Recommending Integration of Croatia into NATO

Dennis Kucinich speaking from the Floor of the House

Link to this entry in the Congressional Record
Dec 14, 2005

Speaking in support of H. Res. 529, Recommending the integration of the Republic of Croatia into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Congressman Kucinich said (as revised by the Congressman):

“Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from California [Mr. Lantos] for yielding me this time.

“When Croatia was struggling for its independence and survival I was one of the American political figures who challenged my own government for its lack of support for Croatia at a critical hour. I take great pride in my Croatian heritage. My grandfather was born in what is now Croatia. I take pride in the achievements of my Croatian brothers and sisters in Croatia, America and around the world.

“However, I want to make the Congress aware of the conduct of the Croatian television network HRT, which has deliberately denied an American filmmaker access to documentary film footage, so as to frustrate the commercial release of her production.

“The Croatian television network, HRT, initially gave Ms. Brenda Brkusic rights to film footage for student use in the production. Once she asked for commercial rights, HRT refused to cooperate. HRT has refused to answer her questions about the specific price for rights to the footage, giving her general, estimated quotes much higher than are quoted to other people who have inquired for footage rights, and they have suggested unreasonable limitations on those rights. Most recently, when she sent HRT a list of archives she was given by HRT for student use, HRT then informed her that they do not have the right to sell her that material. Ms. Brkusic asked HRT where she must go to get the rights, yet HRT refused to answer her questions. Furthermore, HRT has on other occasions sold that same material that Ms. Brkusic requested to other individuals for broadcast on television.

“This is not a routine matter about a routine film. Ms. Brkusic’s film, ‘Freedom from Despair,’ has received great critical acclaim. She has won many awards, including the CINE Golden Eagle award, which was previously been awarded to the internationally acclaimed filmmakers Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. She has been recognized by her peers as an emerging talent in the film industry. The Croatian National Foundation has agreed to be her fiscal sponsor, and Amnesty International, the largest human rights organization in the world, has endorsed her film for its strong human rights advocacy.

“The fact that numerous media outlets have agreed to donate their footage to her film at no cost is noteworthy. They include: ABC 7 Chicago, NBC 5 Chicago, CBS 2, WGN 9 Chicago, and Greater Chicago Broadcast Ministries. They all granted her worldwide rights to their footage in perpetuity for free, within a few weeks of her request.

“HRT, on the other hand, has not only been uncooperative, but obstructive. This distresses me. Given the high profile on this film and the extraordinarily fast rising stardom of its director, a young Croatian-American, HRT’s antics will damage the reputation of the Croatian government in the international community.

“Croatia desires to be in NATO to protect itself from outside enemies. But who will protect Croatia from threats to freedom of expression inside the country?”

Legislation:

  • H. Res. 529, Recommending the integration of the Republic of Croatia into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization