22th December 2008
WHO ARE THEY AND WHAT DO THEY WANT?
A 1902 EXPLANATION IN THE LEADING CHICAGO PAPER
The letter below, signed by an ex-attaché was published in the Chicago Daily Tribune on September 14, 1902. The news media of the day was reporting on events in Croatia and among the Croatians in America. In order to have a better understanding of the content of the letter, here are a few remarks on the historical circumstances in Croatia at the time, and on the 1902 mining strike in Pennsylvania that the author refers to(more)
Monday, 13th. October 2008
Croatians in America
Renowned Awards-winning Springboard Diver
We all viewed this past summer's Olympic Games eagerly. We stood in awe of the charming presentations at the opening and closing ceremonies. A manifestation such as that can only take place in a land overflowing with hundreds of millions of citizens and in a land with a political system wherein all must "dance" to the tune set by their political leaders. Nonetheless, our true sense of awe must go to the athletes who, day in and day out, year after year, perfected their talents and managed to achieve the pinnacle of success. (more)
Jottings from the History of Croatians in America
In ancient times, heroes were honored as demigods, and for one to die a heroic death in battle was to enter into the immortal halls of fame. Today we consider a person to be a hero who unselfishly risks, or loses his life for another, for one's neighbor. But who is my neighbor? Keep in mind the teaching from the New Testament-every man is my neighbor. (more)
40TH CONVENTION OF AMERICAN SLAVISTS
PHILADELPHIA - November 20-23, 2008
The 40th National Conventions of the ASEES (AAASS) will be held at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown located at 1201 Market Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from Thursday, November 20, 2008 through Sunday, November 23, 2008. presence (more) ......
CROATIAN AMERICAN ASSOCIATION:
A tribute to Frank McCloskey
The Board and Membership of the Croatian American
Association mourn the passing of former Congressman Francis Xavier
McCloskey, one of the true heroes of Croatian Independence.
Accounts of Frank's death on Monday November 3, 2003, after a long
battle with cancer, were carried by the major newspapers throughout
the Western World. The international press recalled him as an outspoken
champion of Bosnia, and he certainly was. But even that description
understates Frank McCloskey's commitment to our Western ideal of freedom
and the courage he demonstrated as the first American politician to
stand up against mass murder in Croatia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The Washington Post came closest to getting it right. The Post obituary
said that Frank was "an outspoken advocate for ending war in
the Balkans" and "was one of the first to call for air strikes
against Serbian positions". However, both The Washington Post
and other publications omitted a crucial piece of information: that
the mild-mannered Frank McCloskey was also the very first member of
Congress willing to risk his own life in a combat zone so that he
could verify with his own eyes that Serb forces were slaughtering
innocent civilians. It was a massacre at the small town of Vocin,
and the memory of that particular act of genocide, that drove Frank
McCloskey in his campaign to end the mass murder of innocent people
in the wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The Post obituary reported that a "1991 fact finding trip to
Bosnia grabbed his passion and attention". But that isn't correct.
Vocin is in Croatia, and that is where the war was in 1991, not in
Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Croatian American Association convinced McCloskey
to visit Croatia and the same organization sponsored the trip. Despite
the threats and objections of the Yugoslav lobby in Washington, Representative
McCloskey decided to take that trip.
On a Sunday morning in December 1991, McCloskey got into a car along
with the CAA's Dado Lozancic and J.P. Mackley and drove to Vocin and
surrounding villages, where Vojislav Seselj's withdrawing Chetniks
had murdered 53 people, most of them elderly men and women. McCloskey
had a close look at every mangled body. Some of them had been shot
in head, others had been burned to death, and at least one had been
dismembered with a chainsaw. The first U.S. citizen to die in the
war was among the dead. Her name was Maria Skender and she was born
in Erie, Pennsylvania. Someone had buried an axe in her forehead.
The next morning McCloskey held a press conference at the Hotel Intercontinental
in Zagreb. There were only a small number of American reporters, and
about the only coverage of note was in USA Today. But the story was
big in Europe, especially in Germany. During the press conference
McCloskey used the "G" word. He called the massacre at Vocin,
and all the others that had happened in Croatia, genocide. He was
the first to put it in that context and like a lot of other things
McCloskey said and did, the reference to genocide caused considerable
consternation at the State Department. In fact, State did not decide
to call these murders genocide until much later, after the deaths
of a quarter million people in three countries.
It was after Vocin that McCloskey, who had never sought much national
attention, became an outspoken critic of the Serbian campaign and
of his colleagues in Washington who continued to insist the conflict
in Croatia was only a "civil war", and something in which
the U.S. had no business interfering. McCloskey went immediately to
Belgrade and accused Slobodan Milosevic of war crimes to his face.
After that he went back to Washington, contacting State Department
officials at the highest levels to which he had access.
He gave Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleberger a complete
briefing, and wondered why nothing was done. When the same Serbian
units that conducted the massacres in Croatia began to spread their
grim work around Bosnia-Herzegovina, McCloskey went to have a look
In 1992, after returning from his first trip to Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina
as a guest of CAA, McCloskey held a press conference at the Foreign
Press Bureau at Hotel Split. In the presence of a State Department
representative, a US Marine Corps officer, and members of the international
press corps, McCloskey called for U.S. led NATO air strikes against
Serbian positions in Bosnia-Herzegovina as a way of ending the war.
When it became clear to him that support would not be forthcoming
from either his party or Administration leaders, McCloskey broke with
the mainstream Democratic party and made history by looking Warren
Christopher in the eye during a hearing on the Balkans and demanding
the Secretary of State's resignation for his conduct of policy toward
In December 1993, at the request of Gojko Susak, the late Croatian
Minister of Defense, McCloskey went to Geneva and helped broker an
uneasy peace between Croats and Muslims fighting each other in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Once again, McCloskey was the first, but this time the State Department
followed his lead and the peace became permanent.
Sadly, when the Washington Accords were actually signed between Croats
and Muslims during the Clinton White House in 1994, McCloskey was
not invited. Undaunted, he elbowed his way into the Old Executive
Office Building to witness the ceremony, and said afterwards the President
had grudgingly acknowledged his presence.
Part of the reason for his distance from his fellow Democrat may have
had to do with the fact that McCloskey had handed President Bill Clinton
his very first foreign policy defeat. But that particular battle was
the beginning of a movement in Congress that transformed the British
backed Clinton policy toward the Balkans. By continually drawing attention
to "ethnic cleansing" in the villages and towns of ex-Yugoslavia,
McCloskey managed to gain the support of a majority of Democrats who,
on every issue but this one, remained loyal to the Administration's
position on non-intervention.
With the help of the CAA and others, McCloskey brokered a broad coalition
of Democrats and Republicans who had listened to his daily calls from
the floor of the U.S. House of representatives to stop the genocide.
They backed legislation called the McCloskey-Gilman bill, which was
intended to lift the arms embargo first against Bosnia and then Croatia.
Despite tough opposition, McCloskey-Gilman overwhelmingly passed the
House of Representatives.
In the U.S. Senate, McCloskey's bill was sponsored by Bob Dole, but
it was Vice president Al Gore who cast the deciding vote and ended
any chance the legislation would pass during that session of Congress.
In 1995, however, when the bill gained the support of Ranking House
Member Henry Hyde, and Bob Dole in the Senate, Frank McCloskey's bill
to lift the U.N. imposed arms embargo became law in the 105th Congress.
Unfortunately, Frank McCloskey was not part of that Congress because
he had been voted out of office by people in southwest Indiana who
could not locate Croatia or Bosnia-Herzegovina, and really didn't
Since he had followed his conscience and broken ranks with the Clinton
White House and with Lee Hamilton and Birch Bayh in the Indiana Democratic
party, Frank McCloskey failed to garner the support he needed to win
a very close election.
In 1994, not long before the elections, Frank McCloskey called Hague
Prosecutor Graham Blewitt into his office. In front of several witnesses,
including Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Roy Gutman, McCloskey
handed Graham Blewitt the evidence collected by CAA on Vocin, which
included post-mortem photographs and personal statements from survivors,
priests and doctors. For many years after that McCloskey periodically
asked the tribunal why nothing had been done about Vocin. Finally,
when the ICTY indicted Milosevic, and then Seselj, Vocin was among
the first cases in the indictments.
McCloskey stood alone when he became the first member of Congress
to campaign against the genocide in disintegrating Yugoslavia. But
before his career in Congress ended, he had been joined by many other
people of conscience, and their combined voices caused the Clinton
Administration to change its policy regarding the role the United
States should play in the conflict between Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina
and Serbia. McCloskey's passionate determination to put the United
States on the right side in this conflict, and to compel the
Administration to stand up against genocide, had made the difference.
In the end, the power of
U.S. intervention that McCloskey had been calling for since 1991 was
initiated in1995. The Clinton Administration began its quiet support
of Croatian Operation Storm and started the bombing of Serb military
targets around Sarajevo.
Frank McCloskey was a devout Roman Catholic.
Please remember to light a candle for him.
President, Croatian American Association
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION LOBBIES KEY DECISION-MAKERS
Washington, D.C. - During its 13th Annual Croatian Days on the Hill,
May 4 - May 6, a national CAA delegation met with White House National
Security Council Advisor on Croatia, Lisa Tepper, and several key
Members of Congress including Henry Hyde (R-IL) to provide expertise
and advice on important U.S. foreign policy issues:
· Accountability of assets of the former Yugoslavia;
· The inequity of debt forgiveness to Serbia;
· The necessity of transparency of U.S. A.I.D. funding in the region;
· The dangers of the "command responsibility" promoted by
the The Hague's International Criminal Court;
· Encouraging political and economic stability in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Vis-a-vis B-H, the CAA promoted the issue of refugee return in the
region based on "dual exchange," the elimination of government
duplication, and a long-term proposal for economic development. The
CAA additionally recommended that the U.S. State Department and international
electoral organizations should not be involved in the next election
On May 6, Lisa Tepper, Director for Southeastern European Affairs
at the National Security Council, briefed a select group of CAA members
in the Old Executive Office Building on U.S. policy toward Croatia
and the region. During this briefing, the CAA was able to identify
disparities and risks inherent in current U.S. policy, which conflicts
with several CAA positions. Furthermore:
· CAA presented compelling reasoning to Tepper why the Adriatic Charter
Partnership Initiative could be detrimental to Croatia's candidacy
to NATO and the EU, and free trade development in the region.
· CAA pointed out that while the liabilities of the former Yugoslavia
have been evenly distributed, the assets have been stripped of millions
of dollars and are not being evenly or fairly divided.
· In response to Tepper's appeal for Croatia to be a "team player"
in the region - and her focus on Serb refugee return, pensions and
multiethnic development - the CAA pressed for Croatia to be considered
on its own merits, and for reciprocity between Croatia and B-H on
· The CAA also encouraged support for Bishop Komarica, the Pope's
upcoming visit to Banja Luka on June 22, and the rebuilding of Catholic
Churches in B-H.
During the additional days of lobbying, members expressed CAA policy
and exchanged ideas in meetings with Congressman Henry Hyde (R-IL),
Congressman Denis Kucinich (D-OH), Congressman Peter Viscloskey (R-IN),
and Congressman Paul Kanjorski (D-PA), all of whom pledged their support
to issues affecting Croatia. In a new format, selected officials addressed
CAA in a Hearing Room on Capitol Hill, during which CAA members discussed
constructive action on these issues with a key adviser to the House
International Relations Committee, several Congressional staffers,
and Consular Representatives from the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia
and the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
At a CAA reception, the esteemed Jeffrey Kuhner, Assistant National
Editor at The Washington Times, addressed CAA members. Mr. Kuhner
shared compelling and cogent arguments on the perils of international
justice at The Hague and how Croatia's future existence could be at
stake if the international legal issue of command responsibility,
the country's economic development and other key matters are left
During the CAA's Annual Board Meeting, consensus was reached on future
objectives; and General Elections continued a trend of promoting younger
members to leadership positions. George Rudman was re-elected as CAA
Among other issues, CAA's 13th Annual Croatian Days on the Hill will
build on Congressional support to promote the following policies and
positions in the coming year:
· The U.S. should remain in Bosnia to prevent an outbreak of hostilities
and work with Bosnian Croat leader Dragan Covic, who assumes the Chairmanship
of the Presidency on June 1st.
· Oppose the overstretched theory of "command responsibility"
against Croatian General Ante Gotovina, since it will be used in a
case against U.S. General Tommy Franks.
· Oppose financial and political favoring of Serbia at the expense
of Croatia, since Serbia provided military arms to Iraq and initiated
the war in the region.
· Monitor the State Department Authorization Bill to avoid future
funding of anti-American organizations in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Although many CAA positions are contrary to views of the current government
in Croatia, the CAA looks forward to working with U.S. government
officials, and individuals and organizations in the region that remain
true to the goal of preserving Croatian heritage and promoting the
interests of Croats worldwide.
For more information on CAA activities visit www.caausa.org
NFCA REQUEST RESULTS IN ADDITIONAL
US FUNDING FOR CROATIA
Washington, D.C. - On September 12, 2002, the
Appropriations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives marked
up and passed legislation entitled the "Foreign Operations, Export
Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, 2003." A
provision added to the Committee's Report -- under the heading "Assistance
for Eastern Europe and the Baltic States" -- provides an additional
$25 million above the President's budget request of $495 million for
this region for Fiscal Year 2003. As the Committee Report to the Bill
reads, "The increase above the budget request is intended for
additional assistance for Montenegro, the Baltic States, Croatia and
regional efforts to solidify democratic gains through the National
Endowment for Democracy and other institutions." The funding
measure is now on its way to the Floor of the House of Representatives
and eventual approval by the full U.S. Congress.
National Federation of Croatian Americans
(NFCA) President John Kraljic said that this potential increase in
economic assistance for which Croatia is eligible "will help
to aid the sustained stabilization and general expansion of the economy
of Croatia. The NFCA in Washington, along with its lobbying firm,
Foley Government and Public Affairs Inc., plans to continue to strongly
support and play an active public affairs role on such important funding
legislation and international affairs initiatives affecting Croatia
in Washington with the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Congress,
and other Federal entities," Kraljic added.
Kraljic also cited the strong support of U.S.
Representatives Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), who serves on the House Appropriations
Committee, and George Radanovich (R-CA). Both Members of Congress
petitioned the Committee to expand this significant international
economic assistance program and to include additional funding for
Croatia, a remarkable achievement in light of the increasingly tight
budget situation in Washington. Kraljic noted that: "It is time
for Croatian Americans to now write to their Congressional Representatives
and ask them to protect this additional funding for Croatia as it
moves through Congress. We must also ask our Members of Congress to
vote to pass the Bill when it comes to the House and Senate Floors
this Fall and ask their Congressional colleagues to support the legislation
(please contact your Member of Congress at 202-225-3121)."
Kraljic further noted that the fight for increased aid is only half
the battle. "We are also concerned that the money be spent wisely
and not be used to provide funding to organizations that do not have
Croatia's best interests at heart. The NFCA will continue to fight
on this front as well to protect the interests of Croatians on this
The NFCA is a Washington, D.C.-based national
umbrella organization that represents over 20 Croatian American groups
and 130,000 members.
For additional information contact:
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF CROATIAN AMERICANS
1329 CONNECTICUT AVENUE, NW WASHINGTON, D.C. 20036
PHONE: (202) 331-2830 NFCAhdq@aol.com FAX: (202) 331-0050