careful what you wish for, says the old adage. It might come
true. As last
Thursday’s edition of Balkan Express called for vision
and strength of character among the besieged Balkans leaders,
one of them did put his vision into practice. Needless to
say, his vision was not what the author of this column
had in mind.
violating both the Yugoslav Constitution and the federal government
Extradition Decree, Serbian Prime Minister Zoran
Djindjic organized and executed a "transfer"
of imprisoned Slobodan Milosevic into the hands of the Hague
Inquisition on the most symbolic day of the Serbian calendar.
heist was pulled off midday, deceiving
the public, the Army, Milosevic's family and even his
defense team. Within an hour, Milosevic was packed off to
the US-occupied Bosnia, where he was transferred to an airplane,
and then to the Inquisition's dungeon at Scheveningen.
OF THE FOX
put his well-prepared plan into motion after the decision
of the Yugoslav Constitutional Court (equivalent of the U.S.
Supreme Court) to suspend the government’s extradition decree
pending legal review. Citing Article 135 of the Serbian state
constitution, he overruled the decision and ordered Milosevic’s
extradition based on a decree of his Serbian government.
The act was approved on the spot by 14 out of 15 ministers
present. Another seven signed the act afterwards. Only Health
Minister Obren Joksimovic, of Kostunica’s DSS party, voted
his statement to the press Thursday evening, Djindjic said
the Constitutional Court was "unfit to judge the federal
government’s decisions by the nature of its background and
its composition," so his government would treat their
verdict as null and void. Of course, the Inquisition is by
nature "independent" and "non-political."
Nor did it matter that the Constitutional Court’s Chief Justice,
indeed a Milosevic appointee, resigned before the verdict
to avoid a conflict of interest.
135 was but a fig leaf. In Section 90, it contains a provision
enabling the government of Serbia to take over certain powers
of the federal government, in cases in which the federal government
is unable to function, or its decision cannot satisfy the
interests of both Serbia and Montenegro. However, the government
was functional, and Djindjic’s decision had, if anything,
further aggravated its Montenegrin members.
one ever accused Djindjic of lacking intelligence. Illegal
as his actions were, they were most effective. In one fell
swoop, he appeased his sponsors (and his country’s enemies)
and sacrificed a man he both feared, loathed and emulated,
while demolishing the position of his chief political rival,
President Kostunica, effectively seizing absolute power within
Serbia and granting his longtime friend Milo Djukanovic a
de facto recognition of independence.
following day, President Kostunica condemned
the act, telling the people that he knew nothing about
the entire operation until the deed was done. He also called
it "illegal and unconstitutional" and "an attack
on the rule of justice." Yet Djindjic had publicly promised
he would extradite Milosevic before the June 29 "donors"
conference – even illegally, if necessary. On the eve of the
abduction, eight Serbian ministers in the federal government
– including Kostunica’s hand-picked Foreign Minister, Goran
Svilanovic – also signed Djindjic’s act of treason. Kostunica
should have known. Even if he did not, he should have acted
afterwards. Instead, he stood by and washed his hands like
days after that fateful evening, only federal Prime Minister
Zoran Zizic has
resigned. Kostunica remains president of an increasingly
illusory country. None of the conspirators and executors of
the treacherous act were arrested, or even forced to resign.
Kostunica’s party stepped
out of the DOS voting bloc in the Parliament, but officially
remained in the coalition. Even Zizic and his party are now
saying he would be willing
to return to a "restructured" government. This
admission of impotence made it abundantly clear that Djindjic
had won. When push came to shove, Kostunica’s popularity could
not match Djindjic’s cold, calculated determination.
authors of 1999's war the leaders of NATO, the UN,
and the ICTY met the "extradition" with unabashed
glee. Carla Del Ponte, the dour High Inquisitor, was overjoyed.
President Bush hailed the Djindjic treason as a "very
important step." David Scheffer, former Clintonite
"ambassador for war crimes," praised the seizure
of Milosevic as "end
of impunity." Former general Wesley Clark, who enthusiastically
bombed Yugoslavia two years ago, rushed to claim that extradition
represented an admission
that NATO was right. He also claimed that the current
government could not have come to power without NATO’s aggression
– strangely, and for the first time, making a modicum of sense.
Western papers and news agencies indulged for a few days in
outbursts of vitriolic Serbophobia unseen since the Kosovo
Press and Reuters immediately ran stories about the magnitude
of evil Milosevic and his
people represented. Reporters
who made a name by demonizing Milosevic gave their
two cents as well.
this went on, champions of "human rights and democracy"
showed some of their true colors. Thus The Independent
opined that Milosevic’s trial ought to "use the machinery
of international law in order to educate a people." Serbs
need to be re-educated
like the Nazis, for though their "crimes" were
"not as terrible as those of Nazi Germany… the principle
is similar." A Washington Times columnist went
further, claiming that only by disavowing
Milosevic and that part of their history could the Serbs
hope to join the "democratic world," adding that
Djindjic was the right person to force them down that path.
Washington Post simply concluded that blackmail and
aggression were useful diplomatic weapons, and recommended
using them on Ukraine and Russia.
the Empire is right to claim that Milosevic (and, by implication,
the Serbs who actively or passively supported him) bears the
greatest responsibility for Balkans bloodshed, then it cannot
be blamed for anything it did to supposedly stop him. Therefore,
the only possible outcome of Milosevic’s trial must be
his conviction for "genocide" in Kosovo, as
well as Bosnia and Croatia. He is now NATO’s carte
blanche, a blank check on which they can inscribe
ex post facto justification for their aggression,
occupation and ethnic cleansing.
show trial has already started. Milosevic is being held in
solitary confinement. His personal
effects have been stolen at the Hague airport. His lawyers
were allowed to see him only a day before the arraignment.
On Tuesday, he stood before the British judge alone and refused
to recognize the Inquisition as legitimate. According
foremost legal scholar (no friend of Milosevic, either),
his position is perfectly correct.
consequences of Milosevic’s trial are very serious, indeed,
and should not be ignored. Yet the effects of his "transfer"
are already real, rippling through the international political
Washington Post’s enthusiastic editorial reveals the futility
of hope that by submitting to US and NATO demands, validating
their aggressive policies and encouraging their delusions
of morality, anyone can avoid
new imperial depredations. Quite to the contrary, the
Empire now has every incentive to increase its aggression,
and seek out new victims and protégés. Ignoring
what president John
Quincy Adams said in 1821, this Republic has begun defining
itself by how many "monsters" it searches and destroys,
not caring what else is lost in the process – even if the
price of this newfound power abroad is the end of liberty
is by its very definition a government that arbitrarily violates
laws and the individual rights of its citizens. The tyrants
create illusions to misdirect their people. Thus they maintain
that no violations of rights have occurred, or invent higher
interests to justify their actions – most often appealing
to basic emotional issues of the populace. Mass confiscation
of private property without any due process of law, for example,
can be effectively explained by the "need" to fight
drugs. Arrest and indefinite imprisonment without charges
are thus "appropriate" in the fight against terrorism.
Abridgment of free speech is most frequently cloaked in the
banner of diversity, tolerance or protecting the children.
Abduction, treason and a coup d’etat are supposed to
be justifiable by $1.3
billion in foreign loans.