Croatian Being: Honour, Integrity, Faithfulness, Courage and Selfless Sacrifice // Croatia, the War, and the Future

At the Battle of Sziget, image created by Balazs Szakonyi

The heroism and love of homeland and self-determination of the 16th century Croatian nobleman and general, Viceroy of Croatia when Croatia was part of Austro-Hungarian Empire, Count Nikola Zrinski (also known as Nikola Subic Zrinski and Nikola Zrinski of Sziget) (1508 -1566) are well entrenched into the glorious history of Croatian people.

Although Nicholas fought valiantly against the Ottomans for years, it was his heroic death that made him a cherished European Christian hero. The Battle of Sziget (Szigetvár) is also known in history as the battle that saved civilisation.

His heroic death in Sziget deeply impressed upon his contemporaries. The cultivation of the cult of Nikola Zrinski emerged among Croats and Hungarians as well. In the first half of the 18th century, Nikola Zrinski became the protagonist of Jesuit school dramas, especially in Upper Hungary (present-day Slovakia), where he was celebrated as a model of a faithful and sacrificial warrior in the service of his ruler. At the beginning of the 19th century, his role as a defender of Christianity was emphasised. The ideologist of the Slovak national revival Ján Kollár saw in Nikola Zrinski a Croat and a Slav who saved Europe from Islamic danger. At that time, one of the new squares in Zagreb was named after Nikola Zrinski, and also some other cities, such as Koprivnica and Krizevci, named their squares after the Sigetian hero. The same year, Catholic priest, historian and later first rector of the University of Zagreb, Matija Mesic, published the first Croatian history book on the Szigetian hero. For Stjepan Radic (Croatian politician who galvanised Croatian peasants as a viable political force in the fight against unionism with other states for a Yugoslav Kingdom and shot by Serb radical in the parliament in Belgrade 1928) Zrinski was a symbol of Croatian identity.

Zeljko Zidaric
Photo: private album

This month in 2019, Zeljko Zidaric, a Canadian Croatian has published in Kindle version his book on Nicola Subic Zrinski titled “… As Only True Men Can: Nikola Zrinski’s Last Stand at Sziget”. Zidaric dedicates his book “To the heroes of Croatian Homeland War 1991-1995.

When asked this week what motivated him to research Nikola Zrinski, Zidaric replied:I have not always been interested in history. Namely, Canadian history is very boring, it all revolves around British imperialism and genocide against the indigenous population. My village in Croatia is three times older than Canada. But until recently, I was not interested in Croatian history either, because there is simply not much available here, not even on the Internet, and especially in English. One of my favourite books now is The History of the Early Croats, written by Ante Mrkonjic, a Croat from Australia. I started this project when I started writing a book on business management. While researching the subject, I happened to come across speeches Zrinski gave to his people – at the beginning of the siege and at the end. I was stunned by his words. I began to research as much as I could about it, learned about the siege, Suleiman, the Habsburgs, examined the entire Zrinski family. I was fascinated by the stories of our heroes from the past, all the more so because when I was growing up, such stories were not available to me and I could find out almost nothing about my ancestors. So, I decided to write a book, the kind I wish I had when I was young.

As to his favourite aspect of his story on Zrinski, Zidaric said the following for the Croatian mainstream newspaper Vecernji List: “Its essence is that it is a story of honour, integrity, faithfulness, courage and selfless sacrifice. Of course, it’s clear to me that the story is romanticised, but what I appreciate most about Zrinski and his men is that they were real examples of nobility and heroism. Even in the end, when the hope of salvation was gone and they knew they could not last longer, they chose an honourable death rather than surrender. Today’s men, by comparison, have no sense of duty, honour or courage. That story is a bit like the story of David and Goliath – we, as a smaller and weaker army, did something incredible in the face of a force like Suleiman. We endured and did not surrender, and although we failed in our plan, we succeeded in significantly weakening the Sultan’s forces. Our story about Siget is much more interesting than, for example, the story of the Alamo, which Americans inflated incredibly. They are good at marketing but also telling stories. We have a real, big story – why don’t we tell it? I want the world to know that Croatia is not some ‘terra incognita’ of European history.”

Nikola Subic Zrinski
Painting by Miklos Barabas

About the book by Zeljko Zidaric:

“On August 1, 1566, as Sultân Süleymân marches toward Sziget, with an army of over 120,000 soldiers, Castellan Nikola Zrinski speaks to his 2,300 soldiers and promises to them: “I, Nikola Zrinski, do solemnly swear, first of all to Almighty God, then to his Majesty, our glorious king, to our tormented suffering Homeland and to you, my valiant knights gathered here with me, that I will endure with you all that happens, whether good or bad. I will never abandon you. I will fight and suffer by your side, and together we will either win or die. So help me God!”

On September 7, 1566, after almost 7 weeks of brutal siege, Nikola Zrinski speaks to his soldiers once again, but now there are a meager 180 remaining, with no hope left for victory. With only two options available, surrender or death, Zrinski says to his men: “I will not dishonor the oath I swore at the start… I have lived free and I will die free! Therefore, I want to be the first to go, in front of you, and you will follow me. What I do, you do the same – as only true men can. Believe me, my beloved brethren, even unto death I will never abandon you!”

This is the story about what happens between those two speeches, August 1 and September 7, when an unstoppable force (Sultân Süleymân) hits an almost immovable object (Nikola Zrinski) at the fortress of Sziget, on the borderlands between Europe and the invading Ottoman Empire, in 1566. The bravery of Nikola Zrinski and his soldiers, brave underdogs fighting against an overwhelming force, can be compared to heroes such Leonidas fighting to protect Greece from the Persian invasion at Thermopylae, and William Wallace protecting Scotland from English conquest. The story is more interesting and important than the story of William Travis at the Battle of the Alamo in Texas. The story of Zrinski making a stand against Süleymân at Sziget is on par with the stories of Leonidas, Wallace, and Travis all merged into one.

Nikola Zrniski at Battle of Sziget
Painting by Johann Peter Krafft

Of Nikola Zrinski and the defense of Sziget, was said:

Cardinal Richelieu, statesman and minister to King Louis XIII,
called the Siege of Sziget: “The battle that saved civilization.” and also wrote: “A miracle was needed for Europe to survive, and this miracle happened at Sziget. The question was decided at Sziget whether the cross or the crescent would leave an indelible mark for centuries on the major parts of Europe.”

The Ottomans, who fought against Zrinski, also respected him. Ottoman historian İbrahim Peçevi wrote: “The master of the fortress, Nikola Zrinski, was a notorious kâfir (infidel) with a great reputation for his heroism.”

While numerous historical accounts of the siege exist in the Croatian, Hungarian and Turkish languages there has been no definitive story in English, until now. After almost three years of research and fitting together details found in a multitude of sources the story is now told in richer detail than told in any language to date. This story, like an old damaged painting, required some repairs to convey the magnitude of the siege and make the story more engaging but a high level of historicity is maintained by ensuring that the creative elements align with the spirit of the event and time. This story might at first glance, due to the story format, appear to be historical fiction but it is very much non-fiction.”

Source: Ina Vukic // Croatia, the War, and the Future

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HARRIS COUNTY COP KILLING: US deputy sheriff shot dead while on traffic duty // HEM News Agency

A ‘pioneering’ deputy sheriff on traffic duty near the Texas, United States city of Houston has died after he was shot in the back while making a routine traffic stop and search, news outlets ABC13 and ABC7 Eyewitness News reported yesterday.

The policeman, named as Sandeep Dhaliwal, was manning a traffic checkpoint on the 14800 block of Willancy Court near West Road in northwest Harris County when he was targeted by an assailant on Friday last week. He was rushed to the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center hospital by air ambulance but died from his injuries, according to sources from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

group of police on streetPhoto by Tiziano Pedrini on

Dhaliwal’s superior, county sheriff Ed Gonzalez told ABC7: “I’m sad to share with you that we’ve lost one of our own,”

“There are no words to convey our sadness. Please keep his family and our agency in your prayers.”

Of Indian Punjabi heritage, deputy Dhaliwal, a married father-of-three was the first Sikh to join the county’s sheriff’s department, Gonzalez told a press conference convened in wake of the policeman’s shooting. Dhaliwal has recently completed volunteered policing work on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. He had served with the police for ten years.

According to evidence from Dhaliwal’s body camera, the deputy had stopped a driver and was having a conversation with him with ‘no combat, no arguing’, according to Major Mike Lee of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Once the conversation finished and Dhaliwal was walking back to his patrol car, the driver is seen rushing out of his vehicle with a gun, and then shoots the deputy in the back of the head. A local who was working on his front garden witnessed the murder and tried to help as police arrived on the scene.

The suspect, a male identified by the report as 47-year-old Robert Solis, was arrested at a nearby business premises after his suspiciously nervous behaviour caught the attention of another deputy sheriff. His appearance matched the description of Dhaliwal’s killer as seen on the body cam footage, police said. Solis is currently in custody awaiting charges of capital murder.

In his first court hearing, it was disclosed that Solis had thrown away a semi-automatic gun believed used to shoot the deputy. He also had told investigators Dhaliwal had pulled them over for disregarding a stop sign. The suspect has a long criminal record, with past charges for aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery and driving while intoxicated. He was also listed as a wanted fugitive since 2017 for violating his parole terms concerning a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.


Ramz Kang Heer/Facebook.

” ‘Pioneering’ deputy dies after being shot from behind: sheriff” – ABC13, ABC7 Eyewitness News/ABC, Inc., WLS-TV Chicago (28 September 2019)


Tiziano Pedrini/Pexels.

HEM News AgencySeptember 29, 2019

Houston, United States


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It’s Not About Biden – Deep State Response to Ukraine Call Now Makes Sense – Trump Q uestioned Crowdstrike… // The Last Refuge

The completely over-the-top response by a Deep State embed whistleblower and his/her political allies within the administrative state now makes sense; it had nothing to do with Joe Biden. President Trump asked President Zelenskyy about “Crowdstrike.” (Page 3 – Source pdf) To understand how important this is, we must remember the foundation for the entire […] // The Last Refuge

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By choice or force? // willisbryanblog

The leftists are going all out with their plan to disarm the peaceful law-abiding citizens of this Republic. Quite sure by now everyone, not living under a rock, has seen the clip of the 2020 presidential hopeful saying “Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15, your AK-47”. Some in his political party have tried to distance themselves from his statement. I do have to wonder if it is the message they are against or the delivery. Did he say openly what most leftists talk/dream about privately? They might not be able to get the toothpaste back in the tube.

When he used the word “We” he meant the government. So what he actually said was, “Hell yes, the government is going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.

The following comes from the Patrick Henry speech “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” 23March1775.
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past.

The following excerpt comes from The Declaration of Arms also known as the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms, 06July1775
The inhabitants of Boston being confined within that town by the General, their Governor, and having, in order to procure their dismission, entered into a treaty with him, it was stipulated that the said inhabitants, having deposited their arms with their own magistrates, should have liberty to depart, taking with them their other effects. They accordingly delivered up their arms, but in open violation of honor, in defiance of the obligation of treaties, which even savage nations esteemed sacred, the Governor ordered the arms deposited as aforesaid, that they might be preserved for their owners, to be seized by a body of soldiers; detained the greatest part of the inhabitants in the town, and compelled the few who were permitted to retire to leave their most valuable effects behind.

There is something to note from the excerpt above The word arms is used twice, the word muskets is nowhere to be found.

The citizens of Boston trusted that the General, their Governor, would honor his word(treaty). They were sadly mistaken. Once disarmed they had no means to resist what was coming.

They could have, I suppose, asked or even begged for the return of their arms so they could defend themselves or at least force the General, their Governor, to honor his word. Do you think that a population that had been disarmed would be rearmed?

What happened in Boston that day in April 1775 was perhaps the first recorded example of a voluntary buy-back scheme. The price the government would pay for the voluntary surrender of arms by the citizens was the freedom to depart Boston and with them take the remainder of their possessions.

They traded one thing to gain another and wound up with neither and nothing. Seems like Benjamin Franklin had a quote on that matter. He had another, “Make yourselves sheep and the wolves will eat you”.

There was a quote attributed to Edmond Burke, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it”(the word doomed is sometimes used in place of destined). There is another old adage that fits, “History is a guide post not a hitching post”. History is chock full of examples of what has happened in countries where and when the population, the peaceful law-abiding population, is disarmed. Roundups and exterminations.

It was once said that one man with a gun can control one hundred without guns. If that is true then you just have to do simple math to figure out where this leads, if one can control one hundred, than ten can control a thousand, one hundred can control ten thousand and so on.

The gun control debate is just a part of the overall control issue. Gun control is not about the elimination of arms, it is about controlling who is armed.

Some in government and some wanting to be in government are more than willing to use the force of government to disarm the peaceful law-abiding citizens. Some politicians, the various gun control groups and their allies in the media tell us how much safer we will be if we disarm.

There are only two ways that an armed civilian population can be disarmed.

Can peaceful law-abiding citizens(civilians)trust the government if only the government is armed.

History says no

Source: // willisbryanblog

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Rebuttal to Seb Starcevic’s Rant Claiming Croatian Celebration of Fascism in Australia // Croatia, the War

Seb Starcevic’s article is an example that evidences the fact that we still do not live in a post-truth world and never have. On the contrary, we live in a pre-truth world where truth is yet to arrive.

Seb Starcevic’s article “In Australia, some Croats openly celebrate fascism,” published on Balkaninsight portal on 10th September 2019 presents to the public a point on the continuum of vicious Serb anti-Croat propaganda, often weaved with tangents of malicious historical lies and allegations of some sort of terrorism and fascism being alive and kicking within the Australian Croatian community. Apart from the evidently calculated intention to inflict damage to the reputation of the Croatian people in Australia, even though he uses the phrase “some Australian Croats”, it does seem that the article was also written in order to throw the truth-seeking scent off the current historical research in Croatia that has the capacity of debunking the Serb-led propaganda about WWII Jasenovac camp in Croatia. Sonja Biserko a Serbian campaigner for human rights, the founder and president of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia stated in recent years that the Serbian history is based on lies and myths and so it is of no surprise that the maintenance of such history has been transported into Australia by those of Serb extraction.

Starcevic opens his article saying that in Sydney’s western suburbs a Croatian club flies two flags: Australian and the flag of the WWII Independent State of Croatia/NDH. Contrary to innuendo in Starcevic’s article suggesting some criminal activity he attempts to associate with this flag, Australian law does not prohibit the NDH flag on its soil and it is not unlawful to fly similar flags of legitimate historical states or states who fought for independence but did not succeed in their fight. Starcevic would perhaps like the public to think that by flying the NDH flag some sort of soft fascism, if not fully blown fascism in practice is at the core of it! Nothing could be further from the truth. While in his article Starcevic calls WWII Croatia a Nazi puppet state he omits to say that Serbia was one also and that WWII flag of Serbia is also raised at some Serbian clubs and Chetnik organisations in the diaspora (and that flag represents Milan Nedic’s and Serb Chetnik’s fight against communists in collaboration with the Nazis, responsible for the first Jew-free country in WWII Europe). The important thing about the NDH flag raised at the club Starcevic writes about is that it is the flag that represents Croatia’s struggle for independence and, given the horrific times of the 20th century that struggle occurred in, one can with regret say that there were crimes committed by members on all sides but not by the majority of members of the independence movements. And that is a historical fact.

Then, in a malicious attempt to paint the Australian Croats as terrorists, his article goes into telling the public about Dr Kristy Campion’s historical terrorism research that also delves into Croatian Ustasha activities in Australia in the 1960’s and the 1970’s. He conveniently omits to also refer to modern day facts as found after the release to the public of relevant Commonwealth of Australia Archives a few years back that are said to have revealed a collaboration between secret services – parts of Australian ASIO and Yugoslav (read Serb) UDBA – which can be associated with the framing of Croatian immigrants for planning terrorist activities. Starcevic further omits to mention that in Campion’s bibliography there is a significant reference to “Alleged Croatian Terrorist Organisation” and NOT “Croatian Terrorist Organisation” (PDF). It would seem too much to expect that Starcevic would even consider the truth or a possible truth about Australian Croats given that such truth shows up his writings as nothing more than blatant hate speech.

After referring to a former Croatian Foreign Minister and former Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor as having said that no one should dismiss the crimes of the WWII Ustashe regime Starcevic goes on to say: “…But that didn’t stop Australia’s Croatian community from hosting an assortment of far-right figures in 2018, including journalist Igor Vukic and Croatian politician Zeljko Glasnovic, who have downplayed the crimes of the Ustasa regime. In a speaking tour called ‘Croatia Uncensored’, Vukic, Glasnovic and others visited Croatian clubs around Australia to discuss a variety of controversial topics, including the ‘the myth and lies of Jasenovac’, a concentration camp established by the Ustasa in WWII. The number of those who perished in the camp is regularly disputed by right-wing politicians and commentators in Croatia.” The fact is that the claimed and estimated numbers of those perished in Jasenovac range from the ludicrous and physically impossible 1 million, to some 40,000, and these numbers do not come from right-wing politicians so why wouldn’t the right-wing politicians, or any politician for that matter, go about disputing the numbers! In fact, and for the truth’s sake, it is desirable to dispute them and delve into research to come to the truth.

While Starcevic omits to corroborate with verifiable references his generalised claims that Vukic, Glasnovic etc “have downplayed the crimes of Ustasa,” one would expect from a journalist making such claims to provide in the same article some evidence or corroboration for his claims that during the “Croatia Uncensored” speaking tour in Australia there was “downplaying of the crimes of the Ustasha regime” as well as to the claim that research into Jasenovac camp constitutes a controversial topic! Since when do attempts to find the truth through historical research constitute a controversy? Or are we dealing here with possible fear in Starcevic and those like him that Serb propaganda will eventually be proven a lie, scientifically and factually?

How deplorable it is for a journalist to write about two historical researchers (Kristy Campion and Igor Vukic) in the same article and in that same article label one of the researchers (the one who researched Croatian Ustashe of late 1960’s and 1970’s/Campion) with credibility and the other (researching historical documentation and archives on WWII Jasenovac) as being controversial! It would seem that Starcevic would ignore the integrity of fact-based historical research on WWII Croatia if it bit him on the back side.

From Left: Zeljko Glasnovic, Josip Jurcevic, Tom Sunic, Igor Vukic
Croatia Uncensored tour 2018

Furthermore, as one of the organisers of the 2018 “Croatia Uncensored” talking tour in Australia I can confirm that the tour was organised in order to raise Croatian public discussion on existing barriers in Croatia preventing the development of a fully functional democracy and to give support to the various scientific historical research endeavours, such as Vukic’s, that aim to present verifiable historical facts on the victims of Jasenvac camp. If Vukic is to be called by derogatory names and insulted as Starcevic does in his article, for attempting to break the myth and lies about Jasenovac then that name-calling talks about Starcevic more than what it does about Vukic. Vukic’s research (and research of others on the same issue) is particularly relevant given the rampant and wild estimates of victims that allegedly perished in WWII Jasenovac camp at the hands of Ustashe that keep the world ill-informed and Croats generally vilified. The historical fact in pursuits of the truth is that Jasenovac remained open until 1953 and that it was used for post-WWII communist purges. Surely to reach a post-truth existence one needs to confirm by documentary and testimonial research what was what! It is a fact that research into Jasenovac camp has been alarmingly non-existent, scarce or inadequate during the decades of communist Yugoslavia regime. Why would anyone want to stop or thwart any research into history – regardless of the outcome of such research!?

Starcevic goes further in his attempt to vilify Australian Croatians by saying that several clubs pay tribute to convicted war criminals such as Slobodan Praljak and Dario Kordic but fails miserably to tell his readers that the conviction in the Hague rested upon some political support or “chain of command responsibility” and no evidence was presented to the court that, for instance, Kordic ever ordered any killings. Hearsay evidence and political constructs reportedly played a significant part in court judgments and Praljak committed suicide in the Hague courtroom as judgment against him was pronounced – maintaining his innocence of crimes the court had convicted him of. Given that fact, and given the professionally reported political weight weaved into the very indictments and judgments that saw these two Croats convicted of war crimes in the Hague, who personally committed no crimes, one would think that if someone decides to hail as heroes these two men then that someone is not guided by some Croatian nationalistic creed but by the very perceptions that justifiably enter a human mind upon such occasions and circumstances. The democracy we live in cherishes personal opinions as a given right but frowns upon opinions designed to vilify entire communities as Starcevic appears to be doing.

Starcevic says further in his article: “In recent years, this rhetoric has escalated to anti-Serb vandalism and death threats. In 2016, a Serbian Orthodox church in Geelong was vandalised with the Ustasa logo, swastikas and fascist slogans such as ‘the only good Serb is a dead Serb’…” For the first time, ever, through this article written by Starcevic the Australian Croats are associated with the said vandalism! Unless Seb Starcevic knows the facts as to who the perpetrator/s of this criminal vandalism was/were but failed to publish the details in his article, then only one conclusion is possible: Seb Starcevic is on the bandwagon of the propaganda whose only aim is to vilify Croats; to spread hatred and hate speech. That is absolutely unacceptable and utterly un-Australian! Besides, how can anyone tell that it may not have been an Australian Serb who committed that vandalism on the Orthodox church in Geelong? Why write about this act of vandalism in this article about Australian Croats? Certainly, to my knowledge, no one had been arrested for or charged with that crime, Croat or otherwise. The idea that it could have been a Serb who vandalised the church with Ustasha logo is not far-fetched when we know that the Australian Serb Vitomir Misimovic infiltrated in the 1970’s the Australian Croatian community pretending to be a Croat named Vico Virkez only to frame and falsify his court testimony against the so-called Croatian Six for terrorism. We know that those Croats were convicted of attempted terrorism, we know they served jail sentences for it, but we also now know that they were framed by no other than Australian Serbs, Yugoslav (Serb) Secret Police UDBA.

Starcevic’s viciously malicious intent to vilify Croats through innuendo is also palpable in the following paragraph of his said article: “On Tuesday, a Sydney resident named Ivan – who is Croatian – tweeted about seeing a man on a train with an Ustasa tattoo on his leg. Ivan told BIRN the man looked to be in his early twenties and was wearing shorts that exposed the Ustasa logo on the back of one of his calves,” writes Starcevic. Well Mr Starcevic can you or BIRN please ask that “Sydney resident Ivan” whether the man on the train with Ustasa tattoo on his leg is actually of Croatian extraction! Guess what Mr Starcevic – Prince Harry wore a Swastika on his sleeve in public only a few years ago! Ina Vukic

Source: // Croatia, the War

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Top Canadian Intelligence Official Arrested for Leaking Secret Information….

Cameron Ortis, a director general with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s intelligence unit (RCMP), faces three charges of violating intelligence laws and leaking sensitive information.  While the destination for his leaked intel is not revealed, his professional business profile shows he speaks “fluent mandarin Chinese“. So, connect the dots…
— Read on

(DORAVILLE, Ga.) Georgia man fights for gay rights in U.S. Supreme Court ‘Hotlanta’ case Reuters World News

Reuters reports that months after joining the gay-friendly ‘ Hotlanta Softball League ‘ Gerald Bostock was out of a job in a Georgia county government office and was convinced he had become the victim of workplace discrimination based on his sexual orientation…………………Proud of his job as an advocate for children caught up in the juvenile justice system in Clayton County in suburban Atlanta, Bostock said he was shocked when he was abruptly fired in 2013, an action that figures prominently in a major LGBT rights fight coming before the U.S. Supreme Court next month……”I was devastated. I had just lost the job I had loved – my passion……………I lost my source of income.

Source: // – World News

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South African leader drops UN visit as women protest attacks // WN. World News report

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa’s president on Friday cancelled a visit to the United Nations’ annual gathering of world leaders this month to focus on unrest over gender-based violence and xenophobic attacks, while women held another protest to express their fears: Hundreds gathered outside the Johannesburg Stock Exchange to demand stronger government and business-sector action against rising levels of rapes and other sexual offences……………..Some members of the ruling African National Congress party called on the government.

Source: // – World News

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The ‘Dark Side of Football’ – The Celtic Boys Club // HOLLIE GREIG JUSTICE

Date: September 12, 2019Author: Ricky Carroll0 Comments

Following on from last month’s exclusive look surrounding the recent outcome of the Chelsea sex abuse investigation, The Chelsea Echo was asked to take a look and report on yet another, unfortunate story within the ‘dark side of football’.

A harrowing story of lies, manipulation and sexual abuse.

The Celtic Boys Club.

“Get him.”


Since November of last year, four former affiliated individuals from Celtic Boys were convicted of child sex abuse offences. Three of the men were Gerald King, Frank Cairney and Jim McCafferty.

The fourth being… James Torbett.

James Torbett on his way to court to face child sex abuse charges (Photo – Sky Sports)

In 1966, Torbett founded The Celtic Boys Club – now rebranded as St Patrick’s Sports Academy to distance themselves from the sinister past of the club. The club operates teams in age groups from under-9 to under-19 and has helped develop many future professional footballers, particularly for Celtic, with which they have historically had close links.

A club that has helped develop many professional players that have go on to play for Celtic, including Roy Aitken, Tommy Burns, Charlie Nicholas, David Moyes and Alan Brazil. Most notably Brazil, as he was one of the players that were unfortunately abused by Torbett (who was previously jailed in 1998 for 30 months for ‘shameless and indecent conduct’ towards juvenile players).

Torbett simply put, ruled CBC over the course of five decades and destroyed countless lives through lies, manipulation and abuse that is completely grotesque.

Torbett, 71, demanded players called him ‘The Big Man’. He would make young boys shower in a communal changing room while standing to face him with their hands by their sides, demonstrating his sadistic show of power.

James Torbett, on the left, when he was the coach at The Celtic Boys Club (Photo – Mirror)

Players were picked for selection on the basis of who had done the most to live out Torbett’s sick fantasies. Torbett targeted ‘vulnerable’ players and callously abused them. These young boys wanted nothing more than to play football, and Torbett manipulated and lied to them with false promises and this made it impossible for them to keep this monstrous man at bay.

Torbett had no one to answer to. He ran Celtic Boys Club through fear and threats. He was able to tragically ruin so many young lives and dreams.

When Torbett was jailed for six years for five offences of sexual assault last November, it, unfortunately, brought no real justice to any of his victims.

Most notably Andrew Gray and Kenny Campbell.

Gray suffered in silence for nearly 30 years, following the years of abuse he had to suffer at the hands of Torbett. Being abused dozen of times, Andrew’s life was tragically impacted in a way that was irreversible. Severe trust issues, a gambling addiction, unable to hold down a job nor form any relationships… the lies, manipulation and grief that Andrew suffered was so much that he attempted to take his own life.

Tragically, at the age of just 41, Gray became paralysed from a swimming pool accident and fell into a coma. Which he never recovered from and passed away in October 2017.

Andrew Gray as a youngster (Photo – Sunday Mirror)

Following the revelations from former Crewe Alexander and Bury player Andy Woodward, who was at the forefront of the Barry Bennell scandal that rocked football, Woodward bravely encouraged his friend Andrew to go to the police about the abuse he suffered as a child and how it had left him suffering in silence into adulthood.

Gray was unfortunately not alone as Kenny Campbell also suffered at the pure evilness of Torbett.

Only meeting each other briefly when playing at the Celtic Boys Club in the 1980s under Torbett, Andrew and Kenny were reunited in 2016 at a Glasgow police station, when they finally had the courage to reveal to the authorities their horrible ordeals. Bottled-up for decades, the pair simply broke down after telling the police their horrific stories.

“When he saw me, he was just overwhelmed.”


Both Gray and Campbell wanted nothing more when they were kids to become professional footballers. Being scouted by Torbett himself, they thought they were on their way to starting to fulfil their dreams. What was to come, however, was years of abuse on more than a dozen times.

Kenny Campbell when contracted to Celtic (Photo – BBC)

Just like Gray, Campbell’s life has also been tragically altered. When being released from Celtic at the age of 19, Campbell’s ‘demons’ started to appear.

“I was addicted to cocaine and alcohol. I tried to kill myself four times and I really wanted to die, it wasn’t a cry for help. He’d [Torbett] manipulated me so well.”


Gray and Campbell were unable to say anything about their horrific ordeals for nearly thirty years – even when Torbett was first sentenced to prison in 1998 – due to multiple issues.

But when Andy Woodward finally found the courage to reveal his ‘years of hell’ at the hands of Barry Bennell, Andrew and Kenny no longer say nothing and had to come forward and reveal what happened to them both.

“I felt like I was going to burst, so I blurted it out to my ­sister. One of my grandsons had started playing football and I thought: ‘What if someone abuses him like Torbett abused me?’”


When Torbett was finally convicted last year, Kenny, along with Andrew’s sister Michelle and his mother Helene, cried in relief that Torbett was finally punished for the horrific crimes he committed.

The evidence from Kenny and Andrew (after his passing) was enough to convict Torbett and give some sense of true justice to everyone affected.

Kenny, Michelle and Helene now have a lifetime ‘bond’ between the three, which also includes Andrew despite being no longer alive.

“No one will ever replace Andrew but I have gained a new brother in Kenny.”


“Michelle and Helene understand what I am going through more than anyone else.”


Torbett’s lies and manipulation towards his victims’ families was so thorough that no one was unable to notice what the boys were horrifically going through.

Helene and Michelle only discovered years later following Andrew’s revelations what Torbett truly did to him.

“I hugged him and we cried together. I said, ‘I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this alone’.”


“It was like someone had taken the missing piece of the jigsaw and just dropped it right there. Everything fell into place.”


Torbett was found guilty of three counts of indecent assault and two counts of lewd and libidinous behaviour – towards Kenny, Andrew and a boy who can’t be named for legal reasons.

“You groomed boys and contrived situations when you could abuse them. Yours is some of the most corrupting behaviour I have ever heard of in these courts.”


Upon the sentencing of Torbett, Kenny and Michelle/Helene have received support and kind messages on social media, which they appreciate a lot.

Campbell along with the Gray family is now taking legal action against Celtic Football Club, along with campaigning for an independent enquiry as there have been concerns with the Celtic Boys Club for over five decades.

“It’s not about money. It’s about the promise we made to Andrew as he was dying. That we’d fight to make sure no other child suffered like he and Kenny did.”


Celtic have always denied any official partnership with Celtic Boys Club, despite it being known as being a feeder club for The Bhoys.

Celtic Football Club has always denied any official links with the Celtic Boys Club (Photo – Sky Sports)

It’s very clear the decision to sue Celtic is not for financial gain. The decision to take legal action against the club is for getting justice for Andrew, Kenny and every other boy who suffered at the hands of Torbett, whilst making sure it never happens again.

As a society, we need to do more to make sure that the abuse Andrew, Kenny and everyone else affected by those connected to the Celtic Boys Club cannot happen again. It’s not only the abuse they suffered as children that’s the problem but also the mental health problems these men have tragically had to deal with in later life.

The monster Torbett is now in prison and could very end up staying behind bars until he passes away. All the schoolboys he coached – and abused – finally got their justice in the end. The problem, however, just like with the boys who were victims under Eddie Heath at Chelsea is that it was a case of too little, too late.

Anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse and/or is struggling with issues of mental health, please contact DEpressON. They are a mental health project founded by Colin Radcliffe and co-run by Andy Woodward. They can be contacted via Twitter or through their website at

Also if you know of any young person that may be the victim of sexual abuse and are unable to speak out, organisations such as the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) is a fantastic charity that will always strive to protect every child in the United Kingdom and the Channel Islands.

Let’s hope that the ‘dark side of football’ finally fades away.



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