Croatian National Resistance

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The Croatian National Resistance (Croatian: Hrvatski narodni odpor, further Odpor) was a terrorist Ustaše emigrant organization. The goal of this organization was to destroy Yugoslavia and to establish an independent Croatia, following the vision of Ustaše leader Ante Pavelić and ideology of Mile Budak.[1] It was founded in 1955 by escaped Ustaše war criminal Vjekoslav Luburić, a chief guard of the Jasenovac concentration camp.

While Luburić was the head of this organization, Odpor maintained regular contacts with associations of Nazi war veterans in Germany and Spain. Very close relations were established with fascist Spanish "Blue Guard" veterans.[2] Odpor had stated that:

"[We] regard Yugoslavism and Yugoslavia as the greatest and only evil that has caused the existing calamity [...] We therefore consider every direct or indirect help to Yugoslavia as treason against the Croatian nation [...] Yugoslavia must be destroyed - be it with the help of the Russians or the Americans, of Communists, non-Communists or anti-Communists - with the help of anyone willing the destruction of Yugoslavia: destroyed by the dialectic of the word, or by dynamite - but at all costs destroyed."[3]

Odpor had its Australian branch based in Melbourne. It was linked to the Odpor headquarters in Spain and to other arms of the Ustashe movement around the world. The Australian branch was led by Ustashe Srecko Blaz Rover[4]

Odpor was heavily involved in racketeering, attempted murder, extortion, hijacking, terrorist bombing, and other violent crimes.[5] After Luburić's death, his successors on the organization commanding post, sought out criminal organization ties with La Cosa Nostra, the Provisional Irish Republican Army, and the Croatian Mafia in San Pedro.[6]

Odpor most spectacular action was the 10 September 1976 hijacking of Trans World Airlines flight, en route from New York to Chicago. Odpor's five hijackers diverted the plane to Newfoundland, from there to Iceland, and ultimately to Paris with passengers aboard. The terrorists had planted a bomb in Grand Central Station. After authorities met the terrorists' demands, the bomb location was revealed. The bomb deactivation killed one policeman and another three wounded, when they tried to deactivate it.[7] After terrorists learned that the bomb in New York had exploded and killed a policeman, they surrendered to French police.

The leaders of the hijackers of TWA Flight 355, Zvonko Bušić and his wife, Julienne Bušić, were both convicted on U.S. federal charges of air piracy and murder in May 1977 and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Julienne Bušić was released from prison on lifelong parole in 1989. Zvonko Bušić briefly escaped from prison on 16 March 1987 but was quickly captured two days later. Julienne Bušić was appointed by President Franjo Tudjman to the diplomatic post of adviser to the Croatian ambassador to the United States. This appointment of a convicted terrorist to a diplomatic post within the United States drew protests in December 1994 from the New York Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association as well as from Kathlyn Murray, the widow of the police officer killed by the bomb in Grand Central Station in 1976.

Her husband, Zvonko Bušić, was paroled in July 2008 and expelled from the U.S. to Croatia.

In 1980es Odpor carried out five bombings in the United States. Bombed were (causing no injuries):

  • the U.S. office of a Yugoslavian bank (17 March 1980);
  • the home of the acting Yugoslavian ambassador (3 June 1980);
  • the Manhattan New York State Supreme Court (23 January 1981, pipe bomb) for which prior notice was given by the group;
  • the Yugoslavian Airlines office in New York City (4 July 1981);
  • a travel agency office in Astoria, New York (4 July 1982, pipe bomb).[8]

Odpor was banned in Germany for terrorist activities and operated between legitimate emigre functions and a thuggish underworld. Its leaders tried to distance the organization from the acts of the so-called renegade elements that hijacked international flights and served prison sentences for extortion. It embraced a radical nationalist ideology that differed only marginally from Ustaše ideology.[9]

A number of terrorist attacks against Yugoslavia were organized by this Ustaše organization. They were Miro Barešić's killing of ambassador Vladimir Rolović, bomb attacks in Belgrade cinemas, terrorist group actions in Krajina region during the Croatian Spring of 1971, and the JAT Flight 367 bombing of 1972.

The organization published its own magazine, Drina.[10] Odpor was dissolved in 1991.

References[change | change source]

  1. Janke, Peter (1983). Guerrilla and Terrorist Organizations: A World Directory and Bibliography. Macmillan. p. 113. ISBN 0029161509.
  2. Bogdan Krizman: Pavelić u bjekstvu, Globus Zagreb 1986.
  3. Bellamy, Alex J. (2004). The Formation of Croatian National Identity: A Centuries-Old Dream?. Manchester University Press. p. 93. ISBN 071906502X.
  4. 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]
  5. 706 F.2d 42 13 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 421 United States of America, Appellee, v. Milan Bagaric, Mile Markich, Ante Ljubas, Vinko Logarusic, Ranko Primorac, and Drago Sudar, Defendants-Appellants
  6. Wolf, John B. (1989). [0306431238 Antiterrorist Initiatives] Check |url= value (help). Plenum Press. p. 30.
  7. 592 F.2d 13: United States of America, Plaintiff-appellee, v. Zvonko Busic, Julienne Busic, Petar Matanic, Frane Pesut,defendants-appellants [2]
  8. Anderson, Sean K., Anderson, Stephen S. (2009): Historical Dictionary of Terrorism by Sean K. Anderson and Stephen S. Anderson, Third Edition, Scarecrow Press, ISBN 978-0-8108-5764-3, ISBN 978-0-8108-6311-8, pages 129-130
  9. Hockenos, Paul (2003). Homeland Calling: Exile Patriotism and the Balkan Wars. Cornell University Press. p. 23. ISBN 9780801441585.
  10. Grubisa, Damir (January 14, 1989). "Yugoslavia Ad Came From Nazi Terrorists". New York Times.