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Why are we dredging up Croatia's past?

The Media Suppressed the Truth about the Rebirth of Croatian Fascism

by Jared Israel
Editor, Emperor's Clothes

[Posted 11 August 2004]

========================================================

Recently someone asked why we were dredging up ancient history by republishing a 1947 report on Catholic Church involvement in Nazi Croatia. After all Nazi Croatia disappeared after World War II. Didn't it? [1]

The answer is that in order to understand why in 1990 the Serbs living in the Krajina, at the border of Bosnia and Croatia, refused to be ruled by a Croatia which harked back to its past, we must know something about that past. 

Moreover this is not a dead issue. 

The entire Serbian population of the Krajina (a mountainous land between Croatia and Bosnia) as well as virtually all Serbs living in Croatia proper were subsequently driven from that part of Yugoslavia.  We are talking about 600,000 people. Most are refugees in the impoverished Republic of Serbia.  Alongside them are hundreds of thousands of refugees from Kosovo and Bosnia, mostly Serbs but also Kosovo Albanians and Bosnian Muslims who were driven from their homes by 'their own' fascists for refusing to attack the Serbs. [2]

 All told, a million refugees subsist in Serbia.

These people have seen thousands of family members murdered. Nobody knows how many all told.  Whole villages have been wiped out, the ground washed with chlorine by Croatian soldiers so that all trace of Serbian presence was removed. The victims have been slandered worldwide. They have been robbed of billions of dollars worth of property, thousands of acres of farmland worked by the labor of generations.  All gone.

These terrible wrongs were condoned by the United States, Germany and the other NATO countries. And not just condoned but organized and sponsored - more, led - led by NATO, led by US officers of the highest rank, supposedly retired, organized in a corporation called MPRI, which is in fact a semi-private wing of the US military-intelligence apparatus, operating with State Department approval. [3]

In 1995, after the Croatian army, 'reorganized' by MPRI generals, drove 250,000 Serbs from their homes in the Krajina, Walter Russell Mead wrote in the San Jose Mercury:

[Excerpt from San Jose Mercury starts here]

The Croatian attack on rebel [sic!] Serbs had Washington's fingerprints all over it. U.S. generals helped train the Croatian attackers. The United States orchestrated the arms shipments - in violation of the United Nations arms embargo - that helped give the Croatian army its victory, and the United States gave Croatia a diplomatic go-ahead for the attack.

After three years of humiliation and frustration, the United States has reminded the Serbs that it isn't smart to mess with Uncle Sam...

In Washington, where just two weeks ago Congress, egged on by Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, voted against administration policies [Dole had pressed to have Washington arm the Bosnian Islamists openly instead of covertly! This is discussed in footnote #4. - EC ] the administration is back in the saddle, and its critics are looking very blue. Senators talk, presidents act, as Clinton can now remind Dole...The administration thinks that the invasion was a glorious triumph."[4]

[Excerpt from San Jose Mercury ends here]

The guilt of Croatia and of the NATO leaders must be admitted.  The officials who orchestrated this genocide must face trial. The Serbian families must be given back what was stolen from them and they must be compensated financially, although in truth no cash payment will compensate.

Why do we dredge up 'ancient history'? Because if people do not understand 'ancient history' they can be fooled by slick photo ops and newspaper articles tailored to produce emotional responses which serve the foreign policy objectives, open or covert, of elites. People get indoctrinated through the constant repetition of misleading images creating a superficial impression of who is the victim and who is the oppressor, often the reverse of the truth.

Such was the case with the conflict between the Krajina Serbs and secessionist Croatia. 

Let me give you an example. On 5 March 1990 the Toronto Star ran the following article about a Serb rally. Based on a Reuters dispatch, the article was most deceptive.

[Article from Toronto Star starts here]

PETROVA GORA, Yugoslavia (Reuter) - Thousands of Serbs poured into a Croatian mountain town yesterday to swell a protest rally against the rising tide of Croatian nationalism.

Some 50,000 demonstrators denounced calls by Croatian opposition groups for their republic's secession, accusing them of trying to tear Yugoslavia apart.

The Serbs, Yugoslavia's biggest ethnic group, flocked from all corners of the country to Petrova Gora, 531 kilometres (330 miles) west of Belgrade, the capital.

"We will kill (Franjo) Tudjman," the crowd bayed, referring to the leader of the nationalist Croatian Democratic Union, who gave support last week for an independent state of Croatia.[5]
[Our emphasis]

[Article from Toronto Star ends here]

This article creates the following false impressions: that Yugoslavia was being torn apart by a resurgence of spontaneous hatreds, when in fact outside powers were actively sponsoring certain racist forces. The article implies that the Serbs, as Yugoslavia's biggest ethnic group, wanted to keep the country united under their domination and that that was why they opposed Croatian nationalists. The Serbs are portrayed as violent; they supposedly wanted to kill Croatian leader Tudjman for nothing worse than "[giving] support last week for an independent state of Croatia".

There are several things wrong here. 

First, contrary to the line commonly put forward by the Western media during the 1990s, the Serbs did not run pre-1990 Yugoslavia.  This is discussed in some detail in the interview, "Nightmare with the best intentions," at http://emperors-clothes.com/interviews/tika.htm 

Second, the Toronto Star does not explain the historical meaning of the terms 'Croatian nationalism' and 'independent Croatia.'

Before March 1990, Croatia was independent only once. That was during World War II. The 'Croatian nationalists' who ruled 'independent Croatia' were the Ustashe, fanatical Catholic fascists who assisted the German Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia and whom the Nazis installed in power. The Ustashe were unimaginably brutal in persecuting Serbs, Jews and 'Gypsies'. In the Independent State of Croatia:

"…historic Croatia was expanded to include Bosnia-Herzegovina and other territories, and the Ustasha were left ... to govern a population of nearly 7 million people, of whom about half were Croats, just over 2 million were Serbs, about 750,000 were Muslims, and small numbers were Protestants and Jews.... The Minister of Education, Mile Budak, made clear the Ustasha aims: 'Our new Croatia will get rid of all Serbs in our midst in order to become one hundred percent Catholic within ten years.'"[6]

When Ustashe leader Mile Budak said Croatia "will get rid of all Serbs" he was not making an idle threat:

[Excerpt from Encyclopedia of the Holocaust starts here]

In a brutal terror campaign, more than half a million Serbs were killed, a quarter of a million expelled, and 200,000 forced to convert to Catholicism.

[…]

The murder methods applied by the Ustasha were extraordinarily primitive and sadistic: thousands were hurled from mountain tops, others were beaten to death or their throats cut, entire villages were burned down, women raped, people sent to death marches in the middle of winter, and still others starved to death.[7]

[Excerpt from Encyclopedia of the Holocaust ends here]

In 1990, the people whom the Toronto Star misleadingly called 'Croatian nationalists' openly worked to rehabilitate the image of their ghastly Ustashe forebears.

For example consider the case of Mile Budak, the Ustashe official quoted above. On 9 February 1993, twenty months after Franjo Tudjman's 'Croatian nationalists' announced Croatia's secession from Yugoslavia, an Associated Press dispatch reported that:

[Excerpt from Associated Press (AP) starts here]

Croatia has named a downtown street after the author of anti-Semitic laws who also served as a deputy to Croatia's World War II fascist leader, newspapers reported Tuesday.

Most of Zagreb University's facilities, including the philosophy department, are on the newly named Mile Budak Street. The new street signs have not been installed.

Budak was the author of an anti-Semitic law banning Jews from the arts and other public offices in World War II.

He was also a deputy to Ante Pavelic who headed the Fascist puppet government backed by Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime. Budak served as minister for education and culture.

An elementary school in Zagreb already bears Budak's name.

The renaming of the street - it had been named for Djuro Salaj, a World War II partisan leader - was done by the Commission for Renaming of Streets and Square, the newspapers said.

[…]

After the establishment of Pavelic's Ustasha regime in Zagreb, Budak published and co-signed the "Law on Protection of the Aryan Culture of Croatian People," which he [authored] with Ustasha leader Ante Pavelic.

That law prohibited Jews from participating "in activities of institutions of social, sports and cultural life of the Croatian people in general, and especially in literature, journalism, fine arts and musical arts, urban development, theater and film."[8]

[Excerpt from Associated Press (AP) ends here]

This was no different than if after World War II Germans had renamed a street in Bonn to honor Goebbels.  It is shocking that according to the media search engine Lexis-Nexis only two English language media picked up the AP dispatch: the Jerusalem Post and the Atlantic Constitution.

Apparently fearing an international uproar because of outrage in Israel, the Croatian government "quietly reversed" (AP) the decision to name the Zagreb street after Budak, but the elementary school kept his name and another street, this one in the seaside city of Split, was named after Budak as well. [8a]

At the same time that the media suppressed information about the Croatian embrace of Nazism, they demonized the Serbs.  Case in point: the Toronto Star article about the Serbian rally, quoted earlier.

The Washington Times also covered that rally. Here's an excerpt:

"'We will kill [Franjo] Tudjman,' the crowd bayed, referring to the leader of the nationalist Croatian Democratic Union who expressed support last week for the World War II independent state of Croatia." [Our emphasis] [9]

The Washington Times story doesn't name its source, but the writing is mostly identical to the Toronto Star article. For instance both articles tell us that the Serbs 'bayed'. Our dictionary says 'bayed' means "growled, howled, snarled, woofed or yipped," terms one might use to describe dogs but not people. Clearly both articles derive from the same source, which would be the Reuters dispatch.

Reuters went to bizarre lengths to demean the Serbs. But even that was not enough for the Toronto Star.

As quoted above, the Washington Times story stated that the Croatian leader, Franjo Tudjman, had expressed support the week before for Nazi Croatia. This was also alluded to in other news reports. For instance, the London Times reported that:

"At a recent convention in Zagreb, Dr. Tudjman even said the collaborationist Pavelic [Croatian] state [Just 'collaborationist'? Hitler referred to the Ustashe as 'our Nazis'! - EC] represented the aspirations of Croats. This provoked allegations that Dr. Tudjman was a crypto-fascist."[10]

But in their account the Toronto Star edited out the phrase "World War II." So instead of reading that Tudjman supported World War II independent Croatia, people read that he endorsed "an independent state of Croatia". A statement of support for clerical fascism was turned into a garden-variety call for independence. In fact by defending World War II Croatia, Tudjman made it abundantly clear what he was: Ustashe.

At the same time that Tudjman was expressing sympathy for Nazi Croatia, his group, the HDZ, was imitating its forebears by dynamiting the homes of Serbs and other antifascist Croatians. [11]

Of course, the people at the Serbian rally knew this; they knew all this and more. Virtually all Krajina Serbs had lost family members to the clerical butchers of 'independent Croatia.' Did they really shout, "We will kill Tudjman"? I don't know, but I do know this: contrary to the Western media, a Serb did not have to be a militant nationalist, indeed he or she did not have to be any kind of nationalist, to have cause to want to kill Franjo Tudjman.

Jared Israel, Editor
Emperor's Clothes
 

***

[Footnotes and Further Reading follows the fundraising appeal]

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Footnotes and Further Reading

[1] The Yugoslav report on the role of the Catholic Church in Nazi Croatia can be read, with photographs, at
http://emperors-clothes.com/croatia/stepinac1.htm

or without photographs at
http://emperors-clothes.com/croatia/stepinac2.htm

Please circulate the Stepinac report as widely as possible. To download it as a word file suitable for printing (for use in classes, etc.) go to
http://emperors-clothes.com/croatia/stepinacfile.doc 
 
[2] An Albanian who fled the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army tells his story in "A Stranger in Belgrade," at
http://emperors-clothes.com/interviews/albanian2.htm

[3] The MPRI website is at http://www.mpri.com/
We will discuss MPRI more in the future, time permitting.  Let us just note here that a key person in MPRI actions in Yugoslavia was Carl Vuono. In the context of his role in MPRI, Vuono is described on one State Department web page as: "Former U.S. Army chief of staff General Carl Vuono, the soldier who has been credited with helping revitalize the U.S. Army after the War in Vietnam..." 
http://www.usinfo.state.gov/regional/af/security/a1121001.htm
Can anyone believe that when top military people - Vuono was also in charge of Desert Storm! - 'retire' and then immediately go to work doing the *same things* they used to do and doing them in a super-sensitive crisis-area like Yugoslavia, and doing them with State Department approval, that they are functioning *only* as mercenaries? 

[4]The newspaper article cited is: San Jose Mercury News, August 15, 1995 Final Edition, Editorial; Pg. 7b, U.S. Orchestrated Croat Offensive And Eventually Will Face The Music, by Walter Russell Mead

In the San Jose Mercury article, Mr. Mead refers to a bill sponsored by Senators Dole and Lieberman. The bill called for ending the supposed embargo on arms for Alija Izetbegovic's Bosnian Islamists. (US politicians and the media called them "the Bosnian Muslims" even though their enemies, the Bosnian Serbs, were allied with Muslim supporters of Fikret Abdic, probably the most popular Bosnian Muslim politician.) The Clinton administration and proponents of the bill competed over who was more anti-Serb:

[Excerpt from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette starts here]

The Clinton administration battled yesterday to put off a Senate resolution that would lift the Bosnian arms embargo even as it groped for unity with its European allies on the worsening Balkan crises.

[…]

As the White House entreated Democratic loyalists to stall for time before a vote on the Dole resolution, senators supporting the arms transfers dominated the debate.

Sen. Joseph R. Biden, D-Del., a longtime advocate of arming the Bosnian Muslims, noted that both former President George Bush and Clinton have repeatedly insisted that the timing was wrong to end U.S. participation in the U.N.-sponsored arms embargo.

''Don't listen to the siren song of inaction one more time,'' Biden thundered. ''I challenge anyone to provide one shred of evidence that more waiting, or that [not] lifting the embargo, would enhance the prospect that fewer girls and women will be raped, that fewer young men will be murdered or that fewer elderly people will be 'ethnically cleansed.''

[Excerpt from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette starts here]

As revealed two years ago in the Dutch government's special report on Bosnia, far from withholding arms, Pentagon intelligence began coordinating Iranian and Saudi importation of both weapons and mujahideen to aid Bosnian Islamists during the first Bush administration; this continued under Clinton.  In 1994, a year *before* the mock battle over the Dole-Lieberman bill, a Senate committee revealed that the US "gave the green light" to illegal Iranian arms shipped into Bosnia. (This was what was publicly admitted; in reality it was just the tip of the iceberg.)

[Excerpt from Palm Beach Post starts here]

The Clinton administration came "perilously close" to engaging in an unauthorized covert action when it secretly gave a green light to Iranian arms shipments to Bosnia in 1994, a Senate committee said in a report Thursday.

[…]

The panel, known as the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, was investigating the administration's decision in April 1994 to signal to Croatia that the United States would not object to the creation of an Iranian arms pipeline through Croatia to supply the beleaguered Bosnian-Muslim government.

Also Thursday, the House Select Subcommittee on Iranian Arms Transfers said it is sending a 26-page letter to Attorney General Janet Reno detailing what it charges are "potential criminal violations" by senior administration officials stemming from the Iranian arms controversy. Those charges include perjury, obstruction of Congress and conspiracy.

[…]

[In addition]…there were other incidents…

One such incident occurred in September 1995, when the U.S. sent personnel to Croatia to inspect long-range rockets bound for Bosnia, but once it was determined that the rockets were not equipped with chemical warheads, American officials did not object to allowing them to continue on to Bosnia.
(Palm Beach Post, November 8, 1996, Friday,, Final Edition, Pg. 3a, Panel Raps Clinton's Ok Of Iranian Arms To Bosnia, James Risen, Washington)

[Excerpt from Palm Beach Post ends here]

No criminal charges were brought against Clinton. Instead, the demonization of the Serbs intensified, preparing Western opinion for the US-organized May 1995 Croatian invasion of the part of the Serbian Krajina known as Western Slavonia and then, in August, the invasion of the entire Krajina, followed soon after that by massive NATO bombing of the Bosnian Serbs. 

[5] The Toronto Star, March 5, 1990, Monday, FINAL EDITION, NEWS; Pg. A3, 120 words, 50,000 angry Serbs denounce Croatians' efforts to secede

[6] Professor Clive Ponting, "Armageddon," Random House, Inc., New York, 1995, pages 231-232.

[7] 'Encyclopedia of the Holocaust,' Vol. 1, page 323, entry: Croatia.

[8] The Associated Press, February 9, 1993, Tuesday, AM cycle, International News, 261 words, Croatia Names Street After World War II Fascist Leader, Zagreb, Croatia

Agence France Presse -- English, November 5, 1993, News, 267 words, Croatian Jews protest "attempted rehabilitation" of fascist state, Zagreb

[8a] The Associated Press, February 25, 1993, Thursday, PM cycle, International News, 179 words, Croatia Reverses Decision To Name Street After Fascist Leader, Zagreb, Croatia

[9] Washington Times, March 5, 1990, Monday, Final Edition, Part A; Top of the News; World; Pg. A2, 153 Words,  Angry Serbs Protest Croatian Nationalism, Petrova Gora, Yugoslavia

[10] The Times, March 6, 1990, Tuesday, Overseas news, 348 words, Old wounds reopen in Croatia as the Serbs demand arms, From Richard Bassett and Dessa Trevisan, Belgrade

[11] A Croatian human rights investigator told NY Times reporter David Binder that in the early 1990s Tudjman's terrorists dynamited 10,000 homes of Serbs and antifascist Croats. 
http://emperors-clothes.com/archive/dynamited.htm

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