Andrija Hebrang


The Marketing of the Communist Dogma


The Ustasha karma has been following Croats since World War Two as

testimony to the failed project of the Independent State of

Croatia, which was accompanied by crimes, the loss of state

territory, a non-democratic structure, and which met the end of the

war on the side of the defeated, as well as by political

fabrications about the Ustasha orientation of honourable Croats,

once political adversaries, but today of even patriots and the

entire people. Communist ideologists have systematically spread

the lie that the past (the Ustasha) lives in the present, all in an

attempt to impose the Serbian policy as the dominating and only

"pure" one which does not bear signs of cooperation with the

fascists. In doing so, cunningly veiled was the fact about Milan

Nedic's Serbia, the Chetniks, about the fact that it was the Serbs

and not the Croats who set up the first concentration camp (Bileca)

and that it was Serbian communist ideologists who after the war

spearheaded the killing of Croats near Bleiburg and on the Way of

the Cross (according to estimates 250,000 people were killed,

"Croatian General Lexicon", 1996), abroad and in Croatian


The Croats' Ustasha orientation was proved through the example of

symbols (in the 1980s a box of matches bearing the capital 'U' was

withdrawn) and Croatian words, the Ustasha orientation was equated

with patriotism which was called nationalism and led to patriots

being treated as political criminals. All that was and is part of a

political marketing which was supported by communist ideologists

and their supporters, the public media and institutions which thus

forced Croats to lose their dignity, freedom, vision and the desire

to progress through the clash of ideas, programmes, and projects.

This is how the Croatian silence was born.

The Communist Party invested a lot of money in that project,

educating generations of diplomats, politicians and businessmen,

university professors and journalists who are still in vogue.

Yugoslav secret services spread the stench of the Ustasha

orientation among Croatian emigrants, setting up companies abroad

which promoted communist ideas and financed dirty games. Today it

is easy to find allies in Europe among so-called left-wing parties

and individuals, especially among journalists, who attack only

fascism and never or rarely communism. This gave birth to a

historical paradox in which the media attack National Socialism

(Nazism) more than communism, although the black statistics

recorded almost 100 million victims of communism and approximately

25 million of fascism. Of course, the media and other creators of

public opinion should fight both evils by turning historical facts

into knowledge and not use asymmetrical reporting to meet the

political goals of certain centres of power. Let's not forget that

some 100 world statesmen came to the funeral of Josip Broz, a

President who had been elected non-democratically and whose hands

were blood-stained, but only one to the funeral of the

democratically elected Franjo Tudjman!

This world-wide media manipulation did not miss Croatia. It is

estimated that among Croatian journalists, the creators of public

opinion, in the early 1990s there were 150 agents working for

Yugoslav and other secret services. The domestic print media

reported that the president of the Croatian Journalists' Society

had been a German secret service agent on two occasions, and that

the chief authors in the weeklies "Globus" and "Nacional" were or

are domestic or foreign secret agents. And this passes without


This kind of asymmetrical reporting has resulted in the fact that

Croats even today bear the burden of a defeated past, while Serbs,

with assistance from the international community, are building a

brighter future even though they lost the war (1990-1998).

Is it all really like this, or are these wrong estimates, blurred

facts and bad experience? Be patient, read the story by Swedish

diplomat Erik Pierre. It might be inspiring.



London was hoping for a Serbian domination of the Balkans

By Erik Pierre,  Svenska Dagbladet,  12/2 2002

A comprehensive account of the British policy in Bosnia points out that, the Major government regarded Serbia as the key to stability in the Balkans.  It could well explain its reluctance to stem the Serbs' advance.

1. The Balkans are too difficult a parish to administer,  and the only ones who can maintain order  in the region are the Serbs.  One should therefore make sure that their ability to do so  is not thwarted.  I heard that British position  during my stint in Bosnia,  directly from senior diplomats and officers,  as well as from other colleagues  who had come to share  similar opinions.  That was the basic position in Whitehall,  and it was through that filter that the British Balkan policy  was constantly seen during the Major government.  No book has strengthened my impression  to that effect  than Brendan Simms' Unfinest Hour. Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia (Allen Lane,  pp. 461,6903,587112,00.html).  The book also contains a quotation from Sir Reginald Hibbert,  the former British ambassador in Paris [who also fought with the SOE  (Special Operations Executive) in Northern Albania],  who said that it was a general belief in London that within Yugoslavia,  Serbia held the key to stability in the Balkans..

Simms belongs to that group of young academics  whose thorough research had led them to a fundamental ‹ and fully justified ‹  questioning of Britain's policy in Bosnia during the war and afterwards.  One of its representatives and implementers  was David Hannay,  now Lord Hannay,   a former British ambassador to the UN.  In a review for Prospects  He attempted, in no sweet terms,  to shoot down the book,  describing it as a mere compilation of events in order to prove a preconceived thesis.  Of course,  Hannay must feel particularly piqued,  since he deployed  all his brilliance,  arrogance and ingenuity to implement that very policy,  which Simms and many others describe as eminently dubious.  For instance,  Hannay was  responsible for the fact that the UN resolution on "safe areas"  was as toothless as it ultimately was,  something which became known to a wider public with the Srebrenica massacre in the summer of 1995.  Leon Fuerth,  American Vice-president Al Gore 's National Security adviser,  reports that Hannay went to such lengths  as to prevent  the implementation of decisions which Major and President Bill Clinton had taken.  The responsibility lied with the Major government  but Hannay was more than willing to do the job,  in the hope  of reaching  even higher positions.  He became the Brits' candidate for the post which is now held by Javier Solana.

There is something in Hannay's recension which touches a criticism I share. Simms has marshalled an incredible wealth of facts which I did not know  or had all but forgotten.  Sometimes the exposé reads like a long indictment from a public prosecutor.  This needn't be a bad thing a priori.  Nevertheless,  such presentations have a style,  a tone and  an aggressive pattern  which  feel a little out of touch in a book  of this kind.  Simms also lacks at times  an ability to make  his argumentation easy to digest. [says you]

Nevertheless,  what Simms puts forward  is an accumulation of facts,  mixed with razor-sharp analysis,  which is indeed devastating for the Major government.  It shows how indefensible  the British Bosnia policy actually was,  on the basis of material now available,  including some 60 interviews,  particularly with British and American figures  whose names are given.

To the extent that the basic view of the Bosnian conflict mentioned at the start  was correct,  the Major government's policy seems logical to me.  As a consequence,  it became a pressing need  to put forward a list of other reasons,  since  a wide and large public in Great Britain and abroad  did not share that view, de facto a partisan one.  In order to succeed,  it was said,  a military intervention with troops on the ground  would require  at least 500 000 troops;  that is,  double  the entire strength of the British Army.  It was also said that you couldn't bomb yourself to victory ‹ you need forces on the ground,  and that meant too many soldiers.  Just look at what happened to the Germans  during the Second World War;  with their 30 divisions they couldn't manage Yugoslavia.  With the Serbs,  they said,  we had good co-operation during two World Wars.  At the same time,  private commentars were made on the way Muslims and Croats  had teamed up with the Nazis  during the Second World War.  The arms embargo introduced  at the beginning of the conflict  saved lives,  and limited the effects of the war.  When the USA,  after many years,  contended that the embargo should be lifted,  so that the parties could go on fighting on a more equal footing,   the Major government  only treated this as expressing contempt for Britain and France,  who had men on the ground.  At the same time,  it was seen as a cynical play to the gallery.  All those claims  were either half-truths  or deliberate smokescreens  and circular reasonings,  in order to deflect demands  for joint miltary action  against the Bosnian Serb aggressors.

The joint interventions  in the fall of 1995  proved that there was no need for 500 000 troops.  Furthermore,  the operation showed that air strikes co-ordinated with a less heavily armed ground force  could  very well achieve the desired result.   Lifting the arms embargo would certainly have reduced the number of Croats and Bosniaks killed.  And the Unprofor suffered no particularly annoying reaction.  Regarding collaboration with the German powers during the Second World War,  we know that the Germans,  with  the Quisling Serb General  Milan Nedic,  had set up a local police,  a local secret police,   (a Serbian Gestapo),  local security forces  and military units.  (see Philip Cohen,  Serbia's Secret War. Propaganda and Deceit in History  Similarly,  the Allied powers  had complete air superiority,  which goes a long way toward explaining  the troubles of the German Army.  Here at least  a sample of counter-arguments could be mentioned. Simms fulfils this task with markedly more extensive reasoning.  He makes his case most thoroughly and generally succeeds  in showing  how wrong the Major government was in its way of thinking.

The consequences were devastating on co-operation with the USA,  where a good deal of the political Establishment,  down from the Vice-president and the Secretary of State,  fell outside of the circle of serious partners for the Major government. It had catastrophic consequences for cohesion within NATO. The relationship between the Americans and the British had never been so bad  since the days of the Suez crisis in 1956.  We are talking about an extremely strained relationship  during five years.

This problem also had its aftermath in Sweden,  and particularly with Carl Bildt,   who became an accepted member of the circle around John Major  and his Foreign minister Douglas Hurd.  Several of Bildt's aides,  both when Bildt was the EU mediator in the conflict  and when he became High Representative for Bosnia,  were chosen just among the entourage  of those leading British politicians.  This also explains Bildt's increasing difficulties  in finding support  with the American Establishment.  Neither should we lose sight of the Swedish perspective :  Sweden had to join the EU.  That issue trumped almost all other issues.  To oppose in any measure  two prominent EU member states,  on a question which did not directly touch upon the Swedish national interest,  was out of the question.

2. Many,  outside of John Major's circle of sympathizers,  found themselves temporarily sidelined.  The governments in London and Paris were in charge of the agenda  for the Balkan crisis  and the prospects for others influencing it were limited.  For many,  even within  their own ranks,  the self-righteousness of Major,  Hurd and their minions was ultimately too much.  A formula by Margaret Thatcher  is enlightening:  in November 1994,  the Serb side  was on the verge of conquering the Bihac enclave in the Bosnian Krajina,  which also was a safe area according to the Security Council resolution.  The Serb side broke the ban on overflights  and demands were made for NATO to launch air strikes,  which was  completely in line  with the wording of the Security Council resolution,  as the British ambassador  had been defending it.  However,  London managed to maneuver the whole thing  so that the air base at Udbina,  in the Serb-controlled "Krajina" region,   only got its runway partially damaged.  This led Margaret Thatcher to say:

"This is happening in the heart of Europe,  and failure to act effectively has deprived NATO of its credibility.  We must oppose the Serbian aggressors.  This is not an opinion but a fact.  When you execute an air strike,  I have never heard say anything so absurd  as 'we'll only bomb the runway'.  Obviously,  you destroy the whole airfields"

Air strikes in Bihac had also been promised,  but  those were stopped  by General Michael Rose,  chief of the UN forces in Bosnia  in 1994,  probably under orders from London.  He was remotely controlled on an almost daily basis,  through a direct telephone line in the office, by the Director(ess) of the Political Department at the British Foreign Office.

3.  It is no wonder that NATO's then-General Secretary Manfred Wörner said in private the year before (which was released after Wörner was gone):

"What are you up to?  This is nothing else than evading the truth to let the Serbs win,  and you know it.  NATO will get the blame if it happens."

Then-U. S. ambassador to NATO Bob Hunter expressed concern about the way certain groups within NATO  were talking about the success of NATO after the Cold war,  with  its new strategy  to guarantee the security of Europe.

"How can you speak of success while there is a war going on in your own backyard?" "The logic is pretty simple",  Hunter added:  "Nato deals with security in Europe.  There is a war going on in Europa.  NATO didn't put an end to that war.  Therefore,  NATO has failed".

British Field-Marshal  Richard Vincent,   who was then the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee,  advanced similar criticism.

To limit to a certain extent Great Britain's  and France's monopoly on directing the policy,  and more officially  as a follow-up to the EU mediator David Owen's failed Peace Plan,   the Contact Group for the Balkans  was formed in the spring 1994,   with France,  The United States,  Russia,  Great Britain  and Germany  as members.  Italy  also progressively managed to join.

To sum up,  Simms writes  that Great Britain did more  than most.  It simply seized the leadership  at the Security Council,   NATO  and the EU.  The U.N. mission was shifted  not only to helping humanitarian help come through,  but to the unstated ambition  of effectively averting direct military intervention  and preventing the arms  embargo from being lifted,  which actually meant undermining the right of the aggrieved party,  the new state of Bosnia-Hercegovina,  recognized by the United Nations [sic],  to defend itself  ‹ since the aggressor,  Serbia,  which controlled the country's [sic:  actually,  the Former Yugoslavia's] Army and its resources,  supported  the Bosnian Serbs' military operations  materially and financially.  (In the latter case,  the Belgrade  regime kept paying the wages of the Bosnian Serb Army  until late summer 2001.[that is,  for almost a year after the fall of Milosevic ‹ it actually paid only the officers' wages])

4. An important part of the Major Government's policy  was even devoted  to describing the Serbian and Bosnian Serb Armies  as almost  invincible.  When it met with skepticism on the issue, it expressed the opinion that a military intervention could well trigger a Third World War,  with a passing mention of the Sarajevo  fatal shot of 1914.  In that light,  General Rose's and David Owen's obvious tendency  to support Serbian interests  becomes easier to explain.  They were simply under strong direction from Whitehall in London,  largely from the shrewish ["ampra"] Political Director  at the Foreign Office (FCO).  In that connection  it may be noted that,  when the Major Government fell in 1997,  both Douglas Hurd and the Political Director  were recruited by one of the biggest banks in London with the task of trying to heal Serbia's economy under Slobodan Milosevic,  who very quickly got a credit for 20 million pounds.

How could the Major government manipulate the International Community's  policy toward the Balkans for almost five years without serious interference?  Well,  by taking the lead from the start  and setting a normative point of view,  and using various means to undercut those  who had a different opinion.  This was possible  basically because they had Russia and France  on their side,  while  the United States  held a very ambivalent position for a long time,  even if individual figures inside the Clinton Administration  had advocated another policy, certainly with Clinton's approval.  But it wasn't until the Srebrenica massacre  that the U. S.  stood in some way united.  Only then was there  a definite ambition to draw clear lines;  crossing those would mean a military intervention,  and for good.  At the same time,  the chains of command and rules of engagement for air strikes were changed at the UNPROFOR.   When this was presented  behind the scene  at the London Conference in late July 1995,  the Major government couldn't resist.  Douglas Hurd had left the government and the newly-elected President Jacques Chirac contributed to the decision being made.

It is also worth mentioning that General Rose's successor,  the British general Rupert Smith,  understood very early the need for a new strategy in Bosnia-Hercegovina,  and played  a central role  in influencing key people in Washington,  since he had understood that attitudes couldn't quickly be changed in London.  After the market massacre  in August 1995  it was Smith who,  in his temporary capacity as the highest-ranking UNPROFOR military commander,  launched the general bombardment.

(Erik Pierre,  a former Swedish Ambassador in Bosnia,  is now  a writer.)