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22th December 2008
CROATIANS
WHO ARE THEY AND WHAT DO THEY WANT?
A 1902 EXPLANATION IN THE LEADING CHICAGO PAPER
Introductory Remarks
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(
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Monday, 13th. October 2008
Croatians in America
HELEN CRLENKOVICH

(1921-1955)
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
VINKO GECAN
"Our Hero"

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 for himself.
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 Bosnia-Herzegovina.
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 care.

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.

George Rudman
President, Croatian American Association


CROATIAN 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 (B-H).

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 in Croatia.
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 refugee return.
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 unresolved.

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 National President.
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 matter."

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



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