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Monday, February 24, 2020

Croatia's State Prosecutor Forced To Resign Over Masonic Membership


(NOTE: This story has been updated on 2/25/2020 at 3:18PM EST.)

The chief state prosecutor for the nation of Croatia has just been forced to resign his office solely for being a Freemason.


An Associated Press story on February 20th reports that Croatia's State’s Attorney, Dražen Jelenić, came under fire after he publicly acknowledged his membership in a Masonic lodge.

From the AP story:


Jelenic initially refused to resign, saying that being a member of the fraternal organization did not affect his independence. However, the prime minister and other Croatian officials insisted he leave his post as the country’s top prosecutor.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said at a Cabinet meeting Thursday that membership in an organization or order like a Masonic lodge could undermine public trust in “the integrity of people running the highest institutions.”

“I would like to stress that this does not mean the state attorney has acted against the law or did not perform his duty objectively and independently,“ Plenkovic said. “This duty does not leave any room for doubt in independence or objectivity.”

Jelenic became state’s attorney in 2018. Plenkovic said the government had no prior knowledge of his Masonry affiliation.

A slightly more detailed English-language story appeared on the Balkan Insight website last Thursday:

“This membership is lawful [but it] burdened the performance of my duty as Chief State Prosecutor,” Jelenic said on Wednesday, when he confirmed his resignation.
The weekly Nacional reported on his membership on Tuesday. While explaining it earlier to local media, Jenelic denied belonging to a secret or semi-secret organisation, and said it was just a civic association registered in accordance with the law, so there was no conflict of interest.
Jelenic told the media that he was invited to join a freemasonry association in March 2018, a month before being named to his post as chief prosecutor.
The association was registered as a non-profit dedicated to “promoting masonic worldviews, above all general morality, culture and love for one’s fellow man and charity”, according to the Croatian Registry of Associations.
However, Croatian officials are obliged to declare their membership of associations or organisations to the Commission for the Resolution of Conflicts of Interest, which Jelenic failed to do.
The resignation followed only days after media reported that several journalists from the tabloid Dnevno.hrand its sister print weekly, 7Dnevno, had been arrested for allegedly trying to blackmail an ophthalmologist over his links to the same masonic association.
Nikica Gabric claimed the journalists had tried to blackmail him into buying 27,000 euros worth of advertising space in the weekly in exchange for not publishing pictures of him attending masonic ceremonies. Jelenic had become involved in the affair, after accusing Gabric of trying to influence the investigation into the Dnevno.hr journalists. On Wednesday, Jelenic clarified his statement, saying Gabric had clearly been the victim of attempted blackmail.
President Zoran Milanovic made it clear he supported the prosecutor’s departure. He said that everyone who was a member of a masonic association and was doing a public job or was a public official, notably in law enforcement, was unnecessarily bringing into question their objectivity and loyalty.
Jelenic was appointed to his post in April 2018. He earlier served as president of the State Judicial Council, and as a municipal prosecutor and county prosecutor.

In additional articles I have found so far, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković declared that Jelenić's Masonic membership constituted a case of what he called "dual loyalty," which is frequently cited by anti-Masons as an excuse for persecuting members of law enforcement, the judiciary or in government positions over their Masonic membership. These are the sort of accusations that were common in the late 1990s and early 2000's during the English witch hunts against Masons by their Home Secretary, Jack Straw.

A story on the N1 website gave more details about the blackmail end of the story and what is already being called the "Masonic Affair":

The unusual scandal began unravelling last week, when a prominent Croatian eye doctor, Nikica Gabric, reported to the police that journalists of the popular tabloid website Dnevno.hr and its weekly print issue 7Dnevno were threatening to publish photographs showing Gabric attending masonic ceremonies.

Gabric claimed that, in exchange for not publishing the photographs, the journalists wanted him to buy 200,000 kuna (€27,000) worth of advertising space in the 7Dnevno weekly. The police investigation was opened, resulting in arrests of Dnevno.hr’s editor-in-chief, his deputy, and the website’s owner. According to Gabric, the arrested editor-in-chief’s deputy is also a member of the same masonic lodge.
The first Masonic lodge in Croatia and the Balkans was established in 1764 by Croatian Count Ivan Drašković VIII. The first Grand Lodge of Croatia was established in 1778, but the fraternity was shut down in 1795 across Croatia, Austria and Hungary after Illuminati-inspired (or connected) conspirators with Masonic membership hatched a failed revolutionary plot in the region. Masonic lodges would reopen again, only to be shut down throughout much of the 19th century at various times as fears of 'Illuminism' continued.

After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, Croatia was handed over to the Kingdom of Serbia, and eventually folded into Yugoslavia. Freemasonry was reestablished under the Grand Lodge of Serbia and flourished from 1919 until the pro-Nazi fascists came to power in Croatia in 1940. Jews, Serbs and Freemasons were persecuted, arrested and murdered, and many were removed to the Nazi-inspired Jasenovac extermination camp in Slavonia. Jasenovac became one of the largest concentration camps in Europe and was nicknamed the 'Auschwitz of the Balkans.'
After Yugoslavia's collapse in 1941, the new government of the Independent State of Croatia also completely banned Freemasonry, and it remained illegal after the end of World War II for another 51 years.

After the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s and the re-formation of the nation of Croatia, the Grand Lodge of Austria formed a 'provisional lodge' in Vienna with the task of raising and educating a whole new generation of Masons who would eventually be able to revive the Grand Lodge of Croatia. In 1994, the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Croatia was successfully registered as a civil society with the Croatian Ministry of Public Administration.

An English-language website for Freemasonry in Croatia today can be found at http://www.freemasonry-croatia.org/indexen.htm


UPDATED 2/25/2020

From my admittedly imperfect, drive-by understanding of the story, this appears to be a political battle with looming elections, and this demand for his resignation was his party's leadership squeezing him out, NOT some official government policy. If I'm reading this correctly, it's mostly about political optics in a contested parliament election cycle. That's not to blunt Croatia's long history of outlawing Freemasonry at several points over the last three centuries. But Croatia is a member of the European Union, and when Italy and England both enacted actual laws banning the participation of Freemasons in government, law enforcement or judiciary positions back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, such laws were deemed to be illegal discrimination by the EU Court of Human Rights. It's unlikely that an EU nation today would attempt to actually codify and enforce such official policies these days. But one never knows anymore.

Some commentators on Masonic boards in the U.S. have taken to opining that Jelenić may be a member of an irregular, unrecognized grand lodge in Croatia. In addition to the regular Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Croatia, there are Droit-Humain, Memphis-Misraim and Grand Orient bodies at work in the country today. It is important to note that anti-Masonry sees no difference between regular or irregular Freemasons. Our internal distinctions are meaningless to the outside world when embarking on anti-Masonic crusades, witch hunts and persecution.

2 comments:

  1. All I can say, we are so very lucky to live in democratic society, even with our failings its still a great place to be. There are still many ignorant and uniformed people in our society but we are free to be Masons. Why it so important I believe that we need to keep practicing and living, our believe in relief, truth, and brotherly love amongst all in the best way we can. Thanks for sharing I believe we must always look at history so we can understand our present.

    ReplyDelete
  2. With our moral standards, it's highly doubtful that he would ever have to prosecute a Mason

    ReplyDelete

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