Clark Goes To The Hague
Trials and Politics
by Nebojsa Malic
fanfare, generated by the unprecedented censorship agreement
between Washington and the Hague Inquisition, wannabe
Emperor Wesley Clark appeared before the "court" early
this week to testify against Slobodan Milosevic.
is not yet known what Clark actually said, since Washington
demanded and the ICTY agreed that the testimony would
to "protect against inadvertent disclosure of sensitive US
government information," according to a US embassy spokeswoman.
It is similarly unknown whether official Washington does not
trust Clark enough, or if this is merely another precedent
to establish further Imperial control over its quasi-judicial
were no doubt hoping Clark could somehow demonstrate that
Milosevic knew about alleged atrocities in Kosovo and Bosnia.
But even if the former general was able to cite a specific
statement of Milosevic's indicating such a thing which is
highly unlikely, as no one else has so far the fact remains
that Clark commanded a military force that committed a clear-cut
act of aggression
against Milosevic's country. Therefore, he has every reason
to lie i.e. accuse Milosevic of war crimes in order to
justify his own illicit deeds.
incongruous, perhaps, is that Milosevic faces charges of "command
responsibility," which the Inquisitors have consistently failed
to prove, while Clark was clearly the commander of NATO forces
that committed both crimes against peace and war crimes during
their attack yet Clark gets to testify for the prosecution,
not face criminal charges himself. The Inquisition has already
the very possibility.
the officially approved version of Clark's testimony ought
to appear on Friday, there is no sense in speculating what
he may or may not have said. Clark's own comments at the press
conference on Tuesday suggest it was an ego trip of little
is a fact of life at The Hague that while the accused are
denied contact with the media, the accusers get all the press
time in the world. Showing a propensity for grandstanding
akin to a certain carrier landing,
Clark addressed the press in front of the Tribunal's compound,
using the occasion to solicit political points for his presidential
campaign and bad-mouth Milosevic.
to the press, Clark described Milosevic as "argumentative
and stubborn" (AP,
AFP) and even "petulant" (AFP, BBC). He also implied
Milosevic had foreknowledge of alleged atrocities, and expressed
pleasure he could testify against "the man I believe was responsible
for so much of the slaughter and victims in the Balkans."
So what!? Plenty of people believe one thing or another.
Does Clark actually know anything aside from his
own role in Balkans bloodshed, that is? Probably not, but
no one bothered to ask. Just as no one remarked that it was
rather petty of Clark to disparage someone who is prevented
from answering the insults.
likely, Clark said nothing of actual value; his presence alone
was the purpose, playing on the old-fashioned logical fallacy of appeal
to authority: a number of important, influential, powerful
and significant people testified against Milosevic, and they
ought to be right because of who they are.
is nonsense, of course, even if the Inquisition did not apply
even this fallacy selectively, promoting as truthful only
those who spoke in its favor. But that did not stop the AFP
to elaborate precisely
along those lines: Clark was just the latest in a series
of prominent Milosevic detractors, including Croatian president
Mesic, Slovenian president Kucan, former Yugoslav Prime Minister
Markovic, and Milosevic's predecessor Lilic. Only, Lilic did
not really speak against Milosevic, while the others have
a vested interest in blaming the deposed Serbian leader for
Yugoslavia's collapse in order to cover up their own
roles in it. Much like Clark, really.
first it appears odd that few reports cite Clark in complete
Guardian, perhaps inadvertently, reveals why. Here's
what their reporter heard:
the people of the region it's a very important experience.
It's the rule of law. It's closure with a man who caused the
deaths, or is alleged to have caused the deaths, of hundreds
of thousands throughout Europe."
this not sound like George W. Bush? Sentences make little
sense ("It's the rule of law." What?) and lack spatial
coherence ("throughout Europe," as if the wars had not been
confined to a specific portion of the Balkans). All of a sudden,
another reason for US government censorship comes to mind:
is it someone's interest to prevent Wesley Clark from sounding
like a complete idiot? If so, they aren't doing very well
curiosity is the amount of effort invested in Clark's testimony,
given its unlikelihood of producing any important evidence.
It might be the prosecutors are getting desperate, having
failed for two years now to produce any evidence to the existence
of their "joint criminal enterprise," let alone any alleged
role of Milosevic in it. Millions of dollars at their disposal,
hundreds of clerks, investigators, troops and diplomats, intelligence
officials and Imperial-sponsored NGOs have managed to produce
nothing but repeated allegations, suborned perjury and blatantly
the reason for their failure becomes a "team of shadow lawyers"
in Serbia, helping Milosevic (AP), though such a "defense
team" has ever been just a figment of Imperial imagination.
Even if Milosevic has helpers in Serbia and elsewhere, their
resources pale in comparison to those of the Inquisition.
they lose in the courtroom, even a sham one they dominate,
the Inquisitors make up in the court of public opinion. Reporters
who cover the Tribunal shamelessly shill for the prosecution,
and refers to defendants with derision at best. Not that they
are ever called "defendants" most of the time, they are
"indictees" (an unrecognized neologism),
or even "indicted war criminals" (presuming guilt).
the choice of "experts" and "observers" reveals the reporters'
allegiance. Most of the time, such entities remain nameless,
in an effort to imply a great number of people in agreement
on the matter. In truth, they are only a handful of professional
pimps for the Tribunal, such as Richard Dicker of Human Rights
Watch, or Judith Armatta of the pompously named "Coalition
for International Justice," two of the fiercest partisans
of the ICTY and its prosecutors, even to the point
of helping with "evidence."
reporters routinely distort testimonies, trumpeting the most
outrageous allegations without noting that they were subsequently
dismissed in cross-examinations. No retractions are ever offered,
of course. Fallacies
have entirely replaced any semblance of clear judgment.
situation is by no means limited to reporting from the Tribunal.
Reports from Kosovo, Serbia and Bosnia are always garnished
with obligatory comments from professional victims, paid pundits
or "observers" such as the International Crisis Group, or
the Humanitarian Law Center. That is, when their specific
opinions are attributed, as opposed to being presented as the prevalent
motivates these people? Some of them are certainly "activists,"
seeking to forward their own agendas or those of their superiors.
Others might be driven by fear, mindful of the example of Chris
Stephen, a dedicated pro-Tribunal reporter sacked after
telling the truth just once. But whatever it is, their conduct
it is worth noting that Clark hinted the ICTY should be used
as an example for putting Saddam Hussein on trial. He
may be right; as kangaroo courts and show trials go, it truly
has no equal.
so, Milosevic has embarrassed the Inquisition every step of
the way for the past two years, and shows no signs of giving
up. If Hussein is put on trial, even in a more
obvious kangaroo court environment, and displays but a
part of Milosevic's wit, the Empire can look forward to some
serious embarrassment. Given all that, it really is a wonder
Hussein was not "shot while attempting to escape."
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