More on Greeks in Bosnia and Yugoslavia
/ nationalism / murderous /
I discovered this story in the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia" while looking around the web for more information on Greco-Serb collaboration in Bosnia. I found it through another Greek blog (touki8eblom), and it's a story that was reported in 2003 and then dies quickly and quietly. The gist of it is roughly the following (original story here)
While trying to bust the trafficking of illegal steroids network, that operated through the internet, the police found itself searching the house of a certain 36 year-old in Athens, for whom there was evidence that he was indeed involved in illegal sales..
Their search came up with something much more horrific: 80 photos of slaughtered Muslim civilians in Bosnia. Children, women and men, young and old... The atrocities were committed by an army that included Greek volunteers, who ready to do anything to help the Bosnian Serb paramilitaries.
The pictures include smiling photos of members of the paramilitaries that were active in the former Yugoslavia until 1997.
The man was charged with selling illegal drugs to bodybuilders (a bodybuilder himself), while a gun and small quantities of hashish were found among his possessions.
He claimed that he wasn't present during the executions, that he was simply a recipient of the photos - and seemed to be proud of it.
The man, hailing from Thrace in NE Greece, was recruited by a priest in his area who was a "recruiter" of Greek volunteers for the Serbian paramilitaries. Being "big", muscular and fanatically pro-Serb, he was an easy recruit.
Apparently, the man was recruited and fought for Arkan's Tigers in 1993. He took part in military operations in B-H as a member of the "Greek Volunteer Guard" based in Vlasenica. [Could he be one of the people mentioned in this excerpt from Takis Michas' book, (about which more later)?].
Apparently he served for some time as some sort of trainer for the troops of renegade Bosnian Muslim politician/warlord Fikret Abdic, and paraded with his volunteer regiment in Srebrenica after Mladic's "victory" over the Dutch peacekeepers. He then fell off for some unmentioned reason among the other volunteers and seems to have moved on to forge ties with the Greek and Serbian criminal gangs that were collaborating in smuggling oil to (embargoed) Serbia and cigarettes to everywhere - under the directions of a member of Arkan's gang, named in the newspaper as Aleksandar Kulupuvic, Culupuvic or something similar (?) who is apparently currently serving time in the Korydallos prison in Athens, and the Greek mob leader Themistokles Kalapotharakos, who was murdered in 2000. No direct evidence was found between the man arrested and the mobs and thus no charges were filed.
Bosnia was not end of his fighting career. The man claimed to have fought in 1996-997 as a mercenary in Laurent Kabila's army in Zaire, in the events that lead to the fall of Mobutu and the start of the murderous civil war.
This would make an interesting if rather disturbing movie. I wonder if the guy is among the fine young lads portrayed here (from this Domovina Srebrenica page)
The book to read about the Greek involvement in the Yugoslav wars is Takis Michas' "Unholy Alliance". The book is filled with gory and ugly details about the Greek involvement, yet despite everything positive about the book, I find something, somehow, disturbingly partisan about the way the facts (which Michas does a good job of reporting) are fitted into a sort of theory about Greek society - which is predictable since Michas is a highly partisan neoliberal proponent as I have mentioned here before. This excellent review by Peter Pappas in Greekworks summarizes both the books strengths and some of its weaknesses (with which I concur enthusiastically - apart from the rather sympathetic view of the Simitis administration that the author seems to harbour and which could be explained by his absence from Greece during the corruptionfest that was Simitis government, perhaps?)...