December 2010

A hagiography to keep Tudjman out of the Hague? See how that worked out here. Watch the trailer here. Amazon Kindle edition here. Facebook page here.

IMAGINE this scenario. You’re a sci-fi writer. In fact, you’re a humorous sci-fi writer, the only book under your belt being The Official Alien Abductee’s Handbook: How to Recover from Alien Abductions without Hypnotherapy, Crystals, or CIA Surveillance.

You’re one of those broke, recently divorced, 40-something New York writer/producer/director/playwright types who’s managing to stay afloat by maxing out credit cards and filling up on appetizers at art openings while trying to figure out which girlfriend to move in with after your impending eviction.

That’s Joe Tripician in 1997. “So when a job came by that looked too good to be true, I took it,” he writes in the early pages of Balkanized at Sunrise: How a Sci-Fi Author Was Recruited to Keep a President from a War Crimes Indictment. Thanks to which we have this gem of a book.

Tripician is spared his destitute fate by an angel from hell in the form of Croatia’s U.S. cultural attache — film director Jakov Sedlar — an introduction made by his Long Island doctor (and pal of local mobsters), Tony. Naturally, this “Leni Riefenstahl of Croatia” (as he’s known in Croatian cultural circles) had already made a film attempting to exonerate the notorious WWII Catholic Archbishop Stepinac, who presided over Croatia’s genocide of close to a million Orthodox Serbs and 75% of the country’s Jews. Indeed, any creative project of use to Croatia’s national interests, and Jakov had made it — and recruited Martin Sheen to the cause.

Jakov taps the obscure sci-fi writer Tripician to write the official biography of Franjo Tudjman, Croatia’s wartime president, for American consumption; he is told HarperCollins is publishing.

There are some things that Tripician already knows about Tudjman, such as his book Horrors of War (or Wasteland of History, depending on the translation) — in which Tudjman goes on about Jews “helping run Jasenovac,” which Tripician recognizes as the “Croatian Auschwitz.” Before giving his final answer, then, the author wants to do some additional research on Tudjman, a process he describes thus:

With each atrocity a blister appears in my mouth, followed by another, and another, until they fight each other for space. After a while I name them for areas with the most war crimes: Gospic, Ahmici, Stupni Do, Krajina…

He tries to reject the assignment, telling Jakov to hire a PR firm. But Jakov insists, and Joe is after all penniless. So he demands full creative control. “Yeah, of course, Joe. We give you.”

The first $10,000 check arrives, and so Joe pumps himself up for the project. He is looking forward to having access to “all the resources of the Croatian government, and free rein to write the official biography of its sitting president, Franjo Tudjman, the man who came out the big winner in the recent war in former-Yugoslavia, the man both vilified as a neo-fascist, and praised as a freedom-fighter.”

First, Joe buys books. Books about how “America aided Tudjman in the war, pushed him to forge an alliance with the Bosnian Muslims in the fight against the Serbs, looked the other way while Croatia imported arms from Iran, deployed some 30,000 troops to NATO’s peace-keeping operation….”

That’s where Sunrise immediately distinguishes itself. Indeed, all this information which is so little-known even today was available in 1997, and Tripician had the diligence to find it. Unfortunately, he’s still under the impression that 200,000 died in the Bosnian war, though the updated figure stands at around 100,000. But he can be forgiven this much, especially since he offers a glimpse into the workings of the rabid Croatian diaspora when the second $10,000 check arrives.

It’s drawn from the bank account of an Italian restaurant in Queens. As Joe explains: “In addition to directing government-financed films, Jakov is a master in raising money from the Croatian diaspora, the ferociously loyal group of Croatian patriots whose $5,000 and $10,000 donations also helped import arms into their homeland during the war.”

Joe hires one of them as a research assistant. “A young patriotic son of Croatian emigrants,” George had traveled to Croatia during the war and served as an interpreter and press agent for the Bosnian Croats as well as a driver for visiting diplomats. An all-around too-useful guy whom Joe starts to wonder if he can trust.

Joe summarizes George’s annoyance with his countrymen’s obviousness: “They don’t get that you don’t let rightwing, Sieg Heil-saluting extremists align themselves with your party and expect the US to understand. You don’t rebury the bones of Ustasha leaders alongside their victims and expect world leaders (except for Germany) to attend the ceremony. You don’t honor indicted war criminals by decorating them as war heroes and expect recognition in the UN.”

Wrong on almost all counts, as history has proved: You can get away with it all.

But thank you for the uncommon mention of such things. Indeed, it’s Tripician’s innate fair-mindedness that contributes to his almost comically constant misgivings throughout the book: “Do I really think I can take Jakov’s money and turn in a fawning hagiography without becoming a whore?…[A]m I stupidly putting myself at risk? If word gets out that I’m at work on a negative portrait of the president, will I be labeled an enemy spy, targeted for assassination, tortured or, worse — forced to refund Jakov’s advance?”

George also tells him to watch out for the women in Zagreb, who are all five-foot-ten and dangerous.

Soon Joe’s Balkans odyssey begins and he is off to Croatia. He finds a populace gripped either by nationalism, or by fear of not being nationalist enough for the ubiquitous loyalists of the non-dictator dictator, the neo-fascist democrat Tudjman. In 1997 even a Croatian teenager could tell you, “You have to write what they tell you to write,” a reference to Tudjman’s tight control of the media and widespread political surveillance and repression — which Joe was warned about. Meanwhile, he baffles one contact after another for being the chosen joe to write a book on Tudjman — including the skeptical U.S. embassy spokesman who says, “This is a most interesting project, Joe. So little correct information about Tudjman makes it to the Croatian people; so little information about Croatia makes it to the States.”

Before long, a long-legged Croatian vixen in need of a U.S. embassy job attaches herself to him (at arm’s length), and quizzes his “understanding” of the region to see how well his point of view is Croatianizing. In another funny encounter, he finds himself in the back of a helicopter with a pair of rabbis whom the Croatian government is wooing to help with its public image. One of them offers, “I met him [Tudjman], and I don’t think he’s anti-Semitic or neo-Nazi, or in any way sympathetic to Nazism. I didn’t see any of that.”

Never mind Tudjman’s Holocaust-minimizing ( “It was 900,000, not six million!”) or his revival of Nazi-era currency, symbols, and school and street names — or the demolition of Holocaust monuments and the 1996 appointment of a senior Ustasha official to ambassador (plus restoring 13 Ustasha army officers to their original ranks). Never mind all that — apparently Tudjman was supposed to call the rabbi a kike to his face to convince him. They’re in the helicopter to go to a mass grave in the town of Vukovar, whose story the author relates with all the attendant distortions and omissions, such as the Serbs killing “300 men in a hospital” — without mentioning that these were Croatian soldiers who disguised themselves as patients after shooting from inside the hospital and endangering the actual patients.

But the author is working from the disadvantage of a very entrenched popular mythology that’s hard to get around. This bank of misinformation strikes again when he tries to peg down Bosnian-Croat president Mate Boban. “Boban never had the opportunity of killing as many civilians as his Bosnian Serb brothers in Christ. That personal best was achieved by Radovan Karadzic….”

Understandably, in 1997 one was forced to operate from the premise of the “official truth” of Bosnia, so it might be asking too much for someone to have already figured out what Karadzic was or wasn’t, and what did or didn’t happen on his watch and which side was really behind it. Still, one doubts that the author is currently following the second-most-unwatched Trial of the Century (Milosevic’s being the first), to see how accurate his trite assessment of Karadzic is.

Nonetheless — and despite also buying into the widely held but inverted premise that the Serbs were the aggressors — the author gives the subject fairer treatment than what one is used to.

Tripician also operates under the misconception that the Bosnian Muslims were innocent, attributing virtually no war crimes or concentration camps to them — and that “Sniper Alley” could only mean “Serbian Sniper Alley.” Which is how we get a typical devoid-of-context paragraph such as:

August 28, 1995: Another mortar hit the Sarajevo market, killing 38 people this time. President Clinton pressed NATO into running bombing raids against Serbian military targets. After 16 days, this bombing campaign finally pushed the Serbs to negotiate a settlement.

A little more diligence and Tripician might have learned that even at the time, these mortars’ origins were questionable, and since then they’ve been demonstrated to have come from the Bosnian side (not to mention that some of the bodies from a similar incident the year before weren’t bleeding and still had ice in their ears — meaning corpses from the morgue refrigerator). To know these kinds of things, one could read a single day’s transcripts from the unwatched Trial of the Century.

The only time Tripician gets an inkling that the Muslims are ever up to anything is when he happens upon a political gathering at a mosque in Sarajevo, which ends up being his most menacing encounter. And we do get at least some acknowledgment of Muslim violence in the conflict:

These are the same extremists whose mujahideen soldiers committed their own share of atrocities against Serbs and Croats in Bosnia. They are connected to murder, rape, brutal mistreatment, and one barbaric ritual beheading.

(One wonders which barbaric beheading — singular tense — the author is referring to. Just off the cuff, is it this oneor one of these? Or maybe this one, that one or this one?)

Tripician attributes the violence to “extremists,” but we learn that the other woman he falls for — a Bosnian — became a single mother when her husband came home from the war unrecognizable after committing “his share of atrocities.” In other words, it didn’t take an extremist.

Compensating for such assuming blunders, Sunrise has plenty of payoffs, such as the deadpan delivery of the contradiction of Croatianism: “In 1989, Tudjman established the first democratic party in Croatia, and reintroduced Ustasha flags and symbols to the streets of Zagreb….”

Of course, two paragraphs later we get: “Under Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic (’the Butcher of the Balkans’), both Croatia and the more homogeneous Slovenia were labeled fascists, and, for a time after the war started, the label stuck.”

Here the author falls into the usual trap of attributing to “Milosevic” documented facts which the author himself has already authenticated two paragraphs earlier. (Incidentally, Slovenia had the highest proportional number of Nazis collecting pensions from Germany in the 90s. Nor is its “homogeneity” by chance, since Slovenia is a country that, with overwhelming public support, revoked citizenship and all rights associated with it from minorities soon after the illegal secession. Only Hungarians and Italians were exempted.)

Indeed, what sort of “strongman” was Milosevic when he told the Croatian Serbs not to react to the sudden and illegal secession by their historical slaughterers who would now govern them? Such a strongman and nationalist was he that Croatia’s famous “Captain Dragan” tried to assassinate him for abandoning his fellow Serbs. It’s a far cry from Belgrade “inciting the Serb minority to rebel,” as Tripician predictably has it.

What is refreshing, however, is that he casts an almost equally suspicious eye on Croatian designs, assessing that Tudjman was indeed looking to expand Croatia. Such little-seen terms as Greater Croatia, Croatian paramilitary, Croatian Mafia (and the government’s intimate relationship with it), as well as “war crimes” and “ethnic purity” being associated with someone other than Serbs are what — in addition to the book’s personalized charm — make it stand out. He also has the savvy to note that Bosnia was an “ultimately avoidable” war, though he doesn’t explain why. (Because the three sides had already agreed to a peace deal, until the West stepped in.)

Tripician tries to get to the bottom of whether Tudjman is really a communist or a fascist, or a communist-turned fascist, or a fascist-turned-communist-turned-fascist, while allowing that he was undeniably supported by fascists and for sure would have gone to the Hague had he not died in 1999 (indeed, the Tribunal was taking its time handing down both his and the Bosnian president’s indictments).

The author is acutely aware of the Balkans paradox in which painting “a complete picture of Tudjman without lauding him or vilifying him means I can please no one…In former Yugo, taking a middle-road position doesn’t win you any friends…” And so, ever navigating the tightrope of finding a story, finding the truth, steering clear of becoming a paid propagandist/mouthpiece/rehabilitationist, he does do Tudjman the favor of putting himself in his shoes — and ticks off the man’s achievements from a Croatian standpoint:

…He wagered his country and his people on his vision of an expanded Croatia, and was able to build a credible army almost overnight. By bullying and manipulating his Bosnian Croats he was able to co-opt them, and use the Croat-Muslim alliance to fend off the Serbs. He also kept the Muslims at bay and unbalanced through his close negotiations with Milosevic…And he placated [human rights] demands by sacrificing Boban.

In the course of his adventure, the author briefly meets his subject and annoys him with a question about his grip on the media and another about his knowledge of concentration camps, plus one about the ten Bosnian Croats offered up to the Hague for war crimes the day after Croatia gets a $40 million IMF credit.

More entertaining is the author’s interview with the walking ego named Richard Holbrooke, in which the first question comes from Holbrooke: “Did Galbraith take credit for the Erdut Agreement? He can’t, because that was mine.”

The promise of Balkan intrigue is just barely delivered on, making the odyssey more of a hilarious escapade. Throughout, Joe imagines all the Balkan-style dangers he could fall prey to but usually falls short of, and so the tale ends up being as funny for what doesn’t happen as for what does. So suspicious is he of everyone and everything concerned with this assignment that his eyebrows get raised when he finds that, night after night, no one sends prostitutes to his hotel room to bribe his loyalty.

It’s Balkans reading that won’t hurt your head, and possibly the cutest Balkans story an American has told. As well, Tripician mercifully keeps to a minimum the requisite ruminations on man’s inhumanity to man and what “separates us from similar barbarity.” (Nothing, if you look at our 1999 bombardment of civilians in our Kosovo misadventure.)

In one of his more profound thoughts, the author compares himself to American foreign policy, which “habitually resembles nothing more than the wanderlust of an aging womanizer.”

With just a minimum of depth, even a lay American can start to “get” the Balkans from this great little commercial piece of writing which one won’t be able to resist reading in a single day.

Appendix to the above review:

Balkans enthusiasts will appreciate what comes after the book is over, in “Addendum 2,” which lists the objections by Tripician’s handlers to the product he turns in. They also happen to be a showcase of his most incisive assessments:

…Serbs are presented as a majority in the anti-fascist movement, and Chetnicks as yet another anti-fascist group…The draft is overburdened with the paradigm of Ustasha: Serbs feared new Ustashas; Tudjman partially adopted Ustasha ideology; Tudjman was supported politically and financially by Ustasha émigrés; Hercegovci are still Ustashas today; Serbs did to Muslims in this conflict the same that Croats did to Serbs during the NDH; there is a historic alliance between Croatia and Germany…From the manuscript we take a couple of quotes:

– Croatian checkered coat of arms even today evokes horror in the hearts of WWII survivors (p. 7)

– Ustasha reign of terror is virtually unparalleled in modern history (p.12)

– Stepinac, the archbishop of Zagreb, supported Ustashas and blessed Pavelic (p. 13)

– The difference was that Croatian liberals saw the injustice, but also a danger in the declaration of independence without addressing and finding a solution for the worries and fears of the Serb minority….(p. 57)

– As one Hercegovac explained: “Here only three things grow: snakes, rocks and Ustasha.” (p. 58)

– However, the propaganda in Croatian media was equally as fierce (p. 60)

The new nationalist government took a direct control over radio, television and principal print media….In the schoolbooks all stories about the Partisans and the anti-fascist movement were deleted…. (p. 64)

– Fear and hate, imported by extremists on both sides… (p. 73)

– If we say that Serbs returned ethnic cleansing to life, then we can say that Croats perfected it. (p. 83)

– Both Serbs and Croats blocked food delivery to Bosnians (p. 104) [The author seems aware that Bosnians did at least as much of that.]

– Majority [of POW’s in B&H] were held by Bosnian Croats (p. 112)

– During ‘The Storm,’ Croatian soldiers looted and burned more than 20,000 Serbian homes. (p. 133)

Final note: Some years after his trip, the author learns of audio tapes released in 2000 which reveal “conversations Tudjman had with his aides that disclosed his direct knowledge and cover-up of Croatian war crimes.” Imagine if Tripician found out that since then the Hague has released documents including a transcript — discovered by Hague observer Andy Wilcoxson last year — in which “Tudjman is planning the operation [Storm] together with his top military brass…’We have to inflict such blows that the Serbs will to all practical purposes disappear.’ …Tudjman explains that, for the benefit of propaganda in the international community, leaflets should be given to Serbian civilians saying, ‘We are appealing to you not to withdraw…This means giving them a way out, while pretending to guarantee civil rights etc.’”

I’ll be honest. When I first saw a picture of Bosnian-Muslim war criminal Naser Oric, I noticed he was kind of sexy. In a gay sort of way.

I didn’t think anything more about it, aside from the fact that he was Muslim, and Islam is misogynistic, and misogyny engenders homosexuality, which is why a disproportionate number of Muslim men are gay, as we know. And so his being gay wouldn’t be all that remarkable except that Balkan Muslims weren’t supposed to be “like that.”

Well it turns out that he’s so “like that,” that he risks a wall-crushing if he ever decides to tour some of the more “like that” countries whose jihad he helped advance.

I still can’t quite believe that I really just read what I read here, but this item was posted by the proprietor of the notorious Srebrenica Genocide Blog. And if he thinks this item is flattering to his war criminal hero, then the proprietor is gay too. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Unless you’re living in a fast-Islamisizing country, of course.


A lighter side of Naser Oric: In 2007, former commander in charge of defending the enclave of Srebrenica was voted the sexiest man alive in Bosnia-Herzegovina by AZRA Magazine.

Former military officer of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ARBiH) who commanded the defense of the enclave of Srebrenica - which was surrounded by notorious Serb forces led by Gen. Ratko Mladic during the 1992-1995 war - is one of people who are actively involved in sports, owing to his youthful look.

In his 40s, Naser Oric tells us that his usual style of fashion involves sports apparel, but on festive occasions he doesn’t mind wearing a suit. He buys most of his wardrobe in our country, but sometimes he goes shopping abroad.

World renowned Bosnian fashion designer “GRANOFF” is Naser’s favorite brand for suits. With shirts, he always buys a sophisticated tie.

He is not a stranger to popular cosmetics:

“I love high-quality cosmetics, and in this area I choose brands labeled ‘Vichy‘, and on the shelf with perfumes I usually reach for the brands labeled ‘Dolce & Gabbana,’” said Naser Oric, adding that he likes to choose the scent himself and that he visits only one cosmetic salon.

On a dinner table, Naser Oric pays attention to his diet: he maintains body weight by [avoiding] sweets. He cares about healthy diet and drinks plenty of water.

Naser gets plenty of compliments and says there is really not many people who don’t appreciate receiving them:

“Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I thank people for their compliments, depending on the situation.”

As hairstyle is one of the defining mirrors of fashion, Naser likes to experiment in this field:

“I dye my hair. If you asked me why, I would not be able to give you the right answer. When I was in the Hague, I dyed my hair blond like a real Dutchman! I am not shy about it, I do it for the appearance.”

In addition to his active sports life, Naser Oric has also been practicing yoga for a long time.

OK, even I don’t do all that stuff, and I’m a girl. I don’t even wear perfume. Speaking of which, perfume is something that Oric has in common with another Balkans-relevant figure, Wesley Clark — known as “the perfumed general.” If I could ask Clark one question it would be whether he has any plans to come out with a fragrance. Maybe he and Oric could create one together and call it Criminal, or Scent of War Crimes.

Meanwhile, the mafia business must be slow, because we have a related news item that indicates Oric needs help sustaining his lavish tastes:

Naser Orić wants Serbian pension

29 November 2010 | 10:41 | Source: B92

SARAJEVO — A former Bosnian Muslim army commander tried and acquitted by the Hague on war crimes charges expects to be granted a pension in Serbia.

Naser Orić, accused of killing Serb civilians in eastern Bosnia, but found by the Hague Tribunal to be innocent, says he will request his pension from Belgrade “when conditions have been met”.

Orić started his career in the late 1980s as a member of a Serbian police (MUP) special unit, which he left with the onset of the war in Bosnia in 1992.

From 1987 until 1992, he was deployed in Kosovo and worked on Slobodan Milošević’s security detail.

He told media in Sarajevo, Bosnia, that he traveled to Belgrade on several occasions since his Hague acquittal in 2008, and that he hired a lawyer to “regulate his pension rights in Serbia”.

Orić, who has in the meantime been detained in Bosnia suspected of taking part in organized crime activities, says that once he receives the money, he will give it to “the children of his fellow fighters who died in Srebrenica”.

[So he has the typical Muslim chutzpah to demand money from, essentially, the country he made war on, and will be donating that money to future terrorists against that country and others.]

Reports from Croatia said last week that former Croat President Stjepan Mesić - the last president of the presidency of the former Yugoslavia (SFRJ) - was receiving a Serbian pension and telling reporters that he was getting the money “for breaking up Yugoslavia”.

Media in Belgrade then wondered whether “war criminal Naser Orić would also get a Serbian pension”, considering that he was employed by Serbia’s police. […]

As perverse as it sounds, it’s true about Mesic and his dark sarcasm about it is apt:

Mesic just one of 6,000 Croatian residents on Serbia’s pensions payroll

The former Croatian president Stjepan Mesic is just one of some 6,000 Croatian retirees receiving pensions from Serbia, the Serbian press has reported.

These people used to work in Serbia and have paid contributions to the country’s fund for pension and disability insurance (PIO Fond).

The director of public relations sector of the PIO Fond Jelica Timotijevic says that all of those who had worked for the presidency of the former Yugoslavia, for example – and have later become state officials and politicians in their own countries – have a right to a Serbian pension based on individual agreements between Serbia and the former republics.

Serbia pays retirement payments to a total of approximately 24,000 people in all former Yugoslav states, the daily Vecernji List writes.

I don’t know where else but the Balkans states pay pensions to people who commit acts of war against the state. This isn’t the first time we hear of this. Recently, I mentioned that Albanians in Macedonia expect the state to provide benefits to insurgents for their insurgency against the state. Similarly, a few years ago the UN agreed to help financially sustain KLA families.

(Nor are Albanians above demanding that countries pay for damage done to the areas where Albanians start wars: “The Vetevendosje (Self-determination) movement also called on the [Pristina] government not to pay the debt [to Serbia], as outlined by the Ahtisaari Plan, until Serbia repays Kosovo for damages caused during the war and returns the country’s [sic] capital owed to it from the breakup of Yugoslavia.”)

So one wonders when the UN will give pensions to Hamas or surviving relatives of Auschwitz guards. Unless we think we’re joking about pensions going to Nazis, just as the Belgrade media found out that their “hypothetical” quip about Oric getting a Serbian pension was no joke, it turns out that Nazis getting benefits is no joke either. In 2008 I received an email from a reader/source named Miodrag, who had come into possession of the following information:

German Social Assistance and Services Act on Social Assistance to War Victims (Bundesversorgungsgesetz - BVG)
1(982-01-22 Bundesgesetzblatt I, 1982-01-27, No. 2, pp. 21-54

Provides for social assistance to war victims.

Among 1.1 million recipients, there are 50,000 Nazi war criminals.

They are tracked by the payments they received. 128 of them lived in Argentina. 196 in Brazil, 1115 in Austria, 1010 in Croatia, 2380 in Slovenia and 3377 in USA.

Slovenia had the highest relative number of Nazis at that time.

Miodrag also had this press release:

Subject: Press Release
Nazi pensions
NDR/PANORAMA Kuno Haberbusch
January 30, 1997
PANORAMA: Germany Pays Billions to Nazi War Criminals

Nazi war criminals officially termed “victims”

Billions of Marks from German taxpayers are being paid to Nazi war criminals and are called “victim” pensions. A spokesman for the German Ministry of Labor confirmed that additional assistance money is being spent on war criminals but claimed that nothing could be changed because of constitutional reasons. The chairman of Germany’s Jewish Community, Ignaz Bubis, was shocked. He had never thought that “such people” were getting additional financial payments from the German government. The PANORAMA report, by Volker Steinhoff and John Goetz, will air on Thursday, January 30, 1997 at 9PM on the ARD German television network.

The Nazi war criminals receive in addition to their regular pensions “victim” pensions, according to the German “Social Compensation And Assistance To War Victims” law (Bundesversorgungsgesetz — BVG). Last year alone, from Federal and Lander budgets, almost 13 billion Marks was currently paid to over 1.1 million “victim” pensioners. To qualify for the “victim” pension, one must have been injured as a result of war service. Because no one is excluded from the BVG, each war criminal who applies is granted a “victim” pension if they can simply prove a war injury.

PANORAMA found out that world-wide that numerous Nazi war criminals, who today receive monthly payments between 100 and several thousand Marks from German tax payers. The well-respected German military historian Gerhard Schreiber estimates the number of war criminals receiving these extra payments from the German government at 50,000. Wolfgang Lehnigk-Emden, from Ochtendung near Koblenz, is one of the “victims.” According to a German federal court, Lehnigk-Emden killed 15 unarmed women and children in Caiazzo near Naples in Italy in October 1943. Because Lehnigk-Emden was later injured (shot in the leg) while trying to escape from an allied POW camp and suffers a mild handicap, he receives an additional “victim” pension.

Another current recipient of victim pensions is the former SS Hauptsturm-fuhrer Wilhelm Mohnke. Mohnke, who was a close confidant of Adolf Hitler and commandant of the “Fuhrerbunker” in Berlin during Hitler’s last days. According to the US Department of Justice “there is very substantial evidence pointing to Wilhelm Mohnke’s personal involvement in the perpetration of Nazi war crimes” — for his role in the massacre of 72 American POWs in 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge.

War criminals, that live outside of the borders of Germany, also receive additional monthly “victim” payments from Germany. One of those is the former Auschwitz lieutenant Thies Christophersen. Christophersen is also one of Germany’s leading neo-Nazis, whose book “The Auschwitz Lie” is considered to be “the bible of the Holocaust revisionist movement,” according to PANORAMA. Christophersen lived in Denmark until 1995 and had his “victim” pensions forwarded there. The payments to Christophersen were recently put on hold, as he is a fugitive and the German pension authorities do not know where to send his money.

It appears, then, that the Croatians have been ahead of their time with the annual commemorations of their Partisan-massacred Ustasha Nazis in Bleiburg, Austriafunded and always attended by government officials and Catholic clergy.

As for this perverse and inverted use of the term “victim,” there does seem to be a disturbing and growing trend. We’ve already read about Lithuania trying to prosecute Jewish partisans for war crimes against Nazis — while being reluctant to prosecute Nazi war criminals. But it looks like things are continuing in this surreal direction, as chief Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff apparently is being sued by a Nazi. In an October letter sent out by the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Zuroff, he wrote, “There is nothing more galling than a tyrant’s chutzpah. Just like today’s terrorists portray themselves as the defenders of mankind, yesterday’s perpetrators who slaughtered millions seek to portray themselves as the victims.”


Hungary — …[W]ith increasing anti-Semitism in Hungary, Simon Wiesenthal Center Israel Director Dr. Efraim Zuroff finds himself on trial in Budapest in a lawsuit filed by an Hungarian Nazi war criminal responsible for the murder of hundreds of Jews.

In a first-person report for, Dr. Zuroff explains that, “For the past 30 years, I have been actively involved in trying to facilitate the prosecution of Nazi war criminals, so it was quite upsetting to find myself in the dock 10 days ago in Budapest as the accused in a libel/defamation suit filed by one of the more important Holocaust perpetrators whom I have exposed and sought to bring to justice.”

Dr Zuroff continues, “The person in question, Dr. Sandor Kepiro, was among a group of Hungarian army and gendarmerie officers who organized a mass murder of at least 1,250 innocent civilians (mostly Jews, the others Serbs and Roma) in the Serbian city of Novi Sad on January 23, 1942.

Thousands of residents of the city were rounded up by the Hungarians on that day and taken to a large theater in the center of the city, where a committee of Hungarian officers decided if any could be released. The others, the overwhelming majority of those rounded up, were marched to the banks of the Danube River, which runs through the center of Novi Sad, where they were mowed down by teams of Hungarian shooters. The murders were only stopped in the afternoon, when Hungarian officers sent from Budapest landed on the frozen river with orders to halt the mass murder, which had been launched by the officers in Novi Sad on their own initiative, but by this time hundreds had already been killed.

In late 1943, the officers involved in the operation were put on trial in Hungary for violating orders, and on January 23, 1944, they were all convicted and sentenced either to death or to lengthy jail sentences, including Sandor Kepiro. Shortly thereafter, however, the Nazis invaded Hungary and all the convictions were cancelled, the officers were given promotions, and they were returned to active service.

After the war, Kepiro escaped to Austria and in 1948 arrived in Argentina, where he remained until 1996, when he returned to Budapest. There are indications that he was tried again in absentia in 1946 and was again convicted.

In the summer of 2006, the Center received information that Kepiro was still alive and I tracked him down to a brownstone in the Hungarian capital at 78 Leo Frankel Street, right opposite a functioning synagogue. (For the full details on the amazing story of how I found him, see the chapter on Kepiro in my recent book Operation Last Chance; One Man’s Quest to Bring Nazi Criminals to Justice, Palgrave/Macmillan, 2009.) On August 1, 2006, I submitted the evidence to the prosecutors, who informed me that there was no statute of limitations in Hungary on war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity and I asked that Kepiro’s original sentence be implemented. In February 2007, I was informed that the original sentence could not be implemented since it had been cancelled by a Hungarian court, but instead an investigation was opened against him for his role in the massacre at Novi Sad. That investigation has been proceeding ever since, but contrary to our expectation that Kepiro would be prosecuted, that has still not taken place. About a year ago, he was finally questioned and had to surrender his passport, but a request to put him under house arrest was rejected and he is still unprosecuted more than three years after the investigation against him commenced.

Then I suddenly found myself on trial for exposing a Holocaust perpetrator and pushing for his prosecution. Instead of attending Kepiro’s trial, I found myself on trial for the ostensible offense of exposing and telling the truth about one of the persons responsible for a terrible mass murder. This was a strange and unprecedented experience for me, but the silver lining might be that the proceeding that he started against me might ultimately be his undoing as we expose his crimes, thereby increasing the pressure for his prosecution. That is my hope, and so despite the frustration and absurdity of being in the dock, perhaps some positive benefit can be achieved in this case and the truth and justice be served.

And here is a report from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

Nazi hunter Zuroff on trial for libel

October 13, 2010

BERLIN (JTA) — Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff is fighting libel charges filed by an alleged war criminal in Hungary.

The case, being heard in a Budapest courtroom, began Oct. 8 and is scheduled to continue through a final hearing Dec. 16.

It is likely the first time that a man under investigation for mass murder has sued his accusers, Zuroff told JTA.

Kepiro, now 96, sued Zuroff in 2007, alleging that Zuroff had made statements about the case as fact rather than opinion.

[Zuroff’s attorney Marton] Rosta said the court agreed with Kepiro and opened the current trial, in which Zuroff is required to back up his “factual” statement.

“This is a very trying and frustrating experience,” Zuroff wrote in an e-mail to JTA, “since Kepiro should have been tried a long time ago … and instead I’m the one on trial.”

“He’s saying that he did not kill anyone and that all he did was verify/ferret out armed ‘partisans’ … who posed a threat to the occupying Hungarian forces,” Zuroff wrote in his e-mail. It is a “blatant lie, since his men rounded up hundreds of [civilians], almost all of whom were taken to the Danube to be shot.”

Should the judge find Zuroff’s proof lacking, he faces a fine or up to two years in prison. Even if Zuroff is cleared, Kepiro remains innocent in the eyes of the court, and may or may not be tried on the war crimes charges, Rosta said.

While Zuroff told JTA he had never been sued before, a Lithuanian Nazi war criminal living in Scotland, the late Antanas Gecas, succeeded in stopping the sale of Zuroff’s first book, “Occupation Nazi-Hunter: The Continuing Search for the Perpetrators of the Holocaust,” for six years.

Such developments don’t exist in a vacuum. I’m not the only one who has noted instances of a kind of reevaluation going on of the Nazis at a time when the new monstrosity intent on Jewish genocide has reared its head (Islam), and is being defended. That is, in what surely can’t be a coincidence, we see a media that is pro-Muslim and at the same time from that media we’re getting a more ‘nuanced’ approach toward the Nazis, saying “Maybe the Nazis weren’t the demons we’ve made them out to be.” (”And, hey, maybe Jews aren’t the angels we thought they were.”)

A few years ago, an email friend sent me the following example:

I saw a special on the history channel promoting Ottoman Turkey as a peaceful and tolerant society. If you ever have time to read Ivo Andric’s Nobel winning THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER DRINA, it shows what life was like in Bosnia. Every seven years the blood tax was collected and the Serbian children carted away to Asia Minor, where they would be re-trained and brought back as adult Moslems to wage war on their people and their families. There is still a place in Israel called Bosnian village where some of these kids ended up. Very nice and tolerant empire indeed.

I saw another special on the same channel promoting the Nazi Army as an excellent force of exceptional ability, valor and even good looks. I sent an email to complain, and asked the editors if they thought that these troops looked so hot to all of the women and children being rounded up by them for the death camps.

The post 9/11, highbrow PBS discussion made me as sick as the Moslem vendors trying to sell me Twin Tower t-shirts in NYC in October of 2001. My friend went to Italy after 9/11 and some Moroccon wanted to sell him a little plastic replica of the Twin Towers with a plane flying into it. Sick beyond belief.

I’m pretty sure I’ll never remember the shows’ names. One was specifically dedicated to the Nazi Army (I still can’t believe it — I guess all the WWII vets must be dead), and the other one dedicated to the delightful and progressive Ottomans. I think the second show even equated the Turks with the ideals and values of America. Geez — how far can you go???

This is all happening, of course, at the same time that U.S. policy is reaching a new low under Obama vis-a-vis the Jewish State, whose alienation by America will lead, at best, to abandonment. Can the Nazi revivalism that’s been building really be separated from the election of a man in 2008 who was chosen as president at least partly to do just that? Indeed, might Obama not be the culmination of these related trends?

The Nazi revivalism of which I speak includes not only Human Rights Watch’s “military expert” Mark Garlasco, whose pride and joy is his collection of Nazi paraphernalia and books — for which he was finally fired some months ago after great reluctance by HRW, but also this year we heard from Oliver Stone that America’s ‘obsession’ with the Holocaust stems from Jewish control of the media. The trend even includes Sandra Bullock’s recently ex-husband Jesse James, who cheated on Bullock with a white supremacist who’s got a swastika tattooed on her stomach. And to name just one other item from this year, the winner chosen this year in the reality competition “Project Runway” had his finale fashion line inspired by Nazis and KGB.

So to recap, we’ve got: Anti-Israelism. Pro-Islamism. Nazi-revivalism. Holocaust-revisionism. And Nazi-reevaluation/rehabilitation (see Swiss foreign minister Micheline Calmy-Rey’s suggestion in 2006 to hold a “seminar on differing perceptions of the Holocaust,” so as to improve relations with Iran.)

At least now we know what the real 2010 space odyssey has been.

We know that Tony Blair, whose weak-minded sister-in-law recently converted to Islam, has had any number of Islamo-serving brain farts in recent years. For a Brit, saying pro-Muslim stuff is like masturbation. But I just had to point out the glorious collision of traditional British Islamophilia with traditional British Judeophobia in the following comment by Blair, during what sounds like a rather sophomoric weekend debate on god and religion between Blair and Christopher Hitchens:

Jesus teaches love, selflessness and sacrifice; the prophet Mohammad said saving one life is as if you’re saving the whole of humanity; Buddhists subjugate selfish desires to care for others; and Sikhs insist on respect for others of another faith, he argued.

There’s a rather conspicuous omission, is there not? Every religion is mentioned except for the original monotheistic one. That is, two out of the three “great religions” are mentioned — one of them a satanic derivative of the other two — and then we go right to the more minor ones.

Blair is probably only a year or so away from becoming Muslim. He took one step closer in 2007 when he converted to Catholislam — I mean Catholicism. I’ll explain that statement in a blog early next year, but rather than a gratuitous slam on Catholicism — much less individual Catholics — it’s a statement about a disturbing trend between the Vatican and Islam. One that hasn’t escaped the notice of Italian media. (The Church backing the construction of Milan’s first mosque, against popular Italian-Catholic will, is just the most outward, recent and harmless-sounding example.)

As for the incurably atheist Hitchens, let’s hope that his cancer on the other hand is indeed curable, so that he might put off for another several years being proved wrong when he meets his maker.

As I tell most atheists I meet: Don’t worry — even atheists go to heaven. They just feel really stupid when they get there. And if there’s anyone who can make Christopher Hitchens look stupid, it’s god. (Plus Hitchens himself, if he’s writing about Kosovo. Then, like all the other geniuses, he’s a fucking idiot.)

Meanwhile, when Blair finally does convert to Islam, maybe he can stab his sister-in-law when she wears a skirt that’s too short.

This is from October, but note which side it is that the EU High Rep has harsh words for as part of her “mediation” efforts: Israel, not Palestinians.

And which side was it that Hillary Clinton was traveling to Serbia to cajole over the Palestinians’ counterparts in the Balkans? Serbia, of course, and not the perpetually misbehaving “Kosovars.” (During her trip she made sure that the only thing on the table between Belgrade and Pristina would be the ironing out the logistics of separate coexistence, and not the “separate” part of that question.)

This, of course, is all just in case any Israel hawks still need any convincing that they should be giving a damn about what happens with Kosovo.

Ashton, Clinton plan separate Mideast, Balkan trips

Europolitics | By Brian Beary in Washington | Thursday 30 September 2010

In a coordinated drive to promote a settlement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the Serb-Kosovar dispute, the EU and US’ top diplomats have announced that they will travel to both regions in the coming days. Speaking at a joint press conference in Washington DC, on 29 September, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said she would travel to the Middle East, from 30 September to 2 October, “to see what we can do to keep the talks moving”. Standing next to her, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she would go to Serbia and Kosovo “in about ten days”. The EU and US’ role in the Serb-Kosovar dispute, Clinton said, was to “assist and facilitate, to support and cajole”.

On the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Ashton criticised Israel for allowing to end, three days previously, its freeze on constructing settlements in the Palestinian West Bank. “More than anything, we would like to see of course a moratorium on the settlement building,” she said. Despite the resumption of construction, however, she said she was “very keen” that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas stay in the talks. Secretary Clinton declined to comment specifically on the Israeli settlements, saying only that the US supported a two-state solution and would push both sides to return to negotiations. During her Middle East trip, Ashton will meet Abbas, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Special Envoy George Mitchell.

The Ashton-Clinton press conference at the State Department followed a one-hour meeting between the two, which focused on the Middle East, the Balkans, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. On Serbia-Kosovo, Clinton said she would meet both leaders and citizens during her Belgrade and Pristina trips and stressed her support for fully integrating both Serbia and Kosovo into the EU. “It is important to keep the goal of that future in the minds of Serbs and Kosovars,” she said. […]

At least Western policy in these two regions is stupid enough that a pair of bimbos like this can help implement it.

As Liz, who circulated this item, put it: Great. Another (Muslim) pilot trained in the U.S.

If all goes to plan, his mission will end in about six months and he will return to Kosovo to live permanently, where he hopes to open his own flying school.

From Kosovo with thanks

A free-as-a-bird Kosovar pilot on a round-the-world mission landed in Malta last week to thank the country for recognising the independence of his fledgling nation.

James Berisha, a commercial pilot trained in the US, is flying around the world to thank the nations which have already recognised Kosovo’s independence from Serbia and encourage those which haven’t to do so.

“The reason I’m here is to thank the people and the government of Malta for recognising our nation and hearing our voices,” Mr Berisha said.

Kosovo declared unilateral independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008, following a nine-year period under a transitional UN administration after the Kosovo War. To date, 71 out of 192 UN member states have formally recognised Kosovo’s independence and Serbia still claims it as part of its sovereign territory. Malta formally recognised Kosovo’s independence on August 21, 2008.

Mr Berisha set off from El Paso in the US in his own four-seater Cessna 172 in May 2008 and has so far visited 42 countries as part of the Flying for Kosovo campaign, which is his own brainchild and funded largely from donations from the people of Kosovo and the Kosovar diaspora.

Along the way he has given many media interviews and even met the foreign ministers of countries including St Vincent, St Lucia, Grenada and Paraguay.

He says he has learnt a lot about the reality of global realpolitik, claiming that Paraguay, for example, was reluctant to formally recognise Kosovo’s independence because it did not want to jeopardise its trade relationship with Russia, which is adamantly opposed to Kosovo’s unilateral declaration.

His next stop is Tunisia today and from there he aims to visit every country in Africa, spreading a message “to help humanity”.

“All I want in life is peace. It’s now 2010, wars belong in the past. Why should we live in fear? Why should we die for no reason? Let’s have dialogue and peace.”

Although Mr Berisha was living in the US at the time of the Kosovo War, he said his family were in Kosovo and his father was killed by Serb forces along with 60 people from his village.

[So his father was KLA, like most of the rest who were killed.]

Does his message of peace extend to Serbs?

“I try not to have bad feelings towards Serbs. Even though they killed my father, I’m not looking for revenge. In a way, my revenge is this mission – spreading peace.

“We live with Serbians in Kosovo and I have nothing against them – the past is the past. I don’t think we will ever go back to where we were; we lost too much. The whole world lost too much in the former Yugoslavia.”

If all goes to plan, his mission will end in about six months and he will return to Kosovo to live permanently, where he hopes to open his own flying school.

Greenwich, CT — Another grateful Kosovar: Floods prison cell, disparages then threatens police, promises to leave country asap.

Someone is clearly frustrated by the lack of lawlessness here:

Prisoner floods Greenwich cell, threatens police (Nov. 29)

Frank MacEachern, Staff Writer

An unruly prisoner, who threatened to return to Greenwich police headquarters with guns and bombs, flooded the station’s cell block area last week by damaging a sprinkler head in the cell where he was being held, police said.

Haxhi Ibraj, 23, of 83 Wilbur Peck Court, was “belligerent, aggressive and irrational” when he was brought to police headquarters on Bruce Place at 6 p.m. Nov. 23, according to the police report. He demanded food, threatened to resist any type of police processing and said he would damage a cell if he was placed in one.

After police put him in a cell, fire alarms went off and police noticed on surveillance cameras that Ibraj had tampered with the sprinkler in the cell, police said.

Water streamed from underneath the door of cell 3 to the adjacent cells, police said.

When five police officers arrived at the cell, Ibraj allegedly threatened to return to police headquarters with bombs and guns and that “life would be short” for the officers around him, according to the report.

Ibraj was finally processed for arrest at 10 p.m., four hours after first arriving at the police station.

He was charged with first-degree criminal mischief, second-degree threatening and refusal to be fingerprinted in connection with the incident. Bond was set at $10,000, and he is scheduled to appear in state Superior Court in Stamford Wednesday.

Water from the damaged sprinkler flooded the cell block area containing cells 1 through 5. The water also damaged tiles on the basement ceiling below the cell block area, said Lt. Kraig Gray, police spokesman. He said the damage was minimal.

While he was being transported to police headquarters, he allegedly disparaged American police during what police called an “argumentative tirade” and said he was going to leave the country as soon as he was able.

Police list Ibraj’s birthplace as Kosovo, Albania. Kosovo is the Albanian-dominated part of Serbia that is seeking its independence.

Ibraj ended up in Greenwich police custody after he was stopped by State Police around 5:30 p.m. that same day near northbound Interstate 95’s exit 6 for an alleged motor vehicle infraction. A check revealed Greenwich Police had an arrest warrant for him in connection with an earlier incident in September.

He was wanted for perjury, interfering with police and providing a false statement for allegedly claiming his wife had stabbed him during that dispute, police said.

Police said Ibraj cut himself and blamed his wife when police arrived during that Sept. 20 incident in Greenwich.

Staff Writer Frank MacEachern can be reached at

Please note the preternatural genius of reporter Frank MacEachern, who cites Greenwich police in listing the man’s national origin as “Kosovo, Albania.” He then defines Kosovo as “the Albanian-dominated part of Serbia that is seeking its independence.”

As contradictory as those things may sound, he gets it all right:

1. Kosovo is a key part of the quickly-forming Greater Albania, so if we’re being honest — yes — we would say “Kosovo, Albania.” (In fact, they marked it down this way because that’s probably how Ibraj said it to them, though he would have said “Kosova, Albania.”)

2. However, Kosovo is in Serbia. So Mr. MacEachern is correct again, demonstrating a more sophisticated understanding than any member of our policy-making elite.

3. Kosovo is not independent but, as Mr. MacEachern again correctly puts it, is still seeking independence.

4. If Kosovo is in both Serbia and Albania, that means Serbia is in Albania or Albania is in Serbia. Correct on both counts: Albania infiltrated Serbia, which is how Serbia is going to end up in Albania. So the reporter even foreshadows the additional usurpations of Serbian land by Greater Albania that loom on the horizon.

Well, that WAS the case until two days ago. As I was about to post this blog showing an ‘interesting’ CIA map of Kosovo and Serbia, I noticed that the ‘interesting’ map had been magically fixed this week. Fortunately, I saved the original image, so this blog will proceed as I’d planned, since the significance of the conspicuous “error” having been there in the first place is not diminished by the sudden fix.


After running my recent blog — “Ominous Signs in Kosovo: Architect of 1999 Staged Atrocity Finally Admits ‘I Support Greater Albania’ — I heard from reader/source “Serbstvo.” He had an adjustment for my statement that “William Walker is an insider. He knows what the elite decision-makers are up to. This is all but an official confirmation that the U.S. does indeed plan to support the full Albanian agenda to continue redrawing Balkan borders.”

The adjustment:

In case you don’t know, the U.S. has already redrawn Balkan borders once again, as of a couple of weeks ago. [In addition to] the Greater Albania gathering in Tirana, which Albanians so graciously renamed “Natural Albania” [and] which was also of course attended by Serbia’s Presevo Albanians, is a map of Serbia with altered borders [in] the World Factbook.

Not only is Serbia shown without Kosovo, but Presevo, Bujanovac, Prokuplje and Vranje are now part of a newly expanded Kosovo. With this, what border Serbia has with Macedonia to the east of Kosovo is now cut off. Even though Serbia is only missing Kosovo on the Serbia factpage, the altered borders are visible on the map of Europe where the Balkan countries are much smaller and the border change is not blaringly obvious.

Indeed, compare the more visible Serbia map on the factpage

to the map on the left (as it appeared until two days ago) —

Notice that the outline of Kosovo (under the brown image of Serbia) has spilled to the right, and Serbia no longer touches Macedonia. (See under Kosovo).

“This subtlety tells us that the Natural Albania meeting was not some random silly event by Albanians, but that they were given the green light by Washington for it,” Serbstvo continues.

So the CIA is already functioning from the premise of a Greater Albania, or at least a Greater Kosovo.

Further to my recent blog on Israel and Serbia alike being stripped of their identities by the “international community” in conjunction with Muslims — with border changes and land thefts being an integral part of that trend — Serbstvo adds, “You see, in Serbia you are called a fascist if you’re proud to be Serbian, if you disagree with the idea that Serbs were aggressors in the 1990s civil wars [and] if you consider Dragoljub Mihailovic a hero instead of Croat Communist mass-murderer Josip Broz Tito and his Partisan bandits….What’s perfectly normal and healthy in other countries in Serbia is considered a crime.”

This is all underway here in America too. It is not unrelated that the word “terrorist” is being redefined to include the following “persons of interest” to be watched: returning war veterans; people with religious bumper stickers; those “concerned about illegal immigration, increasing federal power, abortion, restrictions on firearms…and the loss of U.S. sovereignty.”

That is to say, Republicans and patriots are formally being classified as threats to national security. Basically, those who want to preserve the American identity are being categorized as “right-wing extremists.” And think about the fact that those who are actually doing something to protect the borders — Arizona citizens, for example — are being called “radical.”

One can only wonder where the secret CIA maps of our borders are hidden.

And that’s the point: What Americans still don’t realize is that the Balkans is relevant to them not just for the precedents it sets, not just for the ill winds that blow there first, not just for the negative elements that find their way from there to here, but because the Balkans has always been the “Great Powers’” experimenting grounds for the rest of the world. As everything that has been done to the people of the Balkans continues being done to us, it will not just be a matter of precedent or cause-and-effect, but a direct and purposeful export job; that’s the purpose the Balkans region has served for the totalitarian ‘democracy’ we are all in for.

Earlier this year I wrote a blog saying that neither the U.S. nor U.S. allies should be facilitating jihad operations against Russian targets. In response, both Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer — who had cross-posted the blog — heard from some colleagues offering a bit of quiet “professional advice” that the blog post came across as “Russian propaganda.”

One wonders, then, if England’s averting war with Russia by refusing U.S.-led NATO instructions also would be considered a bad thing by the so-called conservatives and so-called anti-jihadists who objected to that blog post. Because that’s what happened in 1999, with some additional light shed on it this month by a former British soldier who is now a famous recording artist.

Sure enough, unlike the sane Brits who were involved in the 1999 incident described below, some senior U.S. military personnel apparently regret that that war with Russia didn’t happen. Senator John Warner and General Hugh Shelton wanted to kill Russian soldiers in 1999. In a few months I plan to revisit the issue and confront some of the objectors to the original blog post about the U.S. being in on some jihad-plotting by an ally, but in the meantime here is some more “Russian propaganda”:

‘I stopped World War Three by refusing US orders to destroy Russian forces,’ claims James Blunt

By Andrea Magrath
Daily Mail 15th November 2010

James Blunt’s refusal to obey orders during the Balkans war prevented the start of World War Three, the singer has claimed.

The 36-year-old chart-topping singer made the stunning claims in an interview with John Pienaar on Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics.

Blunt, a former cavalry officer in the British Army, was leading a NATO column under order to seize the Pristina airfield in Kosovo in 1999.

Facing a 200-strong Russian advance, the then- 25-year-old was given orders to ‘destroy’ the Russian troops by the Supreme Allied Commander of the NATO Forces in Europe.

‘I was given a direct command to overpower the 200 or so Russians who were there,’ the You’re Beautiful hitmaker has revealed for the first time.

‘I was the lead officer, with my troop of men behind us… It was a mad situation.’

‘The direct command came in from General Wesley Clark to overpower them. Various words were used that seemed unusual to us. Words such as “destroy” came down the radio.’

He said his men were given orders by the American general to ‘reach the airfield and take a hold of it.’

But Blunt - who served under his real name James Blount - says: ‘We had 200 Russians lined up pointing their weapons at us aggressively.’

The singer, who has gone on to sell over 11 million albums since leaving the forces in October 2002, risked a court martial by refusing to go along with the orders to attack, a command he feared would spark a major conflict with Russia.

‘I was declining my order. I was very clear on that,’ he said.

‘There are things that you do along the way that you know are right, and those that you absolutely feel are wrong.

‘That sense of moral judgment is drilled into us as soldiers in the British army.’

Blunt’s instinct was backed by the commander of the British Forces. ‘Fortunately,’ the singer remembered, ‘Up on the radio came General Sir Mike Jackson, whose words were, “I’m not going to have my soldiers start World War Three.”

‘He told us why don’t we sugar off down the road and, you know, encircle the airfield instead.’

When quizzed on whether he thought following General Clark’s order would have started World War Three, the musician replied: ‘Absolutely,’ adding that he would have refused the command regardless of Sir Mike Jackson’s intervention. […]

And just one other report appears below. Incidentally, both articles neglect to explain the context of the incident. This was the standoff at the end of the 78-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, when Russian troops arrived at the Pristina airfield before NATO troops did and wanted to handle policing operations in the area instead of NATO.

Singer James Blunt ’stopped World War 3′ BBC 14 November 2010

Singer James Blunt has told the BBC how he refused an order to attack Russian troops when he was a British soldier in Kosovo.

Mr Blunt said he was willing to risk a court martial by rejecting the order from a US General.

But he was backed by British General Sir Mike Jackson, who told him “I’m not going to have my soldiers be responsible for starting World War 3″.

[Jackson also told Clark directly, “I’m not going to start the Third World War for you.”]

Blunt was ordered to seize an airfield - but the Russians had got there first.

In an interview with BBC Radio 5Live, to be broadcast later on Sunday, he said: “I was given the direct command to overpower the 200 or so Russians who were there.

“I was the lead officer with my troop of men behind us … The soldiers directly behind me were from the Parachute Regiment, so they’re obviously game for the fight.

“The direct command [that] came in from General Wesley Clark was to overpower them. Various words were used that seemed unusual to us. Words such as ‘destroy’ came down the radio.”

The confusion surrounding the taking of Pristina airfield in 1999 has been written about in political memoirs, and was widely reported at the time.

But this is the first time Blunt has given an account of his role in the incident.

Blunt, who was at the head of a column of 30,000 NATO troops with his unit, told Pienaar’s Politics it was a “mad situation”.

He said he had been “party to the conversation” between senior officers in which Gen Clark had ordered the attack.

“We had two hundred Russians lined up pointing their weapons at us aggressively, which was… and you know we’d been told to reach the airfield and take a hold of it.

“And if we had a foothold there then it would make life much easier for the NATO forces in Pristina. So there was a political reason to take hold of this.

“And the practical consequences of that political reason would be then aggression against the Russians.”

Fortunately, up on the radio came General Mike Jackson, whose exact words at the time were, ‘I’m not going to have my soldiers be responsible for starting World War 3′, and told us why don’t we sugar off down the road, you know, encircle the airfield instead.

“And after a couple of days the Russians there said ‘hang on we have no food and no water. Can we share the airfield with you?’.”

If Gen Jackson had not blocked the order from Gen Clark, who as NATO Supreme Commander Europe was his superior officer, Blunt said he would still have declined to follow it, even at the risk of a court martial.

He said: “There are things that you do along the way that you know are right, and those that you absolutely feel are wrong, that I think it’s morally important to stand up against, and that sense of moral judgement is drilled into us as soldiers in the British army.”

Blunt left the army in 2002 to pursue a career in music, later scoring a worldwide hit with You’re Beautiful.

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