Bruce Sterling on 2 Nov 2000 05:36:27 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Jasmina Tesanovic

News from Jasmina Tesanovic, mermaids@EUnet.yu
(((Belgrade war diarist, co-editor of THE SUITCASE:

(((first some useful background info from RFE/RL)))

EDITOR'S MURDER. The Belgrade-based Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) on 31
October accused the Serbian state security service of last year's murder of
Slavko Curuvija, the owner and editor in chief of the daily "Dnevni
Telegraf," Reuters reported. The HLC said it received a document from the
state security service revealing that undercover surveillance of Curuvija
was being organized by Belgrade state security chief Milan Radonjic. The
report, the HLC said, stated that the undercover agents "were withdrawn a
few minutes before Curuvija was gunned down by three men." The HLC has filed
a criminal complaint against the Serbian and Belgrade state security heads.
"Dnevni Telegraf" was banned in 1998 by the government "for spreading fear,
panic, and defeatism," but it re-registered itself in Montenegro. PB

   Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2000 22:11:47 +0000
   From:  "Jasmina Tesanovic" <mermaids@EUnet.yu>

October 31,2000

My dear Nuha, here is urgent situation at my home.
The press is here because they just  found out a secret police document
according to which we are all in it, my family, me, my home, connected to my
husband who was the last witness of the shot journalist  in Belgrade, April
99, and my husband was followed...

Now he is the only eye witness (besides the dead man's wife) as well as the
one who can guarantee the authenticity of the document, thus the order of
the murder by the secret police of Milosevic (my husband was the editor in
chief of the main opposition weekly). And the chief of the police is still
unwilling to resign: if he doesn't  do it today, on the contrary the new
government of the opposition will resign. I am shivering.

I just met few days ago the widow of the killed journalist in Turin, she is
a historian and she was holding hands with him and hit on the back of her
head whilst he was shot in front of their home... I am not afraid for our
lives, I wasn't even that 11 April, 99, in the middle
of the bombings when the execution of the journalist happened, my instinct
to stay alive is worn out...

I must be more an idiot than I thought I was. My husband was warning me all
the time but I having no high opinion of my doing or of the police criminal
deeds never could put the picture together. You see it seems to me, that in
all this my father's  so called friend was involved in some way, do you
remember that guy I mention here and there as somebody who comes to his
place, and threatens him, because of what my husband and I do and write...

I never knew what his job really was until this moment: secret police, not
exactly James Bond but not far from that image; good looking, from a rich
family, well educated, very eloquent, tender and caring, he was like a
second father to me and obviously my hit man  too.

I guess our lives here are more those of actors than of writers: people
should write about us not us about us, since we miss the obvious. I feel so
confused and flat that I can hardly think: I do not even want to write about
this, anyway it is my husband's story , I am an inbuilt element, the idiot
who didn't choose her parents, least her parent's friends...

I want to talk to my father and see how far was his life threatened, how
much did he have to keep for himself, I guess my mother knew all that too,
and that is why she was so anxious the last days of her life. She was
rambling, half conscious, I remember saying to me, be careful, do not go to
Germany, they are following you, they are watching you...

The poor thing couldn't control her flow of secrets and I was never too
attentive to her stories. I always thought them paranoid and old fashioned
as all the communist stories were.  Unfortunately the world we lived in
until a few days ago was their script and we just the scapegoats... idiots
or scapegoats. My husband is writing his story, it is his story and he
always had a feeling if not knowledge of what was really going on...

Me? I was the vessel of death to him. The deadline for the chief of the
secret police to resign is tonight, if he doesn't maybe we should move, our
address is in the papers, our names...even my daughter's. And we all have
different names and surnames, thanks to my feminist attitude, so we sound
more as a baader meinhof terrorist group than a true family...Love j

Dear Nuha
Novem. 1st, 2000
I translated the official document into English and sent it all  around the
world: public word is our best if not only protection. Our names are in all
papers, and the name of the chief of the police is still out there.  Some
say he will resign some he won't, but the opposition coalition has stepped
down from the government until he makes  a firm statement.

I am afraid that his fall will bring other bigger falls together with
responsibilities. The wife of the killed journalist, my new friend by
destiny phoned us saying that we should be careful, it is her duty to warn
us and that she will ask for police eye witness protection. She is  pressing
charges against the secret police. I am telling my daughter everything, her
name is in the papers too and she is just a teenaged kid whom I taught to
believe in her country and her police and that the criminal regime she grew
up in was a temporary disaster. I am following news hour by hour, to see
what moves have been made: it seems that the old regime might fall for good
on such a clear case, on the contrary we may consider ourselves not only
losers but also new targets.

The phone is not even ringing: all we do or know is out there, a friend of
mine phoned me for a feminist interview, saying, of course I know where you
live, it is in all papers... I am only sorry that my gypsy neighbor Mica
didn't enter the report that day with one of her political /love shows on
the ground...  She could have been a very trusty witness too, as she already
is, of the life we are living all these  years, yours J

PS I just heard that Flora Brovina will be out today, the Albanian poet,
feminist whom we women published and tried to support in simple ways, as
bringing books and food to the prison, since nobody could do anything more:
when you put an innocent person in a prison and you know it, nobody can set
her free, and we knew it too

The following section of this message contains a file attachment.


Today a document of the Serbian secret police appeared in public for the
first time. It is titled: "Report on the surveillance of a target" and dated
April 11, 1999. The aim of this surveillance was to establish the identity
of the target's contacts and to document them. The "target" was Slavko
Curuvija, the owner and the editor in chief of the daily tabloid with the
biggest circulation in Yugoslavia, Daily telegraph and the weekly European.

One of the contacts described in this document is me. On that same day,
masked killers murdered Slavko Curuvija with bullets in his back and head in
front of his apartment. The killers were never identified and it seems that
the police didn't care too much to find them.

The full document reads as follows:

Center of the Department of the Police State Security   Belgrade
IX   Department
11. April 1999

Report on surveillance of a target
Work in Progress title "The Turkey"

(Note: This is word play with the word Curuvija - the surname of the
assassinated journalist - by associating it with the Serbian word, "Curan,"
or "Turkey")

Secret surveillance performed on the territory of the city of Belgrade
following the orders of the chief of the state security police, Belgrade


The aim of this order is to establish the identity of contacts made with the
target of the surveillance (Slavko Curuvija) and document these contacts.
The order was put into effect on April 11th, 1999.

Following this order, the following facts have been established:

Surveillance in front of the target's house was established at 00:00
(midnight). At 13:53,  the target of the surveillance exits the house with
his wife. They walk to Knez Mihailova street, where they meet  an elderly
man and a woman in front of the restaurant "The Russian King."

They talk for a few minutes when a man with a beard comes  up to them and
talks to the target. The description of the man with the beard: aged 45-50,
a bald forehead and top of his head, medium sized, tall about 180 cm, with a
beard, wearing glasses for eyesight.

After 15 minutes of conversation, the elderly man and woman leave,  walking
in the direction of the Albania palace, but the man described above remains
with the target. They talk for another few minutes, after which the man with
the beard gives the object a small piece of paper (dimensions A6) and they

The described man goes to the Albania palace where he meets other two men
with beards. They talk for about 20 minutes, after which they go together to
the restaurant Kolarac in the Knez Mihailova street and  they all enter it

After parting with the described man, the target and his wife go to the
Kalemegdan park where they pass their time walking.

At 15:53, the target and his wife go out of the Kalemegdan park and  they go
to the restaurant Kolarac in the Knez Mihailova street which they enter at

While passing the restaurant, we notice the target and his wife stand next
to the table of the previously described man and the other two men with

At 16:07, the described man and the men with the beards go out of the
restaurant and they part. The two men with the beard leave in the direction
of the Kalemegdan park, and the described man goes to Molerova street,
where he enters number 48. He climbs to the second floor, takes  his keys
out of his pocket, unlocks the door of the flat number 9 and enters the
flat. At the front door there is a name: Tesanovic Jasmina.

The list of the inhabitants of the flat number 9 includes: Tesanovic
Jasmina, Livada Ksenija and Velickovic Dusan.  On the mail box is written:
Tesanovic, Livada, Velickovic and "Publisher 94."

After the man from the restaurant leaves, the target has lunch with his
wife. There is nobody else at their table.

At 16:27 the object leaves the restaurant with his wife where we drop the
further control in agreement with the chief of the department.

The team is establishing further surveillance in 48 Molerova Street  in
agreement with the chief of the department, waiting for the described man to
come out.

At 16:58 we interrupt the further surveillance in agreement with the chief
of the department.

1) The target didn't show visible signs of caution
2) Every change of the direction of movement of the target was immediately
signaled to the chief in charge.
3) The described man is video documented.

Typed in 2 copies:
Given in to:
1 copy to the chief of the state security department.


In this terribly precise police report, I am the man with the beard, aged
45-50. My encounter with Slavko Curuvija that day is also described in my
book, Amor Mundi, but now I see that i have left out some details. I forgot,
for example, the piece of paper in the format A6. It was a business card
that I gave to Slavko after we agreed to meet sometime in the next few days.

I also didn't mention the men with the beards with whom I sat in the Kolarac
restaurant. They were my collegues from the weekly Vreme. The policeman
didn't miss a thing; he wrote a story that Chekhov might have appreciated.
Everything is present: a good plot, subtle characters, and efficient
development of the story through time and space. The only thing that is
missing is the description of the murder itself.  But one can argue that the
murder, as it is in some good dramas, is more effective as a horrible

The journalist from the daily Dana ("Today") who was the first one to show
me the document, asks me to comment on it. I would prefer to make a joke
about it, if it wasn't the story of the cold blooded execution of the
"target" who was a colleague and a friend; a story with a working title of
"The Turkey." Actually, this was my only possible comment: We lived for
years in a state prison in which we were all "targets" who could be tailed
in secrecy and "documented" or executed.

Later my wife and I still try to make light of it. She says: "Now I know
whom I should ask where you are when you are not at home." And further: "It
is a good thing that there are no blondes in the report." Still, we are
aware that our sense of humor is an ineffectual self-therapy. When a
policeman Chekhov puts you in his morbid story, you have no way out but to
believe Benjamin's claim that reality does not exist if it is not framed by

Now we know what reality looked like. The only open question is: Is our
Chekhov still writing?

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