"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Where are they Now ? Pt 322(b) General Ante Gotovina

Friday, December 9
Ante Gotovina - A man with interesting friends in Virginia

On Thursday December 9th 2005, Former Croat General Ante Gotovina, who was then on the run from the the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), was arrestedin Tenerife.(Gotovina's passports revealed that he had been in Tahiti, Argentina, Chile, China, Russia, the Czech Republic, Mauritania, and Mauritius, but not Croatia.)Pic BBC

Gotovina, who is a former French legionnaire and mercenary,retired from the Croatian army in 2000 after earning a hero's status (memorably by Croatian tennis star Goran Ivanisovic at the 1991 Wimbledon Championships), in the 1991- 95 war for Croatia's independence from Yugoslavia.

In August 1995, the previously inept Croatian army launched "Operation Storm," a U.S.-style military offensive designed to take back part of the country held throughout the war by rebel Serbs, and patrolled by UN forces.

The United States not only monitored the complete Operation Storm, but they also actively participated with the Croatian Military in its preparation, and in the end directly initiated the operation. The green light from the White House and then President Clinton for Operation Storm was passed on by Colonel Richard C. Herrick, then US military attaché in Zagreb. Several days prior to the commencement of Operation Storm, Herrick visited Markica Rebić in Zagreb. Rebić, Miroslav Tuđman, then director of HIS and Miro Međimurac, then head of SIS, held the most intensive discussions with the American military and intelligence agencies.

Herrick usefully had as an assistant and his assistant Ivan Šarac, a Croatian NCO who was sent to Zagreb at the beginning of the war there as he was familiar with the circumstances and knew the language.

Herrick passed on the message that the US had no opposition to the beginning of Operation Storm, that the operation had to be 'clean and fast' and had to be completed in 5 days time.

BIll Clinton in his "My Life, Vol II The Presidential Years," p265, 2004, 2005 said "Because we knew Bosnia's survival was at stake, we had not tightly enforced the arms embargo. As a result, both the Croatians and the Bosnians were able to get some arms, which helped them survive. We had also authorized a private company to use retired US military personnel to improve and train the Croatian army."

This Private firm was ..

Military Professional Resources Inc. 1201 E. Abingdon Dr Alexandria, VA

MPRI reported annual sales of $95 million from numerous contracts with the U.S. and foreign governments to provide military training and consulting, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

In 1994 and 1995, MPRI was paid millions of dollars under a U.S. overnment-sanctioned contract to train the Croatian military. Photos taken at the time are said to show Gotovina together with US military advisors

"Operation Lightning Storm", was launched against the Krajina region in which Serbian villages were sacked and burned, hundreds of civilians were killed and 170,000 were left homeless. The operation was a textbook illustration of western military doctrine. "The Croatians did a good job of coordinating armor,artillery and infantry", says Roger Charles, a retired marine lieutenant colonel and military researcher. "That's not something you learn while being instructed about democratic values."

The truth is the United States which provided logistical support,jammed Serbian radio communications and radar, and closely monitored all Serbian troop movements using unmanned spy planes (UAV's), which operated from Brac island just off the Croatian
coast (ops later moved to Sepurina airport nr. Zadar after being exposed on New Years Day by the German Embassy staff). All the resulting information was passed on immediately to the Croatian armed forces, with Washington hoping that the Serbs would be beaten back quickly and thus forced to agree to take part in

Richard Holbrooke, quite the nastiest piece of work who was ever employed by the US Government, in his book "To End A War"(1998) referred to the Croatian army as his "junkyard dogs" and acknowledges that the Croatian army was used to inflict substantial losses on the Milosevic-controlled Yugoslav army and shift momentum of the war.

Critics charged that MPRI provided training and tactical skills that enabled the Croatian military to perpetrate one of the largest episodes of ethnic cleansing in the breakup of former Yugoslavia, in an offensive that left hundreds dead and 150,000 homeless. MPRI denied those charges. A fterwards, the Croatian government expressed its gratitude to MPRI for its help in training its military. MPRI was later hired to train the new Bosnian army after the Dayton Peace Accords ended the war in former Yugoslavia. In which General Jay Garner , later the first Baghdad Pro consul was involved as an employee of MPRI and associated companies of the Virginia based L3 group with impeccable connections the the Pentagon and the White House.

In early 1996 Assistant Secretary of State, Richard Holbrooke told Congress that the training of Bosnian forces by MPRI "can begin as soon as the contracts are worked out" --that's contracts, plural, because the $400 million program was paid for largely by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

In reality the need for speed expressed by Herrick was demanded by Bill Clinton who needed a quick solution to the Balkans "crisis" in order to halt his Presidential opponent Bob Dole's initiatives and to prove himself before his voters as a decisive president which were screened daily on the US TV.

In order to keep the English and French off his back, Clinton bypassed normal diplomatic channels, (Holbrooke's speciality) in order to be able to claim that he had not participated if the operation were to go belly up.

Of course this help came at a price , Croatia supplied the US with DIA Russian 500 kg underwater mines and the most modern Russian torpedos as well as the encrypted codes used by the Yugoslav Army and the Russian army...as well as the location of a agency revealed the location of a chemical weapons factory in Bijelo polje near Mostar which the Serbs had transferred to Serbia.

With the help of samples found, the American experts were able to uncover all the types of toxins produced there which had possibly been sold to Iraq or other potential enemies of the US. This was only the beginning of cooperation, by which the US immediately delivered wiretapping equipment aimed at monitoring Serbia and Montenegro, a system which could simultaneously record 20,000 telephone conversations. This cooperation was conducted with the US NSA.

A prominent supporter of Ante Gotovina has revealed the Croatian general indicted for war crimes will try to embarrass the US if he is put on trial."If it comes to an arrest, General Gotovina's defence team will call on individuals from the United States to testify," said a friend of the controversial former army commander, Nenad Ivankovic, who is head of the right-wing organisation HONOS, the Association for the Protection of the Values of the Homeland War.

Gotovina's supporters say two prominent US diplomats, Peter Galbraith (US Ambassador in Zagreb) and Richard Holbrooke, should be allowed to testify if the general eventually stands trial, as they could prove that he fought a clean war and reveal the extent of American involvement in the conflict. Gotovina enjoyed close contact with Galbraith, the US ambassador to Zagreb, and believes he could confirm that the general had observed the rules of war during Operation Storm.

The former and very experienced BBC Balkans correspondent, briefly an indpendent MP , Martin Bell has said it is vitally important that witnesses such as Galbraith and Holbrooke are called in the event of Gotovina being tried. "The general's liberty is at stake so he should be able to call on whoever can aid his defence," said Bell.

So far however 9 months after his being seized from his sunny hideaway nothing has been heard about preparations for his trial.

However ... Croatia was formally granted the status of European Union (EU) candidate country in June 2004. The failure of the Croatian authorities to fully cooperate with the Tribunal, including by arresting and transferring to the (ICTY)Tribunal’s custody Ante Gotovina, delayed the launch of EU accession negotiation. EU member states decided to begin accession talks with Croatia only on 3 October 2005, after the Tribunal Prosecutor concluded that “for a few weeks now” Croatia had been cooperating fully with the Tribunal.

Croatia hosts the ambition to join the EU before the next European Parliament elections in 2009. However, according to EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, Croatia will not join the EU until the end of this decade, although it will probably be the “first to meet all necessary conditions” and therefore be the “the next country on the list”, said Rehn.

Rehn himself said, after Romania and Bulgaria, the EU would not be able to receive any more members without a new "institutional settlement".

With London's hotels and entertainment industry flooded with East Europeans, brothels run by Albanians, and the streets full of Polish plumbers, soon to be joined by floods of Romanians and Bulgarians...there will be little interest in pursuing Croatian or Turkish entry by the UK.

Of course there will be litle interest in Washington in letting General Gotovina explain to an astonished but interested world the help he got from the US for the ethnic cleanisng of (variously) 150,000 - 200,000 Serbs from Krajina.

Perhaps arresting General Gotovina wasn't such a bright idea after all.

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