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Friday, 16 November 2012

"2 CROATIAN HEROES" - Generals Ante Gotovina & Mladen Markač Exonerated As Croatians Worldwide Celebrate









 The Hague judges finally got it right and the Croatian Generals are back home.






Truly a great day in Croatian history, so momentous that I will trade this for winning a World Cup in soccer anyday.  If there was ever a reason lately, especially during these tougher economic times, for Croatians to rejoice and celebrate, then this would be it.  2 men who helped bring the Serbian ethnic cleansing and genocide onslaught in the former ex-jugoslavia to an end, who helped free occupied Croatian territory from armed thugs and criminals, who helped the remaining Croats and other Non-Serbs to return to their homes which they were expelled from 4 years earlier behind the barrel of a gun, to show that Croatia will be a free society and country and that Croatian towns and cities will not be ruled and terrorized by extremist Belgrade politicians, their military or any armed Serb extremist terrorists wherever they may be found on Croatian soil.

For those not in the know, 2 Croatian generals were given their freedom today at the Hague where they have been in custody since 2006.  Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač were the catalyst in helping to regain Croatia's freedom from Serbian paramilitary and chetnik militias as well as Serb run Yugoslav army forces in those days of occupied Croatia starting in 1991.  But it wasn't long before Serbian propaganda, lies, (sort of like this) misinformation and relentless lobbying was trying to make Croatian heroes and the Croatian military into something it was not.  Attempting to twist facts and tarnish Croatians guilty for defending and liberating themselves of an occupying army.

According to many political scientists and commentators, the Croatian generals were indicted mainly only because of Serbian pressure and lobby tactics, using political leverage in neighboring BiH to attempt to spread blame, to muddy the waters and thus whitewash Serbian crimes.  (Hey, it was all just one big camping trip that got out of hand, oh well, we shot bullets, then they shot bullets, it's all the same thing see)  This momentous decision today has shown that the Serbian lobbyists around the world, their extremist minions, spinning media and hordes of nationalistic Karadzic, Mladic, Selsel and Milosevic poster waving scumbags have failed in trying to blacken Croatian victory from 1995 and vilify Croatia's right to defend herself.  The twisted lies and misinformation naturally went into high gear after Ante Gotovina and commander Mladen Markač were officially on trial. (The main card played by the Serb camp was that "any"  shell  that landed beyond the 200 meter mark from a military target was not aimed at the military target and should be viewed as a deliberate attack  on civilians, and was proof that they were attempting to deport civilians.  That was actually what the lobbyists and nationalist Serbs and their lawyers  only "proof" of Serb ethnic cleansing claims relied on from beginning to end, to them that constituted genocide and equal to the 87 day siege of the town of Vukovar and countless other Croatian towns and cities for years.  Serb propaganda claims were adamant that was the sole purpose of the offensive.  In a well planned military counter offensive, the odd shell won't hit it's target.  (Example, as opposed to this. More on this topic in the post below)  It worked for a while, just enough to erringly get them sentenced in 2011, but today that house of cards came toppling down.  The "Homeland War" (Domovinski Rat) as it is called in Croatia, is a war that Croatia didn't want, didn't need and didn't ask for. Croatia (and Slovenia and the other republics) were intent on a peaceful dissolution such as the former Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia examples.  Attempts since then to frame Gotovina, Markač, and by association all Croatian military and political leaders and all Croats using various kinds of tactics, labeling the Croat nation and it's democratically elected leadership as (bizarrely.. they must be thinking of the Serb run part of BiH I think)..just one big criminal enterprise....."FAILED".  Attempts to transform the words "displaced" with being ‘ethnically cleansed’, and to count all Serbs displaced by all the wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo as having been ‘ethnically cleansed’ as opposed to being evacuated by the Serb authorities themselves, for example, or fleeing Sarajevo to escape the Serbian siege   –Croatia is independent, exists and equally important...FREE.

Already the Serbian reaction (as expected) is shock, dismay, all that. They want to know why their schemes, lies and attempts to frame Croatian generals didn't work.  They want to know "How could they be exonerated?"    However as you read on, you will see those questions have already been answered. Answered according to facts, lack of evidence, falsification of events and invented evidence.  Case closed.  Serbian church leaders are perturbed as to why the Croatian generals are not being sentenced and found guilty of a whole range of fabricated charges. But these Serbian church leaders, their politicians and supporters of Serbian ethnic cleansing need to ask themselves a question instead.  Namely "Why were Serb church leaders blessing Serb soldiers, paramilitaries, extremist Serb politicians, Serb wacko proponents of ethnic cleansing and genocide against civilians, Serbs that were in Serbia being sent on their way to attack Croatia?  Why were Serb church leaders rubbing elbows with and blessing the likes of Seselj, Karadzic, Mladic, et all, while their armed scumbags were shelling civilians in Sarajevo for years?   Again, why were Serb church leaders even promoting and calling for more soldiers and volunteers in Serbia to take up arms and attack Croatian towns, cities and civilians?  Why were Serb church leaders part of the Serbo-Yugo pyramid of deceit, extremist nationalistic and communistic propaganda that was encouraging Serbs in Serbia to take tanks, guns, artillery, bombs and attack jet planes and attack Croatia?  To attack Croatia even when Vukovar was still a peaceful and civilian populated city and not one building damaged? That's the question those "dismayed" Serbs and Serb church mouthpieces need to ask themselves. Perhaps Serb church priests and patriarchs should be rounded up and be sitting in the Hague as well... ...

Serbian nationalistic politics and politicians, extremist chetnik groups and the everyday "anti-everything that isn't Serbian" populace won't be able to write and print books which will spread their version of facts, as opposed to the real facts.  It was hoped that by surrendering bigwigs like Slobodan Milosevic, then finally Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic and because many others were already captureded, that it would absolve them of their 90's ethnic cleansing and genocidal image.   Then with the by hook or by crook incarceration using made up and twisting of fact charges of Croatian generals, they could then reinterpret, revise, and rewrite 90's history more to their liking, or pretend it never happened.  Survey says....press one of these. (The Price is Right one is pretty cool)

Today the truth is known that Croatia had the right to defend herself, it's citizens. prevent further attacks and  regain occupied territory from bands of ethnic cleansing criminals, rapists and scumbags. (Yep, anybody trying to blacken the name of a professional soldier and a just efficient military operation and attempt to equate it with bands of real ethnic cleansing, civilian shooting and bombing extremist wackos, whether they're wearing a tshirt, a suit and tie or priestly vestments...well, to me that's a scumbag in my books too.  Actually, anybody who supports or even compares the Serb ethnic cleansing and genocidal campaigns of the 90's to Croatian efforts to rid their territory of unlawfully armed thugs and paramilitaries and let the ethnically cleansed Croats and Non-Serbs return to their homes, the homes they were cleansed from, and even killed in.....is a sick fuck and needs serious professional help)  The appeals judges have rightfully held that the lower court had "erred terribly" in the initial assessment.  Nor could they gather enough evidence to hold the Generals or the Croatian Army responsible of "forcibly displacing" or "deporting" any civilians AT ALL. There was also no evidence at all of any forcible deporting of ANY people.  As proven and documented in many places, and many times on film,  it was the Serbian hierarchy itself which started relocating the Serb civilians en masse even weeks prior,  before even Serbian forces themselves started briskly withdrawing. The promise of Serb/Yugoslav boss Slobodan Milosevic and his henchmen that all Serbs will live in one state, a so-called "Greater Serbia" didn't pan out.  Finally the "Let's sue the owner of the house for beating up the guy who broke into this house, trashed it, killed the kids, kicked the granny and bragged about it at that shitty bar" scenario didn't work. The Serb extremist nationalistic politicians, religious leader warmongers, or even their media apparatchiks can hoot and scribble all they like, they can accuse Croatians of shelling Belgrade, they can accuse Croatians of going into Serbia and setting up rape camps and mortaring schools and hospitals,  they can even accuse Croatia of dropping the A-bomb on them and using laser death-rays from bases on the moon to zap Belgrade school playgrounds,  it really doesn't matter. (The verdict of these cases based on the evidence presented is final and cannot be appealed)


If today our famous general Ante Gotovina and Commander of Croatian Special Police during Operation Storm Mladen Markač had still been in custody, even with a reduced sentence, then using the same logic there should be dozens of American and NATO commanders at the Hague as well for their roles in military ventures in Afghanistan, Iraq etc.  Has any Israeli general ever been indicted for military operations against Hamas or the PLO?  Gotovina's medals will now shine brighter than ever.  It must not be forgotten that the leadership and actions of  Ante Gotovina (As well as other military leadership) was responsible for not only freeing Croatia, proving wrong the claims of Serbian military invincibility,  but also in avoiding a humanitarian and ethnic cleansing nightmare in BiH as well.  (As unbelievable as that sounds, yes, it would have been much worse there if the Croatian Generals didn't succeed in "Operation Storm", which makes me think that the ICTY should also give him a medal, for not just saving Croatian lives but also numerous thousands of these days so-called "Bosniaks") If anything is learned from the facts as they are, it is that the city of Vukovar and it's remaining defenders fell after an 87 day siege of constant Serb bombardment, shelling and jet fighter attacks, and that the Serbs of the self-proclaimed illegal criminal entity, after given orders by Serb leadership to leave, were gone in about 12 hours. (I can totally understand and don't blame them for leaving at all, afterall, they were living in the homes for 4 years of Croats, and other Non-Serbs, that they evicted, murdered, some homes they destroyed, and then supported and even took part in attempting to do the same in other parts of Croatia. So  I can totally understand why they hightailed it out of there)

People of Croatian background around the world are celebrating this historic triumph of justice and vindication of Croatian history. Young and old from a wide cross section of Croatian society, especially many veterans who went to battle for Croatia's defense in the 1990's are amongst the 100,000  people in downtown Zagreb celebrating.  The celebrating is still going on all across Croatia even as I'm writing this.  As Ante said in his speech to the Zagreb crowd...This puts the final nail in the coffin concerning accusations against him, Croatian military actions and Croatian leadership in the 90's.  He thanked all the people who kept hope and worked on his behalf, and said that now was the time for Croatians to move even more forward from the war because today officially ended this chapter of fabricated spinning attempts in trying stain Croatian military conduct and victory all because of a failed Greater Serbia. Croatia can stand tall because the future is ours and always was.  When Serb nationalist extremists and belly aching real war criminal supporters start their complaining, (which I really don't give 2 shits about) they can look inwards and at their military/political leaders instead and ask themselves questions.  I'm not interested in real and documented war criminal supporter whining and poster clutching antics.  I think Croatian leaders should name the next large ship in the Croatian Navy, one of our tallest peaked mountains, or big bridges after him, or at least until then some streets, squares or schools.  There's much more images and video at the links.  There's gonna be lots of celebrations all across Croatia tonight, Man, I wish I was in downtown Zagreb right now getting drunk, I hope the Generals open a lot of beers and wine this weekend too.........





Prime Minister Zoran Milanović welcoming the now free General in Zagreb. He and Markač left for Croatia immediately after the verdict.  More information at www.antegotovina.com




 Related: www.guardian.co.uk

www.24sata.hr

www.index.hr

www.antegotovina.com

www.24sata.hr

www.jutarnji.hr

www.tportal.hr

www.rtl.hr

www.slobodnadalmacija.hr

danas.net.hr

www.novilist.hr

www.dalmacijanews.com

www.mojarijeka.hr

www.vecernji.hr

Vidoes: dnevnik.hr

Galleries of sent photos: www.24sata.hr/galerija

www.chathamhouse.org

Us-Supports-Acquittal-Of-Croatian-Generals

Dissolution_of_the_Soviet_Union

Dissolution_of_Czechoslovakia








Croatian hero Ante Gotovina acquitted of war crimes





About 100,000 people showed up in downtown Zagreb to celebrate his freedom.  (As well as partly responsible for protecting Croatians from being forced to wear Serbian horned toe opanci and hosting the Serbian trumpet festival , Testicle Cooking Championships and far worse)







Source: www.spiegel.de


The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague on Friday overturned the convictions of two Croatian generals for committing war crimes during the 1990s break-up of Yugoslavia. While Croatia has hailed the decision, Serbia is calling the decision "scandalous."

Back in 2005, the arrest of suspected Croatian war criminal Ante Gotovina was hailed as a significant step toward his home country's dream of ultimately joining the European Union. Now, more than seven years later, Croatia's EU membership is essentially a foregone conclusion -- and Gotovina is a free man once again.





Young and old showing up at Zagreb Pleso Airport to welcome back the Croatian heroes.




Celebrating in downtown Zagreb into the night. More images and video at www.24sata.hr





It was the veterans (a number of them invalids now, I have a cousin-in-law who lost both legs as a Croatian soldier btw) that arrived hours early to watch the verdict live on big screen, but everyone came out to greet his arrival to address the crowds.





The appeals chamber at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague on Friday overturned guilty verdicts against Gotovina and fellow Croat general Mladen Markac in what is being called the most significant reversals in the court's history. The two had been sentenced in 2011 to 24 and 18 years behind bars respectively for crimes against humanity and war crimes relating to a 1995 attack on Serbian civilians.

The pair's original conviction hinged on the tribunal's acceptance of the existence of a plan led by the late Croatian President Franjo Tudjman to expel Serbs from Croatia. Three out of five judges in the appeals chamber, however, said that prosecutors failed to prove that such a plan existed. The ruling is nothing short of a clean legal slate for the country's entire wartime leadership.





Arriving at Zagreb Airport










Photogallery: www.dalmacijanews.com





Friday's ruling, said Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, is "an important moment for Croatia." A former advisor to Tudjman, Skare Ozbolt, said it was "a victory of justice" according to the Associated Press. "It corrects all wrongs about our just war" and "proves that there was no ethnic cleansing in Croatia and that it was all lies."

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Serbian reaction was decidedly less enthusiastic. Vladimir Vukcevic, Serbia's war crimes prosecutor, called the verdict "scandalous" in an interview with the AP. "This was one of the biggest war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, murder, expulsion and endangering of several hundred thousand people and no one was held responsible."

'Worse than Any Injustice'

Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Rasim Ljajic, who is his country's liaison with the Hague tribunal, echoed the sentiment. "With the acquittal, the tribunal has lost all credibility," he told Reuters. "What happened today is a testimony to the selective justice which is worse than any injustice."

Gotovina and Markac had been convicted of perpetrating the expulsion of some 200,000 Serbs from their homes in Croatia in 1995. Some 600 Serbs died in the course of the massive flight, which occurred during a Croatian offensive to take back the Krajina region, an area that had been taken by the Serbs in 1991. The pair of Croatian generals had been among the few convicted by the Hague tribunal who were not Serbs.





Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač addressing the veterans and supporters at Ban Josip Jelacic Square.  The pair said that "Now is the time for Croatians to move even more forward from the war because today's decision  officially ended the chapter of attempts at trying stain Croatian military conduct and victory. Croatia and it's leadership can stand tall."




The plane carrying exonerated Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač after landing in Zagreb. 





The appeals panel, however, found that there was no evidence of a conspiracy to ethnically cleanse the region of its Serb population. "The Appeals Chamber unanimously found that the Trial Chamber erred in concluding that all artillery impact sites located more than 200 meters from a target deemed legitimate served as evidence of unlawful attacks against towns in the Krajina region of Croatia," said the tribunal in a press release. "The majority also held that the Trial Chamber erred in finding the existence of a joint criminal enterprise whose purpose was the permanent and forcible removal of Serb civilians from the Krajina region."

The tribunal is currently continuing proceedings against two additional defendants accused of war crimes, the Bosnian Serb wartime leaders Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic.

cgh -- with wire reports














Who is Ante Gotovina?....




Ante Gotovina at home reunited with his wife Dunja and children after 11 years of proceedings. Photo: Bruno Konjević / CROPIX






Sources: www.freecroatiangenerals.com

www.jutarnji.hr

Related:  www.antegotovina.com




Ante Gotovina was born on October 12, 1955 in Pašman near Zadar, Croatia. He left Croatia at age 16 to become a sailor. At 18 he joined the French Foreign Legion, an elite military division whose training focuses not only on conventional military expertise but also on its strong esprit de corps, and eventually joined the Parachute Commando Group. He partook in Foreign Legion’s operations in Djibouti as well as missions in the Ivory Coast and other countries in Asia and Africa. After 5 years of service in the Legion, he left with the rank of caporal-chief. He acquired French citizenship in 1979. In the early 1980s he acted as a liaison agent and military instructor in Latin American countries like Paraguay, Colombia, and Guatemala.

After learning about the Croatian declaration of independence in 1991, he returned to Croatia and joined the 1st Guard Brigade of the Croatian military and was in charge of training new recruits. He engaged in heavy fighting in Western Slavonia, first as a defender and eventually as a commander. There, he was wounded and recovered.




 Support for Ante Gotovina had been seen throughout Croatia on billboards and posters during his time on trial.  If Ante Gotovina hadn't succeeded in liberating Croatia, it could very well have been victory billboards like this, and even worse ones.  Can you imagine what that would have done for Croatian tourism?




The exuberance all across Croatia was not only at the news of the acquittal of the Generals, but it was also the symbolic nail in the coffin of the Serb run former-Yugoslavia and the justification of Croatian military actions to reclaim occupied territory.  People of all ages took to the streets to celebrate the Hague Tribunals decision. (Even cats, kids and dogs)  Many more more images from around Croatia and elsewhere sent by readers: www.24sata.hr/galerija






In 1992, now colonel Ante Gotovina was the commander of the of Croatian Defense Council (HVO) headquarters in Livno, Herzegovina with task of defending the Livno region. After the successful defense execution in the Livno region, General Janko Bobetko quickly recognized Gotovina's leadership skills. He rapidly progressed militarily and along with the main commanders Janko Bobetko and Ante Roso was one of the main commanders in Operation Maslenica.






As a lieutenant-general he led quite a few successful military operations. He successfully defended Livno and Tomislavgrad from Mladić’s army. He broke the Serbian defenses in the Livno area over a 10 month long war. He defended the slopes of Dinara and Šator. He successfully took over Glamoč and Bosansko Grahovo. He took over the surrounding area of Knin, which created conditions for rapid and successful execution of Operation Storm. After that, in the second half of 1995 Govotina was the chief commander of Croatian Army. Operations commanded by General Gotovina changed the strategic balance of power in the Balkans, destroyed the myth of the Serbian invincibility, and enabled the signing of the Dayton Peace Accord.




General Ante Gotovina pictured with President Franjo Tudjman at Knin Fortress in the town of Knin shortly after the victorious conclusion of "Operation Storm" in 1995.





On August 4th, 1995, Operation Storm commenced. It was a large-scale military operation carried out by Croatian Armed Forces together with the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to gain back the control of Croatian territories which had been claimed by Serbs. The united Croatian forces led by General Ante Gotovina massed their troops around the occupied Croatian territory of Krajina. Croatian President Tudjman announced on the radio that the Croatian citizens of Serbian ethnicity in the occupied territories stay in their homes and not fear the Croatian authorities who will respect their minority rights. General Gotovina’s army shattered through the Serbian defenses forcing 40,000 troops and 400 tanks to flee to Banja Luka. The operation, which was documented as the largest European land offensive since World War II lasted 84 hours and liberated occupied Croatian territories, causing the end of the Serb onslaught on Bihać, preventing a humanitarian catastrophe, and striking the ultimate blow to Milošević’s scheme.

Realizing how strong the Croatian army had become, Milošević wanted to remove all Serbs from Croatian territories and populate them in Serbian occupied Kosovo. The bombing of Serbia by NATO forces stopped this process and the fleeing Serbs remained in Serbia. He didn’t want these Serbs to go back to Croatia and he wasn’t able to populate them in Kosovo. In order to justify himself, Milošević needed to incriminate Croatia and he employed Savo Štrbac to collect fake materials and witnesses to accuse as many Croatians as possible. It was a tactic to show that Croatia tried to ethnically cleanse Serbs from Croatian territories.

Following the removal of Milošević from power by the Serbian people, and the end of his failure to create a Greater Serbia, the UN, who simply stood back and watched Milošević’s forces slaughter at will for almost 10 years, created The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, Netherlands to prosecute those responsible for war crimes. The vast majority of executors of war crimes were Serbs – no less than “90%” - according to the classified CIA report leaked to the New York Times in March, 1995. In an attempt to appear even-handed, the prosecutors began to indict a number of Croatians, including General Ante Gotovina.  Transferred to Hague on 10 December 2005 and appeared before the ICTY on December 12 pleading not guilty to all charges brought against him.


 Ranks

French Foreign Legion:
  • caporal-chef
Croatian army:
  • Major
  • 1992 - Brigadier General
  • November 1994 - Major General
  • August 1995 - General

Assignments:
  • from 1. January 1973 to 1978 - served in 2nd REP (Régiment Étranger de Parachutistes - Foreign Parachute Regiment)
  • from 1991 to 1992 - served in 1st Guards Brigade (Tigers) of Croatian Army
  • 1992 - commander of Croatian Defense Council (HVO) in Livno
  • from 9 October 1992 to 12 March 1996 - commander of 6th Operational Zone later Split military district
  • from 12 March 1996 to 29 September 2000 - chief inspector of Inspectorate of Croatian army




 Celebrating on the coast in the city of Split. More photos of celebrating across Croatian towns and cities HERE.  Local football club Hajduk Split also expressed congratulations on their website.




 Vukovar (The 21st anniversary since the fall of Vukovar will be commemorated in just a few days on the 18th)




 Varaždin




City of Rijeka, Photo galleries: www.novilist.hr, www.mojarijeka.hr




Vinkovci




Knin




Dubrovnik.  Photo gallery: www.tportal.hr




Pula




The hometown of Ante Gotovina, the coastal community of Pakoštane




Zadar




Celebrations and concerts in Split went well into the night, similar scenes took place all across Croatia.  It was good to see a cross section of Croatian society take part in the celebrations, invalid veterans,  young people, all age groups, afterall, if not for the Generals and the soldiers, the country they are living or born in may look quite different or maybe not exist at all.




At the KHL Medveščak Zagreb (Zagreb Bears) EBEL hockey league game. Full story and photo gallery: www.index.hr/sport










After the verdict was announced live, many veterans immediately started chants in memory of "Vukovar! Vukovar!".





Immediately after Operation Storm, ICTY began an investigation into atrocities made during and after military operations. Politically, the most controversial element in the story of Ante Gotovina and The Hague tribunal is that Gotovina’s arrest was a serious obstacle for Croatia to join the European Union. Knowing that this is a politically motivated process, Gotovina refused to participate in it and preferred to go into hiding. After years of hiding, Gotovina was arrested in the Canary Islands, Spain on December, 7 2005. The Hague court trial against Ante Gotovina, Mladen Markač and, Ivan Čermak began on March 11, 2008. They all pleaded not guilty.

General Ante Gotovina was indicted on the vaguest of charges and it is clear to anybody who has studied the case that the indictment was politically motivated from its inception and the allegations are ridiculous. The prosecutors allege that due to Operation Storm ‘thousands of Krajina Serbs were ethnically cleansed,’ regardless of a key Krajina Serb political leader, Milan Babić, testifying that his very own leadership ordered the withdrawal of both the civilian and military Serbian population. This is confirmed in Politika’s August 23rd, 1995 edition, which reproduced a copy of the authentic order signed by the Krajina Serb President Milan Martić, himself. It is alleged that a number of soldiers under the General Gotovina’s command committed atrocities against Serbian civilians during Operation Storm and that he didn’t take in any preventative measures in spite of being warned by foreign observers. There is no single fact, evidence, or document at all that indicates Gotovina ordered any atrocity. Regardless, Ante Gotovina was sentenced to 24 years, Mladen Markač was sentenced to 18 years, and Ivan Čermak was released.

The indictment and verdict against these heroes is built on the doctrine of a joint criminal enterprise, which directly implies that the entire Croatian republic was built on crime. This concept does not process the truly responsible executors of war crimes, but instead solely focuses on commanders, which were not in direct contact with the executors. It’s Hague’s favorite weapon lately. The truth is these heroes defended Croatia from Serbs’ notion of creating ethnically pure greater Serbia beyond its borders. These brave men never set foot outside of Croatian territory but simply defended their homeland.

General Ante Gotovina is an innocent man who defended his homeland.







Newsday reporter Roy Gutman wins the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for stories revealing the horrors of ethnic warfare in the former Yugoslavia. His reports free 6,000 men waiting to die in Serb-run concentrations camps. Gutman is the author of A Witness to Genocide (1993) and co-edits Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know (1999), outlining major war crimes and legal terms.











Some footage of Serb chetink/paramilitary and yugoslav troops  entering the town of Vukovar after 87 days of constant indiscriminate bombardment, almost leveling the city.  (You can hear the Serb soldiers singing "in celebration" the quoted words in the image above as they parade into town as "victors")  There is a dvd documentary series which can be purchased,  "Heroj Vukovar", which graphically sheds  light and includes behind the scenes footage of the travesty of the town of Vukovar in 1991.  You can also watch it with English subtitles HERE.





Also, many people may have heard of the travesty of the attack on Vukovar, perhaps Dubrovnik as well.  But it must not be forgotten those were only 2 in a long list of Croatian cities and towns and areas that were terrorized by the Serb run Ex-Yugoslav army.  This short footage of Serb orchestrated destruction (under the guise of Slobodan Milosevic's "Greater Serbo-slavia" vision and his handpicked mouthpieces) and reign of terror on the civilian population of the city of Vinkovci and Osijek is from the autumn of 1991, when mainly scenes of the carnage of Vukovar was being broadcast around the world.  The clip starts with the at the time Serb/Yugoslav general Blagoje Adzic during a speech, a speech where he is praising the Yugoslav army as "The the army of bringing peace and freedom". The footage then switches to scenes of the Yugoslav army bringing peace and freedom to the Croatian towns.  It gives more insight as to what Ante Gotovina, the Croatian political leadership and the future Croatian Army were attempting to prevent and fighting against.











Operation Storm



The following is an excerpt from a post HERE where the background leading up to "Operation Storm", and what in Croatia we call the "The Homeland War" is more discussed, an excerpt which was vindicated today..... 




....."And lastly, as an addendum to this addition, I just wanted to touch upon a subject that currently seems to really be a thorn in the paw of Greater Serbian/Chetnik media statements. That being the successful conclusion of Croatia recapturing Greater Srb/Chetnik occupied Croatian territory and thus ending their armed occupation and in effect, Serbian war of aggression against Croatia.  Why did "Operation Storm" have to happen in the first place?  Why did no country or international organization recognize this criminal self-proclaimed  entity?  What happened to the up to 250,000 Croats (Including some other Non-Serbs) who lived in these areas prior to 1991 and their homes and property?

The Serbian president of this cleansed of Non-Serbs territory and criminal entity was Milan Martić, who is currently serving 35 years)... After the killing then expulsion of all Non-Serbs from Croatian border areas, a self proclaimed Serbian entity was established for 4 years, with it's capital being the historic Croatian city of Knin, which was capital of medieval Croatia.  (In the years following Operation Storm, Croatian authorities uncovered over 3,000 bodies, discovered to be murdered Croatians in mass graves in the former Krajina territory, buried since the Serb ethnic cleansing campaign in 1991)  Also, from these occupied areas, attempts were made to gain even more territory, including shelling and rocket attacks of other larger Croatian cities, including the capital city of Zagreb.  In 1993 around 4,000 paramilitaries under the command of Vojislav Šešelj (the White Eagles) and "Arkan" (the Serb Volunteer Guard) arrived to bolster the VSK.(The so-called Army of Serbian |Krajina)    Croatia then made one final push in 1995 to end the war and bring freedom to all Croatian territory, which also helped stop the Serbian slaughter in neighboring BiH.  This was known as 'Operacija Oluja' (Operation Storm). A well planned, timely and precise attack against Serb-Chetnik  and paramilitary positions that was over within a few days."......






As already mentioned above, the Serbian church leadership (which has been proven not only since the 90's, but over the last century or two, to be truly a Serbian plague ridden pig-church, and should rightfully have a Serbian Pig-Jesus on a cross with a knife between his mouth, wearing a chetnik cap and pointy horned toe Serbian opanci shoes, oinking Serbo-Pigisms,...or maybe Serbo-Frogisms)....are equally guilty of atrocities committed in the name of "Serbdom".  Here a Serbian partriarch, joined by Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, is holding Serbian mass and blessing the genocidal duo.  Probably praying for sunny days and no rain to get some more shelling, sniper fire and rocket attacks in on Non-Serbs. Just one of many similar examples of this terrorist sect. .







This fusion of Serb church tenets and support for Serb war aims from a hundred years ago is the same as Serb church support for 90's war criminals and ethnic cleansing/genocide as well.  Nothing really new.  One just has to browse photos from the recent Serbian Trumpet Festival, one of many examples.  Serb church + Serb saints + Serb war criminals means it's all about just the Serbs, or perhaps more accurately described as...it's all about the them..those "Non-Serbs" actually.  Serbdom is the creed, the rest is just window dressing, beards, robes, strange footwear and knife in mouth photos.  If all the current dirty bird lamenting and festering distorted visions of Serb church leaders and their fans is really nothing new.  It's been going on for quite some time, each time Serbs fail in usurping other peoples lands and ridding these so-called new "Serb lands" of other cultures. The bizarreness has reached the point over the last few years when Serbs and Serb church leaders have been talking about setting up a 26 meter Serbian cross on Trebevic hill overlooking Sarajevo.  The very hill where Serb big guns were blasting and mortaring the civilians below for years.  Why you may ask?  For the Serb victims of course. Trebevic hill is also where Serb clergy were holding Serbian mass, blessing the fruits of Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic, their drunken soldiers' and paramilitaries labor. Blessing every Serb bullet, mortar and shell in the name of Serbdom.  (I've seen images of the proposed cross, a truly egregious Serbian cross if there ever was one, shiny gold and complete with the 4 C's as part of the cross)... 

This is the mentality of this cultish Serb church, (or "Front" organization)  just an extension of political policies, sometimes initiating them in the twisted vortex of it's own delusional fantasy laden reality.  Similar Serb masses and blessings were simultaneously going on when Serb forces were shelling, sniping and bombing Croatian civilians in towns and cities in the early 90's, even when it was the Serb-Yugoslav army.  Even with the knowledge of the raping and genocide against Non-Serbs.   A truly pig-church if there ever was one, it doesn't really have anything to do with any deity or God, or a Jesus, or religion or any of that stuff, not even with other Orthodox Christian religions. It's all about "Serbdom"  Personally, I...(and many people who are experts regarding dangerous religious cults agree with me, based on the same reasons)...believe that the Serbian church should actually be outlawed entirely in the countries where they assisted first in instigating, then supporting out in the open genocidal acts against Non-Serbs.   Supporting first the overthrow of democratically elected  foreign governments even in the very Non-Serb country where they were to be found, escalating to the supporting of genocidal acts in said country, even up to encouraging Serbs from Serbia to assist in the terror. (Not unlike a fundamentalist Islamic group, Taliban, Hamas, al-Qaeda or any other "Front" organization disguised under the umbrella term "Religion, church" but it really being just a front organization for political aims using illegal and even murderous means against their eternal enemies....Non--Serbs)  The amount of evidence, and film footage proving this is incredible and any law school drop-out would have an easy time proving this case in a court of law, especially the ICTY even.  It's not surprising that this so-called "church" was espousing and supporting wars and actions that mimicked, and even surpassed, the tactics of Europes enemy for 500 years...theTurkish-Ottomans  If they were to put the cross pictured below, now that I wouldn't have a problem with because it would be a more proper and accurate depiction.


Behold Serbian-Pig Jesus, Savior and symbol of Serbdom.
More info HERE  (Press all 4 to play at once for full effect)







There is a Croatian Television documentary series that was made called "Operacija Oluja" (Operation Storm).  The documentary includes interviews, behind the scenes footage and shows just how well planned the operation was, it's objectives, events leading up to it and afterwards.   You can purchase the dvd or watch it at www.dokumentarci.com.hr.




......."The overwhelming majority of the Serb population, (many who were living in homes that were left vacant by expelled Croatians from 4 years earlier and whose homes had been looted, and some subsequently destroyed), as well as paramilitary soldiers, left for neighboring Bosnia-Hercegovina as soon as it was discovered the Croatian army was amassing for a soon to be final strategic strike. Serbian occupation leaders were already starting to send Serbs to Serbia and Kosovo weeks before,  knowing that their time was up.   (Those retreating Serb/Chetnik forces and paramilitaries then joined their comrades in arms in BiH to continue the onslaught there)   Ever since that successful conclusion to the occupation of Croatian territory, Greater Serbian media, politicians and lobbyists have been relentless in trying to compare, and remarkably even put on par this Croatian military objective with the Serbian ethnic cleansing and destruction committed in Sarajevo, Vukovar, Srebrenica, Osijek, Vinkovci, Dubrovnik and countlesss other areas in Croatia and B-H and elsewhere.

  How could the Croatian Army do what the Krajina Serbs army and political leadership already did?  (See the actual order given by the "so-called "Krajina President", Milan Martic, and see who was ordering Serbs to immediately leave HERE.  He's the same guy who ordered stuff like this and worse)  Above is the footage of Croatian troops from that Operation Storm (Operacija Oluja) in action, and as can be seen, there is not a hint of ethnic cleansing, indiscriminate shelling, mortar attacks or looting. As mentioned, most of the civilian population had already left, encouraged by retreating Serb paramilitary troops and their leaders,  leaving only scattered remnants for Serb counter-attacks. Once precise strategic strikes to Serbian big guns, tanks, air support and arms depots had started, it was then plain to see, even for the Serbian military, that the Croatian Armed Forces were not the sitting ducks and poorly equipped soldiers from a few years earlier. The Croatian flag was flying above the historic Knin Fortress in a very short time."........







......" The professionalism and efficiency of the Croatian troops as well as of the military planning involved is very evident, and no policy of systematic cleansing of any kind can be seen.  In the above footage it can be seen that the Croatian Armed Forces knew exactly where Greater Serbian/Chetnik weapons and strategic military positions were for months prior to engagement in "Operation Storm" because of careful planning and serveillance. (All while the self proclaimed Yugo-Serb government backed 'Serbian Krajina Army' and citizens were having parades and celebrating their great ethnic cleansing victory and new found criminal quasi-state.) Definitely no indiscriminate bombardment, destruction, looting, forced evictions, but rather the complete opposite. The reintegration of 4 year occupied and ethnically cleansed Croatian territory and the removal of the source of shelling, rocket and mortar attacks on many other Croatian civilian towns, villages and cities. Only pinpoint pre-planned strikes against military targets were issued. To even insinuate this military operation as somehow unjust or wrong or on a par with Serbian military actions would have to group pretty well all the military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and many other locations around the world by NATO troops in the same category.  Also, just to clear any misconceptions that I am a card carrying member of any Croatian political party, or showing favoritism of one political party over others, and most importantly contrary to Greater Serbian/Chetnik claims, all footage below is soley of the members of the 'Croatian Armed Forces", and not, I repeat NOT! a private HDZ/Franjo Tudjman army or some kind of western financed conspiracy force composed of blood drinkers as Greater Serbian/Chetnik nationalist propaganda likes to portray and believe"......




......"And lastly, being of Croatian ancestry and Croatian my mother tongue, well read in the history of Croatian as well as European history, I can honestly say without an ounce of hyperbole that if it wasn't for the grassroots movements and eventual appearance of the Croatian Armed Forces, the Republic of Croatia and a National Croatian government, then the Greater Serbian/Chetnik goals would have been accomplished. The whole of Croatia would have suffered more severe destruction and ethnic cleansing up to and including the capital city of Zagreb, (Which were the words stated by Serbian-Yugoslav leaders) as well as the whole of B-H, and quite possibly the other Republics that were composed of Non-Serbs. (Which was true in the case in Kosovo a few years later)  Then any hope for a any kind of unified future European Union would also have been dashed.  It must be remembered, as well as trying to liberate it's own internationally recognized territory,  it's economy in shambles, massive expeditures and unemployment, tourism almost non-existent, Croatia even had the added misfortune of not only multitudes of Croatian refugees, but masses of refugees from BiH. (The American Ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith, tried to put the amount of Muslim refugees in Croatia into proper perspective in an interview on 8 November 1993. He said the situation would have been the equivalent of the USA taking in 30,000,000 refugees.- Wikipedia)"........










It was all smiles for Croats today.






So, as an addendum, today's momentous and historic, joyous event that righted a great wrong definitely gives Croatians a reason to smile and celebrate, to be proud of their heritage,  history and their country.   Perhaps it's even the boost that the people need to just look forward over everyday problems and with the with the holidays just around the corner.  However soon the celebrations will be over and it will be back to business for everyone involved,  for the Generals, the people celebrating, the Croatian government etc.  

Croatia is on the path to European Union membership next summer, economic issues, jobs, prices and the busy summer tourist season will be in the forefront again.  But before ending this post, I thought I should take a step back and give a better perspective and clearer understanding of those days, back to before the attack on Vukovar and many other cities, towns and villages in Croatia.  Before the aggression hit high gear in the latter part of 1991.  A look at the Croatia that was not bent on establishing an ethnically pure country as the Serbian military and political leaders were attempting, but the one that the Croatian government and it's military was intent on protecting all along.... 





After the 87 day siege of the Croatian town of Vukovar,  Serbs celebrate progress and Serbdom. Even more killing of Croats and Non-Serbs was soon to follow. The heavily armed Yugo-Serbian Philistinian army is jubilant.








 Charter Relating to the Rights of Serbs and Other Minorities





In order to dispel any doubts about the Croatian government's commitment to human rights and exceptional rights for the Serbian minority, the Croatian Parliament in its first session as an independent state, adopted The Charter Relating to the Rights of Serbs and Other Nationalities in the Republic of Croatia on June 25, 1991, it read as follows:



I. A just solution relating to the issue of Serbs and other nationalities in the Republic of Croatia is one of the important factors to democracy, stability, peace and economic advancement, and to cooperation with other countries.

II. The protection and full realization of rights for all nationalities in the Republic of Croatia, as well as the protection of individual rights is a composite part of international protection of human and civil rights and the protection of nationalities and as such they belong to the area of international cooperation.

III. The rights of nationalities and international cooperation will not allow any activity which is opposed to the regulations of international law, especially sovereignty, territorial integrity and the political independence of the Republic of Croatia as a united and indivisible democratic and social state.

IV. All nationalities in Croatia are legally protected from such activities that would threaten their existence. They have the right to respect and to self preservation of their cultural autonomy.

V. Serbs in Croatia and all nationalities have the right to proportionally engage in bodies of local self-government and appropriate government bodies, as well as security for economic and social development for the purpose of preserving their identity and for the protection of any attempts of assimilation, which will be regulated by law, territorial organization, local self-government as well as institutionalizing parliamentary bodies which will be responsible for relations between nationalities.

VI. Organizations which will adhere to the aims of its constitution and which are involved in protecting and developing individual nationalities, and as such are representative of the said nationality, have the right to represent the nationality as a whole and each individual belonging to that nationality, within the Republic as well as on an international level. Individual nationalities and members have the right, in order to protect their rights, to tum to international institutions which are involved in the protection of human and national rights.



The commitments of the Croatian government to human rights surpassed those of the United States Declaration of Independence which referred to native Americans as "merciless Indian savages," or the U.S. Constitution which specifically defined an African-American as three-fifths of a person. The Croatian Parliament further strengthened the law on December 4, 1991 by specifically granting local police, courts and governments to Serbs in those areas in which they were a majority. These documents grant Serbs and other national minorities full protection of human rights, guaranteed proportional representation in government, the right to self-government, and protection from any attempts of forced assimilation. It further encouraged individuals and organizations to appeal to international bodies to secure these protections. Ironically, Serbs in Croatia have never needed these provisions. It was the Croatians, Bosnians and Kosova' s Albanian majority who would appeal to the European Community, the United Nations, the International League for Human Rights, Helsinki Watch, Amnesty International and other international bodies for protection from the Serbian minority and the Serbian controlled Army.











*Update Dec 12, 2012 -  I decided to add this recent news because it gives just one of many examples of real Serbian ethnic cleansing, persecution, extermination, murder, imprisonment, torture, inhumane acts, cruel treatment, deportation, wanton destruction and plunder examples that went on for 4 years previous to "Operation Storm".




Serb Forces Worked Together to Sack Croatian Town




“Everyone was involved," former Serbian security officer says. 




 Goran Hadzic (in beret) arriving at a session of the Serb republic of Krajina's parliament, April 1993. Photograph: Ranko Cukovic/Reuters 






Source: iwpr.net



A protected witness in the trial of Goran Hadzic said this week that Serb forces drawn from both Serbia and Croatia plundered the eastern Croatian town of Dalj in 1991.

Hadzic, who was the political leader of rebel Serb entities in Croatia during the conflict, is charged with 14 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against Croats and other non-Serbs, including persecution, extermination, murder, imprisonment, torture, inhumane acts, cruel treatment, deportation, wanton destruction and plunder.

During the war in Croatia in the early 1990s, Hadzic held senior political positions in Serb-held parts of the country. He headed the government of the self-declared Serbian Autonomous District of Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem, and from February 1992 to December 1993 was president of the Republic of Serb Krajina, which had absorbed the autonomous district.

He is alleged to have been part of a joint criminal enterprise with other political and military officials – including the then Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic – the purpose of which was the “permanent forcible removal of a majority of the Croat and other non-Serb population from approximately one-third of the territory of the Republic of Croatia” in order to create a Serb-dominated state.

The witness who appeared this week was an officer in Serbia’s security service during the events now before the court. He testified under the codename GH-015, and voice and image distortion was used to protect his identity. Most of his evidence was presented in closed session.

GH-015 previously testified in the Hague trial of Slobodan Milosevic, before the latter’s death in 2006. That testimony has been admitted into evidence at Hadzic’s trial. The same witness has also given testimony in the ongoing trial of Jovica Stanisic, wartime security service chief in Serbia.

This week, in the part of his testimony that was open to the public, GH-015 told the court what happened in Dalj after it was taken by Serb forces in 1991.

"When Serb troops came in, they plundered and took away whatever there was to be taken," he said, saying that it was a "general campaign and that everyone was involved".

"There was a very close cooperation between all Serb troops involved," he said. "The police, the JNA [Yugoslav People’s Army], the [Serb] rebels – all was one joint effort."





  
 Goran Hadzic arrested on Fruska Gora - July 20, 2011.  Hadzic had been hiding at the local monastery protected by church leaders  after it became too risky to live freely and in the open in his home in Novi Sad.  The arrest came 2 months after the capture of Ratko Mladic only when it was impossible to protect him anymore, and timed to help Serbian European Union talks going on at the time.  A nice little show for the world's cameras..







"The rebels' checkpoints were being secured both by JNA troops and the local police," he added.

The witness said that in 1991, Stanisic came to Dalj, “which served as an operative centre for the government of Krajina". He said Stanisic was accompanied by Zeljko Raznatovic aka Arkan, a Serbian paramilitary leader who was indicted by the Hague tribunal in March 1999, but was assassinated in Belgrade the following year.

Raznatovic commanded an irregular militia known as Arkan’s Tigers, which was allegedly financed by the Serbian state security service.

"I also saw Arkan and Hadzic together, at the police station in Dalj,” the witness said. “They were taking Croat prisoners to some place, but I couldn't possibly say where."

"Nine of these prisoners were executed later on," he added.

Prosecutors showed video footage from a rally held in Eastern Slavonia in 1991, from which GH-015 identified Goran Hadzic and a politician from Serbia called Milan Paroski.

In the video, Paroski is shown describing local Croats and Hungarians as "newcomers who'll have to pack and leave", adding that "if they don't, they should be chased and killed like dogs".

The trial continues next week.



Related posts: wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_history_of_Croatia

croatia-continues-fight-against-somali-pirates

croatia-to-increase-number-of-soldiers-in-afghanistan

 croatian-forces-take-part-of-exercise-jackal-stone

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_of_Croatia

basic-training-battalion-for-special-forces

www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive

www.hrvatski-vojnik.hr

www.morh.hr

www.braniteljski-portal.hr

 nato.mfa.hr

www.osrh.hr

www.defender.hr

www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/who_is_who

www.eucom.mil/mission/the-region/croatia

www.vlada.hr





I came across this particular story not that long ago.  I knew that when the Yugo-Serbian hostilities commenced against Croatian independence and it's citizens, that there were volunteers coming to Croatia from around the world.  Like I touched upon previously on this blog, I was in the Canadian Armed Forces at the time and was on the verge of doing the same thing.  When the news reports first started describing the horror of Vukovar especially, I was unfortunately also in the middle of exercises.

I actually had it ordered from the Army Surplus store and was deciding the best route to get there. Unfortunately, because of my circumstances, going AWOL is a very serious charge. It would probably have meant not only coming back, but also down the road possibly being extradited for the charges.  After discussing with friends different scenarios, I decided instead to put requests through chain of command to be sent as part of the Canadian peacekeepers contingent eventually being sent there. I tried to explain how with my working knowledge of the language, having been there previously, even as recently as just months prior when the first democratic elections were taking place in Croatia, that I could possibly be a good candidate for an interpreter/liaison role too.

Long story short, the result wasn't what I wanted and hoped for.  My contract was soon to expire and I left to go back to civilian life. By that time Vukovar had fallen, most of the worst of the carnage had taken place, the Serbian land grab was already occupying about 1/3 of Croatian territory and all the peacekeeping and useless political talks and dialogues were going on. The world stage was now focusing on the Serbian shelling of Sarajevo and their carnage in Bosnia and Hercegovina.  Sometimes I look back and think I should have left when I at first planned to.  Also, I know that if my situation didn't involve the sticky issue of being in the Canadian Forces at that time, the repercussions of going AWOL, etc, (I'll let this guy explain)... I without a doubt would have been there too......






“Irish Braveheart” Thomas Crowley Posthumously Awarded Croatian Medal of Honour




Thomas Crowley, Major of the at the time newly formed and emerging Croatian Army (1991 – 1995)






Source: inavukic.com



At the Medal of Honour awards ceremony 12 December 2012 at the Office of the President of Croatia, the late Major in Croatian Army, Thomas Crowley, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Petar Zrniski and Fran Krsto Frankopan with gold triple interlace for his exceptional contribution to the defence of Croatia during Croatia’s War of Independence. The Medal was accepted on behalf of Thomas Crowley’s family from Ireland by their solicitor Mr Miroslav Vrkljan.









Related:  www.24sata.hr

hos-91.jimdo.com

www.jutarnji.hr

wikipedia.org/Order_of_Petar_Zrinski_and_Fran_Krsto_Frankopan

www.udruga-gavran.hr

www.braniteljski-portal.hr

 www.vecernji.hr

www.hdpz.htnet.hr

www.uhd91.com

www.croatia.org/481-foreign-volunteers-from-35-countries-defended-Croatia-in-1991-1995

www.croatia.org/Thomas-Crowley

hr.wikipedia.org/Thomas_Crowley




Thomas Crowley, nicknamed “the Irish” by his Croatian army mates, came to Croatia in 1991 as volunteer, joining Croatian men in defending Croatian independence from Serb aggression.  He saw the images on television of Yugoslav forces shelling and targeting civilians in the city of Osijek, then when saw a Yugoslav tank crushing a red Fiat car who's driver was assisting to pick up and transport wounded civilians, he decided to leave immediately to help the newly independent country.





Thomas Crowley, born Irish on 14 February 1949, came to Croatia and died as a Croatian on 10 June 1995.






I came to Croatia at the beginning of the war and I have a big wish to remain in Croatia until the last bit of its occupied territory is liberated, and then stay longer. I consider Croatia my homeland; I’m prepared to even give my life for Croatia. God willing, if I’m still alive when the war ends, I’ll stay and live in Croatia,” Crowley once said.  He did remain in Croatia – that is his remains are buried in the cemetery of Split.





Up to the 38 second mark is images of the Serbian Yugoslav General Blagoje Adzic stating  "Long live the Yugoslav army, who will bring peace and freedom to Osijek".  The footage then switches to images of the Yugoslav army and air force bringing peace and freedom to the people of Osijek.





Crowley became a living legend in Croatia. In 1991 he joined the Croatian Defense Forces’ (HOS) Ante Paradzik First Battalion. He was one of many foreigners who came to Croatia to help defend Croatian independence.








He was a commando at battlefield Novljani and Jasenovac. In December 1991 he transferred to the Ninth HOS Battalion in Split where he was the main instructor for HOS forces in Trogir and Cijevo army camps.

Her participated in battles at Livno (where, single-handed, captured an enemy [Serb] tank), he was in battles for Mostar, Dubrovnik, Popovo Polje, Operation Maslenica, liberation of Skabrnje (where horrendous massacres of Croatian civilians by Serb forces occurred only two days after Vukovar massacres in November 1991).








Then in Zemunik he was wounded in battle. He was in Prkos to the end of April 1993 and then led the military operations near Biograd (Dalmatia). Then to Drnis battlefield, Svilaja, Donje selo and by 1994 he led the instruction camp for the 114th brigade. Some 2000 members of the 114th brigade passed through his camps.

He died on the 10th of June 1995, killed on the Southern battlefield.  17 years later to the very day, Croatia played Ireland at the 2012 UEFA European Football Championships. He is buried in Split.







 Up to the 1:00 minute mark is images of  the Yugoslav army attacking Croatian towns and cities. From 1:00 to 1:28 minute mark is images of the first stages of armed Croatian defence by only special police units.  From 1: 30 to the 2:25 minute mark is images of Serbian chetnik volunteers joining with the Yugoslav army to assist in ethnic cleansing and genocide.  The rest is mainly a tribute to Thomas Crowley.











Association of Foreign Volunteers of the Homeland War 1991 - 1995 









"This organization represents all foreign volunteers who fought, risked or gave their life for the freedom and independence of Croatia"


Croatia - Bosnia / 1991 - 1995





Sources of much more info, images and videos: www.usddr.org

www.croatianforces.org.uk

cascarino.homestead.com

www.cfiva.org

www.simon-hutt.com

croatie9193.multiply.com

www.youtube.com/NastyGasty





Our History




As the twentieth century drew to a close communist ideology finally collapsed, and countries that had spent half a century under oppressive dictatorships now emerged to take their rightful place in the free world.

Croatia was such a country, a nation and a people who had kept alive an unfulfilled dream of independence and freedom for hundreds of years. But unlike most of eastern europe, that long denied dream would still require years of struggle and sacrifice against a dictatorship that still held on to its past.


 Croatia's towns, cities and villages were shelled relentlessly from air,land and sea. The county's religious and cultural symbols were slowly and deliberately being destroyed in the quest for a "Greater Serbia".

The International Community looked on and did nothing to halt the gross military imbalance, blatant Serbian aggression and the Armies advancing into Croatia, "cleansing" civilian areas as well as military targets as it went.





British volunteers in December 1991. Photogallery of some other foreign volunteers HERE.






We watched those pictures on television and heard politicians talk of ceasefires whilst Serb paramilitaries marched through Croatian towns. Disgusted by the inability of the international community and our own governments to halt the slaughter, individuals rose to the challenge from every civilised nation, setting aside political, ideological and cultural differences.

Most protested, raised funds or conducted humanitarian operations. Many went further to help. Volunteering to fight for Croatia, bringing with them the will to fight for another county's freedom and the courage to stay and win it.

We were welded by a shared purpose; the prevention of murder, rape and the wholesale destruction of civilian property and cultural heritage. Individuals stood when their own countries turned their backs.

We individuals became known as the Foreign Volunteers.










Present in every front-line brigade, volunteers could be found on all of Croatia's five fronts as well as in the overcrowded hospitals of Zagreb. We were an enormous boost to civilian morale and our presence in battered front-line towns brought resolve to exhausted defenders. And a realisaton that Croatia did have its allies.We helped reorganise defensive positions and stiffened crumbling units. We fought as front-line infantry and taught on the job military skills to men who weeks before were ordinary civilians going about their business. In return we learned their language, received their hospitality and gained mutual respect.

When Bosnia became the next target of the Yugoslav Army and its Serb paramilitaries the Foreign Volunteers headed south in order to help the Forces of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) in defending its land.

Many volunteers paid the ultimate price and sacrificed their lives. 76 men were killed in action and 90 injured, a 30% casualty rate. Their sacrifice helped win independence and freedom for Croatia, after five years of war.

From Vukovar in the east, West to Pula and south to Prevlaka. One nation, one people, all free.










Our Aims




Our aim is to remind the world of our contribution and sacrifice for a countrys independence, to get rid of the myth of foreign volunteers as "mercenaries", also we aim to get recognition from the Croatian authorities and have the same rights as Croatian veterans.






Vukovar

 


Last known photograph of Jean-Michel Nicolier before executed by Serb chetniks and paramilitaries at the  Ovcara Hospital massacre after the fall of Vukovar.







Members of the International Foreign Volunteer's arrive during duties in Vukovar.






Every November the members and friends of the USDDR meet up in Vinkovci, Croatia.  We attend the national Vukovar remembrance parade as well as our own remembrance ceremonies; at Ovcara, where 200 people incuding Ivan Herman (Austria) and Jean-Michel Nicolier (France) were executed following the fall of Vukovar. Also we have a ceremony in Vinkovci itself where we remember the foreigners killed in action.











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