|Distributed by CroatianWorld
Mr. Gallagher“s Commentary - www.antegotovina.com
The Big Story
In 1995, a documentary was screened in the UK regarding Croatia`s Operation Storm. The
documentary had an anti-Croat bias, and detailed American assistance to Croatia in a
disapproving manner. Amongst many pieces of information, a former deputy commander of the
US army in Europe informed us that Croatia would not have taken its actions without "explicit"
approval from the United States. It was also alleged that a meeting was held on Brioni island
between a Croatian General and a representative of Military Professional Resources Incorporated
to discuss MPRI`s role in the upcoming Operation Storm as well as confirmation from General
Martin Spegelj of US involvement. Further, the bias of the documentary raises questions about
why the UN were portrayed in a sympathetic light, despite their known pro-Serb stance.
The Croatian World Congress (CWC), a UN affiliated NGO, recently submitted a p! aper to the
Carla Del Ponte - the Hague Prosecutor - and the UN, outlining much evidence from the media
about US support for Operation Storm. The CWC thesis is that if General Gotovina is guilty of
ethnic cleansing, then so is the United States. The CWC pointed out that it believed that neither
the United States nor General Gotovina or indeed Croatia itself was guilty of any such crime.
The document is comprehensive. However, I was surprised that there was no mention of the UK
documentary "Secret Warriors", part of the then documentary series "The Big Story" which was
screened in 1995. Fortunately, I have a video copy of this documentary. Viewing it, it was clear
that there is much evidence here of US military and intelligence assistance to Croatia that appears
to have been overlooked.
The documentary begins by detailing American spy plane activity. It relates how Americans
appeared on Brac in November 1994, guarded by plain clothes Croat policemen. A tourist hotel
was specially opened for them. A daily routine was described of the Americans travelling to the
local airstrip. GNAT 750 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) flew from the strip. David Fulghum of
Aviation Week, considered this to have been a "Tier 1" CIA observation programme.
A former US Marine Colonel, Lt.Col. Roger Charles, who had a military intelligence role in the
Pentagon co-ordinating the US UAV programme, also gave his opinions on the matter. He stated
that given the Croatian involvement in helping the American team on Brac, there could be no
doubt that the Croats were receiving intelligence themselves from the UAV programme. Such
intelligence would be vital to the Croatian military.
Former Croatian Defence minister Martin Spegelj also took part. He sated that he could almost
guarantee that such information was made available to the Croatians and Bosnians, which, with
their own information was used for Operations Lightning and Storm.
The documentary then turned its attention to the role played by Military Professional Resources
Incorporated (MPRI), the private US company which provides top level military advice to clients
by retired elite US military personnel.
MPRI apparently were based in a building in the Croatian Military Academy in Zagreb. The Big
Story team were shown around the academy. That MPRI`s activities were in line with US policy
was shown when the Big Story asked the Colonel guiding them about the MPRI area. The Colonel
- secretly filmed - informed then that they could not be allowed into the building because "it
would have to be cleared by Ministers Susak and Perry". Perry being the US Secretary of Defence
at the time.
The Big Story also claimed that top MPRI representative, Carl Vuono, a former US Army Chief of
Staff, met with General Zvonimir Cervenko, - described as the architect of the Croat offensive - on
the island of Brioni a few weeks before Operation Storm. It was alleged that the purpose of the
meeting was to see how MPRI could support Operation Storm. The source of the meeting
information was, apparently, from within the Zagreb academy, which seems curious.
The importance of American involvement was underlined by two of the documentary`s
participants. Martin Spegelj stated that MPRI assistance to Croatia was "fundamental to
everything". Extremely significant, were the words of General Charles Boyd, former Deputy
Commander US Army Europe 1992-95. He clearly stated that the Croatian offensives could not
have taken part without the "explicit" approval of the US Government.
The documentary did not mention General Gotovina at all, which is a bit odd given the Hague
prosecutor`s apparent belief of his masterminding - with "others" - all the crimes he is charged
Regardless of the anti-Croat tone of the documentary, all the above does confirm that Operation
Storm was effectively a joint operation with the United States, who gave it the nod. If the
Operation Storm was used as an ethnic cleansing exercise, than logically the US was directly
involved. Such an allegation is absurd of course. It is very well known that the Serb leaders
organised the evacuation of their own people in order to shore up the Serb position in Kosovo and
Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Hague tribunal is very well aware of this - the prosecutor mentioned
the plan in the opening of the Milosevic trial.
Something must be said about the tone of the documentary, which was highly anti-Croat. Crimes
against Serbs - which indeed are to condemned - were detailed. The United Nations peacekeepers
were regarded as impartial, kindly people. There was no mention of the fact that one third of
Croatia was occupied. No mention of the ethnic cleansing of over 200,000 Croats or the slaughter
of up to 20,000 of them that Serbian forces had committed. Nothing of how the Serb leadership
organised the evacuation of their own people.
There was certainly no mention of the UN`s mandate of returning refugees, of re-integrating
territory or of disarming military forces. This was no doubt due to the fact that the UN failed to
carry out its mission.
Remaining Croats continued to be ethnically cleansed and murdered under the UN`s nose. Indeed,
the UN allowed the `Krajina` Serbs to bombard Croatian cities and even to invade Bosnia to
attack Bihac - itself supposedly UN protected.
All this contrasts somewhat with the picture of the UN portrayed in The Big Story. If The Big
Story considered the US to have been involved in a `massacre`, then surely it must also consider
the UN complicit in mass murder and ethnic cleansing on far greater scale then the US? Perhaps
they missed the real Big Story.
By its use of selective facts, the programme - broadcast on a station that has a public service remit
- failed to inform its viewers of the full context of events, and thus why Operation Storm took
place. No doubt because the viewers would have sympathetic to the US actions. One also
wonders whether the Croats who gave of their time to the documentary were told it was going to
be hostile to Operation Storm.
The timing of the documentary was also curious - during the Dayton talks. Dayton was an
American affair. No doubt this chafed with many in the UN and indeed London and Paris. Their
policy was effectively to legitimise Serb gains; foiled by the Americans. One wonders who it was
who tipped off the The Big Story about US involvement, and what their interest was.
The biased tone of the documentary was demonstrated by its last words, uttered by someone
called Jeffrey Laurenti, of the United Nations Association. Of the Croats he said, "Americans now
cannot restrain them. They`ve created a little monster, and these guys are ready and raring to
go". The fact that Croatian Army has not been in action since those words were spoken
demonstrate clearly the mentality of this documentary.
Whatever the motives of the documentary, it does provide evidence of the US involvement in
Operation Storm, further demonstrating the Gotovina indictment to be a disguised attack against
the United States, as well as being supportive of the UN position - and thus effectively being in
the interest of those that wanted a Greater Serbia.
(C) Brian Gallagher