July 5, 1999


As the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) burned, pillaged, and raped its way across Kosovo, KFOR commander Lieutenant General Mike Jackson held a press conference announcing that he was fully satisfied that the KLA was carrying out its pledge to disarm. A much-touted agreement, signed by Jackson and Hacim "the Snake" Thraci, mandates that the KLA start disarming by June 21. Never mind that the "figures given by both sides show that the KLA has fallen short of its commitments," as a June 29 Agence France-Presse dispatch put it. Even while Serbs were being killed, kidnapped, and driven out of the province, the NATO-crats were hailing the KLA's "broad compliance." The KLA agreed to deposit its weaponry – absent "small arms" – in storage sites that will not come under NATO control until September 20. Meanwhile, the campaign to install the KLA as the official police force continues to gather steam: Jackson came out in support of the idea, acknowledging that the guerrilla group will be at the core of the force being organized by the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OCSE). In response to questions from reporters, who pointed out that the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo's few remaining Serb and Gypsy residents was being carried out by armed KLA supporters, Jackson whitewashed the separatist militia. He claimed to have raised the issue with the KLA's supreme commander, Agim Chekhu, and acknowledged that "intimidation had been going on, and that some, a small number of people, purporting to be in the UCK – but might just be wearing the uniform – may have been involved." As of a few days ago, the wearing of KLA uniforms is expressly forbidden – a form of "disarmament" that will permit the future masters of Kosovo to carry out their program of ethnic cleansing without being identified.


In case you need a little more reassurance that the KLA is the Albanian equivalent of the Founding Fathers: at a separate news conference, Chekhu averred that the KLA has never intimidated civilians, either before or after the Serb withdrawal. Now, don't you feel much better?


Although as the commander-in-chief of the KLA, Cheku might be called the father of his country, he is not exactly patterned after George Washington. It was he who commanded a Croatian army offensive, backed by the U.S. that ethnically cleansed over 300,000 Serbs from the Krajina region, slaughtering thousands and pushing the rest into Serbia. At one point, the Solomonic Louise Arbour was going to investigate these war crimes, but, strangely, we have heard no more about this phase of the UN Tribunal's investigation into Balkan war crimes.


"Clearly there is no organized effort to retaliate against the Serbs," said an administration spokesman who refused to be identified – and just to make sure that none is ever discovered, the US and the United Nations have announced that they have no plans to investigate the KLA for war crimes. Paul Risely, a spokesman for the International War Crimes Tribunal, said that his agency is not interested in any killings or ethnic cleansing that occurred after the cessation of formal hostilities between NATO and Yugoslavia: "Our mandate is to investigate crimes that occur during war," said Risely, "during armed conflict that involve members of armed entities" [Washington Times, June 29, 1999]. And, of course, since the KLA is no longer an "armed entity" – and if you believe that, I have a bridge over the Danube I want to sell you – they are exempt from the Tribunal's scrutiny.


Meanwhile, outside the city of Pec, once the seat of Serbia's Orthodox Church, armed KLA thugs patrolled the roads, watching as their supporters looted Serbian homes and drove the last Serbs out of town. NATO troops in the area did not intervene. Serbian Orthodox Bishop Artemije of Kosovo, who had been driven out of the city by howling Albanian mobs, called on the international community to abandon its double standard: "Serbs have not decided to leave Kosovo but they are being forced to – and it is all happening under the protection of the United Nations," he said at ceremonies marking the Serbs' defeat on the Field of Blackbirds by Ottoman invaders 610 years ago.


The Clinton administration concedes that atrocities are being committed against Serbs, but the spin is that these are relatively few, are happening in spite of the KLA rather than because of it – and that the Serbs deserve it. "You wake up in morning and get reports of three dead or four dead in the morning – not significant numbers," said one administration official, who no doubt covered his mouth as he yawned. "In no way can this be compared" to what Serbs are alleged to have done to Albanians. The Washington Times cites this official as saying that Albanians have returned and many have discovered "a worst case scenario – their family is dead and they discover their bodies decomposing in the woods." Or, as UN Tribunal official Risely put it: "It's just a few guys doing what they think is the right thing – burning houses." From the viewpoint of those who pine for another war, the KLA is indeed doing the right thing. Sealing NATO's victory in a paroxysm of massive and coordinated violence, the KLA is doing what it was set up to do: serve its foreign masters faithfully in the hope of being rewarded with the gift of a Greater Albania. The KLA is doing "the right thing" if the right thing is another war, and that is just where we are headed. The Clinton administration may have signed a cease-fire with Slobo, but the war against Yugoslavia continues on a semi-covert basis – and ready to burst through to the surface in an open military confrontation at any moment.


In 1998, the Pentagon announced that, in addition to the traditional three realms of modern warfare – land, air, and sea – it was adding a fourth: cyberspace. The "info-war" directorate of the Pentagon was set up, and has now been ordered into battle by the Clinton administration As we reported in this column a couple of months ago, the US is conducting an all-out "cyber-war" against Milosevic, ordering its cadre of hackers – the electronic version of the 82nd Airborne Division – to break into and drain his bank accounts. Opposed by many top officials, who fear the unintended consequences of legitimizing computer hacking, this harebrained scheme is part of a six-point program developed by the Clinton administration to overthrow Milosevic. But these dissident officials fear that another "accident," far worse than the bombing of the Chinese embassy, could come to pass – the overthrow of the world financial system. By demonstrating the vulnerability of financial institutions to hackers, this cyber-war could seriously undermine confidence and inflict considerable economic damage not too far down the road. According to Sunday's London Telegraph [July 4, 1999], the plan is to launch an electronic assault on Milosevic's accounts purportedly existing in Russian, Greek, and Cypriot banks – a clear signal that the territorial integrity of Greece, a NATO ally, means as much to Washington as Yugoslav national sovereignty.


The effort to win the hearts and minds of the Serbian people, and overthrow Milosevic – a joint CIA-State Department project – is clearly designed to achieve the exact opposite of its intended result. Funding opposition parties, newspapers, and other media, trying to instigate a military coup, and dropping leaflets promising to turn on the American foreign aid spigot to rebuild the country if Milosevic is ousted – these bright ideas are provocations, pure and simple, a goad to enrage and humiliate a proud people. Such "democratic" groups as accept Washington's gold will be tarnished by it: this public declaration has the effect of completely discrediting the democratic opposition in Serbia. The nationalist backlash that is sure to follow may indeed overthrow Milosevic – and pave the way for the ascension of Vojislav Selsej, the leader of the Serbian Radical Party who vows that Serbia must one day regain Kosovo, and who is even more unacceptable to the NATO-crats than Slobo. Vojislav, too, can be accused of war crimes, since his party is said to have sponsored paramilitary outfits that are now being accused of carrying out the most horrific crimes in Kosovo. As it may be difficult for the UN War Crimes Tribunal to establish a direct link between Milosevic and the paramilitaries, Slobo's overthrow and the rise of the Radicals would be very convenient.


While the covert war against the remnants of Yugoslavia continues on several fronts, there is a renewed threat of overt military action in Montenegro. Traditionally allied with Serbia, the elected government of this small Adriatic republic has tried to distance itself from Belgrade without provoking an armed response. During the war, no one noticed the sudden expansion of NATO's war aims to include de facto independence for this autonomous region of Yugoslavia: US State Department officials have consistently said that there would be swift retaliation if the pro-Western regime of President Milo Djukanovic were threatened. During the war, however, the government's position was not helped when NATO insisted that it must bomb Montenegro, where some 40,000 troops are stationed.


Djukanovic recently met with Clinton and Albright, who praised this former close ally of Milosevic as a beacon of democracy. But the tightrope Djukanovic is walking showed signs of serious fraying, last week, as the Yugoslav federal authorities proclaimed a state of siege. The siege was lifted shortly afterward, but the tension between the Montenegrin government and the pro-Serbian party – which has taken to the streets – threatens to careen out of control. The presence of Yugoslav troops in Montenegro has drawn the ire of General Wesley Clark, who, in testimony before the US Senate recently detected a suspicious "pattern of troop movements." How dare the Yugoslavs move troops within the borders of their own country! Clark also voiced his concern that too many ethnic Serbs are moving into Montenegro – an apparent violation of the Serbian quotas set by NATO's affirmative action program.


"All these are preparatory stages," says Clark, but the most ominous preparations are being made by the United States and its allies, who are looking for any pretext to start phase two of the Balkan War. The conquest of Kosovo is to be followed by chipping away at Montenegro, Vojvodina, and the predominantly Muslim Sandjak region. When the cease-fire was signed, the disappointment of the War Party's "ground war" faction was palpable – but their bloodlust may yet be assuaged.

Check out Justin Raimondo's article, "China and the New Cold War"

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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 (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).



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