Behind the Headlines
by Justin Raimondo

February 25, 2002

Milosevic socks it to the UN Tribunal

The "trial" of Slobodan Milosevic couldn't have come at a better time. As the US rampages through Afghanistan, bombing friend and foe alike, openly gearing up for an excursion into Iraq – all the name of a holy "war on terrorism" – the double standard operating here is almost comically obvious.


Faced with a terrorist insurgency rising from within the borders of Yugoslavia, Milosevic launched an often brutal campaign to rid Kosovo of the KLA, who, under the influence of an ultra-nationalistic ideology with totalitarian overtones, were targeting Serbian civilians and had declared war on the state. For that, his nation was gang-raped by NATO and old Slobo was dragged to the Hague in chains, where an entity that declaring itself the "International Criminal Tribunal for War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia" has put him on trial for "crimes against peace."


This in spite of the post-war headlines: "Cook accused of misleading public on Kosovo massacres," [London Times]; "Where Are Kosovo's Killing Fields?" asked Stratfor, the online foreign policy analysts; "Despite Tales, the War in Kosovo Was Savage, but Wasn't Genocide," averred the War Street Journal, whose editorialists supported the Kosovo war (as they do every American war); "Serb killings exaggerated by the West," said the London Guardian [8/18/00].

The Guardian story details the Orwellian process whereby initial claims of 100,000 victims of "genocide" were shrunk drastically to under 3,000 (counting both Serbs and Kosovar Albanians). When several teams of forensic investigators returned from Kosovo, their job finished, they came out with stunning news: the Clinton administration had been lying about the alleged Serbian "genocide." As the former Yugoslavia lay in smoking ruins, however, the truth hardly mattered: NATO, after all, had won. The Guardian ruefully noted the backtracking of the NATO-crats:

"As war crimes experts from Britain and other countries prepare to wind down the exhumation of hundreds of graves in Kosovo on behalf of the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague, officials concede they have not borne out the worst wartime reports. These were given by refugees and repeated by western government spokesmen during the campaign. They talked of indiscriminate killings and as many as 100,000 civilians missing or taken out of refugee columns by the Serbs."


The British journalist John Laughland has exposed this gigantic fraud at some length, and I dealt with this subject in a previous column: I won't repeat myself here except to note that none of this wildly inaccurate reporting was ever acknowledged by the Clinton News Network or any of the other media outlets that served, during the Kosovo war, as willing executioners of the truth. Yet Carla Del Ponte and the other make-believe officials of this makeshift "tribunal" – the word itself denotes an arbitrary authority of dubious standing – had to string together some sort of case against the fallen Serbian leader. After all, they had scheduled the show trial well in advance, and the audience was waiting. The show must go on!

So they simply broadened their indictment to include every single act of brutality committed in the Balkans since 1989: the endless ethnic cleansing and re-cleansing, the massacres, the chauvinism and fanaticism. Although there was plenty of blame for this bloody history to go around – more than enough even for a three-sided civil war – Del Ponte attributes it all to a single man whose mythic evil was supposed to have been demonstrated in The Hague. Except it isn't turning out that way….


It turns out that the wily Milosevic, before getting into the dictator business, had been trained as a lawyer, although he never practiced. But it looks like he didn't need much practice: the guy's a natural. He's already gotten the prosecutor's chief witness heaved out for presenting hearsay evidence that is technically admissible but was ruled out of order by the judge. Not only that, but he so effectively exposed the tall tales of the third witness, one Agim Zeqiri, that Mr. Zeqiri simply refused to answer any more questions, pleading "illness," and was excused by the judge over Milosevic's strenuous – and perfectly reasonable – objections.

After having been allowed to go on for hours about how his family and friends were all victimized by the demonic Serbs, Milosevic got the witness to admit on the stand that he and his fellow villagers were actively aiding the KLA: it soon became apparent that what Mr. Zequiri had described was not a "massacre" but a pitched battle between Serbian troops and armed KLA fighters. Another witness, Fehim Elshani, was so combative that he had to be reproved by the judge, and instructed to answer Milosevic's questions. The obvious incompetence of the prosecutors is a terrible embarrassment. According to the International Herald Tribune,

"During the course of Elshani's testimony somewhat disorganized questioning from a prosecutor left a central issue unclear: Who exactly bombed Elshami's compound, killing seven people in his own yard and two in his brother's?"


The trial of Slobodan Milosevic can only turn out to be an epic farce, from its comedic beginning to its predetermined end: it is like some policy wonk's idea of a Noh play, a ritualized and highly stylized evocation of what life is going to be like in the New World Order. Any nation that gets out of hand, that asserts its sovereignty too boldly, and resists assimilation into the Euro-American Borg, will see its rebel princes dragged in back of the conqueror's chariot, like barbarians in an ancient Roman triumph, and put on display in the Coliseum for the mob's amusement. This trial is meant as a lesson, and a warning, not only to the Eastern Europeans and their fellow Slavs in Russia, but to any similarly "rogue" regime anywhere that "resistance is futile," as the Borg like to say.


As Milosevic is demonstrating, however, it isn't futile: even if (or, rather, when) he is convicted. For the sheer crudeness of the little morality tale now being played out in the Hague – like an amateur skit, with key actors forgetting their lines, and the props visibly collapsing before the eyes of the audience – is, indeed, serving as a warning to all the peoples of Europe and beyond: it could happen to you!


Certainly this was the message that Austrians got – and were meant to get – when they faced diplomatic sanctions (including those imposed by the US) and open threats for voting for the "wrong" candidates in an ostensibly free election and elevating the Austrian Freedom Party into the government. As the Council of Europe gets ready to outlaw "hate speech" and "xenophobia" on the Internet, the anti-immigration stance of the FPO is soon to become a criminal and fully prosecutable act. The Italians, who voted the "post-fascist" Allianza Nacional into the government, are also treading on some very thin ice: the "open borders" immigration stance of the Euro-crats is fiercely opposed by two major pro-government parties, including the separatist Northern League, without whose support Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi would have to hold new elections. The same coalition of politically correct left-liberals (Susan Sontag, Michael Lerner, Geraldine Ferraro, Bianca Jagger) and anxious American neoconservatives who supported the Kosovo war because it was waged against the "xenophobic" Serbs, were almost as hysterical over developments in Southern Europe.


But of course Rome will never be bombed, as Belgrade was, because the Americans would never permit it. And yet – while Washington is more than glad to give Del Ponte and her kangaroo court free rein in the Balkans, and let them take up from where Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright left off – American complicity in this parody of justice will doubtless come back to haunt us.


For decades, One-Worlders have been agitating for an International Court that would subsume all national sovereignties under its own power, and have the authority to override even the US Constitution. American Presidents, including even the fulsomely Wilsonian Clinton, hesitated to sign on to a treaty binding the US to such a Court's decisions, and not only because it would be filibustered to death in the Senate. The prospect that American soldiers would have to one day face a Del Ponte clone and stand in the dock accused of war crimes would make any American President – no matter how shiftless and disloyal – cringe, and hesitate before signing on the dotted line. In the post-9/11 world, a Republican White House has made it clear that they, and not some motley assembly of Euro-pygmies, will sit in judgement on the "axis of evil," and dispose of evil-doers as they see fit. Yet the Milosevic trial ensures that the possibility of eventual American accountability is not completely excluded – although not in a way any patriot can approve of.


The US put pressure on Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica to give in to the witch Del Ponte, and, as long and hard as he fought, the only principled politician in the entire country was forced, in the end – by the US and its Yugoslav sock puppets – to accept a fait accompli: Milosevic was simply kidnapped and taken into custody. One need not impute moral equivalence between Milosevic's thugs and American soldiers to see that the show trial in The Hague sets a dangerous precedent, one that we may live to regret.


The danger is not immediate, but far from negligible. A recent news story in Business Day reports:

"Milosevic is accused of launching a campaign of terror against the Albanian majority in the Serbian province that resulted in 800000 deportations and at least 900 deaths before it was ended by Nato bombers."

We've come a loooong way from the charge of 50,000 victims of "Serbian genocide" routinely thrown around during the orgy of war hysteria culminating in the Kosovo war. Nine-hundred – that's just about equal to the number of "revenge killings" credited to the Kosovo "Liberation" Army, which, contrary to the myth-makers, was never disbanded. You'll note that the Tribunal has inflated its numbers by holding Milosevic responsible for the massive flight that resulted from the NATO bombing, but how many fled Afghanistan as a result of American bombs? How many civilians were killed, "accidentally" or whatever, in "Operation Enduring Freedom"? No matter whose statistics you accept, it's still more than Milosevic is charged with killing in Kosovo.


Ah, but it's a matter of intent, you say: we killed civilians by accident, whereas the last Stalinist in Europe did it by design. But Milosevic makes some very familiar arguments about the inevitability of collateral damage and the absolute necessity of stopping the KLA terrorists. Minus the Serbian accent, and without considering Slobo's almost complete lack of charm, he could easily pass for Donald Rumsfeld vowing to pursue a "war on terrorism" to the very end with whatever it takes.


I hold no brief for Milosevic, as I have made very clear in the past on more than one occasion, but his trial is nothing less than an abomination, a twisted perversion of justice that ought to alarm every patriotic American – no matter what their views on the present war. By acceding to the wishes of the Europeans, and sanctioning this farce, the US government is setting itself up for a fall – and selling its own military down the river.


Kostunica was right to say of the trial: "There has been little legality but much shallow, superficial... and often forged quasi-history. There has been politicking, hypocrisy and strange inconsistencies." And the Yugoslav President was dead-on target when he pointed out that not only Milosevic is on trial here:

"The prosecution's claim that this trial is against one person, not all Serbs, that there is no collective guilt but only individual, sounds extremely stretched."

Equally far-fetched is the contention of Del Ponte's amen corner in the US and Europe that the "crimes" of which Milosevic stands accused justify the Kosovo war in retrospect. While Al Qaeda was sending aid and volunteer fighters to the KLA, so were we: an unholy alliance if ever there was one. Far from being a just war, the evisceration of the former Yugoslavia by Bill Clinton and his NATO allies was a crime that upset the delicate Balkan balance of power and unleashed the demon of Albanian ultra-nationalism. It is a crime for which we may yet pay a high price indeed.

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