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Anonymous sender #wingnut #racist #psycho balkaninsight.com

‘Ustasa’ Letter Threatens Croatian Historian with Death

Croatian historian Hrvoje Klasic, who has criticised the rehabilitation of the WWII fascist Ustasa movement in the country, was sent an anonymous death threat signed in the name of the Ustasa.

Historian Hrvoje Klasic received the death threat letter at his office at Zagreb University’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences on Wednesday after making public statements critical of the rehabilitation of the WWII fascist Ustasa movement in Croatian society.

The anonymous sender or senders, who signed the letter ‘Ustasa’, said they regretted that Klasic had not been “liquidated” yet but hoped he would be.

“We will be glad to attend your funeral in HOS [Croatian Defence Forces, a 1990s wartime paramilitary unit] uniforms on which Za dom spremni [“Ready for the Homeland”, a Ustasa slogan] is nicely highlighted,” the letter said.

It concluded with the words: “Death to traitors – freedom to the people.”

Attached to the letter was a newspaper excerpt in which Klasic said he would welcome a decision by the Austrian authorities to ban and sanction the public display of the WWII Ustasa movement’s symbols.

Earlier this year, the Austrian Interior Ministry banned the display of two Ustasa symbols – the letter ‘U’ with a grenade, and the checkerboard coat of arms of the Nazi-backed WWII-era Independent State of Croatia.

These symbols are often seen at the annual Bleiburg commemoration in Austria, which commemorates the killings of Croatian Nazi collaboration troops and civilians at the end of WWII.

Klasic told BIRN that this was not the first such letter he has received, but that it was the most explicit death threat, and that he will report it to the police.

He said that the fact that he received the letter showed there was a real problem in Croatian society.

“This [letter] is perhaps the best answer to the political elite in power about their thesis that the atmosphere [in society] is normal,” Klasic said. Speaking after a spate of recent attacks on Serbs in Croatia, he said that here had been “too many incidents” in which “those who are different” have been targeted.

“If someone who is named Hrvoje, who is from a 100 per cent Croatian family, who was a volunteer in the ‘Homeland War’ in 1991 and who, as a doctor of historical sciences, speaks publicly about the things that he deals with scientifically [and is threatened for it]… then really, how it is for the people who belong to the ‘wrong groups’?” he asked.


{Submitter’s note: a photo of the letter can be seen in the article linked above. EDIT: A translation of the letter by Vman follows, relaying the approximate style and poor grammar of the original text. Translator’s notes and in-line explanations are given in italics and brackets.}

You [Hrvoje Klasić] participated in [the Croatian daily paper] Večernji List’s poll (on 17.8.19) on the topic of good news this year. For us Ustashe who follow events the best thing that happened was your getting snuffed which meant one traitor less. Unfortunately, our cheer didn’t last long because it turned out that the news was fake. We hope that next time it won’t be. We will gladly come to your funeral in HOS uniforms on which ZA DOM SPREMNI [“Ready for the Homeland”] is nicely highlighted.

For the traitor Klasić, Austria’s decision and especially the award given at the Pula film festival to [film director] Dana Budisavljević for the forgery about [her relative, Holocaust-era hero] Diana Budisavljević are “good news”. Well, you traitorous/Chetnik* piece of shit, facts mean nothing to you. Didn’t [Holocaust revisionist] journalist Igor Vukić and historian Nikica Barić independently reach the same conclusion based on historical facts - that the one who deserves the most credit for the saving of the Kozara children** was [Ustasha dictator and Croatia’s equivalent of Hitler] Ante Pavelić. Had he not allowed and organized aid Diana Budisavljević couldve done fuck all. As both authors concluded, the main culprits for the suffering of those children were the Chetnik and Partisan brigands who rebelled against the state. Once they got their asses kicked, they abandoned the children leaving them in the care of the Croatian state, you motherfucker.

* {the Chetniks were a Serb and Montenegrin ultranationalist militia during WW2 which ended up collaborating with the Axis forces and committing a lot of atrocities.}

** {’Kozara children’ refers to the children of Serb civilians captured during the Axis’s Kozara offensive against the pro-communist Partisans. Many of them were selected for forced labor in Nazi Germany, and once the parents were shipped off, the Ustashe basically left their children to slowly die in horrid and unsanitary conditions. A woman named Diana Budisavljević, together with some sympathetic officials and Catholic Church people, launched an operation to pressure the Ustashe authorities and save the children through adoption into ‘proper Catholic Croat’ families, which was largely successful.}

And regarding ZA DOM SPREMNI itll remain and outlive you, and the Chetniks and the fucking antifascists. You bite your own balls out of frustration when you see how many people, especially young ones, come to the concerts of [neo-Ustashe singer] Marko Perković Thompson and greet him with ZA DOM. We would recommend you read the “Ustashe” media and news portals and not just [Croatian Serb politician Milorad] Pupovac’s Chetnik [newspaper] Novosti. On the “Ustashe” portals, the famous lawyer Zvonimir Hodak writes opinion pieces in which he often mentions you alongside other fifth-columners like [Croatian historians] Goldstein, Jakovina, Markovina… and you refuse to react.

You are a “respectable” historian in your dear Chetnik Serbia, you are always welcome there. Here in Croatia you are a mere activist as excelently noted by historian Mario Jareb.

The USTASHE greet you with ZA DOM SPREMNI

DEATH TO TRAITORS - FREEDOM TO THE PEOPLE***

*** {This is a corruption of the Partisan slogan “Death to fascism - freedom to the people!”}

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Kosovo Islamic Community #fundie balkaninsight.com

Kosovo Imam Dismissed for Backing Theory of Evolution

The Kosovo Islamic Community has dismissed an imam for “contradicting Islamic principles” and “spreading falsehoods” after he said he accepted that Darwin’s theory of evolution is correct.

Drilon Gashi, a young and unconventional cleric who served for two years as imam at the mosque in the village of Vitomirica in Kosovo’s Peja/Pec municipality, said on Thursday that he has been dismissed by the Kosovo Islamic Community after he said he believed the theory of evolution developed by Charles Darwin.

In October 2018, Gashi told a Pristina-based television station that “the theory of evolution is the only contemporary theory that has managed to withstand the tempests of the times. So the arguments show that evolution is a fact.”

Gashi’s statement caused him to be suspended five months ago and now sacked.

“It has been proved that with his statement he contradicts Islamic doctrine and postulates that are based on the Koran and the Sunnah [the way of the prophet],” said the Islamic Community’s decision, which was made public by Gashi himself.

“By declaring evolution [to be a fact] without giving any single piece of proof… and by his statements that contradict Islamic principles, [Gashi] has caused dissatisfaction among colleagues and all over Kosovo as well as to Muslims by spreading falsehoods, and he has violated the interests of the Islamic Community in Kosovo,” added the decision, which was signed by the head of the Islamic Community, Naim Ternava.

Commenting on his dismissal, Gashi described the decision as the “reincarnation of the Inquisition” by the Islamic Community leadership.

“Their strange justification says that I breached Koranic and prophetic tradition. But I declare that I have always tried to convey… the truth and stay faithful to the righteous path of the Koran,” Gashi said in a statement.

He accused the Islamic Community leadership of “a lack of rational thinking”.

“If you want to work with them [the Islamic Community], they will not allow you to think critically or to have dialogue on the pretext that you are objecting the principles of listening and obedience,” he added.

In April this year, Gashi told Radio Free Europe that he has the support of his congregation and that Muslims “should believe the scientific facts”.

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Sanin Musa, “Svjetlo” NGO, and “Narod i Pravda” party #homophobia #fundie balkaninsight.com

First Bosnian LGBT Pride March Faces Security Problems

In the run-up to the first Bosnian Pride event on September 8, the local cantonal government demanded that the organisers fund additional security measures, including purchasing and placing concrete barriers along the march’s route. {note: the explanation for this can be seen in the original article}

The organisers are remaining silent, although activists are voicing concerns over what they feel are legally questionable requests.

The dispute became public after Narod i Pravda, one of the parties in the coalition government of the Sarajevo Canton, called for the Pride march to be cancelled due to security concerns.

Although the current prime minister of the Sarajevo Canton, Edin Forto, responded in support of the Pride march, the incident added fuel to the already heated public debate about whether the march should take place.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is the last country in the former Yugoslav region to hold a public Pride event.

However, the country has a history of violence targeting LGBT-themed festivals, most notably in 2008 and 2014, and its organising committee has been under significant pressure from politicians and the public since it announced its plans in April.

[…]

‘Fundamental tradition and family first’

In the meantime, not one but two counter-protests have been announced on September 9. Sanin Musa, a theologian and professor, called on Wednesday for people to join his peaceful protest in the Sarajevo neighbourhood of Ciglane at the same time as the Pride march.

Musa cited his disagreement with public displays of sexual orientation, claiming that it goes against the “fundamental tradition of a relationship between a man and a woman”.

However he also veered into homophobia, questioning whether “paedophiles, zoophiles and necrophiles” should also be allowed to protest.

Musa, however, insisted his counter-protest will be peaceful and inclusive, and invited people of all religions to attend.

Another counter-protest, this one announced by a Sarajevo-based NGO called Svjetlo, is also motivated by what the organisers see as an attack on family values.

Although it is still unclear whether this will be a separate counter-protest or if it might merge with Musa’s event, Svjetlo argued that the Pride march is unnecessary and shouldn’t be “questioning the tolerance of the citizens of Sarajevo”.

The counter-protests could also serve as yet another argument for the Pride march’s cancellation, [argued international human rights lawyer from Sarajevo, Gorana Mlinarevic], while the additional security demands could have any impact on future civic events and public assemblies.

“It shows that the current government of the Sarajevo Canton is not as democratic and respectful of human rights and freedoms as they would like to present themselves,” she said.

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Elizabeta Madjarevic #racist #homophobia balkaninsight.com

Croatia has suspended a senior diplomat at its embassy in Berlin over Facebook posts in which she promoted the European Union’s newest member as populated only by “white Europeans”.

Elizabeta Madjarevic, the embassy’s first secretary, was recalled to Croatia and her dismissal has been initiated, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

“She is withdrawn from office. Her term expires. She is suspended. A diplomat is never a private person,” Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman told a press conference.

On Friday, the Croatian news portal Index published a series of posts Madjarevic made in English on Facebook in which she extolled the idea of a “white Europe”.

“Pure and authentic Europe,” she wrote on August 8, alongside pictures of Croatia’s Adriatic coast. “Just white Europeans as it used to be only 30 years ago in the whole Europe. This should be a good advertisement for vacations. One would think this is no longer possible, but luckily it is.”

Over a period of months, Madjarevic implied in her Facebook posts that Muslim migrants and refugees were coming to Europe with the goal of ‘Islamising’ the continent, and on one occasion suggested a link between LGBT sexual orientation and paedophilia.

Following the Index report, Madjarevic initially said she stood behind her “personal position” as part of her conservative worldview and that she was neither “an official nor a politician”.

The next day, however, Madjarevic’s Facebook account was deleted and she told Croatian-German online magazine Fenix that her profile had been hacked and that she was not the author of all the controversial posts.

She suggested the media reports were in fact attacks on the government and Grlic Radman.

The foreign minister, however, rejected the possibility that Madjarevic was not behind the posts.

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Masked Croatian Assailants #racist balkaninsight.com

Croatian Serb leaders condemned on Thursday two attacks by masked assailants on local Serbs watching a televised football match near the town of Knin.

The Serbs in the villages of Uzdolje and Djevrske were watching a game involving Red Star from the Serbian capital Belgrade when the attackers burst into the bars, media reports said. Five, including a minor, were lightly injured.

Police in Sibenik-Knin County confirmed the attack, specifying that five persons were injured in the attack in Uzdolje, one of which was a minor. Just 20 minutes later, they received information about the attack in Djevrske, in which no one was hurt. The bar itself was damaged.

Police said a number of people were taken in for questioning on Thursday. Knin was a Serb rebel stronghold during Croatia’s 1991-95 war during the collapse of federal Yugoslavia. Anja Simpraga, deputy prefect of Sibenik-Knin County, said there were also British, US and French nationals present. One of the injured persons was 17 years old. His father said the teenager was bleeding when he arrived home.

“He was sitting right by the door [of the bar] when someone came in and hit him on the head, and he [the son] fell; and as he fell, then once again, someone hit him on the back,” the father, whose name was not revealed, told N1 TV.

The father described it as the first apparently ethnically-motivated incident in the 15 years the family had lived in the area.
__

Boris Milosevic, president of the Serbian National Council and an MP supporting the government majority, took to Facebook to condemn “unfortunately yet another attack on Serbs”.

“This summer, after the death of Radoje Petkovic at Viskovo [near the city of Rijeka], the attack on the Red Star water polo players on the Split waterfront and the attack on seasonal workers on [the island of] Brac, we have another hate crime, where the attackers attacked and tried to hurt more people motivated solely by hatred of the nationality of the attacked,” Milosevic wrote.

Petkovic, 63, vice-president of the Serbian National Minority Council for the town of Kastav near Rijeka, died on June 10, weeks after he was beaten unconscious by 48-year-old Ilija Glavic, a Croatian war veteran.

On February 9, a group of men attacked three Red Star Belgrade water polo players in the coastal city of Split. The Croatian government and President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic condemned the attack.

On June 9, a group of five men, members of Hajduk Split ultras Torcida, attacked four seasonal workers in the town of Supetar on Brac. Two of the workers were Croatian Serbs distinguished by the attackers by their dialect.

Milosevic called the attack on Wednesday “a barbaric and cowardly act”, adding that there were women and children in the bar.

“This is not an ultras showdown. Any attempt to relativise this ugly event means justifying violence and siding with the attacker. Will the production of hate stop?” he asked.

Health Minister Milan Kujundzic condemned the incident.

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Romanian Orthodox Church #homophobia #fundie balkaninsight.com

ROMANIAN CHURCH WANTS PRIDE WEEK PLAY BANNED

Marcel Gascón Barberá | June 13, 2019

The Romanian Orthodox Church said on Wednesday that the play, called ‘I am Too. So What?’, which has been staged during Pride Week in the Transylvanian city of Cluj, should be banned.

The church said in a statement that a law from 2006 that “forbids any form” of “religious defamation” or “public offence towards religious symbols”.

“Accordingly, we have pleaded for the law to be respected in its spirit and its letter,” the statement said.

It described the play as “an act of ideological anti-Christian propaganda”.

But the Cluj Pride Week organisers denied the play has any intention of denigrating Christianity and its values.

The show instead targets “religious extremists” and the “fake religiosity” that some use to attack the most “vulnerable”, the organisers said.

They also pointed out that the play has been performed before at other venues not associated with the gay community, without prompting any negative reactions.

This shows that the Church is just looking for an excuse to push its “extremist” agenda against gays, they added.

The Romanian Orthodox Church is known for its hostility towards homosexuality.

In 2018, it strongly supported a referendum to change the definition of marriage in the constitution.

The Romanian constitution defines marriage as the union of two spouses. The promoters of the referendum wanted this changed to a new formula that explicitly defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

But the bid to constitutionally block a potential legal recognition of same-sex marriages in the country failed, as the turnout didn’t reach the 30 per cent threshold set for the referendum to be deemed valid.

According to official statistics, more than 80 per cent of Romanians declare themselves Orthodox.

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Croatian attackers #racist balkaninsight.com

Croatian Police Arrest Two After Attack on Serbs

Anja Vladisavljevic | June 10, 2019

Police arrested two people on Sunday on suspicion that they participated in an attack earlier that day on a group of five younger people in Supetar, a small town on the Croatian island of Brac.

The young people who were attacked were Croatian citizens doing seasonal work on Brac, among them two Croatian Serbs. They sustained minor injuries as a result of the incident.

One of the victims said that the attackers made anti-Serb comments.

“These two guys who were with us were from [the town of] Vukovar, but Serbs, and probably the attackers heard them talking. And then they… shouted: ‘Who is the Serb among you?’ and ‘Kill the Serb’,” the victim, who was not identified by name, told media.

He said that the attackers punched them for ten minutes before a taxi driver came and saved them.

The attack happened after the Torcida Cup, a football tournament that brings together local fans of FC Hajduk Split, which took place in Supetar on Saturday.

On Monday, the mayor of Supetar, Ivana Markovic, condemned the ethnically-based attack and said she had decided to withdraw a planned financial donation to the Torcida Cup tournament.

“Since the attackers were participants or visitors to the Torcida Cup, I decided to withdraw the donation decision because the town of Supetar cannot encourage sports events in which participants or visitors are expressing hate,” Markovic told local media.

{Vman’s note: According to one of the victims, there were 15-20 attackers in total. Last I heard, the President and the Prime Minister also condemned the attack.}

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Ruža Tomašić #wingnut #racist balkaninsight.com

Croatian MEP Condemned for ‘Repulsive’ Ustasa Sympathies

Anja Vladisavljevic | June 5, 2019

Holocaust historian Efraim Zuroff from the Jerusalem-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre called upon Croatian political leaders on Wednesday to reject MEP Ruza Tomasic’s recent statements of sympathy for the Ustasa movement.

Zuroff alleged that Tomasic was attempting to whitewash the large-scale atrocities committed by the Ustasa and the WWII-era Independent State of Croatia, the NDH.

“Ruza Tomasic is considered by many Croatians to be an excellent MEP with impressive achievements in her previous terms on behalf of Croatia. It might have been possible to overlook her activities on behalf of Croatian extremists, if she had sincerely renounced fascism and the genodical policies of the NDH,” Zuroff said.

“Since that is not the case, however, and she still expresses support for a movement which should be universally condemned, we urge Croatian leaders to unequivocally distance themselves from the dangerous and repulsive views of MEP Ruza Tomasic,” he added.

On Friday, Novosti, a weekly newspaper for the Croatian Serb ethnic minority, revealed that Tomasic had published poems glorifying Ustasa and NDH leader Ante Pavelic, and had been photographed wearing an Ustasa uniform while living in Canada in the 1970s and 1980s.

Asked to comment, Tomasic said that she still sympathises with the Ustasa movement, but differentiated between what she called “regular Ustasa” and those who committed crimes after 1941, when they came to power in Croatia.

“The Ustasa movement is one thing, and the NDH is another… Many crimes were committed during WWII. During those four years, the NDH separated itself from what the Ustasa movement represented,” Tomasic told Novosti.

She said that anyone who committed crimes should be condemned, but added that she doesn’t denounce “the regular Ustasa who fought for their homeland”.

Tomasic confirmed those statements to other local media. On Friday, she also told right-wing website Direktno that the photo of her wearing Ustasa uniform published in Novosti was genuine.

At the recent European Parliament elections, Tomasic’s newly-formed Croatian Sovereignist coalition won 8.52 per cent of the votes, giving her another mandate. In 2013, she was a candidate of the now-governing Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ.

Under the rule of the NDH, a WWII fascist puppet state of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, over 30,000 of around 40,000 Jews who were living on the its territory were killed.

At the Jasenovac concentration camp, the Ustasa murdered 13,116 Jews, along with 47,627 Serbs, 16,173 Roma and 6,229 victims from other nationalities, according to a confirmed list of victims’ names.

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Historical revisionists on Croatian Wikipedia #fundie balkaninsight.com

26 MAR 18

ANALYSIS

How Croatian Wikipedia Made a Concentration Camp Disappear

Unlike Wikipedia in other languages, the Croatian version refers to the WWII Jasenovac concentration camp as a “collection camp” - as well as playing down fascist crimes and ignoring right-wingers’ controversies.

Sven Milekic | BIRN | Zagreb

With its nationalist sentiments, factual mistakes, lack of academic references and omitted facts about World War II history, Croatian Wikipedia is not a reliable source, analysts have told BIRN.

Articles that refer to the Croatian WWII fascist Ustasa movement and its crimes are criticised as particularly unreliable, ideologically loaded and imprecise, thus downplaying the crimes.

The clearest example is the Ustasa’s biggest concentration camp, Jasenovac, which in the title of the Croatian Wikipedia article is referred to as “Jasenovac Collection Camp” - a term which does not have such negative connotations as ‘concentration camp’.

According to the Jasenovac Memorial Site, the Ustasa killed over 83,000 Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascists in the camp between 1941 and 1945.

The camp was used as a concentration camp as well as a labour camp – in terms of labour being used to physically debilitate inmates, causing their deaths – and a death camp, as many detainees were executed at various sites in the camp system immediately or soon after their arrival.

The Croatian far right often refers to Jasenovac as a “collection”, “labour” or “punishment” camp.

Wikimedia entries in other languages – English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Russian – refer to Jasenovac as a concentration or extermination camp in their titles.

But on Croatian Wikipedia, even the biggest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz, is referred to in the title of the entry as the “Auschwitz Collection Camp”.

image

Hrvoje Klasic, a historian at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Studies in Zagreb, told BIRN that “there is a large difference” between English-language and Croatian Wikipedia.

He explained how sometimes he tells his students to look something up on English-language Wikipedia if the article has plenty of academic and scientific references.

“However, I would never give Croatian Wikipedia to my students if they want to learn something about the Croatian history. I myself saw that a number of articles and topics are done in a completely revisionist manner, with highly emphasised nationalist and, I would dare to say, pro-Ustasa sentiment,” Klasic said, arguing that entries on World War II, socialist Yugoslavia and Croatia’s 1990s war.

While the article on the Jasenovac camp in English has 187 reference notes, along with 37 references to books and two to academic articles, the Croatian version has 57 reference notes - with a large number coming from right-wing media and private blogs - and only three books.

Klasic said that although Jasenovac was in part a labour camp, referring to it as that alone is misleading.

“It’s completely the same as if I wrote a book on the Third Reich and simply stated that during its time, employment and industrial production went up, saying that citizens’ living standard improved. That is all correct if you exclude all that happened to all the others who weren’t seen as part of the German nation,” he said.

He also argued that by referring to Jasenovac as simply a collection and labour camp is to use “the same language” as Ustasa propaganda, which did not publicly mention killings in the camp. All this downplays the crimes committed there, Klasic said.

BIRN asked Croatian Wikipedia’s administrators for a comment, but received no reply.

In the talk section of the entry on Jasenovac, where readers can put questions to the administrators, they were asked about the use of the term “collection camp” back in 2012.

An administrator using the alias SpeedyGonsales replied that the camp was officially called Jasenovac Collection Camp by the Ustasa and that the description ‘concentration camp’ was just a “colloquialism”.

“Without a valid explanation, I do not see a reason for doing factual and linguistic violence to the article for the benefit of a colloquialism. Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia, let’s respect the principles of an encyclopaedia,” SpeedyGonsales said.

image

Wikipedia in English labels Jasenovac as a "concentration camp", while German puts "KZ", an acronym for Konzentrationslager (concentration camp). Photo: Wikipedia screenshot.

Goran Hutinec, a historian at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Studies in Zagreb said the problem lies in the fact that the official name for Jasenovac “does not truly describe the function of the camp”.

“It looks as someone isn’t aware that the term used back then [collection camp] may not have same meaning now. I mean, it partly had that function… but clearly not only that function,” Hutinec told BIRN.

He said that Jasenovac was used for the temporary internment of political prisoners – like Croatian politician Vlatko Macek, who spent five months in Jasenovac before being released – as well as a place for the execution of people “who didn’t even enter the camp upon arrival, but were quickly transported to nearby killing sites”.

Hutinec argued that even Auschwitz had “ten different purposes for which it was used” – as a death camp and a labour camp, amongst other purposes. He added that the same could be said about Jasenovac and other WWII-era camps run by the Ustasa.

He further argued that the Croatian Wikipedia has “many shortcomings, factual mistakes and ideologically loaded language” compare to the English and German versions.

The Jasenovac entry on Croatian Wikipedia has yet more disputed sections.

Almost 40 per cent of the entry on Jasenovac is given over to allegations that the name-by-name list of the victims of the camp – compiled by Jasenovac Memorial Site – is false.

It highlight allegations that with the number of people killed has been manipulated, and also talks about a post-WWII Communist-run camp at the same site, although there is no valid historical proof that it ever existed.

In these passages, Croatian Wikipedia mostly focuses on a highly controversial Zagreb-based NGO called the Society for Research of the Threefold Jasenovac Camp. The NGO mostly involves people who are not professional historians, who estimate the death toll as low as 1,500 – significantly lower than any other historians.

In the entry on Jasenovac, Croatian Wikipedia gives Igor Vukic, the Society’s secretary, a professional journalist, the same credit as professional historians.

image

Spanish Wikipedia refers to Jasenovac as a "concentration camp", while French labels it an "extermination camp". Photo: Wikipedia screenshot.

The English version mentions disputes about camp’s death toll, offering figures which have been offered by many historians, demographers and others, but it does not state that the current numbers have manipulated, nor does it mentions the alleged post-war Communist camp which is claimed by the Society to have existed.

Instead, the English version gives a lot of space to describing the living conditions in the camp, the mass murders committed there, and how many people coming to Jasenovac were “scheduled for systematic extermination”.

In describing the conditions, crimes and killings at the camp, Croatian Wikipedia gives one quote from a former inmate and one additional sentence.

The distinct difference that Croatian Wikipedia displays when covering the Ustasa past can be seen in entries on the movement’s leader, Ante Pavelic.

“Ante Pavelic… was a Croatian fascist general and military dictator who founded and headed the fascist ultranationalist organisation known as the Ustase in 1929 and governed the Independent State of Croatia a fascist Nazi puppet state built out of Yugoslavia by the authorities of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy,” the first sentence of the article in English reads.

It mentions large-scale crimes against Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascists in the second sentence.

Croatian Wikipedia describes Pavelic as “a Croatian politician, lawyer, leader and founder of the Ustasa regime and poglavnik [head] of the Independent State of Croatia”.

The English version gives several times more space to the crimes of Pavelic’s regime and its dictatorial nature.

Also related to the topic of the Ustasa, in its article on the Croatian film director Jakov Sedlar, Croatian Wikipedia leaves out all the controversies surrounding his documentary on the camp, ‘Jasenovac - The Truth’.

The film, which premiered in Zagreb in April 2016, has been strongly criticised for appearing to downplay the crimes committed at the camp.

While the Croatian Wikipedia entry does not mention the issue at all, the English version has an entire section headlined ‘Controversies’, as well as a whole separate article on the film, mentioning all the alleged evidence that Sedlar used which was disputed.

Croatian Wikipedia also does not scrutinise some other controversial public figures.

In its entry on former Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic, Croatian Wikipedia completely leaves out weekly newspaper Novosti’s discovery that he wrote an article for a pro-fascist bulletin called the Independent State of Croatia in 1996, in which he described the Ustasa as “heroes and martyrs”. The English-language Wikipedia mentions it, and offers links.

Public figures on the left are put under much more scrutiny by the Croatian Wikipedia.

In the entry on ‘Left Extremism in Croatia’, veteran peace activist Vesna Terselic, Croatian Serb leader Milorad Pupovac and some anti-fascist organisations are named as proponents of extremism who block attempts to deal with Communist-era crimes.

Sometimes certain contributors on the Croatian Wikipedia have gone too far and the administrators – who approve all the articles – have had to step in and make changes.

When Predrag Lucic, a journalist, editor, writer, and one of the founders of the legendary anti-establishment magazine Feral Tribune died in January, the initial Croatian Wikipedia entry offered a somewhat insulting description of his achievements.

“By mocking people with different political positions, he has achieved tremendous success among Yugonostalgics, admirers of communism and opponents of independent Croatia. There is not a single serious journalistic piece [by Lucic] that a cultural critic would give a passing grade,” it read.


Note:

Who owns Croatian Wikipedia?

The Wikimedia Foundation Inc, a US-based non-profit charitable NGO, is the owner of the Croatian version of Wikipedia.

However, the Wikimedia Foundation is not the founder of the Croatian version, nor does it accept that it is responsible for the accuracy of its articles. It insists that it does not have any power over Croatian-language Wikipedia entries.

All the administrators and associates on Croatian Wikipedia are volunteers.

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Montenegrin football fans #racist balkaninsight.com

England to Complain About Montenegro Football Match Racism

Filip Rudic | Belgrade | BIRN | March 26, 2019

England's Football Association will file a complaint to European football's governing body UEFA after its players were subjected to racist abuse by fans at an international match in Montenegro.

England’s Football Association will file an official complaint to UEFA over the racist chants directed at its players by Montenegrin fans during the two countries’ Euro 2020 qualifier match in Podgorica on Monday evening.

According to The Guardian, Danny Rose, Raheem Sterling and Callum Hudson-Odoi were subjected to racist abuse during the match that England won 5-1.

Media reported that Montenegro fans made monkey noises at Rose, Sterling and Hudson-Odoi.

A lighter was also allegedly thrown at Sterling, who responded to the racist chants by facing the Montenegro fans and cupping his ears after scoring England’s fifth goal. Sterling wrote on Twitter that it was the “best way to silence the haters (and yeah I mean racists)”.

British Sports Minister Miriam Davies condemned the “absolutely unacceptable racist abuse” during the match.

“UEFA must quickly investigate then take strong and swift action,” Davies wrote on Twitter.

England’s manager Gareth Southgate confirmed that he heard the racist chants and announced that he is filing a complaint to UEFA.

“We’ll report it, I know what I heard, abuse of Danny Rose when he got booked at the end of the game,” Southgate said, according to England’s Football Association.

“There’s no doubt in my mind at what happened. We’ll make sure that’s reported officially because it’s not acceptable. We’ve got to make sure we support our players,” he added.

Montenegrin media almost completely ignored the incident on Tuesday morning.

Various Balkan countries’ football federations have been fined several times by international sports authorities for racist displays by fans in the previous years. Danny Rose was also targeted by racist chants when he played a match in Serbia in 2012.

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Dario Kordic and his supporters #fundie balkaninsight.com

War Criminal Lectures Croatian Students on Religious Faith

Anja Vladisavljevic | Zagreb | BIRN | April 3, 2019

Bosnian Croat Hague Tribunal convict Dario Kordic gave a speech at a student residence in Zagreb about his years in prison and his religious beliefs, while some protesters tried to disrupt the event by chanting that he was a war criminal.

Dario Kordic, a former military commander in the self-proclaimed Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia wartime statelet and a convicted war criminal, gave a talk about his Christian faith to students of religion in Zagreb on Tuesday evening.

The lecture, entitled ‘God Behind Bars’, was held in the cinema hall of the Stjepan Radic student residence and organised by students’ associations, a religious association and a Herzegovinian students’ club.

The event began with a religious song sung by the audience along with Kordic, who held a rosary in his hands throughout the event.

One student introduced Kordic and said that the topic of the gathering would not be “the Orwellian international judiciary and its concept of justice” but “the testimony of a man who has borne the burden of living for his ideals”.

However some protesting students tried to disrupt the event by chanting “war criminal” at Kordic, before men from the audience threw them out of the hall and took away the banner that they planned to hold up.

But the protesters did manage to hang a banner with the words “Dario Koljac [Dario the Butcher]” on the student dormitory’s balcony.

Kordic reacted calmly to the disruption, saying that there are people who are bothered by God’s love.

“You’ve probably seen that in recent months and years, ugly, unfounded articles about me [were published], 25 years after the events of the war,” Kordic said.

“Forgive them, father, for they know not what they do,” he added, using a phrase attributed to Jesus in the Bible.

Kordic, a former Croatian Defence Council commander, was convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia of planning and instigating killings in the village of Ahmici and neighbouring hamlets in April 1993 and ethnically cleansing the area.

He was released in 2014 after serving two-thirds of his 25-year sentence.

He told the students in Zagreb on Tuesday that he maintained his devotion to God during the war and throughout his years in prison.

“I was in the hands of the Lord, and in my pocket I had my rosary,” he said.

The Croatian Defence Council, which was backed by Croatia, attacked the village of Ahmici in Bosnia and Herzegovina on April 16, 1993, killing more than 100 civilians, mostly women and children. The youngest victim was three months old and the oldest was 82.

Some people were buried alive in their houses, while the local mosque was destroyed.

Judgments handed down by the Hague Tribunal have said that Herzeg-Bosnia was founded with the intention of splitting the territory from Bosnia and Herzegovina and uniting it with a ‘Greater Croatia’.

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Croatian attackers #racist balkaninsight.com

Zagreb Condemns Attack on Belgrade Sportsmen in Croatia

Anja Vladisavljevic | Zagreb | BIRN | February 11, 2019

Zagreb officials condemned an attack on three Red Star Belgrade water polo players in the coastal city of Split - one of whom jumped into the sea to escape his assailants.

The Croatian government and President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic on Sunday condemned the attack on three players from Red Star Belgrade’s Water Polo Club in the southern coastal city of Split the previous day.

“We condemn the incident in the strongest terms. It is unacceptable from every aspect,” Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic told a press conference on Sunday, stressing that the police had promptly responded to the attack.

“Hooliganism is a plague that is contrary to the ideals of sport, and all violence is unacceptable,” Grabar Kitarovic wrote on Twitter.

Police arrested three of the attackers on Sunday morning and were looking for two others. Police said on Monday that their investigation showed that two 25-year-old men and a 23-year-old man tried to physically hurt or seriously injure the health of three foreign nationals, motivated by hatred, using force and bladed weapons. One of those arrested was released on Monday.

Serbia sent a diplomatic protest note to Croatia on Sunday, expressing “deep concern and disappointment” over the incident.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Sunday that this was just one in a series of anti-Serb incidents in Croatia.

“Why this is happening so much there… I am not certain or at least, I certainly hope that this would not happen in Belgrade,” Vucic said.

The three Red Star water polo players were attacked on the waterfront promenade in Split on Saturday afternoon.

Two of the players managed to run away while the other escaped by jumping into the sea.

“I’m from Kotor, I’m a Montenegrin, I’m not a Serb!” screamed the player from the sea, Slobodna Dalmacija newspaper reported.

A group of locals then helped the player out of the water.

Police said that they offered medical assistance to the young man who jumped into the sea, but he turned it down.

“He doesn’t have visible injuries for now. We took him to the hotel and conducted an interview there… An investigation is underway,” police spokesperson Zeljka Radosevic told Hina news agency.

According to unconfirmed reports, the attackers were apparently provoked by the fact that the three players wore the Red Star Belgrade team’s jerseys.

The Belgrade players were in Split for a match with local team Mornar. The match was cancelled after the incident.

Asked whether the attack would be treated as an act of hooliganism or a hate crime, Interior Minister Bozinovic said the police will decide on this together with the State Attorney’s Office.

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Behgjet Pacolli #racist balkaninsight.com

Kosovo Minister Accused of Using ‘Sexist, Racist’ Language

Kosovo rights group says Deputy PM and Foreign Minister used 'sexist and racist' language when describing how Serbia successfully lobbied against Kosovo's membership of Interpol.

A rights group in Kosovo, the Council for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms, CDHRF, on Friday demanded the dismissal of Kosovo's deputy prime and foreign minister, Behgjet Pacolli, for using “sexist and racist” language in a report to parliament on the country's failure to join Interpol.

Reporting to parliament's foreign affairs committee on Wednesday, Pacolli claimed Serbia had deployed a number of “well dressed” women at the Interpol summit to hug “black” members of Interpol member countries, as a way to lobby against Kosovo's membership of the global police body.

“They had around 10 well dressed women and each went to a black man’s table and said: 'Excuse me, how are you?', hugged him and left an envelope,” Pacolli was quoted as saying.

The organisation called the statement racist and offensive, and said the use of such language “makes him inadequate to exercise the duty of Foreign Minister or underatke any representation on behalf of Kosovo”.

Pacolli had been trying to justify Kosovo's failure to get enough votes to join Interpol in November, explaining that Serbia had lobbied against Kosovo with full force. “We saw what kind of lobbying they did inside the hall,” Pacolli said.

Kosovo failed to join Interpol on November 20, after it did not get enough supporting votes at the international criminal cooperation organisation’s general assembly in Dubai.

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Božo Pinjuh #racist balkaninsight.com

NEWS 10 Oct 18

Vineyard Sells Wines Celebrating Croatian Fascist Leader

A vineyard owner in Bosnia and Herzegovina is selling bottles of wine labelled with a picture of Croatian WWII-era fascist Ustasa leader Ante Pavelic.

image

A wine producer in Siroki Brijeg, a city with a majority Croat population in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is selling bottles of wine bearing the name Poglavnik, the title used by Croatian fascist Ustasa leader Ante Pavelic.

Bozo Pinjuh, the owner of the Zlatna kapljica winery in Siroki Brijeg, told BIRN that he sells the wine in Croatia, but only in small amounts - approximately 1,000 bottles per year - and only through private orders.

The labels on the bottles feature a photograph of Pavelic, the ‘Poglavnik’ - a title similar to ‘Duce’ in fascist Italy or ‘Fuhrer’ in Nazi Germany.

Pinjuh said that he has been selling the wines for 15 years, and has never run into any problems even though his Poglavnik product has been reported on by Croatian media.

“I am registered, I have my papers,” Pinjuh said.

Bosnian law has no definition of what a fascist organisation is, and the use of fascist symbols is not banned in the country.

At the end of September, a customer at the Bracera restaurant in the Croatian coastal town of Malinska complained that the Poglavnik wines were on sale there.

"Food [is] OK, the prices are normal, the waiters are polite. However, in a very prominent place in the restaurant, there are wine bottles on which is Poglavnik is written, below which is a photograph of Ante Pavelic,” the customer, Djurdjica Cilic, wrote in a review on Google.

“I’m now writing here, and the next thing I’ll do is contact the MUP [Croatian police] and the tourist board of the Malinska municipality. Shame on you if do not know whose picture you have in the restaurant, and if you do know, then you should be imprisoned,” Cilic added.

Cilic said that she wrote to the police, complaining that the Poglavnik wine bottles were a violation of the Croatian law on public order.

The police replied that they visited the restaurant and that “there were no elements of a disturbance of public order and of the peace”, Cilic said.

When contacted by BIRN, the restaurant declined to comment.

[...]

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Tomo Medved and Damir Krsticevic #racist balkaninsight.com

17 SEP 18
commentary by Sven Milekic, Zagreb

Croatian Ministers Salute Criminals and Dishonour the Dead

Last week was marked by the moral acrobatics of two Croatian ministers – War Veterans’ Minister Tomo Medved and Defence Minister Damir Krsticevic – who publicly endorsed two convicted Croatian war criminals, Tomislav Mercep and Mirko Norac.

Croatian news site Index reported last week that Mercep, who is serving a prison sentence, spent a total of 45 days at a spa instead of in jail this year and last year. As Mercep is a Croatian war veteran, Medved said he vouched for him as worthy recipient of the spa treatment, “as I regularly do” when war veterans are serving prison time for war crimes.

“Croatia has its Homeland War [term officially used in Croatia for the 1990s war] as the foundation of a modern Croatian state, has its Croatian defenders [war veterans], of whom we are proud,” Krsticevic added, reminding reporters that the war and its veterans are sacrosanct here in Croatia.

A few days earlier, while marking the 25th anniversary of the successful Medak Pocket military operation in the Lika region, Krsticevic issued a special greeting to Norac, who was present at the ceremony in the town of Gospic.

“We have to be proud of the Medak Pocket action, as far as Mirko Norac is concerned, it was war, he was the commander of the Gospic headquarters zone, and because of what happened here, he carries his cross. I’m glad he’s here with us today,” Krsticevic said.

It is not clear when Krsticevic referred to Norac’s ‘cross’ if he was implying that Norac was innocent of the crimes or simply suggesting it was tough that he had to serve a sentence.

Medved, who publicly welcomed Norac during this year’s official ceremony to mark the anniversary of the 1995 military operation ‘Storm’, defended Krsticevic, reminding reporters of the merits of war veterans and of Norac.

“He has served his sentence, but let’s not neglect the contribution he has made. Everyone should be honoured and respected for what he did in defence of the homeland... All who have contributed to defending the homeland have their place in history,” Medved said.

[...]

{a description the crimes Mercep and Norac are responsible for follows in the article and can be seen in the link.}

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Croatian Wikipedia editors and administrators #racist balkaninsight.com

Croatia Wikipedia Alters Jasenovac Camp Entry Again

Croatian Wikipedia has again amended its entry on the World War II concentration camp at Jasenovac – naming it a 'collection' and 'labour camp' and again disputing the broadly accepted name-by-name list of victims.


[...]

The Jasenovac Memorial Site's name-by-name list says 83,145 Serbs, Roma, Jews and anti-Fascists were killed by the Croatian Fascist Ustasa movement there between 1941 and 1945.

The Ustasa governed a so-called Independent State of Croatia, NDH, from 1941 to 1945 under Nazi auspices.

BIRN wrote earlier about how Croatian Wikipedia had controversially referred to Jasenovac only as a "collection" camp, or “sabirni logor” in Croatian, while all major language versions referred to it as a concentration or death camp.

Now, however, the entry has been further changed, removing mention of a “death camp” and putting in “labour camp” instead.

Earlier, some Croatian Wikipedia administrators defended using the term “sabirni logor” because that was the term the Ustasa camp administration had used.

While the earlier entry challenged the Jasenovac Memorial Site's research on the victims, it now gives a prominent place to Igor Vukic, a former journalist and secretary of the Society for Research of the Threefold Jasenovac Camp, an association that many historians see as revisionist.

The association claims the Ustasa ran a labour camp for enemies of the Fascist regime, and insists it only became a regular death camp under the Communists who took power in 1945.

It says they then imprisoned Ustasa members and Croatian Home Guard forces there until 1948, and then alleged Stalinists, after the 1948 break with the USSR, until 1951.

It has also claimed that possibly only 1,500 people died from various causes in the camp during the Ustasa period – although no serious academic research would back such claims.

The new entry extensively quotes Vukic’s new book, Labour Camp Jasenovac, which received praise from Milan Ivkosic in the daily Vecernji list in a review titled "Jasenovac cleansed of ideology, bias and communist forgery", which has drawn negative reactions from Holocaust experts.

The entry quotes Vukic’s book as saying that “no one was interned at the camp for their national or religious background, but as political opponents of the Independent State of Croatia”.

When it was formed in 1941, the NDH rapidly introduced Nazi-style race laws targeting Jews, Roma and Serbs. Serbs made up a large percentage of the population of the NDH, which included present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Wikipedia entry now also quotes a Slovenian researcher Roman Leljak, who claims that Yugoslav military archives in Belgrade speak only of 1,654 victims. However, Leljak is not respected by mainstream historians.

The entry gives much space to the alleged existence of a Communist camp, for which there is no scientific evidence.

Besides the entry on Jasenovac, Croatian Wikipedia contains other articles that most historians deem highly problematic and inaccurate.

In the entry on the Polish city of Gdansk, a sentence claiming that the Poles committed genocide against Polish Germans before Nazi Germany invaded the country in 1939 was only recently removed.

[...]

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unknown Facebook user #fundie balkaninsight.com

NEWS 17 Aug 18
Croatian Satirist Threatened for Operation Storm Show

Satirist Domagoj Zovak received a death threat after airing a show about the 1995 Croatian military operation ‘Storm’, which is seen as a historic victory in the country.

Domagoj Zovak, whose satirical TV show News Bar Prime Time airs on regional cable N1 TV, received death threat after the latest episode, about the 23rd anniversary of Croatian military operation ‘Storm’.

“You too will also get [a bullet] in the back of the head,” said a message sent to Zovak on Facebook.

Zovak told N1 that he has received insults from the same Facebook profile before and that he has reported the threat to the police.

“It is great that we have advanced as a society so much that it became normal that if you see on TV something you simply do not like, instead of [taking] the remote control, people decide to send death threats to the author,” Domagoj said ironically.

A report published in May by the Council of Europe’s European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, ECRI, said that hate speech has been increasing in Croatia and criticised the authorities for their inadequate response.

Hate speech is too often not prosecuted as a criminal offence, the ECRI said.

{submitter's note: the article then gives some basic background info on Operation Storm, which you can read on the link if you want to}

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Hrvoje Marušic #fundie balkaninsight.com

NEWS
01 Aug 17

Croatian HDZ Member ‘Threatens NGO’ over Storm Apology

The Youth Initiative for Human Rights said it was threatened by a member of the governing Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ because of its campaign apologising to Serb victims of the 1995 military operation ‘Storm’.

The Youth Initiative for Human Rights, a Zagreb-based NGO, complained to police on Tuesday about threatening comments it received on Facebook from Hrvoje Marusic, a member of the governing Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ.

“You Yugoslav-Communist bastards, you should be sentenced, shot… If we were a democratic state, you would be tried for grand treason and shot. And probably they will [shoot you], soon,” Marusic wrote on the NGO’s Facebook page on Monday.

The second part of the comment was later deleted.

Until the last elections, Marusic was an HDZ representative on the city council in the coastal city of Split, as well as the head of the Croatian Employers’ Association in Split.

He admitted writing the comment.

“I wrote that if we were a state with the rule of law, they [the Youth Initiative for Human Rights] would be tried and shot. I stand behind my statement,” Marusic told BIRN.

He added that he hopes that “Croatia will become a state with the rule of law”.

His comment on Facebook came after the NGO launched a campaign last week entitled ‘Apology to the Victims of Storm’, ahead of the upcoming 22nd anniversary of the operation on August 5, when officials will celebrate Croatia’s military victory over Serb rebel forces.

The NGO has informed the police about the alleged threat.

The HDZ did not respond to BIRN’s request for a comment by the time of publication.

During Operation Storm, Croatian forces took back a large part of the country’s territory that had been under the control of rebel Croatian Serbs since 1991.

According to the Croatian Helsinki Committee, the operation resulted in the killing of over 600 mostly elderly civilians and caused more than 200,000 Serbs to leave the country.

The Croatian judiciary has so far delivered only one final judgment for war crimes over killings during and after the operation.

Former Croatian soldier Bozo Bacelic was sentenced in May this year to seven years in prison for killing two civilians and one prisoner of war in Prokljan.

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Politika #sexist balkaninsight.com

NEWS 19 JUL 17

Serbian Daily Faces Questions Over Anti-Feminist Rants

The venerable Serbian daily faces questions about its ethics after it was revealed that an op-ed attacking feminism - supposedly authored by scientist - was illustrated with the photograph of a German actor.

Serbia's iconic daily newspaper, Politika, has been accused of using made-up commentators to promote misogyny after publishing an anti-feminist article allegedly written by a scientist, but illustrated with the photograph of a German actor.

The commentary accused feminists of using the recent murders of two women at the hands of their ex-husbands to spread "propaganda".

"Agressive feminists came to the fore in order to abuse the tragedies for their political agenda," the article said, also reminding the readers that “almost all infanticides in the world are committed by women”.

The women in question were murdered at social centres where they were bringing their children to meet their fathers. In one horrifying case, the father murdered both child and mother.

The column in question was signed by “Dr Petar Velickovic", but the accompanying photograph is that of a German actor, Andreas Kaufmann, who has since called the article “disgusting”.

“I have nothing to do with any of the opinions mentioned in the article. The photo displayed is one of my casting photos I use as an actor in Germany. It's a case of theft and misuse," Kaufmann told BIRN.

The use and misuse of Kaufmann’s photo was uncovered by users of social networks, who have accused Politika of misogyny and of betraying journalistic and ethical standards.

In response to criticism, Politika published a brief explanation in Wednesday’s issue, saying that the fault lay with the author of the article, Petar Velickovic, who sent them Kaufmann’s photo instead of his own.

However, searches of the internet have yet to reveal a forensic psychiatrist under the name Petar Velickovic.

In the meantime, the Journalists’ Association of Serbia, has revealed another anti-feminist article in Politika, also attributed to a questionable scientific authority, using the photograph of a deceased person from Germany.

Milovan B Vucic, the alleged psychoanalyst from Los Angeles, wrote a comment entitled “Injustices of Feminist Judiciary“, published on May 5.

"This practice by Politika is reminiscent of Slobodan Milosevic’s reign, when the newspaper published made-up letters of support to the regime,” the Journalists' Association said in a press release.

Tamara Skrozza, from Serbia’s Press Council, said the views expressed in both articles constitute hate speech towards women and feminists, and should not be present in the media.

“It is truly terrible if Politika deliberately promotes discriminatory, chauvinist opinions,” Skrozza told BIRN.

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Angel Dzhambazki #racist balkaninsight.com

NEWS 18 JUL 17

Bulgarian MEP Accused of Hate Speech Against Roma

An online petition is calling on the European Parliament to penalise Bulgarian MEP Angel Dzhambazki for allegedly spreading “aggressive anti-Roma propaganda” in the parliament, in the media and on social networks.

The organisers of the petition, hosted on the Avaaz platform, aim to collect 1,000 signatures, which would then be sent to the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani.

The MEP stirred fresh controversy recently with comments on cases in which citizens of Bulgaria suffered injuries or were killed following conflicts with citizens of Roma origin.
[...]
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Dhambazki commented on the death of an 18-year-old, Alexander Alexiev, who had been in a coma since July 8 after being struck by a 32-year-old man of Roma origin.

“Tell me something about integration. About tolerance. About ‘liberalism’. About ‘humanism’. … And I will tell you how to use a rope,” he wrote.

On June 30, he posted a picture of a group of Roma men who took part in a mass fight against Bulgarians as his cover photo, and wrote a comment below reading: “Euthanasia”.

image
The comment reading: “Euthanasia”. Photo: Snapshot from the Facebook profile of Angel Dzhambazki.

“If Dzhambazki’s behaviour remains unsanctioned, this will undermine the effectiveness of the European Parliament and the trust of the European citizens in it,” the petition says, warning that extreme nationalists throughout Europe will then feel tolerated by the EU.

The MEP is a member of the Bulgarian nationalist VMRO party, which is part of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in Strasbourg and part of the nationalist Patriotic Front, a coalition partner in Boyko Borissov’s current government in Bulgaria.

BIRN asked the MEP to comment on the accusations, but received no answer by the time of publication. BIRN also approached the office of the EP President Antonio Tajani which refrained from comment.

However, the MEP told NOVA TV on Monday that Bulgaria had a huge problem with its Roma community and, if it pretended the problem did not exist, cases of violence would become more and more frequent.

“Those crimes have to be punished, strictly and fairly,” the MEP said, noting also that he supported the launch of a public discussion on the reintroduction of the death penalty.

Deyan Kolev, President of Bulgaria’s largest Roma organization, “Amalipe”, told BIRN that his language should not be tolerated.

“Once they have been elected, MEPs must be representatives of all citizens, not only of their voters,” he said, calling Dzhambazki’s statements “totally unacceptable”.

He added that whether the EU institutions reacted to them would show how seriously they took common moral values.

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supporters of Ratko Mladic #racist balkaninsight.com

NEWS 12 JUL 17

Bosnian Reporter Flees After Condemning Mladic Rally

Columnist Dragan Bursac has fled Banja Luka after receiving death threats from supporters of the former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic.

Journalist Dragan Bursac - who received death threats after criticizing a planned rally in Banja Luka in support of Ratko Mladic - told BIRN that he had been forced to go into hiding for some time.

He had reported the death threats he has received to the police, he added.

Bursac received the highly aggressive threats after publishing a column expressing deep revulsion at a planned demonstration in support of the former Bosnian Serb commander under the slogan “Support for General Ratko Mladic - Stop the Lies about Srebrenica.”

It was scheduled to be held on July 11 - on the same day as the annual commemoration of the 1995 massacre of Bosniaks in Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces under Mladic’s control.

Courts have deemed the massacre of some 8,000 Bosniaks [Muslims] a genocidal act.

The Interior Ministry of Republika Srpska, the Serb-dominated entity in Bosnia, has since delayed the rally, citing security issues.

Outraged at the planned rally, Bursac asked whether people were willing to stand by and watch as “the Srebrenica genocide is celebrated in Banja Luka?”. {Vman's note: Banja Luka is the capital of Republika Srpska}

The organizers of the rally were a right-wing Serbian nationalist movement called the “Zavetnici”, or “Oath-takers.”

After that, Bursac received death threats that forced him to flee Banja Luka.

“I received explicit threats via social networks, detailing what they would do to me and my family,” Bursac told BIRN.

In calling off the rally, the interior ministry on Monday said that it would be unable to patrol the gathering of an expected 1,000 participants because most of its police would be away, safeguarding the commemorative events in Srebrenica itself.

Bursac said it was very problematic that the rally had not been banned completely but only rescheduled.

“Instead of banning the rally, they have delayed it. They are saying: ‘OK, fascism is not allowed on July 11, but it will be allowed at a later date,’” he said.

Burcas said that a silent majority in Banja Luka was just watching as extremists turned the city into a hotbed for “Chetniks” – a code word for Serbian ultra-nationalists.

“What do you call a citizen of Banja Luka who will watch, shrugging and mute, as this lunacy takes place in the centre of the city? There is a word for that - an accomplice!” Bursac wrote in his article.

Bursac concluded that his own forced flight was yet another example of the worsening plight of journalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“If you are reporting on culture, concerts, festivals ... you are wonderful, but if you peek into the pockets of politicians and tycoons, and refuse to uphold fascism, then you receive death threats,” he said.

Over 70 more victims of the July 1995 genocide were due to be buried at the annual ceremony at the Srebrenica memorial site on July 11.

Mladic is currently on trial in The Hague for genocide and other crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the first-instance verdict expected in November.

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Unknown attacker #fundie balkaninsight.com

Croatia’s LGBT Community Spooked by Nightclub Attack

A recent attack on an LGBT club night in Zagreb rekindled fears of persecution and raised concerns that Croatia has not made as much progress on gay rights as some had hoped.

"It was about 3.30am and I was almost ready to go home. I was standing with my friends in the centre of the dancefloor when something exploded only two feet from us and smoke hit us in the face," Hana Grgic, one of the victims of the attack on the LGBT night at the Super Super club in Zagreb earlier this month, told BIRN.

"In that moment of panic, none of us knew what it was. I instantly started choking and running to the bathroom. I don't know why I decided to go to the toilet, but I probably realised that this was simply the fastest way to get away from the smoke," Grgic recalled.
"I couldn't breathe. Smoke filled my mouth, nose, sinuses and lungs. My face was burning and I thought that this was actually a bomb. I thought this is the end, this is how I will die," she said.

It has been 15 years since the first Gay Pride parade in the centre of Zagreb, which was the target of homophobic violence and tear gas. Since then, Croatian society has evolved, minority rights have expanded, and there is legal recognition of same-sex unions.
Although many LGBT people still face insults and discrimination every now and then, they aren’t targeted for outright attack. Or at least they didn't until tear gas was set off in the club during the LGBT party at the Super Super club in the early hours of February 12.

"In the toilet, some people said ‘tear gas’, and after that, it was easier because I realised we wouldn't die after all. I touched my face and realized it was not burned although it continued to hurt," Grgic recalled.

“There was panic in the club. People were screaming ‘my eyes, I can't breathe'. In front of a small window, there were 15 people trying to breathe fresh air. I remember that the music continued to play and I wondered why it was still playing while we were dying here. Significantly, it was playing Shakira and her song ‘La Tortura’," she added.

The tear gas attack prompted LGBT rights group Zagreb Pride to organise a protest entitled ‘Love Is and Remains Stronger than Hate' the following day, which attracted more than 1,000 people.

The government strongly condemned the attack and promised a rapid investigation.
“The Croatian government will resolutely oppose any form of violence and hate speech, racial, religious and gender discrimination in the fight for equality, human dignity and safety of all our citizens,” it said.

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Autochthonous Croatian Party of Rights #racist balkaninsight.com

US Condemns Croatian Neo-Nazi March for Trump

The United States condemned a march in support of Donald Trump organised by a marginal Croatian far-right party, at which a German neo-Nazi party’s flag was flown.

image
March supporting US President Donald Trump in Zagreb on Sunday. Photo: BETAPHOTO/HINA/Denis CERIC/DS

The United States embassy in Zagreb on Monday strongly condemned the march staged by the far-right Autochthonous Croatian Party of Right, A-HSP, in the centre of Zagreb on Sunday.

At the march, which was intended to show support to US President Donald Trump, party members waved the US flag, along with the Croatian flag with an unofficial coat of arms resembling the one of Croatian WWII fascist Ustasa movement.

The procession of some 30 people also flew their A-HSP party flag with the Ustasa slogan ‘Za dom spremni’ (‘Ready for the Home(land)’) on it, as well as the flag of the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany, NPD.

“The embassy of the United States most strongly rejects the neo-Nazi and pro-Ustasa views expressed during a demonstration of a few people in Zagreb on Sunday,” the embassy said in its statement.

“We condemn any attempt to link the United States with this odious ideology. Such a suggestion is an insult to the memory of the 186,000 US soldiers killed in Europe in the fight against Nazi Germany and several million innocent victims killed during World War II,” it added.

The Croatian government also condemned the event on Sunday.

“[We] strongly condemn today’s lining-up of members of the A-HSP party in Zagreb, which promotes the Ustasa ideology and Nazism, thus attacking the fundamental values of the Croatian constitutional system,” the government said in a statement.

It added that such actions were intended to “incite fear and intolerance in society”.

Although the march was legally announced to the police, which ensured the security of the participants, A-HSP president Drazen Keleminec was arrested for shouting 'Za dom spremni', which is a misdemeanour under Croatian law.

Keleminec said on Sunday that a representative of the German far-right NPD party, Alexander Neidlein, was also present on the march to assist the A-HSP’s cause.

“Alexander Neidlein is here among us, a friend who came to us today to give support for the independent and sovereign state of Croatia in the battle against the Satan which rules the Croatian state,” he said.

He then shouted “Za dom spremni”, insisting that nobody could ban him from voicing the Ustasa slogan in public.

He explained that his party supports Trump because of his politics, especially his anti-immigration and anti-EU stances.

Keleminec however rejected comparisons with the nationalist Serbian Radical Party, which also publically supported Trump.

Some questioned how the police allowed such an event to take place, because in 2015, then Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic, of the former centre-left government, rejected an attempt by the A-HSP to rally its members on Zagreb’s central square.

Boris Miletic, the president of the centre-left Istrian Democratic Assembly, argued that it should have been stopped.

“This is a pure Nazi parade. It is hard to imagine a higher form of primitivism in 2017 than this shameful and dangerous parade. I’m disgusted by the fact that such a thing can be organised in Croatia, and that law enforcement doesn’t prevent it starting,” Miletic said on Sunday.

Miletic urged the government and the Croatian president to condemn “every act of reviving Croatia’s dark history, every piece of hate speech and any representation of intolerance towards minorities”.

The A-HSP is known for its protests at which it expresses support for the Ustasa legacy and confronts anti-fascist groups.

Between 1941 and 1945, the Ustasa movement ran a Nazi-aligned puppet state called the Independent State of Croatia and committed crimes against Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascists.

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Hrvatske obrambene snage / Croatian Defence Forces veterans #racist balkaninsight.com

Fascist Slogan Near Croatia Concentration Camp Sparks Anger

Serb politicians have condemned a memorial plaque with a fascist slogan which was installed by Croatian war veterans and right-wing politicians near the Jasenovac WWII concentration camp.

Serb politicians in Croatia and Serbia on Sunday strongly criticised former members of the Croatian Defence Forces, HOS, and right-wing politicians for installing a memorial plaque with the Croatian World War II fascist Ustaša slogan ‘Za dom spremni’ (‘Ready for the Home(land)’) near the site of the former Ustaša concentration camp at Jasenovac.

Croatian weekly newspaper [i]Novosti[/i] reported on Friday that the politicians and an association of former HOS fighters installed the plaque with its legally registered coat of arms, which includes the ‘Za dom spremni’ slogan, in November in the Jasenovac municipality, near the former concentration camp.

The plaque veterans commemorates 11 fighters from the HOS’s ‘Ante Paradzik’ company who died during the 1990s war.

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Croatian MP Milorad Pupovac, a leader of the country’s Serb minority, said that that a month had passed since the plaque was installed and there had been no reaction from senior Croatian officials, the police or the state attorney’s office.

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Julija Kos, a retired librarian from the Jewish community in Zagreb, whose relatives were killed in the camp responded with a long letter in which she called on President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Interior Minister Vlaho Orepic to take action over the plaque.

“You [Plenkovic] won the elections by attracting moderate voters of different orientations, and you consciously sacrificed some of the [right-wing] ‘hawks’ in your [party’s] ranks - was it just an election trick? Is that only an external gloss, but under that there is… still a rotten extreme right?” Kos wrote in the letter.

However, controversial former culture minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic told regional TV network N1 that ‘Za dom spremni’ was engraved on the plaque as part of the legally-registered HOS coat of arms.

Hasanbegovic rejected suggestions that it was similar to engraving ‘Sieg Heil’ near the site of the Auschwitz death camp, and insisted that the plaque was not even near the former Jasenovac camp.

“You can’t identify [the municipality] with the memorial area. Imagine the whole place being burdened by the crimes. Jasenovac is a town,” he said.

The HOS was founded in 1991 at the beginning of the war in Croatia as a paramilitary unit and the military wing of the far-right Croatian Party of Rights, then integrated into the regular Croatian Army in 1992.

Under the rule of the Nazi-aligned Independent State of Croatia between 1941 and 1945, Serbs, Jews and Roma were persecuted under racial laws modelled on those of Nazi Germany.

According to research by the Jasenovac Memorial Site, 83,145 Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascists were identified on the name-by-name list of those who died at the concentration camp during the war, a figure which is not final.

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Branimir Glavaš & HDSSB #racist balkaninsight.com

Slovenian Rockers Laibach to Sue Croatian Right-Wingers

Slovenian avant-garde rockers Laibach have threatened to sue a Croatian right-wing political party for using one of the band’s best-known songs in a promotional video.

Laibach said on Thursday that they will file a lawsuit for copyright infringement against the right-wing Croatian Democratic Assembly of Slavonia and Baranja, HDSSB party after it used their song ‘Geburt einer Nation’ in a promotional video without permission.

The HDSSB, whose honorary president is Croatian war crimes suspect Branimir Glavas, used the song from Laibach’s 1987 album ‘Opus Dei’ album in a video to promote a uniformed party youth unit called the Slavonian Hawk Guard.

The Slavonian Hawk Guard video with the song in the background was shown at a party rally, but it was also broadcast by local television and therefore made public and subject to the copyright infringement allegation.

The guard was first shown in a video made by Croatian newspaper 24 Sata, which showed a group of young men dressed in black uniforms carrying party, Croatian and regional flags.

Their training was supervised by Glavas, who was released from prison in January due to procedural issues in his trial for war crimes against Serb civilians in Osijek in eastern Croatia in 1991. He is currently awaiting retrial.

Glavas has insisted that the Slavonian Hawk Guard is not “a party army” but a “sports and recreation section, which will also take care of security [at party events and rallies]”.

The wartime commander also made headlines recently when pictures of him posing with a bottle of wine with Adolf Hitler’s face on the label were posted on Facebook.