At the age of 24, Norac, like many young men of his age went to war, putting his heart and soul into the defense of the homeland, where the situation was the most difficult: in Gospic, which, according to Greater-Serbian plans, was destined to endure the same fate as Vukovar, which was receiving 1000 shells on a daily basis. He emerged from the war as a true hero, a general.
Today they hunt him, like a thief, in the very country he liberated. For all the mumbo-jumbo about the individualization of guilt and crime, we can almost physically feel the shame and slander cast upon the whole Homeland War, the nation, the generals, the youth of Croatia. Besides, that was the goal from the start.
Norac will be put under arrest, then delivered to The Hague, if this has not been done already, where he will meet the same fate as Tihomir Blaskic. Just as parallels were drawn between Milosevic and Tudjman, comparisons are now being made between Mladic and Norac, but in the latter case the arm of (in)justice was quicker and more effective.
Prime Minister Ivica Racan now says: this is not our business, this is a matter for the judiciary, and we do not want to interfere. What cynicism, what cheap lies, what demagogy, which was possible only at the time when it was impossible to ask superfluous questions [under Communism]. Everything was carefully planned out, and yet it is so obvious. The regime-controlled media have for months been portraying the war as a chronicle of nothing but crimes, deceived people, war profiteers and bogus invalids.
The arrest of Tihomir Oreskovic was preceded by the murder of Milan Levar, and the arrest warrant for Mirko Norac was preceded by the blowing up of the partisans' monument in Zagreb's Mirogoj cemetery. A mere coincidence? Of course not. Just as the Ogulin barracks explosion and sending of the generals into retirement could not have happened by chance. It is easier to prosecute them if they are not in active service.
Once again, the old strategist of psychological war, coming from the school of the Yugoslav secret service, Josip Manolic, nicknamed Joza [as Tito], has made himself heard, stating explicitly that the partisans' monument was blown up by the same persons that mined the synagogue, the Orthodox church, the embassy. All this was done by one brigadier, claimed Manolic; he did not name him, but the important thing is that he is a Croatian Army brigadier, which is irresistibly reminiscent of a report in the Belgrade daily 'Politika' alleging that a Serbian woman was raped by an unidentified person of Albanian nationality. Manolic seems to have suddenly forgotten that the perpetrators of the cited crimes were identified and convicted as provocateurs from the so-called Labrador group.
A president has labeled a newspaper as fascist, threatening that it would disappear without trace. It is not hard to guess to which newspaper and which president I am referring. The line of reasoning is the same, again, and all that the newspaper in question writes, including this commentary, should be simply denounced as fascist, and the matter is settled.
Is it? The ruling elite will have to explain to veterans why they are prosecuting their general. And they will have to explain to the people why they are hounding their liberator like a beast.
The we-have-no-influence-over-the-work-of-the-judiciary answer will not do the trick. They know that they are doing something dishonourable and under the orders, and that is why they are afraid of possible reactions from the people, even from the army. And for this reason they have filled the military-intelligence and other secret services with the well-trained cadres from the notorious Yugoslav secret services such as Udba and Kos. No wonder, given the fact that the President himself has gathered such people in his office, and he himself is cut from the same mold.
The picture of the last meeting between Prime Minister Racan and chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte is coming back into my mind - their show before journalists and cameras after they had struck a deal. We were right about what and how they had agreed on. That was written all over their faces.
A political deal had been clinched: we leave you Stipetic, you give us Norac, Gotovina. This is why the grey-haired lady was so self-confident, satisfied and overbearing, and our Ivica confused like a schoolboy who unintentionally spotted his class teacher's knee suddenly laid bare.
Salome asked for the head of John the Baptist and Herod delivered it. At the time, having provided a political framework for the whole case, Judas was sunbathing on the island of Hvar. And the whole political leadership continues to wash their hands like Pilate: take him away and try him - failing to realize that we are all on trial, in fact. Can the ruling coalition survive this?