Croatia’s Former Communists Propose Continued Darkness For Communist Crimes Truth

Left: Zoran Milanovic, Social Democrats Photo: Ivica Galovic/Pixsell

Left: Zoran Milanovic, Social Democrats
Photo: Ivica Galovic/Pixsell

 

The League of Communists that changed its name to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and had held government in Croatia a couple of times since 2000, including 2011-2015, is at this current election campaigning time ahead of September 11 poll pushing down harder on the tail of pursuits for the prosecution of communist crimes committed by Yugoslav communists and Partisans during and after WWII. It was expected, one could say, that strong pressure to stop any further prosecutions of communist crimes after the German court convicted August 2016 to 40 years imprisonment former Yugoslav communist secret police (UDBA) operatives Zdravko Mustac and Josip Perkovic for their role in murder of Croatian national Stjepan Djurekovic.

 

But what Croatia’s Social Democrats and the leftist coalition are serving to the nation at this moment is a downright filthy betrayal of human justice and painfully reminiscent of the former totalitarian regime practices.

 

On Friday 19 August 2016, only a couple of weeks after the German court’s findings against former communist secret police operatives SDP’s president Zoran Milanovic called at an election rally of his National Coalition in Slavonski Brod for the termination of division within the Croatian society, and said that “the story of 1941, the UDBA – is over“.

We must finally realise that the story of ’41, of UDBA is over, we had enough. What’s done is done. Let’s all look at ourselves in the mirror. But with that we will not move a single step, that only stops us. And our competitors, I emphasise competitors, not enemies in the business, earnings or in wealth look at each other as we ‘spit’ and gnaw at each other. They laugh at us and say ‘these people do not know what to do with themselves’. There is a coalition that knows what to do with itself, and which is not haunted by ghosts past and that does not indulge in the healing of personal and other complexes of a political opponent but wants an impact of ideas, ” Milanovic said in Slavonski Brod, Vecernji List reports.

These words come from a hard-core former communist who did not move a little finger in the fight for Croatia’s independence in 1990’s and from the man who desperately tried to avoid or delay the extradition to Germany of the two convicted in Germany UDBA operatives; he had succeeded at this briefly by rushing in a law in Croatia that would prevent extradition from Croatia for any crime committed prior to 2000. Thankfully his ugly deed was overturned.

 

These words rudely remind us of standards of thought and memory imposed by the former Yugoslav communist regime and here we are, in 2016, having to listen to Milanovic calling the shots as to whether the nation should pursue justice for communist crimes of the past pr not. Utterly deplorable!

When the conviction and the findings against Mustac and Perkovic by the German court were published Milanovic did his utmost to pin Perkovic as a person of 1990’s HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union and Croatia’s first president Franjo Tudjman and attempted to cast aspersions against them.

As the successor of the Communist Party, SDP keeps the remaining UDBA archives, and Milanovic finds himself in an awkward position if the murderous and oppressive UDBA past becomes a loud trend in current general elections campaigns. He was associated with the criminal and totalitarian communist regime and its UDBA archives undoubtedly contain much much more about individuals who had committed, or participated in communist crimes and ruthlessly cruel communist purges. Furthermore. Today’s Croatian society is made up of numerous immediate family members of the former UDBA operatives and this very fact would surely be a potent factor for Milanovic and his echelons to try and stop any further steps in the prosecution or unearthing of communist crimes. Further prosecutions and “pokings” into the archives is likely to unearth that not only did individual communists commit crimes of murder or participation in murder, false imprisonment and forced people of different political persuasion to flee abroad but it may well unearth the fact that these communists were also the ones who robbed Croatia and its assets blind.

Front (R) Stjepan Mesic with rest of leftist coalition ready to deny the truth of communist crimes Photo: Hina/ Dario GRZELJ/ dag

Front (R) Stjepan Mesic with rest of
leftist coalition ready to
deny the truth of communist crimes
Photo: Hina/ Dario GRZELJ/ dag

This is surely the reason why Zoran Milanovic had decided to resurrect from political retirement the biggest and the most oppressive communist crimes apologist Croatia had ever had the misfortune of having to deal with – the retired former President of Croatia Stjepan Mesic. Stjepan Mesic has been placed as candidate for Croatian Parliament on SDP’s National coalition list. Resurrecting Stejepan Mesic from political retirement is a statement that strongly suggests that these communists will employ every weapon and tool possible in making sure there is no further court findings like those from the German court against Mustac and Perkovic.

 

These communists must be stopped in their tracks to prevent justice for the victims of communist crimes just as anyone must be stopped in trying to prevent justice for victims of crimes committed under other totalitarian regimes during and after WWII.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Centre) Photo: Benny Gool/ onyx media

Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Centre)
Photo: Benny Gool/ onyx media

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the former chairman of the South African TRC/Truth and Reconciliation Commission, successfully argued that in reckoning with the crimes and injustices of the past regimes, truth telling and the reformations of the people’s moral and political values are indispensable to national reconciliation. He particularly argued that forgiveness can play an important role in the moral and political reconstruction of society characterised by division, distrust and enmity… “the process of forgiveness also requires acknowledgement on the part of the perpetrator that they have committed an offence,” Archbishop Tutu said.

Sadly, Croatia’s Zoran Milanovic at the helm of the renewed push to forget about past communist crimes also indicates that there is absolutely no will from the former communists to seek forgiveness for communist crimes; such a brave move would inevitably mean that former communists were indeed, and as historical facts hold, accountable and responsible for perhaps worse crimes than those they’re happy accusing the WWII Ustashe regime in Croatia under Ante Pavelic for.

 

HDZ - Croatian Democratic Union with leader Andrej Plenkovic (Centre) Have a great slogan in 2016 elections: "With Veracity" Photo: Kristina Stedul/Pixsell

HDZ – Croatian Democratic Union
with leader Andrej Plenkovic (Centre)
Have a great slogan in
2016 elections: “With Veracity”
Photo: Kristina Stedul/Pixsell

So, the psychology behind Zoran Milanovic’s and People’s Coalition election campaigning when it comes to communist crimes and communist totalitarian regime of former Yugoslavia is blatantly primitive, most difficult to metabolise but rather very transparent. But as such it must not be accepted as “OK”. This psychology may indeed be a useful sign for positive progress with truth only if picked up on by other major political parties such as HDZ or other coalitions currently in the play for a win of government. What Milanovic proposes is continued darkness for Croatia, which follows the lack of light directed at the truth and justice. The darkness affects not only political life but also economic prospects because, contrary to what Milanovic promotes, continued lack of reckoning with the truth of the past feeds continued political and moral divisions in the society and, hence, discourages investments and economic developments. One cannot simply shut the door on the terrible past and move on as Milanovic and former communists insist – the pain of victims will remain loud as long as the truth of the crimes remains covered up. The whole world except Croatia’s former communists seems to know that. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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

Justice for Victims Of Communist Crimes Dictates Former President Stjepan Mesic Must Go!

 

 

 

Adaptation of photo by Sputnik/Artev Zhitenev

Adaptation of photo by
Sputnik/Artev Zhitenev

 

Within the same week (the last week of April 2016) at least two significant things have occurred in Eastern/South-Eastern Europe when it comes to dealing with the horrendous crimes of the communist relatively recent past. Firstly, Hungary’s National Remembrance Committee (NEB), tasked with investigating the acts of the communist regime, has asked for some ten thousand pages of secret military files from the Communist era to be declassified, the daily news portal Magyar Idők (Hungary Today) reports. Secondly, while Croatia, regretfully will most likely not be able to do the same thing when it comes to communist military records because these were mainly kept in Belgrade, Serbia, where headquarters lay for all important matters of communist Yugoslav state, it can and it is preparing to rid the State of the Office of Former President that the abominable communist Stjepan Mesic occupies. This step would significantly reduce the easiness with which Stjepan Mesic blocks democratic progress in Croatia and aid significantly dealing with the criminal communist past.

Stjepan Mesic belongs to the army of former communists in Croatia who are currently on a heightened “false moral” ground accusing Croatians who attempt the necessary cleansing of Croatia of the burden of unaddressed justice for victim of communist crimes of being Fascists, Ustashis, Nazis… Stjepan Mesic has recently said in Jasenovac camp at a “communist commemoration for victims of WWII Ustashi regime crimes/Holocaust”, held separately from the official state one, that an “Ustashi demon is hovering over Croatia”.

What an evil, demonic politician!

Intimidating and attacking the process of justice for victims of communist crimes at the grave of victims of another regime – obscene!

Croatia must rid its public space from such obscenities!

Attack is the best form of defense – that was the motto of Yugoslav communists and so Mesic and Croatia’s so-called antifascists, who protect the criminal past of communism and multitudes of communists, still practice it. There is such a desperate need in Croatia for politicians and citizens to stay strong against this kind of intimidation and pursue justice for victims of communist crimes to a bitter end if it need be. It’s sad to watch that a part of Croatia’s Jewish community siding with former communists (or were communists themselves) who are still active in “accusing” those who are pursuing justice for victims of communist crimes as “diminishing the significance of the Holocaust” etc.

 

My goodness! How could the truth diminish anything else except the rule of untruth! Would all victims not stick with all victims? And if not – why?

 

Croatian Parliament April 2016 Photo: Patrik Macek/ Pixsell

Croatian Parliament
April 2016
Photo: Patrik Macek/ Pixsell

Croatian government’s current proposal for amendments to the Law regulating the special rights of the President of Republic of Croatia after he has ceased to be a president, which only gives Stjepan Mesic and no other former or current presidents a right to an official state-funded office, a chauffeur and a vehicle, which was devised and passed in the parliament under a former Social Democrats/communist government, which is planned for parliamentary voting in early June this year, had instigated hot discussions in the parliament last Wednesday 27 April 2016.

The Social Democrat (communist) opposition opposed the proposed legislative amendments as unpatriotic and unconstitutional. Government representatives said they wish to place all former presidents on grounds of equal rights and want to save money. The Opposition said the amendments were unconstitutional and intend to retrospectively take away the earned rights. The Opposition branded the proposals as populist and revengeful!

 

It seems to me that only communists are capable of saying that proposals for legislative amendments through proper channels of democracy (the parliament) are unconstitutional!

 

 

Miro Bulj, from MOST (BRIDGE) coalition in government said that former president Stjepan Mesic did not protect Croatian national interests when in 2000 he handed out documentation from the 1990’s Homeland War that was “State Secret” to foreign journalists, etc. But not only that, Mesic told untruths in the international criminal tribunal as witness with view to discrediting and criminalising Croatia’s Homeland War and with view to securing criminal convictions for Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac – Croatia, actually. His lies did not succeed and the Generals were acquitted in November 2012. But still to receive justice are the Herceg-Bosna Six at the Hague for Mesic lied when it comes to Croatia’s role in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1990’s where he evilly and maliciously branded Croatia as an aggressor even though Croatian forces were invited by Croats there to help them defend their lives and land from Serb and later Muslim aggression and brutalities.

Stjepan Mesic, of course, grew some more measure to his wings and said last week that given there are those who still want him around he would become politically active – again! Oh dear – victims of communist crimes won’t have a chance for a long time if Mesic keeps polluting Croatia’s public space with his false antifascist garbage.

So, Mesic intends to return to what he knows best,” writes Silvana Oruc-Ivoc of Maxportal – “falsifying and bending the history, lying and jumping into his own mouth. And so he recently said at one of the memorial services at Jasenovac (for victims of the Holocaust) that ‘a person who talks like an Ustasha – is an Ustasha’. But, Mesic didn’t think like that before and so on 6 June 1992, speaking in the Croatian Club in Punchnowl in Sydney, Australia, he said the following:
‘In Second World War, you see, Croats were victorious twice and we have no reason to apologise to anybody. That which they ask of Croats … go and kneel at Jasenovac, kneel here…we have no reason to kneel before anyone! We won twice, and all others won only once. We won on 10 April (1941) when the Axis powers recognised our Croatian state and we won because we found ourselves after the war, with the winners again, at the table of winners.’”

When the video recording of this abominable speech was published on internet few years ago, Mesic said that he didn’t mean that he was uplifting Croatia’s WWII Ustashi, that he was carried by the enthusiasm for an independent Croatia among the audience, who, he said (wrongly) were all Ustashi.

What an awful man! What an awful liar! Capable of saying and doing anything to stay in power and see his communist agenda of obstructing democracy in Croatia stay afloat.

It’s a shame the government failed to be louder at the parliamentary discussions last week regarding proposal to amend the law, closing the office of the former president, regardless of the fact that the governing party HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union led by Tomislav Karamarko accepted the proposal for closure earlier in April 2016. It’s a shame the government has not at the same time as proposing amendments to the law regarding the office of former president also proposed amendments to the legislation prohibiting and banning the use/display etc. of WWII Ustashi regime symbols and speech. It’s a shame it has not proposed that the same prohibitions and bans be applied to the symbols, insignia, and speech from communist Yugoslav regime. Perhaps this is a planned measure the government plans to take to the parliament in the near future, but if not, darker times of unrest and hatred and divisions are bound to flourish at Croatia’s detriment. Truth must come out at whatever the cost – justice for victims of crime demands it. If the government doesn’t do this very soon as far as I am concerned it does not stand behind what it said it would do – bring justice for the victims of the former communist regime. President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic could also undertake firmer action in this direction otherwise anyone is justified in thinking that many politicians in Croatia owe Mesic favours he does not deserve. Favours as in not really doing much to bring him down not from the office of former government but from what he says.  In 2015 the Ukrainian parliament banned the symbols of the communist and Nazi totalitarian regimes and joined other Eastern European countries in this – it’s high time Croatia banned communist symbols as well. No ifs or buts about it. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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