Croatia might be getting 12 million dollars for good behavior. Please note that this is a Dole-Hatch proposal. It seems that Dole gathers his constituency for 1996:


The United States Senate approved a foreign aid bill last Thursday that includes an amendment sponsored by Senators Bob Dole and Orrin Hatch that would establish a Croatian-American Enterprise Fund. The amendment authorizes the United States Congress to appropriate 12 million dollars for this fund. Despite opposition from the Administration, Senator Dole offered the amendment which is now included in the Senate version of the 1996 Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill. In order for the amendment to be enacted into law, a conference committee will have to be formed to reconcile the differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill. The House version does not include a provision for the funding of this program. The NFCA calls on all Croatian-Americans, friends, and supporters to call and fax the Members of Congress listed below who serve on the Foreign Operations Subcommittee on Appropriations and are the individuals who will vote to decide the fate of the Croatian-American Enterprise Fund. Letters need to be faxed by Monday afternoon, since the Conference Committee will convene mid-week.

In letters Croatian-Americans are supposed to state that Croatian government now controls 95% of territory in relative peace and that inflation is minimal and GNP growth is expected to be 4%. Also, they are supposed to remind congressmen of their financial muscle that they may put behind somebody's election campaign.

It is obvious that Dole is trying to solicit money for his campaign from rich, traditionally republican Croat emigrees. The structure of Croatians in the U.S. is quite similar to the structure of Cubans in the U.S. They are politically more at home in Croatia than in the U.S. (here they are only to make money) and they will support any politician who funnel some American money to their chosen nationalist government in Croatia.

That's all, of course, ok. The letter, however, fails to note why there is an opposition from the Administration to this proposal. The proposal comes right at the time when European Parliament cut aid to Croatia and refused to accept it's application for membership (EP took Slovenia and Macedonia instead). Europeans are worried about the behavior of Tudjman's army in Bosnia and newly found evidence of human rights abuses around Knin. While this would not be the first time that British and French came up with human rights issues for political reasons to avoid helping Croatia, this time the U.S. Administration, which is a primary supporter of both Croatia and Bosnian-Croat federation in the area, cautiously joined. NATO did not sent in air power (a modern version of cavalry) to stave off Croatian defeat near Banja Luka (which resulted in a lot of dead Croatian young men), and Peter Galbraith, the U.S. envoy to Croatia, said that Croatia should enable Croatian Serbs who wish to return to their homes to Krajina to do so. Failure to do that caused the Administration to oppose the Dole-Hatch amendment.

Croatia was not asked to go out of its way - just to follow its own Constitution which guarantees those Serbs who did not commit war crimes safety to return. Since this amendment was included in the Constitution on German request as a precondition for German early recognition of Croatian sovereignty, Germans, also, insist on honoring this now.

In other words, those 12 millions are offered as an incentive to Croatian government to threat better its Serbs now after it won Krajina.

The official Croatian position is that every Serb in Krajina who held arms is a probable war criminal, and all male Serbs in Krajina held arms, therefore they are all presumed war criminals and should be not allowed to return. This is actually a classic problem that every authoritarian government faces: presuming people guilty without a fair trial.

Tudjman now has 12 million reasons to change his mind. Unless of course Republicans manage to get him the money without him having to change his mind.

This story is about a Croatian (HVO) camp guard from concentration camp Dretelj (where Muslim prisoners were held in Muslim-Croat war) who was arrested and extradited to Bosnian government, where he was tried and convicted of committing war crimes and now serves a 13 years prison sentence.

Doesn't that sound good to all the human rights activists around the world?

So, where is the catch? That guy was a mercenary soldier who "worked" for Bosnian-Croat army for DM 1200 a month. He is a Swedish citizen of Liberian ancestry, which also means that he is BLACK. Black Swedes are not that ubiquitous and black Swede Croatian soldiers in Bosnia are kind of really rare, so it is not a surprise that all former prisoners remembered him (while they apparently forgot the others). A perfect scapegoat, isn't he? Swedish government was like pissed, but they gave it up, and Bosnian prison guards say that he is a role-model prisoner, and Johnny Cochran was obviously not aware of this case.

Anyway, this is the sign that we are living in the ever more global world. He is the second black guy making headlines in the Balkans (first was Hamed who works as a VJ at Croatian Television).