Behind the Headlines
by Justin Raimondo

June 9, 2000


One year after the bombs began falling on Belgrade, the cover-up of NATO's war crimes continues – but with much less success. The truth is finally coming out – and the War Party is going into overdrive spinning the latest revelations. "We were attacking purely military targets," avers the lying limey, Jaimie Shea, who in a better world would be auditioning for bit parts in East Enders instead of speaking for the most powerful military alliance in the world. "Where accidents occurred they occurred as a result of tragedies, failure of technology, of human error that always accompany military operations," he said, "but not because NATO failed to take due precautions." Purely military targets? You mean, like that television station they blew up, killing the janitor, the make-up woman, and 14 other people while viciously wounding several others? And how about that passenger train going over the Gredelica Bridge – smoked by a US pilot who clearly saw it in his viewfinder? This is not to mention the "accidental" bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade – and the later stories floated by anonymous NATO-crats that the Chinese were supposedly providing the Yugoslavs with valuable military intelligence, which all but amounted to an open admission of guilt. Does Shea even care that no one believes his brazen lies?


Worse than Shea is the arrogant Carla Del Ponte, the chief UN war crimes tribunal prosecutor, who airily dismissed the overwhelming evidence of NATO's criminality: in a speech to the Security Council last week she told a breathlessly waiting world that "I am now able to announce my conclusion, following a full consideration of my team's assessment of all complaints and allegations, that there is no basis for opening an investigation into any of those allegations or into other incidents related to the NATO bombing." Whew! Boy, am I glad that's over with – the suspense was killing me!


As if anybody expected anything other than apologias from Madam Del Ponte, the chief high executioner of the New World Order crowd, and her black-robed kangaroo court, the American news media triumphantly reported this long-awaited revelation as if it were real news. But what about all those Serbian civilians slaughtered by US and British warplanes flying over 15,000 feet – and unable to avoid killing civilians – eh, Carla? It's all the fault of the Serbian government, she answers: "Since these events, there has literally been no cooperation with my office. This severely hampers my ability to conclude my investigations involving Serbian victims, particularly where such victims are residing in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia." She slyly added that the Serbian government, for some reason, refuses to issue her and her "investigators" visas to enter the country: ``The fact that I am unable to gain access to the victims and evidence makes such allegations rather hollow,'' she said. Perhaps the visa problem is due to the indictment handed down against practically every member of Milosevic's government, branding them "war criminals" and calling for their immediate trial in the Hague. In any case, Del Ponte and her crew of whitewashers have access to Kosovo, where a great many of NATO's war crimes occurred.


Among the accusations brought by a wide variety of human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, is one that fingers the NATO-crats for bombing refugee convoys and civilians within Kosovo proper. All this goes unmentioned. Yugoslavia is caricatured as completely uncooperative, yet Del Ponte admits that Yugoslavia cooperated to the extent of submitting "a substantial amount of material concerning particular incidents." In addition, human rights organizations from all over the world have compiled a large number of reports. There was plenty of evidence – enough, at least, to warrant a full-scale investigation.


But Del Ponte was not interested: in answer to Russia's deputy representative to the UN, Gennadi Gatilov, who rather diplomatically summed up this obvious whitewash as "premature," the bitch turned to him and snapped that she was "rather stupefied in particular when it was said that there is a politicization in our work. I completely reject that accusation. It is an accusation I will not accept. For months I have been attempting to get in touch with the authorities of the Russian Federation to tell them what our work is about and how we do it." Oh, get off your high horse, Carla, and give us all a break: the Russians don't need you to tell them what your so-called work is all about and how you go about peddling your propaganda; they remember the Moscow show trials, the ritualized purge sessions of the various "People's Tribunals" that invariably and ceaselessly condemned the "enemies of the people." They know your kind, Carla, in the East – homeland of Stalin and the GPU – all too well.


The mentality of these people, the inner workings of the bureaucratic mind, are fascinating to behold – in the same way that the sight of a deadly snake or spider is fascinating in its creepy alien-ness. According to Del Ponte, the Tribunal under Louise Arbor, her Canadian predecessor, began the whole sham process by appointing a "working group" in May of last year "comprising military lawyers, military analysts and other experts to examine and assess all allegations against NATO." Like the Tribunal itself, this phony "working group" did its dirty work in secret, with no public testimony and the identities of the "investigators" unknown – but not unfathomable in the general sense that most were no doubt officials and military officers of the very governments that the Tribunal was supposedly investigating. Del Ponte promised that she would soon release not only the details of her findings, but the criteria applied – and we await these pearls of Solomonic wisdom with bated breath. Until then, however, the remarks of the "US ambassador at large for war crimes" – a kind of roving Andrej Vyshinsky – will have to suffice. . . .


Spinning the Clintonian party line to reporters, ambassador David Scheffer hailed Del Ponte's faux "finding" as the apotheosis of justice. After all, he said "the Tribunal could have rejected the allegations at the outset. By taking a year to examine them rigorously, it has been 'bending over backwards to be as fair and equitable as possible.'" We ought to consider ourselves lucky that they take such care to go through the motions – when they really don't have to, now do they? At least we bother, Scheffer seems to be saying – and for that we are supposed to be grateful.


While Madam Del Ponte's magisterial remarks to the Security Council were meant to provide a rationale, however thin, for the doctrine of "humanitarian" conquest now officially embraced by the Western powers acting in concert, we must turn to Gen. Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander, for the unadorned version of neo-Stalinism with a human face. The Tribunal, with its careful lawyers’ phrases, puts a bourgeois liberal gloss on things, but the General gruffly brushed off all such talk in a speech to the Brookings Institute: "I noticed on the news today there's criticism of the attack on the Serb media. Well of course, that was a controversial target, but the Serb media engine was feeding the war." A television transmitter, a newspaper office, the site of a server that hosts anti-NATO websites ­ these are no different than, say, a fortified anti-aircraft position or a Serbian tank. They are all "engines" of war. In this new equation, as enunciated by NATO’s chief warlord, a carload of enemy journalists is the same as a column of enemy troops. Clark later confided to reporters that "you're always making trade-offs in these decisions, but in this case it was a huge step to be able to take out this major instrument of provocation." The question is, a step toward what? He’s right, though – it was a huge step, and one taken without so much as a whimper of protest from our courtier media.


In the simple mind of Wesley Clark, the rationale for bombing a television station and murdering civilians is that they weren't innocent, they were soldiers in Milosevic's war against his own people. The state media has been "a crucial instrument of Milosevic's control over the Serb population," and "exported fear, hatred and instability in the neighboring regions. So it was a legitimate target of war, validated by lawyers in many countries and validated by the international criminal tribunal." In other words, the great crime of the Serbian RTS television broadcasting network was that it wasn't CNN. Instead of the braying mouthpiece of the KLA, Christiane Amanpour, some other government shill – albeit one from the other side – was spinning the news to suit their own purposes. All's fair in love and the information war – including blowing your enemy to pieces.


The Kosovo issue will not go away: this is going to be a long hot summer in that "liberated" land. With Montenegro at the boiling point, and local elections in that flashpoint sub-republic scheduled just in time to provoke a crisis, continued KLA infiltration of Serbia proper almost ensures that renewed fighting is bound to break out. It's only a matter of time – and how much time is crucial. For if the crisis can be postponed until after the US presidential election, then the War Party is home free – since both "major" party candidates are firmly in the interventionist camp when it comes to Kosovo. The recent incident in which the brother of the president of Montenegro pistol-whipped a prominent member of the opposition Liberal party (which calls for immediate secession from Yugoslavia) dramatically underscores the ongoing low-level conflict that could break out into open warfare at any moment. No doubt the CIA and allied Western intelligence agencies are working hard to damp down the fires smoldering throughout the region, but this may not, in the end, be enough. . . .


It could very well be that Kosovo will be a major issue this presidential election year – and only one candidate, namely Pat Buchanan, could possibly benefit from such an unsurprising development. While Bush has waffled, somewhat, on this issue in the past, his advisors have infused him with a new enthusiasm for Clinton's war. Not only did he personally intervene to turn back the Republican majority in Congress that demanded an accounting, a timetable, and an exit strategy by a date certain, but he is actively considering the ultra-interventionist Senator Chuck Hagel as his running mate: Hagel is reportedly on the short list of GOP vice-presidential candidates. During the Kosovo war, he was one of the noisiest of the loudmouth hawks, second only to McCain, and co-sponsored a Senate resolution demanding the introduction of ground troops. Senator Hagel was one of the few congressional Republicans to support McCain's presidential bid. In building bridges to the warmongering McCain, Dubya is also reassuring the foreign policy establishment that he won't pull out of Kosovo – and will, in fact, continue Clinton's war on a scale undreamed of by Clinton, just as Nixon carried to the end the war policy of his Democratic predecessors.


The political implications of the ongoing crisis in the Balkans are potentially enormous. Those Republicans who opposed this illegal, unconstitutional, and immoral war against a people who had never attacked us, who were not guilty of the heinous crimes attributed to them, and wanted only to preserve their internationally-recognized borders against external encroachment have only one place to go in the event of a flare-up, and that is to Buchanan. In a March 24 speech to the national conference held in San Mateo, Pat eloquently summed up the immorality and tragedy of our bipartisan policy in the Balkans:

"Last year, for 78 days, U.S. pilots flew thousands of missions against Serbia, destroying bridges, factories, electrical grids, and, yes, even hospitals, schools and the occasional embassy. Yet, before launching his war, Mr. Clinton never received the authorization of Congress. But as a consequence of our triumph over Serbia, young men and women from California, Kentucky, Florida and Maine are in Kosovo policing territory that has been violently contested for hundreds of years.

"As of now, we do not know if US troops will end up fighting Serbs, or Kosovar Albanians, or first one, then the other. But it is a near certainty that United States will one day be forced to pull out of Kosovo, after having earned the lasting hatred of Serbs – a people who never harmed the United States – and of the Albanians, whose aspirations will not be satisfied until the US helps to carve out an ethnically pure Greater Albania."


Buchanan is well on his way to winning the presidential nomination of the Reform Party, and the means to communicate his message to millions of Americans. The impact of TV ads demanding "Bring the Boys (and Girls) Home Now!" in the middle of the shooting could be enormous – and a turning point in American politics. The stage is set, the actors are ready – and the curtain rises . . .

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