Compiled by 4International writers: Nathan Pearlstein, Joshua Rosenberg, Max Rosenthal & Shlomo Baum
The late Croatian pro-Ustashe Nazi and Hitler-loving, Holocaust-denying antisemitic president, Franjo Tudjman, wrote in his 1988 Croatian version of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, entitled: “Wastelands of Historical Truth”(aka “Wastelands of Historical Reality”) the following:
“The establishment of Hitler’s New Order could be justified by the need to be rid of the Jews, as well as to correct the French-British sin of the (post WW1) Versailles setup” and… “Genocidal violence is a natural phenomenon in harmony with the societal and mythologically Divine nature. Genocide is not only permitted it is also recommended, even commanded by the Word of the Almighty, whenever it is useful for the survival or the restoration of the earthly kingdom of the chosen nation, or for the preservation and spreading of its one and only correct faith”.
The prestigious US-based publication “Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy” in its January 1993 edition, wrote the following:
Tudjman, at the first convention of the Croatian Democratic Union (Hrvatska Demokratska Zajednica: HDZ), on February 26, 1990, said, in the presence of more than 100 Ustashi war criminals who had escaped the law courts and fled to international havens after World War II: “The Independent State of Croatia [ie: the World War II Croatian Ustashe Nazi state] was not only a mere Quisling creation, but also an expression of the historical aspirations of the Croatian people for an independent state of their own and recognition of international factors–the Government of Hitler’s Germany in this case.”
Tudjman delivered a speech to the Croatian Sabor (parliament) on the occasion of the proclamation of the Republic of Croatia on December 22, 1990. In the Constitution he proposed, and which was adopted, the Serbs lost their nation status within Croatia, and were relegated to the status of a national minority. The official war against the Serbs had been resumed.
Even before Croatia became independent, the Croatian Minister of Internal Affairs, Martin Spegelj, advised his colleagues: “We are in the war with [ie: against] the Army [Yugoslav Army:JNA] Should anything happen, kill them all in the streets, in their homes, through hand grenades, fire pistols into their bellies, women, children …We will deal with [the Croatian Serb Krajina town of] Knin by butchering.”
And here is proof that Martin Spegelj’s verbal threats against the Serbs were not merely bluster or sabre rattling. [photos courtesy of Julia Gorin’s blog http://www.juliagorin.com/wordpress/?p=1527]
Zoran Pavlovic and his sister Zorica were killed along with their entire family on November 19, 1991, by retreating Croatian forces. A view of Zorica reveals how really brutally she was murdered. Her skull was also crushed. (Photos by Goran Mikic, Reuters)
This photograph shows a Serbian victim of Franjo Tudjman’s neo-Ustashe Nazi troops. The victim’s name was Zoran Pavlovic and he was axed to death by modern-day Croatian “skull crushers”, killed on November 19, 1991, at 74 Nikole Demonje Street, Vukovar, Croatia. He was positively identified by surviving relatives. These revisited Holocaust crimes against the Serbs were discounted by the Western corporate controlled media as “Serb paranoia”, however these photographs clearly reveal the demonic nature of such Croatian Ustashe Nazi war crimes.
The above photo shows Serbian victims, Radosav Pavic and Velimir Trajkovic (both wearing red). The other victims are Zorica Pavlovic, her brother Zoran, mother Nada and Milojka Pavlovic. As Croatian forces withdrew from Vukovar on 15 and 16 November 1991, they dragged Serbian civilians from the cellars where they were hiding, and massacred them. These Serbs were axed to death in a courtyard, after being dragged from the cellar at 74 Nikola Demonja Street in Borovo-naselje, near Vukovar. All axed to death by Croatian Ustashe “skullcrushers”, sending a clear message to the Serbs that the Ustashe beast was not dead.
Marko Attila Hoare, the British pro-Imperialist, pro-NATO, “Left” phony, pro-IslamoFascist Izetbegovic supporter, revisionist Balkans “historian” at Cambridge, apologist for neo-Ustashe Nazis Franjo Tudjman and Stipe Mesic, handsomely paid ex-NATO employee of the Hague ICTY Kangaroo Court and fellow traveller of yet another pro-NATO, pro-Imperialist, pro-IslamoFascist Izetbegovic supporter and ”Left” phony going by the name of Oliver Kamm is part of the circle in Great Britain attempting to whitewash and cover-up this monumental Western-sponsored crime against humanity.
Marko Attila Hoare has publicly gone on record as endorsing and justifying Tudjman’s brutal neo-Ustashe mass murder and ethnic cleansing operation of 250,000 to 300,000 Krajina Serbs on August 4, 1995 – dubbed “Operation Storm” – as being “morally justified” for Tudjman’s Croatia to have committed!! Attila Hoare even has an Orwellian “Newspeak” type of article on his blog entitled “How Croatia and the US Prevented Genocide with Operation Storm”!! Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, would probably blush at such a brazen “Big Lie” type of title!!
Of course, Hoare will protest that he (supposedly) condemns Tudjman’s horrendous genocidal atrocities against the Krajina Serbs by telling you that:
“I am proud to say that I have worked for an organization that has been bringing the Croat war-criminals involved to justice – the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. I entirely support the ICTY’s prosecution of Ante Gotovina and other Croats for war-crimes against Serbs during Operation Storm”.
But of course, Hoare is being disingenuous as usual. Why? Because – apart from the indisputable fact that the Hague ICTY Kangaroo Court is owned and run by the US and NATO governments (as they themselves have admitted) – in the very same post on the pro-Izetbegovic, pro-Tudjman, anti-Serbian, phony “Leftist” British website known as “Harry’s Place”, Hoare qualifies his statement by writing:
“For the record, I entirely supported Croatia’s right to liberate its occupied territories from the Serb occupying forces… I’ll go further: Croatia was legally and morally obliged to launch Operation Storm…”
Hoare – whilst deliberately downplaying and minimizing the enormity of the genocidal atrocities perpetrated by neo-Ustasha Croatian leader Franjo Tudjman against the Krajina Serbs during “Operation Storm” – by lying through his teeth about the number of Krajina Serbs murdered – wrote this recently on his own blog publicly justifying and endorsing “Operation Storm”:
“…for despite all the crimes against Serb civilians that accompanied Operation Storm, the fact remains that it was an entirely necessary, legitimate military action that should rightly be celebrated.”
A neo-Ustashe Nazi mass murder and ethnic cleansing campaign against 250,000 to 300,000 innocent civilians – the likes of which had not been seen in Europe since World War 2, should – according to Hoare’s twisted view of morality – “rightly be celebrated”?!!
For publicly endorsing and justifying Tudjman’s brutal neo-Ustasha genocide and ethnic cleansing of almost the entire population of Krajina Serbs from 1991 to 1995 – documented even by Hoare’s favorites over at the UN and EU- Hoare will forever stand condemned in the annals of history as an apologist for Croatian Ustashe Nazi war crimes and genocide.
Hoare, even to this day still maintains the Tudjman neo-Ustashe Nazi line that the 250,000 to 300,000 Krajina Serbs during “Operation Storm” were not brutally expelled or fleeing for their lives in the face of Tudjman’s Croatian Ustashe Nazi terror, but Hoare insinuates that they all voluntarily left Krajina en masse, at the instructions of Belgrade.
In support of this utterly ludicrous and totally untenable Tudjman neo-Ustashe Nazi line, absolving Tudjman and his HDZ government for any responsibility of the ethnic cleansing of between 250,000 to 300,000 people, Hoare misrepresents and twists the meaning of the words of a Krajina Serbian army officer who laments that an order was given to militarily retreat from Krajina – which obviously necessitated the evacuation of the civilian population out of harm’s way – when it was clear that Milosevic would not send in the powerful Yugoslav Army to assist the Krajina Serbs.
This happened after Milosevic was threatened by then US ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith, that the US and NATO would immediately begin a massive bombing campaign against Serbia if Milosevic intervened in order to save the Krajina Serbs from military defeat. Since the Krajina Serbian army could not possibly leave the Serbian civilians at the mercy of Tudjman’s genocidal neo-Ustashe troops, then of course the population had to be evacuated!To suggest that the Krajina Serbian leadership should have done otherwise would of course be absurd, and Hoare knows it.
This order to militarily retreat in the face of overwhelming US and Croatian military firepower co-ordinated from both the ground and the air against Krajina Serbian army positions, is absolutely not the same thing as 250,000 to 300,000 civilian Krajina Serbs fleeing for their lives in the face of the onslaught of Tudjman’s genocidal Croatian neo-Ustashe Nazi army!!
If the Serbian civilian population of Krajina had not fled for their lives they would have been murdered by Tudjman’s neo-Ustashe Nazi troops. Hoare definitely knows this to be true, which is why he also writes the following in order to escape his own logical absurdity created by his morally reprehensible defense of – and apologia for -Tudjman’s murderous “Operation Storm”:
“This does not mean that Croatia was innocent in the exodus of the Krajina Serb population. According to the Hague indictments of Gotovina and of Mladen Markac and Ivan Cermak the Croatian Army killed and terrorised Serb civilians and burned and plundered Serb homes and property, while Croatian broadcasts encouraged the Serb civilian population to leave. These are, of course, the charges of the Prosecution; it remains to be seen whether the Tribunal will convict the indictees. Nevertheless, Croatia undoubtedly encouraged the Serb exodus by brutal means. Had there been no evacuation by the Krajina Serb authorities, the death-toll would undoubtedly have been greater.”
Tudjman’s onslaught of terror against the Krajina Serbian civilian population – a monumental Nazi style of crime against humanity – has been amply documented even by Hoare’s favorites over at the UN and EU – but hardly ever publicized by the Western corporate- controlled media.
Hoare also disingenuously refers to the Krajina province as “Serb-occupied territories” as if the Serbs who had lived there for over 500 years since the late 15th Century – in Hoare’s warped revisionist view of history – somehow “occupied” and “invaded” Croatian territory. Hoare, of course, is either grossly misinformed on Balkans history – or – is outright lying. We at 4International favor the latter explanation since Hoare could not possibly be that stupid and ignorant of history.
The Krajina province historically never belonged to Croatia, having been established by Austria-Hungary as the “Vojna Krajina” (“Military Frontier”) in the 16th Century against the invading Ottoman Turkish Empire, where all male Krajina Serbs between the ages of 18 and 60 were required to do military service and defend the military frontier against the invading Turks whenever they were called to do so by the Austro-Hungarian authorities.
The above map of Krajina appears in the book “Yugoslavia – A Country Study” issued by U.S. Government Printing Office, Headquarters – Department of the Army, Edition 1992, page 14.
Notice the size of “Croatia” vs. “Military Frontier Province” (i.e. Krajina). Also notice that “Slavonia” and “Dalmatia” are different & separate entities than Croatia.
In case you can not read the text associated with the above map here it is:
SOURCE: Based on information from United Kingdom, Admiralty, Naval Intelligence Division, Yugoslavia, 2: History, Peoples, and Administration, London, 1944, 20.
Figure 2. Military Frontier Province Between the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires, ca. 1600-1800.
German map of United Nations Protected Area [UNPA] of Republic of Serbian Krajina [RSK] in 1994.
But such obfuscation and twisting of the facts by Marko Attila Hoare in his apologia for – and defense of – Tudjman’s genocide against the Krajina Serbs is so very typical of what we have come to expect of Hoare with his similar apologia for – and whitewashing of – Bosnian Islamofascist Alija Izetbegovic’s genocide of 3,870 Serb civilians in Srebrenica and Gorazde beginning as early as April 1992, perpetrated mainly by Izetbegovic’s Islamofascist commander, Naser Oric, whom openly bragged about his genocidal crimes against the Srebrenica Serbs to US and Canadian reporters from the Washington Post and Toronto Star.
Once you understand the shocking and ugly truth that Western governments in NATO, the EU and US- led by traitorous Imperialist Globalist Capitalist politicians – who covertly aided and abetted this monstrous Nazi genocide by Tudjman in Krajina and the equally monstrous Islamofascist genocide committed by Izetbegovic in Bosnia against the Christian Orthodox Serbs – you will begin to understand why these very same Western politicians are working very hard behind the scenes in covertly supporting the Islamofascist terrorists of Iran, PLO-Fatah, Hamas and Hezbollah in order to destroy Israel and the Israeli Jews.
Remember this crucial fact: it is now amply documented that Western leaders in the EU, NATO and the US governments covertly aided the Islamofascist Izetbegovic in direct co-operation with the Islamofascist mullahs of Iran to import thousands of tonnes of weapons and tens of thousands of al Qaeda cut-throat Jihadist Islamofascist killers into Bosnia as early as the beginning of 1992 in order to crush the Serbs.
These very same al Qaeda Jihadist terrorist killers who trained and fought in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo against the Serbs went later on to perpetrate the appalling terrorist attacks against Western civilians in New York, Washington, London and Madrid.The US, NATO and EU governments were funding, arming and training these Islamofascist killers for an entire decade in direct co-ordination with Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan!!
It is also amply documented that in the early 1990′s, Germany under Chancellor Helmut Kohl and later under Gerhard Schroeder, along with the US government under Bill Clinton, armed, trained and funded Tudjman’s neo-Ustashe Nazi army as well as the Islamist Nazi terrorist mafia gangsters called the KLA-UCK [“Kosovo Liberation Army”] to go on their genocidal mass murder and ethnic cleansing sprees against hundreds of thousands of civilian Serbs in Krajina, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.
Once you understand and accept these amply documented facts of history, you will begin to understand why Israel and the Jewish people are in such grave, mortal danger from US, NATO and EU Globalist Capitalist Imperialist politicians running these Western countries and military alliances designed first and foremost not to “protect human rights and Western values” as Western politicians so hypocritically and incessantly declare to the dumbed-down Western consumerist masses, but in reality to enable the spread and total domination of Western Global Capital throughout the world.
This article should be read after reading Part 1, which is located at the following link:
May 5, 1995: Serbian civilian killed by Tudjman’s Croat army forces in an unprovoked and pre-planned attack on the so-called “United Nations Protected Area” in Western Slavonia, Krajina during the ethnic cleansing operation of Krajina Serbs, dubbed as “Operation Flash”. Despite Krajina being declared a “UN Protected Area”, this murderous attack on the Krajina Serbs by Tudjman’s troops did not result in UN- imposed economic sanctions or the bombing of Croatia by NATO. This is hardly surprising, since the US government under Bill Clinton, and the German government under Chancellor Helmut Kohl, were busy funding, arming, training and directing Tudjman’s neo-Ustashe Croat army against the Krajina Serbs. Here is a quote from the editorial in “Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy” magazine Volume 23, No.4 (May 5,1995), concerning the article entitled “Croatia Hits UN, Serb areas” [“Operation Flash”] by ISSA president, Gregory Copley:
[Quote]: “It was clear that Croatia wanted all foreign observers out of the way so that it could undertake a further campaign of ethnic cleansing against their own countrymen of Serbian origin. We use the words “ethnic cleansing” because the phrase and the policy was invented by the Croatians themselves.
“In any event, the war resumed in April in Croatia [Krajina]. The Croats, we know from independent UN and other testimony, took men, women and children from the Serb area which they conquered [Western Slavonija] and executed about 1,000 of them. Croatian troops were seen holding the severed heads of women and children”.
This photo shows Serbian victims, Radosav Pavic and Velimir Trajkovic (both wearing red). The other victims are Zorica Pavlovic, her brother Zoran, mother Nada and Milojka Pavlovic. As Croatian forces withdrew from Vukovar on 15 and 16 November 1991, they dragged Serbian civilians from the cellars where they were hiding, and massacred them. These Serbs were axed to death in a courtyard, after being dragged from the cellar at 74 Nikola Demonja Street in Borovo-naselje, near Vukovar. All axed to death by Croatian Ustashe “skullcrushers”, sending a clear message to the Serbs that the Ustashe beast was not dead.
This photograph shows a Serbian victim of Franjo Tudjman’s neo-Ustashe Nazi troops. The victim’s name was Zoran Pavlovic and he was axed to death by modern-day Croatian “skull crushers”, killed on November 19, 1991, at 74 Nikole Demonje Street, Vukovar, Croatia. He was positively identified by surviving relatives. These revisited Holocaust crimes against the Serbs were discounted by the Western corporate controlled media as “Serb paranoia”, however these photographs clearly reveal the demonic nature of such Croatian Ustashe Nazi war crimes.
Zoran Pavlovic and his sister Zorica were killed along with their entire family on November 19, 1991, by retreating Croatian forces. A view of Zorica reveals how really brutally she was murdered. Her skull was also crushed. (Photos by Goran Mikic, Reuters)
The above two photos are of a three-year old Serbian boy who was shot dead while hiding in the cellar at 72 Nikola Demonja Street, Vukovar, Croatia. His mother and father, Sladjana and Miroslav Cecavac, were also brutally killed by Tudjman’s neo-Ustashe Nazi troops. This 3 year old Serbian child was labelled a “Serbian aggressor” by Tudjman’s HDZ neo-Ustashe Croatian government and the Western corporate- controlled media. In order to stop his so-called ”aggression”, the so-called ”brave” Croatian neo-Ustashe soldiers put a bullet in the back of his head, which exited from the front of his skull. In the war in Croatia and Bosnia, by mid-1994, 7,000 Serbian children were killed: twice as many as Croatian and Muslim children combined. If, God forbid, this was your child, what would you do to his killers? (From: “The Suppressed Serbian Voice And The Free Press In America” By William Dorich, 1994 – p 30)
Krajina Serbs, killed in November, 1991 in Borovo Naselje.These Serbs were murdered by Tudjman’s black-uniformed Croatian neo-Ustashe “Zbor Narodne Garde” (“National Guard Corps”) troops.
Krajina Serbian man murdered in Gracac on August 8, 1995 by Tudjman’s neo-Ustashe troops during “Operation Storm”.
Elderly Krajina Serbian woman murdered near Knin on August 10, 1995 by Tudjman’s neo-Ustashe troops during “Operation Storm”.
Lika, 1993: Tudjman’s neo-Ustashe Croat army attacked the UN Protected Zone, killing hundreds of Krajina Serbian civilians. This photo is of a partially burned body of an elderly Krajina Serbian woman killed in her house in Lika by Tudjman’s troops.
World War II Archived Photo of Croat Nazis known as “Ustashe”, preparing to slowly cut off the head of a Serbian teenage boy using a large saw as the murder weapon.
The mutilated corpse of a Krajina Serbian soldier in Bruvno, found on September 2, 1995. Croat troops had stripped the flesh from the upper torso, leaving only the spine and ribs.
Above two photos:Fleeing Tudjman’s neo-Ustashe Croatian Terror, hundreds of thousands of Serbian men, women and children are driven out of Krajina province in early August, 1995, during the mass murder and ethnic cleansing operation dubbed “Operation Storm” by Tudjman’s HDZ government. The US government, under Bill Clinton, planned and directed this mass ethnic cleansing operation from the very beginning.Tudjman’s neo-Ustashe troops were advised and trained in the lead up to the attack via the Pentagon’s mercenary outsourcing firm known as “Military Professional Resources Incorporated” [MPRI]. NATO aircraft – dominated by the US – repeatedly bombed the Krajina Serbian command, control, communication and radar facilities in direct co-ordination with Tudjman’s Croat army troops and Croat airforce in order to hasten the collapse of the Krajina Serbian defenses: thus enabling the deliberate pre-planned expulsion of between 250,000 & 300,000 Serbian civilians and the mass murder of thousands of Krajina Serbian men, women and children by Tudjman’s neo-Ustashe HDZ government.
This elderly Krajina Serbian woman, unable to escape and left with nothing but the clothes she is wearing, is left behind to face Tudjman’s neo-Ustashe Croat army terror.
Krajina Serbian children with their mother, fleeing for their lives from Tudjman’s brutal neo-Ustashe Croat army assault on the Serbian populated province of Krajina during “Operation Storm”.
Tudjman’s Croat Army fires heavy artillery deliberately into Serbian civilian areas in the then Serbian majority city of Knin, Krajina.
Hundreds of thousands of Serbian civilians driven out of Krajina in August, 1995 during Tudjman’s brutal mass murder and ethnic cleansing operation, dubbed “Operation Storm”.
Tudjman’s neo-Ustashe Nazi troops looted and ransacked hundreds of Krajina Serbian houses and property in Knin in September, 1995 during “Operation Storm”.
Crkveni Bok, August, 1995, Tudjman’s Croat military forces wrote Ustashe Nazi-fascist graffiti on a destroyed Krajina Serbian house: “NDH” – which is the Croatian language abbreviation for “Nezavisna Drzava Hrvatska” – which in English translates to “Independent State of Croatia” : the Adolf Hitler-created Nazi puppet state of Ustashe Croatia led by Croatian “poglavnik” [“Fuehrer”] Ante Pavelic, who was responsible for the mass murder from 1941 to 1945 in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina of at least 800,000 to a Million Serbs, at least 60,000 Jews and tens of thousands of Romanies, according to German, Italian, French, US and British sources from World War 2.
Tudjman’s neo-Ustashe Croat military forces killed everything living, including livestock.
Krajina Serbian house destroyed by Croat military forces in Slansko Polje in September, 1995.
Petrinja Serbian Orthodox cemetery in October, 1995, where many of the victims of the Croat army attack are buried.
Krajina Serbian business destroyed in Korenica by Croat forces in August, 1995.
Hundreds of thousands of Serbian refugees with children among them, brutally expelled from Krajina by Tudjman’s neo-Ustashe Croat army troops.
Krajina Serbs attacked by Croats whilst attempting to flee the brutal neo-Ustashe expulsion and mass murder operation dubbed “Operation Storm”. Thousands of civilian Serbs were killed by gangs of marauding Croat army troops and paramilitaries as well as murdered from the air by Croat airforce planes strafing with machine guns and dropping bombs on the miles-long Krajina Serbian refugee columns.
Broken doll abandoned by Krajina Serbian children in Caglic in May, 1995 during Tudjman’s “Operation Flash” terror campaign against Krajina Serbs living in the so-called ”UN Protected Area” of Western Slavonija.
Photo montage: On the left: The Tudjman neo-Ustashe Nazi “Liberated” Krajina province in 1995 in the aftermath of “Operation Storm” has its streets re-named after WWII Croat Ustashe Nazi leaders. The street sign reads: “Street Ante Pavelic”. On the right: Photo of WWII Croat Ustashe Nazi leader, Ante Pavelic, giving the Nazi-Fascist salute to Croat Ustashe troops.
WW2 Croatia: Croat Catholic nuns marching with their Nazi-legionnaires, the Ustashe (From the 1962 book: “Genocide in Satellite Croatia 1941-1945″ by French Roman Catholic Professor, Edmond Paris)
Croatian Nuns salute in the Nazi-Fascist manner in World War 2 Croatia.
A Croatian Ustashe Nazi trooper holding the severed head of a pro-Allied Serbian Royalist ‘Chetnik’ Guerrilla Resistance fighter during World War 2.
This 1941 photograph shows an unidentified Serb victim of the Ustashe “Skull Crushers”, as they were known. During the Holocaust, Croatian Nazis took pictures of their victims. These pictures were used to prove to Ante Pavelic and Andrija Artukovic, their Croatian Nazi leaders, how loyal they were to the First Independent State of Croatia of 1941. This image was reproduced in a book entitled, “Croatian Genocide 1941-45″ p. 22. It was published by the Serbian National Defense Council, Chicago, 1947.
Here is a reprint from the article published in the prestigious “Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy” magazine, Volume XX, Number 12 (December 31,1992), entitled:
“For Serbians, Fears of a German Axis Rise For The Third Time This Century”
Serbs can cite strong feelings and many reasons for their concern over Germany’s support for Croatia’s new war against them. Associate Publisher T. W. Carr looks at the historical patterns which led to the current Balkan conflict.
By T. W. Carr, Associate Publisher, Defense & Foreign Affairs.
Serbs have had to fight for survival as a people in every major European conflict this Century, from the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, through World War II, and again today. Significantly, the Serbs never began any of the conflicts, and in all of them, Serbian sentiment notes, their enemies always included a German, Croat and Vatican axis.
On each occasion conflict erupted during a period of German expansion, irrespective of whether policy was implemented by military, political or economic means.
Ante Pavelic, the extreme right wing nationalist who later became Croatia’s first Fuhrer, stated in 1927 “How can Croatia — full of western culture, Latin and German culture, Italian humanistic culture and German romanticism — co-exist with the Orthodox, rough, savage and ruthless Serbs?”
Less than two years later he left Yugoslavia for Italy where he soon established his “Ustasha: the Croatian Revolutionary Organisation”. It set up training camps and ran a campaign of terror and assassinations, including the murder of Yugoslavia’s King Aleksandar during a visit to France. Ante Pavelic was tried and convicted in absence for Aleksandar’s murder, yet Italy continued providing a safe haven for him and his Ustashi. When Adolph Hitler and his Nazi Party came to power in Germany in 1933, Pavelic adopted the nazi racial policies which accorded with his views aired in 1927.
For 20 months after the outbreak of World War II, Yugoslavia walked a tightrope and stayed neutral until the Cvetkovic-Macek Government joined the Tripartite Pact on March 25, 1941.
Two days later, the Serbian General, Dusan Simovic, aided by British intelligence, headed a popular revolt against the Government’s action.
Hitler reacted by diverting massive forces from the Eastern Front to attack Belgrade on April 6, using 450 bombers in a dawn raid. There were 51 divisions of Axis forces, supported by 2,170 combat aircraft, in the attack on Yugoslavia.
On April 10, the 14th Panzer division rolled into Zagreb enthusiastically welcomed by Croatians. Within hours, working to a well-prepared plan, Dr Edmund Vesenmager (Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop’s envoy from Berlin) proclaimed on Zagreb radio the formation of the Independent State of Croatia (ISC) under Poglavnik (leader) Ante Pavelic.
Seven days later the Axis forces controlled all Yugoslavia, and, in the punitive carve-up, Hitler and Italian leader Benito Mussolini created the ISC proper, allocating to it Croatia, Slavonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Srem and part of Dalmatia (the territory claimed today by Croatia).
In the meantime, only 36 hours after the panzers had arrived, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Azgreb, Alojzije Stepinac, endorsed the proclamation on behalf of the Church. Within a few days he issued an instruction to the Catholic clergy, “. . . to work with dedication for the fostering and promotion of the new Independent State of Croatia”. Pope Pious XII then appointed Archbishop Stepinac as Senior Military Chaplain. A Catholic priest was subsequently assigned to serve with every Ustashi military unit.
On taking office, the Poglavnik stated: “It is the duty of the Ustashi movement to ensure that the ISC is ruled always and everywhere only by Croatians, so that they are the sole master of all the real and spiritual good in their own land. Within Croatia there can be no compromise between the Croatian people and others who are not pure Croats; Ustashi must extinguish all trace of such people.”
The campaign of ethnic cleansing had begun earlier, less than three weeks after Hilter’s creation of Croatia. It commenced with the slaughter of prominent Serbs and leaders of the Orthodox Church. On May 5, 1941, the Bishop of Banja Luka, together with archpriests from Bosanska Gradiska and Dusan Subotic, were tortured in an attempted conversion. When this failed, all were murdered in cold blood. A similar fate was dealt to the Metropolitan of Dabar-Bosnia, Petar Zimonic, and to Sava Trlaic, the Bishop of Gomji Karlovac.
More than 200 Orthodox priests were slaughtered in rapid succession following the murder of the Metropolitan of Zagreb, Dositej Vasic. On August 24, 1941, Zagreb issued administrative orders concerning the arrest of the remaining Orthodox priests and monks. Perhaps the most significant example of state and church collaboration in thnic cleansing was Friar Miroslav Filipovic. This Catholic priest doubled as the commander for four months of Jasenovac, Europe’s largest concentration camp located on 210sq.km. along the banks of the river Sava. [See story, page seven.]
1945: Escaping Europe
The genocide continued unabated throughout the war. Serbs, Jews and Gypsies were murdered with mediaeval ferocity. More than a million Serbs of all ages were butchered in their homes, in forests and in concentration camps. Another 250,000 were forcefully converted to Catholicism, and a further 300,000 or so were driven out of Croatia into the remote mountain areas of Serbia.
But as the war drew to a close in Europe, communist partisan leader Josip Broz “Tito” took control of Yugoslavia. Under cover of darkness, Ante Pavelic fled across the Austrian border into the British Zone, at that time under the control of Field Marshal Alexander. Europe was awash with refugees, more than 18-million, most of whom were displaced persons, but hiding amongst them were thousands of war criminals.
Tito wanted Pavelic, and in July 1945 he informed the British that Pavelic was hiding in their zone. The British replied stating “every effort is being made to find him”. Tito responded month after month with specific allegations as to Pavelic’s shifting hiding places: villas, monasteries. Irritated, the British Foreign Office rebutted Tito’s allegations: “The allegations are ungracious and unfounded. At no time has Pavelic been in British custody, or his whereabouts known to the British authorities.”
An internal Foreign Office memo was circulated indicating that “it is becoming increasingly clear that quislings are finding refuge under the wing of the church”.
This was probably the outcome of an intelligence report on the activities of Father Traganavic, a Croatian Roman Catholic priest who held high office in the Ustashi Government. He was, although classified as a war criminal, permitted by the Allies to tour European refugee camps throughout the second half of 1945 and during 1946. Ostensibly his task was to render religious ministry to refugees, but in fact he was making covert contact with thousands of Ustashi hiding within the ranks of true refugees. He arranged for new Red Cross identity cards to be issued, and at the same time organised a political intelligence network to help Ustashi and other war criminals. US intelligence codenamed the network and its escape routes “ratlines”.
In December 1946, an intelligence report from Austria admitted that Pavelic had been hiding in the British Zone, but had escaped with colleagues dressed as priests to Milan during May 1946. From Milan, using false identity cards, they had travelled south to the Vatican. Pavelic used a Spanish passport in the name “Don Pedro Gona”. Gaining Red Cross identity cards was easy for Traganavic. Two validating authorities per country were appointed by the International Red Cross. In the case of Italy, one was the Vatican Refugee Committee.
The Vatican Refugee Committee was in fact the Brotherhood of San Geronimo, the Croatian Collegiate within the Vatican. Father Traganavic was the Secretary of the Brotherhood, and he was also the Croatian National Representative of the Red Cross. This was a strange double appointment for a man branded a war criminal by Tito’s Government. A former Croatian Ustashi diplomat, Evor Omrechanan, based in Rome, is on record saying he had no problem in obtaining an identity card for Pavelic from the Vatican to enable him to make the journey from Milan to Rome.
By January 1947, the US Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC) knew that Pavelic was being sheltered at the Vatican. A special agent called Gower infiltrated the San Geronomo Brotherhood and discovered that this Vatican Collegiate was doing much more than just harbouring Pavelic. Within its walls was a complete Ustashi unit where naxi salutes were given.
On April 11, 1947, the US CIC planned to capture Pavelic from a Vatican library or while en route in a Vatican car. However, Pavelic stayed one step ahead of CIC, thanks to a double agent planted in the CIC by Father Traganavic.
In July, the CIS again ordered that Pavelic was to be taken. One week later the operational order was countermanded, across it was a handwritten instruction “hands off”.
Within days Pavelic had a Hungarian passport under the name of Pablo Eranias and a visa for Argentina. In Genoa, another priest, Father Fichanico, arranged a berth for Pavelic to sail to security adviser to Argentine President Juan Peron who subsequently gave visas to 35,000 Ustashi escaping from Europe thanks to the “ratlines” intelligence network organised by Father Traganavic and the Brotherhood of San Geronimo.
FIFTY YEARS ON
The first convention of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) on February 26, 1990, in Zagreb marked the rebirth of the Ustasha and the rehabilitation of the Independent State of Croatia. All the killing and ethnic cleansing policy implementation flowed from that day in a re-run of the events of 50 years before.
On May 30, 1990, the HDZ was elected to power in the Sobor (parliament) and Dr Franjo Tudjman became President of the Republic. At an open air rally in Jelacic Square, the Archbishop Cardinal Franjo Kuharic, blessed a baby’s cradle to symbolise the re-birth of the ISC.
On December 22, 1990, the Sabor proclaimed the independence of Croatia and summarily adopted a new constitution under which Serbs lost their nation status, regulated to a national minority.
The HDZ took a series of steps during 1990 to purify Coratia by eradicating the Serbian identity. The cyrillic script was banned, Croatian became the only official language, Serbian associations were abolished, literature was cleansed of Serbian authors and Serbs were not permitted to operate their own TV and radio programmes. On another front, Serbs lost their jobs in the police and security organs as well as in Government posts.
As the same time, World War II history was re-written and street names changed to glorify Ustashi by eliminating any trace of the genocide. T-shirts showing Ustashi symbols such as the infamous Black Legion went on sale to young Croatians.
Arms and defence equipment flowed into Croatia directly and indirectly from Germany. Mass arming of HDZ members took place, the police force was expanded and the National Guard was re-equipped as an Ustashi army. May 28, 1991, saw a nazi style rally of the “Croatian Armed Forces” at Zagreb football stadium.
Then the killing of individual Serbs started. Memories of 1941 stirred and the exodus began. The day after the rally, Serbs from Borovo Selo fled from Croatia. The killings, which started early in April 1991 at Plitvice, escalated during July, August and September. At Vukovar, Serbs were subjected to torture, rape, and murder for many months before the conflict was presented to the world as “brutal aggression by the Yugoslav Army against peace-loving Croatians”. The murders are documented and proven.
Around 5,000 Serbs were rounded up and held in the Borovo footware factory complex at Vukovar. From this Croatian concentration camp hundreds of Serb men, women and children were taken out and slaughtered. Mutilated bodies thrown into the river were carried downstream into Serbian territory. These were recovered, photographed and their identities painstakingly discovered.
October 1991 saw the arrest of 20 Orthodox priests, including his Holiness Lukijan, Bishop of Slavonia, yet another replay of 1941 actions.
Having arrested their Bishop, Croatian authorities during November expelled some 25,000 Serbs from Western Slavonija. At the same time (October 29) the inhabitants of 24 Serbian villages were ordered to vacate their homes within 48 hours by the Croatian authorities in Slavonska Pozega. Seventeen of the Serbian villages were razed in Croatian ethnic cleansing operations which drove another 10,000 Serbs into Bosnia.
No less than 189 villages in nine communes south of the River Drava were completely cleansed of Serbs during 1991 and early 1992.
Church destruction went hand in glove with the arrest of Orthodox priests and the expulsion of Serbs from Croatia. By the end of October 1991 alone, more than 70 churches were completely destroyed or severely damaged. [More than 300 have now been destroyed in the current fighting.] On September 28, Croatian paramilitary forces demolished the Baroque complex of the Pakrac Bishops built in 1732. They set fire to the seminary, and in the cathedral thy burnt icons and the bishops’ library containing almost 6,000 books, many of historical importance. Fifty of the books dated back to the 18th Century and included a unique copy of a Sabornik, printed in Venice, circa 1536.
As in 1941, it was Germany and the Vatican which brought Croatia to life, the second time by prematurely recognising Croatia as an independent state with the right to cede from Yugoslavia.
Both authorities pushed members of the EC and the international community into recognising Croatia. At the same time, both manipulated the mass media, presenting the Serbs as “leftover communists trying to subvert the pro-Western democracies of Croatia and Slovenia”.
Serbian officials tried to tell the EC and other members of the international community what Germany was doing in Yugoslavia and Eastern Europe.
Plans to build a superhighway in the north from Hamburg to St Petersburgh are aimed at giving Germany domination of the Baltic. A similar highway planned to link Budapest with Trieste and Rijeka via Zagreb is perceived to provide the infrastructure that gives the projected German economic “empire” access to the Mediterranean.
German law preventing foreign military action helped Germany stay out of the costly military operations of the Gulf War. The same will be true of any conflict in Yugoslavia and the Balkans. So the Balkans conflict costs Germany virtually nothing, while it drains the US and UK economies.
Serbs report that Germany is actively lobbying some 40 countries in Africa and the Middle East to support a forthcoming German bid to gain a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
As far as the Serbs and Yugoslavs are concerned, the German Government started the present conflicts in Yugoslavia and has used its influence and media channels to help distort the truth and prevent a workable form of peace coming about. There is much evidence to support the Yugoslav point of view.
Clinton made 1995 Ethnic Cleansing in Krajina Possible
Croatian Ethnic Cleansing of Serbian Krajina is Reflected in World Almanacs
By: Mary Mostert, Analyst, Original Sources (www.bannerofliberty.com)
July 24, 2000
There was no outcry against the ethnic cleansing that took place in full view of the world, and made possible by US Air support in 1995 in the Krajina area of Croatia. Hundreds of thousands of Serbs were driven from their homes, and up to 20,000 of them were killed. Some of them have been refugees twice. Some of them who survived the Krajina ethnic cleansing fled to Kosovo and have been driven out of Kosovo back into Serbia. . Not only are they refugees, but are refugees who have been bombed twice by U.S. bombs and missiles, while most Americans remain blissfully unaware of their plight. I recently brought up the subject in a conversation with one of my own children, who had never heard about the 250,000-275,000 Serbs who were driven out of Krajina, after more than 500 years of living in the area. She thought I was making it up because she was sure it would have been on the evening news if it had happened.
In May 1999, Valdan Zivadinovic sent me a report on what happened in August 1995 during the worst refugee crisis in the 1990s Balkan wars of the 1990s when the Croatians drove the Serbs out of Krajina. The author of that ethnic cleansing was Franjo Tudjman, who was re-elected as president of Croatia following the 1995 Dayton Accord. In the intervening five years there has been no international demand that the Croatians allow the Serbs who had occupied the Krajina area for more than 500 years to return to their homes.
Furthermore, it is an ethnic cleansing that is VERIFIED by the World Almanacs of 1993 and 2000. In 1993 the population of Croatia was 4, 763,000 with 75% being Croatian and 18% being Serbian. In numbers that turns out to be 840,885 Serbs in Croatia in the 1992 census figures. In the year 2000 World Almanac the population of Croatia was down to 4,671,584 with 78% being Croatian and 12% being Serbian. In numbers that would be 560,590 Serbs – a difference of 280,295 people. Most of them are in Yugoslavia’s Serbia province. Many of them, an estimated 17,000-20,000 are dead.
The Ottawa Serbian Heritage Society, (email@example.com) issued a press release Saturday commemorating the “ethnocide and genocide committed on Serbs in Krajina , Bosnia and Kosovo. August 4th is Krajina Dan, the Memorial Day for Serbian Krajina. This commemorates the day that Knin, the capital of the Serbian Krajina region, fell to invading Croatian forces in 1995. Croatia continues to occupy the region today and of more than 250,000 Serbian people whom the Croatian Army either killed or ethnically-cleansed out of the region in August, 1995, the number who have returned is virtually zero to this date.
“Every August 4th a Krajina Dan Memorial is held
to remember the victims of this genocide. This year’s program is: Memorial Prayer Service and a wrath laying at the Human Rights Memorial, Elgin and Lisgar streets, at 6:00pm – 6: 30pm.” After the perpetrator of this ethnic cleansing, Croatian President Tudjman, died on December 11, 1999, high level representatives from the United States and Western Europe did not attend the funeral in fear that doing so would be a political liability if and when Tudjman’s war crimes and his un-reconstructed Fascism from World War II became known. Zivadinovic’s paper, found on pages 131-140 in “NATO in the Balkans: KRAJINA”, ISBN 0-9656916-2-4), is a chilling indictment of man’s inhumanity to man. It is an ugly story, but it is time that the American people ask themselves if they really want to continue the Serb sanctions and the Kosovo ethnic cleansing of all minorities and the general anarchy that exists there under NATO and UN occupation. Zivadinocic wrote:
In early August 1995, the Croatian invasion of Serbian Krajina precipitated the worst refugee crisis of the Yugoslav civil war. Within days, more than two hundred thousand Serbs, virtually the entire population of Krajina, fled their homes, and 14,000 Serbian civilians lost their lives. According to a UN official “Almost the only people remaining were the dead and the dying.” The Clinton administration’s support for the invasion was an important factor in creating this nightmare. The previous month, Secretary of State Warren Christopher and German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel met with Croatian diplomat Miomir Zuzul in London. During this meeting, Christopher gave his approval for Croatian military action against Serbs in Bosnia and Krajina. Two days later, the U.S. ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith, also approved Croatia’s invasion plan. Stipe Mesic, a prominent Croatian politician, stated that Croatian President Franjo Tudjman “received the go-ahead from the United States. Tudjman can do only what the Americans allow him to do. Krajina is the reward for having accepted, under Washington’s pressure, the federation between Croats and Muslims in Bosnia.” Croatian assembly deputy Mate Mestrovic also claimed that the “United States gave us the green light to do whatever had to be done.” (1)
As Croatian troops launched their assault on August 4, U.S. NATO aircraft destroyed Serbian radar and anti-aircraft defenses. American EA-6B electronic warfare aircraft patrolled the air in support of the invasion. Krajina foreign affairs advisor Slobodan Jarcevic stated that NATO “completely led and coordinated the entire Croat offensive by first destroying radar and anti-aircraft batteries. What NATO did most for the Croatian Army was to jam communications between [Serb] military commands….” (2)
Following the elimination of Serbian anti-aircraft defenses, Croatian planes carried out extensive attacks on Serbian towns and positions. The roads were clogged with refugees, and Croatian aircraft bombed and strafed refugee columns. Serbian refugees passing through the town of Sisak were met by a mob of Croatian extremists, who hurled rocks and concrete at them.
A UN spokesman said, “The windows of almost every vehicle were smashed and almost every person was bleeding from being hit by some object.” Serbian refugees were pulled from their vehicles and beaten. As fleeing Serbian civilians poured into Bosnia, a Red Cross representative in Banja Luka said, “I’ve never seen anything like it. People are arriving at a terrifying rate.” Bosnian Muslim troops crossed the border and cut off Serbian escape routes. Trapped refugees were massacred as they were pounded by Croatian and Muslim artillery. Nearly 1,700 refugees simply vanished. While Croatian and Muslim troops burned Serbian villages, President Clinton expressed his understanding for the invasion, and Christopher said events “could work to our advantage.” (3)
The Croatian rampage through the region left a trail of devastation. Croatian special police units, operating under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, systematically looted abandoned Serbian villages. Everything of value – cars, stereos, televisions, furniture, farm animals – was plundered, and homes set afire. (4) A confidential European Union report stated that 73 percent of Serbian homes were destroyed. (5) Troops of the Croatian army also took part, and pro-Nazi graffiti could be seen on the walls of several burnt-out Serb buildings.(6)
Massacres continued for several weeks after the fall of Krajina, and UN patrols discovered numerous fresh unmarked graves and bodies of murdered civilians. (7) The European Union report states, “Evidence of atrocities, an average of six corpses per day, continues to emerge. The corpses, some fresh, some decomposed, are mainly of old men. Many have been shot in the back of the head or had throats slit, others have been mutilated… Serb lands continue to be torched and looted.” 
Following a visit in the region a member of the Zagreb Helsinki Committee reported, “Virtually all Serb villages had been destroyed…. In a village near Knin, eleven bodies were found, some of them were massacred in such a way that it was not easy to see whether the body was male or female.” (9)
UN spokesman Chris Gunness noted that UN personnel continued to discover bodies, many of whom had been decapitated. (10) British journalist Robert Fisk reported the murder of elderly Serbs, many of whom were burned alive in their homes. He adds, “At Golubic, UN officers have found the decomposing remains of five people… the head of one of the victims was found 150 feet from his body. Another UN team, meanwhile is investigating the killing of a man and a woman in the same area after villagers described how the man’s ears and nose had been mutilated.” (11)
After the fall of Krajina, Croatian chief of staff General Zvonimir Cervenko characterized Serbs as “medieval shepherds, troglodytes, destroyers of anything the culture of man has created.” During a triumphalist train journey through Croatia and Krajina, Tudjman spoke at each railway station. To great applause, he announced, “There can be no return to the past, to the times when [Serbs] were spreading cancer in the heart of Croatia, a cancer that was destroying the Croatian national being.” He then went on to speak of the “ignominious disappearance” of the Serbs from Krajina “so it is as if they have never lived here… They didn’t even have time to take with them their filthy money or their filthy underwear!” American ambassador Peter Galbraith dismissed claims that Croatia had engaged in “ethnic cleansing,” since he defined this term as something Serbs do. (12)
U.S. representatives blocked Russian attempts to pass a UN Security Council resolution condemning the invasion. According to Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic, American officials gave advice on the conduct of the operation, and European and military experts and humanitarian aid workers reported shipments of U.S weapons to Croatia over the two months preceding the invasion. A French mercenary also witnessed the arrival of American and German weapons at a Croatian port, adding, “The best of the Croats’ armaments were German- and American-made.” The U.S. “directly or indirectly,” says French intelligence analyst Pierre Hassner, “rearmed the Croats.” Analysts at Jane’s Information Group say that Croatian troops were seen wearing American uniforms and carrying U S. communications equipment. (13)
The invasion of Krajina was preceded by a thorough CIA and DIA analysis of the region. (14) According to Balkan specialist Ivo Banac, this “tactical and intelligence support” was furnished to the Croatian Army at the beginning of its offensive. (15)
In November 1994, the United States and Croatia signed a military agreement. Immediately afterward, U.S. intelligence agents set up an operations center on the Adriatic island of Brac, from which reconnaissance aircraft were launched. Two months earlier, the Pentagon contracted Military Professional Resources, Inc (MPRI) to train the Croatian military.(16) According to a Croatian officer, MPRI advisors “lecture us on tactics and big war operations on the level of brigades, which is why we needed them for Operation Storm when we took the Krajina.” Croatian sources claim that U.S. satellite intelligence was furnished to the Croatian military. (17) Following the invasion of Krajina, the U.S. rewarded Croatia with an agreement “broadening existing cooperation” between MPRI and the Croatian military.  U.S. advisors assisted in the reorganization of the Croatian Army. Referring to this reorganization in an interview with the newspaper Vecernji List, Croatian General Tihomir Blaskic said, “We are building the foundations of our organization on the traditions of the Croatian home guard” – pro-Nazi troops in World War II. (19)
It is worth examining the nature of what one UN official terms “America’s newest ally.” During World War II, Croatia was a Nazi puppet state in which the Croatian fascist Ustashe murdered as many as one million Serbs, Jews, and Roman (Gypsies). Disturbing signs emerged with the election of Franjo Tudjman to the Croatian presidency in 1990 Tudjman said, “I am glad my wife is neither Serb nor Jew,” and wrote that accounts of the Holocaust were “exaggerated” and “one-sided.” (20)
Much of Tudjman’s financial backing was provided by Ustasha émigrés and several Ustasha war criminals were invited to attend the first convention of Tudjman’s political party, the Croatian Democratic Union. (21)
Tudjman presented a medal to a former Ustasha commander living in Argentina, Ivo Rojnica. After Rojnica was quoted as saying, “Everything I did in 1941 I would do again,” international pressure prevented Tudjman from appointing him to the post of ambassador to Argentina. When former Ustasha official Vinko Nikolic returned to Croatia, Tudjman appointed him to a seat in parliament. Upon former Ustasha officer Mate Sarlija’s return to Croatia, he was personally welcomed at the airport by Defense Minister Gojko Susak, and subsequently given the post of general in the Croatian Army. (22) On November 4, 1996, thirteen former Ustasha officers were presented with medals and ranks in the Croatian Army. (23)
Croatia adopted a new currency in 1994, the kuna, the same name as that used by the Ustasha state, and the new Croatian flag is a near-duplicate of the Ustasha flag. Streets and buildings have been renamed for Ustasha official Mile Budak, who signed the regime’s anti-Semitic laws, and more than three thousand anti-fascist monuments have been demolished. In an open letter, the Croatian Jewish community protested the rehabilitation of the Ustasha state. In April 1994, the Croatian government demanded the removal of all “non-white” UN troops from its territory, claiming that “only first-world troops” understood Croatia’s “problems.” (24)
On Croatian television in April 1996, Tudjman called for the return of the remains of Ante Pavelic, the leader of the Croatian pro-Nazi puppet state “After all, both reconciliation and recognition should be granted to those who deserve it,” Tudjman said, adding, “We should recognize that Pavelic’s ideas about the Croatian state were positive,” but that Pavelic’s only mistake was the murder of a few of his colleagues and nationalist allies. (25) Three months later, Tudjman said of the Serbs driven from Croatia “The fact that 90 percent of them left is their own problem… Naturally we are not going to allow them all to return.” During the same speech, Tudjman referred to the pro-Nazi state as “a positive thing.” (26)
During its violent secession from Yugoslavia in 1991, Croatia expelled more than three hundred thousand Serbs, and Serbs were eliminated from ten towns and 183 villages. (27) In 1993, Helsinki Watch reported: “Since 1991 the Croatian authorities have blown up or razed ten thousand houses mostly of Serbs, but also houses of Croats. In some cases, they dynamited homes with the families inside.” Thousands of Serbs have been evicted from their homes. Croatian human-rights activist Ivan Zvonimir Cicak says beatings, plundering, and arrests were the usual eviction methods. 
Tomislav Mercep, until recently the advisor to the Interior minister and a member of Parliament, is a death-squad leader. Mercep’s death squad murdered 2,500 Serbs in western Slavonia in 1991 and 1992, actions Mercep defends as “heroic deeds.” (29) Death squad officer Miro Bajramovic’s spectacular confession revealed details: “Nights were worst for [our prisoners]… burning prisoners with a flame, pouring vinegar over their wounds mostly on genitalia and on the eyes. Then there is that little induction, field phone, you plug a Serb onto that… The most painful is to stick little pins under the nails and to connect to the three phase current; nothing remains of a man but ashes… After all, we knew they would all be killed, so it did not matter if we hurt them more today or tomorrow.”
“Mercep knew everything,” Bajramovic claimed. “He told us several times: ‘Tonight you have to clean all these shits.’ By this he meant all the prisoners should be executed.” (30)
Sadly, the Clinton administration’s embrace of Croatia follows a history of support for fascists when it suits American geopolitical interests: Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, Indonesia’s Suharto, Paraguay’s Aifredo Stroessner, and a host of others. The consequences of this policy for the people affected have been devastating.
Although the American people were told last year that the 79 days of bombing of Yugoslavia was a “humanitarian” effort to “stop ethnic cleansing,” the facts indicate no ethnic cleansing took place. Now we are hearing that it was the KLA itself that was ordering the Albanians to flee, and most Albanians AND Serbs were fleeing the NATO bombs. Yet, still there as been no change in the US policy in Serbia. Clinton still insists on keeping sanctions in place in an effort to destroy the Serbs. And, not a word has been said about any of this in the year 2000 presidential election campaign. Clinton told us in 1995 that the American servicemen who were sent to Bosnia would be “home by Christmas.” Not only are they still not home, we have send another contingent to assist in the occupation of Kosovo. I have wondered most of my life how the German people could have sat back and done nothing as their leader did horrible things. “We didn’t know about it,” I was told by Germans who lived in Germany at the time. I doubted them. However, now I’m seeing something disturbingly similar by an American leader, and we Americans are not even asking Presidential candidates questions about it. I think I may owe those post-World War II German citizens an apology. Maybe they really didn’t know about it. Or, just maybe, they didn’t really WANT to know what was happening to their Jewish neighbors when they disappeared. ——————————————————————————————
Coverup at The Hague Tribunal
Mercenary Outfit on Contract to the Pentagon
behind 1995 Ethnic Massacres in the Krajina region of Croatia
The Hague Tribunal (ICTY) has asked: “to interview retired [Croatian] general Mirko Norac as a suspect over two military operations during the 1991-95 war, a government statement said. Norac, 34, was sentenced in March by a Croatian court to a 12 years in jail for organizing the executions of at least 50 ethnic Serbs civilians in October 1991 near the central town of Gospic. He is the highest ranking Croatian officer to be sentenced by a local court for war crimes committed during the 1991-95 war with Belgrade-backed rebel Serbs, who opposed Croatia’s independence from the former Yugoslavia. The International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) wants to interview Norac about a 1993 operation in the so-called Medak pocket, in central Croatia, and a 1995 operation — dubbed Storm — which practically ended the conflict.” AFP, 19 July, 2003).
On 21 July, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) acknowledged the role of MPRI, a US mercenary Outfit on contract to the Pentagon in Operation Storm, the 1995 ethnic massacres in the Krajina region of Serbia. Since the 1990s, both the ICTY and the media have been involved in a coverup of the role of the US military in the 1993 Medak pocket and 1995 Operation Storm ethnic massacres. Below you will find the following texts:
1. Transcript of CBS New Story: Croatian Atrocities being forgotten: http://www.cbc.ca/MRL/clips/ram-audio/dyer1_wr030721.ram 2. Part of a text by Michel Chossudovsky on the role of MPRI, in Krajina first published in 1999 as part of a larger study entitled NATO has Installed a Reign of Terror in Kosovo, ( http://www.iacenter.org/warcrime/chossu.htm or http://www.softmakers.com/fry/docs/chossudovsky.htm )
Croatian Atrocities being forgotten
21 Jul 2003 9:32:11 OTTAWA Canadian officers say they are frustrated by inaction over a 1995 ethnic cleansing operation by Croatians against Serbs – one in which the Croats may have had western help. They documented numerous atrocities during Operation Storm, which was a four-day campaign by the Croats to recover land held in central and southern Croatia for four years by Serbian militias. However, not one person has been arrested and brought before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. More than 200,000 Serbs were expelled, and thousands were killed. “Just amazing. You can see the holes in the back of the head,” said Capt. Gerry Carron, showing pictures he took to document the killings. “We found people in wells,” he said. “There was an old lady we found head-first in a well. Why did they do that?” Some top military officers said the expertise required to plan and execute Operation Storm meant it couldn’t have been done by the Croats alone. Croatia’s American consultant Fingers have been pointed at Military Professional Resources Inc. (MPRI), a U.S. consulting company based in Alexandria, Virginia. The company’s Web site points to an article in which the Croatian government praised the job MPRI has done for it – although MPRI has denied involvement in Operation Storm. “I don’t think it was the Croats themselves that did that,” said Maj.-Gen. Alain Fourand, who commanded UN forces in the area of Operation Storm, adding he suspected it was MPRI. Maj.-Gen. Andrew Leslie, who will be going to Afghanistan to command Canadian troops, also said he doubts the Croats themselves pulled off Operation Storm. “That was done by people who really knew what they were doing,” he said, adding he didn’t think the Croats had the expertise. Croatia was getting assistance in other ways. Argentina supplied artillery used in Operation Storm – despite a UN ban and even though their own soldiers were working there as peacekeepers. Looking back, Carron said peacekeepers may have made things worse by disarming the Serbs while the Croats re-armed. Canadian officers say the involvement of the West could explain the foot-dragging on prosecution, although the tribunal said the case is largely circumstantial. The Canadians also believe the Croatian commander of Operation Storm is being protected by supporters in Croatia’s government, and that not enough diplomatic pressure is being exerted. Written by CBC News Online staff
The Role of the MPRI in the Krajina Massacres
31 July 1999 This following excerpt was part of a text presented to the Independent Commission of Inquiry to Investigate U.S./NATO War Crimes Against The People of Yugoslavia, International Action Center, New York, July 31, 1999. The full text entitled: NATO has installed a Reign of Terror in Kosovo, can be consulted at . http://www.iacenter.org/warcrime/chossu.htm or http://www.softmakers.com/fry/docs/chossudovsky.htm
According to the Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Operation Storm resulted in the massacre of at least 410 civilians in the course of a three day operation (4 to 7 August 1995).22 An internal report of The Hague War Crimes Tribunal (leaked to the New York Times), confirmed that the Croatian Army had been responsible for carrying out:
“summary executions, indiscriminate shelling of civilian populations and “ethnic cleansing” in the Krajina region of Croatia….”23
In a section of the report entitled “The Indictment. Operation Storm, A Prima Facie Case.”, the ICTY report confirms that:
“During the course of the military offensive, the Croatian armed forces and special police committed numerous violations of international humanitarian law, including but not limited to, shelling of Knin and other cities… During, and in the 100 days following the military offensive, at least 150 Serb civilians were summarily executed, and many hundreds disappeared. …In a widespread and systematic manner, Croatian troops committed murder and other inhumane acts upon and against Croatian Serbs.” 24
US `GENERALS FOR HIRE’
The internal 150 page report concluded that it has “sufficient material to establish that the three [Croatian] generals who commanded the military operation” could be held accountable under international law.25 The individuals named had been directly involved in the military operation “in theatre”. Those involved in “the planning of Operation Storm” were not mentioned:
“The identity of the “American general” referred to by Fenrick [a Tribunal staff member] is not known. The tribunal would not allow Williamson or Fenrick to be interviewed. But Ms. Arbour, the tribunal’s chief prosecutor, suggested in a telephone interview last week that Fenrick’s comment had been `a joking observation’. Ms. Arbour had not been present during the meeting, and that is not how it was viewed by some who were there. Several people who were at the meeting assumed that Fenrick was referring to one of the retired U.S. generals who worked for Military Professional Resources Inc. … Questions remain about the full extent of U.S. involvement. In the course of the three yearinvestigation into the assault, the United States has failed to provide critical evidence requested by the tribunal, according to tribunal documents and officials, adding to suspicion among some there that Washington is uneasy about the investigation… The Pentagon, however, has argued through U.S. lawyers at the tribunal that the shelling was a legitimate military activity, according to tribunal documents and officials”.26
The Tribunal was attempting to hide what had already been revealed in several press reports published in the wake of Operation Storm. According to a US State Department spokesman, MPRI had been helping the Croatians “avoid excesses or atrocities in military operations.”27 Fifteen senior US military advisers headed by retired two star General Richard Griffitts had been dispatched to Croatia barely seven months before Operation Storm. 28 According to one report, MPRI executive director General Carl E. Vuono: “held a secret top-level meeting at Brioni Island, off the coast of Croatia, with Gen. Varimar Cervenko, the architect of the Krajina campaign. In the five days preceding the attack, at least ten meetings were held between General Vuono and officers involved in the campaign…”29 According to Ed Soyster, a senior MPRI executive and former head of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA):
“MPRI’s role in Croatia is limited to classroom instruction on military-civil relations and doesn’t involve training in tactics or weapons. Other U.S. military men say whatever MPRI did for the Croats and many suspect more than classroom instruction was involved it was worth every penny.” Carl Vuono and Butch [Crosbie] Saint are hired guns and in it for the money,” says Charles Boyd, a recently retired four star Air Force general who was the Pentagon’s No. 2 man in Europe until July . “They did a very good job for the Croats, and I have no doubt they’ll do a good job in Bosnia.”30
THE HAGUE TRIBUNAL’S COVER UP The untimely leaking of the ICTY’s internal report on the Krajina massacres barely a few days before the onslaught of NATO’s air raids on Yugoslavia was the source of some embarrassment to the Tribunal’s Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour. The Tribunal (ICTY) attempted to cover up the matter and trivialise the report’s findings (including the alleged role of the US military officers on contract with the Croatian Armed Forces). Several Tribunal officials including American Lawyer Clint Williamson sought to discredit the Canadian Peacekeeping officers’ testimony who witnessed the Krajina massacres in 1995.31 Williamson, who described the shelling of Knin as a “minor incident,” said that the Pentagon had told him that Knin was a legitimate military target… The [Tribunal’s] review concluded by voting not to include the shelling of Knin in any indictment, a conclusion that stunned and angered many at the tribunal”…32 The findings of the Tribunal contained in the leaked ICTY documents were downplayed, their relevance was casually dismissed as “expressions of opinion, arguments and hypotheses from various staff members of the OTP during the investigative process”.33 According to the Tribunal’s spokesperson “the documents do not represent in any way the concluded decisions of the Prosecutor.” 34 The internal 150 page report has not been released. The staff member who had leaked the documents is (according to a Croatian TV report) no longer working for the Tribunal. During the press Conference, the Tribunal’s spokesman was asked: “about the consequences for the person who leaked the information”, Blewitt [the ICTY spokesman] replied that he did not want to go into that. He said that the OTP would strengthen the existing procedures to prevent this from happening again, however he added that you could not stop people from talking”.35 THE USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN CROATIA The massacres conducted under Operation Storm “set the stage” for the “ethnic cleansing” of at least 180,000 Krajina Serbs (according to estimates of the Croatian Helsinki Committee and Amnesty International). According to other sources, the number of victims of ethnic cleansing in Krajina was much larger. Moreover, there are indications that chemical weapons may have been used in the Yugoslav civil war (1991-95).36 Although there is no firm evidence of the use of chemical weapons against Croatian Serbs, an ongoing enquiry by the Canadian Minister of Defence (launched in July 1999) points to the possibility of toxic poisoning of Canadian Peacekeepers while on service in Croatia between 1993 and 1995:
“There was a smell of blood in the air during the past week as the media sensed they had a major scandal unfolding within the Department of National Defense over the medical files of those Canadians who served in Croatia in 1993. Allegations of destroyed documents, a coverup, and a defensive minister and senior officers…”37
The official release of the Department of National Defence (DND) refers to possibility of toxic “soil contamination” in Medak Pocket in 1993 (see below). Was it “soil contamination” or something far more serious? The criminal investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) refers to the shredding of medical files of former Canadian peacekeepers by the DND. In other words did the DND have something to hide? The issue remains as to what types of shells and ammunitions were used by the Croatian Armed Forces ie. were chemical weapons used against Serb civilians?
OPERATION STORM: THE ACCOUNT OF THE ROYAL CANADIAN REGIMENT
Prior to the onslaught, Croatian radio had previously broadcasted a message by president Franjo Tudjman, calling upon “Croatian citizens of Serbian ethnicity… to remain in their homes and not to fear the Croatian authorities, which will respect their minority rights.”38 Canadian peacekeepers of the Second Battalion of the Royal 22nd Regiment witnessed the atrocities committed by Croatian troops in the Krajina offensive in September 1995:
“Any Serb who had failed to evacuate their property were systematically “cleansed” by roving death squads. Every abandoned animal was slaughtered and any Serb household was ransacked and torched”.39
Also confirmed by Canadian peacekeepers was the participation of German mercenaries in Operation Storm: “Immediately behind the frontline Croatian combat troops and German mercenaries, a large number of hardline extremists had pushed into the Krajina. …Many of these atrocities were carried out within the Canadian Sector, but as the peacekeepers were soon informed by the Croat authorities, the UN no longer had any formal authority in the region.”40 How the Germans mercenaries were recruited was never officially revealed. An investigation by the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) confirmed the that foreign mercenaries in Croatia had in some cases “been paid [and presumably recruited] outside Croatia and by third parties.”41 THE 1993 MEDAK POCKET MASSACRE According to Jane Defence Weekly (10 June 1999), Brigadier General Agim Ceku (now in charge of the KLA) also “masterminded the successful HV [Croatian Army] offensive at Medak” in September 1993. In Medak, the combat operation was entitled “Scorched Earth” resulting in the total destruction of the Serbian villages of Divoselo, Pocitelj and Citluk, and the massacre of over 100 civilians.42 These massacres were also witnessed by Canadian peacekeepers under UN mandate: “As the sun rose over the horizon, it revealed a Medak Valley engulfed in smoke and flames. As the frustrated soldiers of 2PPCLI waited for the order to move forward into the pocket, shots and screams still rang out as the ethnic cleansing continued. …About 20 members of the international press had tagged along, anxious to see the Medak battleground. Calvin [a Canadian officer] called an informal press conference at the head of the column and loudly accused the Croats of trying to hide war crimes against the Serb inhabitants. The Croats started withdrawing back to their old lines, taking with them whatever loot they hadn’t destroyed. All livestock had been killed and houses torched. French reconnaissance troops and the Canadian command element pushed up the valley and soon began to find bodies of Serb civilians, some already decomposing, others freshly slaughtered. …Finally, on the drizzly morning of Sept. 17, teams of UN civilian police arrived to probe the smouldering ruins for murder victims. Rotting corpses lying out in the open were catalogued, then turned over to the peacekeepers for burial.”43 The massacres were reported to the Canadian Minister of Defence and to the United Nations:
“Senior defence bureaucrats back in Ottawa had no way of predicting the outcome of the engagement in terms of political fallout. To them, there was no point in calling media attention to a situation that might easily backfire. …So Medak was relegated to the memory hole no publicity, no recriminations, no official record. Except for those soldiers involved, Canada’s most lively military action since the Korean War simply never happened.”44
23. Quoted in Raymond Bonner, War Crimes Panel Finds Croat Troops Cleansed the Serbs, New York Times, 21 March 1999). 24. Ibid. 25. Ibid. 26. Raymond Bonner, op cit. 27. Ken Silverstein, “Privatizing War”, The Nation, New York, 27 July 1997. 28. See Mark Thompson et al, “Generals for Hire”, Time Magazine, 15 January 1996, p. 34. 29. Quoted in Silverstein, op cit. 30. Mark Thompson et al, op cit. 31. Raymond Bonner, op cit. 32. Ibid. 33. ICTY Weekly Press Briefing, 24 March 1999). 34. Ibid. 35. Ibid. 36. See inter alia Reuters dispatch, 21 October 1993 on the use of chemical grenades, a New York Times report on 31 October 1992 on the use of poisoned gas). 37. Lewis MacKenzie, “Giving our soldiers the benefit of the doubt”, National Post, 2 August 1999. 38. Slobodna Dalmacija, Split, Croatia, August 5 1996. 39. Scott Taylor and Brian Nolan, The Sunday Sun, Toronto, 2 November 1998. 40. Ibid. 41. United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Fifty-first session, Item 9 of the provisional agenda, Geneva, 21 December 1994). 42. (See Memorandum on the Violation of the Human and Civil Rights of the Serbian People in the Republic of Croatia, http://serbianlinks.freehosting.net/memorandum.htm 43. Excerpts from the book of Scott Taylor and Brian Nolan published in the Toronto Sun, 1 November 1998. 44. Ibid. —————————————————————————————— Below is a reprint of the “Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy” article from January 31, 1993, entitled: ”Croatia, at a Key Strategic Crossroad, Builds Militarily and Geographically”
The January 25, 1993, Croatian National Guard’s surprise offensive into the Krijena region of what has now been recognized as part of the Croatian State was the start of the end of Croatia’s image abroad as the “injured party” in the current Balkan conflict. A tenuous peace had been in existence in and around the historically Serbian enclave of Krijena for more than a year. The main Croatian objective seemed to be to disrupt the Bosnia and Herzegovina peace negotiations which were coming to fruition in Geneva. The Croatian Government had said that it accepted the draft peace proposals for Bosnia and Herzegovina, but then intentionally ensured a breakdown in the overall Balkan peace process.
Croatia’s military objectives in the offensive were blurred. The stated intention of recovering the bridge which linked northern Croatia to its Dalmatian coastal region, and to seize the airport, were not valid. It was already clear that these targets were ready to be handed over peacefully by the Serbs as part of a long-term settlement which would have allowed the Krijena Serbs to administer their own affairs. The Krijena offensive demonstrated Croatian military strength, but it also raised the question to an international audience as to whether the shape of Croatia itself, so hastily agreed by the European community and then the UN, is in fact legal or valid. Krijena was never a Croat area, and, indeed, Dalmatia itself was historically never part of the region normally associated with Croatia.
The offensive sent US and EC military and political policymakers and analysts scurrying for information on Croatian military capability. Croatian secrecy meant that there was almost no information available. Croatia’s defense posture was, from the achievement of independence from the old state of Yugoslavia in 1991, conditioned primarily by the antagonism of the Croatian Government toward its neighbor, the “new” Yugoslavia. The Croatian Armed Forces, mainly built around the Croatian National Guard ground force, was created just before independence a a mobile, light force, relying heavily on German guidance and equipment, along with an assortment of illegally-acquired Western and Eastern bloc systems. The secondary consideration in the structure and mission of the Croatian Armed Forces rests in the country’s expansionist aims within the region. This includes projection into the neighboring former Yugoslav state, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where — by early 1993 — Croatia had deployed 65,000 ground troops in 10 to 12 brigades of its approximately 77 National Guard brigades. [See map: Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, December 31, 1992. Croatian deployment into Bosnia and Herzegovina had reached only 40,000 by early December 1992.]
The Croatian Armed Forces acquired considerable quantities of weapons which had been cached in the republic by the old Armed Forces of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). In addition, during 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993, Croatia continued to acquire considerable quantities of Western and Eastern bloc equipment.
The effective annual defense expenditure of Croatia could not be easily identified, even by the Croatian Government. Much of the acquisition of weapons and systems has been undertaken through barter for Croatian goods and services, and much has been provided as covert aid from other friendly powers (Germany, principally is believed to have provided goods from the former East German Armed Forces inventory at little cost).
Weapons have come from a wide range of sources, even though German or other brokers participated in the embargo-busting. A squadron of ex-Soviet Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot ground attack aircraft was believed to have been negotiated from former Soviet stocks in the now-independent Republic of Georgia.
The principal force in the Croatian Armed Forces is the National Guard (Army). The Air Force began to acquire aircraft in 1992, however, and acquired the former Yugoslav Air Force bases which had been located in Croatia.
The Air Force itself is primarily equipped with former Soviet combat aircraft, although the international embargo on the provision of weapons into the region has meant that, by working illegally around the United Nations sanctions, Croatia has obtained a variety of different aircraft.
The Croatian Navy, formed on the effective secession of Croatia from Yugoslavia in 1991, inherited few vessels from the Yugoslav Navy. All mobile vessels in the Yugoslav Navy moved from Croatian ports, which had been its main bases for more than seven decades, to Montenegrin ports. Only those vessels left in drydock in such Croatian ports as Split and Dubrovnik were left by the Yugoslav Navy for Croatia. These totaled only some 13 patrol vessels.
No clear definition was available as to the command and control structure of the Croatian Armed Forces at the start of 1993. A number of ultra-nationalist Croatian forces were created in Croatia, and within the Croat community in Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1990 and afterwards. The extent of control over these groups by the Government varies.
Croatia’s defense industrial capacity is fairly well advanced, despite the fact that some of the machinery and expertise in the facilities created by the Yugoslav Government was withdrawn when Croatia seceded from the federation. Croatian small arms factories are producing weapons, including an indigenously designed submachinegun, and it is believed that the M-84 main battle tank production line has been re-opened. This is highly significant in terms of its contribution to Croatia’s order of battle. The M-84 is a highly-successful development of the Soviet T-72 design, but with far greater fire control sophistication. Kuwait, which has the M-84 (the only export customer from the old Yugoslavia), claims it to be superior to the US General Dynamics M-1A1 MBT.
It is believed also that the M-84 production line has been re-established inside new Yugoslavia, based on capacity and expertise removed at the time the federation began to break up.
Croatia, once part of Yugoslavia and before that part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is a crescent-shaped Balkan state in Europe, bordered on the north-west by Slovenia; on the west by the (Yugoslav) Serbian district of Vojvodina; on the north-east by Hungary; and on the west and north-east by Bosnia and Herzegovina. To the south-west it faces the Adriatic Sea.
Croatia, which had never in the modern context been an independent state, was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the end of World War I. The end of that conflict, and the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, caused the Croatian National Sabor (parliament) to vote on October 28, 1918, for Croatia and Slavonia, with Rijeka and Dalmatia, to secede from Austria-Hungary. At the same time, a general convention in Ljubljana announced Slovenia’s secession from Austria and its unification with Croatia and Serbia. The state of the Slovenes, Croats and Serbs was formed, and a parliament created for the new multi-state entity: the National Council of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, based in Zagreb.
On November 24, 1918, a special mission was appointed by the National Council to negotiate with the Government of Serbia. The negotiations resulted in the creation of the united Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes on December 20, 1918, under the national leadership of what had, until that time, been the Serbian crown. When they joined the new Yugoslav Kingdom in 1918, Croatia and Slavonia with Srem had a territory of 42,533 sq.km. Medjumurje, totalling 775 sq.km. in area, was also under the jurisdiction of the Government of Croatia and Slavonia. [Modern Croatia, the boundaries of which were formed later by the Croatian leader of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz “Tito,” now has a territorial area of 56,538 sq.km., the additional land having been taken away from Serbia and what had been Dalmatia.] Dalmatia was an independent state at the time of its accession to the Yugoslav state, and had been self-governing since ancient times. Dalmatia’s earlier roots had been with the Venetian Republic, unlike Croatia’s roots in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, commonly known as Yugoslavia, the land of the Southern Slavs, changed its name officially on October 3, 1929, to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
Croatia, coming under the Austro-Hungarian Empire for many centuries, was European in orientation. Its language — Serbo-Croat — is almost identical to the language spoken by Serbs, but it is written in Latin characters, whereas Serbian is written in cyrillic characters. As well, because of its history, Croatia has traditionally been a Roman Catholic Christian area, whereas Serbs have traditionally been Serbian Orthodox Christians.
Yugoslavia was originally divided into 32 administrative districts and then, in 1929, into banovine (regional units ruled by a ban). This new set of internal districts was not based on nationalism (ie: ethnicity), but on economic, geographic and other criteria.
Croatia, despite the fact that it had voted to join into the new Yugoslavia, remained passionately nationalistic throughout the years between 1918 and the start of World War II in 1939. That war was to prove the watershed for Yugoslavia, which stood in the path of Germany’s access to the Eastern Mediterranean, an area vital to German reach toward the Middle Eastern oil reserves, and, among other things, the East-West trade links through the Suez Canal. the Armed Forces of Adolf Hitler’s nazi Germany invaded Yugoslavia without declaring war on April 6, 1941.
The surprise attack left Yugoslavia at Hitler’s mercy, and an “Independent State of Croatia” (Nezavisna Drzava Hrvatska: NDH) was declared on April 14, 1941, the same day the German 14th Tank Division entered the Croatian capital, Zagreb. The NDH and the Croatian people as a whole overwhelmingly embraced the new German overlords of the “independent” state under the fascist head-of-state, Poglavnik (leader) Ante pavelic, head of the Ustaše movement.
The new NDH Government worked actively with the Germans to implement “ethnic cleansing” programs, but broadened the scope of the campaign to include the eradication of all Serbs, Jews and Gypsies. The NDH Government, through Dr Milovan Zanic, said at the time: “This will be a country of Croats and none other, and we as Ustaše will use every possible method to make this country truly Croat and purge it of the Serbs. We are not hiding this, it will be the policy of this state and when it is carried out, we will be carrying out what is written down in the Ustaše principles.” The accession of the new NDH Government brought about an immediate campaign of genocide, principally against the Serbs, but also against Jews and Gypsies.
The NDH Government lasted only as long as Germany’s nazi Third Reich survived, and collapsed in 1945. By that time, however, the NDH and its Ustaše Government had killed at least one-million Serbs, most of them by methods so brutal that German officers attached to Ustaše units complained to Berlin about the barbarity of their hosts.
The NDH Government established the largest concentration camp in the Third Reich at Jasenovac in August 1941. The Jasenovac Concentration and Labour Camp covered 210 sq.km. in the area around the confluence of the Una and Sava rivers, and comprised a series of specialist camps, including at least one for infants. Jasenovac itself saw the deaths of some 600,000 people in 1,334 days and nights of killing. Some 20,000 children under the age of 14 were killed in the Jasenovac sub-camp at Donja Gradina. Roman Catholic Croatian priests worked actively to support the Ustaše, and one was commandant of Jasenovac for four months (during which time he personally killed at least 100 people and sent some 30,000 more to their deaths). [See also, Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, December 31, 1992.]
The end of World War II saw the collapse of the Nazi puppet NDH state. Most of its leaders, and the Ustaše who were involved in the mass killings, fled the country. Ante Pavelic himself fled into Austria, where he was protected in Roman Catholic churches. From there, he fled to Rome with the help of false papers provided by the Roman Catholic church, and he his there in the Croatian Roman Catholic sanctuary of the Vatican, known as the San Geronimo Brotherhood. When it was known that the United States security forces were attempting to capture him, Pavelic was smuggled out by the brotherhood to Argentina, where he became a security adviser to Argentine President Juan Peron. Pavelic died peacefully in Argentina some years later. The Peronist Government subsequently gave 35,000 Ustaše visas to enter Argentina.
The comprehensive escape route and support apparatus for Ustaše war criminals became known as the “ratlines.” Many of its membership were to return for the independence celebrations of the new state of Croatia when it once again became independent — again with the help of Germany — in 1991.
The collapse of Germany and the NDH saw the revival of a unified Yugoslavia, under the leadership of the communist partisan leader Josip Broz, known as Marshal Tito. Tito’s partisans were under the control of his Communist Part of Yugoslavia, an organisation which had been initially established by the Soviet Comintern (Communist International). Leadership of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia during that period was substantially Croat and Slovene. But the partisans had also received considerable Allied assistance during World War II, to bolster the fight against the occupying German forces. The Allies had, in fact, favored Tito, despite his communism, over the royalist Col. Drazu Mihajlovic and his cetnik forces, which would have favored the restoration of the exiled monarchical Government after the ouster of the nazis.
The victorious Allies recognized the new Government under the Croatian communist Tito, who, on November 28, 1945, named the “second Yugoslavia” as the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia at a session of the Constituent Assembly. The Federal People’s Assembly, on April 7, 1963, re-named it The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Tito, who was to all intents the sovereign leader of Yugoslavia until his death, decreed that no discussion was to take place of the Croatian genocidal war against Serbia, and in the years that followed none of the anti-communist Croats in exile were seriously harried by Tito’s security forces. Serbian anti-communist exiles were, however, constantly harried, even in remote countries such as Australia or the United States. As a result, an effective and wealthy expatriate Croatian community grew up outside the country.
During this period Croatia and Slovenia maintained their own national communist parties, while there was no communist party in Serbia. As a result, with the backing of the Comintern, and Soviet leader Josef Stalin, the new, post-World War II communist leadership of Yugoslavia was heavily structured in favor of the Croats and Slovenes, and against the Serbs. The Communist Party was the sole legal party of Yugoslavia from 1945 until the multi-party elections in the national republics in 1990.
During World War II, even before the occupying Germans were removed, the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, under Tito, determined the new internal boundaries of the post-war federation. These federal units, or republics, reflected the decisive input of Tito and the Slovenian, Edvard Kardelj. As a result, post-war Yugoslavia showed internal federal, or republican, boundaries within what became known as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), which favored Croatia and Slovenia territorially. There was little historical justification, for example, in lumping Dalmatia into Croatia, other than to give that republic strong sea access.
Tito knew that these artificial boundaries would not be accepted as “national” units, despite the fact that they bore nominal designation as the Republics of Croatia, Republic of Slovenia, etc. There was no discussion of these boundaries in legal terms either before the creation of the SFRY or afterwards. Tito himself said that the frontiers between the internal Yugoslav republics were only “administrative.” Despite this “assurance,” it was this boundary structure which was to be used as the legal definition of what were to become, in 1991, the independent and sovereign states of Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, and Montenegro.
Tito was particularly suspicious of the Serbs who, although they were the most committed to the concept of a federal Yugoslav entity, were also regarded as the fount of the monarchy and “intrinsically monarchist,” as opposed to communist. The result was that Croats and Slovenes were moved into the position of greatest power within Yugoslavia, despite the fact that some 70 percent of the officers in the Yugoslav Armed Forces were Serbs.
Tito died in May 1980, and was succeeded by a Collective Presidency which, despite the nationalist aspirations which began to re-surface, managed to hold Yugoslavia together until the 1990 multi-party elections. The new Government in Slovenia unilaterally declared its sovereignty, and then its independence from Yugoslavia, in 1991. Slovenia’s independence and sovereignty were immediately, and unilaterally, recognized by Germany, forcing other European Community states, and then the United States, into recognizing the new status.
Meanwhile, in Croatia, the HDZ had won control of the Sabor on May 30, 1990, and had elected Dr Franjo Tudjman as President of the Republic. The Republic of Croatia was, at this time, still part of the broader Yugoslav Federation.
The German recognition of Slovenia pre-empted any opportunity for a peaceful break-up of the SFRY. Croatia followed Slovenia’s lead, with Germany’s support, declaring its independence and sovereignty. First, the sovereignty of Croatia was declared by the ruling HDZ in the Sabor on December 22, 1990. A new Croatian constitution was introduced by President Tudjman defining the state as the national state of the Croatian people “and others,” immediately and pointedly relegating the Serbs, Muslims, Slovenes, Czechs, Italians, Jews, Hungarians and others to second-class status.
By early 1991, Croatia was preparing for full unilateral separation from Yugoslavia. A rally at the Zagreb football stadium on May 28, 1991, saw the parading of a large, well-equipped Croatian Army unit, which was inspected by Pres. Tudjman and other senior ministers. This was the National Guard Corps, which formed the basis of the new Croatian Armed Forces, along with the Ministry of Interior Affairs units, and “volunteer units.”
The first Minister of Interior Affairs in the HDZ Government, Martin Spegelj, was a senior general in the Yugoslav Armed Forces (JNA) at the time of the creation of the new Croatia. He said, on January 20, 1991, while the JNA was still officially the common army of Yugoslavia: “We are in the war with [ie: against] the Army (JNA). Should anything happen, kill them all in the streets, in their homes, through hand grenades, fire pistols in their bellies, women, children . . . We will deal with [the Croatian Serbian area of] Knin by butchering . . .” The new Croatian offensive of January 1993 was aimed directly at Knin, the capital of the historically Serb region of Krijena.
The rallies announcing Croatia’s new freedom were marked by the official showing of the new State’s symbols, which included the same red-and-white chequerboard shield which the Ustasha used before and during World War II. President Tudjman had already made his position clear: he invited to the first Convention of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) in Zagreb more than a hundred Ustaše who had been declared war criminals as a result of World War II. They had come back to Croatia, often with their sons, from hiding in such countries as Australia, Argentina and elsewhere. At that convention, Tudjman defended the 1941-45 Independent State of Croatia as being not merely a “quisling creation,” but also “an expression of the historical aspirations of the Croatian people for an independent state of their own and recognition of international factors — the Government of Hitler’s Germany in this case.”
Revival of Croatian genocide against the Serbian residents of the state began before mid-year, 1991. Many Croatian Serbs packed, and began fleeing to Serbia where, by early 1993, there were some 800,000 refugees from the violence of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Many left the Balkans altogether. By late 1991, Croatia began an organised elimination of Serbs in the districts of Grubisno Polje, Moslavina and Slavonska Pozegra. Many Serb residents fled first to Bosnia, and then were forced by additional fighting to flee to Serbia. The campaign by the Croatian Armed Forces spread throughout the republic wherever there were Serb villages or communities.
The violence against Serbs — the “ethnic cleansing” of Croatia — revived on a scale and method which reminded the victims of the genocidal actions during the 1941-45 days of the Independent State of Croatia. Some 450 Serbian Orthodox churches had been destroyed by Croats in that conflict. Between the beginning of 1991 and early 1993, Croats and Bosnian Muslims had destroyed a further 300 Serbian Orthodox churches.
The JNA was still officially engaged as the rear guard of the old Yugoslavia in 1991, and attempted vainly to withdraw without conflict into the new boundaries which were being created de facto for Yugoslavia: the boundaries of the states of Serbia and Montenegro. But there were aras where the JNA tried to stop the renewed genocide against the Serbian and other minority communities. Serbian groups within Croatia rallied and formed units such as the Serbian Volunteer Guards, and fought alongside the JNA in Laslovo and other areas, and in the attempt to free the city of Vukovar from Croatian control before all the Serbian residents were killed.
The Croatian Ustaše regarded Vukovar as one of the most important targets in the (1941-45) Independent State of Croatia. In one drive alone, during World War II, the Ustaše killed some 10,000 Serbian residents of Vukovar and surrounding areas. The Ustaše again took control of Vukovar and neighboring borovo between June 1 and November 23, 1991. At the Borovo footware factory at the exit from Vukovar, the Croats established a new concentration camp, rounding up and interning local Serbian civilians. At this site the Croats interned some 5,000 Serbs, and there and at the Rowing Club of Vukovar, the almost ritualistic killing of Serbs began again. The basement of the Borovo-komerc concentration camp also housed the headquarters of Marko Filkovic, commanding officer of the ZNG, the official Croatian National Guard Corps. More than 1,000 Serbs died in these two facilities, and on the streets and in their homes, before the JNA fought its way into Vukovar on November 23, 1991.
It was during the Vukovar conflict that the Croatian authorities began successfully experimenting with image-manipulating propaganda, forcing captured and inured Serbs to state in the Vukovar hospital, in front of video cameras, that they were being well-treated. Videotape was released to the international media and broadcast extensively worldwide. The statement did not save the prisoners, who were subsequently killed.
Germany was by this time fully supporting Croatia, and providing it with arms and other military supplies (as it had done before the official break with Yugoslavia). Germany’s support contravened German and international laws, but fell in line with a German strategic outreaching of a type not seen since the end of World War II.
Pres. Tudjman claimed during 1991 and 1992 that Croatia was part of the European democratic and free market system, but some 90 percent of the economy by early 1993 was still in state hands, and the democratic freedoms typical in the rest of Europe were increasingly not in evidence in Croatia at that time. Freedom of speech was being curtailed throughout the country. The media was purged of Serbs, and editors — particularly in Dalmatia, which was never historically part of Croatia — were forced to toe a strict HDZ party line.
The HDZ, by late 1992, was attempting to assume the mantle of a Christian Democratic party, of the type prominent in Western Europe, despite the fact that its leadership was comprised largely of former senior communists of the Titoist and post-Tito SFRY years.
Croatia had, by late 1992, deployed some 40,000 of its forces, in 10 to 12 brigades, and backed by at least 60 main battle tanks and 80 heavy artillery pieces, into Bosnia and Herzegovina to aid Croats of that state to combat Serbs and Muslims, and sometimes to work with Muslims against Serbs. By early January 1993, the deployment had escalated to 65,000 troops. As well, Pres. Tudjman in 1991 ordered all the buildings and remaining structures at the World War II concentration camp of Jasenovac to be razed — with many of the artifacts and records inside — to make way for a “rare bird sanctuary”. The move destroyed one of the reminders of Ustaše genocide of World War II, while the World War II Ustaše flag has been raised again.
Despite Tudjman’s attempts to align with the European Christian Democratic movement, Croatia has been edging closer toward a one-party state structure. Tudjman does not stand on the extreme right of Croatian politics, despite his clear support for Ustaše genocidal and national-socialist [Nazi] policies. His move to have the HDZ totally dominate Croatian politics is a move to eliminate the ultra-Ustaše elements who feel that the President is not sufficiently rabid in his prosecution of Croatian geographic expansion and ethnic purity. He is, nonetheless, moving rapidly toward consolidating Croatia’s current geographic gains.