January 31, 2001

Mad bombers of Belgrade blame their victims

Is it me, or have the lies of the War Party reached the point that no one can take them seriously? Not that we ever believed them, but at least before they had some kind of internal consistency, a logic, albeit twisted, that invited refutation. But now, it seems, they are desperately flailing about for any pretext, no matter how ludicrous or slight, to create a "crisis" and unleash the dogs of war and they don't care how or why. What else are we to believe when Carla Del Ponte, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTFY), blames none other than Slobodan Milosevic for the deaths of 16 Serbian television employees killed by NATO bombs during the 1999 bombing of Belgrade? Hel-lo?! Earth calling Del Ponte: old Slobo is far from being an angel; he may be guilty of crimes, even war crimes but this is one crime that we know he didn't commit.


After all, those 16 journalists, make-up artists, and assorted technicians, were blown to bits by NATO bombs. And it was no accident: according to NATO's hired shills (as opposed to their journalistic amen corner, which didn't require cash payments), the RTS television station was a "legitimate" target because it was part of "Milosevic's military machine," even an integral part. (Might not the same be said of CNN that it was literally as well as figuratively part of NATO's military machine, or don't you remember Geoff Metcalf of WorldNetDaily breaking the story that military "interns" specializing in psychological warfare were present in the CNN newsroom?) In any case, so how is poor old Slobo to be held responsible good grief, hasn't he been humiliated enough, not only overthrown by his own people but now subjected to the indignity of being charged with crimes that don't even make sense?


In Davos, Switzerland, for the elite "summit," and no doubt with George Soros whispering in her ear, the Lord High Executioner of the New World Order demanded that Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica launch an "investigation" into the possibility that Milosevic had advance notice of the planned strike against the television station, and, rather than warn his faithful propagandists, he permitted them to die so that NATO would suffer a black eye. This goes beyond simply blaming the victim: To moral inverts like Del Ponte, the real victims were not 16 murdered Serbs but NATO!


But why stop with just one bombing? Why not posit sustained by the same thin gruel of "evidence" that Milosevic knew about more than one such airstrike, and point out that nowhere is there any record that he warned the intended targets? And if he knew this much, why then he could have known where most if not all of the bombs were going to fall so that one might even say that he deliberately set up the whole country for attack, because he wanted to make NATO look bad.


That is certainly one way to look at it one, I might add, that seems disturbingly close to outright insanity, but then we are talking about Carla Del Ponte, a woman whose cold imperious manner barely masks the raging megalomania reflected in her actions and public statements. How can one even begin to comprehend, let alone refute, such a macabre perversion of rational thought as this latest pronouncement from Ms. Del Ponte? To even address it is to concede an important point: that one does not argue with the provocatively irrational. Yet this particular nutball wields enormous power, and, unfortunately, cannot be ignored.


With the stroke of a pen, she can indict anyone yes, including Americans without revealing the evidence or even the charges, and command their presence in The Hague. With a word, she can call on her numerous flacks in government and the media (or do I repeat myself) to echo her charges, no matter how baseless or even self-evidently absurd and this time they were quick to respond to the call. No sooner had Del Ponte made her charges public, then something that calls itself the "International Federation of Journalists," headquartered in Brussels, piped up to demand that Kostunica hold a "public and independent inquiry" into what the London Times story referred to as "the scandal."


It's a scandal, all right, that the journalistic auxiliary of the War Party is once again taking up the cudgels on behalf of their NATO masters without apology, swaggering into battle with all the subtlety of well, of Carla Del Ponte. "The question must be asked whether the lives of TV workers were deliberately sacrificed to make a propaganda point for the Milosevic regime," pontificated Aidan White, General Secretary of the IFJ. A better question is this: whether the journalistic ethics of Aidan White and his ilk were sacrificed in order to make a propaganda point for Del Ponte and her black-robed regime. The IFJ claims to have denounced the bombing of the station, but these days puts a new spin on the story: "The attack itself was bad enough, but now it seems that another horrifying crime was committed," says White. "The question must be answered through a public and independent inquiry into the events surrounding the killings." No evidence is cited, no reason is given to believe Del Ponte's ravings, and their press release only quotes her assertion offered without proof: on this basis, the self-appointed gatekeepers of international journalism, the global guardians of its standards and ethics, conclude that she must be right. After all, if Del Ponte was lying, wouldn't her nose start to grow rapidly and uncontrollably?


The air is thick with propaganda, none of it of very good quality. As a depressing symptom of the times we are living in, when so many institutions and traditions are in decline along with the concept of quality itself I note in passing that they just don't make war propaganda like they used to. When I think of some of the atrocity stories of yesteryear German soldiers bayoneting Belgian babies during World War I, Iraqis dumping Kuwait newborns out of their incubators, etc. this business of how Milosevic probably knew about the targeting of the Serbian television station seems like pretty amateurish stuff. The War Party got a lot of traction out of that Belgian baby bullsh*t, and as for the Kuwaiti incubator fib: it took years before anybody noticed that the tearful 15-year-old girl testifying to this nonsense before Congress was none other the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador and had not been in Kuwait at the time of the invasion. Meanwhile, the purposes of Kuwait's paid propagandists were accomplished. But it seems to me that whomever is paying for the massive campaign to drag Milosevic to The Hague and, not coincidentally, cause a crisis in the government of President Kostunica is not really getting their money's worth. Are we really expected to believe that Milosevic purposely targeted his own people for destruction?


While rumors of a "mole" in the military councils of NATO were rife during the war, there is not a shred of evidence to suggest that Milosevic had any information about this specific airstrike or target. On the other hand, there is evidence that certain other parties had some very specific advance information about when NATO would strike the headquarters of Serbian state television in Belgrade. As I noted at the time of the bombing, CNN talk show host Larry King was apparently very interested in getting an interview with the previously inaccessible Alexsandar Vucic, the Serbian Minister of Information. Vucic had always refused previous requests on the grounds that, as he put it, "I'm not giving interviews to aggressors," but this time King's staff really persisted. As documented in a fax sent to Vucic by CNN schedulers, the interview was to take place in the soon-to-be-bombed building at almost precisely the moment NATO warplanes would drop their payloads. Coincidence? Vucic didn't think so: not because he considered himself all that important, but merely because CNN wanted to put on a "spectacular live show." CNN, it turns out, was a pioneer in the realm of "reality TV," and, while they may not have known how this particular segment would end, surely some of those military "interns" did.


Speaking of the "lunatics who did it," Vucic opined that "sooner or later" they will "have to face their responsibility. Maybe in some American Nuremberg. This massacre and crime which they did last night will not only be never forgotten by Serbian people, but I think than nobody who is [a] normal person in this world can forgive them." In retrospect, Vucic's comments seem oddly naïve, almost child-like. The NATO-crats know full well that the Serbian people have not forgotten: indeed, they are counting on it. For not only is there no chance that the perpetrators of this crime will ever face an American Nuremberg, but now the real criminals are being depicted as the victims. While this whole phony story has some slight propaganda value for the NATO-crats in the West, as background noise reinforcing the campaign to extradite Milosevic to The Hague, my theory is that it is really meant to play inside Serbia, to send the following message: "See, we can do anything, even stand reality on its head, and you are completely in our power. There is no justice and no escape."


Once again, I have exhausted myself and my readers before exhausting my supply of the War Party's lies. I was so hoping to delve into the absurdities of the "Saddam Bomb" story now making the rounds, which have the Iraqi leader about to nuke either Israel or Hoboken, New Jersey, but that will have to wait for another day. In the meantime, remember the first rule of understanding and interpreting the public discourse of warmongering windbags like Del Ponte and the International Federation of Journalistic Handmaidens: don't believe a word of it!


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Past Columns

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Mad Bombers of Belgrade Blame Their Victims

Lying About Kosovo

Globalism on the Right

Cold War Follies: There's No Business Like Show Business

An Inaugural Party

Inaugural Fireworks Over Iraq?

Ashcroft Versus the Smear Machine

The Gulf War In Retrospect: the "Isolationists" Were Right

Our War Criminals, and Theirs

The American Dracula

NATO's Poisoned Arrow

The New Bolivar: Hugo Chavez and the Rise of Pan-American Nationalism

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The Canonization of Colin Powell

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The New Cold War: Who's Afraid of Vladimir Putin?

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The Gore Coup: No Justice, No Peace – No Exit

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Al Gore – The O.J. Simpson of American Politics

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The Dimple That Shook the World

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Notes on the Serbian Revolution and Other Matters

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The Clinton-
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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against US Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard.


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