Clandestine Video Recording

Parking a car with hidden cameras mounted in it was never a major production by any stretch; it was just… parking a car. If you could park a car, you could emplace a clandestine video recording device in Bosnia. Such was the scope of the task we had planned for a very early morning effort to get 24-hours of recorded gawk at the apartment of a man in Vlasenica, Republika Srpska (RS) who was wanted by the Hague for war crimes.

The scheme of maneuver was sterile: Kay-Kay and I planned to drive the car with the cameras installed and park it in a spot with a look angle conducive to watching the front door of our man’s apartment. We were to leave the car and walk a short route to the main road that led out of town. By the time we made our turn on that road, we were to be picked up by our support vehicle driven by our team lead — the Cantor.

The Cantor was having us rehearse the actions on the objective an annoying number of times with some toy cars and simple mockup of the target he had arranged on the floor: A cracker box was the apartment building. Strips of duct tape stuck to the floor represented the streets and were labeled accordingly, though Cantor had labeled them in English letters rather than Cyrillic ones — the road signs in the city were all in Cyrillic.

Cyrillic road signs in the RS (left column then right): Ključ, Drvar, Bihać, M. Grad, Banja Luka, Jajce.

The Worst Operator in Sarajevo

I had accepted and was comfortable with my own personal conclusion that I could have been the most God-awful worst operator to every slam šlivo in Sarajevo, and I probably was, but I would be doomed to be carried to success on my knowledge of that unreasonably difficult language, and the Cyrillic alphabet to boot. I’m put in mind of the three months I spent prior to my deployment at home and on my own time studying the language and listening to hours of tapes: