of the Shadows
has a tendency to happen whether anyone watches or not. In
fact, significant developments more often occur in the shadows
of secrecy, leaving their flashier but less important brethren
to occupy the limelight.
has been made, for example, of NATO's use of depleted uranium
over the past five years. Completely ignored ten years ago
in Iraq, barely mentioned five years ago in Bosnia, depleted
uranium seems to have finally burst out in the open this year,
after the effects of its use in Kosovo became too
hard to ignore. The factual argument is actually pretty
simple. Uranium of any kind is a cancerous pathogen if it
makes its way into the human body. Depleted uranium such
as the one used in M1 tank armor and armor-penetrating munitions
of the US army and many of its NATO allies is highly toxic
when it explodes against a target. And yet, a constant stream
of denials both of the science and the effects has come out
of NATO over the past few weeks.
confessing to harm is hard to do. Since the days of King James
I in the 1600s, people have claimed that tobacco was harmful.
Only recently did the US medical community admit this was
a fact. Soon thereafter, lawsuits and greedy government bureaucrats
forced the tobacco companies to do the same. So it should
not surprise anyone that the Pentagon and NATO are less than
eager to blame DU for the "Gulf/Balkans War Syndrome."
After all, someone will have to foot the bill to compensate
all the American and Allied soldiers who came down with cancer
not to mention the civilians those soldiers bombed, though
for them restitution may never materialize.
then, lies the answer to the seemingly irrational ravings
of some eager allies and clients or NATO, who rushed to blame
the furor over DU on Milosevic,
Serbs, and even
Russians, grasping for straws in order to suck up to their
patrons and masters.
stark difference between private and public agendas is perhaps
best embodied by the bandits who had invaded the border zone
between sovereign Serbia and NATO-occupied Kosovo last October.
Two weeks ago, they publicly announced their demands to the
Serbian authorities: international military intervention,
no less, and full NATO occupation of their designated "Eastern
Kosovo." Such a demand would be completely unacceptable
to any government, anywhere. A handful of Americans at Waco
was attacked by tanks and torched alive for much less. But
because of what NATO propaganda claimed about the Serbs in
1999, any move to crush the bandits would run into public
condemnation by foreign journalists who have become quite
friendly with the so-called Presevo Liberation Army.
from the public's (selectively) prying eyes, these same "rebels"
have found it necessary to hijack a truck transporting money
for teachers in Kosovo. Somehow, the fact that teachers
in Kosovska Kamenica were about to get their pay was a major
threat to the security of Albanians in Presevo. Then again,
the teachers and the children in Kamenica were Serbs, and
the money was Yugoslav dinars currency outlawed in Kosovo
by NATO's occupation authorities so it is no wonder that
the matter went largely unnoticed. NATO troops did make some
noise, but action of any kind remains but a distant possibility.
is no doubt helping the Albanian bandits that the government
of Serbia currently has more pressing problems most of all,
the ever-increasingly separatist tendencies of Montenegro's
ruling regime, led by America's golden boy Milo Djukanovic.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that Djukanovic is
determined to separate Montenegro from Yugoslavia and
finish its makeover into his personal fiefdom. In mid-December
it seemed Zoran Djindjic's victory in Serbia's governmental
elections might further his plans; analysts openly speculated
that Djindjic was planning to make a deal with Djukanovic
and leave his chief political rival, federal president Vojislav
Kostunica, out in the cold. In recent days, however, Djindjic
away from Djukanovic, supporting Kostunica's proposal
for a new federal Constitution.
proposal, by the way, envisions Yugoslavia the way the United
States once were with a small, limited and efficient federal
government and extensive powers for the states. The alternative,
offered by Djukanovic's regime after it rejected
Kostunica's proposal, is a confederacy even less workable
than the neighboring NATO protectorate of Bosnia. But that
was just a pro forma gesture on Djukanovic's part,
for public relations purposes only. He is frantically working
to hold a referendum on a declaration of independence, regardless
of what Belgrade does. The little-noticed fact that Djukanovic's
government recently had trade
talks with Albania even though official Tirana is refusing
to re-establish diplomatic ties with Belgrade further illuminates
seemingly acting in concert over Montenegro, Serbia's ruling
circles are hardly united on anything else. Their behavior
can be described only as "a mystery inside a riddle,
wrapped in an enigma." For example, Yugoslavia's foreign
minister Goran Svilanovic recently visited
Washington and met with Madeleine Albright a woman still
considered the embodiment of evil by most Serbs who were bombed
at her initiative almost two years ago. They reportedly discussed
the possibility of having Slobodan Milosevic tried for war
crimes in Belgrade. The Hague Inquisition promptly demanded
Milosevic's head. Its head inquisitor, Carla DelPonte ( the
woman who obediently indicted Milosevic to help the NATO war
effort) will reportedly bring up the issue during her visit
to Belgrade in late January.
Kostunica, however, refused
to meet with her, sending a signal that Belgrade is by
no means willing to do the bidding of Albright, the International
Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY), or anyone else. Further
ruffling lots of feathers, Kostunica met
with Slobodan Milosevic on Saturday, and discussed with
him the current situation and the future of Yugoslavia. Apart
from the usual foul language of the ICTY, this meeting also
criticism from some members of Kostunica's coalition.
Part of their criticism was also aimed at Kostunica's publication
of the new constitutional proposal, which apparently was not
discussed in the coalition's ruling committee.
Djindjic not yet Prime Minister, since electoral irregularities
are holding up the formation of the new government also
criticized Kostunica's meeting with Milosevic, but supported
the constitutional proposal. Djindjic's mysterious ways are
no mystery to those who know him. He lacks vision, says Yugoslavia's
new ambassador to Washington, Milan
St. Protic. Political commentator Aleksandar Tijanic adds
that Djindjic's other favorites are money, power and shortcuts
through the system. No man is better suited to operating in
the dark shadows of Serbian politics these days, though what
is good for him is by no means good for the rest of the country.