Croatian Liberation Movement

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Croatian Liberation Movement (Croatian: Hrvatski oslobodilački pokret or HOP) was initially an exiled Ustaše terrorist group formed in Argentina in 1956. Today the same group is registered as a marginal right-wing party in Croatia.

Argentina Period[change | change source]

Croatian Liberation Movement was established by Ante Pavelić in Buenos Aires in 1956. The goal of this group was to control original Ustaše organization. Pavelić then enjoyed protection of Argentina's dictator Juan Peron. [1][2]. A prominent role in HOP, with the aim of keeping Ustaše ideals and infrastructure intact, had Pavelić's daughter Višnja. At those times HOP, in their writings and proclamations, tried to clear of any blame the Ustaše regime stressing the resistance of the movement to existence of Yugoslavia. Their writings compared Ustaše to earlier French and American revolutionaries. Ustaše main goals were described as defense of Croatia against Serbian aggression and against international Communism. When Peron lost power, Israeli attempted to force Argentina to extradite Pavelić. In 1957, after a failed attempt to assassinate Pavelić, he and his family moved via Chile to Spain, where Pavelić got protection of General Franco[3]. Pavelić died on 28 December 1959, at the German hospital in Madrid.[4]

USA and Canada Chapters[change | change source]

After Pavelić's death, his son-in-law Srečko Pšeničnik took over HOP and in 1960, moved its operations from Buenos Aires to Toronto, Canada. HOP newspaper, called Independent State of Croatia, continued to publish agitations for the downfall of Communist Yugoslavia[5].

Several members of this organization were involved in the terrorist attacks in Yugoslavia, arrested there and were, on June 25 1964, sentenced for manslaughter and other terrorist acts.[6]

The head of US HOP chapter was Stjepan Hefer, minister of agriculture and food in the Pavelić's regime. After his death, another Ustaše high ranked official, Anton Bonifačić took over the HOP leadership. Bonifačić was a head of cultural affair of the Foriegn Ministry in the Ustaše regime. Bonifačić posed in public as a writer and an anti-communist, giving speeches and passing resolutions on the continuing struggle for the Independent State of Croatia.[7]. Bonifačić's presidency lasted from October 1975 through July 1981[8].

Australia and Oceania Chapters[change | change source]

The chapter of HOP was established in 1963 in Australia. Ustaše Srećko Rover, who emigrated to Australia in 1948, was appointed head of this chapter. In 1972 Rover was elected vice-chairman of another terrorist organization, HNO (Croatian National Resistance).[9]

In Australia, this terrorist group was reorganized by Pavelić's successor, Stjepan Hefer in 1967. Hefer was the head of this terrorist group until his death in 1973[10] [11].

By 1966, and within the next several years, the HOP carried out a series of assassinations and attacks on Yugoslav diplomat missions and the airline office[12][13]. Their terrorist activities on the Australian soil and recorded military exercises with the Australian Army's Citizens Military Forces (CMF) prompted Australian senator from Tasmania, O'Byrne, to start action against HOP before the Australian Parliament controlled then by Australian Liberal Party. Many of HOP members were members of the Australian Liberal Party that time. This party membership along with the Cold War atmosphere provided a smoke screen behind this group carried their terrorist activities[14] in early 1970-ies. When the Australian Democratic Labour Party came to the power in 1972, Australian Attorney-General approved the wire-tapping of suspected terrorist leaders such as Srećko Rover and Fabian Lovoković - the head of the HOP in Australia[15]. For terrorist training purposes HOP used an Australian army Wodonga camp in the Victoria state[16][17].

HOP after Destruction of Yugoslavia[change | change source]

The Croatian Liberation Movement, along with the Croatian National Resistance, were dreaming about resurrection of the Independent State of Croatia well into 1980s. These two movements infiltrated the benevolent societies and cultural clubs of the Croatian immigrants.[18]

The same organization were mentioned in the renown Alperin vs. Vatican Bank case before the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The Holocaust Survivors claim that the Vatican Bank, the Order of Friars Minor, and the Croatian Liberation Movement were complicit in and profited from crimes committed during World War II by the Ustaše. The district court dismissed the claims (2003) against the Croatian Liberation Movement for lack of personal jurisdiction. This dismissal was upheld by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (2005).[19]

During the Yugoslavia disintegration, in the early 1990s, this organization moved to Zagreb, Croatia, where it was officially registered as a political party in Croatia in 1991.[20]

This a far right and openly pro-Ustaše party[21] is a marginal political party in Croatia. It came into public limelight for paying a requiem mass for the Ustaše leader Pavelić in the Church of Saint Dominic in Split, 1997.[22]

References[change | change source]

  1. Mi6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service by Stephen Dorril; Publisher: Simon and Schuster, May 21, 2002, page 354
  2. Guerrilla and terrorist organizations: a world directory and bibliography by Peter Janke, Richard Sim; Publisher Harvester Press, 1983, page 115
  3. Bernd Jürgen Fischer: Balkan Strongmen: Dictators and Authoritarian Rulers of South Eastern Europe, Purdue University Press, Mar 1, 2007 page 211
  4. "Ex-Puppet Premier of Croatia Dies," Nevada State Journal (Reno), January 3, 1960, p26
  5. The Ghosts of Medak Pocket: The Story of Canada's Secret War by Carol Off, Harper Collins Canada Ltd, 2004, page 32
  6. Revolutionary and dissident movements: an international guide by Henry W. Degenhardt, Publisher Longman, 1988 - page 418
  7. Scott Anderson, Jon Lee Anderson: Inside the League: the shocking exposé of how terrorists, Nazis, and Latin American death squads have infiltrated the world Anti-Communist League, Dodd, Mead, 1986, pages Z-76, 42
    As president of the fallen Pavelic's Croatian Liberation Movement, Bonifacic now represents Croatia at League conferences, giving speeches and passing resolutions on the continuing struggle for the independent state of Croatia, liberally rewriting history in doing so.
  8. American international law cases, Volume 1; Oceana Publications, inc Oceana, 2003 Alperin vs.Vatican bank article, page 268
  9. Terror Laws: Asio, Counter-Terrorism and the Threat to Democracy by Jenny Hocking; Publisher UNSW Press, 2004, pages 123-124
  10. Ciarán Ó Maoláin: The radical right: a world directory, Longman, 1987 page 424
  11. Hrvoje Matković: Povijest Nezavisne Države Hrvatske, Naklada Pavičić, 2002. page 264
  12. Fools' crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and western illusions by D. Johnstone; Publisher Pluto, Oct 17, 2002 page 152
  13. Stuart A. Koschade: The internal dynamics of terrorist cells: A social network analysis of terrorist cells in an Australian context, PhD Thesis, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland 2007 [1]
  14. Parliamentary debates, Senate weekly Hansard, Volume 53, Australia. Parliament. Senate By Authority., 1972, page 1077
  15. Control of Violence: Historical and International Perspectives on Violence in Modern Societies by Wilhelm Heitmeyer, Heinz-Gerhard Haupt, Stefan Malthaner; Publisher Springer Verlag, Nov 2, 2010
  16. Documents on the 1973 ‘raid’ at A.S.I.O., the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation; I. Notes of Meeting at A.S.I.O. Regional Directorate, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory March 15, 1973
  17. The Wiener Library bulletin, Volumes 17-19;Wiener Library page 18
  18. Homeland Calling: Exile Patriotism & the Balkan Wars by Paul Hockenos; Publisher: Cornell University Press, 2003 Page 10
  19. Property, War Objectives, And Slave Labor Claims: The Ninth Circuit's Political Question Analysis in Alperin v. Vatican Bank by Reuben Hart, Golden Gate University Law Review, San Francisco, page 20 [2]
  20. Croatian Liberation Movement party page
  21. Index[3],November 16, 2009: Hrvatski oslobodilački pokret javno i bez sankcija veliča ustaštvo
  22. Religious Separation and Political Intolerance in Bosnia-Herzegovina by Mitja Velikonja; Publisher: Texas A&M University Press, Feb 5, 2003 page 273

Secondary Sources[change | change source]

  • Memorandum from the Croat Liberation Movement to All Governments, Leading Statesmen and Publicist of the World Regarding the Struggle of Croatia for Independence, Croatian Liberation Movement (Buenos Aires), 1971
  • American Civilian Counter-terrorist Manual: a fictional autobiography of Ronald Reagan by Alan Allen Trafford Publishing, Mar 18, 2008 page 471: Taiwan recognized the Croatian Liberation Movement as the government of Croatia. Anton Bonifacic and Croatian Liberation Movement propagandists claimed they had not committed any war crimes... Bonifacic and Croatian Liberation Movement said it was rumor, propaganda invented by Communist propaganda writers.