GEE, WHY DIDN'T
I THINK OF THAT?
of my Italian correspondents reports that rumors are making the rounds
in Europe that the reason Clinton has been dropping all those Cruise missiles
with such abandon -- Iraq, the Sudan, Afghanistan, and now Serbia -- is
that they're not Y2K compliant and have to be used before the end of the
same correspondent, who spoke with his relatives in Barbeano and Toriano,
about 10 miles south of Aviano air base, writes that the situation is
"tense." With bombers roaring overhead on a nightly basis, no
one is getting any sleep, refugees abound, "and theft is on the rise."
Rightly concerned that the Serbs will cross the border and create mayhem
-- and still smarting over the acquittal by a U.S. military court of an
American pilot whose antics caused the death of scores of Italians at
a ski resort -- the Italians may be first to break ranks and distance
themselves from NATO's gang-rape of Serbia. (If the Greeks don't beat
them to it.)
OF THE WAR PARTY:
anyone who has followed her career as a leftist ideologue, the appearance
of British actress Vanessa Redgrave, on CNN's Talk Back Live program,
as a defender of NATO's war on Serbia was a rare moment. Angrily denouncing
the Serbs as "aggressors," and declaring that "we must
not talk with Milosevic," she set her jaw and demanded that he be
dragged before the Hague and prosecuted for war crimes. The vehemence
in her voice, the absolute rectitude in the toss of her head, made her
seem like some Joan of Arc figure, a "humanitarian" angel wielding
her flaming sword. "Red Vanessa" has long been a controversial
figure due to her political views -- which have undergone a bizarre transformation.
her politics were quite bizarre to begin with: as a militant follower
of British Trotskyist theoretician and cult leader Gerry Healy, Redgrave
was not shy about expressing her political beliefs. Her vociferous support
of the Palestine Liberation Organization led to a boycott of her theatrical
performances, and she stood for Parliament as the candidate of Healy's
Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP), attracting more attention (and ridicule)
than votes. The WRP was well-known in British leftist circles as being
a cult with a marked proclivity for violence: WRP guru Gerry Healy preached
an esoteric philosophy based on a mystification of Marxian "dialectics,"
and was something of a megalomaniac, demanding absolute obedience from
his disciples: Redgrave was among the most devoted.
turned out, was getting millions of dollars from various Arab regimes,
including Iraq and Libya. The revelation of his financial patrons -- as
well as the shocking news that he and his cohorts helped finger Iraqi
and Libyan dissidents living in exile, who were marked for assassination
by Saddam Hussein and Colonel Qadaffi -- broke up the group into rival
factions. Vanessa and her brother Corwin, both members of the WRP Central
Committee, stuck with Healy, who formed his own grouplet, the Marxist
Party. This, too, broke apart in the early 1990s, and Healy wound up getting
expelled from his own party on charges of sexual exploitation of some
of his female disciples. Poor disillusioned Vanessa, having spent over
a decade helping to build an authoritarian leftist sect, was disillusioned
and cast adrift on the seas of bourgeois ideology -- where she soon capsized.
road from the PLO to NATO was traversed in only a few years: in 1992,
she was still a Marxist Party militant. To what extent she still considers
herself a Marxist is hard to discern, but when asked pointblank by CNN
if she supported the NATO military strike against Serbia, she gave a long
and oddly legalistic explanation of her position which boiled down to:
yes. She appeared with a Greek Orthodox priest, who looked puzzled,
as if he could not quite figure out who she was or why her opinion on
this matter was to be taken seriously. Describing the Kosovars fight for
"national self-determination" in the same glowing terms she
had once reserved for the PLO, Redgrave made the case for the New World
Order in the name of the same authoritarian moralism that had once inspired
her to crusade for the "world socialist revolution." Having
despaired of ever arousing the proletariat to fulfill its historical destiny,
Red Vanessa, like so many Trots before her, eventually turned to the Pentagon
as the liberator of mankind.
JUST GET ON THE
the United States government and its NATO allies drape themselves in the
mantle of "humanitarianism," stories of Kosovar refugees being
forced onto airplanes at gunpoint are causing a sensation. When asked
about such incidents at NATO's daily press briefing, spokesman Jamie Shea
flatly refused to discuss it.
we are told, just want to go home. But the Serbian offer of a cease-fire
in Kosovo and the readmittance of the displaced refugees, along with guarantees
of their safety, was contemptuously rejected by NATO -- which answered
with renewed bombing raids of unprecedented savagery. Meanwhile, the British
Independent reports that Kosovars herded on planes going to Turkey
were told that they were on their way to Germany. "When one refugee
tried to run away he was frog-marched on board by security men."
When reporters arrived at the scene to record the refugees' misery, they
were told: "'The planes are all going to Turkey, but we would kindly
like to ask the reporters not to tell the refugees because we have had
problems,' said the stern woman in the navy-blue trouser suit."
DAMNED IF YOU
DO . . .
we have been bombarded with endless footage of sobbing Kosovars trudging
along dusty unpaved roads, huddling in muddy refugee camps, loudly bemoaning
their fate. How many times have we seen that young Albanian boy pushing
his grandfather down the road in a wheelbarrow? The evil Serbians, so
the story goes, are intent on emptying Kosovo, and repopulating it with
Serbs. The irony of this is not lost on the Serbs, who often joke that,
as much as they revere Kosovo, no one would actually want to live
Now a new
accusation has been hurled at the demonic Serbs, whose capacity for evil
is apparently limitless. A CNN story asserts that 'tens of thousands of
Kosovo Albanians waiting to cross into Macedonia were turned back forcibly
by Serbian authorities Tuesday and told to return to their villages."
Relief officials are quoted as expressing "concern that Serbian forces
might harm the ethnic Albanians or use them as human shields to discourage
effort to demonize the Serbs has degenerated beyond the need for either
consistency or common sense. Either the Serbs are "cleansing"
Kosovo of Kosovars, or they are preventing them from leaving. Drunken
with bloodlust, and hot with war hysteria, NATO and its journalistic auxiliary
have not bothered much about either logic or consistency.
all the atrocity stories retailed in the mainstream press have at least
an implicit caveat in that their only source appears to be the Kosovars,
and this has been the great weakness of the Clintonian propaganda campaign:
no bayoneted babies, no babies torn out of incubators, no grisly photos
that would galvanize Americans around the KosovarKLA cause. NATO
reports that thousands of people in Pristina were being herded into a
"concentration camp" in a soccer field were deflated when the
French press showed up and found nothing but an empty stadium. The apparent
resurrection of Irbrahim Rugova, whom State Department spokesman James
Rubin averred had been shot to death by Serb forces, was another big setback
for the War Party. They were desperate for visual evidence of atrocities,
either real or imagined, and by coincidence some enterprising journalist
"discovered" it in the form of a grainy amateur videotape of
what the New York Times referred to as "the aftermath
of the incident that shows the bodies of nearly 100 men" supposedly
massacred by Serbian forces. Triumphantly aired on virtually every news
program, the video does indeed show the aftermath of some violent event,
with dead bodies aplenty. And that is it: no Serbian is shown mowing
down defenseless civilians. The only image is of prone corpses: how they
got that way, whether as a result of a major battle pitting Serbian troops
against KLA rebels, or whatever, is impossible to even infer. Yet there
stood George Alagiah, the Turkic-looking young BBC correspondent who happened
to stumble across this ambiguous and smudgy home video, smiling as if
he had just won a Pulitzer Prize. Accompanying the phony footage was an
equally phony pulp adventure story: the cameraman was said to be a poverty-stricken
peasant, Melaim Bellamica, who just happened to have an expensive video
camera in a remote village in Southwest Kosovo. Melaim stayed hidden for
a week, we are told, and filmed the massacre after it was over.
Satellite photos that NATO insists are evidence of mass deportations are
equally unconvincing: all they show are groups of people converging on
trucks and other vehicles, but there is no necessary inference of coercion
in these images.
On the other
hand, photos of real atrocities, in the sense that they are readily
verifiable, are routinely ignored in the NATO-ized media. The shocking
photo that -- well, I wouldn't say "adorns," how about appears
on the first page of this site will be printed in very few American newspapers,
do you suppose that is?
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Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is also the author
the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement
(with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the
Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996).
He writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture.
He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard
(forthcoming from Prometheus Books).