Croatian government: suffering from Alice in Wonderland syndrome

A portrait, Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic (left); First bDeputy Prime Minister Radomir Cacic (Right) and Mihael Zmajlovic, new Croatian minister for environment (Middle)

The plot around the resignation of Croatian minister for environment and nature resources Mirela Holy  has gathered diversity and steam that lead one to believe Croatia’s government is suffering from the Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AWS). When one suffers from AWS one’s perceptual reality is distorted; one doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not.

Croatia’s centre-left government is still (almost seven months after being elected) looking for its identity, hiding its failures and inabilities to deal with real problems in economy, behind some weird and bizarre shrubs or parading as “Mad Hatters” – stuck on stalling with real issues.

A couple of “Mad Hatters” are ex-minister Holy and first deputy prime minister Radomir Cacic.

Reading the Croatian press about the Holy affair – now dubbed Holygate – must be what Alice in Wonderland experienced when she first crawled through the rabbit hole. She entered a world of crazy where up is down and down is up and not much made sense unless you were flying high on magic mushrooms or crystal meth. Nothing wrong with a little crazy now and then until you reach the point where crazy becomes the norm.

  • Holy’s morally corrupt email goes public;
  • Holy resigns as minister and prime minister Zoran Milanovic accepts the resignation saying such behavior cannot be tolerated;
  • Milanovic publicizes his statement regarding Holy’s resignation from Emil Tedeschi (one of the leading Croatian tycoons) holiday luxury villa, far from the capital, thus diverting public attention away from critical current issues being addressed in the capital (negotiations with labour syndicates on workers rights that are being diminished at this time of 19.1% unemployment);
  • Minister of internal affairs Ranko Ostojic advises Holy to mount criminal charges against whoever leaked the email;
  • Holy says she was threatened by “garbage mafia”: “We will recycle you, throw you in a furnace and incinerate you”;
  • The letter with these threats has reportedly been handed to the police but the faces within this “garbage mafia” are faceless – perfectly fitting into Alice’s Wonderland;
  • Holy files charges with state prosecutor for breach of privacy against unknown person/s;
  • Holy suspects Cacic’s PR adviser Ankica Mamic is involved in email leaking (Mamic had coffee with Croatian television station HTV editor the day before he ran the email scandal as an exclusive);
  • Cacic, in the company of prime minister Zoran Milanovic, jumps with statement that Mamic was his longtime friend, his PR adviser and that he knew nothing of the email;
  • Cacic announces the Ombla and Plomin multibillion Euro projects will go ahead despite negative feasibility ecological studies (these projects are in the field of electricity generating plants);
  • One of the feasibility studies (done without costs to the government) that gave a negative assessment was done by Goran Mazija, an expert for geology, hydrogeology, ecology and protection of waters; Mazija is the husband of the woman for whose job Holy intervened with her morally corrupt email;
  • Daily t-portal blogger Zoran Sprajc (demoted HTV news anchor who had been linked to the disgraceful doctoring of phone conversations about Vukovar  that prime minister Milanovic had forced Holy to resign as minister and yet he supports Cacic who continues to make hollow promises of a better future and new investments that will improve the state of the economy.
  • June 12, Cacic says: “Whenever something is free of charge (referring to feasibility study), I find it very suspicious. There cannot be ‘a green study’, free of charge, for an HRK 900 million, it indicates that either nothing is well done or someone’s interest is at stake.”                                                                                                                                                      The president of Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and Leader of Opposition Tomislav Karamarko, said June 12 that “the case was now entering the phase of scheming, when it is trying to be established who read emails and why. By doing so, (the government) is trying to avoid addressing the merit of the problem, namely the issue of jockeying for positions”, adding that “this was the main characteristic of this government”.

I totally agree with Karamarko, and as Lewis Carroll (the author of Alice in Wonderland) would understand only too well: “Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with, and then the different branches of arithmetic — Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision,” (The Mock Turtle, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) is what the Cock-a-doodle-doo (Kukuriku) Social Democrat led Croatian government is doing. It thinks that it has led the Croatian public though the rabbit hole where in the land of wonder Holy’s corruption isn’t important, perhaps because there’s so much of it that a single case becomes invisible, hard and professional volunteers’ (“free of charge”) work (so often depended on in many areas of life in the civilised world) is only for idiots, while projects intended for the boosting of the ailing economy end up as fodder for a Mad Tea Party.

The Cock-a-doodle-doo government should climb out of the rabbit hole and deal with reality of corruption, unemployment and struggling economy without distorting it with fairytales. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps.(Syd)

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation hacked phones, Croatian TV doctored story on fall of Vukovar

The well publicised scandal of the discovery of phone hacking practices (July 2011) within some of Rupert Murdoch owned News Corporation media outlets unleashed a string of inquiries in the United Kingdom. Similar inquiries were announced in the USA and Australia.

Murdoch swiftly killed-off the News of the World newspaper where first phone hacking practices were discovered.

The United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron promptly announced to parliament that a public government inquiry would convene to further investigate the affair. He named Lord Justice Leveson as chairman of the inquiry, with a remit to look into the specific claims about phone hacking, the initial police inquiry and allegations of illicit payments to police by the press, and a second inquiry to review the general culture and ethics of the British media.

Leaving aside some concerns about the impact of state media regulation on the free press that such public inquiries may have, one needs to observe that the governments of the above countries (and others) may in fact consider themselves the guardians of the old journalistic maxim: Get it first. But, first, get it right.

Doctoring stories or assembling video or audio tapes in order to present to the public a journalistic piece designed to deceive, spread hatred, half-truths, untruths, or political gain doesn’t in my opinion fall far from phone hacking found within the Murdoch media.

Croatian TV HRT had in its main news in November 2011, during the days of the 2oth Anniversary of the tragic and horrible fall of Vukovar and General Elections campaigns released a story on the 1991 Fall of Vukovar.

The audio part to the story was, the news anchor/editor Zoran Sprajc said, a taped telephone conversation from 1991 between the late President Dr. Franjo Tudjman and Vukovar’s Croatian commander Mile Dedakovic Jasterb.

In the televised conversation, Tudjman refuses Dedakovic’s requests to withdraw civilians and children from Vukovar, giving the Croatian public “evidence” that Tudjman sacrificed Vukovar in order to show the world how brutal the Serbs were, or to speed up international recognition of Croatian independence.

Of course, a public outcry of disenchantment and anger at Tudjman (and his HDZ party running in November 2011 elections for another term in government) followed.

The conservative politicians (HDZ) protested against the televised story and sought the suspension of Zoran Sprajc as anchor/editor of the TV news program. HRT did just that, quickly.

The Programming Council of HRT had assessed the televised conversation story as inclinatory, malicious, and assembled elsewhere. It reiterated that TV was a public media and must present the truth and do so objectively.

The destiny of suspension from duties that Sprajc experienced is nothing out of the ordinary – suspension from duties while serious complaints inquiries are carried out is a normal practice in the just world. Not in all Croatia it seems?

Some public rallies in support of Sprajc appeared on the streets. The Croatian journalists’ association criticized the suspension, and human rights watchdog Documenta expressed “deep concern with the persecution of journalists because of their broadcasting of the truth.” Former president Stjepan Mesic (left wing politics) also stepped in, criticising the measures demanded by the conservatives (HDZ etc).

Vukovar November 1991

Come January 2012, and in relation to the said TV news story, sources reveal that:

(a) Dedakovic was not in Vukovar at the time of the dramatised “desperate call to Tudjman for help” as HRT piece claimed;

(b) the HRT piece was assembled from parts of several phone conversations some of which were made by Tudjman (HRT claimed Dedakovic phoned Tudjman);

(c) HRT piece showed that Tudjman absolutely rejected to evacuate children from Vukovar but omitted to broadcast the fact that the Serbs and Serb led Yugoslav Army did not allow evacuation of civilians including children without Vukovar capitulating first!

So far, there has been no public statement from the Croatian journalists association, from the Documenta human rights watchdog, from former or current presidents of Croatia nor from the current government regarding the latest revelation that points to gross and malicious deception of the Croatian public through story doctoring and assembling of audio tapes in order to serve the public with lies that wound deeply the very soul of Croatian Homeland War.

Certainly, there hasn’t been even an inkling of a suggestion in Croatian media that the government may set up inquiries into journalistic practices. It would seem that all the protestors against Sprajc’s suspension are happy to sweep the truth under the carpet and together with the government allow the unsavory, unethical, politically corrupt journalistic practices to thrive?

No one it seems has asked: where and how else in the Croatian media is the public being deceived and why?

Had a look on the Croatia’s parliament website and there are a number of sessions to be held this month. Perhaps some member of parliament, if not the government’s president, will stand up during one of these meetings and demand an independent government funded inquiry into journalistic practices in Croatia. Ina Vukic, Prof.(Zgb), B.A., M.A.Ps.(Syd)

Disclaimer, Terms and Conditions:

All content on “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is for informational purposes only. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is not responsible for and expressly disclaims all liability for the interpretations and subsequent reactions of visitors or commenters either to this site or its associate Twitter account, @IVukic or its Facebook account. Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The nature of information provided on this website may be transitional and, therefore, accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed. This blog may contain hypertext links to other websites or webpages. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information on any other website or webpage. We do not endorse or accept any responsibility for any views expressed or products or services offered on outside sites, or the organisations sponsoring those sites, or the safety of linking to those sites. Comment Policy: Everyone is welcome and encouraged to voice their opinion regardless of identity, politics, ideology, religion or agreement with the subject in posts or other commentators. Personal or other criticism is acceptable as long as it is justified by facts, arguments or discussions of key issues. Comments that include profanity, offensive language and insults will be moderated.
%d bloggers like this: