A flashback to an article written in 2004. I sometimes do a “flashback” blog, when I find something from the past to be searingly accurate in light of subsequent events, or if something was so trenchantly put that it bears repeating. Or if it describes a phenomenon I’ve observed myself in the way that the Balkans are handled in the U.S. This article does all three. It was originally published on a site called “therant.us,” which isn’t around anymore.
The Kosovo We Don’t Know, April 29, 2004
by Tony Rubolotta
The recent killing of two Americans [and shooting of 11 others on their first day of duty in Kosovo] by a Jordanian, all serving with the UN police force (UNMIK) in Kosovo has temporarily brought the region to the front page, where the major media quickly linked the incident to Iraq, and then dropped Kosovo back into obscurity. The fact is things are not going well in Kosovo and the major media has several reasons for keeping the covers on the story.
What most Americans know about Kosovo is what Bill Clinton and his media cheering section told them in 1999. It was reported that Christian Serbs were engaged in a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing against Muslim Albanians. “Evidence” of a massacre in Racak was presented to back the claim. With popular, political and media support solidifying behind him, Clinton gave Serbia an ultimatum. Serbia refused, Clinton bombed, NATO occupied, the media reported and Hollywood even produced a few movies to further demonize the Serbs and fuel the propaganda.
With little or no news coming out of Kosovo now, we must assume that thanks to Bill Clinton, Kosovo is a thriving, peaceful democracy protecting the rights of all religious groups. Well, that’s about as big a lie as what we were told about Kosovo in the first place. [Note, almost word-for-word, to this day that’s still the official line: “Kosovo is now an independent and multi-ethnic state, in which democracy and law are ruling, and citizen’s rights are respected.” — Gazmend Barbullusi, Albania’s ambassador to the Netherlands, repeated ad nauseum by U.S. officials]
The Racak massacre was the breaking point Clinton used to rally support for the war. With hundreds of published articles about Racak, what do we really know about the “massacre”?
We know Serb forces engaged and defeated KLA forces in Racak in a classic firefight, an event witnessed by French and AP news crew on January 15. We don’t know how many casualties were inflicted. The Serbs and news crew left and the KLA resumed control of Racak. The following day 45 bodies were found in a gully with the help of KLA guides. Forty victims were autopsied by a Finnish forensic team dispatched by the EU. The EU report refuted claims the victims were all shot at close range and mutilated. The report never used the word massacre and only found one victim shot at close range, maybe.
The Washington Post, claiming to have the EU report findings leaked by an “unidentified western source” wrote a story that misrepresented and extrapolated the findings. The Post claimed the forensic evidence proved the victims were executed in a massacre, which it did not. The head of the EU forensic team refuted the story. The AP and USA Today, not to be outdone by the Post, added detail and gore that was never proven. In contrast, Le Monde, with journalists at the scene, questioned the credibility of the entire scenario. They raised questions any good investigator should have asked, but were never answered.
With hundreds of articles on Racak, it doesn’t take long to determine that most are biased one way or the other. Articles that stick to the facts are very short and few, because the facts are short and few. In the end, the evidentiary requirement we use to convict criminals, “beyond a reasonable doubt,” was never met for Racak. None the less, the United States and NATO were going to war over an alleged, unproven and potentially staged massacre of 45 people.
Kosovo was having a civil war with about 2,000 casualties per year, about equally divided between the warring factions. What most Americans don’t know is that the struggle dates back to 1389 when the Muslim Turks defeated the Christian Serbs and occupied Kosovo. Control of Kosovo has seesawed for 600 years, but it has been largely a history of persecuting Christians, first under the Turks and later by their Albanian successors. Atrocities occur during civil wars, but the scale of this war was a tempest in a teapot compared to other conflicts in the world.
What was the calculation and motivation for US involvement in the affairs of Serbia?
The calculation was simple. Bombing a Christian nation could be done with relative impunity. There would be no “Christian” outrage as there might be in the Muslim world if Serbia were Muslim. War on Serbia would endear us to Muslims for intervening on behalf of a Muslim cause. Milosevic was not that popular in Serbia and his support would melt away under pressure. Serbia, a moderately developed country, would provide a “target rich” environment. The Serbs, proud and protective of their culture, would submit to prevent its destruction. Popular support in the US and Europe would survive a short and apparently bloodless campaign.
Serbia was bombed and surrendered. Clinton claimed victory. NATO occupation forces moved in. The UN police force took their positions. Milosevic was put on trial. All was well in Kosovo and it dropped from the radar screen. Clinton’s legacy as a champion of human rights, influential diplomat and great wartime president was secured. In fact, it was only secure as long as no one knew what was happening in Kosovo, hence the news blackout by the major media in the US and most, but not all of Europe.
The Kosovo civil war continues, but this time the Albanian Muslims have the upper hand and the NATO/UNMIK forces appear incapable of intervention. Serbian Christians are being killed and driven from Kosovo. Christian churches and monasteries are being systematically destroyed. Kosovo, like Albania and Bosnia is being turned into an Islamic terrorist base. Crime is rampant and the economy, except for the drug-trade, is stagnant. Kosovo is moving toward independence as a Muslim state with plans for eventual union with Albania. Investigation of Serb atrocities by the Hague War Crimes Tribunal have found the claims greatly exaggerated or non-existent. Kosovo will be a thorn in the side of Europe and the US as Muslim gratitude takes its usual turn toward hostility. The infidels served their purpose and are no longer useful.
And the motive for intervention in Kosovo? I don’t think you have to look any further than the character of Bill Clinton and his media buddies.
And all that will help in case anyone is confused about how we got to here:
John Bolton advised U.S. President to attribute more attention to South Caucasus (June 27, 2011)
…Bolton stressed that Russia persistently tries to restore its influence on the region…According to the politician, Obama’s administration must openly support Azerbaijan in the context to Karabakh conflict settlement, since except Armenian and Azerbaijani sides it involves Russia as well. “We must not forget Russia’s assault of Georgia of August 2008. Russia aims at restoring its influence over the region…”
That is, after we started a concerted campaign to usurp influence in the region, including with an air assault on a Slavic country and with infiltration of jihadists into the neighborhood.
There isn’t much that a great man like John Bolton — who did oppose America’s Kosovo mischief — can be faulted for. But if even he has grafted the Clinton/McCain/Bush/Clark line on the 2008 Georgia war — in which Georgia was the very clear aggressor — then there just isn’t much hope. (Never mind that we supported Georgia in doing far worse than what we bombed Serbia for doing.)
Please let’s not kid ourselves about who pressed Russia’s “Go” button. And continues to press it. Treacherous U.S. leadership — from Bush I to Clinton to Bush II to Obama/Clinton.
As for Azerbaijan, it’s just a little rich of us to create the precedent for Karabakh secession, then turn around and support the opposite: territorial integrity. That is, after supporting Muslim Albanian separatism against Christian Serbian sovereignty, we’re being asked to support Muslim Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Christian Armenian separatism in Karabakh. While I recognize that Karabakh separatism is part of the domino-effect chaos I was hoping to avoid by opposing the Kosovo precedent, it’s a wee bit much to expect to have our cake and eat it too — and not get fat.
After poking Russia in the eye for the past two decades, we are being asked to contradict ourselves in Azerbaijan — in order to poke Russia in the eye again. That’s after baiting Russia into doing exactly what it’s doing there. Don’t take my word for it. Take Silvio Berlusconi’s, Daniel Larisen’s, Scott Taylor’s, Jim Jatras’s, Thomas Meaney’s, Harris Mylonas’s, Lech Walesa’s, George Jonas’s, Joseph Farah’s, Rod Dreher’s, Pat Buchanan’s, Paul J. Saunders’, J. Victor Marshall’s, Dmitri Simes’, Javier Solana’s, Andrew Sullivan’s, Gale Stokes’, Sir Ivor Roberts’, Ted Galen Carpenter’s, Gordon M. Bardos’s, Tim Marshall’s, George Galloway’s, Georgia’s itself, Boston Globe’s, OSCE’s, John Laughland’s, Newsweek’s, Reuters’, Nagorno-Karabagh’s, or even the Council on Foreign Relations’ or NY Times’ — to name just a few. “Russia’s” war games are all NATO’s in origin.
I really need to paste Jim Jatras’ Washington Times article on the subject:
Kosovo prelude to Georgia? (Sept. 7, 2008)
In anticipation of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, President Bush said “Georgia’s territorial integrity and borders must command the same respect as every other nation’s.”
Critics of Russia’s action include Sens. Barack Obama, Joseph Biden and Joseph Lieberman; Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; former United Nations Ambassador Richard Holbrooke; and many others in the bipartisan establishment.
Among the specific criticisms are Russia’s violation of the sovereign territory of Georgia…; a disproportionate response to Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili’s attempt to settle South Ossetia’s status by force, including Russian military operations well outside of South Ossetia; and Moscow’s tardiness in withdrawing its forces under a deal brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Evidently irony is not much appreciated in Washington. It seems critics have forgotten President Bush’s recognition of the independence of Kosovo, a province of democratic, U.N. member Serbia. President Bush’s reference to “every other nation” whose “territorial integrity and borders must command the same respect” apparently has at least this one exception. If he can violate the United Nations Charter and the Helsinki Final Act, which guarantee sovereign borders, what right does he have to accuse others of doing the same?
If Moscow stepped over the line in its crushing military response to Mr. Saakashvili’s offensive, what do we call 78 straight days of NATO’s bombing throughout Serbia, destroying most of that country’s civilian infrastructure? If Russia is to be faulted for imperfect implementation of the Sarkozy agreement, what can be said about Washington’s violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244, which ended the 1999 Kosovo war and reaffirms Serbian sovereignty in the province?
The standard reasons cited for making Serbia an exception to the rule we demand in Georgia is that NATO intervened to stop genocide of Kosovo’s Albanians and that they will never again accept being part of Serbia. But after the war actual casualties among all ethnic groups - whether by military action, atrocities committed by both Serbs and Albanians, and the toll of NATO’s bombing - proved to be far fewer than those cited in justification for the war. Compared to South Ossetia’s much smaller population, mutual accusations of genocide against South Ossetians and Georgians, respectively, are proportionally larger than those at issue in Kosovo. And are South Ossetians and Abkhazians less adamant that they will not submit to Tbilisi’s rule than Kosovo’s Albanians are with respect to Belgrade?
It also should be kept in mind that Kosovo’s legal status is very different from that of entities in the former Soviet Union. Under the Yugoslav constitution - the same authority that justified the secession of Croatia, Slovenia, etc. - Kosovo, part of Serbia since before Yugoslavia was formed, has no legal claim to independence. In contrast, the 1990 Soviet law on secession - which was the legal basis of the independence of Union Republics such as Georgia - required that autonomous entities within their borders be allowed, via referenda, to remain in the Soviet Union, and by extension its successor, Russia.
Thus, while Kosovo’s status as part of Serbia is unquestionable, South Ossetia and Abkhazia can make a good case they were part of Soviet Georgia but never the current independent state of Georgia. (The same would apply to Transdniestria with respect to Moldova and Nagorno-Karabakh with respect to Azerbaijan. When will they follow suit?)
By trashing the accepted international “rules of the road” on Kosovo, Washington has created what amounts to the rules of the jungle. Each power acts as it will, either to suppress restive minorities or to compromise other countries’ borders: The United States tries to force Serbia to accept Kosovo’s independence and pressures other countries (without much success) to recognize it; Georgia tries to subdue the Ossetians and the Abkhazians and fails; Russia moves to establish the Ossetians’ and Abkhazians’ independence and now also will try to secure wider recognition. In turn, the U.S.-supported separatist Kosovo Albanian administration itself threatens a miniature version of Mr. Saakashvili’s South Ossetia offensive to subdue Serbian enclaves, where the remaining one-third of the province’s prewar community finds refuge. Where does the logic of “big fish eat little fish” end?
In Kosovo, Washington sowed the wind, and now Georgia has reaped the whirlwind. Only a return to the negotiating table to address comprehensively Kosovo, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and similar trouble spots elsewhere can prevent this malignant precedent from spinning further out of control with incalculable consequences for global peace and security. With each step down this road it will be harder to put the genie of might-makes-right back in the bottle.
“Serbstvo” reminds us that also this year German Nazi Peter Egner likewise died before his trial, in the United States.
(In case we needed reminding that nothing has changed between the 1930s and today, aside from technological advancement. Whether we’re talking about European fascists, or Muslim ones, it’s business as usual in the Free World.)
“I wonder if Hungary will finally convict Sandor Kepiro of war crimes against Serbs,” Serbstvo asks, adding, “Probably not, as the United States (Peter Egner), Austria (Milivoj Asner), and Hungary (Sandor Kepiro) and other countries are not interested in punishing Nazi war criminals that murdered Serbs. It’s no wonder that many of the last surviving Nazis are Serb-killers.”
Anger as WWII ‘killer’ dies in Austria
Austria has been branded as a “paradise for Nazis” after it emerged that an alleged war criminal deceased in a care home in Carinthia.
A spokesman for a Caritas retirement centre in Klagenfurt confirmed newspaper reports claiming that Milivoj Asner passed away today (Mon). He said the Croat perished aged 98 in the institution last week.
Asner is suspected of being behind the deportation of hundreds of Serbs, Roma and members of the Jewish community in Croatia’s Ustasa movement during World War Two (WWII). Asner changed his name to Georg Aschner after fleeing to Austria when the Communists took over his homeland in 1945. He received the Austrian citizenship the next year.
Asner lived in Carinthian capital Klagenfurt to his death. Austrian prosecutors opened a case against him due to occurrences in WWII in 2004 before Croatia demanded his extradition one year later. However, Asner was spared a trial due to his mental condition.
Juridical decision-makers in Austria asked a German expert to examine the suspected war criminal in 2009 after they were accused of having acted biased as several expert opinions established by Austrian doctors suggested Asner was not fit for legal procedures.
The debate over how to handle the issue intensified in 2008 when British journalists claimed Asner – who allegedly suffered from dementia – must be strong enough to go to court after spotting him at a fan zone in Klagenfurt during the European Football Championship.
Now Efraim Zuroff, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s office in Jerusalem, Israel, has claimed Austria was a “paradise for Nazis.”
“His decisive role in the killing of hundreds of Jewish people, Serbians and Roma in the Slavonian city of Prozega is evident,” the historian said today (Mon) after being informed that Asner has died.
Zuroff criticised juridical authorities in Austria for “assigning benevolent doctors” to judge Asner’s condition. The co-founder of “Operation: Last Chance” said their decisions helped the Croat-born ex-police chief to evade an extradition and a court case.
The historian – who has often been described as the world’s “Last Nazi Hunter” – called on all countries in the world to show “final urgent efforts” to bring WWII era criminals to justice. Asner was on number three of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of the 10 most wanted WWII crime suspects. Zuroff stressed Asner’s spot will be occupied by someone else “soon,” explaining that “many people are in waiting.”
Austria – which became part of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich in 1938 – has been widely criticised for allegedly failing to make a clean sweep considering residents’ involvements in wartime crimes in contrast to Germany and other countries. Many former army generals and diplomats suspected of supporting Nazi Germany’s genocide kept their high-ranking positions after 1945 or were reassigned by public institutions.
Isn’t it charming? The old Nazi (living openly in Austria, where he took in the Euro 2008 soccer championships) died in the care of a retirement home affiliated with the Catholic Caritas charity.
And Nazism STILL has nothing to do with the Catholic Church, right? Well, we already know that Caritas doesn’t care much for the Jewish State, and is involved in activism against it:
Fence keeping out Jew-killers: No good.
From NGO Monitor:
According to the Simon Weisenthal Center, The production and distribution of such political material may place Caritas in violation of its charitable tax status on donations made in North America, Western Europe and Australasia.”
The Simon Weisenthal Center also noted that the poster undoubtedly exacerbates Middle East-related antisemitism, justifies further attacks on Jewish targets under the sanctification cover of the Holy See and impugns Caritas’ credibility as an effective relief and unbiased relief agency.
CESR coordinates research projects on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from its New York City and Gaza regional offices with a variety of organizations, including LAW , Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, B’Tselem, Palestinian Ministry of Education, UNRWA, Birzeit University, The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Defense of Children International/Palestine Section, as well as Caritas, Center on Housing Rights and Evictions, and PENGON. As past NGO Monitor reports have documented, many of these NGOs are active in promoting the Durban strategy of demonization against Israel.
The “NGO Statement on International Protection”, drafted by “a wide range of NGOs” was presented at the Executive Committee in October. The NGO participants in the UNHCR Executive Committee session included Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, CARE International, CARITAS International, Oxfam International, BADIL and World Vision International, among others. The statement called on “all actors to redouble their efforts at addressing this [protection] gap for Palestinian refugees, beginning with their right of return in keeping with UN General Assembly Resolution 194, including the right to restitution and compensation.”
But let’s see what we can come up with in our Balkans file about Caritas. Why, here’s something:
Feminists in the U.S. were treated to a propaganda blitz about rapes allegedly carried out by Serbs. It had an electrifying effect. In the end, the radical group “Madre,” which previously supported Central American women, launched an emotional campaign to save thousands of Bosnian Muslim women allegedly raped by Bosnian Serb soldiers. Gloria Steinem lent the story respectability in Ms. Magazine. The N.Y. Times wrote that 20,000 to 50,000 Bosnian women had been raped, despite the fact that there was no substantiation for such numbers - except, of course, from the Bosnian Muslim “Ministry of Information.” Despite doubts expressed by Helsinki Watch, Human Rights Watch and respected individuals such as Simone Weil, the president of the European Parliament, the American media relied on the Bosnian War Crimes Commission and Caritas, the Catholic charity connected to the Croatian government, for verification of these outrageous claims…
– Alvin Dorfman and Heather Cottin, “U.S. Jews and the Balkan Situation,” Jewish Currents, April 1996
Caritas is also present in Kosovo, ministering to the minority Catholic Albanians there. That would seem reasonable, except when you consider that this ancient Orthodox-Serb land was marked for conquest by the Vatican from the beginning. Or if you consider this:
Vatican’s charity Caritas smuggled weapons to KLA, incl. mortars stolen from NATO bases in Germany. The consignee was a parish priest in Italy. One of three drivers of the convoy arrested by Italian customs had links to BND. Before Kosovo “independence” declaration, pope Benedict stated that Vatican would heed the international community. While using extreme Albanians to break Serbian-Orthodox influence, as Berlin did, high-powered Catholic clergy declared, “a new phase” can begin “with the independence” of Kosovo.
– Piotr Bein, “Mass Deception on Mass Violence: The Case of Serbs,” prepared for the International Comparative Genocide Research project of the Hiroshima City University, 2009
A similar note from UK blogger Neil Clark:
The Vatican gave massive diplomatic support to anti-Yugoslav forces & provided both money ($2 billion from the Knights of Malta to Tudjman) & weapons (Caritas was caught smuggling mortars & ground to air missiles allegedly stolen from NATO to the KLA). Their motivation was purely religious. Their ancient conflict with the Orthodox Church.
And in less recent but searingly relevant history, we have this declassified U.S. Army index card filing from 1953:
War criminal, who is believed to be in Argentina or Italy. Former ustasha leader, who directed the Croatian nationalist movement; this movement has sponsored an “information collecting agency” for operations in Yugoslavia and Austria under cover of the various Caritas offices in Austria.
– Unknown Document, U.S. Army, declassified, June 24, 1953
(Note: The introduction on the page where this document can be found online reads, “From the US Army File on Ante Pavelic: Another of the small, index card-sized files mixed among the papers of Pavelic’s dossier, this refers to a piece on Ustase subverting the Catholic refugee agency Caritas.” It is certainly possible that the charity was being “subverted,” but unfortunately it is just as possible that the misuse of the charity was done with the knowledge, collusion, or blind-eye-turning of its administrators. Much like all those Islamic “humanitarian organizations” that piled into Bosnia and Kosovo and were “subverted” by jihadists, right? Hell, why limit it to Bosnia and Kosovo? One could say the same about virtually any Islamic charity operating today: jihadist fronts. Other fascinating documents from the immediate post-WWII era here.)
Croatian Caritas was founded by Cardinal Stepinac himself, that great savior of a handful of Jews and Serbs who were trying to escape the Croatian genocide of Jews and Serbs which he oversaw, by a regime that he helped put in place.
The word “caritas,” of course, means love for all people, and here it is being used in context in an email from author Gabriel Wilensky, responding to a comment left under my 2010 article about the Vatican’s WWII role in genocide (the comment: “Can’t we just forgive and forget?”):
Yes, That JPost comment is remarkable. What is perhaps little known and equally as remarkable is the tremendous and effective effort of the Catholic Church to get war criminals out of Europe and to have the sentences of the ones caught either commuted or reduced. It is quite revolting, actually, to know that clergymen pushed the Allies very hard — supposedly in the spirit of Christian caritas — to get these savages off the hook. Same argument: too much suffering, can’t we just move on? they argued…
Catholic Caritas, then, makes little distinction between the killed and the killers, especially when the killers are promoting the “right” agenda.
And in the modern, NWO incarnation of Hitler’s vision, the word apparently plays a role as well:
The Nobel Committee’s award to Obama has been viewed by many, on the left and right, as a surprise. But it makes perfect sense. The committee noted that Obama “has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play.” All of this is true. Obama has built up the power of global institutions at the expense of the United States.
While the Vatican statement congratulating Obama was also seen by some as a surprise, it too makes sense. The Vatican expressed the hope that “this most important recognition will ultimately encourage such a difficult but fundamental commitment for the future of humanity, so that it might bring the expected results.”
The “expected results” are evident when one considers that Pope Benedict, the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics, had endorsed a “World Political Authority,” a form of world government, in his recent encyclical “Caritas in Veritate.” This world political authority, in the Vatican view, is supposed to “manage the economy,” bring about “timely disarmament,” and ensure “food, security and peace.”
– Cliff Kincaid, “Vatican Backs Obama’s Global Agenda,” Accuracy in Media, Oct. 12, 2009
Last Thursday, Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs was good enough to post the following new article by Andy Wilcoxson, along with my note at the bottom:
Srebrenica was an Inside Job (June 15)
How Alija Izetbegovic’s regime held the civilian population of Srebrenica hostage, goaded the [Bosnian]-Serbs into attacking the enclave, and then abandoned the civilian population to the mercy of the attacking enemy.
In the wake of the July 1995 fall of the Srebrenica enclave, thousands of Muslim soldiers and draft eligible men were killed or went missing. Some were captured and summarily executed by Bosnian-Serb forces, and others died in combat.
Western governments, news media, and the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague have assiduously misled the public about the nature of the [deaths], at the same time they have remained conspicuously silent about the role U.N. officials and the Muslim regime in Sarajevo played in orchestrating the massacre.
Srebrenica’s Fall Could Have Been Prevented
…[T]he Dutch battalion of U.N. peacekeepers who were deployed in Srebrenica…were authorized to call in air strikes if the enclave was attacked, and when it was attacked they did indeed call in air strikes, but they were blocked by the U.N. until it was too late.
According to the debriefing of Dutch Battalion personnel, “The battalion was counting on massive air support … air support was requested around 10.30 hrs. [on July 11, 1995] Then, despite all of its promises, the U.N. still failed to release air power.”
…Even without the U.N.’s help, Bosnian-Muslim president Alija Izetbegovic’s regime could have intervened to stop the fall of the enclave and subsequent massacre, but they chose not to act either.
Sefer Halilovic…was the most senior officer in Izetbegovic’s military and he testified under oath at the UN war crimes Tribunal in The Hague that “the command of the 2nd Corps and the General Staff knew when the operation on Srebrenica started, but from a series of testimonies, the people who were in Srebrenica, both from military and political structures, we can clearly see that they asked for help, both of the command of the 2nd Corps and the command of the General Staff and President Izetbegovic, but that they did not receive that assistance…
Even though Srebrenica was abandoned by its supposed protectors at the U.N. and by its own government in Sarajevo, the Muslim forces based in Srebrenica should have been able to defend the enclave themselves. Instead, on July 12, 1995, they fled the enclave with the rest of the able-bodied men and abandoned Srebrenica’s women, children, and elderly to the mercy of the attacking Bosnian-Serb forces.
Although UN Military Observers (UNMOs) were uncertain of the exact number of Muslim military personnel in Srebrenica, they believed “that at least half had side arms as well as heavy machine guns, light mortars, and anti-tank weapons including rocket propelled grenades and more modern ones.”
The Command of the 2nd Corps of the Army of Bosnia Herzegovina (ABiH) prepared a report detailing the operation Srebrenica’s men undertook to flee Srebrenica across Bosnian-Serb territory to Tuzla. Their report said, “Numbers were not established when the column was formed, but some estimates put the number in the column at 10,000 to 15,000 people, including approximately 6,000 armed soldiers, not counting soldiers from Zepa.”
According to UN Military Observers, at the time of the attack the Bosnian-Serb Army’s “Drina Corps was known to be stretched in terms of resources” and the strength of the Bosnian-Serb units surrounding Srebrenica was “1,000 to 3,000 infantry with up to 20 tanks as well as artillery and multiple launch rocket systems.” When Srebrenica fell, the UNMOs estimated that the local Bosnian-Serb brigades “probably have around 1,500 infantry in total” and together with reinforcements from units stationed in adjacent areas, the total strength of the Bosnian-Serb forces around Srebrenica was “probably no less than 2,000 infantry.”
Even if they hadn’t been abandoned by the UN and by their own government, 6,000 armed Muslim soldiers should have been able to fight off 1,000 to 3,000 Serb infantry men.
When the Bosnian-Serbs attacked the enclave, UN Military Observers were stunned that the Muslim army didn’t attempt to defend it. In their report they state: “The ABiH had the force ratios to defend the enclave particularly considering its hilly, wooded nature.” They went on to write, “The advantages militarily seem to have been with the [Muslim] defenders to at least hold out for longer and have inflicted greater losses on the Bosnian-Serb Army than believed. However, the ABiH leadership seems to have actually acted against their own interests to carryout a successful defense.” 
Dutch Battalion personnel in Srebrenica were surprised when Muslim troops in the enclave did not avail themselves of the weapons they were offered. On the morning of July 6th 1995 battalion personnel “Informed the Bosnian government forces that, if the Bosnian-Serb Army crossed the enclave boundary, the arms in the weapon collection point in Srebrenica would be released. Later, when this situation did indeed occur, the Bosnian government forces did not avail themselves of this opportunity.”
Foreknowledge of the Massacre
Izetbegovic’s decision to refuse Srebrenica’s pleas for help and to abandon it to the mercy of the Bosnian-Serb Army is all the more shocking in light of the fact that his regime knew what would happen if Srebrenica fell. They were fully aware of what was at stake. Two years before the massacre, Bosnian vice-premiere Zlatko Lagumdjija told reporters from the London Times that “We shall be witnesses of a big massacre if Srebrenica falls.”
The U.N. also had foreknowledge of what would happen. The U.N. chose not to act in 1995 even though it knew as far back as 1993 what kind of massacre would ensue if Srebrenica fell.
Testifying at the UN War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, the former commander of the UN Protection Force in Bosnia, French General Philippe Morillon told the court that “Naser Oric [the commander of the Bosnian-Muslim military forces in Srebrenica] engaged in attacks during Orthodox [Christian] holidays and destroyed villages, massacring all the inhabitants. This created a degree of hatred that was quite extraordinary in the region.”
He said, “Naser Oric was a warlord who reigned by terror in his area and over the population itself. I think that he realized that those were the rules of this horrific war, that he could not allow himself to take prisoners. According to my recollection, he didn’t even look for an excuse. It was simply a statement: One can’t be bothered with prisoners.”
Morillon testified, “I wasn’t surprised when the Serbs took me to a village to show me the evacuation of the bodies of the inhabitants that had been thrown into a hole, a village close to Bratunac. And this made me understand the degree to which this infernal situation of blood and vengeance led to a situation when I personally feared that the worst would happen if the Serbs of Bosnia managed to enter the enclaves and Srebrenica.” He said, “I saw, a degree of absolute misery with a real risk of tens of thousands being killed.
“I feared that the Serbs, the local Serbs, the Serbs of Bratunac, these militiamen, they wanted to take their revenge for everything that they attributed to Naser Oric. It wasn’t just Naser Oric that they wanted to revenge, take their revenge on, they wanted to revenge their  dead on Orthodox Christmas…”
After listening to his testimony the Presiding judge asked Morillon, “Are you saying, then, General, that what happened in 1995 was a direct reaction to what Naser Oric did to the Serbs two years before?” And the witness answered, “Yes. Yes, Your Honour. I am convinced of that.”
According to the Dutch Battalion’s report, the Bosnian-Serb military units surrounding Srebrenica in 1995 “were manned chiefly by Bosnian-Serb refugees who had formerly lived in the enclave.”
The soldiers who ultimately perpetrated the July 1995 [executions] had been victimized themselves beforehand.
Because Gen. Morillon knew what would happen if the Bosnian-Serbs entered Srebrenica, he tried to have the civilian population evacuated to safety, but he was prevented from doing that by the Bosnian-Muslim authorities.
On April 19, 1993– two years before the massacre – Reuters and the New York Times reported that:
“Authorities in Srebrenica refused today to allow civilians to be evacuated from the besieged Muslim town, a United Nations official said.
“‘We have just received confirmation that the Bosnian authorities in Srebrenica will not permit any evacuation’, a UN High Commissioner for Refugees spokeswoman said in Belgrade.
“She said the Muslim authorities didn’t give a reason for blocking the operation.”
(Note: It’s important to note in Morillon’s testimony that he predicted Serb reprisals as early as 1993, based on what Oric and his men had wrought thus far; the fact that they continued raiding out of the “safe area” for the next two years only made things that much worse in the end.)
During his testimony Morillon noted that “Had I been able to evacuate all those who had wanted me to do so at the time that I intervened in Srebrenica, we could certainly have saved a number of human lives.”
He said, “the Bosniaks used the presence of their population to keep the attention of the world focused on their situation, they prevented the evacuation from Srebrenica …the authorities of Izetbegovic were the ones who stood up against the evacuation of those towards Tuzla for all those who wanted to, and there were many of them who wanted to.”
(Note: I asked Andy Wilcoxson whether, by Morillon saying that if he’d been allowed to evacuate civilians he would have saved many lives, Morillon seems to be taking at face value both the number of ‘8000′ and the claim that they were civilians. Andy replied: “Morillion certainly would have saved at least hundreds of lives if he had been able to get the civilians out of Srebrenica in 1993. Boys aged 14 and 15 in 1993 would have been at least 16 by 1995 and the ABiH was drafting 16-year-olds in Srebrenica. If Morillon had gotten those boys out of there in 1993 they wouldn’t have been soldiers in Srebrenica in 1995…[A]nd there’s no telling if the army would have left after the civilians were evacuated and Srebrenica’s propaganda value was decimated. [Additionally,] some civilians were among the executed and others, like you said, got caught in the cross-fire. Nobody knows with any degree of precision how many people were executed and how many died in combat or were collateral damage. Just because we know that a person is dead it doesn’t mean that we know how they died.”)
Concurrent with Morillon’s failed efforts to evacuate the civilian population from Srebrenica, the Security Council designated it a “UN Safe Area” in April 1993.
As a so-called “Safe area”, Srebrenica was supposed to be demilitarized. On May 8th 1993 Ratko Mladic on behalf of the Serbs, and Sefer Halilovic on behalf of the Muslims, signed an agreement on the demilitarization of Srebrenica in the presence of Gen. Morillon.
Under the terms of the agreement, all of the weapons in the enclave were to be placed under the control of the UN; in turn the UN was responsible for the security of the enclave. That was how things were on paper, but real life was different.
The Muslims did not demilitarize Srebrenica; instead they used the so-called “safe area” as a base from which to attack the Bosnian-Serb army and the surrounding Serbian villages.
Two weeks before the enclave fell, Muslim troops from Srebrenica attacked an undefended Serbian village. At 4:30 AM on June 26, 1995 they attacked the hamlet of Visnjica near Srebrenica, burning houses, killing livestock, and sending Serb civilians fleeing for their lives.
Conspiracies seldom remain secret, and Srebrenica is no exception. Although the Western news media refuses to discuss the role played by anyone other than the Serbs, some Bosnian-Muslim officials have spoken out.
Ibran Mustafic was a founding member of Alija Izetbegovic’s political party, a member of the Bosnian parliament, and a resident of Srebrenica. In 1996 he told Sarajevo’s Slobodna Bosna newspaper that “The betrayal of Srebrenica was consciously prepared. Unfortunately, the Bosnian presidency and the Army command were involved in this business; if you want the names, figure it out yourself. I understood the situation in Srebrenica and, you can trust me on this, had I not been prevented by a group of criminals, many more inhabitants of Srebrenica would be alive today. Had I received an order to attack the Serb army from the demilitarized zone, I would have rejected to carry out that order without thinking and would have asked the person who had issued that order to bring his family to Srebrenica so that I can give him a gun and let him stage attacks from the demilitarized zone. I knew that such shameful, calculated moves were leading my people to a catastrophe.”
The Motive to Betray One’s Own People
In 1998, Srebrenica’s wartime chief of police, Hakija Meholjic told the Sarajevo newspaper Dani that in September 1993 Izetbegovic told him: “You know, I was offered by [Bill] Clinton in April that the Chetnik [Serbian] forces enter Srebrenica, carry out a slaughter of 5,000 Muslims, and then there will be a [NATO] military intervention.”
Meholjic’s statement is corroborated by the UN Secretary General’s report on the fall of Srebrenica, which says “Representatives of the Bosniac community gathered in Sarajevo on 28 and 29 September  to vote on the [Invincible] peace package. A delegation of Bosniacs from Srebrenica was transported to Sarajevo by UNPROFOR helicopter to participate in the debate. Prior to the meeting, the delegation met in private with President Izetbegovic, who told them that there were Serb proposals to exchange Srebrenica and Zepa for territories around Sarajevo. The delegation opposed the idea, and the subject was not discussed further. Some surviving members of the Srebrenica delegation have stated that President Izetbegovic also told them he had learned that a NATO intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina was possible, but could only occur if the Serbs were to break into Srebrenica, killing at least 5,000 of its people. President Izetbegovic has flatly denied making such a statement.” [SEE THE DUTCH TV DOCUMENTARY CLIP WITH MEHOLJIC HERE.]
It certainly appears that Alija Izetbegovic incited a massacre against his own people in Srebrenica because he wanted NATO to intervene in the Bosnian war on his behalf.
Izetbegovic’s regime provoked the Serbs by perpetrating massacres against them, blocked the evacuation of the civilian population, staged attacks from the safe area, and when the anticipated Serb retaliation finally came, his regime abandoned Srebrenica with full knowledge of what the consequences would be.
The truth is ugly. The Serbs executed enemy POWs in violation of the Geneva Conventions, the Muslims deliberately goaded them into it for propaganda purposes, the U.N. allowed all of it to happen even though they had the means to stop it, NATO got conned into being the Muslim air force, and Western governments and news media lied about the whole thing. The end result of all of it is that thousands of people died needlessly.
In 2004, the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal inThe Hague convicted Bosnian-Serb general Radislav Krstic of aiding and abetting “genocide” (sic) in Srebrenica and sentenced him to 35 years in prison.
Krstic did not participate in, order, or even know the massacre was happening. In fact, Krstic specifically ordered that no harm was to befall the Bosnian Muslim civilians.
The Tribunal ruled that “It was unnecessary for the Trial Chamber to conclude that Radislav Krstic was actually aware that those other criminal acts were being committed; it was sufficient that their occurrence was foreseeable to him and that those other crimes did in fact occur.”
The Srebrenica massacre was foreseeable to the Bosnian-Muslim authorities and to the U.N. as well. They too had the ability and the obligation to prevent the massacre, and they didn’t do it either. One has to wonder about the integrity of the judicial process surrounding Srebrenica, when someone like Krstic is held responsible and they’re not.
One also has to wonder whether a conflict of interest arises when a UN Tribunal conducts the investigations, makes factual findings, and determines criminal liability with regard to events where the UN was as deeply involved as it was in Srebrenica. The UN’s failure to demilitarize the enclave or prevent its collapse and subsequent massacre, when it had the ability to do so, certainly begs the question of whether those failures were deliberate or not.
So that the reader isn’t left with the impression that ALL THOSE CIVILIANS TRAPPED inside Srebrenica mentioned above were killed along with the “Muslim men and boys” (indeed, if they were, we wouldn’t be hearing the qualifier “men and boys” ad nauseum), note that Ratko Mladic’s forces organized buses to take the civilians to Muslim-held territory, as the civilians had wanted from the start. He saw them off, talking to those seated on the bus and assuring them safety. There’s video of this. But the press uses these assurances to paint an even more sinister picture. For example, look at the insidious, malevolent writing that St. Louis Post-Dispatch writers Phillip O’Connor and Stephen Deere used in this article they co-wrote upon Mladic’s capture:
Just hours before the 1995 attack, Mladic appeared in a now infamous video stroking the cheek of a terrified child and telling the crowd, “Don’t be afraid, no one will hurt you.”
After women and children were loaded onto buses and transported out of the area, the killing began. It went on for days.
This is supposed to stick in the reader’s mind as if the child didn’t make it to safety; the writers are conflating the subsequent deaths of escaping soldiers with the children Mladic gave candy and safe passage to. The “candy” mention comes from similarly insidious wording in this AP report, which the above article copies almost verbatim at some points (which is how Balkans reporting has always been done anyway):
Just hours before the massacre, Mladic handed out candy to Muslim children in the town’s square, assuring them everything would be fine and patting one child on the head. Then the shootings began and the bodies of the victims were bulldozed into mass graves.
I think that the aforementioned “infamous video” of Mladic “stroking the cheek of a terrified child and telling the crowd, ‘Don’t be afraid, no one will hurt you’” — may be this one, viewable to those with a Facebook account.
It’s basically him hopping onto each bus and saying “Hi, I’m Ratko Mladic, you are all going to be safely evacuated.” The monster!
Meanwhile, the evacuation that the Serbs did — which the Bosnian government refused to do in order to keep the civilians in danger — is of course being referred to in media and government as ethnic cleansing. Just one example — and a more mild one at that — comes from that same AP report:
In early July that year, more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were executed by Serbian forces, and the town’s women and children were driven out of the area.
(This recalls how a Serbian bishop was threatened by the internationals with a war crimes indictment for ethnic cleansing for obliging to help put together buses to clear Muslim women and children out of the crossfire in a Herzegovina town.)
What else they’re doing in the media now is adding the phrase “including women and children” with regard to who was killed in Srebrenica. This is perhaps a conflation of Srebrenica and Sarajevo, or perhaps they’re seizing on the fact that, among all the remains at the identification office, exactly 5 are female so far. (Here I must emphasize that most of the remains are indeterminate re the potential cause, manner, place and time of death over the course of living through three years of war. But you’re just supposed to think they were “executed,” and by Serbs.)
In an email from Nebojsa Malic, we get a broader picture of what happened (emphasis mine):
Upon taking Srebrenica, the Serbs find it empty. Muslim soldiers had gone off towards Tuzla. The Serbs find the Muslim civilians overflowing the UN camp in the nearby hamlet of Potocari. They detain SOME men, and SOME of those are MIA presumed dead - but neither the Dutch nor ANYONE else who was there actually witnessed them die. The civilians are told they can stay if they want to, or be evacuated to Muslim territory. They choose evacuation. Gen. Mladic organizes buses and trucks (at a time when fuel was incredibly difficult to come by, no less) and sees them off personally. There are videos of him talking to the civilians in the buses (you can see clearly there are a few men in there as well, and boys aplenty), and guarantees them safety. They are bused to Kladanj and handed over to the Muslims.
(NOTE: It’s not surprising that plenty of males survived as well, since the Serbs were weeding people out in order to find the perpetrators of the raids on their villages. Indeed, the majority of Srebrenica’s 40,000 population survived, with 35,632 registering with the World Health Organization and Bosnian government by the first week of August ’95. See actual documents here, pp. 313-315)
If Mladic had used the same standard the Croats applied to Serbs a month later [in Operation Storm], he’d have made them walk on their own, and shot them up every so often, just for LOLs. Instead, the Serbs WENT OUT OF THEIR WAY to AVOID harming civilians.
Or as Emil Vlajki (half-Croat, half-Jewish VP of the Serb Republic currently) said on TV recently, “Had the Nazis acted the way the Serbs are accused of acting, 4 million more Jews would have been alive today.” (Many of his own relatives perished in the Shoah.)
One thing to keep in mind about Srebrenica is that it didn’t start out as an enclave. Starting in March 1992, Oric actually marauded up and down the Drina valley, until his defeat in the spring of 1993. Oric then retreated to Srebrenica, where the Serbs had him cornered. The UN commander at the time, French general Morillon, led a convoy through Serb territory to get food into the town Muslim propaganda claimed was starving to the point of cannibalism. Once there, he tried to get some civilians out, but Oric prevented him - suffering civilians were a key element of the Muslims’ war strategy; without them, there was no CNN Effect, and no chance of an outside intervention. Morillon did eventually manage to evacuate some seriously injured people and kids and set up food convoys into the town.
There were some comments at Atlas Shrugs that I’d like to paste below:
John P said…
Nobody has denied that Summary Justice occured [sic] during the war. Germans soldiers caught in US uniforms during the Battle of the Bulge, were shot by impromtu firing squads. Procedural Rights may not have been respected but there was no Serb interest in wholesale slaugther. No uncovered grave in all of Bosnia contained more than 20 bodies, and it cannot be determined who interred the corpses and under what conditions persons died. Ergo: nothing can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. What can be proven is: the Srebrinica muslim leader, Naser Oric, showed a Toronto Star reporter videos of his slaughters of Serbs, and laughed at their deaths.
Why did Serbs support their own in Sarajevo and the jihad-enclaves? Because EVERY European state signed the Helsinki Accords (CSCE 1975) which commited respect for “self determination,” and “territorial integrality.” Yah, those are contradictory, but the Bosnian muslim leaders decided same by issuing his “islamic declaration” against minority religions. Under Serb protection, local Serbs pulled back in face of FIRST use of ethnic cleansing by bosmuz. The jihad “enclaves” protected by NATO, were territorial anomolies, which should have been retained under Serb sovereignty. Instead, NATO allowed use of same as bases for Oric’s Genocides against Serbs. NATO aided and abetted bosmuz aggression. Now they protect an entity that denies renovation permits to Christian churches. Don’t think that this started under Hussein O; Bush jr - the saudi slave - went further than the Clinton-gang in dhimming up to bosmuz terrorists. […]
“…Even without the U.N.’s help, Bosnian-Muslim president Alija Izetbegovic’s regime could have intervened to stop the fall of the enclave and subsequent massacre, but they chose not to act either.”
I refer in the above to the words “subsequent massacre”
THERE WAS NO MASSACRE. THAT IS A BIG LIE.
There are many references to a massacre, in the Media I estimated perhaps a million major articles, give or take a few hundred thousands
All that Julia Gorin says is the absolute truth and all that has come out about this “event” from the Media and from Islam directed taqqiya is lies
I did not myself prove this, I did not have to, it was all well and truly proven in the famous “Dutch Report” of 2002, which in the vital section of that Report (It was a massive work) covered in great detail what was going on in the few weeks after the supposed “massacre”
THE “MASSACRE” DID NOT HAPPEN IN THE VILLAGE OF SREBRENICA. IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED IN VIRTUAL form (lies) IN TUZLA IN THE 3 WEEKS FOLLOWING. THAT IS WHEN AND WHERE THE LIE WAS CONSTRUCTED AND THE MEDIA HAD A BIG PART IN IT
All I have done in my article is to bring the vital work of the Dutch Report out of the cobwebbed cupbolard where it has been dumped by this very corrupt contemporary Media we are currently “enjoying”
This vital section of the Dutch Report actually scripts in great detail, and with the ultimate in Dutch Reserve, this “Massacre” Myth being assembled.
If you have the stomach for it visit this article, republished just yesterday, on
SREBRENICA HOAX…THE OFFICIAL “DUTCH REPORT” HAS BEEN OVERLOOKED
John P said…
The ICTY toilet-paper indictments of Mladic and Karadzic were signed on 14 Nov 1995 at The Hague (ICJ) by the notorious Richard Goldstone, who has worked with the UN for the destruction of Israel.
Was Serbia acting within CSCE recognition of “self determination” and “territorial integrality”? Yes. In fact, after Oric released his “Srebrenica Fiction” to NATO, Serbs soon affirmed the “Dayton Accord” process. Removal of the jihad-enclaves ensured same, and this was followed by Serb withdrawl from the Sarejevo hills (out of NATO’s dhimmi-reach). You don’t have to refer to Euro reports; UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, released this summary declaration on the effect of the just capture of the terror enclave from Oric’s Genocide band. “There is no doubt that the capture of Srebrenica and Zepa by the Serbs made it easier for the bosniaks and Serbs to agree on the territorial basis of a peace settlement;” (Report by Kofi Annan “pursuant to General Assembly Resolution 53/55 (1998).
As for the ICTY indictments, those are toilet-paper charges accepted only by parties to a worthless “statute of the tribunal.” And these were based on muslim propaganda considered without examination. Usually when someone gets same, they treat it with suspicion. (Especially when issued by taqiyah governed savages). Yet Judge Riad summarized, “..thousands of men executed and buried in mass graves, hundreds of men buried alive, men and women mutilated and slaughtered, children killed before their mothers, a grandfather forced to eat the liver of his own grandson.” That idiot said that even after videos of muslim beheadings of Christians were sent to him. The judge presented everything from lying muslim mouths [as] if same was already proven. How can Mladic’s Rights be respected when he has clearly been prejudged?
I believe that Serbs likely adapted to Oric terror, but a fair trial is impossible in context of ICTY/ICJ prejudgment. Serbs didn’t want dead muslims; they wanted defensible Serb borders, and territorial integrality of Serb areas that were under “islamic declaration” Genocide threat.
Note - not a single permission for renovation of a Christian church has been issued, in Euro-jihad’s (bosnia) existence. It exists as a forward base for the 1400 year muslim war against humanity. It is time that we fought back.
THE FORBIDDEN SREBRENICA REPORT
www.slobodan-milosevic.org - October 16, 2004
In September of 2002 the Republika Srpska Bureau for Cooperation with the ICTY issued a report about the alleged massacre in Srebrenica. The report relied on UN documents, International Red Cross documents, BH Army documents, and photographic documentation. The report, which had been destined to be part of a larger final report, exposed the official Srebrenica story as a fraud.
Needless to say, the Muslims and the so-called “international community” were furious that the Srebrenica story had been debunked. The Serbs weren’t supposed to expose the story as a fraud, they were supposed to confess so that nobody would have to try and prove the Srebrenica story with evidence. The Serbian confession was supposed to be the proof, and by debunking the story those dastardly Serbs messed-up everything.
Paddy Ashdown, who is for all intents and purposes Bosnia’s dictator, was furious at the Serbian disobedience. He condemned the report without even reading it. He sacked the leadership of the commission that wrote the report, and he demanded that another report be written.
According to a report issued by the International Strategic Studies Association, Ashdown and his cronies at the OHR demanded that a fabricated report be issued in which Serbs blindly accepted the all blame for everything that the Muslims accused them of at Srebrenica.
After hand picking a new commission, and firing everybody who would dare to question the Muslim version of the Srebrenica story; Ashdown, not surprisingly, recently got the report that he wanted.
But for Ashdown one problem exists. The original report of September 2002 still exists, and it still proves that the Srebrenica story is a fraud, and no amount of phony extorted “confessions” can change that.
Ashdown has been lucky so-far, because only 500 copies of the original report were ever printed. This makes it a very hard document to find, and keeps it largely inaccessible to the general public.
But Mr. Ashdown’s luck has ran out. We have managed to obtain a copy of the forbidden 139-page report. We have scanned it, and now we are making it available for you to download and distribute all over the internet!
SREBRENICA REPORT, September 2002 (15 Mb) PDF File
To Download to your computer right click on link and select “save target as”
URL of the Srebrenica report is: http://www.slobodan-milosevic.org/documents/srebrenica.pdf
In a few months I’ll get back to a letter I started writing over a year ago, in response to an Italian Catholic acquaintance who was wounded by my Feb. 2010 Jerusalem Post article which unflatteringly depicted Alojzije (Aloysius) Stepinac, who headed Croatia’s Catholic Church during WWII and presided over the Croatian genocide of Serbs, Jews and Roma. The acquaintance sent me a 22-page paper written by a Croatian Jewish woman in defense of Stepinac, and part of my letter is a response to that, including an explanation of the Croatian Jew Complex.
But while I continue work on that, I wanted to note that Jewish groups — refreshingly — objected to Pope Benedict’s visit this month to Croatia and Stepinac’s grave:
…At his last stop Benedict prayed at the tomb of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, who was accused of collaborating with the Nazi-allied rulers during World War II. The communists sentenced him to 16 years in confinement after the war. [Eleven of those were spent under house arrest; for a Nazi-era figure who oversaw genocide, and considering he was tried and imprisoned by communists, it could have been far worse.]
Benedict praised him as someone who “knew how to resist every form of totalitarianism, becoming, in a time of Nazi and Fascist dictatorship, a defender of the Jews, the Orthodox and of all the persecuted, and then, in the age of communism, an advocate for his own faithful, especially for the many persecuted and murdered priests”.
[But not, apparently, for the group of priests who were “sent to the Jasenovac death camp because they refused to serve a mass of thanksgiving to Ustasha leader Ante Pavelic…One of the imprisoned Slovenian priests, Anton Rantasa, managed to escape…On 10 November 1942, he informed [Stepinac and the papal legate Ramiro Marcone]…on the crimes of genocide being perpetrated at Jasenovac. He was told to keep silent.” — Milan Bulajic, Belgrade Genocide Museum]
Jews said the pope was wrong to praise him.
“Holocaust survivors join all victims of the Nazi-aligned Ustasha regime in wartime Croatia in expressing disappointment that Pope Benedict would honour Cardinal Stepinac,” said Elan Steinberg, vice-president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.
“Stepinac was an avid supporter of the Ustasha whose cruelties were so extreme that they even shocked some of their Nazi masters. Pope Benedict was right in condemning the evil Ustasha regime; he was wrong in paying homage to one of its foremost advocates,” Steinberg said.
The late Pope John Paul beatified Stepinac in 1998, putting him one step away from sainthood.
And a report from Beta/Tanjug:
Holocaust survivors denounce pope’s Croatia statement
The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors on June 6 blasted Pope Benedict XVI over his statement about WW2 Croatian Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac.
The spiritual leader of the Roman Catholics claimed during his visit to Zagreb that Stepinac - tried and found guilty of collaboration with the fascist Ustasha regime of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) - was a defender of Jews, Orthodox Christians and anyone under persecution.
That regime ran death camps, including the largest - Jasenovac, where Serbs, but also Jews and Roma, were slaughtered.
Stepinac, beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1998, is an “adored personage in Croatia”, according to a Beta report, citing AFP. […]
So, yet again, Benedict disappoints on WWII matters. Just like John Paul II before him, who beatified Stepinac and promoted the same (Nazi) monsters in the 90s Balkans that Catholics deny the Vatican promoted in the 30s-40s. Just like Pius XII himself with the Concordat with Germany that he had all clergy pledge to. The argument can be made, however, that in some ways John Paul II’s complicity was worse, since there was no Hitler fear factor to pressure the Church into backing Croatia’s revived Ustasha regime in the 90s.
Stepinac did help some individuals here and there. A few lives — Jewish ones more than Serbian ones — were saved thanks to him. But he was careful not to make any real waves. He was what one might call a company man. The fact that one pope after another has never deigned to look into how saintly or not the man was — but has praised him before an Orthodox-homicidal public for supposedly saving Orthodox lives — also has something to do with the pope — any pope — being a company man. Notice that one pope doesn’t differ much from the last in any broad sense in terms of policies and positions, most glaringly when it comes to the Balkans. (The Vatican II Council was of course a major exception.) While the champions of this or that pope look for distinct or heroic qualities in this one or that one — and some are no doubt there — we must remember that these men are chosen for a reason: they don’t make waves. The committee decision that anoints the pope isn’t exactly looking for a maverick. The committee wants to keep things going as they have been. When has the College of Cardinals ever regretted its choice of pope? And so it goes, with one clone taking over as the previous one dies, visiting Croatia to praise Stepinac and not paying respects at the Jasenovac death camp. And so it goes. One after the other. Is it any surprise, then, that John Paul II wanted Piux XII sanctified (bestowing the “Servant of God” title upon him in 1990), and Benedict wants John Paul II sanctified — and both of course in accord on Pius and Stepinac.
And so, though I don’t disagree with most of the below, what we get is the same old shit from the pontiff, any pontiff:
Stop disintegration of the family - Pope (June 6)
Zagreb - Pope Benedict warned on Sunday that the traditional family in Europe was “disintegrating” under the weight of secularisation and called for laws to help couples cope with the costs of having and educating children.
“Unfortunately, we are forced to acknowledge the spread of a secularisation which leads to the exclusion of God from life and the increasing disintegration of the family, especially in Europe,” he said in his sermon on the edge of the capital.
The 84-year-old pontiff’s sermon was the latest in a series of salvos against what the Church sees as growing anti-Catholicism and “Christianophobia” in Europe.
Speaking on the day Croatia, whose population of 4.4 million people is 90% Catholic, celebrates its “Family Day”, he railed against practices such abortion, cohabitation as a “substitute for marriage”, and artificial birth control.
The pope urged Catholic families throughout Europe not to give in to a creeping “secularised mentality” and called for “legislation which supports families in the task of giving birth to children and educating them”.
The sermon reflected the Vatican’s belief that the Catholic Church in Europe is under assault by some national governments and European institutions over issues such as gay marriage, abortion, religious education and the use of Christian religious symbols in public places.
Last year the Vatican criticised plans to propose legislation in Britain, known as the Equality Bill, that could force churches to hire homosexuals or transsexuals.
The Vatican was also at the forefront of a campaign that overturned a ruling by the continent’s top human rights court that would have banned crucifixes in schools in Italy.
At the start of the trip on Saturday, the pope criticised the European Union, saying its bureaucracy is overly centralised and sometimes neglected historical differences and national cultures. [OK, he gets points for that one.]
The Vatican strongly supports Croatia’s bid to become an EU member, which it is expected to achieve in 2013. This would put another overwhelmingly Catholic country in the bloc. [In case you were wondering why the Vatican keeps mum over Croatia’s pro-Nazi problem.]
Benedict’s trip to Zagreb was intended to encourage the local Church, 20 years after independence and 16 years after the end of the Balkan wars. […]
(This would be the local Church that tells the country to pray for the acquittals of war criminals and calls the president a communist when accused of helping WWII fascists, and has a bishop as a military chaplain who reads an Ustasha-era poem.)
European Jewish Press ran a similar AFP report, which also had the following background:
…The pope praised Stepinac during a visit to his tomb in the Zagreb cathedral.
“His martyrdom signals the culmination of the violence perpetrated against the Church during the terrible period of communist persecution,” he said.
“This unity explains what is humanly inexplicable: that such a hardened regime could not make the Church bow down.”
His trial was for long a sticking point between the Catholic Church and the Yugoslav communist regime.
In overwhelmingly Catholic Croatia, Stepinac is seen as a national hero and martyr for his attachment to an independent Croatia and unwavering faith in the face of communist persecution. […]
That is, the pope stayed on-message: Communism. There it was — that obsessive pointing to communism whenever Nazism is brought up. Yes, look over there at communism and not at the Nazism we aligned ourselves with against it — those supposedly “godless” Nazis, as the Church (and Benedict himself) calls them to deflect from the disturbing connections. Stepinac supposedly demonstrated “unwavering faith” in the face of a faithless communist regime, but apparently not in the face of the supposedly “godless” Nazism the Church aligned with. Indeed, Croatian Nazism was pursued in the name of god.
Serb-American reader Paul explained the similarities between Croatia and Lithuania, vis-a-vis the Communism vs. Nazism thing:
It went way beyond the Nazis, and [Lithuanians] rather enthusiastically and sadistically exterminated their Jewish neighbors at a number of killing fields. The resemblance with Croatia holds in that Russians/Communists are viewed as the evil ones and Nazis as not so bad (i.e. Tito is worse than Pavelic, Bleiburg is worse than Jasenovac). So, many Lithuanians [like Croatians] think of themselves as victims of some sort.
(Indeed. Recall that Lithuania filed a lawsuit in 2008 against Jewish partisans for their anti-Nazi resistance, while preventing prosecution of any Lithuanian collaborators in Holocaust crimes.) Now, check out this charming bit of coverage from the Catholic News Service:
Croatia is a different country from the one Blessed Pope John Paul II visited in 1994, 1998 and 2003. [Indeed. In 2011, Croatia is almost completely ethnically cleansed of all the riff-raff. The pope must be proud. ]
The pope also will visit to the tomb of a controversial Croatian cardinal, Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac. A storm of debate erupted in the run-up to Blessed Pope John Paul’s beatification of the cardinal in Zagreb in 1998.
For Croats, the cardinal is the symbol of the church’s resistance to communist oppression…Today, the cardinal is still seen as a powerful example of staying true to God and respecting the dignity of every human being, the trip’s missal said. By praying at his tomb, Pope Benedict will be reinforcing the cardinal as a role model of patient perseverance and trust in God while undergoing great difficulties and hardship.
Pope Benedict didn’t just stay on-message. Like the popes before him, he also stayed away from Jasenovac:
The Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) most likely shall not invite the Pope Benedict XVI to attend the celebration of 1,700 years of the Edict of Milan in the Town of Nis in 2013….As said by the Patriarchy the Pope perhaps would have been invited had he during visit to Croatia this weekend visited Jasenovac and paid respect to victim[s] of the concentration camp in which 700,000 Serbs and about 100,000 Jews and Roma were killed during the WWII.
That has not happened but the Pope did visit the grave of Croatian Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac who was on trial after the WWII for cooperation with the Nazis.
Jovan Mirkovic, Director of the Museums of Victims of Genocide does not agree with the Pope, who said that Stepinac was saving the Jews, Serbs and Roma. ‘There are simpl[y] no proofs for such claims but there are proofs about Cardinal’s responsibility for the ustashi crimes’, he says.
The Pope said in Croatia that Stepinac was a humanist who suffered under two totalitarian regimes – of the ustashis and of the communists. Like his predecessor John Paul II, Benedict XVI too paid respect to Stepinac at his grave in the Zagreb Cathedral.
In a statement to ‘Blic’ Federico Lombardi, Director of Vatican’s Office for media claims that there are testimonies that Stepinac was not supporting Ante Pavelic’s regime, that he was saving all he could and that serious historians have proved that.
Jovan Mirkovic, former Director of Jasenovac Monument Park says that ‘Vatican’s thesis that Stepinac was saving Jews is without ground’.
‘Had he saved [the] life of a single Jew, Israel would have proclaimed Stepinac a righteous among nations. I think there were certain attempts to that direction but they all failed’, Mirkovic says.
As regards Stepinac’s relation towards the Serbs, everything is clear according to Mirkovic.
‘It is sure that there is his responsibility for enforced turning of Serbs into Catholicism. Secondly, large number of his priests was ustashis committing crimes together with others. Thirdly, he was s supreme military priest and all military priests delegated to ustashi units were under his authority. Stepinac knew about Jasenovac and all [the] horrible things that were going on there’, Mirkovic says.
The only correction I would make to Mr. Mirkovic’s point is that the “Righteous” title wasn’t denied to Stepinac because of a lack of proof that he saved even one Jew — it’s my understanding that he did in fact save several, especially if they were willing to help by converting to Catholicism even temporarily. While the conversion aspect is itself enough to disqualify a candidate from being Righteous, here was what Yad Vashem explained to the Croatian groups petitioning for the title: “Persons who assisted Jews but simultaneously collaborated or were linked with a fascist regime which took part in the Nazi-orchestrated persecution of Jews, may be disqualified for the Righteous title.”
Relatedly, reader Paul wrote the following in an email:
Apropos Benedict’s lies about “Blessed” Stepinac: I was shocked to see that many Serbs in Serbia (but not Bosnian Serbs, they know better) actually thought the Pope would make some sort of apology, and the SOC (Serbian Orthodox Church) actually sent a letter inviting him to do so. What naivete! When we take into consideration that the Vatican did not recognize Israel until 1994 but recognized Croatia in 1991, I am a bit shocked that the Jewish community and leaders seem to think that this organization…could somehow be a key partner in Jewish-Christian relations, while perceiving fundamentalist Protestants (who are generally pro-Israel) with contempt.
(This reminds us that the Israel recognition couldn’t pass without the Vatican giving the PLO an office the same year.)
Another report on this month’s visit had the following sentence: “Many Croatians regard Stepinac as a hero for speaking out against the Nazi-backed regime during World War II.”
Not quite. This would not get him regarded as a hero in Croatia, which still pines for the Ustasha era — which it resurrected in the 90s under Franjo Tudjman. Consider the fact that at Croatian cultural centers across the globe, one will find a portrait of Stepinac alongside a bust or portrait of Fuehrer Ante Pavelic — the man Stepinac supposedly opposed. Their reverence for Stepinac has to do with his connection to the WWII state, as well as with his ‘martyrdom’ during communism. I propose that it also has something to do with gratitude for the ambiguity and controversy surrounding him, providing a cover for the Croatian public’s Nazi sympathies and allowing Croatians to continue playing both hands (fascist and anti-fascist.)
Amid the schlock that passes for reporting on anything that concerns the former Yugoslavia, was the following gem of a blog post, at a site titled Archbishop Cranmer (run by Church of England members):
…The BBC notes the ‘special relationship’ Croatia has ‘long had’ with the Vatican. In 1914, the Vatican gave her blessing to Austro-Hungarian attack on Serbia which initiated a mass pogrom against Serbs throughout Croatia and Bosnia. One can only wonder at the profound symbolism of the Pope’s decision to pay homage and pray at the tomb of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, who was put on the path to sainthood by Pope John Paul II for the suffering he endured under Yugoslavia’s communist regime. Stepinac was Archbishop of Zagreb from 1937 to 1960, leading Croatia’s church throughout World War II. He was subsequently accused of collaborating with Croatia’s Nazi-allied rulers, for which he was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
It is difficult to grasp how a pope with first-hand experience of the evils of the Nazi era cannot see how the fanatical Catholicism of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac and the fascist Ustashi under Ante Pavelic does not constitute the same kind of wickedness. Catholic bishops were seen blessing the arms of Croat recruits as they slaughtered Orthodox Serbs. Stepinac stands accused of remaining passively indifferent while 750,000 Serbs, 60,000 Jews and 26,000 gypsies were systematically tortured and murdered in a holocaust which proportionally exceeded that perpetrated by Nazi Germany. For many, Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac was complicit in this genocide and fanatically active in the persecution and forced conversion of Orthodox Serbs, often at gun point. He said in his diaries, ‘the (Orthodox) Schism is Europe’s greatest curse, almost greater than Protestantism. It knows no morals, principles, truth, justice or decency’.
There is a conspiracy of silence surrounding the history of fascist Croatia and her drive for ethnic and religious purity. Francis X Rocca may well wonder: ‘Given that a fanatical Catholicism was a basic component of the Ustashi ideology, and given the pope’s own tangles with Nazism, it might seem odd if he doesn’t address this ugly part of the country’s history in some way.’
Serbian Orthodox bishops have written to the Pope protesting his visit to Zagreb: to them, Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac is every bit as guilty as General Ante Gotovina of crimes against humanity.
One wonders what political outrage and media furore would ensue if, within weeks of the guilty verdict against Ratko Mladić, an Orthodox religious leader visited Serbia and had the audacity to pay homage at the tomb of his genocidal inspiration.
The last line is an excellent point, on a mistaken premise (about Mladic). Anyway, as we can see here, Stepinac wasn’t a “monster.” He was just “passively indifferent” to the genocide happening around him, and under him.
A more in-depth characterization of Stepinac came from historian Srdja Trifkovic on June 8, titled “Shades of Grey“:
As a long-time upholder of friendship and alliance between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditionalists, I am disheartened by Pope Benedict XVI’s uncritical portrayal of Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac (1898-1960) as a saintly figure during his visit to Croatia earlier this week.
The historical record presents a more nuanced and ambivalent picture of Stepinac. The leading American historian of the Balkans, H. James Burgwyn, notes that, as “a vocal nationalist Croat,” Stepinac “conferred respectability on the Ustaša regime by his immediate approval of the new government… Without the urging of prelates and priests, many Croats, who otherwise would have turned their backs on the Ustaša atrocities, allowed themselves to be co-opted by Pavelić’s regime” (H. James Burgwyn. Empire on the Adriatic: Mussolini’s Conquest of Yugoslavia, 1941-1943. New York: Enigma Books, 2005, pp. 52-53).
Specifically, on April 28, 1941, Archbishop Stepinac issued a pastoral letter in which he called on the clergy to take part in the “exalted work of defending and improving the Independent State of Croatia,” the birth of which “fulfilled the long-dreamed-of and desired ideal of our people” (Katolički List, April 28, 1941). The pastoral letter was read in every Croatian parish and over the radio.
The clergy hardly needed the Archbishop’s encouragement, however. This phenomenon was soon noted by various Axis officials in the field. The German Security Service (SD) expert for the Southeast, Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl, noted… “Since being Croat was equivalent to confessing to the Catholic faith, and being Serb followed the profession of Orthodoxy, they now began to convert the Orthodox to Roman Catholicism under duress. Forced conversions were actually a method of Croatization” (Walter Hagen. The Secret Front: the Story of Nazi Political Espionage. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1953, p. 238. ‘Hagen’ was Hoettl).
A devout and austere man, distressed by the deportations and mass killing around him, “Stepinac was no admirer of the Nazi and Fascist creeds beyond their authoritarian ideas and anti-Communism,” Burgwyn notes, but for over two years “he refrained from open criticism of Pavelić’s blood-soaked rule and kept silent over the Ustaša murders of the Orthodox” (Burgwyn, op. cit. p. 53).
In what is cited by his apologists as a bold move, Stepinac once declared from pulpit that “all men and races are children of God,” specifically mentioning “Gypsies, Black, European, or Aryan” — but no Serbs. He did not mention the main victims of the regime by name — not once — for the rest of the war. After more than two years of Ustaša rule, on October 31, 1943, Stepinac stated in a sermon that “there are people who accuse us of not having taken action against the crimes committed in different regions of our country. Our reply is… we cannot sound the alarm, for every man is endowed with his own free will and alone is responsible for his acts. It is for this reason that we cannot be held responsible for some in the ecclesiastical ranks.” Under the circumstances this view amounted to an abdication of moral responsibility.
No less contentiously, Stepinac stated at the Council of Croatian Bishops that a “psychological basis should be created among the Orthodox followers” for the conversions: “They should be guaranteed, upon conversion, not only life and civil rights, but in particular the right of personal freedom and also the right to hold property.” He did not say, or appear to think, that those rights were due to the unconverted Serbs. (Over a year before Yugoslavia’s collapse, on January 17, 1940, Stepinac wrote in his diary: “The most ideal thing would be if the Orthodox Serbs were… to bend their heads before Christ’s Vicar, our Holy Father [the Pope].”)
Stepinac’s failing was primarily in his timid and reluctant attitude to those members of the Croatian clergy who openly identified with the Ustaša regime, or even became supporters of and participants in the genocide.
When the anti-Serb and anti-Jewish racial laws of April and May 1941 were enacted, the Catholic press welcomed them as vital for “the survival and development of the Croatian nation” (Hrvatska Straža, May 11, 1941) — yet Stepinac did not intervene. On the subject of those laws, the Archbishop of Sarajevo Ivan Šarić declared that “there exist limits to love” and declared it “stupid and unworthy of Christ’s disciples to think that the struggle against evil could be waged in a noble way and with gloves on.” Stepinac did not reprimand him. Those were the early days of the Ustaša regime, however, before the slaughter started in earnest. Later, “when the Ustaša launched their massacres, the Holy See took no overt measures to bring them to a halt” (Bergwyn, op. cit. p. 54).
This need not have been so:
“Because Pavelić so eagerly sought Vatican diplomatic recognition and led a movement of zealous Catholics, Pius had the leverage to force Pavelić and the Ustaše to stop murdering Serbs and Jews. [Pavelić requested recognition immediately after arriving in Zagreb: “I fervently ask Your Holiness with Your highest apostolic authority to recognize our state, and deign as soon as possible to send Your representative, who will help me with Your fatherly advice . . . “] The Vatican never attempted to use this leverage to prevent this genocide. Pius XII never condemned the destruction of the Serbian and Jewish population in Croatia, even though he held great sway over Pavelić and his followers [Robert McCormick: Pius XII, in History in Dispute, Volume 11: The Holocaust, 1933-1945. St. James Press, 2003, p. 193].”
By the summer of 1941 some priests abandoned all pretense of restraint. Fr. Dragutin Kamber, SJ, as the Ustaša trustee in the city of Doboj, in central Bosnia, personally ordered the execution of hundreds of Serbs. Fr. Perić of the Gorica monastery instigated and participated in the massacre of over 5,000 Serbs in Livno and the surrounding villages. He encouraged the local Ustaša bands to start the slaughter with his own sister who was married to a Serb. The Catholic Weekly, the official journal of the Archdiocese headed by Stepinac, warned what was in store for the “schismatics” and enemies of the New Order: “When in the past God spoke through papal encyclicals, they closed their ears. Now God has decided to use other means… The sermons will be echoed by cannon, tanks and bombers” (Katolički tjednik, Zagreb, 31 August 1941).
Particularly controversial was the role of Stepinac in a belated attempt to save the Ustaša state from collapse. In March 1945, he presided over a commemorative assembly in Zagreb devoted to “Catholic priests killed by the hand of the enemy” (Katolički list, Zagreb 1945, No. 12-13, 29 March 1945, pp. 99-100)…In the message to the faithful signed by Stepinac and the Catholic episcopate on 24 March 1945, the bishops made a ringing assertion that “during the Second World War the will of the Croat people was expressed and realized in our own State” and that “nobody has the right to accuse any citizen of the State of Croatia because they respect this immutable will of the Croat People, to which it has the right both by God’s laws and those of men” (ibid. pp. 93-95).
The moral consequences of such posture are illustrated by Dr. Vladko Maček’s personal encounter with a mass murderer. The leader of the Croatian Peasant Party, interned at the Jasenovac camp headquarters in 1941-42, recalled hearing from the other side of the barbed wire “the screams and wails of despair and extreme suffering, the tortured outcries of the victims, broken by intermittent shooting.” They “accompanied all my waking hours and followed me into sleep at night.” He noticed that one of the guards assigned to watch him crossed himself each night before going to bed. Maček asked the guard whether he was not afraid of the punishment of God. “Don’t talk to me about that,” the guard replied, “for I am perfectly aware what is in store for me. For my past present and future deeds I shall burn in hell, but at least I shall burn for Croatia” (Vlatko Macek, In the Struggle for Freedom, University Park, PA: Pennsylvania University Press, 1957, p. 234).
As this episode illustrates, the Ustaša criminality is measured not only by the numbers of dead Serbs, Jews and Gypsies, but also by the impact of their crimes on the society at large. That impact remains enormous, seven decades after the deed. Pope Benedict’s uncritical praise of Stepinac does not help heal the wounds and build the bridges. […]
On the point of seven decades later, a news report about the visit carried the following sentence: “Oppressed and marginalised during the decades of communist rule after World War II, the church regained some of its lost prominence in the 1990s when it was promoted by the nationalist regime then in power.”
And so one must ask what this affinity is for the Catholic Church particularly by nationalist Croatian regimes if not something that’s deeply rooted in the Nazi era, wherein the Church and the regime acted in unison.
The item also noted that Croatians’ Catholicism was strengthened during the 1991-95 war. That is, it was strengthened during a war under a leader who wrote, “As we were able to conclude from the preceding study, in the very origins of all our later, Western, civilization…genocidal violence is a natural phenomenon, consistent with human-social and mythological-divine nature. It is not only permitted, but even recommended, moreover even found in the words of the all-powerful Yahweh, always when it is necessary for the survival or the restoration of the kingdom of the chosen people, or for the maintenance and spread of their one true religion.” Presumably, President Tudjman was extrapolating the biblically-sanctioned ancient necessities of genocide to Catholicism and modern-day Croatia.
Coverage from Forbes.com also went to the point, though a bit meekly (and check out the wording in the first paragraph below):
…The Hague tribunal in April sentenced Gotovina to 24 years in prison for his role in a 1995 military offensive intended to drive Serb rebels out of land they had occupied for years along Croatia’s southern border with Bosnia.
In April, Benedict told Croatia’s new ambassador to the Holy See that the country shouldn’t worry about losing its identity by joining the EU, a message possibly intended for die-hard nationalists who have long been skeptical of entering the EU.
“You needn’t fear making a determined claim for respect of your own history and religious and cultural identity,” Benedict said…[You hear that, Croatia? You can keep your identity as Nazis. Especially since that’s whose vision the EU is anyway.]
Recently, Zagreb’s archbishop, Cardinal Josip Bozanic…told Croatian radio on Sunday that Croats should be less subservient to the EU and not accept all the conditions it sets, underscoring the long-standing sympathy of the local church with some of the more nationalistic sentiments in Croatia.
And so here we are. As I wrote to a young Catholic acquaintance who happens to not be in denial about Croatia’s crimes — but who still loves his popes:
The Vatican backed the same monsters in the 90s that it claimed it didn’t in the 30s and 40s. Today, the Church doesn’t even admonish its Croatian flock as that flock proudly flaunts its fascist creds. Whether we’re talking about the annual masses for Pavelic presided over by Croatian priests, or about Croatia’s favorite fascist rock star (who even performed in a hall adjoining a Catholic church in NY, with Cardinal Egan’s approval), or about the busts and portraits of Pavelic at Croatian cultural centers, or an Ustasha motto being repeated by a military chaplain, or the Croatian-Catholic clergy galvanizing the masses on behalf of 1990s war criminals, or a host of other — all too frequent — Nazi features of modern Croatian society, including a Catholic priest officiating at the funeral of convicted WWII war criminal Dinko Sakic (buried in full Nazi regalia), the Vatican voices NO OBJECTIONS.
And here we’ve been told by Vatican-defenders that the Nazis/Ustashas weren’t acting as Christians but as godless people — that they were the opposite of Christian, that they betrayed Christianity. Well then WHY, when the unrepentant, unreformed Nazis of Croatia decided to reclaim what Hitler gave them, did they get Vatican backing? Once again, the Vatican supported Nazis — in a Croatia that had revived all the Nazi symbolism and street names of Nazi heroes and even reappointed some of the surviving Nazis, openly bringing them back from Latin America. By the Vatican-defenders’ own logic, then, when John Paul II was gunning for an independent Croatia run by, and filled with, these supposedly “anti-Christian Nazis”, he betrayed Christianity. And that’s not to mention the whole Bosnia thing, his legacy of which has not helped his flock there fare well.
The decisive nail in the coffin of Christian civilization was driven in the Balkans. In Bosnia and Kosovo. The Vatican supported both policies that made it so. First, John Paul II supported the Bosnian Muslims against the reviled Orthodox Christians (Serbs), and then the Albanian ones against the Orthodox Serbs. This was a betrayal, and a self-killing. Not to mention a repetition of WWII history — working against the Orthodox. A repetition that took place in a modern — and less terrifying — context; he repeated the same kinds of missteps that make Pius XII controversial, at a time when there was far less pressure on the Church to do so. In fact, Germany and the Vatican were the driving forces behind repeating history in the Balkans, pressuring the rest of the world to follow their lead.
A June 8th letter appearing in the Irish Times by Michael Pravica, of Nevada, asked:
…[W]hen [will] the Vatican and the Croatian Catholic Church acknowledge and apologise for their roles in the mass murder and ethnic cleansing of millions of Serbs, Jews, and gypsies[?] Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, as leader of the Croatian Catholic Church, if nothing else, did not openly condemn this genocide, but silently condoned it. Pope Benedict should not have visited his grave as this will forever drive a wedge between Orthodox Christians and Catholics.
In a general email containing the letter, Professor Pravica mentions that the editor took out a line about the forced conversions in WWII Croatia. Which leaves one to wonder whether there’s something about forced conversions that’s worse than ethnic cleansing and genocide. Or else, whether that aspect was just too damning, in contrast to the more easily obscured role of the Church in the secular acts of ethnic cleansing and genocide. The answer presents itself for us: An accusation of inaction in the face of genocide — which can be explained away by circumstances — is preferable to an accusation of action: forced conversions would have been the Church’s the initiative. And that places the Church in league with the genocide in its midst, suggesting that its passivity wasn’t exactly that.
The Catholic Church preaches forgiveness. But does it know how to apologize? The overwhelming evidence suggests it does not.
Just for fun, I’ll close with this “hard-hitting” coverage of the controversial, highly charged, historically significant Croatia visit this month — from Newsmax:
Pope Visiting Croatia Reaffirms Traditional Values (by Edward Pentin, June 8 )
…Addressing members of civil society in Zagreb June 4, the Pope reminded those present that respect for conscience “is fundamental for a free and just society, both at national and supranational levels.”
The great achievements of the modern age, he added, owe themselves to “the recognition and guarantee of freedom of conscience, of human rights, of the freedom of science and hence of a free society.”
Last year, the Council of Europe proposed a resolution that would have demanded member states curb the freedom of conscience of medical doctors and nurses. The proposal was later voted down. However, last month the Obama administration stood by its decision to force pro-life medical professionals to dispense so-called “emergency contraception” such as abortion-inducing drugs, thereby removing their right to refuse on grounds of conscience.
The Pope stressed that the “quality of social and civil life and the quality of democracy depend in large measure” on conscience. He warned: “If, in keeping with the prevailing modern idea, conscience is reduced to the subjective field to which religion and morality have been banished, then the crisis of the West has no remedy, and Europe is destined to collapse in on itself.”
Only if conscience is “rediscovered as the place in which to listen to truth and good, the place of responsibility before God and before fellow human beings — in other words, the bulwark against all forms of tyranny — then there is hope for the future,” Benedict XVI said. And he added that it is by forming consciences “that the Church makes her most specific and valuable contribution to society” as conscience is “the keystone on which to base a culture and build up the common good.”
The Pope’s June 4-5 pilgrimage to Croatia, his 19th visit outside Italy, was short and intense but well timed, coinciding with an imminent announcement on the outcome of Croatia’s bid to join the European Union.
Benedict XVI said he supported Croatian membership because he believes the country, with its rich Christian heritage, would be more effective within rather than outside the union in helping reverse the secularism that is sweeping across the continent.
The Pope also spoke out strongly in defence of the traditional family. At a Mass on Sunday, he called on all people to recognize the beauty, joy and witness of Christian marriage and family life, and firmly rejected the harm caused by secularism, artificial contraception and living together before marriage, all of which, he said, are opposed to true love.
Secularism, he observed, has reduced love “to sentimental emotion and to the gratification of instinctive impulses, without a commitment to build lasting bonds of reciprocal belonging and without openness to life.”
This was Benedict XVI’s first visit outside the Italian mainland this year. His next will be in August, to Madrid, Spain, where he will attend the Catholic Church’s tri-annual World Youth Day.
La la la la Blue Skies la la la White Clouds la la la Sunny Days la la la Starry Nights la la la la….zzzzzzzz.
Of course, we know the Church reserves an exception to having a conscience and opposing totalitarianism: when the Church benefits.
If Croatia is the great hope for reversing EU secularism, then like I always say: I’ll be in the attic. Indeed, as only Nebojsa Malic reports, in furtherance of the country’s rulers’ EU aspirations, “Right after the pontiff’s visit, Zagreb announced that it will hold a Gay Pride Parade on June 18. The motto of the event is ‘Tomorrow belongs to us.’ In case that sounds familiar, here’s why.” I didn’t need to click on the link to know where it would take me: to the indelible scene in the film “Cabaret,” in which a bright, young, effeminate Nazi soldier sings “Tomorrow Belongs To Me,” eventually joined by the crowd. Until Nebojsa pointed it out in an email, the additional irony had been lost on me: Benedict had been a Hitler jungend himself.
(A closing honorable mention to BBC coverage for citing “thousands” killed by the Ustashas. A million people is “thousands.”)