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Cablegate: Zagreb Weekly Activity Report - September 25, 2008

VZCZCXRO2556
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVB #0680 2701239
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261239Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8646
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000680

SIPDIS

FOR EUR/SCE, EUR/PPD, EUR/RPM AND EUR/ERA
OSD FOR POPOVICH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM EAIR HR
SUBJECT: ZAGREB WEEKLY ACTIVITY REPORT - SEPTEMBER 25, 2008

1. (U) CROATIA'S ACCESSION TO NATO APPROVED BY US SENATE:
News of the U.S. Senate's vote late in the evening of
September 25 to provide advice and consent to the NATO
Accession Protocols for Croatia and Albania arrived too late
to make it into most of the Croatian media. It should be a
lead story on September 26.

2. (U) MUTED REACTION TO NEGATIVE FAA FINDING ON CROATIAN
CIVIL AVIATION:
The FAA in Washington on September 25 announced that
Croatia's civil aviation safety oversight system does not
fully meet international standards, and that Croatia was
therefore rated as a Category 2 country. In close
coordination with the Embassy, the Croatian Ministry of
Transportation was able to get ahead of story in Croatian
media and get out that the message that it took the FAA's
criticisms seriously, but that it was already taking steps to
try and address the deficiencies found in the FAA's
assessment.

3. (U) DEFENDANTS IN GLAVAS TRIAL RELEASED FROM DETENTION:
Four of the seven defendants in the war crimes case of
Branimir Glavas have been granted provisional release after
spending nearly two years in custody, when the Constitution
Court accepted their complaints that continued detention
would violate their rights. The accused have been in custody
since late October 2006. The Constitutional Court found that
the constitutional right to personal freedom was violated in
this case because the accused had been held in detention for
an unreasonably long period of time and because the
presentation of evidence, including a large number of
witnesses, was still only partially complete. The two
defendants remaining in custody are expected to be released
upon filing a similar appeal. The principal defendant in the
case, Branimir Glavas, was released from detention in January
when Parliament restored his immunity from detention, while
allowing the prosecution to proceed, after his re-election to
the Parliament. (CZimmer)

4. (U) GoC CRACKS DOWN ON ALLEGED ACADEMIC CORRUPTION:
The Office for Suppression of Organized Crime and Corruption
(USKOK), the Office of the General State Attorney and the
Croatian Police implemented one of the largest
anti-corruption actions in the country's history, "Operacija
Index" (roughly translated, "Operation Report Card"). So
far, prosecutors have brought criminal charges against 69
individuals to date (mainly academics and professors from
different Croatian Universities). The charges center on
allegations that the 69 suspects committed various criminal
acts, such as bribe taking and giving, abuse of authority,
and illegal mediation, while arranging fradulent grades,
diplomas or admission to academic institutions. Upon being
questioned by the investigative judge, some suspects did
admit to committing corrupt acts. The investigation is
ongoing. (VDjuric)

5. (U) EMBASSY ZAGREB SPONSORS NATIVE AMERICAN MUSIC
FESTIVAL:
In cooperation with the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
the U.S. Embassy helped sponsor the Croatian American
Society's third annual "Red Rocks Arts and Crafts Festival."
Headlined by celebrated Native American musicians Joseph
FireCrow and Keith Secola, the festival featured concerts and
workshops in Osijek, Opatija, and Zagreb. Joseph FireCrow is
a Grammy-nominated flautist, some of whose music featured on
the soundtrack of the Ken Burns' documentary, "Lewis and
Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery." Native folk
and blues rocker Keith Secola is an award-winning musician,
master guitarist and native flute player. His song, "NDN
Kars", is considered the contemporary Native American anthem
and is the most requested song on Native radio in the US and
Canada. The festival also included a DVC at the American
Corner in Zagreb with prominent Native American flautist R.
Carlos Nakai. (KWetzel)
Bradtke

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