Rush to judgement in Croatia: UK embassy blast “not terrorism”

When a bomb exploded yesterday at the British embassy in Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, causing minor injuries to a security guard, Prime Minister Ivo Sanader suggested it might be linked to Croatia’s application to join the European Union. Britain is the current president of the EU, and one of several member states that has opposed Croatia’s membership until it arrests its main war crimes fugitive, Gen. Ante Gotovina. (Reuters, Sept. 19) Croatian President Stipe Mesic condemned the incident as a “terrorist attack.” But when an embassy employee, Damir Rovisan, was arrested today for smuggling in the device, Interior Minister Ivica Kirin said: “This indicates that this is not a terrorist act against the British embassy, but an act of an individual coming from criminal circles.” Yet he admitted that no motive had been established for the bombing. (BBC, Sept. 20)

Since no motive has been established, why has terrorism been ruled out? It seems to us the Croatian leadership is playing a cynical propaganda game: they want to join the EU, but also want to protect their right flank which is intransigent over war crimes committed in 1990’s and openly nostalgic for the Ustahse—the fascist party that ruled Nazi-allied Croatia in World War II. Terrorism was a favorite tactic of the Ustashe in its struggle for Croatian independence from the “first Yugoslavia” (1919-41): a Ustashe militant assassinated Yugoslavia’s King Alexander in 1934. Since Croatian independence in 1991, the Ustashe has been rehabilitated, as Chris Hedges of the New York Times noted in a terrifying April 12, 1997 article, “Fascists Reborn as Croatia’s Founding Fathers.”

See our last posts on the simmering Balkan crisis and European neo-fascism.

  1. Fooled by Ustashe myth
    It seems that the author, like many other journalist (especially from Western media) has been fooled by the myth of the ever-lasting Ustashe legacy. Obviously the author knows very little about the past and current political situation within Croatia. Mr Weinberg in all probability simply ‘Googled’ Croatia or the Ustashe and came up with the senseless Croat-bashing rhetoric that often comes up. As for that ‘terrifying April 12, 1997 article, “Fascists Reborn as Croatia’s Founding Fathers

  2. Senseless
    You’re making no sense here and you’re obviously completely misinformed. The embassy employee who smuggled the bomb was carrying that bomb with him as a protection against criminals that he was about to testify against. He activated it unpurposely. The whole affair is about common criminals and not politics of any kind.

    The real question is how you can smuggle a bomb inside a British embassy. Which is an utter disgrace for that embassy’s security and for that country. Because British embassy is British territory.
    But a British shame doesn’t seem to be interesting to you. For you it’s all about Croatians this, Croatians that.

    Boring and senseless.

    1. Ante Gotovina?
      Are you the Ante Gotovina? You know, Carla de Ponte is looking for you. She says you are being protected in one of Croatia’s Franciscan monastaries, and protests the “wall of silence and absolute lack of cooperation

      1. Where in the World is Ante Gotovina?
        Carla de Ponte can really talk. She has said that Ante Gotovina has been hiding anywhere from Italy, Ireland and even the Vatican City to Canada, just to name a few places. Now, I am all for the ICTY, but de Ponte is making a joke out of the Tribunal with her antics regarding Gotovina. She has no idea where Gotovina is. If British MI6 could not locate him in Croatia then how can she? If UN and EU peace keeping forces in Bosnia (Republika Srbska) could not locate the likes of Karadzic and Mladic, then the ICTY has little chance. Ever since her appointment, de Ponte has been nothing short of a failure. I’m sure you would agree with me that the ICTY needs to appoint someone who will make things happen, who will make progress in the name of justice and at the same time will not let his or her personal ambitions lead them astray.

        1. The principal obstacle…
          …to “making things happen” would appear to be those in Croatia and the Serb Republic who continue to shelter scum like Gotovina, Karadzic and Mladic.

          1. Gotovina is scum? Your opinion or something you heard???
            I agree with you to a point. Karadzic and Mladic are perhaps the worst scum the earth has ever seen. Yet, for you to classify Ante Gotovina in the same category as those two I would have to assume that you really do believe it or you take what Carla de Ponte says as gospel. Either way, I recommend you read the indictments made against these two pigs and then read Gotovina’s. The difference will astound you. Moreover, the two main indictments against Gotovina don’t stick. Firstly, he is accused of forcing the Serb population (Serbs who had forced the Croat population to flee years before that) to flee. However, that order was given by Milosevic via Mladic. There are documents that the ICTY are aware of that confirm this. Secondly, if you can honestly beleive in such a thing as “command responsibility” then you should be obviously campaigning to have almost every general that has commanded in war to some sort of tribunal. Now, I don’t see that happening any time soon. Do you?

            1. Oy gevalt, please spare me
              Oh, I get it. Karadzic and Mladic are scum because they forced hundreds of thousands of Croats and Muslims to flee their homes, but Gotovina gets a pass for doing the same thing to hundreds of thousands of Serbs (in Operation Storm). You know, not too long ago I was mercilessly baited as a Croatian sympathizer for daring to suggest that the Srebrenica massacre really happened. And now I get this shit? I just can’t win around here!

              1. This is not a race to be winner!
                We all know that Srebrenica happened (as for you being connected with being a Croatian sympathizer because of this does not seem valid). And yes, many thousands of ethnic Serbs left the Serb held ‘Krajina’ during the time of Operation Storm . These things did happen. No suggestion is being made that you are anti-Croatian. Rather, you seem unfamiliar with important facts that are relevent to the issue of the Gotovina indictment. So, no need to play the pity card. It is a dramatically flawed indictment. 2-3113-1/95 is the register number of the public notice given to the Serbs of ‘Krajina’ by Mr. Mile Martic, the then so called ‘president of the (illegal) Republic of Krajina’ and thus shows that forces under Gotovina’s command could not have forced the Serb exodus. I would like to refer you to http://www.veritas.org.yu/publikacije/Oluja/Tekstovi/3.htm where at the bottom of the page to notice can be read in its origin Cyrillic text. Ms Carla del Ponte has been given this information along with other documentation and even video tapes showing the orderly evacuation of Serbs civilians on their own will. Also, before the operation the late President of the Republic of Croatia, Dr. Franjo Tujdman, went on public radio telling the Serb civilians of the impending operation and that they should remain indoors. Do I need go further or can you know see that the indictment against Ante Gotovina is significantly flawed? I have no intention of berating you. I only seek to inform.

                1. The mind boggles
                  A minimum of 200,000 Serbs all decided to leave the Krajina simultaneously of their “own will”—coincidentally at the precise moment that Gotovina invaded.

                  “These things happen.”

                  What is so utterly demoralizing about the whole post-Yugo mess is that even now, 10 years later, someone’s opinion on the right and wrong of Operation Storm or Operation Horseshoe or Srebrenica can be determined with almost perfect accuracy on the basis of the opinion-holder’s ethnicity. The majority of Croatians still seem to support Gotovina, and the majority of Bosnian Serbs still seem to support Karadzic and Mladic.

                  Look, I’m an American Jew and I have no problem saying Bush and Sharon are war criminals who belong in a cellblock at The Hague. See, its not that difficult. Why don’t you guys just get over it already?

                  1. …on and on
                    You assume that I am a Croat because I believe Gotovina is innocent of some the the crimes he has been charged with. I’m an Australian. And an atheist one if religion really one must know. Thus, to presume that I base my thoughts on my religion or nationality is what is demoralising.

                    I don’t believe in simply accepting whatever is thrown my way. I also do not believe in scapegoats. This is why the Gotovina issue is not something that you just “get over”.

                    I also have already stated why there was a mass exodus of Serbs from the Krajina at the time of Operation Storm. They left on their own will at the behest of their own leadership. Read my previous comment again please. And if it does not make sense, I will be happy to clarify it for you.

                    1. Too funny
                      The Chetniks and their apologists around here never get tired of arguing that the residents of Sarajevo happily blew themselves up just to make the poor innocent Serbs look bad. And of course the dead at Srebrenica were really killed in combat, and the numbers are vastly inflated, they helpfully inform us. And now you ask us to believe that the Krajina Serbs all left of their own free will.

                      You have already “clarified” that your own commitment to historical truth is no greater than that of your Chetnik rivals, thank you very much.

                    2. Your all over the gaff
                      Your opinions on this issue are dangerous. You seem to pick and choose what you wish to believe naively. And when someone tries to show new light, your pride (and perhaps another factor that I will not mention) gets in the way. You are too scared to be corrected, as that would make you wrong. And your never wrong, are you?

                      History is written by the ultimate victors. Within these wars in the former communist Yugoslavia there is no ultimate victor. Thus, the outsiders (western governments mainly) have sought to put the blame on everyone involved. And they have tried ever so hard to make ‘all side equal’ in this guilt. Ante Gotovina is one of those being persecuted by the international community (whose meagre attempt to resolve the wars was more a slap in the face to the victims than anything else) so that it may seem that the ICTY is being equal in its quest to find those guilty. Unfortunately, there is no equal guilt. Anyone who was there would know that.

                      Thank you very much for your time.

                    3. “Gaff”? Huh?
                      Let’s see, did I ever say “all sides were equally guilty”? No, I never said that. But since you can’t win the argument on the merits, better to invent strawmen and resort to insults, eh? By the way, didn’t they teach you the difference between “your” and “you’re” in grade school?