Libertas

Syndicate content
Welcome to Adriatic Institute's blog with contributions from the independent think tank's leadership, senior fellows and special guest contributors. The new blog focuses on the economy, individual liberty, rule of law, protection of property rights, public policy issues and security.Adriatic Institutehttps://plus.google.com/110281183281320343464noreply@blogger.comBlogger86125
Updated: 2 hours 39 min ago

Hrvatska: Sumnjive koncesije na Braču kao ilustracija mafijaške države

Thu, 08/06/2017 - 11:49

Brač, HrvatskaU ožujku i travnju 2017.g. desila se jedna od rijetkih pojava građanske akcije u Hrvatskoj, kada su građani općine Bol, na južnim obroncima Brača, odlučili ustati protiv županijskih vlasti s ciljem da ponište dodjelu koncesije za plažu Zlatni Rat, fotoikonu Hrvatske. Poduzeće kojem je dodijeljena koncesija, bilo je registrirano jedva godinu dana ranije, s prijavljenim obrtom kapitala manjim od 100 eura. Vlasnik je vrlo blizak HDZ-u, stranci koja vlada Splitsko-Dalmatinskom županijom od njenog nastanka, kao i državnom vladom, dok je općina Bol pod opozicijom. Ovo doduše nema veze sa stranačkom politikom – radilo se o jednostavnom lokalnom ustanku protiv korupcije i kronizma. Ovoga puta uspješnom.

Međutim, jedna druga otočka ikona je prolazila sličnu sudbinu, ali uz mnogo manje medijske pompe. Brdo Vidova gora, najviši otočki vrh u Hrvatskoj, odakle se za lijepog vremena vidi gotovo čitav dalmatinski arhipelag, a rjeđe čak i talijanska obala, teritorijalno je podijeljena između nekoliko bračkih općina. Najveći komad gore pripada Nerežišćima, gdje je dugogodišnji načelnik u siječnju 2016.g. promoviran u ministra građevine u HDZ-ovoj vladi. Njegova perjanica je koncesija koju je općina ispregovarala za veliki medicinski centar koji liječi rak, a treba biti postavljen na vrhu brda, pokrivajući velik prostor, sa jednim od najljepših pogleda u državi.

Plaža Zlatni rat, Bol Još 2011.g. načelnik Nerežišća, g. Lovro Kuščević obećava da će za najviše četiri godine prvi gosti ući u veliki zdravstveni kompleks koji će se izgraditi na Vidovoj gori. Investicija od gotovo 300 milijuna eura uskoro stiže na Brač, otvara 820 radnih mjesta i mijenja stubokom ovaj otok. I ne samo to – prateća ulaganja će se slijevati u marinu, dodatne objekte, infrastrukturu itd. Sve što je potrebno jest da se investitoru omogući pristup državnom i općinskom zemljištu i da mu se osigura osnovna infrastruktura, koju svakako Nerežišća i njen načelnik mogu pružiti. Iako je tek crtež obećane investicije ugledao svjetlost dana u siječnju 2013.g., načelnik produžuje listu obećanja, kojom prilikom obznanjuje i novu magičnu tehnologiju, gotovo čudesno oružje protiv raka, koje bolesne liječi. Lokacija istog bit će posebna privilegija Brača u žestokoj međunarodnoj konkurenciji, a sve što je zauzvrat potrebno je izgradnja novih prilaznih cesta, kanalizacije, novog sustava prijenosa električne energije itd. Medicinski kompleks, koji će se sastojati od četiri glavna objekta, kako crtež zorno i predstavlja, a načelnik obećava, prostirat će se na oko milijun kvadratnih metara Vidove gore. Izgradit će se tu i “hotele A-kategorije, urbane vile, wellness, ekskluzivne dućane, sportske terene, dalmatinske kućice i trgove od autohtonoga kamena, restorane i klubove, po uzoru na švicarsko poznato lječilište Bad Ragaz.”

Općina je odobrila infrastrukturne radove i pronašla sredstva za njihovo izvođenje, uključujući potpore županijskih i državnih vlasti, oboje pod kontrolom HDZ-a, a koje nisu ništa drugo do javna sredstva poreznih obveznika. Kako se u razvoju projekta ništa nije dešavalo, načelnik Kuščević drži potrebitim obavijestiti građane koliko je bitna investicija koju donosi na otok, kako bi se otočani osjećali uzvišeno i odabrano. U lipnju 2015.g. tako saznajemo i tajne nove megastrukture “Sinkotrona” koji liječi kancer i koji će biti smješten negdje ispod zdravstvenih objekata, slično strukturi CERN-a, a koji pacijente liječi unutar tri do šest tjedana, za što će morati ostaviti oko 50.000 eura na otoku. Ambicije eksponencijalno rastu, a centar koji je 2011.g. dobio crtež, sada dobiva i ime – “Brač Medical City”, koji će angažirati 920 milijuna eura izravnih stranih ulaganja, te 1300 domaćih radnika. G. Kuščević postaje najpopularnije ime na otoku, s obzirom da samo što ga nije preporodio do neprepoznatljivosti. A kako prvi gosti nisu pristigli u bolnički sustav do 2015.g, prema prvobitnom obećanju, datum je sad 2018. odnosno 2020.g., zavisi koji izvor citira načelnika. Pred nadolazećim izborima, a pošto je g. Kuščević ambiciozan čovjek, pada i obećanje da će svaki stanovnik Brača imati koristi od ove investicije, ali ne samo oni: regija Dalmacije će riješiti problem nezaposlenosti, gospodarstvo Hrvatske procvjetati, jer će uskoro od 830 milijuna Europljana i drugih koji su na tri sata leta od bračke zračne luke, koja se ionako proširuje, mnogima ustrebati medicinska njega upravo tamo – otprilike 45.000 noćenja godišnje. G. Kuščević tako zaista i zaslužuje jedno od vodećih resora u novoj vladi RH, čak preživljava njen pad i nove izbore, dok Brač ne zaslužuje niti početak građevinskih radova na projektu. Niti pedalj. I to samo godinu dana prije nego bi prvi od 45.000 gostiju trebali sletjeti na otok i tiskati se na ulazu u zdravstveni centar, kad već nisu primljeni 2015.g.

Bol, Otok BračU međuvremenu, Nerežišća grade put i prateću infrastrukturu koji bi trebali olakšati pristup Bračkom Medicinskom Gradu, no u nedostatku istog vode do privatnih uvala gdje se grade elitne vile. Kako pričaju mještani ovih dana, zemlja je dijelom u vlasništvu supruge ministra Kuščevića. Blizu milijun kvadrata zemlje na vrhu Vidove gore prodana je po javnosti nepoznatim uvjetima novim vlasnicima, također javnosti nepoznatim. U nevezanoj vijesti, Pučišća, još jedna općina pod vlašću HDZ-a, su dodijelila koncesiju na zemljište i infrastrukturu nepoznatom investitoru iz Kazahstana koji će sagraditi svemirski centar vrijedan 70 milijuna eura – nepunih 380.000 kvadrata pitoreskne netaknute uvale dati su tzv. investitoru, dok su pristupni putevi sagrađeni javnim sredstvima. Mikropoduzeće koje je registrirano ovom prigodom, vrlo vjerojatno s iskustvom u svemirskim tehnologijama i izgradnji takvih objekata, nema prijavljenog obrta kapitala, ali ima tih 380.000m2 u svom vlasništvu... ali to je već druga priča.

Dakle da vidimo što nam malobrojne informacije koje je načelnik/ministar darežljivo podijelio s medijima govore:
  • Javne investicije su u tijeku. Ukoliko pratimo trag imena iz članka Slobodne Dalmacije , nailazimo prvo na g. Željka Holika, koji predvodi investicije na Vidovoj gori sa hrvatske strane kao projektni menadžer. Ovaj uspješni poduzetnik, svakako vrijedan ovakvog poduhvata, vlasnike je parfumerije u Požegi, a inače povezan s velikim brojem pravnih osoba (većina registriranih na istim adresama), mnoga od kojih su u stečajnom postupku ili su obrti s minimalnim ulogom, kao npr. Investment Management Croatia iz Splita, koje je prodavao imovinu i zemljišta u Hrvatskoj, ili Savjetodavne usluge Nestor u Požegi [za pun spisak tvrtki povezanih s Holikom]. Nijedna od njih nije u srodnom poslovnom domenu, niti je iole veća. Međutim, njegov Croatia Land Holding [sadrži statični website s četiri stranice bez bilo kakvih informacija o tvrtki. Posljednji financijski pokazatelji prijavljeni poreznoj upravi su iz 2015.g., kada je tvrtka poslovala s gubitkom, i od tada je neaktivna ili u postupku stečaja] sad je vlasnikom 60 hektara neprocjenjivog zemljišta na Vidovoj gori, prema pisanju lista. 
  • Strani investitor je ustvari kompanija Henley & Partneri, glavni posao kojih je pribavljanje državljanstava Malte, Austrije, Cipra i sl. bogatim stanovnicima zemalja izvan EU. Nedavno je dodalo i Hrvatsku na spisak i sad nudi rezidencijalne statuse u Dalmaciji. Jesu li neki od njih na Vidovoj gori, nije razvidno iz njihovih web-stranica. Međutim, spominje ih čak i Reuters u priči o njihovom glavnom zanimanju, a to je priskrbljivanje rezidencijalnih statusa i državljanstava svojim klijentima. Klijenti im pak svjedoče o prilično mračnim stranama kompanije, otkrivajući da im se sjedište u Zürichu nalazi u sobičku iznad neke knjižare. U svakom slučaju, jedan od partnera je i g. Igor Zunković, koji jest konzultant za investicije u nepokretnosti i imovinu, ali samo u slučajevima kad su ove potrebne za stjecanje državljanstva. Moguće je da je ideja Henley & Partnera u pozadini investicije na Vidovoj gori neka vrsta ključa u ruke: zemlja-imovina-rezidencija-državljanstvo, ali to je samo pretpostavka.
  • Prema članku iz Poslovnog, projekt Brač Medical City “je počela Verica Trust AG iz švicarskog Zuga, tvrtka za upravljanje kapitalom”, likvidirana u travnju 2013.g., čak prije nego je navedeni članak i napisan. Ostaje nejasno kako je menadžment projekta prebačen na kasniju upravu tijekom i nakon stečaja.  
  • Članak u Slobodnoj (fusnota 6) spominje i švicarskog biznismena i investitora Christian Kalina koji također ima malo iskustva u zdravstvenom turizmu ili medicini – on je naime međunarodni trgovac državljanstvima i to prilično uspješan u svom domenu. Ostali eksperti koje navodi Slobodna imaju vrlo malo pojavljivanja koja mogu upratiti Google ili LinkedIn.  
  • U 2015.g. Transparency International Hrvatska je zatražio od općine Nerežišća podatke o dodijeljenim koncesijama, a vezanim za projekt Medicinskog Grada, ali unatoč Zakonu o slobodi pristupa informacijama RH, koji nalaže općini da mora dostaviti takve tražene informacije, nikakvi podaci nisu dostavljeni ni tada ni do dana današnjeg.
Kako bi švicarski ulagač imao izravan i jednostavan pristup moru, nekad vojnu uvalu Smrku, netaknutu turizmom, savršeno čistu i očuvanu, njen vlasnik – općina Nerežišća –daje mu pod koncesijskim uvjetima. Općina je sukcesivno mijenjala prostorne planove i izdavala dozvole omogućujući time gradnju i ulaganje privatnom investitoru, bankrotiranoj Verici Trust AG iz Zuga, Švicarska. Općina je u međuvremenu izgradila pristupne puteve i ostalu infrastrukturu, koja bi ukupno trebala iznositi 20 milijuna eura, kako navodi Kuščević u Poslovnom i to u korist vlâsnika koje je nemoguće utvrditi. Jedino ime koje ranije spomenuti članak u Poslovnom navodi je Nikole Šukera, splitskog poduzetnika, koji već dulje vrijeme kupuje parcele u uvali Smrka i susjednoj Planici, također povezane novom općinskom infrastrukturom. Njegova tvrtka osnovana 2010.g. Komponent Gradnja d.o.o. za građevinu nije imala nikakvih prihoda prvih pet godina poslovanja, odnosno u vrijeme kad je nastao taj članak. Slična je situacija i sa drugim tvrtkama uz koje mu se veže ime. Nažalost, unatoč vrlo detaljnim zapisnicima sa sastanaka općinskog vijeća Nerežišća, gdje se većina ovih odluka donosila jednoglasno, ne može se pronaći ništa više pojedinosti, nego li ih je načelnik Kuščević već podijelio s medijima.

Ovo je samo dio beskrajne priče o pronevjerama, kronizmu, klijentizmu, korupciji i potpunom odsustvu transparentnosti i odgovornosti. Sam Brač ima svojih problema s lokalnim šerifima – osam načelnika (umjesto jednog, iz vremena kada je čitav otok bio jedna općina) koji priskrbljuju poslove svojim pajdašima dok se bore sa stvarnim investitorima bez takvog zaleđa: domaćim i stranim. Klijentizam je nazočan u svim lokalnim vlastima Brača u većoj ili manjoj mjeri, dok HDZ-ove općine imaju dodatne koristi od veza s Splitsko-Dalmatinskom županijom i trenutno s državnom vlašću u Zagrebu u kojoj g. Lovro Kuščević igra ulogu glavnog posrednika i 'glasnogovornika otoka'. A Brač je tek 0,6% teritorija RH, s oko 0.3% stanovništva države.







 

Categories: Hrvatska

Shady Concessions In Brac, Croatia, Reveal How The Mafia-Run State Functions

Sun, 04/06/2017 - 12:23
The iconic Croatian beach of Golden Horn - Zlatni Rat, Brac
June 4, 2017, Croatia -— In March and April of 2017 one of the rare instances of civil action took place in Croatia, when the citizens of the municipality of Bol, on the southern shores of the island of Brac decided to stand against the county authorities in an effort to annul the concession award of the iconic Croatian beach of Golden Horn (Zlatni Rat). The company that was awarded the concession in a very non-transparent deal by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) controlled county of Split-Dalmatia, was registered barely a year earlier and had a reported turnover of less than a hundred Euros. The owner was very close to the party that dominates the county and the national government, whereas the municipality of Bol that technically has no say in the concession award, was opposition controlled. This was not about the party politics – it was a simple local uprising against corruption and cronyism. Successful this time.

However, another icon of the island of Brac has been undergoing the same destiny but with much less media attention. The mountain top of Vidova Gora, the highest island peak of Croatia, from which on a clear day you can see almost the entire Dalmatian archipelago and even the shores of Italy, has been territorially divided among several Brac municipalities. 

The largest part is held by Nerezisca, where a long-standing mayor in early 2016 joined the HDZ-led government as its Minister of construction. His largest ever deal completed was the concession given by the municipality for the large medical facility that treats cancer, to be situated at the mountain top, covering a massive area, with one of the best views there is in Croatia.

Bol, Island of Brac, CroatiaAs early as in March 2011, mayor of Nerezisca, Mr. Lovro Kuscevic promised that in maximum four years time the first guests will be hosted by the large medical complex to be built on Vidova Gora. An investment of close to EUR 300 million was soon to hit the underdeveloped economy of the island of Brac, opening 820 jobs transforming the island entirely. And not just this – further investment will be triggered by an accompanying marina, additional facilities, hard infrastructure etc. 

All that was needed was to allow the investor an access to the state and municipally owned land and secure the basic infrastructure, which Nerezisca and its mayor surely can provide. Nothing other than a drawing of the facilities happens until January 2013, so the mayor goes on with new promises in which he reveals the magical new technology, almost a secret weapon that combats cancer and cures the sick. Its location will be the privilege of the island of Brac of all places and for that it needs to construct new roads, sewers, brand new electricity transmission system etc. 

The medical complex, now consisting of four large hospitals, as drawn on the sketch and promised by the mayor, will use up one million square meters of the Vidova Gora. It will host also “hotels of five stars, urban villas, wellness, exclusive stores, Dalmatian houses and squares made of the authentic stone, restaurants, clubs, as you can see it in the Swiss spa of Bad Ragaz.”

The municipality approves the infrastructure works and finds the funding for it, including some support from the HDZ-controlled county and the national authorities, all using public, taxpayers’ funds. 

Brac, CroatiaIn terms of the development of the facility itself, nothing happens, so Mayor Kuscevic needs to remind the population what a critical investment he is bringing to the island, so the locals feel blessed and honoured. In June 2015 we are therefore learning the secrets about the new megastructure “Syncrotron” that heals cancer and that will be located somewhere beneath the medical facility, looking like the CERN structure and which heals patients in three to six weeks, for which they will leave around EUR 50,000 at the island. 

The ambitions are growing exponentially and the facility that since 2011 obtained a sketch and now a name too – “Brac Medical City”, will now engage EUR 920 million foreign direct investment and 1300 local employees. Mr. Kuscevic is becoming the darling of the island who will transform it beyond recognition. Given that the first guests did not arrive to the clinic in 2015, as initially promised, that date was now pushed back to 2018 or 2020, depending on the media quote. 

As the election year looms and Mr. Kuscevic is an ambitious man, he promises every employee in Brac to benefit from the investment, but not only that: the region of Dalmatia will solve its unemployment problems in Brac, the economy of Croatia will blossom, because 830 million Europeans and others are within a three hour flight from the expanding Brac airport and many of them will be seeking medical care there, likely 45,000 per year. 

Mr. Kuscevic indeed secures a senior spot in the new government, even survives a major cabinet reshuffle post-general elections, but Brac witnesses no development of the megastructure. Not an inch. Now only a year before the first of the 45,000 guests were to arrive – those who were meant to be crowding up in front of the facility in 2015.

Meanwhile, Nerezisca have been building a road and all the accompanying infrastructure that is to facilitate access to the Brac Medical City, except it leads to the private coves where exclusive villas are being build. Some of the land happens to be owned by the wife of Minister Kuscevic, the locals begin to rumour. Close to one million sq.m. of land on the peak of Vidova Gora was sold at the terms unknown to the public to the new owners, also unknown to the public. 

Brac, CroatiaIn an unrelated development, another HDZ controlled municipality of Pucisca are giving concessions on land and infrastructure to an unknown investor from Kazakhstan who will build a EUR 70 million worth space centre - 380,000 sq.m. of a picturesque, untouched secluded bay are given to the so-called investor and all the access roads are being built with the public money. The microenterprise that was registered for the purpose, likely with experience in constructing cosmic centres, has no declared turnover yet now owns the 380,000 sq.m… but that is another story.

So, let’s see what we can find out from the scarce information that the Mayor/Minister Kuscevic generously shared with the media:
  • In 2015 Transparency International Croatia requested from the Nerezisca municipality the details of the concessions related to the Medical City project, but despite the Law on Free Access to Information at the national level requesting the municipality to provide such information, no details have been obtained at the time or since.
In order to enable the Swiss investor to have direct and close access to the sea, a former Yugoslav Army held cove of Smrka, totally untouched by tourism, pristine and well preserved, was given away on concessionary terms by its owner, the Municipality of Nerezisca. The municipality has successively been receiving permissions for development and has changed the municipal development plansto allow construction and private sector investment, by the bankrupt Verica Trust AG from Zug, Switzerland. 

The municipality has been building roads and setting up the hard infrastructure, estimated at EUR 20 million in total, according to Kuscevic from Poslovni for the owners that are impossible to trace. The only name given out by the aforementioned Poslovni article is that of Nikola Šuker, a Split-based entrepreneur, who has been buying the land in the Smrka bay and the neighbouring Planica, also connected by the new municipal infrastructure. His 2010-founded microenterprise Komponent Gradnja d.o.o. for construction had flat revenues at zero the first five years at the time the article was written. Similar is the case of the other companies where he has been legally involved

Unfortunately, the well documented sessions of the municipal assembly of Nerezisca, where most related decisions have been upheld unanimously, reveal nothing more than what Mayor Kuscevic was willing to share with the media.

This is only a portion of the endless stories of embezzlement, cronyism, favouritism, corruption and complete non-transparency and accountability. Brac alone has other problems with its local sheriffs – the seven mayors (instead of one, as Brac was a single municipality in the Yugoslav times) securing business for their cronies and fighting the other independent businessmen: domestic and foreign.

Favouritism is present in all the local governments of Brac to some extent, the HDZ-run municipalities benefiting from the strong link to the Split-Dalmatia county and currently with the HDZ-run national government in which Mr. Lovro Kuscevic plays the role of the key interlocutor and the ‘representative of the island’s interests’. And Brac is only 0.6% of the Croatian territory with 0.3% of the country’s population.










   
Categories: Hrvatska

Open Letter and U.S. Special Envoy for Holocaust Support Jews of Croatia, The Heritage Foundation Props-Up Anti-Semitic and Corrupt Regime

Mon, 03/04/2017 - 11:13
Photo credit: US Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC, Adriatic Institute for Public Policy, Croatia. Video image - Heritage Foundation. Clockwise from top left:  March 23, 2017 event at Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC hosted by James Carafano and Nile Gardiner featuring Ivo Stier, representing an anti-Semitic and corruption-ridden HDZ government in Croatia (Mr. Ivo Stier was a youth leader of Nazi Ustasha movement); Ustasha POSTER; Croatian Jew Teodore Grunfeld is forced to take off his ring on his arrival at the Jasenovac concentration death camp by members of the Ustasha; sick and emaciated children suffering at the Jasenovac death camp. The Washington Post in a piece titled “Trump can Cause the ‘Death of Think Tanks as We Know Them’” recently quoted Heritage Foundation’s James Carafano, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies, “There are lots of customers for think tanks that are beyond the West Wing and the Oval Office.”  The Heritage Foundation and James Carafano, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies, ignored the Open Letter, co-signed by conservative leaders and Evangelical Christian pastors, strongly urging the Washington, DC, think tank, to cancel the event with Croatia’s HDZ politician Ivo Stier, representing an anti-Semitic and corruption-ridden government in the Balkans.
The Heritage Foundation proceeded by providing a platform to Ivo Stier, the grandson of a WWII pro-Nazi Ustasha regime colonel and the right-hand man of the commander of Croatia’s death camp Jasenovac, in which Jews, Serbs, Romas, Croatians and other marginalized groups were murdered.

Eighty percent of Croatia’s Jews were exterminated during WWII.
According to published reports, Mr. Ivo Stier actively advocated for the pro-Nazi Ustasha group while growing up in Argentina.
On March 23, 2017, Heritage’s James Carafano and Nile Gardiner, director, Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, hosted Ivo Stier, Croatia’s government minister in Washington. On that very same day, Tom Yazdgerdi, the U.S. State Department’s Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, met with Croatia’s government officials in Zagreb.
Mr. Yazdgerdi relayed that the main reason of his visit to Croatia was to press for the restitution of property to the Holocaust survivors. Private property owned by Jews was confiscated by Croatia’s Ustasha Nazi regime more than 70 years ago. 
Mr. Yazdgerdi said, “Our main message: we would like the [Croatian] government to speed up the process. Why? Because survivors [of the Holocaust] are dying every day.” According to Croatia’s media agency HINA, Mr. Yazdgerdi also warned about the plaque with pro-Ustasha symbols placed near the concentration camp memorial, which is offensive to holocaust survivors and their family members.
On February 27, 2017, the US Embassy in Zagreb immediately repudiated the neo-Nazi march of far-right nationalists, who waved an American flag, chanting WWII pro-Nazi Croatia‘s Ustasha regime slogans, saluting President Donald Trump and pledging to chase out enemies of Croatia: “The U.S. Embassy rejects, in the strongest terms, neo-Nazi and pro-Ustasha views expressed during the demonstration of a few people in Zagreb on Sunday.  We condemn any attempt to link the United States to this hateful ideology.  Such a suggestion is an affront to the memories of the 186,000 U.S. soldiers who died in Europe fighting Nazi Germany and the many millions of innocent victims killed during World War II.”


Heritage’s senior fellows carried out their agenda to getting Croatia into NATO at any cost. James Dean, manager of international and diplomatic programs at Heritage Foundation, attended the Croatia Summit in Dubrovnik, hosted by Croatia’s government mired in corruption. Dean’s brief biography states that he “was active in numerous international initiatives, including the entry of Croatia and Albania into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.” 

Nile Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation approved Heritage’s pieces about Croatia’s readiness to join NATO, while independent studies, Croatia’s journalists and even the UK’s foreign office raised concerns about the Balkan nation’s very weak rule of law and blocked judicial reforms. 

Finally, Croatia’s corrupt government officials got away by not fulfilling the main requirements for NATO accession, including the “restitution to rightful owners property confiscated by the Nazis 1933-45, and by the subsequent communist governments.” 


Croatia became an unqualified NATO member in 2009, without establishing the rule of law and fully protecting property rights. Croatia’s illicit financial outflows via crime, corruption and tax evasion amounted to a staggering $35 billion during the period 2004-2013, which was 60% of the 2014 GDP.
Croatia’s taxpayers are still paying pensions to members of “Croatia’s homeland war 1941-1945.” 

As reported by Croatia’s daily Jutarnji List in 2013, according to the state-run Croatia pension institute, there were 13,011 remaining members of various Ustasha units, and part of the Ustasha NDH-government security forces, or their family members, receiving HRK348 million ($58 million) in pensions for 2013. They had been regularly receiving pensions since the early 90s.
The intricacy of Heritage’s clientelism which supersedes morality, goes much further here.
Croatia’s Honorary Consul to Austria, Franz Wohlfahrt, whose supervisor would be Ivo Stier, Croatia’s foreign minister and speaker at Heritage, was a fellow board member with Ed Feulner, Heritage Foundation’s board member and former president, at the Vienna-based think tank F.A. Hayek.   Franz Wohlfart, then-CEO of Austria-based world’s largest gaming and casino company Novomatic, became Croatia’s honorary consul in 2013, while reports of bribery, tax evasion, illegal software manipulation and money laundering by Novomatic’s companies in Croatia had been ignored by Croatia’s authorities. According to published reports, Wohlfart is under a bribery investigation connected to Austria’s former finance minister Karl-Heinz Grasser. Bloomberg reported on November 5, 2011, “Casinos in Paraguay, Peru and South Africa, countries where Novomatic operates, were tagged by the U.S. as money-laundering conduits for criminal bosses and drug barons.”

The Washington Post in a piece titled “Trump can Cause the ‘Death of Think Tanks as We Know Them’” quoted Heritage Foundation’s James Carafano, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies, “There are lots of customers for think tanks that are beyond the West Wing and the Oval Office.
Apparently, the Jews of Croatia facing threats, survivors of the Holocaust, Croatia’s citizens seeking justice, and the American public are not among The Heritage Foundation’s clients. 

Photo credit: Lighthouse Trails Publishing Jewish girl, Jasenovac concentration camp, Croatia.
 Further reading:















Categories: Hrvatska

Elected Leaders, Evangelical Christian Pastors and Independent Organizations Strongly Urge The Heritage Foundation and James Carafano to Cancel Event Propping-Up an Anti-Semitic and Corruption-Ridden Croatian HDZ Government

Wed, 22/03/2017 - 14:49
Pictures from left to right: Pro-Nazi Ustasha soldier at Jasenovac concentration camp, Croatia, among the bodies of those murdered. (Center) Adolf Hitler and Ante Pavelic, Croatian dictator who led the Ustasha movement and the NDH government during WWII. (Right) Croatia's pro-Nazi Ustasha executing people over a mass grave near Jasenovac concentration camp where Ustasha colonel Stier was the right-hand man of Vjekoslav Luburic, commander of Croatia’s death camp. Jewish identifiers were implemented in on June 4, 1941; badges had to be marked ž taken from židov (the Croatian word for Jew). Photo credit: US Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC and Adriatic Institute for Public Policy, CroatiaThe Balkan Route: Reports indicate that Balkan heroin trafficking brings in more than $28 billion in proceeds annually, financing Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and ISIS. Kalashnikovs from the Balkans were used in the Paris and Brussels attacks. Elected Leaders, Evangelical Christian Pastors and Independent Organizations Strongly Urge The Heritage Foundation and James Carafano to Cancel Event Propping-Up an Anti-Semitic and Corruption-Ridden Croatian HDZ Government

We Stand with the Croatian Jewish Community and the Millions of Victims of Croatia’s Corruption and Government Theft of Private Property   March 22, 2017



James Carafano
Vice President
The Heritage Foundation
214 Massachusetts Ave NE,
Washington, DC 20002

Dear Mr. Carafano,

On behalf of millions of Evangelical Christians in America, Jewish Americans and Croatia’s concerned citizens, we, the co-signers of this letter, urge The Heritage Foundation to cancel the event on March 23, 2017, featuring HDZ politician who represents an anti-Semitic and corruption-ridden government in Croatia.
 
We are disappointed that Heritage Foundation failed to properly research and vet those using the group's conservative platform.

We oppose the continued efforts of HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) politicians in stoking the flames of extremism and fueling the dark spirit of the pro-Nazi Ustasha regime that exterminated 80% of Croatia’s Jews during the years 1941-1945.

We stand with the Croatian Jews, The Coordination of Jewish Communities and The Jewish Center of Zagreb in boycotting the Croatian state’s event at the WWII concentration camp in Jasenovac, Croatia, on April 22, 2017.

The HDZ government has subverted the rule of law and is blocking corruption and organized crime investigations in Croatia. Croatia’s HDZ government has failed to address the Balkan Route, which brings over $28 billion worth of heroin into the West annually. The proceeds from heroin are used to finance terrorist groups which attack cities in the US and Europe, murdering our citizens.

We are reminded of the Hebrew scriptures which relay this powerful message:
"Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed." - Isaiah 1:17
Our serious concerns:

1.  Dr. Ognjen Kraus, president of The Coordination of Jewish Communities has raised serious concerns last week about the rise of anti-Semitism and extremism in Croatia that places Jews and minority groups at risk.  Dr. Kraus said, “The HDZ government has failed to address the display of fascist symbols. It is lenient towards those sympathetic to the WWII Croatian fascist Ustasha regime.”

2.  The Croatian HDZ government, aiding organized crime networks and the Balkan Route, does not qualify to be a NATO member, nor is it fit to fight ISIS:

Croatian passports have been given to Balkan criminals. In the arrest of several Balkan criminals in Spain in February 2012, each of them possessed official Croatian passport. Further investigations led directly to Croatia’s Ministry of Interior and a record of illegal sale of passports to criminals since 2006.

Croatia lies on the Balkan Route, used by organized crime and terrorists, for arms, drugs, human and organ trafficking, and terrorism financing. Reports indicate that Balkan heroin trafficking brings in more than $28 billion in proceeds annually, financing Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and ISIS. Kalashnikovs from the Balkans were used in the Paris and Brussels attacks.

According to an AP report on January 11, 2015, “...[I]t is relatively easy for terrorists with underworld connections to obtain heavy weapons on the black market, particularly in the Balkan countries of Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia.”

3.  On March 11, 2014, when issuing a guilty verdict for corruption and  the theft of taxpayers’ funds, Croatia’s  brave judge called HDZ a criminal enterprise, and recognized then-Prime Minister Ivo Sanader as a ring leader, guilty of bribery and rigging public tenders.

"Those who are guilty are not only these five people. Also responsible are all those who knew about this as well as those who in some way participated in this. Those who bent down their heads, who turned their heads away, those who closed their eyes and those who were silent about this. All of them silently supported such a way of functioning of the system and thus made it sustainable”  - Justice Ivana Calic, Presiding Judge, Zagreb, Croatia

4.  Deutsche Welle exposed Croatia’s HDZ politician who was appealing for votes to the extreme right, “President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, for instance, publicly appears with known right-wing leaders and even accused war criminals, and she occasionally goes off on hate-filled tirades in TV interviews. She only distances herself from extremists when foreign pressure leaves her no other option.”

5. Heritage Foundation’s announced speaker - Ivo Stier, Croatia's deputy prime minister and minister of foreign and European affairs, represents the corruption-ridden HDZ government which continues to stoke the flames of anti-Semitism in Croatia.
According to published reports, Ivo Stier’s grandfather was a WWII pro-Nazi Croatia’s Ustasha regime colonel and the right-hand man of Vjekoslav Luburic, commander of Croatia’s death camp Jasenovac, whereby, Jews, Serbs and other minorities were murdered. After WWII, the Ustasha colonel Stier escaped to Argentina where he continued to nurture a pro-Nazi Ustasha group supported by his family members. 80% of Croatia's Jews were exterminated during 1941-1945. Mr. Ivo Stier actively advocated for the pro-Nazi Germany Ustasha group as a youth leader.

Stier, who was an advisor to then-Prime Minister Sanader - found guilty for corruption and embezzlement by Judge Ivana Calic - has never publicly denounced the HDZ criminal enterprise. Ivo Stier committed not to publicly grandiose Croatia's pro-Nazi Ustasha group (NDH) regime, however, he has never publicly condemned it.

6. $35 billion of illicit financial outflows left Croatia via crime, corruption and tax evasion during the period 2004-2013. This amounts to 60% of the Balkan nation’s 2014 GDP. Larger amounts of illicit enrichment have been amassed by Croatia’s corrupt politicians and their private partners in crime since 1991.


7. During the plunder of Croatia’s treasury by HDZ politicians, the US sent over $500 million of taxpayer funds to Croatia’s treasury.  US taxpayers ought to call for an investigation into stolen US taxpayer aid sent to Croatia’s treasury.

8. Croatia’s HDZ government has failed to meet its financial commitment to NATO, while hemorrhaging the economy via corruption and illicit financial outflows.

9.  Croatia has failed to address human trafficking. According to The US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons report:2016 Report - “Croatia is a destination, source, and transit country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking and men, women, and children subjected to forced labor.”

2013 Report - “Women and girls from the United States, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other parts of Eastern Europe are subjected to sex trafficking in Croatia.... Children are exploited in prostitution on the Adriatic Coast, particularly during the peak tourist season.”
In closing, we affirm the principled solutions that were presented in Dr. Marvin Olasky’s relevant articles published in World Magazine after his visit to the Balkan region (https://world.wng.org/2014/11/from_betrayal_to_compassion_balkan_challenge_us_opportunity):A. Blow the whistle on government-to-government foreign aid that often abets    corruption. Identify church and civil society organizations. Support their efforts when doing so will not lead to greater danger than benefit. 
B. Challenge Western facilitators and enablers (including banks and law firms). Mount public campaigns against Western governments and businesses that abet corruption.  C. Don’t hold important international meetings in acutely corrupt countries, and don’t engage in publicized, status-enhancing photo ops with kleptocratic    leaders. Avoid inadvertently glorifying corrupt practices through publicized high-level interaction.
The Heritage Foundation should cancel the event on March 23, 2017, featuring the speaker representing HDZ, an anti-Semitic and corruption-ridden political party.

Sincerely,

The Honorable Dave LaRock
Member, Virginia House of Delegates, 33rd district
Commonwealth of Virginia
USA

Bill Etheridge, Member of the European Parliament, United Kingdom

Defense Spokesperson, United Kingdom Independence Party

Rev. Scott Leib, Pastor
Chapel Springs Church
Assemblies of God
USA

Rev. Joseph Anand Samy, Pastor

Asian Indian Ministries, California
Evangelical Free Church of America
USA

Rev. Chris Edmonds, Pastor

Piney Grove Baptist Church, Tennessee
Southern Baptist Convention
USA
The Roddie Edmonds Family - Recipient of the Yad Vashem Award
Israel’s Highest Honor - “Righteous Among the Nations”
Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds saved the lives of 200 Jewish Americans
in a WWII POW Camp in Germany

Natasha Srdoc, Co-Founder

Adriatic Institute for Public Policy, Rijeka, Croatia
International Leaders Summit, Virginia, USA
Jerusalem Leaders Summit

Joel Anand Samy, Co-Founder

International Leaders Summit, Virginia, USA
Jerusalem Leaders Summit 


Further reading with articles from World Magazine, NY Times, The Huffington Post and broadcast news segment from CBN News: 

CBN News - Televsion Broadcast: Key to Reducing Terrorism: Cut Off the Funding 



Croatian Government Urged to Fire Holocaust-Denying Cabinet Minister | Arutz Sheva - Israel National News
 
Freed But Not Free | Dr. Marvin Olasky

Joe Biden: Propping-up Corruption? | Dr. Marvin Olasky

Europe Needs Help in Combating the Mafia | NY Times | Op-Ed by Natasha Srdoc, MBA 

Balkan Betrayal, Again and Again | Dr. Marvin Olasky

The 7th Betrayal | Dr. Marvin Olasky 

Stopping the Betrayals | By Dr. Marvin Olasky 

From betrayal to compassion: Balkan challenge, U.S. opportunity ... | By Dr. Marvin Olasky 
  
Balkan Drama | World News Group | By Dr. Marvin Olasky

Draining the Swamp - Part I | The NATO Swamp | By Natasha Srdoc, MBA

Croatia: 'Criminal Enterprise HDZ' Takes Over Presidency - Organized Crime and The Rise of Nationalism

 


















Categories: Hrvatska