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(E) The Big Story - AnteGotovina.Com
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  08/5/2002 | Politics | Unrated
(E) The Big Story - AnteGotovina.Com
Distributed by CroatianWorld

Mr. Gallagher“s Commentary - 


The Big Story

Brian Gallagher 

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

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