War in the shadows

From Simia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A few years ago I learned with shock and surprise that in the 1960s and 1970s Croatians have been assassinated by the Yugoslav secret service in other countries, such as Germany, and that the German government back then chose to mostly look away. That upset me. In the last few weeks I listened to a number of podcasts that were going into more details about these events, and it turned out that some of those murdered Croatians were entangled with the WW2 fascist Croatian Ustasha regime -- either by being Ustasha themselves, or by actively working towards recreating the Ustasha regime in Croatia.

Some of the people involved were actively pursing terrorist acts - killing diplomats and trying to kill politicians, hijacking and possibly downing airplanes, bombing cinemas, and even trying an actual armed uprising.

There was a failed attempt of planting seventeen bombs along the Croatian Adria, on tourist beaches, during the early tourist season, and to detonate them all simultaneously, in order to starve off income from tourism for Yugoslavia.

Germany struggled with these events themselves: their own secret service was tasked with protecting the German state, and it was initially even unclear how to deal with organizations whose goal is to destabilize a foreign government. Laws and rules were changed in order to deal with the Croatian extremists, rules that were later applied to the PLO, IRA, Hamas, etc.

Knowing a bit more of the background, where it seems that a communist regime was assassinating fascists and terrorists, does not excuse these acts, nor the German inactivity. It is a political assassination without due process. But it makes it a bit better understandable why the German post-Nazi administration, that was at that time busy with its own wave of terror by the Rote Armee Fraktion RAF, was not giving more attention to these events. And Germany received some of its due when Yugoslavia captured some of the kidnappers and murderers of Hanns Martin Schleyer, and did not extradite them to Germany, but let them go, because Germany did not agree to hand over Croatian separatists in return.

Croatians had a very different reputation in the 1970s than the have today.

I still feel like I have a very incomplete picture of all of these events, but so many things happened that I had no idea about.

Source podcasts in German


Previous entry:
Daniel Dennett
Next entry:
Beyoncé's Number One in Country