Whenever an article appears in the mainstream media dealing with Croatia or Germany in World War II, the reader must be prepared for a deluge of surreal stories about the past Fascist epoch in general. Even Virgil’s Aeneid or Homer’s Odysseus visit to Hades pales in comparison with netherworld tales of modern court historians. Croatia in those troubled European times is regularly portrayed as a Nazi-run Ustasha puppet state responsible for the killing of over half a million Serbs, Jews and Gypsies. Hand in hand with antifascist victimhood tales unfolds the process of demonizing scholars who critically examine the official WWII body counts. The process of political demonization of rightwing and nationalist dissenters has gained additional traction in the media and legislatures in all EU states. This is best illustrated by the German government’s decision in 2020 to allocate 1 billion euros for the “fight against the right.” Nor does the US administration lag behind. President Joe Biden, in his May 2023 address at Howard University, also evoked the specter of “white supremacy as the “most dangerous terrorist threat” to the nation.
Legal Legacy of the Sovietspeak
Vague lexical constructs with ill-defined meanings, such as “fighting hate speech” feature in the school curriculum and the criminal code of most EU countries, Canada and Australia, while slowly inching their way into the US judiciary. Speaking in tongues is no longer a trade mark of Southern Bible zealots; unclear legal palaver has become by now a badge of honor for many US government prosecutors and their sidekicks in major media outlets. Special counsels heaping indictments after indictment on Donald Trump use verbal qualifiers that mirror the discourse of former Soviet prosecutors. In practice, this means that the much vaunted First Amendment rights guaranteeing freedom of speech will depend on those who define it as they best see it fit. Small wonder that many DA’s in the US like decorating themselves with crypto-Soviet locutions with multiple meanings, such as how “the defendant’s free speech is subject to the rules,” or piously asserting that “no one is above the law,” or claiming that countries need to abide by a “rules-based order.” Those phrases—phrases that are rife with double standards in practice—are exact replications of the former Sovietspeak, except that in lieu of talking about rules, the Soviets used the word ‘ukase’ which, unlike the English word ‘rules’, has the connotation of a proclamation or edict from on high. The French have a potent expression, la langue de bois (“wooden language”), for the communist-inspired, unintelligible discourse pervading EU legal documents, an expression which sorely lacks an equivalent in the English language.
While blaming White nationalists for allegedly indulging in lurid conspiracy theories, the mainstream media resort to their own baggage of conspiratorial language. Seldom do they tire of evoking the ever lurking “neo-Nazis” or “white supremacists” bent on destroying the liberal democratic order. One wonders what would happen if all newly fabricated neo-Nazis disappeared into thin air. One cannot rule out that the EU/US judiciary and the condescending media would likely need to reinvent them — similar to the Soviet Union and its former client states who, in order to justify their repressive existence, kept resurrecting over and over again the postmodern myth of the Absolute Fascist Evil. The problem with all conspiracy theorists, regardless whether they originate from the bureaucrats employed by the Deep State or from its opponents, is that they can never be refuted. The more one struggles to refute them the more one lends credence to their conspiratorial claims.
What strikes one is the following double standard: while one may critically downplay the circumstances leading to the Ukrainian Holodomor in 1933, or minimize the Gulag sewage system in the Soviet Union, or shrug off large-scale intellectual purges in Europe in the wake of World War II, let alone ignore the figure of millions of killed German civilians and “enemy combatants” following the war, without facing legal or professional troubles, any critical debate about the Holocaust narrative must stay off limits.
Case in Point: Croat usual suspects
Empirical sources on Croatia’s alleged plans to annihilate over half a million Serbs, Jews and Gypsies during World War II are missing. Forensic research or excavation at the Ustasha-run Jasenovac concentration camp, which serves today as a prime Balkan memorial center for World War II victims of fascism, are not permitted. The irony of antifascist victimology is that present-day Croatia, although largely manned by the progeny of former Yugoslav communist apparatchiks, rejects Serbia’s official claims of 300,000 to 500,000 Serbs killed by the Croat Ustasha regime from 1941–45. The present Croat government, which boasts of her antifascist legacy at top of their lungs, claims that no more than 80,000 Serbs, Jews and Gypsies were killed by Croat fascists during World War II. Revisionist scholars in Croatia, however, go a step further by reducing the number of the Jasenovac dead to a meager figure of several hundreds. The question then comes to mind: If official antifascist Serbia and official antifascist Croatia can’t agree on the exact number of the killed at the Jasenovac camp, one wonders where must one dig up the real tally of the dead.
The Age of Wokeness and academic self-censorship knows no geographic bounds. As of June 2023 the government of Australia announced plans to monitor nationalist activists and criminalize the display of National Socialist symbols. A large and relatively influential Croat community in Australia, mostly made up of descendants of anticommunist and nationalist refugees fleeing communist Yugoslavia after World War II, has long been vilified by diverse local virtue-signaling elites. Several decades ago the Australian judicial system charged half a dozen Australian Croat nationalists to long prison sentences — only to admit relatively recently that the verdict was a judicial error based on false intelligence reports from the Yugoslavian communist regime. Recently, there was another smear campaign claiming Australian Croat soccer fans had Nazi links.
The judiciary in the entire West is now in the process of using similar communist “normative agitprop locutions,” or Soviet-styled “double-talk,” as witnessed in the latest indictment of Donald Trump. Technically speaking any person in the US or the EU belonging to a small conservative group or an unwoke party or some church denomination could fall into the category of a person aiding and abetting a criminal enterprise and therefore be dealt with by the authorities very severely. Similar to EU states, the Australian and American judiciaries seem to be now on the lookout for the proverbial neo-Nazi and White supremacist scarecrows — even if there are no resurgent National Socialist or White supremacist mass movements on the horizon. The ultimate goal of the Western judiciary, similar to that of the defunct Soviet Union, is to keep the imagery of timeless Fascist Evil alive and use it as a legal warning sign against any dissent. What comes to mind is the joke popular among Croat dissidents in communist ex-Yugoslavia: “even when a fly farts in Zagreb, the Yugoslav communist authorities must blame Croat fascists.”
Croatian history—– and, for that matter, European history as a whole — is not black and white. The head of World War II Croatia, Ante Pavelic, had a number of Bosnian Muslim ministers in his government, with a number of Croats of Jewish extraction serving as high-ranking officers in Ustasha military units. The intellectual founder of the Croatian Ustasha movement was a Jewish attorney Josip Frank (1844–1911) who converted to Catholicism.
The study of modern history is essentially a victimhood contest, except that communist killing fields are not allowed to be featured on prime-time news channels. In the months following World War II, hundreds of thousands of disarmed Axis soldiers, as well as Croatian, German, Hungarian, Italian, and Serbian civilians, were summarily killed by Yugoslav communist strongman Josip Broz Tito and his partisans — courtesy of their Western Allied enablers. Similar scenarios played out from the Baltics to the Balkans in the immediate aftermath of World War II. A handful of those surviving communist perpetrators in Croatia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe have never been brought to justice. The largely ineffective Croat diplomacy, mostly staffed by the progeny of former Yugoslav communist officials seems to be more interested in parroting liberal Western slogans than in countering liberal fake news and poisonous ideology. In an effort to better hide their former communist pedigree, they have rebranded themselves into big-time liberals and apostles for human rights in order to be players in the new game in town: Western-sponsored globalism.
Instead of wasting time on portraits of a few silly US Hollywood Nazis and a few right-arm-stretching White dimwits, serious research should be done on how Western powers provided intelligence to communist strongmen in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. The fascism label has by now completely lost its original meaning, as one can witness in the mutual Nazi name-calling by Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president Volodymir Zelensky. Zelensky and Putin seem to ignore that prior to 1990 both were komsomoltsi, i.e., members of the Soviet communist youth league.