What advice would Nelson Mandela give to Julienne Busic?

Julienne Busic (L) Zvonko Busic (R)

Translation into English of article written by Ivan Pepic, Vecernji List 

„Julienne Busic is once again the target in certain media of cyber-bullying and false accusations. This time the impetus is her support for Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic in the second round of presidential elections on January 5“, writes Ivan Pepic in his Vecernji List blog-sphere.

Certain journalists have defined Julienne and Zvonko Busic as terrorists due to their participation in the hijacking of an American passenger plane in 1976. It might seem incomprehensible today, but in the 1970s, there were over 60 recorded plane hijackings. They differed in goals, ideology, and, most of all, in their approach toward hostages, cooperation with authorities, and views regarding the murder of civilians and politicians.

The goal of the Busic hijacking was to throw leaflets from their plane over London and Paris describing the oppression of Croatians in Communist Yugoslavia. Witnesses claim that the treatment of passengers by the hijackers was excellent, as well as their behaviour toward authorities. This is confirmed by numerous letters from the plane passengers, many of whom still communicate today with Julienne Busic. Unfortunately, due to the proven negligent handling of the explosive (left in New York’s Grand Central Station) during the deactivation procedure four and a half hours later at the detonation site, an American police officer died. Zvonko and his then 28-year old wife were sentenced to life imprisonment in the U.S., with parole eligibility for Zvonko after ten years, and for Julienne after eight years.

Several Croatian web sites have described Julienne Busic as a „convicted terrorist“. The truth is that the Busics were never convicted of terrorism, nor did they intend to kill, in contrast to scores of other 1970s hijackers. Federal judge John Bartels stated in 1976 during their sentencing that „before I begin, it would be incorrect and unfair if I did not say that I do not consider Zvonko Busic, his wife, or the others war criminals or terrorists“.

 

 

United States District Judge John R. Bartels letter 1992 (click to enlarge)

He said the same thing in 1986, when parole was being considered: „there is no question in my mind that Julienne was not a terrorist in any sense of the word.“ And in 1992, he supported parole for Zvonko Busic, stating that he „was not a terrorist.“  The word „terrorist“ is also not mentioned anywhere in the sentencing statement.

However, when the Croatian media oligarchy promotes censorship instead of freedom of speech – assisted by immoral „paragons“ such as Vesna Pusic (who falsely accused Croatia of committing aggression against its neighbouring country) – and labels Julienne Busic a terrorist, as well as other Croatian defenders who took up the gauntlet outside Croatia and returned in the 1990s – who cares what the American courts have to say?

US District Court Judge John R. Bartels letter 1986:
“There is no question in my mind
that Julienne Busic was not a terrorist in any sense of the word…”

Telegram’s journalist, Jasmin Klaric, expressed no outrage when Karl-Heinz Dellwo, convicted member of the terrorist, Communist organisation Baader-Meinhof, which was responsible for the deaths of no less than 34 people and the wounding of 296 more in terrorist attacks between 1973-1995, gave an interview to Zarez and other media financed by Croatian taxpayers.  Karlic was mute when Dellwo held lectures at the Philosophy Department during the Subversive Festival in 2008, and actively participated in promoting Yanis Vaoufakisa in Zagreb in 2015. Dellwo was sentenced to life imprisonment for a hostage crisis and murders of two employees in the West German Embassy in Stockholm  He served 20 years, seven more than Julienne Busic, the object of their vilification.  On the other hand, Dellwo enjoys media and intellectual space in Croatia, although her liability is far less than that of the German terrorist group.

The same applies to the Italian Marxist, Antonia Negri, member of the Red Brigade.  Negri was convicted of terrorism and directly participated in murders and assassinations.  He went on the run, but ultimately served twenty years in an Italian prison. The Red Brigade is known for its cruel murder of the Italian premier, Aldo Moro.  Negri was presented recently in the Croatian media as, and I quote, the „guru of the post-modern left“.  He was also a guest at the Subversive Festival in Zagreb, as well as other events financed by the state budget.

These same people also glorify Nelson Mandela. Mandela received a life sentence for 221 acts of sabotage and terrorist actions consisting of the deaths of innocent civilians, and blowing up public and government buildings in the name of freedom from the ongoing repression of the South African apartheid. Amnesty International even refused to name him „Prisoner of Conscience“ in 1964 due to his advocacy of violence, in contrast to the Busics, who did not. His struggle left deep scars on South African society, which is today suffering from its own type of apartheid, but in the opposite direction.

For years Mandela was considered a terrorist, until the United States and several other countries began to militate against racial discrimination. Support for this effort was needed from leftist political organisations such as the French Socialist Party of Francois Mitterand, who also offered assistance to members of the Red Brigade through the „Mitterand Doctrine“; it offered political asylum which was enjoyed predominantly by Communist fugitives.

Mandela went to prison in 1964 and was released in 1990, after serving 27 years. Ten years later, in a Larry King interview on CNN, Mandela had this to say about whether he was a terrorist: „Well, terrorism depends on…who wins…I was called a terrorist yesterday, but when I came out of jail, many people embraced me, including my enemies, and that is what I normally tell other people who say those who are struggling for liberation in their country are terrorists. I tell them that I was also a terrorist yesterday, but, today, I am admired by the very people who said I was one.”

The accuracy of his statement was illustrated by Bill Clinton’s clemency for members of the Puerto Rican terrorist group, Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN), in 1990. The FALN was responsible for 130 terrorist attacks, murders, and wounding of scores of people.  It is noteworthy that the clemency was granted just before Hillary Clinton’s election to the American Senate. More Puerto Ricans reside in New York, the state in which Hillary was a candidate, than in Puerto Rico. The clemency guaranteed Hillary their votes.

The same applies in Croatia.  Ideological apologists on the left, usually blind followers of Yugoslav-style censorship, control who gets „pardoned“, who is censored in schools, and which subversive guests appear in public. For these kind of people, Julienne Busic will always be a „terrorist“, although she never was.

Busic’s actions cannot be compared with the actions of the convicted terrorists and guests of Zagreb salons, Negri, Dellwo and others, but a lot of time will apparently have to pass before the anti-democratic journalists indoctrinated in Yugoslav press schools will accomplish what Mandela envisioned.

Charles Sullivan, President of International CURE letter 2019 (click to enlarge)

 

Croatia: In The Throes Of Threat Of Illiberal Democracy

 

Dr Franjo Tudjman
Ushers Croatia Out Of Communism – 1991
Photo: http://www.franjotudjman.hr

November 2019 marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. While for Germany it meant reunification of the country, for communist countries in Europe it meant fall of communism, fall of totalitarian regime, was imminent. For Croats living abroad at the time who pined for democracy and freedom, who fled communist Yugoslavia due to political oppression that made living in Yugoslavia virtually a harsh battle for mere survival and even life-threatening the fall of the Berlin Wall echoed with real prospects for Croatia’s independence from Yugoslavia. Sweeter echoes could not have reached their ears and hearts and minds.

Personally, my greatest hope was for Croats living in Croatia and those living outside it to experience freedom. The freedom experienced by people living in full democracies laced richly with opportunities for advancing own life and pursuit of individual expression without fear of reprisals that threaten one’s existence and progress in life. My greatest concern, though, was to experience the brutality of power, and in general, of human nature once harsh communist operatives and pro-Yugoslavia apparatchiks start feeling the heat of rejection.

I recall three key moments from that time. Reading Croatian press published in the diaspora with Dr Franjo Tudjman (the first president of independent modern Croatia) writing about real possibilities of seizing the moment (of the fall of Berlin Wall) and going head-on together with Croatian diaspora in the move to establish a free and independent Croatia. Formation of multiple political parties in Croatia and first multi-party election to form the new Parliament in 1990 after 45 years of communist Yugoslavia totalitarian rule. The independence or secession from Yugoslavia referendum in May 1991 and the phone calls I received from Croatia which all in sweet excitement said words to the effect: “it’s all going to be alright; Croatia will be independent.”

My response was always – I fear all is not going to be alright; the communists are a wild, brutal lot and will not relinquish their power just because 94% of voters voted “Yes” to independence at the referendum. And so, all was not alright – Serb and Yugoslav Army onslaught against Croatia unleashed a horrific war of aggression in Croatia, murderous taking of tens of thousands of lives, ethnic cleansing of Croats from one third of Croatian territory, vicious destruction of Croatian homes, religious and cultural buildings and property.

My biggest hope was that Croatia would adopt the Western democratic values. That Croatian youth will have the same opportunities to advance in life as our children living in the West had.

Thirty years on and Croatia in independent and a member state of the European Union. Democracy seems to have won, but recent political developments and revival of nostalgia for the former communist rule indicate a path towards illiberal democracy. Former communists, or their kin, sit is chairs of power; mainstream media is controlled by those who continue smothering Croatian patriotism and love for Croatian people. One of the biggest challenges to democracy today is posed by the dramatic change in the political-party landscape. Attention understandably has focused on the rise of a variety of populist candidates and movements, but what has enabled their rise is the drastic decline in support for the parties that had long dominated the political scene. Without grossly exaggerating, one can say that for decades the modal configuration of Croatia’s political systems has featured strong centre-left and centre-right parties or coalitions that support the basic principles and institutions of liberal democracy but compete with each other in regard to a variety of specific issues within this larger framework. Current public recriminations that both centre-left and centre -right major parties have not delivered on the initial promise of full democracy and are equally guilty of holding tight to the processes and mindset commensurate with former communist regime and undemocratic mindset has particularly clipped the wings of popularity for the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ). While left (whether centre or not) had always been seen as an extract from former staunch communist regime, HDZ is increasingly criticised as being the same with its apparent distancing from its original aim, a democratic state of Croatian people. These days virtually every new round of elections indicates that this longstanding pattern of dominance by the centre-left and centre-right is losing its hold.

Today, much of Croatian society is sick. What is worse, a significant part of it refuses to get cured from communist mindset; lustration has not occurred and every mention or attempt to usher in an organised lustration process is quashed or ridiculed. Communist nostalgic keep churning out fairy tales about how good life was in Yugoslavia, forgetting the cruel drop in living standards once Western financial assistance turned the taps off; forgetting the fact that Yugoslavia (and hence Croatia) had some 1300% inflation by 1989, which saw supermarket shelves bare, petrol severely rationed when available, thousands of companies and employers unable to pay wages to its workers for months upon months…

The source of this state of mind, the state of mind that refuses to be cured from communist mindset, seems to be a feeling that Croatia (and other former communist Eastern European countries, indeed) is just a buffer zone between East and West. Croatia, after 30 years of the fall of the Berlin Wall still levitates within parameters where either going forward into full democracy or moving backward into a state-controlled existence are possible. The vocabulary of totalitarianism is creeping back unnoticed, which is incredibly dangerous, and Croatia needs to revitalise and maintain with strong resolve the positions it reached in defending the idea of freedom and democracy it fought for in the Homeland War of 1990’s.

This requires a lot of efforts today.

The people of Croatia live in frustration. Victims and culprits became one. The people who have power are those who got rich during the communist Yugoslavia rule and those who got rich during the wild years of privatisation in the 1990s. The corruption and nepotism are still prevalent and the political will of the ruling castes to well and truly rid Croatia of this plague does not exist or is not visible at all. Former agents of the Yugoslav Secret Police (UDBA) are embedded at every level and avenue of society, people representing the former communist power are arrogant and their arrogance stifles progress to painful levels. The loss of Croatian identity is alarming; politicians on the path to preserving and strengthening that identity are mocked, to say the least.

The majority of politicians and people behave as if 1989 [the year marking the fall of communism) never happened. The majority of politicians and people behave as if the European Union had not recently condemned communism as a criminal regime of the past! The “comrades from the party” are attempting to build capitalism with a socialist face: it is the victory of the chosen ones, who operate outside the rules of competition and open tenders. They discard as frivolous the profound and selfless sacrifice for Croatia that Homeland War veterans made.

Judging from public mood expressed via mainstream, non-mainstream and social media, Croatian people are contemplating an essential question: do they want an open full democracy or a closed society, freedom of expression or censorship, rule of law or a new form of authoritarianism. This question cries for articulation, but who will be the brave one to ask it? Certainly, it seems that none of the Presidential candidates currently vying for the high office will ask that question publicly. With Presidential elections due on 22 December this year, it appears most candidates are playing it “safe”; casting their voter-catch net widely. Campaigns are riddled with confusing or unclear messages, with generalised catchphrases promising “something” must change in Croatia (e.g. the slogan of one of strong candidates “Now or Never”) but none are clearly saying what that “something” is and how exactly they aim to change things, even though that “something” gnaws at the bones of most. Given the real danger of illiberal democracy in Croatia and public mood of frustration or impatience for a better future that elections slogan “Now or Never” is a phrase that many Croats attach to the urgent need for lustration/decommunisation and full democratisation. But the bitter scent whiffed by apparent lack of needed “political machinery” and practical mechanisms disappoints deeply. Ina Vukic

 

Croatia – A Lapdog To EU

Ursula von der Leyen
President of the European Commission

If being “a success story of the European Union and a role model for other countries attempting to get EU membership,” as the newly elected president of the European Commission said this week about Croatia, is an assessment reached through weighing an EU member country’s efforts to suck up to EU needs rather than needs of the same country’s people, then, yeah, with alternating Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) led governments since 2013 Croatia has been an EU lapdog above all else. Had von der Leven taken the effort to look at the widespread despair and political quagmire within Croatia itself that is seeing multitudes leaving their homes for other countries in search for work and a decent living then her appraisal of Croatia for Croatians would not include the words “role model”. But then again, she is about EU “political corporation” interests and not about the interests of individual nations making up the EU.

Given the past SDP/HDZ governments’ track record since Croatia joined the EU, unless the players making up the next government (2020 general elections) change, Croatia could become even more of a public acolyte (a lapdog, a disciple…)  for all things EU. In reality, most countries that supported Croatia’s inclusion in EU would have known that, in all likelihood and if not actively resisted, Croatia would remain lock step with the liberal political route largely paved with Soros funds, and so its membership was a way of extending EU influence into Eastern Europe where Russia’s political and practical backers maintain a constant air of communist nostalgia, resistance to true and full democratic change.  Had, during the expected  democratisation period after 1991, mainstream journalism evolved throughout Croatia toward an independent and aggressive style, more attuned with the role of the free press as a fundamental tool with the checks and balance necessary for a working democracy, then Croatia would have been a different environment to what it is today. It would have rid itself of most individuals in positions of power who held such position in communist Yugoslavia and that in itself would have been the main part of the formula through which corruption and nepotism, especially, are eradicated to, at least, a degree that does not negatively affect the livelihood of workers, of ordinary citizens.

With significantly eroded living standards, alarming emigration increase and pronounced economic development slouch coupled with large-scale corruption scandals, it is now more than clear that a small power such as Croatia should have never thought it could depend on building up brownie points for the benefit of its own people with superpowers (EU), as EU movers and shakers, by their nature and purpose, pursue their own interests without let or heed to so-called loyalties to lesser states.  Similarly, the dangers of continuing to be seen as an EU puppet and how this is inimical to Croatian interests within its own borders emerge as issues that must seriously be visited, particularly given the widespread fear among Croatian people that unless the backbone of political tides is changed, and Croatian politics turned inward more than outward, Croatia as a nation will disappear even in our own lifetime.

The lapdog to EU mentality becomes even more distressing when one looks at top-level, palpably autocratic decisions in Croatia to introduce the Euro, rid Croatia of its own currency Kuna despite the fact that opposition to this move is rather widespread among the Croatian people.

Given this, we can only hope the future government of Croatia will have something far more intelligent and more in Croatia’s long-term interests in mind. So far, membership in EU has, for Croatia, seen a perpetual politically-pitched promise of EU money that will change for the better everyone’s life and yet a widespread capacity to draw on those funds from Croatia has been kept at the lowest possible level. The road to EU funds grant applications remains a mystery and a closed alley for most individuals in Croatia; little if any public education has occurred. If we exclude the concept of being a lapdog from positive people-oriented politics, little, if any, assertiveness of Croatian interests has been witnessed in the EU corridors of power except individual politicians’ evident ambition to gain a position within the EU “corporation” power machine.

The lapdog mentality in aligning Croatia’s legislation with that of the EU has further eroded Croatia’s independence from communist Yugoslavia and Croatia’s absolute need to fully address the impact on itself of 1990’s Serb aggression. This alignment has meant that minority rights have developed not as rights within a majority setting, but as rights that are equal to majority rights. And so, one gets the soul-destructive outcome where Serb minority in Croatia (largely made up of individuals who were actively or politically associated with the 1990’s aggression against Croatia) are joined in holding the rudder of Croatian life. But then, this suits the EU as its eye of future expansion is cast on Serbia!

Politics is the art of the possible and this was clearly demonstrated through activism of left-oriented individual politicians in Croatia who pushed for EU membership to that degree where relative minority of voter turnout at referendum could carry the referendum forward! And so, Croatia’s membership in the EU may at this stage be its only short-term option.

But what about the future?

What happens when EU interests directly conflict with those of the Croatian people? The fact that they already do is palpable and the fact that they interfere or stifle the needed progress towards decommunisation (democratisation) of Croatia’s public services and administration, including legislation, has spread into a nationwide concern over the lack in meeting the needs and interests of Croatian people and their personal living standard. Do Croats, by staying lapdogs to EU, really want to be drawn into a regional conflict brewing as illegal migrants and asylum seekers clutter the borders and compromise national security upon which citizens depend for their personal safety as well as for the safety of national existence? And what of Croatia’s future economic prosperity? Will Croatia continue to allow EU-defined free trade agreements to be rammed down its throats at the cost of local jobs, local business enterprises growth and their viability in the face of EU quotas and standards? These are all serious questions which must be addressed with long term thinking. Unfortunately, Croatia’s elitist political class seem to have their fingers in the till (as they did during the times of communist Yugoslavia) or their heads in the sand, or both. Croatia talks of a saving potential ingrained in its diaspora or Croats living outside Croatia, yet the governments in Croatia have done their utmost to stifle adjustment of Croatia’s legislation to that potential.  Croatian politicians talk of being nimble yet do the utmost to stifle innovation in building a fully functional democracy well rid of former communist mentality and its destructive approach to creating opportunities for individual growth and expression in all walks of life. Instead of putting the welfare of its citizens first, Croatian corridors of power pander to EU interests and its rapacious greed for control and compliance to its own standards that have no regard for individual national identity and needs. Risk averse and too short sighted to see the car crash ahead of Croats, Croatian governments remain as ever the obedient servants of the EU. And yet, modern Croatia is founded on taking risks: risking human life for the glory of independence and democracy! What has gone wrong? Ina Vukic

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