Skip to comments.1976 Hijacker Returns to Freedom in Croatia, Leaving a Wake of Outrage
Posted on 07/25/2008 9:45:05 AM PDT by Bokababe
After more than three decades in United States prisons a term punctuated by a brief escape and recapture a 62-year-old Croatian independence fighter was returned to his native country on Thursday, having served his time for a 1976 hijacking and a bombing that killed a police officer.
The fighter, Zvonko Busic, led a group that planted a bomb at Grand Central Terminal that later exploded, killing a city police officer, Brian J. Murray. Mr. Busic left the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Ind., boarded a plane in Chicago and touched down in Zagreb about 2:20 p.m. on Thursday, officials said.
Croatian immigration officials boarded the plane, and they escorted him out, said Pat A. Reilly, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement who said that three agents delivered Mr. Busic to his home country. He is a free man. There was quite a crowd there."...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Zagreb - Croatia gave a hero's welcome to "independence fighter" Zvonko Busic, who returned home after serving 32 years in a US prison for a 1976 plane hijacking and a bombing that killed a New York policeman. Some 500 people with banners and flags sang songs as they greeted Busic at the airport in Zagreb, the Croatian capital.
"This is the happiest day of my life. If each of you could feel one per cent of the joy I feel, Croats would be the happiest nation in the world," he said after arriving in Croatia on Thursday night.
Busic, 62, was greeted by rock singer and Croatian ultra- nationalist icon Marko Perkovic, aka Thompson, and the crowd broke into songs associated with the Ustasha, Croatia's Nazi puppet government during World War II....
He should stay and vote for Obama.
Israel may not have been able to kill him while he was in their prisons, but I don’t think much of his chances at longevity, now that he’s on the outside.
LOL! Never thought of that way but you are right.
But the hijacking that this guy was convicted of in the 1970's was politically motivated. Now, since his political side won and Croatia did ultimately get independence, they presumed that he would have no longer have any motivation to blow up or hijack another plane.
What surprises me is that they let him -- as a convicted cop killer -- go free. And that he was celebrated in Croatia as some kind of "hero" with supporters cheering him at the airport when he landed there.
He was in a US federal Prison and was paroled. And he killed a NYC Cop with a bomb. Click and read the NYT article, he was greeted as a HERO when his plane landed in Croatia.
This terrorist got away with murder.
And it shows that terrorism DOES pay. Hijack an airliner, kill a cop, buy PR, get a country!
That was, by the way, the first terrorist hijacking on American soil in US history.
What surprises me is that this guy went 30 years in a US prison and didn't meet with an 'accident'.
How is Busic different from Gavrilo Princip?
Oh, I’m thinking he might end up a grease spot somewhere, compliments of Mossad. They’d deny it, of course, but you KNOW they weren’t thrilled with his release.
This situation has nothing to do with Israel.
Using my best Emily Latella voice: Never Mind!
That is a really unbelievable question from you, Dio. I mean whatever is said about Croatia, you have some BS read herring in your pocket -- no matter how pathetic-- and you try to use it to distract, deny or equivocate.
It's a stupid question, but I'll answer anyway.
Gavrilo Princip assassinated an Austrian ruling monarch on Princip's own home turf in Bosnia, because he and others living there didn't want to be ruled by foreign Austro-Hungary.
Busic killed a NY cop and maimed another who had absolutely NOTHING to do with Croatia or Croatian politics, let alone any relationship to Busic's politics. Busic hijacked a plane full of Americans, who had NOTHING to do with Croatia or Croatian politics. Busic and his little girlfriend killed and terrorized innocent American citizens who were completely innocent of any wrongdoing. Busic's actions were the equivalent of what was done to us on 9/11, in terms of motivation -- killing and terrorizing civilians who did the killer(s)no wrong and who weren't even involved in the issue.
The difference is night and day.
I must say, I’ve seen some nazis out there but these guys are the best.
Sorry Dio, you bit the turd on this one.
How do you now, doesn’t all the world’s problems have to do with Israel? :-|
Busic told the cops that they placed a bomb in a locker. He had no bombs with him. Therefore, there was no intent to kill.
Gavrilo Princip on the other hand purposely killed two people.
Busic - unintentional murderer.
Damn it, Dio. The SOB killed a NY policeman on American soil when the guy had nothing to do with Croatian politics.
Don't give me the "no intent to kill" BS, Busic planted a live bomb in a locker that killed a NY policeman and maimed another when it went off.
Busic had phony bomb on him which he told the passengers and pilot were real -- they had no way of knowing the difference until he and his girlfriend were captured and disarmed.
The only thing that the phony bombs proved is that he didn't intend to kill HIMSELF in the process of hijacking the plane. That doesn't make him innocent -- it just showed him to be a coward. No brownie points for that!
Even the judge said this during sentencing.
They carried leaflets aboard the plane that they planned to drop.
The man committed a terrorist act, did his time, and now is home. The death of the police officer is a great tragedy, but was unintentional.
Busic’s hijacking was only one of a string of Croat terrorist acts in the US, Europe & Australia in the 1970’s & 80s:
Two Croatian terrorists released six hostages in Chicago Aug. 17 and surrendered to authorities 10 hours after seizing the West German Consulate in the city. [See 1977, p. 642A2]
The two Croatians had demanded the release of Stefan Bilandzic from a West German prison. Bilandzic, a leading Croatian nationalist, was serving a life sentence in West Germany for attempting to assassinate the Yugoslavian consul general in Dusseldorf.
(Croatian nationalists were fighting Yugoslavia to gain independence for their region. Croatia was currently one of the six republices that formed Yugoslavia.)
The siege in Chicago began in the morning of Aug. 17 when the two terrorists, described as Croatians from the Chicago area, entered the building on South Michigan Ave. where the consulate was located. They demanded to talk to the consul general, who was not in the building, and then pulled out pistols. One of the men also claimed to have a bomb in his briefcase. Eight persons in the office were taken hostage.
The building was surrounded by police, who started negotiations with the Croatians. One of the terrorists’ first demands was to speak to Bilandzic in West Germany. They said they wanted to block his possible extradition to Yugoslavia because they feared he would be killed by Yugoslavian authorities. They threatened to explode the bomb they carried if their demands were not met.
Two of the hostages were released early in the siege, including the daughter of the consul general.
A court ruling in West Germany earlier in the week, opening the way for Bilandzic’s extradition to Yugoslavia, apparently provoked the Coatian’s seizure of the Chicago consulate. The Yugoslavs had demanded Bilandzic’s extradition and that of seven other Croatians held in West Germany in return for the extradition of four West German terrorists held in Yugoslavia. [See p. 438E3]
Police in Chicago and West Germany credited Ivan Bilandzic, brother of the imprisoned nationalist, for bringing about the surrender of the two Croatians. Bilandzic entered the consulate and spoke with the two men for 90 minutes before their surrender.
In other events connected with Croatian nationalism:
* More than 200 Croatian exiles demonstrated in Cologne Aug. 13 to protest a West German high court ruling that permitted the extradition of Stefan Bilandzic.
* Croatian terrorists planted two bombs in New York City Aug. 14 and demanded the release of Stefan Bilandzic from West German custody. Neither of the two bombs exploded. One was found on a window ledge in a United Nations building and the other in a locker at Grand Central Station.
Notes found with the bombs denounced “the terroristic ways of Yugoslavia dictatorship and its genocide of Croatians.” Police said the bombs were large and well-made.
* An armed group of 19 Croatians was arrested by Australian police in a remote camp about 250 miles south of Sydney, it was reported Sept. 5. The Croatians had weapons, maps of their homeland and instructions on planting land mines.
The West German government announced Sept. 13 that it would refuse a Yugoslavian request for the extradition of three Croatians wanted in Yugoslaiva for terrorism. The three were among the eight Croatians sought by the Yugoslavian government in exchange for the four West German terrorists captured in Yugoslavia.
The West Germany decision was expected to make the Yugoslavs less likely to return the West German terrorists.
A West German court decided that there was insufficient evidence to justify the extradition of two of the wanted Croatians. The third Croatian, Stefan Bilandzic, was still under investigation by West German police, and therefore could not be returned.
From 30,000 feet? From a pressurized airliner? If they opened the friggin door, it would have downed the damn plane with all the passengers on it!
And you'd proabably still be here, saying, "Duh, but they didn't intend to kill anyone"
Hey, I didn’t say that their plan was a good one. But as the judge said, there was no intention to harm anyone. Unfortunately one officer was killed, and that’s a tragedy.
In most acts of extortion from hijacking to armed robbery, the story is the same -- they don't "intend to kill anyone". But when you have a bomb, a gun or some other lethal weapon that you are using as a threat to get what you want, often people die as a result. That's not just "a tragedy", it's a murder. Intent may influence what degree of of murder it is -- 1st degree, 2nd degree or manslaughter. But it's not "self-defense" or "accidental death". It's murder, and in this case, it was the murder of a police officer.
Take it up with the judge then.
You mean the judge that gave him a life sentence? I don't have to.
What a county... Croatia!
Highlights of the article:
ZAGREB, CROATIA After 32 years he spent in prison in the United States, Zvonko Busic finally stepped foot on Croatian soil. Busic was greeted at the Zagreb airport which was packed by his friends and family who applauded his arrival.
His friends handed him flowers with tears in their eyes and everybody wanted to touch him.....
...Also amongst the many people who came to greet him was Frane Pesut who arrived in Croatia last year. Together with Busic, he hijacked an American airplane on September 10, 1976 on a flight from New York to Chicago.
Pesut told Javno everything that happened that day, but said he had nothing to do with organising the hijacking.
Taik (Zvonko Busics nickname) knew all the details. He invited me along as his friend and it was a great honour. I never had any doubts we should do it (hijack the plane) he told us.
...Busic quickly described the behaviour of the members of the American security services that accompanied him on his path to freedom.
They did not even let me freshen my face, no bathe in the last 60 hours, you can only imagine how that is. I am tired as a dog and dirty as a pig. Otherwise, they treated me very well. They wanted to have me arrive like a criminal, under the table, but I am not ashamed of coming to Croatia said Busic.....
There were a couple of brief mentions of the slain NY cop, but it was talked about more like an "sorry, oops" than any real remorse. They held a moment of silence for "slain Croat freedom fighters" but none for NY Officer Brian Murray.