That’s how the Croatian magazine Globus translated what the founder of Soldier of Fortune magazine Robert K. Brown told them in a 1993 interview. In the Soldier of Fortune (SOF) article that followed up on the Croatian article that same year, writer Bob Jordan explained that the quote “wasn’t entirely accurate but was based on fact — sniper training was a key part of SOF’s training syllabus during our recent trip to Bosnia.”

These are the kinds of things that will come out in the just-begun trial of Croatian general and hero of the Croatian people Ante Gotovina — namely American involvement in Croatia’s ethnic cleansing of Serbs and American assistance to Croatia that enabled the cruel killings of Serb civilians in Croatia’s Medak Pocket. Americans will also learn that a Hague indictment for war crimes committed by Croatia’s wartime president Franjo Tudjman was being prepared, but Tudjman died (in 1999) before he could face justice. His death helped ensure that the popular account of events in the Balkan wars stayed in place.

Below is a recent article from the New York Times about the trial, written by the paper’s Hague correspondent. Just a note on this correspondent, Marlise Simons: According to Canadian former ambassador to Yugoslavia James Bissett, who testified at the Milosevic trial, Simons would sit in on the proceedings day in and day out, but would lift her pen only on those rare occasions when arguments were made which reinforced the backwards version of events that the West had sold itself on. Most of the time she just sat there without writing, given that the vast bulk of evidence didn’t serve popular mythology on the Balkans.

War Crimes Trial Begins for Croatian General Who Worked With Americans (March 12) By MARLISE SIMONS

PARIS — A popular Croatian general who led a brutal operation that drove the Serbs out of western Croatia near the end of the Balkans war went on trial in The Hague on Tuesday for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Gen. Ante Gotovina, working closely with American advisers, was the commander of a military campaign in the summer of 1995 that put an end to the Serbian occupation of Eastern Croatia and forced more than 150,000 Serbs to flee towns and villages where they had lived for generations. [Favorite line alert: Serbian occupation of towns and villages where they had lived for generations.]

The four-day operation, in the Krajina region, was a turning point in the war, celebrated by Croatia as the heroic recapturing of its homeland and mourned by Serbia as the single largest event of “ethnic cleansing” of the 1991-1995 wars that broke up Yugoslavia. [Note that “ethnic cleansing” appears in quotes if the subjects of the ethnic cleansing are Serbs.]

In his opening statement on Tuesday, the prosecutor, Alan Tieger, said more than 350 civilians were killed in August and September 1995, most of them not in the heat of the battle, but executed in revenge actions.

Lawyers familiar with the trial say it may also shed more light on the little-known covert American role during that decisive Croatian counteroffensive against Serbia.

United States military advisers, among them retired and active personnel, helped plan the operation, and Americans directed drone aircraft over the battle zone to gain real-time intelligence for Croatian forces, Croatian officials have said.

The United States is not implicated in any of the criminal charges related to the operation, but some of its intelligence methods and sources may be disclosed, lawyers at the court said…Washington has taken a keen interest in the trial, and American diplomats have visited the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague to discuss the case, a former senior prosecutor said.

For the Croatian audience there may have been unwelcome disclosures in the prosecutors’ lengthy accounts of atrocities. Croatia’s nationalist news media have widely reported on actions by Serbs, often suppressing news from trials that cast Croatians in a bad light.

Mr. Tieger, the prosecutor, detailed brutalities that he said were inflicted by the Croatian military and the police on Serbian villagers. He said they burned hundreds of homes, killed elderly people who could not leave, killed livestock and poisoned wells to make sure no Serb refugees returned. The operation left “a scarred wasteland of destroyed homes and villages,” he said.

Lawyers at the court have said the three generals were the only men to be held accountable for the atrocities because the main political decision-makers, President Franjo Tudjman and his inner circle, are dead.

After Mr. Tudjman’s death, Carla Del Ponte, the chief war crimes prosecutor at the time, said her office had been close to issuing an indictment in which Mr. Tudjman would be charged with heading a “joint criminal enterprise” that included expelling Serbs. On Tuesday, the prosecution quoted from Mr. Tudjman’s speeches in which he called Krajina Serbs “a cancer on the underbelly of Croatia.”…

An additional report from Voice of America:

…The United Nations War Crimes Tribunal has charged Gotovina and two other ex-generals - Ivan Cermak and Mladen Markac - with doing nothing while soldiers murdered at least 37 ethnic Serbs in Krajina. The troops also burned and plundered villages, and stabbed civilians who tried to escape. The court says some family members were forced to watch their relatives being killed. All three defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Croatia: Three generals on trial for war crimes

…Serbs, who accounted for 12 percent of Croatia’s four million people before the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia in 1991, rebelled against Croatia’s secession and proclaimed their own Republic of Serb Krajina.

Hundreds of thousands of Serbs were killed by the Croatian state in World War II and feared repetition of the crimes when Croatian nationalist president Franjo Tudjman, who led the country to secession, came to power.

Tieger said that Tudjman, who died in 1999, masterminded the Storm operation, not only to retake territories controlled by local Serbs, but to completely eliminate Serbs from the country.

The decision was taken at a meeting on 31 July 1995, when Tudjman allegedly told his generals that Serbs “should be dealt such a blow that they practically disappear,” Tieger said…”At one point he told the American ambassador that Serbs were ‘a cancer on the Croatian skin’,” the prosecutor said…

So what we have is the U.S. essentially assisting Croatians in completing the work they were enabled to do by Nazi Germany during WWII when Hitler declared an independent Ustasha-run Croatia — an Axis Power that went on to slaughter hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews, and other undesirables.

Herewith, an update on our pal Croatia, from our very own State Dept., which released the following critical report about the Nazi democracy:

US Slams Croatia over Discrimination

12 March 2008 Zagreb - The United States State Department has criticised Croatia over its treatment of ethnic minorities, women and homosexuals, local media reported Wednesday.

The criticism comes in the U.S. State Department’s annual report on the situation of human rights around the world.

The report said the overall situation regarding human rights in the country was good but warned that there still were problems in the judicial system, where ethnic Serb judges were not represented proportionally. The report suggests that Serb candidates for judges are either refused or they are not encouraged to apply by Croatian authorities.

“The Constitutional protection of all minorities is implemented but there is still open discrimination against Serbs and Roma,” Croatia’s Javno news portal quoted the report as saying.

The document also warns about the treatment of women and homosexuals. It said that there was an increase in domestic violence in which the victims are women. According to the report, Croatia is along a key human trafficking route and the final destination for trafficked women from Serbia, Moldova and Bosnia and Herzegovina, where they end up working as prostitutes.

The document also adds that homosexuals are subject to insults and are not accepted in society.

Croatia was also criticised for the slow return of property seized by the state from the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Jewish community.

Hello? Jewish community property seized? Gosh, I wonder what the criminal Serbs did to cause Croatia to “fight back” also against the Jewish community during the war.

Another report on the State Dept. report:

STATE DEPARTMENT REPORT: Croatia: Violence Against Minorities, Women, Gays

…Also, intimidating witnesses at domestic war crimes trials and the continuation of the practice of war crime trials in absentia are cited as special problems.

Croatia is also warned of the practice of the State Judicial Council of either refusing candidates or leaving positions vacant so as not to have to appoint Serbs as judges. “Out of 1,930 judges, only 2.2 percent, were ethnic Serbs, while 1.8 percent were from other minorities”, says the report.

“Restitution of communal property remained a problem for all major religious groups except the Islamic Community. The government has not returned any property to the Serbian Orthodox community, the second largest claimant of property in the country. The government also has not returned Jewish properties, including some buildings in Zagreb, although it did return one property in Osijek – says the report.

Ah, the old Nazi-Muslim mutual affinity, still going strong in Croatia. (Though more likely it’s simply that Nazis are as scared of Muslim discontent as anyone else.)

With regards to media freedom, the report estimates that the media remain under the influence of the authorities and especially local media are vulnerable to political pressure because 70 percent of them are owned by local authorities.

While constitutional protections against discrimination applied to all minorities, open discrimination and harassment continued against ethnic Serbs and Roma – the State Department said in its report.

It cited data by the Serb Democratic Forum, as well as examples of the most serious ethnically motivated incidents in 2007, including the attack on Serb returnees in July, a father and son, in Gornji Vrhovci near Pakrac. The report also cites the SDF’s commendation to the Croatian police for quickly finding the culprits for vandalising Serb houses in Cerjani Donji and Pristeg in October.

That’s right — when the EU is watching, Croatian police move quickly on ethnically motivated crime.

The State Department also pointed to the problem of vandal attacks on Serb property and intolerance towards Serb returnees, especially in the Zadar area.

With regards to violence against women, the State Department cites the number of rapes, processes and punishments and stresses that, according to UNDP data from 2006, Croatia marked an increase of domestic violence.

So Croatians have even more in common with Muslims than they think! Including this:

The report cites the example of attacks on the Gay Pride parade in Zagreb in July 2007 as an example of discrimination towards homosexuals, as well as “insults, stereotypical jokes and societal prejudices”.

In the chapter on human trafficking the report states that Croatia was still a transit point, but also increasingly a destination for prostitution for girls from Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Such is the country that Dick Cheney and George W. Bush each individually advocated putting on the fast-track to EU membership, slated for an already fast-tracked 2010. And such is the country that the watchdog group OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) saw fit to leave to its own devices, packing up its mission there in December and “leaving only an office to monitor trials of war crime suspects…[and] monitor the return of Croatian Serb refugees.”

Because apparently the roster of issues above is an improvement:

The organization decided to close the mission, which was opened in Zagreb in 1996, after it saw strengthening of Croatia’s institutions, election reforms, the Constitutional Court, improvements in protection of human and national minority rights, and integration of refugees who returned home.

Such as:

“Wave of hatred” spreading against Serbs in Croatia

Belgrade, 10 August: A wave of hatred and violence against Serb returnees has been intensified in Croatia this year, and graffiti saying “Hang Serbs on willow trees” appeared in the village of Islam Grcki near Benkovac, the director of Veritas Documentation Centre [Serb refugee NGO], Savo Strbac, warned today.

“Croatia, despite declarative statements by its highest officials in reality is still systematically preventing an organized return of exiled Serbs, and a wave of hatred against the Serbs is once again spreading. Graffiti with threatening content keep appearing,” Strbac said in a statement for International Radio Serbia.

He noted that Croatian state media, “using a recognizable vocabulary from early 1990s, is spreading hatred towards everything Serb,” Serb property which is restored at a slow pace is once again destroyed and torched, Christian Orthodox sites are also attacked, including holy places and clergy, and “urban Orthodox Serbs are being further Catholicized”.

Strbac assessed all this as a form of psychological pressure to stop the return of the Serbs to Croatia from the start.

“Croatian officials state the figure of 120,000 Serb returnees to Croatia which does not at all correspond to the truth,” he noted, specifying that recent research financed by UNHCR showed that it was about 52,000 persons — mainly elderly people of whom 13,000 had already died.

Among those returnees are also 7,000 so-called walkers, who have still not made up their mind whether they would return to Croatia, Strbac said.

To close, here are just three recent drops in the bucket of the kinds of characteristic comments you’ll find in America’s and Europe’s pal Croatia:

A black man can’t coach Croatia’s national team. I don’t remember any black manager of a major team.

– Vlatko Markovic, president of Croatian national football organization

All our boys want to be (as basketball stars) Toni Kukoc or Dino Radja, but I haven’t heard of any wanting to to be black.

– Croatian Member of International Olympic Board Antun Vrdoljak

[Socialist Democratic Party leader] Tonino Picula…walked off a [Croatian National TV] show titled “Election 2007″ in protest over an inappropriate comment by Josip Miljko, leader of the Croatian Pure Party of Law. In a reply to the host’s question whether [Croatian oil company] INA should pay reparations to citizens of Sisak for air pollution, Miljak said that the Croatian Government sold INA to the Hungarian company MOL, adding that “INA’s profit goes to Hungary, to MOL, to Jewish capital — and the pollution stays with us.”