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FTR #293 Retrospective on the Balkan Wars

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MP3 Side 1 [1] | Side 2 [2]
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With ten­sions flar­ing anew in the Balka­ns, this pro­gram reviews and sup­ple­ments pre­vi­ous pro­grams on the dis­in­te­gra­tion of the for­mer Yugoslavia, with par­tic­u­lar empha­sis on the piv­otal role of Ger­many and what Mr. Emory calls “the Under­ground Reich” in the breakup of that coun­try.

1. The pro­gram begins with dis­cus­sion of renewed Croa­t­ian nation­al­ism and unrest in Bosnia/Herzegovina. The Croa­t­ian pop­u­la­tion in Bosnia has been agi­tat­ing for inde­pen­dence from the new­ly cre­at­ed state. “The inter­na­tion­al admin­is­tra­tion in Bosnia, which with 20,000 peace­keep­ers has spent five years try­ing to res­ur­rect this dam­aged and bit­ter­ly divid­ed town, is now itself under attack . . . .The sit­u­a­tion, already tense, turned explo­sive nine days ago, when the inter­na­tion­al admin­is­tra­tion, which was put in place after the 1995 peace accord that end­ed the war, ordered raids on Herze­go­v­ac­ka Bank here and nine of its branch­es. The move was aimed at break­ing the hold of increas­ing­ly unco­op­er­a­tive Bosn­ian Croat nation­al­ists and at smash­ing their monop­oly on eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal pow­er by cut­ting off a life­line through the banks. But the inter­na­tion­al admin­is­tra­tion appears to have under­es­ti­mat­ed the response to the raid, which end­ed in riots that forced [U.N. admin­is­tra­tor Col­in] Munro and his staff to aban­don their offices and leave under jeers and curs­es from an angry mob.” (“Nation­al­ist Fires, Fanned by Croats, Singe Sara­je­vo Again” by Car­lot­ta Gall; New York Times; 4/16/2001; p. A3.)

2. Much of the first side con­sists of an excerpt from FTR-154, detail­ing the deci­sive influ­ence of Ger­many in pre­cip­i­tat­ing the dis­so­lu­tion of the Yugosla­vian nation. That broad­cast, in turn, refers to a white paper pre­sent­ed at a sym­po­sium on the Balka­ns war that was held in Chica­go on August 31 and Sep­tem­ber 1, 1995. Authored by T.W. “Bill” Carr, the paper is enti­tled “Ger­man and US Involve­ment in the Balka­ns: A Care­ful Coin­ci­dence of Nation­al Poli­cies?” The excerpts high­light Ger­many’s shep­herd­ing of the seces­sion of Slove­nia and Croa­t­ia from Yugoslavia. It was the seces­sion of those states that dis­solved Yugoslavia.

3. The Carr paper ana­lyzes the Ger­man role in the Balka­ns dur­ing World War II, with par­tic­u­lar empha­sis on the Third Reich pup­pet state of Croa­t­ia. The Croa­t­ian Ustachi were allied with Hitler and close­ly sup­port­ed by the Vat­i­can. The Ustachi regime bru­tal­ly per­se­cut­ed Serbs, killing more than 500,000. Croa­t­ian pres­i­dent Fran­jo Tudj­man vis­it­ed Ger­many in 1987, appar­ent­ly mak­ing clan­des­tine arrange­ments for the seces­sion of Croa­t­ia from the Yugoslav fed­er­a­tion. (Idem.)

4. It should be not­ed that Croa­t­ia received a $2 bil­lion, inter­est-free loan from the Knights of Mal­ta, while still part of Yugoslavia. (The Sov­er­eign Mil­i­tary Order of Mal­ta is an elite order of Vat­i­can knights with strong con­nec­tions to the cen­ters of pow­er in the U.S. and Ger­many.( (Idem.)

5. The Ger­man and Vat­i­can assis­tance helped fan the flames of Croa­t­ian nation­al­ism, which cul­mi­nat­ed in the seces­sion of Croa­t­ia (along with Slove­nia) from Yugoslavia. The seces­sion­ist Croat regime began imme­di­ate­ly reca­pit­u­lat­ing key aspects of the Ustachi ter­ror. The ban­ners, anthems and ide­ol­o­gy of the Ustachi were recre­at­ed. More impor­tant­ly, Serbs were required to car­ry doc­u­men­ta­tion that per­mit­ted Croat secu­ri­ty forces to iden­ti­fy them as Serbs. Croa­t­ian Catholic Bish­ops blessed the Croa­t­ian secu­ri­ty forces as they marched out into the coun­try­side to con­duct eth­nic cleans­ing. (More than 200,000 Serbs were “eth­ni­cal­ly cleansed” in Croa­t­ia in 1991 alone.) (Idem.)

6. In addi­tion to its vital diplo­mat­ic sup­port, Ger­many equipped the fledg­ling Croa­t­ian army with sophis­ti­cat­ed Sovi­et-man­u­fac­tured weapon­ry that the Fed­er­al Repub­lic had inher­it­ed from the for­mer East Ger­many. (Idem.)

7. Ger­many took the lead in pres­sur­ing the EU to rec­og­nize the inde­pen­dence of Croa­t­ia and Slove­nia. Ini­tial­ly, the EU vot­ed 11 to 1 to main­tain the integri­ty of Yugoslavia. Ger­many, how­ev­er, pres­sured the EU to accede to its view­point and even­tu­al­ly the EU agreed to rec­og­nize the inde­pen­dence of the break­away republics. In effect, the Maas­tricht Treaty and Euro­pean uni­ty were held hostage to Ger­man desires to frag­ment Yugoslavia. Ger­many was the first Euro­pean nation to rec­og­nize Croa­t­ian and Sloven­ian inde­pen­dence, fol­lowed soon after by Vat­i­can diplo­mat­ic recog­ni­tion. (Idem.)

8. Among the most vocif­er­ous advo­cates for Croa­t­ian and Sloven­ian inde­pen­dence was Otto von Haps­burg, the heir to the throne of the Aus­tro-Hun­gar­i­an Empire. (Cre­at­ed after World War I, Yugoslavia had been part of the Aus­tro-Hun­gar­i­an Empire.) Haps­burg, him­self, has overt fas­cist sym­pa­thies. “The final esca­la­tion was reserved for Otto von Haps­burg, a CSU del­e­gate to the Euro­pean par­lia­ment and the son of the last Aus­tri­an emper­or; since 1973 he has also been pres­i­dent of the ultra-right Pan-Europa Union and a mem­ber of the Free­dom for Rudolf Hess Com­mit­tee.” (The New Reich: Vio­lent Extrem­ism in Uni­fied Ger­many and Beyond; Michael Schmidt; Copy­right 1993 [HC]; Pan­theon Books; ISBN 0–679-42578–0; p. 137.)

9. Otto’s son Karl von Haps­burg mar­ried Francesca Thyssen-Borne­misza, the daugh­ter of Hein­rich Thyssen Borne­misza. (avail­able at a genealog­i­cal web site http://members.aol.com/eurostamm/thysen.html.)

10. Hein­rich Thyssen Borne­misza is an heir to the Thyssen inter­ests, in turn, a prin­ci­pal ele­ment of the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion. The eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal com­po­nent of a Third Reich gone under­ground, the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion con­trols cor­po­rate Ger­many and much of the rest of the world. Cre­at­ed and run by Mar­tin Bor­mann, the orga­ni­za­tion­al genius who was the “the pow­er behind the throne” in Nazi Ger­many, the Bor­mann group is a pri­ma­ry ele­ment of the analy­sis pre­sent­ed in the For the Record pro­grams.

11. “Hein­rich Thyssen-Borne­misza runs his pri­vate Dutch-based invest­ment group from Lugano, Switzer­land, and his cousin Count Fed­eri­co Zichy-Thyssen, grand­son of old Fritz Thyssen, exer­cis­es con­trol over Thyssen A.G. from his base in Buenos Aires.” (Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Man­ning; Copy­right 1981 [HC]; Lyle Stu­art Inc.; ISBN 0–8184-0309–8; P. 237.)

12. Inter­est­ing­ly (and per­haps sig­nif­i­cant­ly), the Haps­burg/Thyssen-Borne­misza wed­ding took place in Zagreb, the capi­tol of Croa­t­ia. The sig­nif­i­cance of the Hapsburg/Thyssen is not one to be under­es­ti­mat­ed.

13. The sec­ond half of the pro­gram begins with dis­cus­sion of renewed ten­sions between the eth­nic Alban­ian minor­i­ty in Mace­do­nia and that coun­try’s Slav­ic major­i­ty. Fight­ing between the rebels and gov­ern­ment forces has threat­ened the region’s sta­bil­i­ty. “Eth­nic Alba­ni­ans fight­ing in Mace­do­nia are a mot­ley group rep­re­sent­ing diverg­ing inter­ests. Thought to num­ber no more than 1,000, they can cause hav­oc and have the poten­tial to desta­bi­lize the repub­lic . . . . The fund­ing, con­trol and arm­ing of the rebels remains unclear. In Switzer­land, home to more than 100,000 Koso­vo Alba­ni­ans and with Ger­many a cen­ter of the eth­nic Alban­ian dias­po­ra, offi­cials said they were mon­i­tor­ing fundrais­ing by Alban­ian groups . . . . From Pristi­na, the Koso­vo cap­i­tal, it is not clear what kind of rela­tion­ship the new armed Mace­don­ian Alba­ni­ans might have with oth­er rad­i­cal armed Alban­ian orga­ni­za­tions oper­at­ing in Koso­vo and Pre­se­vo val­ley in south­ern Ser­bia . . . . There is lit­tle doubt that the GSZ has been used by smug­glers. Intel­li­gence sources say they have no doubt weapons and mon­ey are being chan­neled to the KLA from eth­nic Alban­ian groups in Ger­many, Bel­gium and Switzer­land.” (“Mot­ley Band of Rebels and Smug­glers” by Judy Dempsey; Finan­cial Times; 3/22/2001; p. 3.)

14. In order to pro­vide his­tor­i­cal back­ground to the eth­nic Alban­ian unrest, the broad­cast sets forth insti­tu­tion­al and oper­a­tional links between two Mus­lim Waf­fen SS divi­sions cre­at­ed dur­ing World War II and Mus­lim and Alban­ian com­bat­ants in the Balka­ns today.

15. Excerpt­ing FTR#161, the pro­gram high­lights the 13th Waf­fen SS (Han­jar) Divi­sion. Com­posed of Balkan Mus­lims, the unit wore fezzes with the tra­di­tion­al Waf­fen SS uni­forms. This divi­sion was assem­bled with the assis­tance of Haj Amin Al-Hus­sei­ni, the so-called Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. A major in the SS, Al-Hus­sei­ni was a key Ger­man spy dur­ing World War II, as well as a major oper­a­tive on behalf of what Mr. Emory calls “the Under­ground Reich.” As a young man, Bosn­ian pres­i­dent Ali­ja Izetbe­gov­ic was a mem­ber of and recruiter for the Han­jar Divi­sion! (From a let­ter to David Binder of The New York Times, writ­ten by Milan Bula­jic, a Ser­bian expert on war crimes com­mit­ted in the Balka­ns by Axis forces dur­ing World War II. Bula­jic could be thought of as the Ser­bian Simon Weisen­thal. The let­ter quotes ver­ba­tim from the tran­script of Izetbe­gov­ic’s tri­al.)

16. Izetbe­gov­ic did not deny the charges of hav­ing worked for Hus­sei­ni and the Han­jar Divi­sion, but mere­ly excused his actions on the basis of hav­ing been very young at the time. He was sen­tenced to three years in prison. (Ibid.)

17. It is impor­tant to note in that con­text that after Izetbe­gov­ic became head of the new­ly inde­pen­dent state of Bosnia, he estab­lished an elite divi­sion named Han­jar, and pat­terned after the 13th Waf­fen SS. (Some Call It Peace: Wait­ing for War in the Balka­ns; by Joseph Bodan­sky; Copy­right 1996 [HC]; The Inter­na­tion­al Media Cor­po­ra­tion.)

18. The unit func­tioned as the per­son­al guard unit of the Bosn­ian polit­i­cal lead­er­ship and also as a “spe­cial forces” unit that was deployed in sup­port of oth­er mil­i­tary for­ma­tions. (Idem.)

19. Com­posed pri­mar­i­ly of non-Bosn­ian Balka­ns (includ­ing eth­nic Alba­ni­ans), the unit was trained and led by Arab and Pak­istani vet­er­ans of the Afghan con­flict. (Idem.)

20. In 1993, U.N. observers not­ed that the re-cre­at­ed Han­jar was engaged in force pro­jec­tion into Koso­vo and Mace­do­nia and they fore­cast that con­flict would break out in those areas. (Idem.) Their pre­dic­tion proved to be accu­rate.

21. Next, the pro­gram reca­pit­u­lates anoth­er seg­ment of FTR#161. In addi­tion to the 13th Waf­fen SS, there was anoth­er Balkan Waf­fen SS divi­sion, the 21st or Skan­der­beg Divi­sion. (The name is mis­pro­nounced “Skan­der­berg” in the pro­gram.) The 21st Waf­fen SS Divi­sion was com­posed pri­mar­i­ly of Koso­var Alba­ni­ans, and the bulk of the fight­ers in the Koso­vo Lib­er­a­tion Army are the sons and grand­sons of men who had fought in the pro-Axis Alban­ian mil­i­tary for­ma­tions in World War II — espe­cial­ly the Skan­der­beg Divi­sion. (“Kosovo’s Next Mas­ters” by Chris Hedges; For­eign Affairs; May-June/ 1999 [Vol­ume 78, #3].)

22. The broad­cast also reviews infor­ma­tion about mil­i­tary sup­port for the KLA ren­dered by Ger­man intel­li­gence. (Ger­many Alert; 11/9/98.)

23. Weapons were chan­neled to the Alban­ian mil­i­tary and, through them, to the KLA. (Idem.)

24. Next, the broad­cast reca­pit­u­lates an excerpt of FTR-184. The com­man­der of the inter­na­tion­al peace keep­ing force in Koso­vo was Ger­man Gen­er­al Klaus Rein­hardt, the son of Fritz Rein­hardt, the Deputy Min­is­ter of Finance dur­ing the Third Reich. (“Geno­cide and the Ter­ri­ble Nazi Secret of the Ger­man Who Leads British Troops” by Christo­pher Evans; The Dai­ly Mail; 10/2/99.)

25. The elder Rein­hardt had func­tioned as the pri­ma­ry offi­cial in the Finance Min­istry under Count Lutz Schw­erin von Krosigk, whose duties were large­ly per­func­to­ry. (Idem.) (For more about von Krosigk, see RFA‑1.)

26. The plun­der­ing of Pol­ish Jew­ry (pri­or to their exter­mi­na­tion) was named “Oper­a­tion Rein­hardt” after Fritz. (Idem.)

27. The pro­gram under­scores the fact that, as the prin­ci­pal offi­cial of the Nazi Finance Min­istry until the end of the war, the elder Rein­hardt must have worked close­ly with Mar­tin Bor­mann in the flight cap­i­tal pro­gram. In addi­tion (as not­ed in FTR-155), the lead­ers of the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion are the sons (and in some cas­es, daugh­ters) of key Third Reich offi­cials and mil­i­tary offi­cers. It seems prob­a­ble, under the cir­cum­stances, that the younger Rein­hardt works for the Bor­mann group.

28. The broad­cast con­cludes with spec­u­la­tion by Mr. Emory that, if the ten­sions in Mace­do­nia con­tin­ue, Ger­many will fill the mil­i­tary vac­u­um that appears cer­tain to result from the Bush admin­is­tra­tion’s stat­ed intent to dis­tance the Unit­ed States from fur­ther mil­i­tary involve­ment in the region. (FTRs 273 and 278 set forth infor­ma­tion indi­cat­ing that the Bush admin­is­tra­tion may be an exten­sion of the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion.) Ger­many has beefed up its mil­i­tary com­mit­ment in Koso­vo in response to the fight­ing in Mace­do­nia. “Ger­many said it was send­ing para­troop­ers to Koso­vo to add to its peace­keep­ing con­tin­gent, which patrols the Kosovo’s south­ern bor­der with Mace­do­nia around the Teto­vo region. It also has 1,000 troops in Mace­do­nia pro­vid­ing back­up for the peace­keep­ers in Koso­vo, some of whom are based in Teto­vo, right next to a Mace­don­ian Army base.” (“Mace­do­nia Uses Heli­copters against Rebels for First Time” by Car­lot­ta Gall; New York Times; 3/25/2001; p. 8.)