Home > srebrenica massacre > SERBIAN PROPAGANDA: METHODS OF FORCED CONFESSIONS & TORTURE

SERBIAN PROPAGANDA: METHODS OF FORCED CONFESSIONS & TORTURE

August 14, 2006

SERBIAN PROPAGANDA – CASE FILE: ALIJA SELIMAGIC

Serbian Army tortured Bosniak civilian into making a false video-confession of crimes against the Serbs. Then, Yugoslav (aka: Serbian) government used his confession for propaganda purposes, manipulation of truth and reports submitted to the U.N.

Alija Selimagic was a Bosniak civilian captured by the Serb forces in northern Bosnia (1993) then beaten and tortured into confessing that he committed war crimes against the Serbs. Yugoslav (aka: Serbian) government used video recording of his forced confession in propaganda purposes and in preparation of reports that were submitted to the United Nations.After beating, torturing and then forcing captured Bosniak civilian, Alija Selimagic, to confess on tape that he killed dozens of Serbs, the Federal Yugoslav Government [aka: Serbian Government] used his forced confession to make a report which was submitted to the U.N. This is one of the methods Serbian government used in manipulating truth about the ongoing slaughter of Bosniaks.

Although this happened in 1993 and has no relevance to Srebrenica massacre, it is time to put an end to this propaganda.

This is not the only instance in which Serbian government manipulated truth. There are dozens of reports that Serbia’s government submitted to the U.N. and which were portrayed by Serb propagandist and genocide denial websites as “Official U.N. documents” [example from Serbian nationalist and genocide denial website, here ]. They are far from being official U.N. documents as they were not prepared by the U.N.; they were prepared by the Serbia’s government led by Balkan’s Hitler, Slobodan Milosevic. The reports are as amateurish as one can find, and are based on Serb nationalist newspaper writings and similar discredited sources.

It is also possible to find references to Serbia’s report about Alija Osmanagic in U.N.’s Prison Camps report dating back to 1994. It is sad that U.N. would use such propaganda reports in its research references when they were clearly submitted by genocidal Milosevic’s government when it was clear that these reports lacked any credibility (e.g. there was no such crucial information as names of victims, their JMBR numbers, addresses etc. Serbia’s government relied on Serb nationalist newspaper writings, rumours of rapes, and similar old propaganda tricks.)

This is not the first time that Serbian propaganda hit the nails. The case of Rade Rogic was particularly interesting, because it touched me and this blog personally [read here].

The internet has supplied a much broader audience for propaganda activities. Bosnia has been the main target of Serbia’s nationalist propagandists. Now we can also find Serb-authored videos of Alija Izetbegovic being portayed as ‘Islamic terrorist’, which I will get back to later.

Serbs have been extensively using videos downloaded from Chechen websites showing Chechen wariors beheading Russian soldiers. These videos were authored to falsely portray Bosniaks beheading Serbs – then used in propaganda purposes. Due to lack of credibility, these Serb-manipulated (edited) videos were not even accepted into the ICTY evidence. Videos are very bad quality and last only few seconds to few minutes and are available from website of Republika Srpska Secretariat for relations with ICTY, same agency reponsible for issuing first Srebrenica report and denying that Genocide took place in Srebrenica [see propaganda clips in action here].

Now back to Alija Selimagic, who was beaten, tortured, and then forced to confess that he killed dozens of Serbs in the Northern Bosnia. One of the videos on a noted Bosnian Serb propaganda website shows Alija Selimagic confessing killings and rapes of dozens Serbs. [To view video of this frightened and badly tortured man’s forced confession click here].

Here is a testimony of my former war-time high-school teacher, Mr. Dragan Lukac [Bosnian Croat], who managed to survive Serb-run concentration camp in Bosanski Samac. I remember Mr. Lukac as a man of honor. We looked up to him, he was not only cool, he was our role model. All students respected him. He had a courageous manly composure and he was a guy who respected himself and others. Now he is working for State’s Intelligence Agency (SIPA). Dragan Lukac also testified as a witness at the International Crimes Tribunal. In his testimony, he also gave an account of Alija Selimagic – Bosniak civilian badly beaten, tortured, and then forced to confess killings of Serbs on tape so that Milosevic’s government could use it in propaganda activities and submit it to the U.N. Here is an excerpt from Dragan Lukac’s testimony at the ICTY:

This abuse took place at night in that room by the military policemen who I guess were on duty there that night. They used no instruments while beating us but, rather, used their fists and boots, especially one who used particular moves which led me to believe that he had trained — he was trained in martial arts. Among the four persons whom we found in the room, the one who was singled out for beating especially was the man in civilian clothes, and later on I learned that this person’s name was Alija Selimagic. He was an ethnic Bosniak and came from the area of Bosanski Brod. This person was in a fairly bad physical and mental condition, from which I concluded that he must have been beaten even before we arrived. He looked completely lost, and from what he was saying, in other words, from how he was answering questions of the military policemen, it was clear to me that he was mentally incoherent, because his answers made no sense and were incoherent.

The next day – this was now on the 13th of May – all of us who were in that room were moved to the prison room in the compound, which is a small-size room. From the outside, the military police guarded the room. During the night, several members of special police or some elite unit from Nis, some parachute unit that is part of JNA – and Nis, by the way, is a city in southern Serbia – they beat most of us, again without using any instruments, and then again they singled out this Selimagic for beating.

Q. What did they use if they didn’t use their instruments — any instruments?
A. I don’t remember them using anything. I think they just punched and kicked.

You can read full testimony here.

Now, back to Alija Izetbegovic. Another offensive lie is that war-time president Alija Izetbegovic was a mujaheedin or “Muslim terrorist” etc. Izetbegovic – leader of Party for Democratic Action – was one of key figures responsible for destruction of communism in Yugoslavia. He fought for democratic, secular, multicultural, and internationally recognized Bosnia-Herzegovina. He wrote several books analyzing Islam. Serb propagandists took some of his statements out of context, as Noel Malcom (“Bosnia: Short History“) pointed out.

More than any other text, the Islamic Declaration is cited by Serbian nationalist propaganda as evidence of dangerous ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ in Europe which must be suppressed… or else. Often cited to justify persecution of the Bosnian Muslim civilian population during the former war, the Declaration and its author, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, former president of Bosnia, have been demonized and frequently blamed for the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. One might explain these accusations as viscous political propaganda brought on by war. However, as early as 1983, Izetbegovic and his writings were the target of a virulent campaign against Islam in Communist Yugoslavia. This campaign had its contemporary roots in the early 1970’s when Bosniaks were allowed for the first time to declare themselves as a national group, but its deeper roots may lie in what Serbian scholar Bogdan Denitch calls “the pathological suspicion and hatred of Muslim Slavs.”

Serbian propagandists (and other left-apologists) took out of context President Izetbegovic’s words from Islamic Declaration (Izetbegovic’s book criticising Islamic governments): “There can be no peace or co-existence between the Islamic Faith and non Islamic institutions”. Part II of the Declaration, “The Islamic Order,” explains how Muslim society should be reorganized based on Islamic principles. Parts of this section are often quoted out of context to prove that the Declaration advocates violence. It is crucial to note that Izetbegovic was speaking here of Islamic countries in which false modernist or conservative Islamic doctrines have been institutionalized in the political and social system. He was simply criticising Islamic governments and in many instances praised Western achievements. He was not speaking of Western countries or his native Bosnia-Herzegovina (Bosnia is not even mentioned in the book). A close reading of the Declaration reveals that Izetbegovic was advocating a cultural, not a political revolution, especially in countries (like Yugoslavia) where Muslims were a minority. As Noel Malcolm pointed out, Bosnia was not even mentioned in Izetbegovic’s book and he even praised Christian governments and Christian achievements in arts and science.

  1. Owen
    August 15, 2006 at 11:12 am

    If the videos you mention are atill available at the website of Republika Srpska Secretariat for relations with ICTY, have you thought of making a formal complaint to the Office of the High Representative?

    http://www.ohr.int/

  2. Anonymous
    August 15, 2006 at 9:42 pm

    How do I contact the writer of the srebrenica genocide blog? This is Fairview360 .

  3. Srebrenica Massacre
    August 16, 2006 at 4:00 pm

    Hi Fairview, I got your email, but will not make it public as requested. I will contact you shortly.

    Other readers: I updated this article with info from ICTY testimony. Please re-read it if you have time.

  4. Shaina
    August 17, 2006 at 6:14 am

    Owen,
    I did not watch them-but it looks as if the videos are still available on the RS-ICTY website.

    After looking at Srpska-Mrpska (I think I spelled that right) I think it would be really interesting and informative to do an analysis of the ultra-nationalist/denial websites.

  5. Srebrenica Massacre
    August 17, 2006 at 7:38 pm

    Hi Owen and Shaina,

    The article I wrote is just another small example of Milosevic government’s direct involvement in the Bosnian conflict. No wonder, International Crimes Tribunal ruled at least 5 times that the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina was in fact an international conflict between Serbia and Bosnia. As you could see, Milosevic’s government tortured Bosniak civilians into confessing crimes against the Serbs, and then used these forced video-confessions to ‘trick’ U.N. into thinking that all sides were equally guilty for the conflict. These types of video-clips have also been extensively used for propaganda purposes and – as I noted above – they can be easily found on the internet even 11 years after the conflict.

  6. Owen
    September 4, 2006 at 4:33 pm

    The system’s playing up – this is the third time I’ve sent this – please remove any unnecessary copies.

    Did Stevan Todorovic, the police chief at Bosanski Samac, convicted for war crimes, who has been reported as having been found dead with a gun beside him have any involvement with the camp at Bosanski Samac?

    Report:
    http://www.kuna.net.kw/Home/Story.aspx?Language=en&DSNO=901645

  7. Owen
    September 4, 2006 at 4:34 pm

    Did Stevan Todorovic, the police chief at Bosanski Samac, convicted for war crimes, who has been reported as having been found dead with a gun beside him have any involvement with the camp at Bosanski Samac?

    Report:
    http://www.kuna.net.kw/Home/Story.aspx?Language=en&DSNO=901645

  8. Anonymous
    May 13, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    It is upsetting that after all of these years, there is a notion that ‘all sides were equally guilty’ of war atrocities, just like you said. Im glad that there are people like yourself taking the time to put out truth and ‘demystify’ the real reason for the war’. Ja sam iz hrvatske i tesko je citat sto se dogodilo. Sretno.

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