July 3, 2003

Liars, Halfwits, Inquisitors and Thieves
A Balkans Tragedy in Four Scenes
by Nebojsa Malic

None of the events or statements that follow should come as a surprise. What is surprising is the lack of reaction by their victims, or those who unwittingly support the perpetrators. As with everything, the ongoing Balkans drama will have consequences yet impossible to foresee.

Ancient Greeks used to say, "Whom gods would destroy, they first make mad." Throughout the former Yugoslav federation, madness and destruction ride together. For those who have to deal with the wreckage in their wake, tragedy is not an artistic term. It is life.

I: Whitewashing the KLA

Between the ongoing process of debunking the lies about Kosovo and the May proclamation that the most recent incarnation of the KLA was a terrorist organization, it was only a matter of time before the professional apologists for the "Kosovo Liberation Army" and its cause would strike back.

Last week, AFP ran a story about Albanian "tolerance" in Obilic, a town where last month an entire Serb family was murdered in the middle of the night. Brimming with official KLA propaganda, rehearsed platitudes and deliberate misquotes, the unsigned article stands out from the usual AFP fare.

So "informative" is the article, it fails to mention that Albanians renamed the town "Kastriota" after a medieval Albanian prince, since Obilic is the name of the Serb knight who killed Sultan Murad in the 1389 battle of Kosovo. Tolerance, indeed.

On Monday, the noxious London IWPR published a lengthy report on "necessary reforms" in the Kosovo Protection Corps, one of the KLA's heirs. It was co-written by an editor of Koha Ditore, a flagship Pristina newspaper whose racist Serbophobic screeds have become so routine they don't faze even the Imperial censors. As a result, the IWPR report whitewashes the KPC and KLA involvement in terrorist activities, and chooses to vilify the FARK militia organized by Ibrahim Rugova's faction. If in some places it reads like a glorified history of the KLA, that's because it is. Only a few paragraphs amidst the paeans to "liberation from the Serbs" deal with murders and mayhem the KLA and KPC have perpetrated over the years, and even then with considerable circumspection.

Meanwhile, Kosovo's outgoing Imperial viceroy had to rescue former KLA fuehrer Hashim Taqi, who was arrested in Hungary on an outstanding criminal warrant. Hungarian police ended up playing catch-and-release, since Taqi has friends in infernal places. The warrant for his arrest was dismissed as "issued by the Milosevic government," but nowhere does it say that the change of government means people accused of murder get a free pass. But if the person in question is Empire's golden boy, who cares about such trifles as the law?

II: Build A Better Nation?

An opinion piece in Tuesday's Christian Science Monitor purports to criticize the nation-building in Bosnia: namely, it claims there isn't nearly enough of it, and that more is needed. The author, Sara Terry, exemplifies the ill-informed Westerner who attempts to pontificate on Balkans issues but only manages to sound embarrassing.

For example, she classifies Bosnians by religion, indicating her belief in the "Bosnian" nation of three different faiths. That such a nation has been shown as mythical as the unicorn is a bothersome fact Ms. Terry is either unaware of, or chooses to ignore.

Another ignorant claim is that the Bosnian Serbs, "incited by neighboring Serbia, had tried to take over the entire country, or at least to split it with Croatia." No one needed any more incitement than Izetbegovic's oath-breaking declaration of independence in April 1992, or what is written in his 1971 "Islamic Declaration." No one (until now, that is) has ever accused the Serbs of trying to take over the entire country; not even Izetbegovic could tell such an obvious whopper. As for the split with Croatia, she'd really need to ask Izetbegovic, because he invited Croatian troops in as early as 1992.

Terry's clumsy attempt to compare Bosnia's entities with American states reveals not so much her ignorance of Bosnia as of the United States, for unlike Bosnia's entities (or Bosnia itself, for that matter), the original 13 states were truly sovereign and independent at one time.

Over seven years since Dayton, and delusions still persist.

III: "Bring me the head of Radovan Karadzic!"

This past weekend, the Hague Harpy Carla delPonte screeched on the pages of the New York Times – an appropriate venue for her opinions, by the way – that the very fabric of the universe would unravel if the Serbs did not turn over Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic to her gentle ministrations.

Not seizing the wartime political and military leader of the Bosnian Serb Republic, the High Inquisitor hectored, would "send a signal to other, similar nationalist leaders… that the world does not mean what it says when it comes to international justice."

There is a unified World? And it speaks with one voice? Isn't there supposed to be a memo about these things!? Far more likely that DelPonte is suffering from delusions of grandeur, presuming to speak for the imaginary World even though she is but a lowly flunky of the Empire. Why, even the Empire is trying to limit its exposure to the toxic morass that is the Inquisition: two weeks ago, American lawyers were banned from representing clients before the ICTY.

That the High Inquisitor speaks of "international justice" even as naked aggression goes unpunished – such as, say, in Kosovo or Iraq – means she really doesn't care for the concept those words represent. The only greater glory she aspires to lies in falsifying history.

IV: Kleptocrats Unleashed

Every government is by definition a kleptocracy, i.e. the governing steal the property of the governed. But there are few places in the world where this arrangement is so glaringly obvious, and yet tolerated by the victims, as in Serbia.

The DOS government is implementing a World Bank/IMF-backed plan to "stimulate" the economy by fraudulently selling plundered property to foreign investors while taxing the air out of entrepreneurs. This is not only irrational and against all economic sense, it's downright criminal. Yet the workers who recently took to the streets in Belgrade did not seek to end government abuses, but demanded that it "fix" things.

Every day, the public finds out more about the government's complicity in the sugar-exporting scam that skimmed off millions from EU import subsidies into the pockets of government-connected "businessmen." The high degree of government control over every aspect of life guarantees that the scam was organized, not merely assisted, by the DOS regime.

Steeped in disdain for wishes or values of the people they rule, the Dossies haven't yet seen a social engineering program they didn't like. Another of their recent schemes is dismantling the military to levels acceptable to NATO officials, for the purpose of becoming a "partner" of the Alliance.

It isn't very libertarian to oppose the dismantling of standing armies, but since the Serbian government enforces strict gun control amongst the common folk, there is no one to pick up the slack. From Biblical times to the present, a government's basic function was national defense – or, to be blunt, waging war. The Serbian government is now endeavoring to fail in its basic function, in order to accomplish "reforms" and "integrate" the country with those who attacked it just a few short years back. That is the behavior of quisling regimes, not "democratic" governments.

It is by now clear beyond any doubt that DOS is a gang of thieves. Again, that is not unusual, and DOS would normally be about par for the modern Balkans, but it gets worse. Though as all other politicians, they desire power and plunder, they owe their current position – and the ability to acquire both – to foreign masters they must (and wish to) loyally serve.

The continuation of their reign of chaos depends on successfully deceiving their subjects into believing Dossie drivel about the necessity for "reforms" and "integration," and the equally nonsensical argument that opposing DOS means supporting Milosevic. If Serbians ever come to their senses and realize that their choices are far more numerous, and that they do not need to put up with a kleptocracy – whether foreign-backed or domestic – there will be hell to pay.

Here's to hoping that happens soon.


There really isn't one. Apologists, inquisitors, various halfwits and thieves continue to run rampant across the Balkans, claiming to champion truth, justice, knowledge and prosperity. As long as they do, things will continue to get worse. The solution, as it happens so often, is self-evident.

– Nebojsa Malic

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Nebojsa Malic left his home in Bosnia after the Dayton Accords and currently resides in the United States. During the Bosnian War he had exposure to diplomatic and media affairs in Sarajevo, and contributed to the Independent. As a historian who specializes in international relations and the Balkans, Malic has written numerous essays on the Kosovo War, Bosnia and Serbian politics. His exclusive column for Antiwar.com appears every Thursday.


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