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In order to do this horendeous injustice to the Serbs the Western media purposely lied about HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY, everything...


Albany, New York
Sunday, May 23, 1993
Page E1
By Paul Reid

For fair use only
Published under the provision of
U.S. Code, Title 17, section 107.

 * * * 


BOSTON - Sometimes a journalist finds in a single experience the metaphor that defines his story. When the story is big, beyond comprehension even - like the Yugoslav civil war - that experience may serve as a catalyst for further research or unsettled sleep. Such was case when I met the HOS - the neo-Nazi Croat militia.

In October 1991 the civil war was moving to the start of the Bosnian phase. I was struck by the historical similarities to the earlier Balkan wars, and by the parallels between Slavic nationalism and the nationalism in the Soviet Union. The Yugoslav war seemed like it might be a window on the future of the entire old East Bloc, so I went to Croatia.

Croatia and Slovenia were on the verge of recognition by Germany, a curious circumstance to an American journalist who wondered why the Germans - with their own problems in the old East Germany - would be so quick to rush into the political riptide of the Balkans. Clearly, this civil war seemed to be about the dismantling of the Yugoslav federation.

Throughout of summer 1991, American television news had reported on Serb snipers and Serb shelling of eastern Croatian towns. The news weeklies had focused on the civil war, especially the "brutality" of the Serbs. Clearly, this trip to Croatia would teach me just why the Serbs seemed committed to the reality of a Greater Serbia at any cost, why they felt such a need to extinguish their enemies.

Then, after a day spent with Croat forces besieging the Marshal Tito Barracs outside Zagreb, I encountered the HOS. Clearly, from that day on, nothing was clear.

The HOS (*) - or Croatian Defense Force - are the best-trained, best-armed Croat paramilitary force. Paramilitary in Croatia does not mean extra-military. The entire Croat military is made up of militia. There is no central command, no joint chiefs reporting to a civilian command. Paramilitary groups are the Croat army. Where any particular militia in any given village may be armed with old shotguns and the occasional automatic weapon, the HOS sport crisp uniforms, Austrian sidearms and AK-47s. The next time you are watching TV news, look for the Croat flag flying over T-series East German battle tanks, deployed in Bosnia. The guys on the tanks are the HOS.

The HOS are the troops who threw grenades through the windows of Muslim homes, burning the families alive. The HOS are the troops who tried to keep U.N. inspectors out of Bosnian villages. The HOS are the troops who salute with a straight-armed gesture that will send chills up your spine. THE HOS ARE FASCIST, PLAIN AND SIMPLE.

...Jewish leaders were UNANIMOUS in saying they saw worring PARALLELS BETWEEN THE NAZI AND PRO-NAZI MASSACRES OF 50 YEARS AGO and the unease of Jews in Croatia under strongly nationalist regime in the break away republic TODAY...

"What worries us is that those in power in Croatia NOW are largely THE SAME AS DURING THE NAZI ERA... In some cases THEY ARE EXACTLY THE SAME PEOPLE, now in their seventies and BACK from exile under the Communists. In other cases, they are the CHILDREN OF THE USTASHA... THEY WEAR *THE SAME BLACK SHIRTS*, the same black trousers, many carry THE SAME "SERBO-SEKS" [KNIVES FOR THE SERBS]..." said Dr. Klara Mandic, a senior Jewish community leader.

The above quote is from:
Phil Davidson
[British] The Independent
October 21, 1991, page 10
"War raises old anxieties for Croatian Jews"

I met HOS troops in the bar at the international Hotel in Zagreb. It was during an air raid alert, and while many of my colleagues were hunched over their drinks and the spiffy press packets handed out by the Croat information ministry, I struck up a conversation with one of three HOS troopers. Another one of the three was very drunk, and before he stumbled into the night, he did his straight-armed Nazi salute, complete with a bellowing "Seigh Heil." His friend told me that the HOS would push the "Turkish" Serbs right back to Asia.

The spiffy Croat press packet said nothing about the HOS.

In fact, except for March 28 Boston Globe story, I am not aware of a single major news media outlet that has told the story of the HOS, and the implications of that story. In fact, while the entire focus of U.S. journalism has been on Serbian "agression," the Croat HOS has been conducting its own campaign of GENOCIDE.

The story continued on the next page (E2) under title: CROATIA: Crack forces are guilty of atrocities ...

A brief familiarization with Croat history should have prepared Western journalists for the neo-Nazi movement in Croatia. A rudimentary understanding of Croat history should have moved news producers to assign reporters to what should have been an ongoing story: Croatia, if armed, will do today what Croatia did for Hitler in World War II, when more than 400,000 Serbs were exterminated by Croat Nazis. This is not to excuse a single shot fired by Serbs, but only to put today's events in a historical perspective: Croats see themselves as protectors of the European frontier, and they see Serbs as inferior Asiatics to be pushed out, or put down.

Not reported in the U.S. press was the fact that soon after Croatia declared its independence in June 1991, Croatian [actually: "Krajina"] Serbs were asked to take a loyalty oath. Forty thousand who would not sign were forced out of their homes. At the same time, squares in Zagreb were renamed for members of the Ustasha - the Croat Nazi movement of World War II. Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal has long warned of the rebirth of Croat fascism, but not until Croat President Franjo Tudjman showed up at the April dedication of the Holocaust Memorial in Washington did the American press begin asking just what it is about Croatia's past that might so bother Serbs.

This all begs for further scrutiny.

The Croatian government has revived many of the paraphenalia of the Nazi puppet regime headed by Ante Pavelic in the early 1940s. STREETS AND SQUARES HAVE BEEN RENAMED AFTER USTASHA HEROES...

...Plans are well under way to REINSTATE the kuna, THE CURRENCY OF THE FASCIST STATE. THE CROATIAN FLAG ONCE AGAIN SPORTS SAHOVNICA, THE RED AND WHITE CHEQUERED SHIELD WHICH SYMBOLIZED PAVELIC'S STATE - symbol which some... equate with a reunited Germany flying the swastika...

...It is less easy to explain that lack of international reaction to the RESURGENT FASCISM *SO EVIDENT* in the building of the new nation. British suggestions of economic sanctions on account of Croatia's military involvement in Bosnia have been repeatedly blocked by Germany... Germany is siding with Croatia... former partners in tourism and GENOCIDE. On the American side, THERE ARE NONE SO BLIND AS THOSE WHO WILL NOT SEE. SWASTIKAS, BLACK UNIFORMS, *RAPE AND PILLAGE* fade into insignificanse beside the demonic image the State Department has built for the Serbs.

The above quote is from:
Kenneth Roberts
March 19 1994, pages 16, 17, 18
The Germans warmly support the Croats. Kenneth Roberts says this reuniting of Second World War allies is distasteful"

There is no dispute that 40,000 [regular] Croatian troops [drafted in Croatia proper], including the HOS troops riding tanks, are in Bosnia. There is no question that they are now murdering Muslims. There is no doubt that they have T-Series battle tanks, supplied last year by the German GOVERNMENT. Why, then, has not a single major U.S. media outlet asked these questions? What about the arms embargo? What are foreign troops doing in Bosnia? What other weapons have the Germans sold the Croats? When?

In fact, during 1992 Germany sold MiG aircraft, SAM missiles and 60 battle tanks to Croatia. Croatia, in turn, sold 120mm and 76mm light artillery to Bosnia, along with SAM missiles, possibly the same ones sold Croatia by Germany. These transactions are matter of public record, listed in the Defense and Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy report of December 1992.

I'm troubled by the possible consequences of not asking these questions. Is U.S. policy based, in part, on an incomplete assessment of the situation in the former Yugoslavia? If so, are U.S. troops about to be deployed to a place where both the people and terrain will be inhospitable? Do U.S. policy-makers believe that political support for troop deployment can only be assured if the American public finds a "good guy" to fight for? And ARE THE CROATS REALLY GOOD GUYS? Or are there only bad guys fighting a war that should be contained, to be sure, but not joined?

Finally, as was the case with public relations and Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm, are public relations firms doing such a good job "spinning" the news that both the public and policy-makers are operating under false assumptions? The Croat government is represented by the Washington PR firm of Ruder Finn. The Serb government is represented by the British firm of Ian Greer Associates. Recently on a Bosnian radio station, Gen. Lou MacKenzie, former U.N. commander in Bosnia, made reference to the distillation of news from Bosnia through public relations firms, saying, "If you're to have a civil war, the first thing you need is a good PR firm."

When one considers Croat history, the HOS, Croat atrocities in Bosnia and Croat weapons purchases, one must conclude that Ruder Finn is doing a first-class job. At what cost to U.S. prestige and the lives of U.S. troops remains to be seen.

I came away from Yugoslavia with far more questions than answers. Some of these questions need to be asked by the TV networks, which are in a position to educate the public and the policy-makers. Photo footage of an HOS squad throwing grenades through the windows of Bosnian farmers will tell a horrific story, but a story that needs to be told. It needs to be told before U.S. troops land in a war zone where they will have no friends, where they too will be everyman's target.

(End of quote).

 * * * 

Paul Reid, a Boston columnist who writes frequently about international terrorism, wrote this article for The Miami Herald.

(*) HOS stands for "Hrvatske Oslobodilacke Snage" which translates to "Croatian Liberation Army." This is not to be confused with "Kosovo Liberation Army" (KLA) though both "armies" were armed, trained, equipped and supported -- in any shape and form -- by the "democratic" West.

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    [ World Nazis flock to Croatia to fight the Serbs ]
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    [ Nazi Croats are marching again! ]
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 Where am I? PATH:

 Book of facts

o History of the Balkans

o Big powers and civil wars in Yugoslavia
(How was Yugoslavia dismantled and why.)

o Proxies at work
(Muslims, Croats and Albanians alike were only proxies of the big powers)

o The Aftermath

The truth belongs to us all.

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Last revised: August 3, 2003