[A-List] Ante Gotovina: US Links to Croatian War Crime?
tal at interlynx.net
Mon Jan 23 16:42:05 MST 2006
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Subject: [stopnato] Ante Gotovina: US Links to Croatian War Crime?
US Links to Croatian War Crime?
Former Croatian General Ante Gotovina stands accused of war crimes in
connection with a 1995 military offensive. Some 150 civilians were killed in
the advance. Now, it looks like he may have had help from the United States.
Former Croatian General Ante Gotovina may have had American help.
His trial may not get started before the end of 2006 or the spring of 2007,
but already the case against former Croatian general Ante Gotovina promises
some surprises. Gotovina, who is accused of being responsible for the murder
of at least 150 Serbian civilians and the eviction of some 150,000 Serbs
from the Krajina region in August 1995, may have had some American help.
Croatian military sources told SPIEGEL that Gotovina had direct though
secret support from both the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency in
planning and carrying out the "Storm" offensive, which was designed to
retake the Krajina region from the Serbs. The International Criminal
Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) behind chief prosecutor Carla del
Ponte has charged Gotovina and the late Croatian leader Franco Tudjman with
committing a "joint criminal undertaking" with the goal of ethnically
cleansing the Serbs from Croatia.
In preparing for the offensive, Croatian soldiers were allegedly trained at
Fort Irwin in California and the Pentagon purportedly aided in planning the
operation. Additional training assistance is said to have come from the
American firm Military Professional Resources Incorporated. Immediately
prior to the offensive, then-Deputy CIA Director George Tenet allegedly met
with Gotovina and Tudjman's son -- then in charge of Croatian
intelligence -- for last minute consultations. During the operation, a US
aircraft is said to have destroyed Serbian communication and anti-aircraft
centers and the Pentagon allegedly passed on information gathered by
satellite to Gotovina.
Earlier this month, the Zagreb weekly Globus, claiming sources within
Gotovina's defense team, alleged that then US President Bill Clinton knew
all about the planned offensive. Clinton, the paper alleged, was angry at
the Serbs for having overrun the UN protected Bosnian "safe area" of
Srebrenica the previous month and wanted them punished.
Gotovina was arrested in early December after having been in hiding for
years. The European Union had made his arrest a precondition to resuming
accession negotiations with Croatia. Gotovina has pled not guilty to the war
crimes charges levied by the Hague tribunal. News reports have indicated
that Gotovina's lawyers may be planning to rest his defense on the American
participation in the offensive.
A recent addition to the Gotovina defense team, though, may alter that
strategy. At the insistence of the Pentagon, the American lawyer Greg Kehoe
will help defend Gotovina at his trial. If convicted, the former general who
many in Croatia still consider a hero could face life in prison.
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