apparently, Albanians are shocked by this predictable progression after Western intervention):

Bin-Laden Song Shocks Macedonian Religious Community
Skopje | 18 August 2010 | Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Macedonia’s Islamic Religious Community, IVZ, says it has been shocked by the appearance of a song written in Albanian that praises the leader of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda, Osama Bin-Laden.

The song, which recently appeared on video hosting website Youtube, represented Bin Laden as the spiritual leader of the Islam.

Sources from IVZ told Macedonian Makfax agancy: “We had no information about this song.

“We are almost certain that this song was written by Wahabbi groups, which spread messages opposing the Islamic religion.”

They said they suspected followers of radical Islam groups like Wahabbi may use this song to promote their messages in mosques across Macedonia.

The IVZ said the messages in the song are not in line with the teachings of the moderate Islam that is traditional for the Balkan Muslims.

Songs praising Bin-Laden have also been written in the Bosnian language.

The IVZ is in a spat with one of its breakaway Imams, Ramadan Ramadani, who it accuses of spreading radical messages in several mosques in the capital Skopje that he holds under his control.

The Imam has denied allegations that he is close to the Wahabbi movement and has accused the IVZ leadership of corruption, which they have denied.

The song appeared during the fasting of the holy month of Ramadan.

The Islamic community in Macedonia is the second-largest after the Orthodox Christians.

The majority of ethnic Albanians in the country, who make up a quarter of the population, are followers of Islam.

In a related incident last month, the imam of an Albanian mosque in Macedonia was kicked out by more radical worshipers and their imam. Here was the video, thanks to Serbianna.com, followed by the story:

Macedonia: Islamists blamed for attack on Skopje mufti

Skopje, 2 July(AKI) - Three people have been detained by police in Macedonia after local mufti Ibrahim Sabani was expelled from a mosque during religious services, local media reported on Friday. Islamists linked to the fundamentalist Wahabi movement have been blamed for the attack on the mufti and police said three suspects had been charged with disorderly conduct.

The Macedonian Islamic community said the incident occurred last Sunday and had been reported to police.

Sabani told Skopje media that “criminal Wahabi bands” were active in the Macedonian capital and were trying to take over the mosque in which he conducted services.

He said Wahabis had slapped him and a man who tried to defend him before they were expelled from the mosque.

The Wahabi movement, originated in what is now Saudi Arabia, and advocates a form of fundamentalist Islam.

It was brought to Bosnia by mujahadeen fighters who came from Islamic countries to support local Muslims in the 1992-1995 civil war.

Last week Wahabis bombed a police station in the Bosnian town of Bugojno, killing one police officer and injuring six others.

One in four of Macedonia’s two million people are ethnic Albanians, who are Muslims.

The Wahabi movement has slowly been taking roots in Muslim populated areas of the Balkans, increasingly resorting to violent acts.

The triumphs and frustrations of the final push by the Simon Wiesenthal Center — called Operation Last Chance — to capture the last living (and suspected to be living) WWII Nazis is chronicled in chief Nazi-hunter Efraim Zuroff’s new book Operation Last Chance: One Man’s Quest to Bring Nazi Criminals to Justice.


Efraim Zuroff

The most wanted Nazi is former SS doctor Aribert Heim, to whom the author devotes a chapter. Heim was described in a 2008 AP article as

so brutal that witnesses remember him as the worst they saw, though he was only at Mauthausen concentration camp for two months.

Karl Lotter, a prisoner who worked in the hospital at Mauthausen concentration camp, had no trouble remembering the first time he watched Heim kill a man.

It was 1941, and an 18-year-old Jew had been sent to the clinic with a foot inflammation. Heim asked him about himself and why he was so fit. The young man said he had been a soccer player and swimmer.

Then, instead of treating the prisoner’s foot, Heim anesthetized him, cut him open, castrated him, took apart one kidney and removed the second, Lotter said. The victim’s head was removed and the flesh boiled off so that Heim could keep it on display.

“He needed the head because of its perfect teeth,” Lotter, a non-Jewish political prisoner, recalled….

Two of the Top 10 Most Wanted are wanted for crimes committed in Yugoslavia, and yet despite the Nazi-hunter’s best efforts, the WWII history of Yugoslavia remains largely hidden from public view (including at Holocaust museums). One of these two criminals is a Croatian named Milivoj Asner, who made top headlines in 2008 when he was observed by a British reporter taking in the Euro 2008 soccer championships in Austria. The UK Sun’s Brian Flynn of the UK Sun described the scene:

We find wanted Nazi at footie

MINGLING with football fans in a pavement café, an elderly gentleman soaks up the atmosphere of Euro 2008.

[Milivoj] Asner, who lives under an assumed name in Croatia’s European Championships base of Klagenfurt, is the subject of an international arrest warrant and on Interpol’s Most Wanted list.

The Sun tracked down the 95-year-old former police chief and Gestapo agent and secretly filmed him as he strolled confidently for more than a mile, arm-in-arm with second wife Edeltraut.

Walking without a stick, he even roamed 8th May Street - named after VE Day.

He stopped several times to sit in cafés, chatting to waiters and sipping leisurely drinks alongside excited football fans.

He was ignored by hundreds of armed police patrolling the streets, even though locals KNOW his real identity - and the unspeakable crimes for which he has yet to face justice.

The scenes made a mockery of Austria’s insistence that Asner is too sick to be sent home.

[Jerusalem-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre] director Dr Efraim Zuroff said: “He is clearly enjoying a life that many hundreds of victims were denied when they were sent off to be murdered…Austria has long had a reputation as a paradise for war criminals and now they’ve been caught in the act…If this man is well enough to walk around town unaided and drink wine in bars, he’s well enough to answer for his past. He’s shown absolutely no remorse…”

Asner fled his homeland after the war and has been living in Klagenfurt since 2006. He was indicted a year earlier in Croatia for crimes committed when he was a Ustashi police chief under the country’s Second World War fascist puppet regime.

An Interpol arrest warrant was issued with the highest priority and his photo and personal details are listed on its Most Wanted website. Anyone knowing his whereabouts is urged to call police.

The Sun traced Asner, whose first wife faked his death, to his smart third-floor flat near Klagenfurt’s stadium. The home, where he lives under the name Dr Georg Aschner, is opposite the Croatian cultural centre in a district where fellow ex-pats know his true identity. [We know about Croatian cultural centers.]

One worker boasted how “an SS man” lived opposite…[Another] source said: “He’s fiercely patriotic and nationalistic, and there’s no doubt he’ll want Croatia to win. He may be old but his views haven’t changed - he wants them to win at everything.”

Officials originally ruled Asner could not be sent to Croatia because he was an Austrian citizen. In September 2005, they admitted he was NOT.

But they stalled again, claiming he was too ill for trial. [And to not prosecute him itself, Austria used its charming “statute of limitations” on Nazi war crimes.] […]

In a subsequent piece the reporter interviewed one of Asner’s surviving victims:

AN 88-year-old man told last night how he was tortured on the orders of sadist Milivoj Asner. Dusan Janosevic said he was beaten with a rope until he bled every day for six months in Asner’s jail. And he said other prisoners including Jews and priests were executed in a nearby forest every night…Police chief Asner would stride around with a whip as he masterminded the torture regime, Dusan said. The pensioner, who still lives in Pozega, Croatia, was arrested in 1941 because he was a minority Serb. Guards tried to force him to falsely confess he was a Communist.

“All night you could hear people being tortured and crying out. They had a bucket of water and soaked the ropes overnight ready to give us a beating every morning for breakfast.”

Dusan said relatives were ordered to bring food for starving prisoners, who then watched as guards ate it. […]

Flynn also described meeting Asner in his flat:

…Well-spoken, studiously polite and unruffled despite being confronted unexpectedly by a foreign reporter, he exuded the confidence of a man who seemed to believe he was untouchable.

The history books describe how Pozega’s entire Jewish community was wiped out in World War II – sent to the evil Jasenovac concentration camp where 700,000 were exterminated.

Asner is alleged to have overseen the deportation from Croatia of hundreds of Jews, Serbs and gypsies to concentration camps – signing the necessary forms [and to have stood by in Pozega as Ustashi fascists burned the synagogue.]

Yet despite archive documents pin-pointing his role, he insisted he had never been a police chief there. And he claimed his signature must be fake. Astonishingly, Asner also denied ANY Jews were deported to death camps from his home town.

Laughing again, he said: “I don’t know of anyone deported from Pozega. Nobody was murdered. I never heard of one single family murdered in Pozega.”

Asner admitted he supported the Ustashi fascists, but claimed he was never a member. He said: “I was not with them but, as a Croatian, I respected that they restored order. […]

The upshot: Nazi Nailed:

…The dossier shows how wartime monster Milivoj Asner wielded fearsome police powers over helpless citizens and sealed their fates with his signature.

He insisted he was just a minor civil servant in the Second World War and that he “never did anything bad against anybody”.

The document APPOINTING him officially head of the police on May 15, 1941 is held in Croatian government archives.

Another paper dated October 18, 1941 was personally signed by Asner AUTHORISING the eviction of 63 Jewish families who were then exterminated.

It ordered the seizure of their homes and estimated the values of the properties, with Asner declaring: “I forbid the below-citated persons to reside in the flats they have owned till now.”

Another document shows Asner REFUSING to save Jula Klein, born in his own town, from Nazis in Austria just because she was a Jewess. […]

At the height of the Asner news, Austria’s most famous politician, the would-be Nazi Joerg Haider — who seems to know this resident of his province rather well for some reason — came to Asner’s defense:

…Haider, who brought the Freedom Party into Austria’s coalition government in 2000 on a platform tinged with anti-Semitic and xenophobic undertones, is the governor of the province of Carinthia where Asner lives.

“He’s lived peacefully among us for years, and he should be able to live out the twilight of his life with us,” Haider told the newspaper Der Standard this week. “This is a nice family. We really treasure this family,” he was quoted as saying. […]”

Subsequently, the nonagenarian Croatian Nazi admitted that he deported some folks, but just those who weren’t “loyal” to the Hitler-bequeathed Independent State of Croatia. (Of course, in Croatia — both then and now — not being Croatian constitutes disloyalty.) From a Reuters item:

A Croatian World War Two war crimes suspect said in a television interview he had ordered deportations of Jews and Serbs during World War Two, but only to their homelands and not to death camps in Croatia.

“Nothing ever happened to whoever was a loyal citizen of the Croatian state. For others, my theory was: You are not a Croat, you hate Croatia, okay, then please go back to your homeland,” 95-year-old Milivoj Asner told Croatian state television in an interview at his home in Klagenfurt, Austria.

Klagenfurt prosecutors had assessed Asner’s health again…and found him unfit for questioning.

The Croatian television reporter who conducted the interview said Asner appeared senile and was only temporarily lucid. […]

A non-Croatian reporter got an entirely different impression of the man, as Zuroff explained: “We suspected from the very beginning that he might have been faking it — making a specific effort to appear as unfit as possible,” Zuroff said. “That might be easier to fake than physical issues.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has singled out Austria in its annual status reports and gave it an “F” in the 2005-06 cycle, defined as “those countries which refuse in principle to investigate, let alone prosecute, suspected Nazi war criminals.”

According to the report from those years, Austria is one of the countries whose statistics are extremely misleading:

Thus, although in recent years Austria has comparatively high figures for the number of cases being investigated, they have not resulted in a single indictment, let alone conviction. In fact, during the past three decades, Austria has failed to convict a single Nazi war criminal…[T]he relatively high number of ongoing cases currently being examined in Vienna is primarily an indication of intensified research by the Wiesenthal Center, rather than a manifestation of newly-found political will in Vienna to hold Nazi war criminals accountable.

Another case which underscores the lack of willingness to bring Holocaust perpetrators to justice is that of former Majdanek guard Erna Wallisch currently residing in Vienna, who was exposed by the Wiesenthal Center’s “Operation: Last Chance” project. Although Wallisch admitted taking camp inmates to be gassed and preventing them from escaping death, Austrian prosecutors categorized her crimes as “passive participation” in genocide, thereby preventing her prosecution due to the existent statute of limitations. In this regard, it is illuminating to compare the legal situation in Austria with that of Germany, where there is no statue of limitations on the prosecution of Nazi war criminals.

Another related issue…was a request by the Wiesenthal Center that the Austrian government match or supplement the financial reward being offered by the German police for information leading to the arrest of escaped Nazi war criminal Dr. Aribert Heim. (Heim was born and educted in Austria.) Despite assurance by the Austrian ministers of justice (Gastinger) and the interior (Prokop) that such a step was possible and would be viewed favorably by the government, it has never been approved.

The other top Nazi wanted for crimes in Yugoslavia is Sandor Kepiro, “The Suspected Nazi Who Lives Opposite Synagogue,” as his chapter is called. Kepiro twice had been convicted for the 1942 Novi Sad massacre, in which 1,200 Serbs and Jews were killed. He was given a 10-year sentence by Hungary in 1944, but it was never enforced, as this 2007 AP report explains:

…The Union of Jewish Communities in Serbia said it could offer several witnesses and wartime documents of the 1942 massacre of some 800 Jews and 400 Serbs in Novi Sad, north of Belgrade, allegedly conducted by Hungarian Nazi troops which controlled the area at the time.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center and its Nazi hunters said in a statement that one of those responsible was Hungarian citizen Sandor Kepiro, now 93. Kepiro, who was a gendarmerie lieutenant in Novi Sad at the time, emigrated to Argentina after the war but returned to Hungary in 1996.

Hungarian prosecutors recently opened an investigation into Kepiro following demands by the Wiesenthal Center and after researchers in Belgrade found a copy of a 1944 Hungarian court verdict that found him guilty of disloyalty to Hungary.

Last month, the Budapest Municipal Court said the 1944 ruling sentencing Kepiro to 10 years in prison could not be enforced because a retrial shortly afterward annulled the sentence.

Kepiro has denied the accusations, saying he was a scapegoat in a show trial.

In its 2007-2008 report, the Wiesenthal Center downgraded Hungary to an F-2, the worst-possible grade. Joining it was Australia, with Lithuania not far behind, as this Dec. 2008 article reports:

Australia, Hungary and Lithuania are failing to investigate and prosecute suspected Nazi war criminals largely due to a lack of political will, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said Thursday.

The Nazi-hunting group said the same holds true for Croatia, Estonia, Latvia and Ukraine, adding all countries in question face no legal obstacles in bringing suspects to justice.

The findings were published in the center’s annual report, which graded the investigation and prosecution efforts of countries around the world between April 2007 and March 2008.

Australia was given the worst possible mark — an “F-2″– for its continued failure to extradite Nazi collaborator Charles Zentai, an Australian citizen accused of killing a Jewish teenager in Hungary during World War II.

The report said Australia admitted at least several hundred Nazi war criminals and collaborators but has failed to take successful legal action against a single one.

Lithuania, meanwhile, got a failing grade for its refusal to jail Algimantas Dailide, convicted in 2006 of helping round up Jews for Nazis as an officer in the Vilnius security police. He was sentenced to five years in jail, but the judge ruled he was too frail to serve the sentence. The center said that reflected Lithuania’s resistance to acknowledging “the extensive scope of local complicity in the crimes of the Holocaust.”

The report also criticized Norway, Sweden and Syria, saying all three countries refuse in principle to investigate and prosecute suspected Nazi war criminals because of legal or ideological restrictions. […]

One could certainly understand how it might seem superfluous to the likes of Austria, Hungary, Lithuania, Croatia, Syria, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine and others to put old Nazis on trial for the Holocaust when a whole fleet of new ones has already been groomed to commit the next one, with their help.

In Chapter 11 we learn that in Latvia a wanted Nazi is a contemporary hero, and a chapter on Estonia is titled “The Best Justice Money Can Buy.” Chapter 13 chronicles Zuroff’s efforts to get Croatia to confront its bloody past and to prosecute its notorious Dinko Šakic. The Wiesenthal Center got Croatia to convict the Nazi in 1998, which Zuroff considers democratic Croatia’s greatest achievement, but he found that Croatia wasn’t quite as proud of the accomplishment, for not a single perpetrator was mentioned by name at the glossy new Holocaust memorial at Jasenovac. That’s because Croatia’s Nazis remain heroes, and are openly celebrated by Croatians worldwide. Indeed, no one suffered a timely reprimand by Croatian authorities for organizing Sakic’s 2008 funeral ceremony, for which Sakic was dressed in full Nazi regalia and a Croatian Catholic priest offficiated.


Croatia’s mainstream Nazi sympathizers of today, showing their reverence

Lithuania gets its own chapter, titled “Lithuania: A Struggle for Justice and Truth in the Land of my Forefathers.” Four of Zuroff’s family members were murdered in Lithuania between 1941 and 1944, and the book is dedicated to their memories, along with Simon Wiesenthal’s. In little-noted but shocking 2008 news, Lithuania was actually seeking to prosecute Jewish partisans for war crimes against Nazis. The SWC in Los Angeles issued the following statement in early November, 2008:

ON THE 70th ANNIVERSARY OF KRISTALLNACHT: LITHUANIA SEEKS TO PROSECUTE WORLD WAR II JEWISH PARTISANS WHO FOUGHT AGAINST THE NAZIS

…Now, 70 years later, the Holocaust is being distorted and trivialized in places around the world including Lithuania where a shocking 96.4% of Lithuania ’s Jewish citizens were murdered by the Nazis and local collaborators.

To this day, not a single Lithuanian has ever been punished in independent Lithuania for Holocaust crimes and every effort has been made to prevent such criminals from facing prosecution.

Instead - as unbelievable as it may sound - Lithuanian prosecutors, urged on by an anti-Semitic press, have sought to indict for “war crimes,” heroic World War II-era Jewish partisans for their anti-Nazi resistance! Chief among them, Dr. Yitzhak Arad, the former chairman of Yad Vashem and a renowned Holocaust scholar. In 2008, authorities are targeting 3 women, fellow Jewish anti-Nazi partisans Dr. Rochel Margolis, Professor Sara Ginaite, and Fania Brantsovsky, pictured left with SWC International Relations Director, Dr. Shimon Samuels.

This must not continue. Join the Wiesenthal Center’s campaign to Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus demanding that:

•the campaign against Jewish anti-Nazi partisans be immediately stopped and that a public apology is made to those already made to suffer

•the full scope of Lithuanians’ participation in the murder of Jews in the country and elsewhere during the Holocaust be acknowledged and taught to younger generations

•the Lithuanian government implement the prison sentence against convicted Nazi war criminal Algimantas Dailide

And so here we are. While 90-year-old Nazis are still running around and living across from synagogues, or playing dead; while 80-year-old Holocaust siblings are still only now being reunited; and while WWII mass graves are still turning up in the Ukraine, the previously untouchable survivor Elie Wiesel has already been attacked and the groundwork for the next great Jew-purge is already laid. Meanwhile, Eastern European countries that so enthusiastically participated last time and have yet to acknowlege the full extent of their collaboration are looking to punish those they persecuted, for fighting back.

Reminding us why a book like Operation Last Chance is so needed. At the same time, it takes readers on a wild ride in the rare shoes of a real-life Nazi-hunter.

Photo of the week:

The Yahoo! News caption underneath: “The flooding is more destructive than the 2004 tsunami, the U.N. says — so why is the world so slow to react?”

Really, after all that Muslims have done for us, why are we so slow to react?

Then again, why argue with nature?

Or with God. After all, if the 2004 tsunami was “Allah’s punishment” for Southeast Asia doing business with the Jewish-run West, then clearly Muslims have angered him/her far worse.

Say, if God ethnically profiles, why can’t we?

From the news report:

One-fifth of Pakistan is still under water after three weeks of devastating flooding, and as many as 6 million affected people have not yet received any relief, Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority told CNN.

Six million? Why should we believe it’s six million?

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