The Case of the Invisible Trial, or
'Where's the Beef?'
by Stella L. Jatras
3/7/02

It's called the most important trial since Nuremberg; yet, of the over 100 TV channels at my disposal, not one carries it. Curious, since for the past ten years the media and the major TV channels couldn't wait to spin all the sordid details of mutilations, murders, torture and charges of genocide that the accused, former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, faces at The Hague's Stalinist show trial. However, this trial is not just about Slobodan Milosevic; it is also about the Serbian people. Why then has the media ignored it? Can it be because of the inept prosecution of the trial? Can it be that the "heinous criminal, Milosevic," with only the use of a public pay phone and acting as his own lawyer from his 9 by 15 foot jail cell, is making fools of the international tribunal? Can it be that, since his guilt is a foregone conclusion, it wouldn't do for the public to see how weak the case is against him?

Ironically, it was a report co-authored by Daniel Pearl that broke the story in a 1999 article in The Wall Street Journal titled, "Body Count," that enabled Slobodan Milosevic to discredit one of Chief Prosecutor, Carla del Ponte's star witness against Milosevic, Halit Barani, former actor turned reporter. The article was subtitled, "War in Kosovo Was Cruel, Bitter, Savage: Genocide It Wasn't," and "Tales of Mass Atrocity Arose And Were Passed Along, Often With Little Proof." One of the most gruesome charges was that the Serb paramilitary had dumped 700 [some reports were as high as 1,500] bodies into the furnace at the Trepca mine, after having been ground up into little pieces. As Pearl writes,

"By late summer, stories about a Nazi-like body-disposal facility were so wide spread that investigators sent a three-man French Gendarmerie team spelunking half a mile down the mind to search for bodies. They found none. Another team analyzed ashes in the furnace. They found no teeth or other signs of burnt bodies."

Of Mr. Barani, Pearl writes,

"Mr. Barani doesn't completely stand by his story. 'I told everybody it was supposition, it was not confirmed information, he says.'"

The Pearl article also referred to Barani's use of a KLA satellite phone to call in his stories, although Barani testified at the Milosevic trial that he had no contact with the KLA. Mrs. Pearl characterized her husband as a journalist who sought the truth. It would be interesting to know if Daniel Pearl were alive today, would he be called as a witness for the defense?

Not only did Daniel Pearl conclude that there was no genocide in Kosovo, but Agence France Presse of 5 April 1999, also headlined, "Kosovo is no genocide: Nobel Peace Prize winner," referring to Elie Wiesel. It's kind of hard to paint the Serbs as conducting a genocide against ethnic Albanians when over 100,000 fled to Belgrade to escape NATO's bombs in Kosovo.

As a career military officer's wife, Stella Jatras has traveled widely and has lived in many foreign countries where she not only learned about other cultures but also became very knowledgeable regarding world affairs and world politics. Stella Jatras lived in Moscow for two years (where her husband, George, was the Senior Air Attaché), and while there, worked in the Political Section of the US Embassy. Stella has also lived in Germany, Greece and Saudi Arabia. Her travels took her to over twenty countries.

Previous article by Stella Jatras on Antiwar.com

'Voices of Moral Obtuseness' or 'Voices of Immoral Bigotry'?
9/29/01

The Media's War Against the Serbs
1/15/01

If It's Good Enough for Serbia's Goose, Why Not for Croatia's Gander?
12/7/00

Srebrenica" Code Word to Silence Critics of US Policy in the Balkans
7/31/00

From Camp Swampy to Camp Bondsteell
4/6/00

Open Letter to General Michael Short
11/3/99

RAPES, MURDERS AND TORTURE OF SERBS IRRELEVANT

While rapes, murders, and torture of the Serbian population were totally ignored or discounted by the media and by human rights organizations, charges of barbarity against the Serbs were constant throughout the civil war in the Balkans, for that is exactly what it was: a civil war. In civil wars, people do terrible things to each other – but with an anti-Serb U.S. foreign policy agenda along with a willing media, only one side was Satanized. Former Canadian Major General Lewis MacKenzie, Bosnia's first UNPROFOR commander stated a simple fact, that all sides were doing bad things. For that impartial statement, the Bosnian Muslim government of Alija Izetbegovic saw to the good general's early exit from Bosnia by producing "a witness [who] had seen me [MacKenzie] come by and pick up four Muslim girls, who were taken away and presumably raped and murdered." A total fabrication.

Among the dozens of examples of the media spinning their version of events in the Balkans, another example of the lies being used against the former Serbian president is the 1995 Markale marketplace massacre for which we dropped 6,000 tons of bombs for two weeks on the Bosnian Serbs. NATO dropped its defensive mantra and became the offensive arm of the New World Order, in violation of its treaty. It had to. The Soviet Union was gone and Clinton needed to justify NATO's existence. Yossef Bodansky, the author of Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America, in his book, Offensive in the Balkans, wrote the following:

"Phase Three started with a self-inflicted major terrorist provocation. On February 5, 1994, a major explosion rocked the Markale Sarajevo s main market place causing heavy casualties. What was immediately described as the ubiquitous 'Serb mortar shell' was actually a special charge designed and built with the help from Hizballah experts and then most likely dropped from a nearby rooftop onto the crowd of shoppers. Video cameras at the ready recorded this expertly-staged spectacle of gore, while dozens of corpses of Bosnian Muslim troops killed in action (exchanged the day before in a body swap with the Serbs) were paraded in front of cameras to raise the casualty counts. This callous self-killing was designed to shock the West, especially sentimental and gullible Washington, in order to raise the level of Western sympathy to the Bosnian Muslims and further demonize the Serbs so that Western government would be more supportive of Sarajevo s forthcoming aggressive move, and perhaps even finally intervene military."

European newspapers also confirmed that Bosnian Muslims had committed the Markale marketplace massacre, but Clinton needed an excuse to bomb the Serbs. Consider the following. Saudi Arabia signed a letter of intent to buy $6 billion dollars worth of Boeing aircraft. The day after we bombed the Serbs on a trumped up massacre, the Saudis signed on the dotted line. Coincidence? I don't think so. Saudi Arabia wanted the first Islamic nation in the belly of Europe, and we wanted Saudi oil and money. And that's what this war was all about.

I am not here to defend Slobodan Milosevic. I am here to defend the Serbian people who have been unjustly accused of atrocities (including cannibalism!) and who continue to suffer under our sanctions. However, you have to hand it to Slobo. He's got guts. He is brilliantly exposing these clowns for what they are, even with the disadvantage of having only one phone at his disposal, the cutting off of his mike when convenient by the chairman of the tribunal, and now faces testimonies of witnesses behind closed doors.

As columnist Don Feder writes in his West haunted by Balkans blunder, of 3 December, 2001, "Slobodan Milosevic has been charged with complicity to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. Before the travesty is over, he will doubtless be convicted of running the rail line to Auschwitz" [my emphasis].

Slobodan Milosevic has already been found guilty by those clowns at The Hague so why bother to air the trial? Why confuse the American people with the facts? Without Slobodan Milosevic's conviction, there will be no permanent International War Crimes Tribunal. It's their ticket to their New World Order.

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