Tribute to Frank McCloskey
By Jerry Blaskovich M.D.
While the sentiments expressed by George Rudman
[Croatian American Association’s press release (5 November 2003)], on the
death of Frank McCloskey is shared by all right thinking Croatian
Americans, Croatians in Croatia owe McCloskey a special debt and gratitude. In
the context of the time when McCloskey became an activist for the victims
of genocide in Croatia, there was not a friendly advocate in the governments of the United States, Britain, and France for Croatia‘s fledging democracy.
It was the time when the Yugoslav Army and its surrogate paramilitary
Chetnik forces were running rampant in Croatia. The Western governments
remained silent to the horrific methods used in this one sided conflict.
McCloskey was the only public official who articulated that the
Serbs/Yugoslavs were committing horrendous crimes. The only other
person of political prominence who came out publicly about the Serbs‘
dastardly deeds was Margaret Thatcher. But she was out of office.
Most significantly, it was a time when the governments of Britain, France
and the United States were giving tacit approval and moral support to
Yugoslavia‘s actions in Croatia. The United States’ position was lead in
part by the greed of Lawrence Eagleburger, Brent Scowcroft and Henry
Kissinger. The world media followed the easiest path and disingenuously
whatever was being put out by the Serbian propaganda machine. It was also a
time when organized Croatian American organizations, except for the CAA,
stood back and waited until the Croatia was officially recognized as an
Before CAA brought him into the conflict Frank McCloskey had no connection
to Croats. He had simply had a personal look at the conflict and had the
personal courage to express outrage about what he saw with his own eyes. His
reaction would have been the same if he had seen the same bloody murder
anywhere. He had that kind of decency.
In several of my published Op-Ed pieces and book, “Anatomy of Deceit”, I
touched upon McCloskey’s activities. The excerpts will provide an all too
brief flavor to his humanism.
Anatomy of Deceit (Dunhill Publishing; New York ISBN
.. . .
The Vocin massacre, forensically, is the most extensively documented war
atrocity of the conflict. United States Congressman McCloskey and Pat
Mackley had been on a fact finding mission in the vicinity when they
received reports about what had taken place in Vocin. Mackley immediately
made arrangements to take them to the site. While the bodies were still
warm, they were among the first to arrive on the scene.
. . .
After witnessing the ghastly aftermath of the slaughter, Mackley made
arrangements to schedule a news conference for the next morning. Unable to
sleep because of what he had witnessed, McCloskey woke Mackley after
midnight. As the Washington Post reported, he told Mackley he was so shaken
up he didn't wish to speak to the media. This just wasn't an issue he wanted
to be involved in. Mackley said, "okay" and went back to sleep only to be
awakened three more times by the distraught McCloskey. He said, "I don't want to talk about it, but I just can't get those faces out of my mind," recalls Mackley. "I watched him
wrestle with the politics of it all that night. Ultimately, he decided he didn't
care what the political implications were for him or anybody.
His sense of humanity took over." Interestingly, Mark Dalmish, the CNN reporter in Zagreb refused to attend McCloskey’s press conference because he didn’t want to
give the Congressman a “soapbox.” As a result of his Vocin experience, Congressman
McCloskey became the first person in American government circles to articulate
the situation in former Yugoslavia objectively. Although a Democrat, he became
the voice of conscience in Congress where his humanistic stance
embarrassed the liberal wing of his party and finally stirred it into action.
. . . McCloskey’s moral stand may have been the trigger mechanism that
caused President Clinton to violate the U.N. arms embargo to former Yugoslavia.
. . .
Witnesses [to the Vocin massacre] were questioned,along with several
captured Serb soldiers who had been in Vocin during the slaughter.
Congressman McCloskey was present at the interrogation of the soldiers.
Aside from giving details about the slaughter, the Serb soldiers admitted to
being members of Vojislav Seselj’s infamous "White Eagles" and that they had
been acting under direct orders from Belgrade.
.. . . despite McCloskey presence and trustworthy
documentation furnished by European Community monitors and Helsinki Watch, some
media accounts implied the massacre never happened; or that it was an act of
disinformation planted by the Croats.
.. . . A little over year after the horrific events at
Vukovar and Vocin took place, Dr. Snow, testifying before the House Foreign
Relations Committee about the atrocities, brought tears to the usually
jaded Washington audience. Congress members and the State Department
reacted to his shocking testimony as if was a new revelation. Although these
bodies long ago had detailed information about atrocities, this was the
first time they publicly noticed. Apparently Under Secretary of State Lawrence
Eagleburger had completely forgotten that immediately upon Congressman
McCloskey’s return to Washington from Vocin, McCloskey went directly to
Eagleburger and briefed him in great detail. Since then atrocities continued
unabated despite a number of congressional fact finding teams who had
been on the ground and gave unbiased reports and verification. Although the
reports were public record, the media didn’t consider them newsworthy enough to print.
The Croatian Voice
Published July 29, 1993
To Be or Not to be in Bosnia
By Dr. Jerry Blaskovich
The surviving victims of Bosnia-Herzegovina received a
false glimmer of hope after President Bill Clinton announced he would use
air power and lift the arms embargo. This hope faded when Cyrus Vance's
protégé, Secretary of State Warren Christopher's unpersuasive arguments
failed to sway the allies. How could Christopher be credible when he downgraded
the Serbian aggression as merely 'misbehaving'?
`. . . `It would be comforting to think Clinton's
decision was based upon
his disgust with the UN inertia, European and Muslim
and his moral outrage.
Or was Clinton moved by the embarrassment generated
within the liberal wing of his own Democratic Party, led by Congress when
Frank McCloskey saw the atrocities committed by the Serbs in both Croatia and
Bosnia? It is noteworthy to point out that Congressman McCloskey has
not receive one cent in campaign contributions from anyone involved in the
conflict and has no expatriate Yugoslavs in his congressional district.
He is led by conscience--not politics. Would that be that leaders
of all nations be so led.
Long Beach Press-Telegram July 31, 1994
No Surprises in Bosnia
When will we learn?
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times,
I’m the fool. That epitomizes our diplomatic fiascoes with the Serbs.
It will be interesting to see how the leader of a liberal wing of the
Democratic Party reacts. Congressman Frank McCloskey
was the first person in our government to articulate the situation in
former Yugoslavia objectively. He is aware, despite the smoke and
mirrors, that everything is still being orchestrated from Belgrade.
Frank! Rest in Peace
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