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Myth about the crown witness and the central evidence

Written 02.12.2009. 15:12
Figure 1.Tudjman himself gave away (in a bibulous mood) his expansionist/annexationist master-plan with regard to Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Guildhall banquet, 6th May 1995, when British liberal-social democratic politician Paddy Ashdown succeeded in talking him into an astonishing act of self-disclosure: he (Tudjman) has drawn possible future boundaries on a napkin Ashdown cautiously preserved (presumed similarity with Monica Lewinsky's sperm-soaked blouse is purely coincidental), in order to expose Tudjman's partitionist appetites.


Tudjman's (better, Ashdown's) napkin will probably remain recorded in the annals of European and World history as one of the most bizarre and Kafkan episodes of the late 20th century political monkey-mongering. So far this piece of grotesquerie has not had such ominous consequences (except for Tihomir Blaskic, Croat general from the central Bosnia, when this specimen of politico-pornographic frame-up has "secured" him 45 years in the Hague dungeon) as did such paranoid forgeries like "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" or mega Serb expansionist blueprint, "Nachertanie" ( one can read these Serbian strategies at
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As the story goes, Tudjman has, according to the British wannabe political "star", MP Paddy Ashdown, in a relaxed and intimate atmosphere, drawn future Bosnia and Herzegovina boundaries. Essentially, this croquis divides Bosnian territory in two separate zones: Croatian (which would consist of circa 2/3 of B&H, with Muslim autonomous region under Croatian supervision included), and Serbian (only 1/3 of Bosnia and Herzegovina, consisting of the city of Tuzla, the Drina river basin and Croatian part of Bosnian Posavina). A few dubieties naturally pop up:

-if Tudjman's fixation remained a slightly modified Croatian Banovina from 1939.-then what to do with this territorial monster appearing out of the blue ? Bosnian Posavina is elegantly brushed off, and Croatia, parenthetically, devours the entire Bosnian Muslim ethnic corpus. The two geopolitical aims, Banovina (less than 1/3 of B&H, with almost exclusively Croatian population) and the "napkin Croatia" ( more than 2/3 of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with Bosnian Muslims outnumbering Bosnian Croats in ratio surpassing 2.5/1, completely annexed into a hypothetical greater Croatia) are irreconcilable.

- why on earth would Tudjman, by then the decisive player in war and peace games in Bosnia and Herzegovina, share his most intimate stratagems (which have, up to now, remained completely unknown to his former closest associates-turned-political-adversaries (Hrvoje Sarinic, Stjepan Mesic), at least in this "napkin contours form") with an obscure British MP, dribbling with insatiable desire for public self-advertisement ? Ashdown, virtually a non-entity on ex-Yugoslavia political map, is, we are supposed to believe, a charismatic seducer able to overpower old Machiavel Tudjman's suspicion and to rob him of his most guarded geopolitical secrets. Moreover - Tudjman, in the act of unprecedented naivety, signs his compromising diabolical plan! As for Ashdown- this typical political Cagliostro was playing exactly the same game as many other fame-hungry exhibitionists, battening on the West's guilty conscience with regard to the idealized projection of Bosnia martyrdom.

- it has been established by graphological analysis that Ashdown's napkin is a rather clumsy forgery. For instance, no Croat politician (especially a "nationalist" like Tudjman) would write the noun "Krajina" without quotation marks, which underscore artificiality and ultimate doom of the Serbian parastate on Croatian soil. More, Tudjman's handwriting doesn't match that found on the napkin.

- strategically, "Ashdown's napkin" presents a geopolitical doctrine that runs contrary to everything Tudjman stood for his whole life as a politician: demarcation with Serbs and cooperation with Bosnian Muslims, but *not* the creation of a bi-national Croatia, which would inevitably come into existence with absorption of more than 2 million Muslims (in fact, the latter scenario might be characterized as the ultimate strategist's nightmare.) Tudjman was frequently publicly defamed for his imagined obsession with "ethnically pure" Croatia. Now, the same slanderers put up another, oxymoronic charge: the supposed "ethnic purist" was in fact extreme "ethnic pollutant", all-too-willing to nationally contaminate Croatia with the indigestible portion of Bosnian Muslims, significantly outnumbering the original Serbian population in Croatia. Also, the Islamophobe Tudjman (so they aver) yearned to incorporate as much Muslims as possible into an essentially Western Catholic/secular state, in order to solidify the basis of Croat nation state and make it eligible to the European Union membership (forget about Turkey's unpleasant experiences re this matter.)

-the fact Croatophobes are very willing to overlook is a self-evident one: even if Tudjman had harboured such sinister predatory ambitions (let's suppose this, for the sake of argument)- it is absolutely preposterous to assume that he could have realized this "shipment of men and goods" as he had whimsically decided. Such a "population transfer" (Serbs from Banja Luka to Tuzla, Muslims from Tuzla to Banja Luka) is impossible for the only remaining superpower to accomplish, let alone for a tiny, war-exhausted Croatia. The underlying assumption of "Tudjman lord of the ethnic migrations" fantasy is that he was able to toss millions of people to and fro, without slightest respect for wishes and plans of political and military leadership of Muslims and Serbs, or international community, UN, USA or EU. Welcome to the wonderland!

But, the napkin story has had more sinister repercussions: Lord "Paddy" Ashdown has testified in the general Blaskic Hague trial as a witness for persecution (sorry, a Freudian slip- prosecution). His testimony was among crucial ones that led to the judiciary conclusion that Croatia was "aggressor on Bosnia and Herzegovina".

Simple logical analysis of this part of the verdict shows its untenability: it stands on Ashdown's (and two other problematic “protected” witnesses's) testimony. What kind of international military conflict, i.e. "aggression" is, if, of the entire world, only two-three people know about it ?

a) Military conflict between Bosnian Croats and Muslims ended by the Washington agreement signatures March 18th 1994, according to which both parties had agreed to form a joint Federation that will in near future have entered the confederal communion with Croatia. A rather bizarre conclusion, considering the purported "aggressive" nature of Croatia's role in this conflict.

b) Paddy Ashdown has testified on the map president Tudjman had supposedly drawn (on the napkin) during May 6th 1995. So, some 14 months after the cessation of Croat-Muslim hostilities, Tudjman draws a map showing his opinion how the boundaries will have looked in 10 years.

c) this napkin becomes the crown evidence for the "international character of the Croat-Muslim conflict" verdict. The map on the napkin was drawn 14 months after the end of the Muslim-Croat war, and more than 2 years after its beginning.

To pose such claims certainly is blatantly to beg the question.

1. How on earth has Lord Ashdown during 20some minutes conversation discovered a secret no one except him has succeeded in "extracting" from Tudjman ?

2. How can a projection about the state of the region in 2005 become *the* argument on the nature of 1993/94 military conflict ?

3. What kind of "international conflict", involving 2 countries, could it be considering the fact that no one knows about it except 2 "protected witnesses", but even they cannot testify in public for reason of their safety ?

President Tudjman has on many occasions (interviews to the French TV FR-2 August 19th 1995, to the Turkish TV August 29th 1995, to the Israeli TV September 4th 1995,...) explained what the "napkin story" was all about :.." NATO (and EU authorities in Bruxelles) has made known, during 1993, a map on possible future influence spheres in East Europe, drawing a boundary between "East" and "West". Various projections of these East-West spheres of influence were published in the strategic atlas "Complexe", authored by Chaliand and Rageau. In all maps imagined East-West boundaries virtually “partition” B&H "

Full reference is: Gerard Chaliand, Jean-Pierre Rageau "Atlas Strategique. Geopolitique des nouveaux rapports de forces dans le monde.", Editions Complexe, 1994, pg. 219, ISBN 2-87027-528-5. Both authors are well known political scientists with academic credibility (visiting professor at UCLA Berkeley and Harvard (Chaliand), and the specialist for Eastern Europe and contemporary history (Rageau)).

Considering the map from their "Atlas" (Figure 1.), one can easily see that the “napkin borders” are exactly the same as those presented in the Chailiand-Rageau strategic study:

Figure 1.

So, the conclusion would be:

a) Tudjman's explanation of the source and motivation for "napkin map" is credible

b) Ashdown has (probably purposely) misattributed the map to the supposedly predatory future Tudjman's intentions

c) everything else is nothing but political fabrication

- as all spicy stories have salacious endings, this one is no exception: British MP Paddy Ashdown has, in the year 2000., published his diary where he shamelessly and explicitly retells the story about "Tudjman's napkin". Not to bother a potential reader with unnecessary details, a few "confessions" deserve to be mentioned:

a) Ashdown professes his antipathy towards Tudjman and proudly displays his ignorance by assigning Tudjman a quisling-like role in WW2 (in fact, Tudjman was the only living statesman dining in the Guildhall with active anti-fascist fighter record).

b) Ashdown then proceeds to describe how he managed to get Tudjman drunk. Another misfire, since Tudjman was known for his temperance/abstinence and no one, in any circumstance, has ever seen him even slightly intoxicated.

c) at the end: Ashdown confesses that he had written all the names of the regions and places. When asked about his opinion on future boundaries between Croatia and Serbia, Tudjman draw a curved line on the napkin (speedily provided by Ashdown) with no further remarks. Ashdown himself later added all the names and immediately trumpeted and blown up the whole "affair", with the sole intent to escape from anonymity and catapult himself into the orbit of global media fame. And, lo and behold! - he succeeded. Lord “Paddy” Ashdown is current (2002-*) Bosnia and Herzegovina’s “High Representative”, i.e. colonial governor. Archetypal post-modern politician, no doubt.

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