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Nothing is Forever
U.S. Ambassador Warren Zimmerman interviewed Jan. 21,
1992 in the Croatian daily 'Danas' ('Today')
Translated by www.emperors-clothes.com (6-1-00)
Comments by Jared Israel, editor, Emperor's Clothes

"We are aiming for a dissolution of Yugoslavia
into independent states peacefully." (Warren
Zimmerman, US Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Jan.,

The following interview is very important. Many have
argued that the U.S. opposed the breakup of Yugoslavia.
Warren Zimmerman was US Ambassador to Yugoslavia
during the key period, when Slovenia and Croatia were
fighting to secede. In this interview he makes the real U.S.
position quite clear.

A week before the interview a key event occurred. Europe
recognized secessionist Croatia and Slovenia as independent
states. Balkans scholar Raju Thomas refers to this as "a new
method of aggression: Diplomatic Recognition."

"Surely then the real aggression in Yugoslavia began
with the western recognition of Slovenia and Croatia.
The territorial integrity of a state [Yugoslavia] that was
voluntarily created and which had existed since
December 1918 was swept aside. In 1991, new state
recognition policy proved to be an inventive method of
destroying long-standing sovereign independent states.
When several rich and powerful states decide to take a
sovereign independent state apart through the policy of
recognition, how is this state supposed to defend itself?
There can be no deterrence or defense against this form
of destruction." (Raju Thomas, "Nationalism, Secession
and Conflict: Legacies from the Former Yugoslavia.")

The U.S. did not immediately endorse the European move.
Does this mean the U.S. opposed secession? I think the U.S.
policy was two-faced. The U.S. government paid lip service
to peaceful solutions and withheld recognition of Slovenia
and Croatia, but at the same time, US officials and covert
agencies worked to dismember Yugoslavia in a manner
aimed at producing a Bosnian nation-state run by Islamic
Fundamentalist proxies under the thumb of the US.

Zimmerman's interview in 'Danas' supports this view. Is the
interview accurate? If an Ambassador is seriously misquoted
he would respond in order to correct the record; but
Zimmerman never denied or corrected any part of the
interview. There is no known reason to question its accuracy.

Moreover, subsequent US actions dovetail with the views
expressed here. For example, consider this from Zimmerman:

"It appears to us that he [Bosnian Islamic
Fundamentalist leader Izetbegovic] needs help in his
effort to resist the partition of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
I believe it would be tragic if someone from the
Croatian side would try cooperating with Serbia in the
dismemberment of Bosnia-Herzegovina."

Later, when the Bosnian Islamist leader Izetbegovic signed
an agreement with Croatian and Serbian leaders to
peacefully partition Bosnia, Zimmerman met with
Izetbegovic and 'helped' by persuading him to renege on the
deal and demand instead a unitary Bosnian state under
Islamist control. Izetbegovic did renege, as Zimmerman
asked, and this launched the Bosnian civil war.

It is important to remember when reading this interview that
Zimmerman was speaking for the world's only Superpower.
Whatever Zimmerman said would be read carefully by all
sides. As you shall see, he used the interview to encourage
Croatian chauvinism, Kosovo Albanian secessionism and, in
Bosnia, Islamic Fundamentalism, the very forces that Nazi
Germany allied with in Yugoslavia during World War II.

Zimmerman said he was against destabilization but talk is
cheap and every diplomat knew that a united Yugoslavia was
the key to stability in the Balkans. He said pretty things
about peace but he unleashed the forces of war.

My comments, which appear frequently, begin with the
phrase [Jared comments] and end with [End Jared's

Here is the interview.

'DANAS', 21 January 1992

Nothing is Forever
An Interview with Warren Zimmerman

Zimmerman: First of all, I have to point out that the US and
the American people exceptionally appreciate the Croatian
people and sympathize with you for all you have been
through in the past few months. We know you have been a
victim of a Serbian and Army aggression, and in that
situation you reacted with great courage and dignity. I am not
saying this as a compliment to the fighting abilities of Croatia
- though they are considerable - but I wish to point out that
a great deal of restraint was demanded of Croatia. I refer to
the lifting of the siege of military barracks, which was in our
opinion one of the keys to the possibility of a stable peace.
This also goes for honoring the cease-fires, which is always a
critical issue. I would also point out the agreement to the UN
peace plan, which all the sides have accepted. In all these
matters, the people and government of Croatia showed its
extraordinary worth.

[Jared comments] Zimmerman's reference to the
secessionists' "restraint" is false. While pretending
to observe a cease fire, the secessionists provoked
and attacked Yugoslav troops in their barracks.
Zimmerman lies throughout the interview. His
words are best read not as accurate information
but as evidence of US intentions. [End Jared's

DANAS: Still, everyone wonders why the recognition has
been delayed?

Zimmerman: I have to admit that at this moment the
recognition of Croatia is not on our agenda. But this does not
mean that this temporary American approach will be around
forever. We have always tried to approach recognition in a
way that would contribute most to a permanent peace, and
that same approach has been taken by Cyrus Vance and Lord

[Jared comments] Obviously he is promising US
recognition - just not yet. [End Jared's comments]

DANAS: What does that mean in terms of time?

Zimmerman: I cannot tell you the exact date. But that is
certainly something to be kept in mind, and something we are
thinking of, but we are also always wondering what kind of
benefit that would bring Croatia while the war is still going
on and while Croatia is still being occupied by enemy troops.
We thought the best way for the JNA [Yugoslav Army] to
leave Croatia was the one proposed by the UN, as it
specifically states that the JNA must leave Croatia. We also
believe that we can do the most to make this plan work is if
we keep the possibility to pressure Serbia, Serbian and JNA
leadership as much as possible. We are doing that decisively,
and I believe we are in a much better position to do that now,
as we have not recognized Croatia yet. That way, we have
preserved authority and credibility with Serbia and the Army
that we would not have if we had followed Germany and
recognized Croatia. I believe what we are doing is beneficial
to achieving true Croatian independence.

[Jared comments] The US was withholding formal
recognition not out of a desire to hold Yugoslavia
together but out of a desire to destroy it in the most
efficient and profitable way. [End Jared's

DANAS: So you wish to preserve your influence?

Zimmerman: Yes, but I also want to add that this does not
mean in any way that Serbia or the JNA have any right of
veto in the American recognition policy. This is not the case.

DANAS: Many claim that you generally support Europe, but
at the same time aren't too confident about the European

Zimmerman: I wouldn't say so. I know that Lord Carrington
believes that recognition of Yugoslav republics that have
requested it could be premature in these circumstances. We
have tried to clear a path that I believe could lead to the result
you want, which is a truly independent Croatia, free of
occupation and enemy forces.

[Jared comments] Zimmerman refers to the Army
of Yugoslavia, a country to whom he was U.S.
Ambassador, a country which included Croatia, as
an enemy force. Amazing.

The "enemy" Army did not invade Croatia. It was
present in Croatia just as it was present in other
parts of Yugoslavia. It was just as illegal for
Croatia to secede from Yugoslavia as it was for the
southern states to secede from the U.S. 140 years
ago. The JNA would have been justified in waging
total war, just as President Abraham Lincoln
waged total war; but the JNA did not. [End Jared's

Zimmerman: We very decisively told the Serbian and Army
leadership that they have to honor the obligations they
accepted and completely leave Croatia. We also said - and I
think we have been able to do it with more authority since we
have not recognized Croatia - that the recognition of Croatia
by European countries cannot be the reason for Serbia or the
Army to try reversing Croatia's independence or imposing
solutions on Croatia by force.

DANAS: This is maybe a personal question. You are the
American Ambassador, but it is hard to say which country
you are the Ambassador to. Does Yugoslavia still exist?

Zimmerman: That is a very good question, and a question
that is very hard to answer. We are now precisely in that
situation where a world is dying and another, different world
is struggling to be born. In other words, it is a transition and
as I said many times before, our main concern in it is peace.
While these changes are going on, our foremost task is to
contribute that they happen in a peaceful, rather than violent,

[Jared comments] As subsequent events
demonstrated, 'Peace' meant the US and its proxy
forces could do whatever they liked but the
Yugoslav Army was not allowed to fight back.
[End Jared's comments]

Zimmerman: It is inevitable that these changes are
accompanied with uncertainties. I am an Ambassador
accredited with the government of Yugoslavia. But at the
same time, it is completely clear that we do not recognize
Branko Kostic, who usurped the right to speak on behalf of
the Yugoslav Presidency. Since he made that attempt I have
not had any contacts with him, nor do I intend to ever contact
him. Most of the duties I perform in Belgrade and Yugoslavia
are reduced to relations with the Republics, which my
government considers extremely useful. There are many gray
areas from a legal standpoint, but this is natural in times of

DANAS: Are you encountering the same difficulties while
meeting with the military leaders?

Zimmerman: I recently met with General Adzic, and I met
with General Kadijevic right before he resigned. I believe it is
exceptionally important to maintain contact with the
Yugoslav military leadership, as they have to know our
position. And our position is clear: we believe that the Army
is primarily responsible for the war in Croatia.

Hence they have an enormous obligation to honor the UN
peace plan, and to show restraint in Croatia. And in
Bosnia-Herzegovina as well, which is turning into a
dangerous place. If we weren't talking to them, we would not
be able to tell them all these things.

DANAS: Many unconfirmed stories indicate that you
prevented total war on several occasions, using this type of

Zimmerman: There is exaggeration in that. But I can say that
the US has always used the measure of influence it has to
promote peace, not war. That is why I say that we are most
concerned with the possibility of a war breaking out in
Bosnia-Herzegovina. We think it would be a horrible tragedy
which could have consequences on the situation in Croatia,
which at the present time looks promising.

DANAS: Does that mean you support Izetbegovic's plan?

Zimmerman: Let me try to elaborate on our policy towards
Bosnia-Herzegovina. We firmly believe that the territorial
integrity of every republic must be preserved, and we clearly
said to the Serbian government and the Army leadership that
we will never recognize any conquest in Croatia. Equally
important is the territorial integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
which is most threatened at this moment by the Bosnian Serb
leadership, which is attempting to tear away a piece of it. We
consider that extremely dangerous, and we said so to the
Army and the Serbian leadership.

[Jared comments] Note how Zimmerman places
matters upside down.

He speaks of maintaining the integrity of 'Bosnia'
as if it were a national entity. But historically a
country called 'Bosnia' never existed. An
administrative unit called 'Bosnia' (similar to
Rhode Island or South Dakota) was created by the
Tito government. That's it.

With this in mind, consider his statement that the
US supports "the territorial integrity of
Bosnia-Herzegovina, which is most threatened at
this moment by the Bosnian Serb leadership, which
is attempting to tear away a piece of it."

In fact, the Islamic Fundamentalist forces in
Bosnia were trying to tear a piece away from a real
nation, recognized for 70 years - Yugoslavia. This
violated international law. The Islamists wanted to
justify their secession (that is, theft of territory) by
holding a referendum. The Serbs boycotted the
referendum. The Islamists held it anyway, and
won; but this violated the Yugoslav constitution
which required the approval of the three major
ethnic groups before extreme action could be taken.
Moreover the secessionist movement only existed
based on foreign intrigue, personified by Mr.
Zimmerman. The Islamists would never have dared
to push for secession without the promise of
outside (U.S.) help and in practice Mr.
Zimmerman prodded Islamist leader Izetbegovic
into starting the Bosnian civil war.

The Bosnian Serbs had had grim experience with
Islamic Fundamentalism during W.W. II. Islamic
Fundamentalists were important supporters of the
Nazis in Bosnia. They formed their own SS
Division. They helped slaughter hundreds of
thousands of Serbs. The Islamist leader Elija
Izetbegovic was a pro-Nazi Islamic
Fundamentalist youth organizer during the War.

Knowing the horror that would follow if
foreign-backed Islamists once again ruled Bosnia,
the local Serbs wanted to stay with Yugoslavia.
These Serbs, mainly farmers, owned the majority
of land in Bosnia. The Serbs wanted to make sure
that if Bosnian Islamists seceded the Serbs would
not be forced to live under their rule. [End Jared's

Zimmerman: As for Mr. Izetbegovic, we heard that some call
him a Muslim fundamentalist. We know what
fundamentalism really does, as we were its victims in Iran.
That is why we do not believe that Izetbegovic is some sort of
fundamentalist. Actually, it seems like he is a moderate
politician who is trying to do the best in a difficult situation.

[Jared comments] The reasoning here is
charmingly ostrich-like: Proof by Rejection of
Negative Consequence. 1) Fundamentalists are
terrible. 2) It would be terrible if Izetbegovic were a
fundamentalist. 3) Therefore Izetbegovic is not a

Fortunately Izetbegovic wrote a book about his
beliefs. It is called "The Islamic Declaration"
("Islamska deklaracija"). Here's an excerpt:

"... The first and foremost of such conclusions
is surely the one on the incompatibility of
Islam and non-Islamic systems. There can be
no peace or coexistence between the "Islamic
faith" and non-Islamic societies and political
institutions. ... Islam clearly excludes the right
and possibility of activity of any strange
ideology on its own turf. Therefore, there is
no question of any laicistic principles, and the
state should be an expression and should
support the moral concepts of the religion. ..."
(p. 22)

It is ironic that Zimmerman uses Iran as the
example of what Izetbegovic is not. Actually,
Izetbegovic was especially fond of the Iranian
Fundamentalists. Moreover, the US encouraged
Iran to smuggle arms and terrorist trainers into
Bosnia during the fighting, despite an embargo on
importing arms. When challenged about this at a
Congressional hearing, Ambassador to Croatia
Peter Galbraith confirmed that the US had indeed
approved the shipments.
[End Jared's comments]

Zimmerman: It appears to us that he needs help in his effort
to resist the partition of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I believe it
would be tragic if someone from the Croatian side would try
cooperating with Serbia in the dismemberment of
Bosnia-Herzegovina. That would mean that Croatia is
destroying the very principle on the basis of which it won
international support for its struggle.

DANAS: There are some very clear desires to that extent in

Zimmerman: I read some hints to that effect in the Croatian
press, so I have to say that the dismemberment of Bosnia -
no matter who does it - cannot win the support of the United
States. We would consider that a policy of destabilization and
a violation of international principles that could lead to very
unpleasant consequences in our relations.

[Jared comments] This is Theater of the Absurd.
International law says nothing about alteration of
borders within a state. It only forbids the
destabilization inherent in altering national
boundaries - which is precisely what Zimmerman
is supporting by insisting on the unimpeded
creation of a new state of Bosnia.
[End Jared's comments]

Zimmerman: I believe, therefore, that if there is a tendency in
Croatia to team up with Serbia in a break-up of Bosnia, that
tendency must be overcome.

DANAS: American foreign policy is often based on two
interlocking principles - a carrot and a stick. What would be
a carrot and what would be the stick in this situation?

Zimmerman: That is a good question, and I will try to give a
very specific answer in regard to the war in Croatia. When
the war is over and when Croatia restores its full sovereignty
upon the Army's withdrawal, that carrot and that stick have
to exist for the other side as well.

[Jared comments] This is one of the best examples
of the Orwellian rewriting of reality, a special
feature of the New World Order of which
Zimmerman was a key architect. Croatia had 'full
sovereignty' only one time in history: that was as
the (Fascist-Clerical) Independent State of Croatia
during the German occupation of Yugoslavia.
[End Jared's comments]

Zimmerman: The stick would be that the United States or
any other Western country - to the best of my knowledge -
will never recognize any violation of Croatia's territorial
integrity. In other words, the Croatian borders will remain as
they were before the war, there will be no changes of borders
by conquest. That stick would also be what I mentioned a
moment ago. No one will support any violent
re-establishment of Yugoslavia.

[Jared comments] Does this sound like the man is
opposing the breakup of Yugoslavia? [End Jared's

DANAS: Any Yugoslavia?

Zimmerman: Any kind of Yugoslavia.

DANAS: Even the smallest one?

Zimmerman: We told Serbia and the Army clearly that we
will not recognize Serbia as Yugoslavia's successor, that we
will not recognize any so-called Yugoslav government that is
in fact just another Serb government.

That is why I do not wish to have any contact with Mr.
Kostic, and why the American government challenged the
credentials of the Yugoslav delegation a few days ago at the
OSCE conference in Prague. But allow me to finish my
previous answer about sticks. Carrots are important, too, they
form a part of this reality. There are some problems with the
rights of the Serb population in Croatia. We do not think the
way Serbia and the Army approached those issues was
justified, they went about it in a completely wrong way. But
the problem exists and I think that Croatia, if it wants a
stable peace, should be ready to grant a significant political
autonomy to the Serb areas in Croatia. We welcome as a
good sign the fact that the Croatian assembly passed the
Minority Law, which is a great step along that road. I hope
that Croatian government will continue being so flexible, as it
seems to me that a maximum degree of political autonomy on
the local level in Serb-inhabited areas will be necessary. This
is already a part of the UN peace plan on a provisional basis,
as well as Lord Carrington's plan, which counts on a longer
time frame. We think that every Serb leadership needs to be
able to say that Serb rights in Croatia are completely
protected with international guarantees. That would be in the
interest of Croatia as well, as it would take a significant
problem off the agenda.

[Jared comments] A number of points about this.

First, as we shall see below, the Croatian regime
had launched a massive campaign of terror against
Serbian residents. Zimmerman is suggesting that
Serbia be induced to accept the breakup of
Yugoslavia by dangling the carrot of less violence
towards Serbs in Croatia.

Second, Zimmerman avoids a discussion of the
actual, day to day terror that was being directed
against Serbs in Croatia. Instead he expresses
concern and wishes and hopes for better treatment.
The value of such US expressions of concern
became clear three years later when the US
planned, led and provided air cover for the eviction,
carried out by the Croatian Army, of over 250,000
Serbs, mainly farmers, from the Krajina, which
was claimed by Croatia. This was the worst act of
genocide in Europe since W.W.II.

To get an idea of the anti-Serb hatred whipped up
by the Croatian government throughout this
period, read the following excerpt from a speech
delivered by Croatian President Tudjman after the
anti-Serb campaign culminated in the violent
eviction of the Serbian population of the Krajina
section. Here's Tudjman:

"There can be no return to the past, to the
times when [Serbs] were spreading cancer in
the heart of Croatia, a cancer that was
destroying the Croatian national being." He
[that is, Tudjman] then went on to speak of
the "ignominious disappearance" of the Serbs
from Krajina "so it is as if they have never
lived here... They didn't even have time to
take with them their filthy money or their
filthy underwear!" ('The invasion of Serbian
Krajina' by Greg Elich at
[End Jared's comments]

DANAS: Washington used to firmly advocate human rights
in Kosovo, but now there is only mention of Croatia.

[Jared comments] This is hyperbole. Washington's
real concern about Croatia was that it not work
against the Islamists in Bosnia. Indeed,
Washington hired the MPRI, a semi-private
military outfit made up of 'retired' officers and
CIA types to train the Croatian army which
continued to be used primarily against Serbian
civilians. [End Jared's comments]

Zimmerman: I am glad you asked that question, so I can
clarify things. The violation of rights of Albanians in Kosovo
in my opinion is the worst violation of human rights, and at
this moment, there is none worse in Europe. It was somewhat
peaceful in Kosovo last year, but the basic colonial nature of
Serbian control has not changed. We have not lost interest in
that issue, and we will not lose interest until it is solved. I
cannot imagine a final political solution coming out of The
Hague and Brussels that would only deal with Croatia. It has
to encompass the rights of everyone; thus also the problems in

[Jared comments] Zimmerman was the
Ambassador to Yugoslavia. Coming from him, this
is a clear statement of support for Kosovo
secessionism. Why? Because a) there was a strong
secessionist movement in Kosovo at the time; b)
international law, expressed the Helsinki Final Act,
which the U.S. signed, forbids the redrawing of
national borders. However, international law does
allow for self-determination for colonies. So by
misdescribing Kosovo as a colony, Zimmerman
was endorsing secession.

Why was Zimmerman's statement false?

First, Albanians were not oppressed in Yugoslavia.
Ethnic Albanian unrest was based on beliefsand
instigation: some ethnic Alb anians wanted to
recreate the World War II entity, Greater Albania
and wanted Kosovo to be Serb-and-"Gypsy"-free.
In this sense their attitude had much in common
with some whites in the segregationist south. Many
news articles during the 1980s report that it was
Serbs, not Albanians, who were oppressed in
pre-1989 Kosovo. (2)

Colonialism means exploitation: the Colony is
organized to serve the needs of the Imperial Power.
Thus in the African colonies, railroad lines were
built fanning out from coastal ports so that raw
materials could easily be taken out of the country.
Everything is best in the Imperial country.
Everything is worst in the Colony.

This was dramatically not the case in Kosovo;
Kosovo was poor, but not due to exploitation. As
engineers Tika Jankovic and Petar Makara point
out, the engineering school in Pristina (Kosovo)
had the finest modern equipment, whereas the
engineering school in Belgrade (inner Serbia) had
to make do with pre-World War II equipment as
late as the 1970s. (3)

Such anecdotal evidence is supported by the NY
Times. The following was written in 1984, before
the Times adopted an anti-Serbian policy:

"Yugoslavia's Albanians: Poor,
Proud and Prolific
By Michael T. Kaufman

..."The thrust toward republic status, for
example, is in large measure motivated by the
clause in the Yugoslav Constitution that
technically permits any republic to secede.

"As explained by a knot of [Albanian]
students in Pristina, this right to withdraw
could pave way for creating a greater
Albania, linking Kosovo with the present
Albania... with the capital shifting from
Tirana to Pristina...

"The students had no answers as to how such
a nation could support itself...

"[U]nder the complicated transfer
arrangement, Kosovo receives
70 percent of its budget from the richer
components of the Yugoslav union...." ('New
York Times', October 5, 1984)
[End Jared's comments]

DANAS: Croatia and Slovenia offered a year ago the
confederacy solution akin to what Izetbegovic is proposing
today. But the clock cannot be turned back.

Zimmerman: Obviously, it is too late for that now. We are
aiming for a dissolution of Yugoslavia into independent states
peacefully, and when any new union is constructed - if it is
constructed - it would have to be founded on sovereign
decisions. In other words, it has to be built from the bottom
up, rather than from top to the bottom.

DANAS: All Croatian politicians agree that it is necessary
first to secure independence and sovereignty, and only then
decide on future links.

Zimmerman: I recall the words of Pierre Lavalle, prime
minister of the Vichy government who made a tremendous
mistake by collaborating with the Germans but still said
something very wise: "Governments come and go, but the
geography is eternal. France will forever remain Germany's
neighbor." Croatia will remain a neighbor of Serbia, and I
hope it will be possible to soon normalize the relations that
geography makes inevitable.

DANAS: De Gaulle thought otherwise. Many were surprised
by the news that you spent the New Year's eve at a peace
demonstration with the Serbian opposition. Some said
immediately that this is the sign that both sides - the UN and
the US - want a different Serbia and different Serbian

Zimmerman: I went to this vigil to show our strong support
to cessation of hostilities, and I think Mr. Vance had the same
reasons. The peace movement in Serbia is a sort of an
opposition. It does not accept war. It opposes the government
responsible for that war. We support them in their demands
for peace. We consider it especially important - not only in
Serbia - that the political opposition is free to act. But in
Serbia, this is not the case. Opposition leader Vuk Draskovic
was just indicted for some things that happened at the March
9 demonstrations last year. The media, especially television,
are hostile to all opponents of the government, and that will
have to change if Serbia has any aspirations towards
democracy. On that occasion, we did not support any specific
party [except for being against the one chosen by the people -
PM] but we advocated democratic norms and values, values
of peace and free press.

[Jared comments] Zimmerman's support for Vuk
Draskovic is interesting. Before the Croatian and
Slovenian secession, Draskovic was a Tarzan
Nationalist - a real chest beater and it was in this
guise that he opposed Milosevich who was for the
continuation of Yugoslavia. But then Draskovic
advocated a policy of non-resistance when the
Yugoslav Army was attacked in its barracks, and
when Serbs were attacked as well.

Note also how Zimmerman uses his continued
presence in Belgrade: he encourages the breakup of
Yugoslavia and threatens Belgrade if it tries to stop
it. [End Jared's comments]

DANAS: Your statements have been frequently attacked in
Belgrade and in Croatia...

Zimmerman: And Slovenia and Montenegro...

DANAS: But which one of your critical remarks would you
say again in regard to Croatia?

Zimmerman: Croatia is a democratic state, but it is a young
democracy tempted by war.

[Jared comments] This is amazing.

This new 'democratic' state was a conscious
imitation of the Independent State of Croatia,
notorious in World War II for creating Jasenovac,
the first death camp, in which about a million
Serbs, 'Gypsies', Jews and antifascists were killed
using the most horrifying methods.

The new Independent State of Croatia, under
Franjo Tudjman, a holocaust denier, brought back
the Fascist Croatian flag, the currency, the army
uniforms, and the straight-arm salute. It renamed
streets after leaders of the Ustashi fascists; its
constitution defined Croatia as a racial state (a
state of ethnic Croats, not, like Serbia, a state of all
its citizens, regardless of ethnicity.)

The 'democratic elections' took place in an
atmosphere of terror and with vast sums pumped
in from Germany and other Western sources and
from pro-fascist Croatians abroad. The HOS
(Croatian Military Group) harassed and killed
Serbs and opponents of the regime. The method of
identification was straightforward. First, everyone
was ordered to sign a pledge of allegiance. Serbs
and antifascists who refused to sign this pledge to
the resurrected Ustashi state were first fired from
their jobs, then fired at.

The loyalty oath did not ferret out all the
undesirable elements. So the HOS ordered
everyone to display the Croatian (fascist)
checkerboard flag in their window. This flag is the
Croatian equivalent of the swastika. Then the HOS
went from street to street and harassed or beat up
or killed those (whether Serbian or Croatian) who
refused to display the flag.

The HOS dynamited the homes of undesirables,
often with the people inside. Jews lived in fear.
Tens of thousands of Serbs were driven out -
perhaps 300,000 even before the forced exodus from
the Krajina in 1995.

By referring to this terrorized territory as a "young
democratic state" Zimmerman made perfectly clear
that he approved of the HOS actions. His mild
rebukes were cosmetic: made for the sake of

The American media suppressed the the news
about Croatia. Most people never learned there was
an anti-Serbian terror.

There were a few exceptions to the press blackout.
One was an article in the 'New York Times' which
I have posted after the interview. It appeared rather
late, in 1997, well after Croatia had finished
purging 600,000 Serbs. The article is a bit odd. The
writer, Chris Hedges, suggests that fascists were
just then becoming powerful in Croatia, whereas
this had actually happened years earlier, in 1990,
'91 and '92. Perhaps Hedges wrote the article in the
early 1990s and the Times editors held it back until
the fascists had completed their Western-assigned
tasks: declaring independence and driving out the
Serbs. In the article Hedges fails to mention the
600,000 or so Serbs driven out of Croatia during
the first half of the decade. An oversight.

Most of these people live as destitute refugees in

Take a look at the pictures I've posted below and
then we'll return to Zimmerman and see how he
offers criticisms which whitewash Croatia's
terrorist purge of Serbs and government critics.

This is Ante Pavelic, Ustashi [Fascist-Clerical]
leader of World War II Nazi Croatia shown with
his Fascist flag `

Here is the committee that ruled Croatia at the
time Zimmerman gave his interview. Notice that
the old Ustashi flag is above them, on the left, and
the re-issue is on the right. The men are: General
Josip Boljkovac; General Martin Spegelj, who
made the remark that "[The Serbian city of] Knin
must be butchered...including children in the
cradle;" Stipe Mesic, whom the European
Community imposed on Yugoslavia as its last
President. (Though Mesic was part of Franjo
Tudjman's fascist machine, he has been recycled as
the much hailed "liberal" President of Croatia. His
uncle was SS Officer Marko Mesic) and General
Franjo Tudjman, then President of neo-fascist
Croatia. Tudjman's book 'Wasteland' suggested
that Jews, not the Ustashi, slaughtered the Serbs at
the Jasenovac concentration camp complex.

In 1943 Tito, head of the Yugoslav partisans,
proclaimed an unusual policy: any Croatian
Ustashi (Fascist) officer who came over to the
Partisan side would keep his rank. Seeing that Italy
had crumbled and that their beloved Nazi Germany
was destined to lose, large numbers of Ustashi
made the switch to the Partisans between 1943 and
1945, thus joining the winning side. There is
evidence that Franjo Tudjman forged papers,
making it appear that he had been an anti-fascist
during the war, when in fact he was a fascist, from
a fascist family.

Now back to Zimmerman. [End Jared's comments]

Zimmerman: That is why it is difficult to be overtly critical.
But as you will soon become a universally recognized state, it
seems that the issues of free press, political opposition and
minority rights will come under closer scrutiny than they
have been until now. War can be an excuse for limiting the
freedom of expression, though I personally think it is hard to
find circumstances that would justify such actions. Once the
war is over, that excuse will no longer exist, and it will be
very important for Croatia to re-examine all its standards
against the international and European principles and then
firmly adhere to them. Allow me to mention two examples
where I was disappointed. It seems that a certain number of
Serbs living in Zagreb and Croatia are leaving the city and
the country, including those who have advocated moderate
policies and were not nationalists. They could be a significant
part of Croatian democracy, and if they are leaving due to
intolerance I hope that will soon be overcome. The other case
has already been solved, but I mention it because it was very
important both to me and to Cyrus Vance. It regards the siege
of the barracks, when the families of JNA soldiers were
treated in an unfair manner. But personally, I have full
confidence that the Croatian democracy will grow and
expand. The United States has a very positive opinion about
the current developments.

[Jared comments] So after the fascist regime has
done its job - driven out the Serbs and intimidated
pro-Yugoslav forces - it will have to adopt a
slicker appearance so as to fit the look of European
'democracies.' But as for 1992: "The United States
has a very positive opinion about the current
developments." That says it all. [End Jared's

DANAS: You mentioned Mr. Cyrus Vance. He was a US
Secretary of State, so some claim he is only the extended arm
of Washington right now.

Zimmerman: He is, of course, a representative of the UN
Secretary-General, but also a very respectable American and
a former official of the American government, which I think
all the leaders of the Republics that he had met understand
very well. This does not sound like a bad thing to me.

DANAS: Some sort of dual guarantee?

Zimmerman: I wouldn't use that term, but I would say that
the US government completely supports everything Vance
does on behalf of the UN. The Yugoslav crisis is a great
challenge for the UN. If the peacekeepers come - and we
hope they will - that would be the largest endeavor the UN
have ever undertaken. I don't even have to mention the
challenges and complexities they will face. Let us hope this
endeavor will be successful, but in order for that to happen,
all sides must honor their obligations.


(1) The invasion of Serbian Krajina by Greg Elich at

(2) Kosovo Before 1989 - What Really Happened? at

(3) 1980's news stories about Kosovo at

(4) The 'NY Times' article on Croatia is posted after the
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The following from the 'N.Y. Times' is a pretty
accurate report on Croatia - just published 7
years late.

"Fascists Reborn as Croatia's Founding Fathers

The old fascist marching songs were sung, a moment of
silence was observed for all who died defending the
fatherland, and the gathering was reminded that today was
the 57th anniversary of the founding of Croatia's Nazi-allied
wartime government. Then came the most chilling words of
the afternoon.

"For Home!" shouted Anto Dapic, surrounded by bodyguards
in black suits and crew cuts.

"Ready!" responded the crowd of 500 supporters, their arms
rising in a stiff Nazi salute.

The call and response -- the Croatian equivalent of "Sieg!"
"Heil!" -- was the wartime greeting used by supporters of the
fascist Independent State of Croatia, which governed the
country for most the Second World War and murdered
hundreds of thousands of Jews, Serbs and Croatian resistance

Today, in the final day of campaigning before local elections
on Sunday, supporters of Croatia's Party of Rights used the
chant as a rallying cry. But the shouts of the black-shirted
young men -- and the indifferent reactions of passersby --
illustrated a broader aspect of this country's self-image.

President Franjo Tudjman and his Croatian Democratic
Union party rose to popularity and power on the strength of
its appeals to Croatians' national pride. Now, six years after
the war that won Croatia its independence from Yugoslavia,
Mr. Tudjman's party continues to cast the World War II
fascist fighters as patriots and precursors of the modern
Croatian state.

The Party of Rights took only 7 percent of the vote in the last
election, but it is the closest ally of Mr. Tudjman, who is
reported to be suffering from cancer but who has still
campaigned actively.

Perhaps no other country has failed as openly as Croatia to
come to terms with its fascist legacy. While the French
celebrate a resistance movement that was often dwarfed by
the widespread collaboration with the Vichy regime, and
while the Austrians often act as if the war never happened,
the Croats have rehabilitated the Croatian fascist
collaborators, known as the Ustashe.

The Ustashe was led by Ante Pavelic, the wartime dictator
whose picture was plastered on walls in Split in preparation
for the rally.

"A majority of the Croats oppose this rehabilitation," said
Viktor Ivancic, editor in chief of the opposition weekly, The
Feral Tribune. "But they are afraid. These neo-fascist groups,
protected by the state, are ready to employ violence against
their critics."

Ustashe veterans receive larger pensions than old Partisan
fighters, who waged a savage fight against the German and
Croatian fascist armies. Former Ustashe soldiers are invited
to state celebrations, like the annual army day, while Partisan
fighters are ignored. And state authorities have stood by as
pro-Ustashe groups have dismantled or destroyed 2,964 of
4,073 monuments to those who died in the resistance struggle,
according to veteran Partisan groups.

The identification with the quisling regime does not stop
there. The Croatian currency is the kuna, the same instituted
by the fascists. And the red and white checkerboard on the
flag, taken from medieval Croatian emblems, previously
adorned the Ustashe uniform. The President recently
proposed bringing Mr. Pavelic's remains from Spain, where
he died in exile in 1959, for burial in Croatia, a move rejected
by Mr. Pavelic's family. And Vinko Nikolic, an 85-year-old
former high-ranking Ustashe official who fled into exile after
the war, was appointed by the President to the Croatian

The transformation is all the more noticeable because of
widespread participation by many Croats in the Partisan
guerrilla movement led by Josip Broz Tito, himself a Croat.

"A huge number of Croats fought the Nazis and the
Ustashe," said 77-year-Partisan veteran Milivoj Borosa, who
defected in his bomber in 1942 from the Ustashe air force and
dropped his payload on a German unit during his escape to
the Soviet Union. "But today, those who should hold their
heads in shame, are national heroes."

The Partisans, who included among their ranks the young
Franjo Tudjman, committed what today is viewed as an
unforgivable sin. They built a united, Communist Yugoslavia.
And while the Ustashe state may have been a Nazi puppet, it
had as its stated aim the establishment of an independent
Croatia, although it was forced by the Axis to turn over large
parts of Croatia, including much of the Dalmatian coast, to
the Italians.

In the current campaign, President Tudjman sought to
reconcile the country's wartime divisions by arguing that the
fascist and anti-fascist Croatians performed equally valuable
service for their country. A general who became a historian
after leaving the Yugoslav Army, Mr. Tudjman is among the
leaders of a revisionist school of history that has sought to
counterbalance the Communists' relentlessly dark view of the
fascist years.

But many Croats, especially those who had relatives killed by
the fascists, smolder with indignation over the glorification of
a regime that massacred opponents with a ferocity that often
shocked its Italian and German allies.

"You cannot reconcile victims and butchers," said Ognjen
Kraus, the head of Zagreb's small Jewish community. "No
one has the right to carry out a reconciliation in the name of
those who vanished."

The climate has become so charged that those who oppose the
rehabilitation of the Ustashe do not dare raise their voices.
And there have been several attacks carried out against
members of the Social Democratic Party, the old Communist
party, currently fielding candidates for the municipal
elections. Many of the black-uniformed bodyguards at the
rally here fought against the Serbs as members of The
Croatian Liberation Forces, a brutal right-wing paramilitary
unit formed by the party.

The Ustashe supporters also have a powerful ally in the
Catholic Church in Croatia. The church, led during the war
by Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac, was a prominent backer of
the Ustashe regime. It forcibly converted tens of thousands of
Orthodox Serbs and did not denounce the government's
roundup and massacre of Jews and Serbs.

During the war, Jews and Orthodox Serbs were subject to
racial laws. The Serbs had to wear blue arm bands with the
letter "P" for "Pravoslav" -- Orthodox -- before being
deported to death camps like Jasenovac.

After the war, many priests, rather than condemn the
brutality of the fascist regime, went on to set up an
underground network know as "the rat line" to smuggle
former Ustashe leaders, including Mr. Pavelic, to countries
like Argentina.

The church, persecuted by the Communists, has now
re-emerged as one of the most powerful institutions in the
country, in large part because religion is the only tangible
difference separating Serbs, Muslims and Croats. Several
priests have enthusiastically joined the rehabilitation
campaign, portraying Mr. Pavelic as a pious leader who
championed Christian values.

"Ante Pavelic was a good Catholic," said Father Luka Prcela,
who has held a memorial Mass for the former dictator in
Split for the last four years. "He went to mass daily in his
own chapel. Many of the crimes alleged to have been
committed by his Government never happened. These stories
were lies spread by the communists. He fought for a free,
Catholic Croatia. We have this state today because of him."
((c) The New York Times, April 12, 1997)