Croatia: “Chinese Whispers” fail – now let’s unveil the full truth of Serb aggression

Milorad Pupovac 1993 copy

Had the ICTY Appeal Chamber on 16 November 2012 not acquitted Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac of war crimes they were charged with in relation to August 1995, all the atrocities committed in Croatia prior to August 1995 would fade into forgetfulness and insignificance. The world would always refer to August 1995 as the most significant marker for Croatia’s Homeland War.

When in 2001 the ICTY Prosecutors prepared their initial indictments in relation to Croatian “Operation Storm” they focused their attention on ensuring that this military operation – which liberated Serb-occupied Croatian territory – stands as symbol which would equate the victim with the aggressor. Croatian army  was to be found to have been as brutal as the Serb aggressor. No doubt in my mind about that. The Prosecutors pranced around appearing to know everything there was to know about crimes supposedly perpetrated by Croatia’s war-leadership and army. Such atrocious turn of events would surely not have captured as an enormous media and other mileage throughout the world as it had, had the ICTY Prosecution not had “helping hands” from both Croatian and Serbian politicians, most of whom held high positions in the former communist Yugoslavia.

The “Chinese whispers” thus started and spread by ICTY Prosecution failed to cement the intended vilification and criminalisation of Croatia’s defense efforts in the face of Serb aggressor. Nevertheless, a great deal of damage to Croatia’s reputation has been done and misinformation circulates; it will take a long time to clear them. Perhaps the lies and misinformation will never be cleared given that the game of “Chinese whispers” has the capacity of creating myths that stick around for ages despite the fact that the game actually fails to reap the desired result.

That being the case it is now the time to pick up on the truth and deal with what really happened in Croatia before August 1995. A small but potent example of some of those happenings can be found in an article published in Hrvatski List on 27 December 2012, written by Ivica Marijacic.

The article claims that a long-time member of Croatian Parliament representing Serb minority, Milorad Pupovac, secretly supported the Serb armed rebellion against Croatia during 1990’s.

The leader of Serbian minority Milorad Pupovac used to go to his village Ceranje Donje near Benkovci, which the Chetniks held under control and expelled all Croatians from it during the war years. It’s not clear how he was able to do that but it’s assumed that he had help from members of UNPROFOR forces who were there and kept the line of separation (A photograph, reportedly taken in 1993, has been discovered that evidences his visits to his village during the war)… Pupovac supported, or had nothing against, armed rebellion of the local Serbs against the Republic of Croatia in which his two brothers actively participated. Serbs were the ethnic majority in the village of Ceranje Donje but some Croatian families also lived there; their houses were and still are next door to Milorad Pupovac family home.  The Croatian families suffered abuse by the local Serbs and Milorad Pupovac’s family did not lift a finger to protect them…

Indeed, the article in Hrvatski List goes on to say that Milorad Pupovac’s brothers Vojislav and Mladen were very active as members of the armed Serb rebel forces. Mladen was reportedly the extreme one and served as First Class Corporal under the notorious Captain Dragan (Dragan Vasiljkovic a.k.a. Daniel Snedden). While Milorad Pupovac cannot be held responsible for his brothers’ actions he did nothing to stop the abuse and expulsions of Croatians from his village nor did he stop the destruction through bombings of their homes. The article goes on to say that witnesses have stated that Milorad Pupovac did encourage Serb rebels not to give up their armed rebellion.

A question, or two, must be asked: How can such a deeply compromised person serve in any Parliament? What chance of proper reconciliation between Serbs and Croatians can there be when such a deeply compromised person serves in Croatian Parliament?

This article sent shivers down my spine. I remembered helping as a Croatian speaking Psychologist the Australian ABC TV crew film the documentary “A Coward’s War” (1995) which interviewed the utterly traumatised and abused survivors of genocidal Serb brutality in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The issue that stuck to my mind like superglue was the fact that most of the survivors were brutalised, tortured, sent to Serb concentration camps (initially in 1991 into concentration camps within Serbia, e.g. Begejci) by their neighbours/Serb civilians (who had armed themselves later). It is these and similar bestialities which occurred between 1991 and August 1995 that should take a prominent place in the documenting of history of that war, not Operation Storm. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia EU membership referendum campaigns: Blackmail and sweet-talk (Yes to EU) Vs sovereignty and self-determination (No to EU)

Media grabs – days before Croatian referendum

Bloomberg: “Croatia’s drive to join the European Union may stall as citizens are split over whether accession will drag the former Yugoslav republic into a debt crisis and erode its sovereignty.

Croatians will head to the polls on Jan. 22 on whether the Balkan country should proceed with its planned July 2013 entry into the 27-nation bloc. Support was at 53 percent in a poll published last night by IPSOS-Puls, making it possible a re-vote will be needed before EU members begin ratification.”

Neven Mimica, Croatia’s deputy Prime Minister: “Membership in EU is an opportunity of the millennium which we need to take for the future of Croatian generations”.

Vesna Pusic, Croatia’s Foreign Minister: “ I wouldn’t want to be too cruel, but if we don’t enter the Union, you’re not going to receive your pension.”

Vesna Pusic – again: “If we vote against EU membership, we lose credit rating that same week. That means we’re not capable of repaying our debts. Pensions depend on healthy economy. If you cannot repay your debts, your interest rises. Things are very simple…”

Carl Bildt, Swedish Foreign minister: “the Kingdom of Sweden has continuously supported Croatia in her path to EU membership … Croatian voice will be important in the EU Council of ministers and wider. All countries have economic problems, but it’s much easier if we solve them together.”

Carl Bildt – again: “It was Sweden itself that had during the 1990’s experienced a deep crisis, and after the referendum in 1994 and entering the EU it had achieved spectacular results.

Vladimir Drobnjak, Croatia’s chief negotiator with the EU: “citizens should not fear the EU, because Croatia can always leave the Union… it should not be forgotten that the EU today accounts for 20% of the world economy, while 7% of the world’s population lives within its borders”.

New York Times: Zoran Sluga: „Some Croatians joke … that joining (the European Union) now is like arriving at the party at 2 a.m. Half the revelers are drunk. Half have gone home.“

Tportal news Croatia: Movement for Croatia – NO EU has submitted to the Chief government prosecutor Mladen Bajic a criminal complaint against the foreign minister Vesna Pusic – citing threats against voters

Marin Skribola: “You’ve destroyed the future of our young people, you should be ashamed of yourselves. EU is a dungeon for Croatian people.

TEAM group: “Croatian government was obligated to accept Euro and enter the European monetary union. To give such promise in the worst moment of Euro struggling with the crisis is unreasonable act that has no sense. Croatian government should have asked for the possibility of not accepting Euro as Denmark and Great Britain did. Without that option we advise Croatian citizens to vote against Croatia joining the EU”.

Matea Despot/translation: “It (Croatia) will have to provide enough police officers for effective control according to Schengen standards and the best practice of the EU. When it becomes a part of the Schengen area, Croatia will in fact become the guard of the borders of the EU.

Therefore, it is very important that Croatia is able to defend its border from illegal crossings of immigrants, smugglers and criminals.

There will be some big changes in lives of people who live near the border. Just remember Slovenia entering the Schengen area when there were gates on the roads and the citizens got the keys to the gates, so that the traffic could go on. The Schengen regime will certainly complicate some people’s lives. We witnessed the situation with Italy where immigrants were coming from Africa by boats to their coast. Their aim was to enter the wide Schengen area through Italy and to go to France, Germany and other countries.”

Tomislav Kosic: “Croatia would lose its sovereignty and would be governed by neo-liberal capitalists … Croatia’s farmers may not be able to compete in the larger agricultural community in older EU nations”.

Ivica Marijacic: “Keep in your sight the advantages and disadvantages and make a responsible decision. By all means remember the innocent generals Gotovina and Cermak, and if you think that this is a minor concession worthy of EU, ask yourself, would you hand over a member of your family for a promise of a better life”.

Dr. Ruzica Cavar: “So, Croatians, let’s not betray our victims for independence and freedom!…At the referendum let’s circle the ‘NO’”

Prof. dr.Josip Pecaric: “We invite all Croatian citizens who care about the truth, pride and the dignity of Croatian people, who care abouit the truth of the Homeland War, who care about the freedom of the deserving and innocent generals to vote against Croatian membership in EU, not only at this referendum but, eventually, at a repeated one until just judgments are delivered for the Croatian generals, and that is freedom.”  

Prof. dr. sc. Davor Pavuna: “To trust in the fairness of EU-bureaucrats is to trust Dracula with the transfusion of one’s own blood – the lasting solution for EU is a Europe of sovereign nations”.

Tensions grow by the minute in Croatia, days before the referendum on EU membership. Just a relatively small selection of grabs from the media suggest  that conscience vote will indeed play a large part on Sunday 22 January. While the pro-EU campaigns (government controlled) clutch at straws, bringing in the EU battalions who talk sweet and pamper the mainstream politicians egos (who by the way are resorting to blatant blackmail), the against-EU provide, in my opinion, a far better food for democratic thought: it’s not only the hard earned sovereignty but also the stark reality of economic insecurity that joining the EU at this time may surely bring. Let’s hope voters turn up in overwhelming numbers, just as they did in 1991 at the referendum for independence from communist Yugoslavia. Ina Vukic, Prof.(Zgb), B.A.,M.A.Ps.(Syd)

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