Croatia: Repeat of Serbian Mind-numbing Political Violence

One doesn’t need to think too hard to clearly formulate an answer to the question: what does it say about Serbian society when a convicted war criminal, Vojislav Seselj (and others) is not made an outcast from the country’s political power corridors but is actually helped and promoted to pursue the evil and the hatred that had rather recently resulted in crimes against humanity! It’s a given that the boundaries of tolerance change through history – as do the methods – ostensibly for progress away from mind-numbing fear and violence.  The political violence against sovereign Croatia (sovereignty won and defended amidst the 1990’s brutal Serb aggression) pursued relentlessly by Serbia must not remain unchallenged. Enough is enough.

The political violence is, after all, in the ontology and unbridled spreading of fear in Greater Serbia politics.

With this, there is simply no ground for mutually respectful conversation or reconciliation between Croatia (and Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Serbia. Serbian violent politics must be defeated before any lasting reconciliation could be achieved.

Firstly, at the beginning of April when a Croatian delegation lead by the Speaker of Croatian Parliament, Gordan Jandrokovic, entered Serbia’s Parliament they were met with a tirade of abuse and insults uttered by no other than the convicted war criminal Vojislav Seselj, who despite his war crimes conviction continues to enjoy parliamentary privilege in Serbia as well as continuing at the helm of the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party. Seselj shouted insults, hatred against Croatian people and abuse at the Croatian official delegation and trampled on a Croatian flag. As any decent being the Croatian delegation turned around and left Serbia to return to Croatia forthwith. But, while Croatian politicians stood their ground in condemning the incident apart from a few criticisms from a few Serbian politicians and the EU of Seselj’s behaviour nothing of substance ensued that would give the world the justified hope that the politically violent maniac Seselj would be removed from the parliament, or his political party – and at least some semblance of neighbourly respect be achieved!

Then came last weekend when Serbia’s defence minister Aleksandar Vulin was all set and sharpened to visit Croatia near Jasenovac to attend a memorial service for victims of WWII. Given the insults and inflammatory anti-Croat bellicose rhetoric Vulin had uttered before at similar memorials and generally in Croatia, and given Seselj’s unsanctioned insults only days before, Croatia refused permission to Vulin to attend the memorial. Vulin response to that was that Serbia’s President and relevant Government Minister are the only ones, not Croatian, who could refuse his entry into Croatia! He blatantly disrespects and disregards Croatia’s sovereignty. Consequently Croatian authorities declared Vulin as persona non grata, not welcome in Croatia.

Instead of dealing with the problem both Seselj and Vulin had created in relations between Croatia and Serbia, on Thursday 26 April Serbia entered into a tit-for-tat response and banned Croatia’s defence minister Damir Krsticevic from Serbia! As part of Serb denial of crimes committed in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1990’s Vulin and other Serbian leaders keep on falsely accusing Croatia of nationalism and neo-fascism; they keep on falsifying the numbers of Serb victims in WWII on Croatia’s territory. This strategically destructive tactic, filled with deception, also serves Serbia “well” in avoiding the acknowledgement of its own WWII history against the Jews and its “Jew-free” status (May 1942), created through extermination of its Jewish population aided and facilitated by the then Prime Minister Milan Nedic.

Many in Croatia see Vulin’s comments and rhetoric as a bid by Belgrade to distract from the behaviour of Serbian ultranationalist leader Vojislav Seselj who trampled on and tried to rip up the Croatian flag and hurled insults at officials visiting from Croatia. The fact that Seselj, among other insults, yelled at the Croatian delegation in Serbia’s parliament calling them Ustashas presents the world not only with the ugly face of irony (as the persons in Croatia’s delegation have no family or personal affiliation with WWII Ustasha movement that fought for Croatia’s independence [from Serb-led Kingdom of Yugoslavia]) but it drives home the ugly and unwanted truth that Serbia’s leadership is much about violent hatred for and vilification of the Croatian nation.

According to Croatian media, some members of the country’s government want its ambassador to be recalled from Belgrade and for it to block Serbia’s membership talks with the European Union. Likewise the opinion prevails in Croatia that talks between Croatia and Serbia should be frozen until Belgrade stops advancing a ‘Greater Serbia’ policy towards Croatia and ejects convicted war criminal Vojislav Seselj from its parliament. Hear hear! Ina Vukic

Serbia’s Spineless Thieves Of Truth


There is no future without the past. If the past stands on false props, the future will be false. Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”, is a law of propaganda often attributed to the Nazi Joseph Goebbels. Among psychologists of today something like this known as the “illusion of truth” effect. Once we know about the effect we can guard against it. Part of this is double-checking why we believe what we do – if something sounds plausible is it because it really is true, or have we just been told that repeatedly? This is why scholars are so mad about providing references – so we can track the origin on any claim, rather than having to take it on faith. But part of guarding against the illusion is the obligation it puts on us to stop repeating falsehoods. We live in a world where the facts matter, and should matter. If you repeat things without bothering to check all possible sources if they are absolutely true, you are helping to make a world where lies and truth are easier to confuse.

This brings me to the illusion of truth Serbia has been reverberating based on lies and denials regarding the war of brutal aggression it waged against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in early 1990’s, as these countries set upon a path of secession from communist Yugoslavia. for decades. Considering the hard-won independence Croatia has had since the early 1990’s war against its independence from communist Yugoslavia, imposed by Serbia and Serbs, through both Serb paramilitary forces and Serb-controlled remnants of the Yugoslav People’s Army, a future with reconciled absolute truth seems more improbable today than ever before. And without more active attacks from Croatia against this illusion of truth coming from Serbia, the illusion of truth stands to gain more ground and create a future that is based on falsehoods. A tragedy for the people wherever they may be; a tragedy for moral standards humanity should uphold.

On Friday 29 September 2017 in Belgrade, Aleksanader Vulin, Serbia’s defence minister, attended the raising of a monument to Milan Tepic, an officer in the former Yugoslav People’s Army, who on 29 September 1991 caused an explosion at the military storage facility in Bjelovar, Croatia, blowing it up and in that, killing 11 Croatian soldiers.

Attending Sunday 1 October the installation ceremony for Bishop of Serbian Orthodox Church Nikodim Kosovic in Sibenik, Croatia, Vulin was faced with questions from Croatian journalists about the monument to Tepic erected in Serbia. “I could try to explain to you now that four Yugoslav People’s Army officers were shot on that day and that a court process is underway against the man that allegedly did this. It makes no sense for us to do all of this. In every civil war there are as many truths as there are sides in the civil war, and now for me to convince you that the Serbian truth is the truth for Croatia or the Croatian truth is the truth for Serbia – that’s not correct nor is it possible, nor should this be done”, said Vulin.

Vulin’s statement is a blatant lie, a purposeful and focused distortion of the historical and legal facts (also ruled on by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia/ICTY in The Hague) about the war in Croatia.

On Monday 2 October Croatia’s defence minister Damir Krsticevic gave a public, televised, reply to Vulin’s lies that the war against Croatia in early 1990’s was a civil one.

Today, as vice-president of the government of the republic of Croatia and as its defence minister, but also as a general of the victorious Croatian army, I wish to send this message to all: Two truths do not exist, only one does. The Republic of Croatia did not lead any ‘civil war’, but a just and defensive Homeland War against the brutal greater-Serbia aggression. The Croatian soldier fought during that imposed war within the borders of the Republic of Croatia for peace and freedom and we had defended ourself and won the war. Today we are focused on the future, on strengthening Croatian Army’s abilities and on the development of homeland security system, in order not ever to find ourselves in the situation like we were in in the early 1990’s.”

These words Krsticevic uttered represent the absolute truth. They need to be repeated over and over again if we are to prevent Serbia’s servings of lies that have the potential of creating an illusion of truth. Vulin’s words undoubtedly represent a profound lie and, given that they were spoken by one of Serbia’s ministers, they are taken as representing the views held by that country’s leadership; they are an embarrassment to human decency itself. They wee spoken on Croatian territory, to boot!

Why Vulin was permitted to remain in Croatia after giving the scandalous and evilly premeditated statement to cause Croatia harm is beyond my understanding. The man should have been escorted out! How can Croatia’s leaders even think that reconciliation is possible with Serbia after such a statement!? Such statement demonstrates the deformed and evil state of mind Serbia as a nation was/is in when it comes to matters of truth about its aggression against Croatia. This was not the first time on Croatian soil for Vulin to make statements using blatant lies against Croatia, so one would hope that this time around Croatia’s leadership will finally close its doors, remove the welcome mats at its border with Serbia. One simply cannot even hope to achieve any justice for Croatia’s victims of the brutal Serb aggression, let alone achieve a tolerable reconciliation.

It is not the first time that Serbs have come out with a lie of magnitudes that destroy the truth of nations. Many from the “West” have already become the victims to Serbia’s peddling in illusion of truth propaganda method, with view, of course, to distance from itself any guilt for the brutal and genocidal war. It’s the same tactic Serbia has used for decades, since WWII in fact, with regards to its factual history of being one of the first European countries, May 1942, to declare itself Jew-free through mass murder of Jews (94%). The lies it used in this, by blaming Croatia and Germany for the mass killings of Serbia’s Jews that occurred under the actions and directives of Serbia’s WWII Milan Nedic government have, it seems lulled the world into believing a lie to be a truth! The same is occurring regarding Serbia’s genocidal role in the war against Croatia! This must not be permitted to acquire a life of an illusion of truth.

Political propaganda such as the one Vulin has just used is the stuff that destroys people’s belief in humanity and justice, and generates victims of absolute truth, where victims should not exist. All Croatia’s leaders and politicians should pursue with condemning loudly Vulin and Serbia for attempting to create such an illusion of truth that has the potential of destroying more lives. The idea that the world is not blind to the truth is heartening. Humans are perfectly capable of reasonable judgments, and can use logical capabilities to guard against the effects of repetition of lies. But in an age characterised by competing political narratives and spin, there’s no room to be lazy about repeating the facts.  Ina Vukic

Serbia Forces Croatian Operation Storm Into Intense False Memory Battlefield


US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (R)
greets Croatian Defense Minister Damir Krsticevic (L)
before an honor cordon at the Pentagon,
July 12, 2017.
DoD photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith

You are on the side of the victorious; of those who defeated aggression, occupiers, injustice and mass murderers! Now, just imagine this: World War II Allied countries celebrate victory and they get criticised and demonised for not commemorating their enemy’s war dead or displaced at the same time! You can’t imagine such criticism – let alone stand it without firm protest.

Croatia, once again, this year, prepares for the celebration of 5 August 1995 Operation Storm victory over Serb aggressor and occupier. But, once again, not without being criticised and demonised by Serbia’s leadership for not including in those celebrations come commemoration the Serb victims who perished as brutal aggressors against Croatia and those who fled Croatia into Serbia once it became clear that their onslaught against Croatia had come to an end with the military operation Storm.

Operation Storm was one of two critical military operations (the other being Operation Flash, May 1995) to bring to an end of the war of Serb-aggression in Croatia that was sparked by Croatia’s proclamation of independence from the former Yugoslavia. Serbia and Serbs became the aggressors against Croatia, using in the process the Belgrade based remnants of the still existing Yugoslav People’s Army at the time.

While Croatia has been celebrating the anniversary as its Victory Day, Serbia declared the same date as an official day of mourning for Serbs perished or displaced or who fled as part of its military and paramilitary forces. And even though the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia Appeals Chamber had in November 2012 (in the case against generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac) found that there had been no forced deportation of Serb population in Croatia, Serbia continues playing its malicious tune, branding the military operation Storm as one ethnic cleansing (of Serbs). In the same breath, Serbia omits to mention that it was the Serb forces that actually ethnically cleansed of Croats and other non-Serbs one-third of Croatia’s territory they had occupied between 1991 and August 1995.

Last week, July 12th, Croatia’s defence minister Damir Krsticevic, visited Washington and met with the US Secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, who praised the Croatian Operation Storm, saying:

Seeing you here today reminds me of my time at Supreme Allied Commander Transformation when Croatia joined NATO. And that was a very good day for the alliance.

Twenty-two years ago next month marks the anniversary of an operation named Storm, an operation that is studied in the U.S. military to show what a well-led force, well trained, well equipped, and with good political guidance, how it can change the course of history. And we are honored to have you here today for your role in that operation.

We have great respect here for our friend and ally. It’s a small country, but I would just say that it, as we say, bats above its weight, fights above its weight. You’ve been a wonderful example…”

But, wouldn’t you know it, Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic, upon his visit to Washington this week wasted no time to criticise the US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis for praising Croatia’s operation Storm. Straight-faced, Vucic continues to spread lies about the operation Storm saying that it caused deportation of 250,00 Serbs from Croatia. What a repulsively brazen liar! But, if we are reminded that Vucic himself was heavily involved is Serbia’s anti-Croatian independence in the 1990’s and was one of the political mouthpieces for the Serb brutal aggression against Croatian territory in order to ethnically cleanse the areas of non-Serbs for Serb occupation, then we know that his denial of Serb aggression also serves as his own defence mechanism against personal guilt.

I am all for reconciliation, but this kind of behavior that Vucic perpetuates in order to deny Serb aggression and crimes in Croatia is just too much to take for anyone.

Serbia’s president Vucic continues to claim that:

1) Croatia’s Operation Storm was aggressive – it was not! It was defensive operation and the one that liberated Croatian territory from Serb occupation. It was a legal and the cleanest of military operations seen to that date throughout the world. It was the Serbs who engaged in ethnic cleansing by forcefully deporting or murdering Croats and other non-Serbs from the Croatian territory they occupied.

2) 2,000 Serbs were killed during the aggression – wrong again; less than 700 Serb casualties as confirmed by the ICTY;

3) over 250,000 Serbs expelled – wrong again, this number does even compare to pre war census; the Serb leadership of the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina (read Croatian territory occupied by Serbs between 1991 and August 1995) ordered (via a directive from Belgrade, Serbia) a pre-planned evacuation of Serbs from Croatia and the ICTY confirmed that there was no expelling of Serbs from Croatia! What is worse, during their evacuation Serbia’s “brave” warriors, in their haste to retreat, ran over and killed scores of their own people.

4) Operation Storm was unprovoked – wrong yet again – it was war and Croatia did all it could to peacefully resolve the situation, but after 4-5 years of repeated honest attempts by Croatia, Serbian belligerence could no longer be tolerated either by Croatia or the international community – years of failed peace talks that the Serbs purposefully sabotaged for failure, disrespected by Serbs UN Resolutions, broken cease fires by Serbs before the ink could even dry on the paper, even after terms so favourable to the Serbs that even the international community was surprised at how favourable the peace could be to Serbs and, yet, Serbs rejected them without consideration. Croatia had to act. It had to liberate its own territory; it had to deal with more than a million displaced people it cared for in many refugee camps and settlements.

A UN Report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights (UN General Assembly 23 January 2014) states that “memory has become an intense battlefield”, in which remembering serves to justify political agendas. Wilful distortions of memory by way of disregarding facts or truth, such as practiced by Serbia’s president Vucic and others in Serbia certainly add a terrifying aspect to that battlefield. Not even the platform of politics can justify or accept it. Ina Vukic

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