When it comes to the Balkans, there are some interventionist
truths that will never die. Take the 1999 war in Kosovo. In starting it, former
President Bill Clinton failed to seek congressional approval in bombing Yugoslavia.
The bombing also went on without UN approval. And NATO violated its own self-defensive
charter in attacking a country that threatened none of its members. In short,
the war was illegal in every
Operationally, NATO enlisted a group (the Kosovo Liberation Army) that had
until very recently before been classified
a terrorist organization, its funding derived partially from organized crime,
its numbers bolstered by Islamist fanatics. The war effort also meant turning
a blind eye to the machinations of people like Florin
Krasniqi, an Albanian who snuck into the U.S. illegally and then proceeded
to make illegal shipments of arms to Kosovo. (In 2004, this double felon chipped
a fundraiser for John Kerry.)
Tactically, the U.S. also enlisted groups like the OSCE to
fabricate stories of an alleged Serbian massacre of Albanians at Racak,
discredited in an official forensics report. German intelligence pitched
in with a bogus report
of an alleged "Operation Horseshoe," Milosevic's supposed diabolical plan to
ethnically cleanse Kosovo's almost 2 million Albanians. The lies spouted by
the Clinton administration included such
canards as 100,000 Albanian dead (postwar
tallies put the numbers killed on both sides at around 4,000). The propaganda
was assisted by the
military's working relationship with CNN and the network's Christiane
Amanpour, the wife of then-State Department spokesman James Rubin. Media-government
complicity does not get any more intimate than that.
Most unforgivably, NATO won its war not through military valor but through
targets in Serbia, including hospitals, schools, bridges, and refineries
– thus creating toxic, cancerous clouds that in effect made America guilty of
using weapons of mass destruction. Vicious cluster
bombs that maimed and killed civilians were also used, and, worst of all,
copious amounts of depleted
uranium were dropped over
Kosovo – thus providing the Kosovar Albanians NATO had allegedly been there
to protect with a generation of cancer and birth defects. Indeed, NATO's
own soldiers have already suffered this fate, one the U.S. knew about full
well in light of the "Gulf War Syndrome" of the first Gulf War less
than a decade earlier.
And so, NATO's war was illegal and immoral in every way. The subsequent UN
occupation of Kosovo has proved to be a colossal failure. Over
200,000 minority members were expelled by Albanians, and those that remain
often do not enjoy basic human rights. The UN has not stopped but actually encouraged
ethnic cleansing. The
remaining Serbs in Kosovo live in constant fear and still come under regular
attacks and intimidation from Albanians, whose militant leadership has been
coddled and promoted to positions of high political power by the UN – regardless
of their indictments for
war crimes – even as the West continues its hypocritical demands for Serbia
to export war crimes suspects to the Hague.
Meanwhile, the UN continues to
allow Islamic terrorist groups to set up shop in Kosovo, and has promoted
a one-sided clash of civilizations in which over 150 churches have been destroyed
or damaged and over 200 Arab-funded mosques have risen in their place. UN staffers,
from the lowest to highest levels, have also been implicated in everything from
white-collar corruption to human trafficking and murder while at the same time
contributing – after seven years of administration – shoddy infrastructure and
sporadic electricity and water. Ladies and gentlemen, it does not get much more
disgusting than this.
The Final Drama
These irrefutable truths constitute the tip of
the iceberg. But this overwhelming mass of evidence, this enormity of collective
karma, if you will, needs to be mentioned so that the reader can understand
just why the West is being forced to such hysterics in the media to defend its
own indefensible policies and the disastrous fruits of its intervention in Kosovo.
The best offense is a strong defense, and so the West attempts to divert attention
from its own failures by sending the public down false trails.
This could be called the Serbian smokescreen. Now that endgame is near and
Kosovo's final status is being negotiated in Vienna by a bevy of foreign diplomats
and lobbyists, the West is employing a tried and tested policy of distracting
the world from the very real illegalities, failures, and hypocrisies of its
actions in Kosovo, by shifting the blame for everything that ever went wrong
to Serbia, and especially to the late Slobodan Milosevic, who after all can
no longer defend himself.
A Fortuitous Pattern of Events
The great lengths the interventionists have been
going to – through the usual diplomatic broadsides, media bombardments, and
pronouncements – attest to the scope of the effort necessary to conceal
the facts of their complete failure in Kosovo. Perhaps through a brief recap
of media focus on the region since January it will become clear how the stage
is being set for both further violence and the self-exoneration of those who
As the year began and Kosovo's final status talks loomed, several wonderful
coincidences occurred that served to marginalize Serbia's position and enhance
that of the militant Albanian wing in the Kosovar leadership. All this suited
the Western powers just fine, and was in fact driven by them. The remarkably
rapid succession of events guaranteed that mass media coverage of Kosovo would
be focused, not on the West's many failures, but on satisfying Albanian wishes
at the expense of the still-demonized Serbs.
Rugova's Demise to the Mladic Media Frenzy
First, on Jan. 22, came the long-anticipated death
of Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova. Rugova was the veteran, relatively pacifist
Albanian politician who had long represented a stabilizing presence in comparison
to the militant wing, people like Ramush Haradinaj, Agim Ceku, and Hashim Thaci.
For this orientation he was allegedly
supported by the British and opposed by the Americans in the first elections
following the UN occupation, in October 2000.
When Rugova died of lung cancer, an American plan that had been decided "long
in advance" (according to UN sources) was realized. It involved replacing
the weak prime minister, Bajram Kosumi, with
war hero Agim Ceku – though it was necessary to have this alleged war criminal's
name removed first from the Interpol list. In the interests of Albanian "unity,"
Rugova the peacenik was given the burial of a "martyr," in a ceremony
reserved for the "war heroes" of the KLA – ironically, a group which
he had often opposed at
his own risk. Such is the grip of militant Albanian nationalism, which their
leaders cannot escape even in death.
Media coverage in January and February was thus devoted to the past greatness
of Rugova and the future promise of Ceku, with little attention given to the
record. Then, the last week of February saw a dramatic development that
kept the media from addressing this topic: an inexplicable, rumor-fed
media feeding frenzy allegedly begun in Sarajevo, which saw the pundits
breathlessly speculating that war crimes suspect Ratko
Mladic was on the verge of capture.
The effect of this "bombshell" (in the end, it turned out to be another
dead end) was to proliferate the number of news articles and editorials demanding
the fugitive's capture, and in general denigrating the Serbs, taking the reader
back to the Bosnian war of the 1990s and the alleged genocide at Srebrenica
And then, just a few days later – wouldn't you know it? – the
encore arrived with massive coverage of the Bosnian government's genocide
lawsuit against Serbia in the World Court, first announced in 1993. However,
as Nebojsa Malic pointed
out, this is not correct: "[T]his isn't a 'Bosnian' lawsuit, but a
private undertaking of the Bosnian Muslim ruling party (SDA), from a time when
it claimed itself to be the only legitimate government of the country. Bosnia's
Serbs and Croats are adamantly against it and have denied it government approval
and funding." Nevertheless, the bogus suit resulted in an outpouring of
editorials worldwide condemning the Serbs, and thus requisitioning scarce newspaper
column space that might have been used on the current sordid reality.
At the same time, Kosovo status negotiations that had been postponed by the
death of Rugova began. With the negative press already snowballing, Serbia entered
the process in a decidedly bad light; as usual, issues pertinent to Kosovo and
what has resulted there after seven years of disastrous UN occupation were ignored.
It was clear that Serbia was, through a complicit media, being tried in the
court of moral opinion over matters that had nothing to do with the real events
on the ground. This trend would be dramatically increased in the days to come
with two high-profile deaths.
The Death of Milosevic
Milan Babic, one-time president of the short-lived
Republic of Serbian Krajina in Croatia, was the first to go. He died in his
cell at the Hague on March 5, allegedly having committed suicide. However, the
fact that he had been described beforehand as being in good spirits and eager
to provide further testimony against Serb war crimes suspects made the death
somewhat suspicious. A source with close ties to the Hague told me that there
was "much more" to the story than suicide, and that it would "dangerous
for one's health to dig too deep into the affair."
Six days later, the Hague's highest-value prisoner, Slobodan
Milosevic, also died suddenly in his jail cell. The effect of his passing
was like a seismic shift that could have toppled the Hague's entire flimsy edifice
– thus necessitating a massive media campaign to
uphold the sanctity of this illegal and now potentially homicidal institution.
Despite the testimony of many people close to Milosevic, who all stated that
he was in good spirits and determined
to see his trial through to the end, top prosecutor Carla Del Ponte and
the tribunal's many media backers started floating rumors that Milosevic had
been playing with his medication in order to get the treatment in Russia he
had been demanding. Del
Ponte even went so far as to speculate that Milosevic committed suicide.
Of course, no one took too seriously Milosevic's own alarm at finding he had
been given strange drugs for months, and no one cared that he was demonstrably
very ill. His death at that precise moment was without a doubt the greatest
gift the Tribunal could have received; for it meant that they would never have
to issue an official verdict – one that probably would have fallen far, far
short of their vicious expectations.
It also meant that Milosevic never got the opportunity to call certain high-ranking
Western officials to the witness stand. This would have been a lose-lose proposition
for the Hague: an appearance by Western officials involved with the Bosnia and
Kosovo wars would have potentially disastrous and embarrassing consequences
for the prosecution as well as the Official Truth of the wars; but were they
to refuse to appear, the trial would be robbed of any shred of legitimacy it
might have had.
Milosevic's death was thus played up to the hilt in the media to cement his
public image as a Class-A dictator, regardless of the facts. A flood of editorials
damning the "Butcher
of the Balkans" appeared in newspapers worldwide, digging up disproved
statistics and interventionist blowhards such as Richard
Holbrooke to make the case that Milosevic – and Milosevic alone – was responsible
for everything that has gone wrong in the Balkans over the past 15 years.
And so in the space of a week, with one untimely death, the entire history of
the modern Balkans was carved in stone, never to be challenged again.
Finally, the fact that over 100,000 people turned out to mourn his death in
Serbia, at a protest rally where crowds cheered for the Radical and Socialist
parties, was just icing on the cake; it was the final damning proof that the
Serbs were little more than a nation of bloodthirsty supporters of war criminals.
Needless to say, the media obsession with Milosevic succeeded in keeping developments
in Kosovo out of the headlines yet again at a very crucial moment. And so the
question of whether the UN had acted wisely in promoting Ceku, a suspected Albanian
war criminal, to the top job there would not be brought up. Ongoing attacks
against the Serbian minority in Kosovo, or the plight of their refugees were
also to be ignored, as they had always been, in one way or another. The important
trend of Albanian rioters targeting the UN administration violently in Kosovo
was also glossed over. In short, never was there a more useful and fortunate
death for the West than that of Slobodan Milosevic.
Of course, foul play cannot be proved – primarily because the powers-that-be
were never interested in proving it, and because when Milosevic's supporters
and the Russian government raised the issue they were dismissed in the media
as biased propagandists. Yet considering the many benefits that his death has
had for the Hague, the diplomats, the media, and their cumulative legacy, as
well as the opportunities it provided for covering up the UN's failure in Kosovo
and paving the way for it to become an independent, ethnically clean Albanian
country, one has to admit that the motive was there.
These suspicions were not allayed by an eyebrow-raising recent comment from
ICG President Gareth Evans, a former Australian foreign minister whose ambitions
of succeeding then-UN Secretary General Boutros-Boutros
Ghali led his countrymen to lampoon him by the name Gareth-Gareth
Evans. In another
oration/fundraising speech for a lobby group whose moral credit is very
heavily deposited in the bank of Collective Serbian Guilt, Evans came out of
nowhere with a completely unprovoked disclaimer regarding Milosevic: "[N]o
one can be blamed for his death in custody before it [the trial] was complete."
Well that settles that!
April: On to Montenegro, and More Looming Catastrophe on
In April, media attention turned to the referendum
for independence in Montenegro that will come on May 21. Yet having been contextualized
in advance by the lobbyists, nobody asked the right questions about the referendum
and its aftermath. The reasons why the tiny republic of 690,000 would benefit
from independence were not really given; the media chose to echo the views of
Djukanovic, the only Balkan leader still empowered after 15 years, an autocratic
salesman who really just seeks to expand his personal fiefdom through independence.
The president in Podgorica has continually made the disingenuous argument that
Serbia is a heavy weight around the neck of Montenegrins yearning to breath
free, and that the Serbian legacy of alleged war crimes and Belgrade's failure
to catch war criminals is holding the republic back from its "European"
course. Ironically, however, if Mladic and Karadzic are anywhere to be found,
the mountains of Montenegro are a much more likely place to look than the Serbian
Indeed, in a BBC report
of Feb. 21 the allegation is repeated again: "[M]ost recent intelligence
reports put Mr. Karadzic living in the remote mountains of northwest Montenegro,
not far from his home town of Niksic." So why is all the international
pressure to catch him levied against Belgrade, and not Podgorica? Why, if Mr.
Djukanovic wants to enjoy all the rights and privileges of a sovereign state,
is he not obliged to take international responsibilities? It is simply because
by not catching the fugitives, he can continue to blame Serbia for holding Montenegro
Indeed, now that EU accession talks have been stalled by the failure to catch
the fugitives, the cynical
truth becomes obvious: "[S]lowing down EU partnership talks would be strengthening
the cause of Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic."
The Balkans is full of ethnic stereotypes. Sometimes
they are supported by events. I recall a few years ago when a farm owner put
an ad in the paper asking for 500 grape-pickers. He only got one call – and
the caller had dialed the wrong number.
It would be harsh to say that Montenegrins are naturally lazy, but it is a
fact that there are little economic opportunities for the country save tourism,
which is not going to be enough. Montenegro depends on Serbia for trade and
benefits from Serbian health care and (until recently) military power.
This last is the major reason why an independent Montenegro will not be long
for this life. After having led the push for Montenegrin independence, the EU,
in another schizophrenic and hapless act of opaque interventionism, has
demanded a voter turnout rate – 50 percent – for the May referendum to be
valid, a number even higher than is required in EU states. A 55 percent majority
of this number will be required for the EU to give its bureaucratic blessings
to the winner. With voters divided fairly evenly, it is still possible the referendum
will fail. And so Djukanovic is courting, at his own peril, the ethnic vote
of Bosniak Muslims and Albanians, who comprise roughly 20 percent of the population.
19th Century Scenarios for a 21st Century World
There are several scenarios arising from this
morass. Should the referendum succeed, the Muslim bloc will seek to cash in
its political capital by bringing up all sorts of old bellyaches and demands.
The Montenegrin side will not be eager to appease them. Muted charges of racism
and ethnic oppression will become a roar, with the eager assistance of the Albanian-American
lobby, and a boiling point will be reached for separatists already keen to break
away. Without the help of the Serbian army, it will be Macedonian redux – another
war against a helpless state begun by an Albanian paramilitary force commanded
from Kosovo and the diaspora. And Montenegro will be partitioned.
Should the referendum be defeated outright, simmering resentment will bubble
along until it is either held again or independence is gained through violence.
At which point the aforementioned Muslim bloc will make the same claims, war
will follow, and Montenegro will be partitioned.
Finally, should the referendum be narrowly defeated, some
interventionists conjecture, the EU will call for a "union of independent
states" as some sort of consolation. Although the article doesn't say so,
such an unwieldy grouping would elevate the Sanjak Muslim area straddling the
Serb-Montenegrin border to autonomous status and could even include Kosovo,
or at least the Serbian part in the north. It could even include all of Kosovo
as well. Otherwise, to avoid a war Kosovo will be given to Albania.
If this seems just so 19th century, that is because it is.
The secessionist genie has been deliberately let out of the bottle by Western
powers in order to accelerate their economic colonization of the region. So
much money has been made, so many intellectually fraudulent careers have been
enabled, and so much potential economic competition to the West has been eliminated
by the breakup of Yugoslavia. Of course, the West can't be blamed for all of
the causes that led up to this disintegration, but they also could have stopped
it, had they really been interested to do so. But that would have been self-defeating.
It is obvious to the point of boredom: failed intervention has the Balkans
headed ineluctably for further war, which is good news for German bankers and
the American arms industry, among others. As a friend of mine with long experience
of American administrations and secret services recently quipped, "This
[Western political interference] has nothing to do with the people in Serbia,
Kosovo, Albania. This has everything to do with the industry that supplies to
The only hope the world has when its masters are so bent on evil is an independent
and fearless media, willing to get to the heart of the matter and to bring the
hypocrisies, lies, and hidden motives of the powers-that-be to light. Sadly,
this is still not the case today. The last few months in the Balkans have shown,
yet again, that an obsequious media devoted to its powerful political patrons
in the West has continued to disgrace itself by asking all the wrong questions,
setting out from all the wrong precedents, thus arriving at all the wrong conclusions.
In its wake it has left a sound and fury signifying nothing – nothing positive,