Croatia: The Treason In Kreso Beljak

Today many countries’ laws forbid acts that are called treason, including insurrection and attempted coups (internal treason) and cooperating with foreign powers and enemies abroad. More loosely, people use the word to mean any serious betrayal of trust. Dictionaries define a traitor as a person who betrays someone or something, such as a friend, cause, or principle.

It is incredulous, gut-wrenching and above all improper that the Croatian Parliament has not, even after more than a week, found a way to suspend (pending inquiries) its Member Kreso Beljak from sitting in Parliament; from speaking in Parliament! Had a member of parliament of a truly democratic and statehood conscious parliament come out with such vitriol, blatant lies and hate speech against own people, against own country, as Kreso Beljak has in the past nine days, that member of parliament would be suspended immediately and investigations/discussions about the intent and effects of his/her statements undertaken with view to considering appropriate measures against that member of parliament.

Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) president and member in the Croatian Parliament, Kreso Beljak’s treasonous, shocking, depraved, reprehensible recent Tweet is not, by a long shot, a Tweet that is clumsy and unfortunate as he, in his unconvincing and cold apology Monday last, called it. His Tweet was yet another demonstration of the psychological violence and communist taunting against Croatians who rejected communism during and after World War II in Croatia and after WWII. This psychological violence continues to this day and is part and parcel of communist terror methods in their efforts to devalue and vilify, indeed, make life difficult in what the victorious Croatian Homeland War of 1990’s brought to the Croatian nation – independence and democracy.

What is equally reprehensible is the fact that “official Croatia” appears to have settled for Beljak’s apology for the Tweet and gives no indication of any plan to take Beljak down, suspend or remove him from Parliament pending investigation into the damage and inflicted offence his words have upon Croatian people.

Such suspension/removal would be, if for nothing else, justified for Beljak’s suggestion that the war in Croatia between 1991 and 1999 was waged and caused by Fascists in ex-Yugoslavia and those in other countries who escaped UDBa and Yugoslavia’s communist purges!

The truth is that the Yugoslav Army with Serbia and Croatian rebel Serbs attacked Croatia in 1990/1991(from Serbia and from within Croatia via rebel Serbs) when Croats showed intention to secede and then voted overwhelmingly in referendum to secede from communist Yugoslavia. The consequent war of aggression against Croatia (and Bosnia and Hercegovina) was indeed brutal, genocidal, bloody and merciless.

Beljak’s words are treasonous, against Croatia and its fight for sovereignty and democracy.

 

Photo: Twitter screenshot

On 10th of January 2020 a certain “Renato” published a Tweet that said: “My family was targeted as well but we lived in NY! Yugo-nostalgics fail to realize that there were over 100 political assassinations outside of Yugoslavia from 1945 to 1990. The UDB-a was active in every Croatian immigrant community in the USA, Germany, Canada and Australia.”

Kreso Beljak on 11th January 2020 tweeted a reply: “Over 100?? Obviously not enough. We sow (saw) who did the shit and who made all of the wars from 91 to 99. Fascist in ex-YU and in other countries who unfortunately escaped UDBa.” (UDBa being communist Yugoslavia Secret Police)

On 14 January 2020 Beljak published an apology: “In relation to my clumsy and unfortunate tweet. That tweet is a part of a wider discussion, filled with insults and lies. But, not important. I am sorry if my tweet was construed as my support for political assassinations. That, of course, is not true. I am sorry If I insulted anybody. I made a mistake.”

Further proof of Beljak’s treasonous mind and action is evidenced in his statement in publicly televised Croatian Parliament session on 15 January 2020. When Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic reprimanded Kreso Beljak for his tweeted statement and called upon him to apologise more, Kreso Beljak replied: “…I understand the gravity of what I said (regarding UDB’s killings of Croats)… I wish that you had repeatedly asked for such an apology as you heard from me from those who supported terrorists who killed people for Croatia, instead of letting such people on your official site support your candidate… ” (meaning 2019 Presidential candidate Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic who was HDZs (Croatian Democratic Union’s candidate).

When and what terrorists killed people in the name of and for Croatia after the Second World War (the period to which Beljak’s words are related)!? The truth is that there were no terrorist killings from the Croatian side for Croatia and factual history has not recorded any. Indeed, the terrorist killings that did occur in relation to Croatia were the murders and assassinations of Croats by Serbs and UDBa (Yugoslavs), never the other way around!

When did terrorists after WWII kill people for Croatia? NEVER!

When did terrorists after WWII kill people to stop Croatia’s independence? ALWAYS!

Even if one looked into a number of court judgments from the West (e.g. Australia from late 1970’s to early 1980’s re the Croatian Six; in the USA 1970’s re Zvonko and Julienne Busic and others plane hijacking/aircraft piracy) etc. there were no convictions for terrorism, let alone for killing people! One may find in these judgments the words “attempted terrorist acts” (such as in the case of Croatian Six/ which attempts were a fabrication by Serbs) BUT, likewise, one will find that terrorist acts were not proven nor evidenced by any acts the accused had performed. Aircraft piracy was at the centre of Busic case in New York. In the case of Croatian Six there was no deaths in question and in the Zvonko and Julienne Busic case there was an incidental related death of a policeman, however that death was not brought about or caused by Busic’s hands nor had they intended for the death to occur (official US court judgments and documents show this). The death of the NY policeman was reportedly and evidently caused by the policeman’s failure to follow procedure in deactivating a bomb to which Zvonko Busic had alerted, in a timely manner, the NY police.

It is utterly unacceptable to permit a member of parliament to get away with such hateful, treasonous speech and profound lies about Croatia’s path to independence with a “please apologise” slap on the wrist as it is happening currently in Croatia. These statements by Beljak are treasonous and hateful. A government that fails to protect the honour and good name of the country it leads, like Croatian government and Parliament has done in the past week, is a government and Parliament that are not fit to lead a nation!  We must not forget that the very same Parliament was inaugurated on 30th May 1990 and that soon after, in August, the Log Revolution (Balvan revolucija), an aggressive insurrection by ethnic Serbs in Croatia had announced the bloody war of Serb aggression to come. Croatians, both those living in Croatia and abroad, defended Croatia’s independence from communist Yugoslavia in the Homeland War of 1990’s. It is due to that very courage and suffering that Croatia is today a member state of the European Union; it is, thanks to the victorious Homeland War that Croatia currently presides over the Council of the European Union. It is the duty of Croatia to deal swiftly and decisively with those like Beljak who continue running the nation down, distressing its people with lies, psychological violence and political taunting.

What are you waiting for Croatian Parliament, Croatian Government!?

Your duty of care towards your people and your State is evident!

Ina Vukic

 

 

“Reasonable Doubt – Spies, Police and the Croatian Six”: Australia’s Biggest Miscarriage Of Justice

Reasonable Doubt – Spies, Police and the Croatian Six”
Book by Hamish McDonald

 

Interview with Hamish McDonald, author of “Reasonable Doubt – Spies, Police and the Croatian Six”

April 2019, without a shadow of a doubt, will impress upon the Australian Croatian community, indeed the whole of the Australian and world’s community as a month that brings back the memories of terrifying fears and the 1970’s utterly brutal vilification of the Croatian name (the irksome effects of which still linger to this day) propped up and devised by communist Yugoslavia secret police, but also – a month that shines a light upon hope for real justice and long, long awaited truth. The fresh release of Hamish McDonald’s new book will step into the limelight of many a gathering as the book is launched in Sydney and Canberra – in April 2019. Ahead of the book’s launch I spoke in Sydney with Hamish McDonald .

Knock, knock – it’s a hot summer night and Roger Rogerson is at the front door with a posse of Sydney’s toughest cops. Sticks of gelignite are discovered, and the family’s young men are taken off for a rough night at CIB headquarters, joined by others arrested in simultaneous raids across the city. For them, and the entire community of migrants from Croatia, it’s the start of a nightmare, ending in 15-year jail terms for terrorist conspiracy. But even during their 10-month trial, holes appeared in the police case. Later the chief crown witness confessed on TV he made up his crucial testimony.

Decades later, a chance reference drew journalist Hamish McDonald to explore this case. He discovers evidence that authorities took pains to conceal from the court: that the crown witness was an agent of the Yugoslav secret service and had been under ASIO surveillance. The book shows how an unreformed police force, inept politicians, scheming security men, and mutually back-slapping judges contributed to Australia’s biggest miscarriage of justice. It’s Sydney’s underbelly, with a dash of international intrigue and espionage,” quoted from the Back cover of Hamish McDonald’s new book “Reasonable Doubt – Spies, Police and the Croatian Six”.

Hamish McDonald
Photo:Ina Vukic

The case of “Croatian Six” has been a subject of your pursuits in investigative journalism and writing for many years. When and what has drawn you to this particular subject?

My interest was sparked by a side-reference to the case in a completely unrelated one, the 2007 inquest into the killing of five Australian TV journalists in Portuguese Timor way back in 1975. A former federal government lawyer raised it as a miscarriage of justice. I started digging, making FOI requests, reading the trial transcripts (5000 pages), trying to meet police and lawyers involved. I wrote a long piece for The Sydney Morning Herald in 2012. This led to the NSW Supreme Court commissioning a judge to see whether a full judicial review of the convictions was warranted. He said it was not. But then in 2016, the third volume of the official history of ASIO, Australia’s domestic security service, came out. Based on ASIO’s secret archives, It described the Croatian Six case as a “miscarriage of justice.” That got me to go back to the case. This book is the result.

Can you please tell me where and what paths you needed to pursue in your search for facts and truth about this case?

I re-read the transcripts of the trial and the two levels of appeal. Being able to draw on them at book length, rather than a newspaper article, meant I could form an analysis of bias in the police and judicial systems at the time that was very adverse to the six defendants. So there was a court-room drama. But the more I looked at it, the dark area was the role of Vico Virkez (the pseudonym of Vitomir Misimovic), a Bosnian Serb pretending to be a Croat and Catholic who led the police to the others and then gave evidence against them. As I discovered (with your help, Ina!) he had died in 2014, back in his home village. But in Croatia and Serbia in 2017 I was able to build up a picture of the modus operandi of the UDBa in Australia, and how it was able to manipulate Australian authorities against Croatian nationalists. Unfortunately I could not get the present Serbian security service, which is sitting on the former federal UDBa archive, to open up any records of the case. The archive of the Croatian UDBa is now open, but was sanitized before the old regime broke up. But then a request through the National Archives of Australia for access to ASIO records about the case began to yield results. They support the conclusion of the ASIO Official History.

What has left the strongest of impressions upon you as a journalist as well as an individual member of society during your research regarding this case?

Going back to the Australia of 1979 has been a time warp, not just to pre-digital technology but to social attitudes that young people today would find incredible. It was an era of now-amazing naivety about police abuses, judicial bias, and foreign interference, and also an era of ethnic stereotyping much different to the current versions. As a person, it has been getting to know some of the Croatian Six and family members over the past 12 years. They are fine people. They deserve a remedy for this injustice, even this late.

Why the book title “Reasonable Doubt – Spies, Police and the Croatian Six”?

Beyond reasonable doubt is the standard of proof to convict someone under our legal system. It comes up again and again in this narrative. Virkez has gone back on his evidence. The NSW Police were shown to be riddled with corruption and abuse at the time of the arrests. Yet throughout the court appeals and applications for judicial review, judges have clung to the confessions allegedly made by the six as clinching evidence that puts their guilt beyond doubt – even though these were unsigned in five cases, and produced by a detective unit now notorious for bashing, loading (planting evidence) and verballing (fabricating confessions). The Federal Government kept ASIO knowledge about Virkez’s role as an UDBa agent away from the jury, the defence lawyers, and the Court of Appeal and the High Court of Australia. So there are the spies – Yugoslav and Australian – and the police.

How do you think this kind of disaster in the justice system believed by many to be associated with this case was or is possible in countries like Australia?

Amid terrorism scares, normal doubts and civil liberties tend to go out the window. Police are usually floundering in political cases to find connections between activism and violence, between thought and action. They get used to building cases against suspects they “know” are guilty. Miscarriages against the perceived aliens within thus happen, from the 1894 Dreyfus case in France to the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four cases in 1970s England. This was our equivalent. Thanks to political rancor over ASIO – Labor saying it persecuted the Left while ignoring the extreme Right – Croatians in Australia all got tainted as Ustase holdovers. The UDBa were delighted to encourage this.

What do you hope the release of this book will achieve for the society in general?

I’d like to encourage everyone to keep threats of terrorism in proportion, and not stigmatise a whole community for the acts of a few members. After all, we’ve just seen the worst act of terror in this part of the world, at least since colonial times, carried out by someone from the Anglo-Celtic “mainstream.” We need to have far stronger systems to check intelligence agencies – the deference of judges to “national security” claims by Canberra against disclosure in this case now look ridiculous. But above all, I’d like to see it lead to pardons, apologies and compensation for the Croatian Six.

Interview by Ina Vukic

Hamish McDonald (L) Ina Vukic (C) Branko Miletic (R) in Sydney

Croatia: Communist Crimes – Two Criminals Down Many Yet To Fall

Zdravko Mustac (L) Josip Perkovic (R) Sentenced to life imprisonment in relation to communist crimes of complicity in murder of Croatian dissident Stjepan Djurekovic

Zdravko Mustac (L) Josip Perkovic (R)
Sentenced to life imprisonment
in relation to communist crimes of complicity in murder
of Croatian dissident
Stjepan Djurekovic

 

Croatia’s former Social Democrat (formerly known as League of Communists) government led by Zoran Milanovic as PM, as well as president Ivo Josipovic, had tried their utmost to avoid the extradition to Germany of former communist Yugoslavia secret police/UDBA operators, Josip Perkovic and Zdravko Mustac. They even passed a law in July 2013 (known as Lex Perkovic) three days before Croatia joined the EU, that prevented the extradition of Croatian citizens to other countries for crimes committed before 2002, hence ensuring no crime committed under the sheet of communist purges during the time of former Yugoslavia would be brought before the court regardless of the fact that in a civilised world murder has no statute of limitations. After Croatia’s courts had in 2014 ruled that Perkovic and Mustac could be extradited to Germany, extradition soon followed and the former head of Yugoslavia’s secret service, Zdravko Mustac, and a one-time subordinate, Josip Perkovic faced trial over accusations regarding the 1983 killing of a Croatian dissident in Bavaria, Stjepan Djurekovic for the first time in Munich in October 2014.
The German court in Munich had Wednesday 3 August 2016 found guilty of complicity in murder and sentenced the two former top Yugoslavian spies (spy chief Zdravko Mustac, 74, and ex-agent Josip Perkovic, 71) to life imprisonment for the 1983 murder of the Croatian national Stjepan Djurekovic, who was opposed to Yugoslav communist regime, in the then West Germany.

Stjepan Djurekovic

Stjepan Djurekovic

The court finds that the accused Zdravko M. had asked the accused Josip P. to plan and prepare for the murder of Stjepan Djurekovic,” the court said in a statement, Deutsche Welle reports. The state prosecution had in its final words last week turned the crime of assisting in murder into participating or complicity in murder with intent, which carries a life sentence under German laws.

Djurekovic was one of 22 Croatians murdered on orders from Belgrade (Serbia/Yugoslav capital) in Germany between 1970 and 1989. Most of those cases remain untried. This time around, prosecutors successfully argued that the spies had sought to silence Djurekovic who had information about alleged illegal business dealings by the son of a leading Yugoslav politician. Djurekovic was killed (shot and bludgeoned with a meat clever) in a garage that was used as a print office in the Bavarian town of Wolfratshausen. He was shot multiple times and hit with a cleaver by three still unidentified people.

The prime motive was to kill a regime critic, a separatist,” Manfred Dauster, the presiding judge, told the court on Wednesday. “Djurekovic

Judge Manfred Dauster

Judge Manfred Dauster

was to be muzzled – politically, but also physically.”

 

The finding was based on the fact that at the time, 1983, Zdravko Mustac was the chief of the Croatian arm of Yugoslav State Security Service

(more commonly known as State Security Administration/UDBA) while Josip Perkovic was in the position of head of Zagreb UDBA Section II (in charge of the department dealing with Croatian émigrés abroad) and was the immediate superior of the spy Krunoslav Prates (convicted 2008 and sentenced to life imprisonment for participating the murder of Stjepan Djurekovic) – Judge Manfred Dauster explained.

 

The defense had sought acquittal, citing a lack of evidence. Attorneys for Perkovic and Mustac plan to appeal the verdict to Germany’s federal high court. Should the sentences stick, Perkovic and Mustac could apply to serve them back home and if appeal does not succeed and life sentence stays then in Croatia that would translate to 40 years prison.
A reaction to this finding by Zoran Milanovic, leader of Social Democrats who is running as PM hopeful in the coming September elections, included “I am shocked by that court judgment … if it’s true (they committed those crimes) then they have received the most lenient of sentences … I regret this decision was not made in Croatia.”

What a repulsive, odious, low-life of a politician.

 

It was he, Zoran Milanovic, who headed to moves in 2013 in refusing to act on EU arrest warrants, who headed the government that introduced the law against extradition in 2013, it was he, Zoran Milanovic, who fought tooth and nail not to help the trial against Perkovic and Mustac get off the ground in Germany or anywhere else for that matter. It was, it is he, Zoran Milanovic, who leads all blockades against the processing of communist crimes.

 

Up until now, the need, the will and the ways to process and punish the horrific crimes committed for and on behalf of the communist regime of former Yugoslavia (including Croatia) had not truly or substantially found their effective expression. Many attempts have been sabotaged and alleged perpetrators and accomplices protected by those who call themselves antifascists (former communists, nostalgics for Yugoslavia). Those who pursued justice for victims of communist crimes were and still are branded fascists, revisionists, Nazis, Ustashas… To demonstrate the depravity of former communists’ sense of justice one can only revisit the 2014 trial against late Josip Boljkovac (friend of former president Stjepan Mesic, who is currently trying to resurrect himself into politics by being included on Social Democrats’ election ticket) relating to the murder in 1945 after WWII had ended of 21 innocent people where the Croatian court found that Josip Boljkovac was not really to blame (even if there were strong indications of his complicity in some body of evidence before the court) for their murder (or bear any responsibility) but that the real culprit was the communists system. How a system without people can murder people is only clear to former communists, it seems.

 

Many say the past should be left behind and we should all work towards the future but that stance in itself is cruel and unjust. It is a stance, without doubt, taken by those who have a great deal to lose and to admit. The only way to a better future is, in fact, to confront the past and punish all crimes against human life committed. The judgment brought down by the German court last week against Perkovic and Mustac puts names to the communist crimes perpetrated and this surely must serve as motivation and assistance in efforts to process as many communist crimes as possible. While national reconciliation is necessary, it would be a gross mistake to believe that collective amnesia and impunity will do any good. It will not because crime does not pay, in the end truth will out.

 

Seen as an absolute nightmare for 45 years after WWII by majority of Croatian émigrés, especially, and by most of those in Croatia in the HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union who were the driving force in the 1990’s creation of the modern independent state of Croatia, the baleful UDBA (communist secret service) managed to sneak through the recent war of Croatia’s secession (1991 – 1995) and survived the regime change/secession from Yugoslavia. It rallied behind the first president of Croatia Franjo Tudjman, in order to avoid “lustration”, with most of its senior executives becoming cogs in the new machinery of the new Croatian state, when they should have been lustrated or taken away from those positions. Ministries, the Parliament, media, big business, administrations, diplomacy — rare are public fields where these former “agents/suradnici” (aka “snitches”) don’t hold major positions. I guess such a mix was unavoidable in the beginnings, at times of war, but not for a moment longer.
If at last lustration does not occur in Croatia and new governments continue to be run by non-repentant old communists and their younger “liberal” offspring, the reticence or blatant refusal to pursue prosecution of communist crimes is bound to continue and the price to be paid is surely to be a form of eternal political unrest and intolerance.

 

UDBABorn in 1946 as part of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Yugoslav communist secret service, the UDBA, was conceived as a counter-intelligence agency and a political police, the latter being by far its most important task. The UDBA consisted of four major sectors (“internal enemy,” “hostile emigration,” “foreign espionage,” “high tech espionage”). It employed hundreds of agents, analysts, and agents (“suradnici”), as well as thousands of snitches, i.e. informants (“informatori”). Founded as a dense conspiratorial network, it operated in various regional centres in ex- Yugoslavia, being active in all towns and villages in each constituent ex-Yugoslav republic. Unlike the traditional modus operandi of many other communist countries, local UDBA centres in ex-Yugoslavia enjoyed a large degree of autonomy with each local centre supervising the agents in its respective area. However, the 2nd Section was also in charge of hiring its own quota of undercover agents abroad.
The operatives of the 2nd Section were generally groomed for their prime targets: infiltration of Yugoslav and especially Croat émigrés abroad. As regards the Croatian emigration, the UDBA carried out at least 68 to 69 homicides, 5 abductions whose victims were later executed, 23 attempted murders (with several cases of severely injured victims), 4 abductions whose victims survived and 2 attempted kidnappings.
The 2nd Section in charge of émigrés, whom UDBA labelled as “hostile emigrants”, was particularly violent, as it didn’t hesitate to resort to “offensive” or “special” operations, i.e., assassinations. By bribing and manipulating common criminals (threatening them, or promising them impunity), by fabricating false documents and exerting the most infamous blackmails, it induced naive citizens in ex-Yugoslavia into suicidal plots, or framed them with offences they had never committed. In short, the 2nd Section run by Josip Perkovic – was quite simply an organised communist crime agency.

Efficient in its criminal plots, the UDBA did succeed in undermining the emigrants’ reputation by defaming them as “terrorists” in their host countries. For example, a famous case took place in Australia where, as a result of UDBA media manipulation, six young Croats (the “Croatian Six”) landed behind the bars for 15 years (see Hamish McDonald, “Framed: the untold story about the Croatian Six”, The Sydney Morning Herald of February 11th, 2012).

 

Robert Zagajski In pursuit of truth about his father's death

Robert Zagajski
In pursuit of truth about
his father’s death

Today, the malodorous UDBA ghosts and other Yugoslavian cloak and dagger circles are still haunting Croatia (and other former Yugoslav states, although, to a seemingly lesser degree Serbia, which was the heart of communist crimes plots operations). Twenty-five years after Croatia’s independence scores of former UDBA hit men of the former Yugoslav regime have not yet been properly and absolutely held to account, nor have they ever atoned for their crimes. There are also several hundreds of mass graves and pits across Croatia filled with bones and remains of innocent victims of communist crimes, for which no one has yet been held responsible, not even the communist regime by name. As to murders committed by UDBA agents and operatives such as the one for which the court in Germany has prescribed a life sentence the hopes for justice burn loud. Robert Zagajski, for instance, was 17 when his father was killed on the orders of the Yugoslav secret service in 1983 – the judgment against Perkovic and Mustac has given him the greatest hope so far that his father Djuro’s brutal death will cease to be an enigma and that someone will be made to answer for it. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

VISIT DOCUMENTARY SITE: TITO’S MURDER SQUADShere

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