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Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Feb.22, 1996
issue of Workers World newspaper
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New reports show secret U.S. role in Balkan war

By Gary Wilson

The big-power rivalries behind the civil war that has ripped Yugoslavia apart remain mostly unknown in the public perception of events.

But new reports that show the hidden hand of the imperialist powers of the U.S., Germany, Britain and France continue to surface. On Jan. 29, the British daily The Guardian headlined a story "Bosnia: The Secret War."

The report said: "Despite official denials, the CIA and other American `secret services,' including the CIA's Pentagon cousin the DIA, have been engaged deep within Bosnia's war since its inception."

The CIA and other "secret services" have been deeply involved in the Bosnian war since its inception. That is precisely what Sara Flounders of the International Action Center and other anti-imperialist progressives have charged from the beginning. Flounders is author of "Bosnia Tragedy:

The Unknown Role of the U.S. Government & Pentagon."

Roots of war in Western capitols

The roots of the civil war and the deadly destruction it has wrought are to be found in Washington, Bonn, London and Paris.

One report providing some details is a recently published speech by T.W. "Bill" Carr, associate publisher of the London-based Defense & Foreign Affairs magazine.

Carr gave this speech at a symposium on the Balkan war in Chicago on Aug. 31-Sept. 1. Although it is most notable for leaving out the role of the British as well as French and Italian governments, the speech contains many details of the hidden role of the German and U.S. governments.

The lengthy speech covers Bonn's and Washington's role in breaking up Yugoslavia and arming nationalist counter-revolutionary forces-particularly those led by Franjo Tudjman in Croatia and Alija Izetbegovic in Bosnia.

Secret meeting with German ministers

Carr says: "Reliable intelligence sources claimed in 1990 that in 1988 Mr. Tudjman paid a secret visit to the Federal Republic of Germany and met with Chancellor Kohl and other senior government ministers. It was said that the aim of the visit was to formulate a joint policy to break up Yugoslavia, leading to the recreation of a new independent State of Croatia with international borders in the form originally set up by the German chancellor, Adolf Hitler, in 1941.

"At a secret meeting in Bonn, the German government pledged its political, financial and covert military support for Croatia's secession from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia."

This, Carr says, "fitted neatly into Germany's strategic objectives in respect to the Balkans." That includes bringing "Croatia and Slovenia within the German economic zone [and] gaining direct access to the Adriatic and Mediterranean."

Carr says that in order to finance the secession forces under Tudjman, Germany arranged an interest-free $2 billion loan. Tudjman was the president of the Croatian republic that, at the time, was still part of Yugoslavia. The loan was never reported to the central Yugoslav government, as required by law.

"The reunification of the two Germanys and modernization of the East German armed forces made available a substantial pool of weapons and military instructors for arming and training of a Croatian militia. During late 1989 and throughout 1990 arms flowed from Germany to Croatia to equip militia units."

Carr says Tudjman used the funds to establish the National Guard Corps (ZNG). "The ZNG was not a `national' force in the accepted meaning of the word, rather it was the ultra-nationalist, neo-Ustashi military wing of Tudjman's HDZ political party, in the same way that the Brownshirts of the 1930s acted as the vanguard enforcement wing of Hitler's National Party."

The ZNG wears the same insignia as the fascist Ustashi of 1941. And mercenary units recruited in Europe and the U.S. have been reported to carry the Nazi flag.

Exposes U.S. Maneuvers

Carr also details much of the maneuvering of the U.S. government. He says that the most notable feature of U.S. secret policy in the beginning was making military threats against the Yugoslav army unless it completely surrendered to U.S. demands.

Carr offers a description of one memorable interaction between U.S. military officers and the Yugoslav Army's top staff.

"A senior U.S. officer was introduced as having wide experience in the Vietnam war and that his armored units in the Gulf war had destroyed seven Iraqi armored divisions. The threat was made to send him to the Balkans to do a similar destruction job on the JNA [Yugoslav National Army]," Carr says.

But, "despite having been told not to argue by [Yugoslav] Gen. Panic, the [Yugoslav] Chief of Military Intelligence could not resist saying that the U.S. officer had lost in Vietnam and he would find the mountains of Bosnia and Serbia much tougher than a flat desert."

Carr shows how the U.S. government created a joint Croatian and Bosnian military command. "At the same time, the U.S. government dispatched to Croatia, Bosnia, Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, a number of `recently retired' U.S. Army officers as `advisers.'"

These advisers developed a coordinated military strategy to defeat the Krajina Serbs and trained the Croatian and Bosnian officer corps. "While this training was in progress, intelligence sources claim the advisers brought in U.S. Special Forces," Carr says. "Though initially denied, the deployment of the U.S. Special Forces was later admitted by a U.S. government spokesman."

The Bosnian Army is headed by a U.S. general, Carr says. U.S. Army Gen. John Galvin-a former NATO commander and recently the head of West Point-"planned and executed" a Bosnian Army offensive last year.

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