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“My permanent fight to preserve the peace, prevent the war and decrease the sufferings of everyone regardless of religion were an exemplary effort deserving respect rather than persecution.”

–Radovan Karadzic to Balkan Insight, ahead of his March 24, 2016 Guilty verdict

“Through relentless propaganda efforts, “Srebrenica” has become a synonym for “genocide,” as Serbs stand accused of killing some 7,000 Muslim men – military personnel who refused to surrender – who fled the town. The fact that they gave safe passage, food, and water to the women and children left behind – hardly a hallmark of “genocide” – is ignored.”

Nebojsa Malic, 2005

If one thinks that the 40-year sentence handed down last month to former Bosnian-Serb president Radovan Karadzic has nothing to do with oneself or with our collective future, then one hasn’t been paying attention. Not that anyone thinks about it one way or the other. Certainly not Americans in the throes of a presidential election year, and so who would bother paying attention to the fate of some former president, from some other, unthought-about country, for something that happened 20 years ago? Never mind that the American co-president from that era may be our president again next year.

Fact is, the American election pales in relevance to what just happened, yet again, at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

The Karadzic verdict in March was preceded in February by the death from “unknown causes” of yet another Serb in Hague custody. (Belgrade’s requests for treatment leave for the ailing Zdravko Tolimir — whose trial saw two judges go off the reservation with dissenting opinions that devastate the evidence of “genocide” in Srebrenica — were ignored.) Three months earlier, in October, a defense witness for Ratko Mladic died suddenly at a Hague hotel. That’s without mentioning the other six, starting with Croatian-Serb mayor Slavko Dokmanovic in 1998 and the back-to-back deaths of Milan Babic and Slobodan Milosevic in 2006. If these events all seem somehow marginal, then one has somehow missed that we are all Serbs now. No less for finding ourselves at the mercy of the “migrants” in our midst, whom our governments are intent on risking our hides to make welcome.

For the Serbs were the designated white man, and the designated Christian, to be sacrificed for the greater Muslim good. And, we thought, for the greater Western good, given the appreciation that would surely come our way from the Muslim world for punishing the infidels who dared fight back. Symbiotically, while Yugoslavia was being targeted by jihad, it was also targeted by the New World Order, as a test case, with the Serbian nation marked for extinction as an identity. The death of the “nation-state” as such would follow, as we are now seeing.

There is a reason that America exempts itself from the jurisdiction of an international court (at least until Hillary Clinton becomes president again). The U.S. is concerned about the potential for political prosecutions. That is, show trials. Of American leaders, generals, servicemen, and so on. That’s understandable. But it is more than a little vile to exempt oneself from such an Orwellian institution — while exploiting those very characteristics of it against others, something that not one American politician speaks out against.

But back to Karadzic. A few headlines, for background:

Radovan Karadzic found guilty of genocide, sentenced to 40 years

Radovan Karadzic, nicknamed the “Butcher of Bosnia,” was sentenced to 40 years….over his responsibility for the Srebrenica massacre, in which more than 7,000 [sic] Bosnian Muslim men and boys were executed [sic] by Bosnian Serb forces under his command…Prosecutor Serge Brammertz said in a statement that the verdict and sentence “will stand against continuing attempts at denying the suffering of thousands and the crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia.”

Note here that the prosecutor has let slip the real, political purpose of the trial: to preclude “genocide denial” vis-a-vis the still-not-established facts of Srebrenica. And he has carefully worded the much bandied-about “genocide” as general “suffering of thousands,” something no one has ever denied. The rest of the CNN excerpt:

…In a statement, the tribunal said it found Karadzic had committed the crimes through his participation in four “joint criminal enterprises,” including an overarching plot from October 1991 to November 1995 “to permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian Serb-claimed territory.”

The Croatian government hailed the verdicts Thursday — which came at the end of an eight-year trial — as welcome but long overdue, calling them “the minimum, for which the victims and their families unfortunately waited too long.” […]

In contrast, a verdict that wasn’t so hailed by Croatia came a week later, when Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj was uncharacteristically acquitted — after a 13-year stint in Hague custody during the proceedings — in a sort of balancing act the Court started practicing in recent years (when it noticed that people started noticing its Serb hunt). BBC on the Seselj verdict:

[P]residing Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti said the prosecution “had failed to prove…that there was a widespread and systematic attack against the non-Serb civilian population in large areas of Croatia and Bosnia. The evidence tendered and considered establishes instead that there was an armed conflict between enemy military forces with civilian components.”

Prosecutors had argued Mr Seselj was criminally responsible for the murder, torture and deportation of non-Serbs as part of his project to create a “Greater Serbia”. They had accused him of raising an army of volunteers who committed “unspeakable crimes”. But the trial chamber found that there was no “criminal purpose in sending volunteers” — and, moreover, they had not been under Mr Seselj’s command.

“The majority simply notes that it is not satisfied that the recruitment and subsequent deployment of volunteers implies that Vojislav Seselj knew of these crimes on the ground, or that he instructed or endorsed them,” it said.

The verdict also concluded that the “Greater Serbia” plan Mr Seselj had supported was not a “criminal”, but “political”, project.

Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic criticised the outcome as “a defeat for the Hague tribunal and the prosecution”.

More:

“This verdict is an embarrassment for the Hague Tribunal…” Oreskovic told media in the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar… “He’s the man who is burning the flags of Croatia and the EU,” Oreskovic said. [Said, mind you, without a hint of irony given not only the Yugo- and Serb-flag-burning that adorned Croatia’s secession, but also the sumptuous headlines that have been coming out of this “model EU member” in the past year alone (Wiesenthal Centre urges Croatia to end pensions to Nazi [veterans]; Wiesenthal Center Shocked by Appointment of Fascist Culture Minister Hasanbegovic; Croatia’s ‘Banal’ Fascism on Display at Israel Match; Croatia faces hardline sanctions over swastika etched on pitch; Croatians chant “Kill a Serb” at concert; and just this weekend: Monument to fascism victims [at site of biggest mass crime in Zagreb, Dotrscina forest] desecrated with fascist graffiti)]

[And] Bosnian lawyer Senad Pecanin called the verdict “scandalous”. […]

Not scandalous to Bosniaks, meanwhile — never mind their own butchers going free — was the guilty verdict in 2012 for the now dead Tolimir: “This is what we expected and we feel better now,” Srebrenica widow Rejha Avdic said. “We hope the court will continue to conduct fair trials.” One supposes the Not Guilty verdict in Seselj makes that trial “unfair.” (See Nebojsa Malic on the verdict: “Prisca Matimba Nyambe, a Zambian judge…calls out the other ‘judges’ for failing to prove even a single charge in the indictment. ‘Without a single piece of evidence adduced during this trial of a written [or stated] plan of a [Joint Criminal Enterprise] to Murder…the Majority relies upon circumstantial evidence to draw conclusions…I am wholly unpersuaded that the Accused is guilty of any of the charges alleged in the Indictment,’ she concluded…[T]he prosecutors — and the judges who sided with them — failed to prove that many of the things in the indictment actually happened, Nyambe argued.”)

More:

Croatia on Thursday banned Šešelj from entering the country after prime minister Tihomir Orešković labelled the verdict “shameful” during a visit to Vukovar, scene of some of the alleged atrocities, where he laid wreaths in memory of war dead.

Šešelj was not at the courtroom in The Hague to hear the verdict…He had been allowed to return to Serbia because of his deteriorating health [which prompted a bizarre letter to the UN Secretary-General from Croatia’s incoming president, saying the humanitarian release undermined the entire purpose of the tribunal]…[T]he ICTY judgment said the prosecution’s case had been full of “confusion” and that “a lot of the evidence shows that [his] collaboration was aimed at defending the Serbs and the traditionally Serb territories or at preserving Yugoslavia, not at committing the alleged crimes”. [Imagine that!]

In the majority ruling, the ICTY’s presiding judge, Jean-Claude Antonetti, said… “The totality of the evidence substantiates the fact that the purpose of sending volunteers was not to commit crimes, but to support the war effort…The [court] by a majority…was unable to find…that, in calling upon the Serbs to “cleanse” Bosnia…Vojislav Šešelj was calling for ethnic cleansing of Bosnia’s non-Serbs. […]

The fairer fate of this least likeable of Serb defendants is interesting. Seselj is an actual nationalist and actually was interested in a “Greater Serbia” — which none of the convicted or dead bigger fish (Karadzic, Milosevic etc) had been. It’s possible Seselj was earmarked for a counterweight purpose. Unlike Milosevic, he was a) allowed health leave; b) the judges acknowledged the prosecution was “full of confusion,” something that judges in the Milosevic trial never acknowledged despite the schizophrenic prosecution there, which had international journalists laughing in the aisles and the judges calling for order; c) the judges chose to also acknowledge here that the evidence pointed not to murderous intent but to war-related aims and preserving the union, despite this defendant actually using the word “cleanse” — which less fortunate Serb defendants never did; and d) here we finally get the ‘bombshell’ admission that, in any case, “Greater Serbia” isn’t a criminal project, but a political one.

Or perhaps Seselj just wasn’t high-profile enough for the crowd-pleasing purposes that other Serb convictions serve, and so the Court felt it could give this one to the Serbs, to show that this too can happen. I asked former Senate Republican foreign policy analyst Jim Jatras for his take on the Seselj acquittal that came a week after the Karadzic conviction. He replied:

My own guess:

1. Springing Seselj shows ICTY’s fairness and impartiality, so that convicting other Serbs (notably Mladic and Karadzic) and exonerating Muslims (Oric, Ceku, Haradinaj, Thaci) is all the more “credible.”
2. Seselj is the perfect candidate to be the “Exhibit A” of “fairness towards Serbs,” since (a) there’s no evidence against him anyway, (b) he’s already “served” many years of a non-sentence for not doing anything, and (c) releasing him “back into the wild” in Serbia will make life difficult and interesting for other politicians, rendering them even more pliable (if that’s possible) [to Brussels and Washington demands].

An even more soberly cynical take came in an email from longtime Hague observer Andy Wilcoxson (links added):

[Serbian state security chiefs Jovica] Stanisic and [Franko] Simatovic were acquitted too, then the prosecutor appealed the verdict — and now the Tribunal is going to put them on trial all over again (double jeopardy). The same thing could happen to Seselj; they could drag this out forever.

If the Tribunal had convicted Seselj, it’s unlikely that they could have sentenced him to more than time served. By acquitting him, they open the door for the prosecutor to appeal the verdict and conduct a double jeopardy trial…I’m not a big fan of Seselj. He describes himself as a Serbian nationalist and he openly espouses the idea of greater Serbia. His party published the “Protocols of Zion,” which was banned by Slobodan Milosevic’s government because it promotes antisemitism.

That said, the charges against him were idiotic. The Serbian Radical Party was in the opposition for the duration of the wars in Croatia and Bosnia. Seselj and the Serbian Radical Party recruited volunteers to join the Bosnian-Serb and Krajina-Serb armed forces….As the president of an opposition political party, Seselj didn’t have the authority to issue orders to anyone. Nor did he he have the responsibility or power to punish anyone who committed war crimes…because the police and the courts didn’t answer to him.

He did make nationalistic speeches and he did make inflammatory statements during the war. He continues to do that to this very day, but that isn’t a crime nor should it be one. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right.

Wilcoxson also allows for the possibility that some sort of deal was struck between Washington/Brussels and the West-subordinated Serbian government. “A deal is possible,” he continued in a follow-up email. “The ICTY would have convicted Seselj if that was what they wanted to do. Not having sufficient evidence to convict has never stopped them from convicting anyone before — especially not a Serb. If he doesn’t hold up his end of the deal they can always grant the prosecutor’s appeal.”

(Or even if he does hold up his end of the deal, as Milosevic and Karadzic found out.)

Malic foreshadowed as much in 2013 (second link added):

The indictment and conviction [e.g. of Croatian, Bosniak, and Kosovo-Albanian defendants] are supposed to create the impression the ICTY is a real, impartial, legitimate court of law — which is then followed by a release on appeal. …Furthermore, as a fellow blogger pointed out, the ICTY has a habit of prosecuting only the alleged crimes against the designated victim groups. Hence, Serbs and (Bosnian) Croats get the (ICTY-written) book thrown at them for killing (Bosnian) Muslims, the few KLA are punished only for killing fellow Albanians, while no one ever gets punished for killing Serbs.

Back to Karadzic, and another telling choice of words, from Reuters:

“[T]hese harrowing images reveal the reasons why he was found guilty of the 1995 massacre and nine other war crimes.” –Gemma Mullin, UK Mirror, March 24, 2016

Think about that sentence a moment. There’s not even an attempt to disguise how international “justice” for the Balkans has worked. The judicial standard is, ‘Why was he convicted? Just look at the pictures.’ Images say he’s guilty, the evidence is irrelevant. A blatant, undisguised appeal to emotion. And they’re saying it themselves: It’s all an image war, Folks, a PR war. The court of public opinion is what counts here, based on inflammatory images devoid of context including the other belligerent’s suffering. Just as they did to secure the war itself, media shoved images in the public’ face to “explain” the verdict, and reinforce what we were told originally.

The images that The Mirror wanted you to base your opinion on, (from the above excerpted article), without mentioning that the trial found some of this bloodshed came from the victims’ own Muslim ranks:





Apparently, we’re still supposed to be moved and even outraged by Muslim suffering. Or, at the very least, be more understanding of their violence directed at us. (Indeed, who is more fanatical — Muslims, or the Westerners who, even as Muslims mow them down, are determined to put Serbs away for life?)

Below, some images you’re *not* supposed to see. Of dead Serbs, which would have only confused the tidy picture being peddled:

Tangentially, here was one of the “read more” links in that Mirror article: “Read more: Taunt of the ‘Butcher’: Former Bosnian Serb general makes throat-slit gesture at his war crimes trial“. It’s another illustration of the West’s immunity to correction when it comes to the Balkans; that the hazy incident happened at all was questionable enough that the AP issued a correction, at my prompting, when it could find no documentation that it took place.

That the ICTY is a political rather than judicial construct is illustrated by a decision that was timed as breathtakingly as the March 24th date of the Karadzic verdict. After a genocide charge (in a set of seven municipalities) was dropped from Karadzic’s trial in the summer of 2012 (”a setback for reconciliation!” the chorus repeated), it was reinstated a year later — announced on July 11, the same date that Srebrenica is commemorated. So dates are sometimes chosen as much to please Muslims as they are to beat up Serbs:

Radovan Karadžić genocide charge reinstated by UN judges (The Guardian, July 11, 2013)

Appeals judges at the United Nations’ Yugoslav war crimes tribunal have reinstated a genocide charge against Radovan Karadžić linked to a campaign of killing and mistreating non-Serbs at the start of the Bosnian war in 1992. The decision reversed the former Bosnian Serb president’s acquittal last year on one of the two genocide charges he faces, but it does not amount to a conviction.

The ruling in The Hague came on the day survivors gathered in Srebrenica to mark the 18th anniversary of the massacre by reburying 409 recently identified sets of remains exhumed from mass graves. […]

In the end, Karadzic was acquitted of, very specifically, “genocide” in the seven municipalities, and only on that count. Srebrenica, on the other hand, is still being asserted as genocide. Without any evidence of intent (in fact, plenty of evidence to the contrary, from the evacuation itself to the explicit orders to not harm civilians and to observe all the laws), and without even a precise number of victims and their causes of death. It’s easy to get confused, however, especially with sentences like this one from an October 2012 Toronto Sun article (emphasis added): “During the trial of Bosnian Serb General Stanislav Galic, the tribunal established that Bosnian Serb forces were responsible for shelling the market place.”

The key word there is that the tribunal “established.” In fact, as with a “genocide” per se happening in Srebrenica, what the tribunal does is not ‘establish’ anything so much as ‘assert’ (Western media consistently dodge the distinction). After the ICTY asserts, the other UN court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), adopts the assertions, and the institutions are then cited by the Bosniak lobby and wider Muslim mafia as having both “found,” for example, that genocide took place. The “findings” are then duly parroted by governments and media.

There are yet more strands to the M.O. of the Hague-Media-Government Axis. Retired Canadian ambassador James Bissett — who, before Karadzic ever said it, said that Karadzic “did his damnedest to prevent the war” — told me years ago that at the Milosevic trial (2002-2005), he observed NY Times correspondent Marlise Simons lifting her pen only when testimony correlated with the approved version of events. That is, not during the countless bombshells that came out in that trial chamber. And so it has gone with the media in general, something I got a taste of in the early 2000s, when the new New York Sun — revived ostensibly as a thinking “alternative” to The Times — deigned to broach the Balkans. It did so exactly when a set of inflammatory images of dead Muslims was being circulated to coincide with some narrative-reinforcing development in the Milosevic trial. Much the way the Court circulated a video of the execution of six Bosniak soldiers in 2005 (timed to the 10th anniversary of Srebrenica), something that all media including the “alternative” Fox News obliged in looping, no less as supposed “proof” of “genocide,” of “8,000.”

Below is an excerpt from Diana Johnstone, author of the new Hillary Clinton book Queen of Chaos, from her recent take on the seven-year Karadzic trial. It rounds out several aforementioned points:

The media stayed away from the marathon, and only showed up to report the inevitable “guilty” verdict condemning the bad guy. The verdict reads a bit like, “they said, he said, and we believe them not him.”

The most amazing passage in the rambling verdict by Judge O-Gon Kwan consists of these throw-away lines:

“With respect to the Accused’s argument that the Bosnian Muslim side targeted its own civilians, the Chamber accepts that the Bosnian Muslim side was intent on provoking the international community to act on its behalf and, as a result, at times, engaged in targeting UN personnel in the city or opening fire on territory under its control in order to lay blame on the Bosnian Serbs.”

This is quite extraordinary. The ICTY judges are actually acknowledging that the Bosnian Muslim side engaged in “false flag” operations, not only targeting UN personnel but actually “opening fire on territory under its control”. Except that that should read, “opening fire on civilians under its control”. UN peace keeping officers have insisted for years that the notorious Sarajevo “marketplace massacres”, which were blamed on the Serbs and used to gain condemnation of the Serbs in the United Nations [which led to bombing them], were actually carried out by the Muslim side in order to gain international support.

This is extremely treacherous behavior. The Muslim side was, as stated, “intent on provoking the international community to act on its behalf”, and it succeeded! The ICTY is living proof of that success: a tribunal set up to punish Serbs. But there has been no move to expose and put on trial Muslim leaders responsible for their false flag operations.

The Judge quickly brushed this off: “However, the evidence indicates that the occasions on which this happened pale in significance when compared to the evidence relating to [Bosnian Serb] fire on the city” (Sarajevo).

How can such deceitful attacks “pale in significance” when they cast doubt precisely on the extent of Bosnian Serb “fire on the city”?

[The ICTY] imported from US criminal justice the concept of a “Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE)”, used originally as a means to indict gangsters. The trick is to identify the side we are against as a JCE, which makes it possible to accuse anyone on that side of being a member of the JCE.

After Slovenia and Croatia broke away from Yugoslavia, the Muslims and Croats of Bosnia voted to secede from Yugoslavia, but this was opposed by Bosnian Serbs who claimed it was unconstitutional. The European Union devised a compromise that would allow each of the three people self-rule in its own territory. However, the Muslim leader, Alija Izetbegovic, was encouraged by the United States to renege on the compromise deal, in the hope that Muslims, as the largest group, could control the whole territory. War thus broke out in April 1992.

Now, if you asked the Bosnian Serbs what their war aims were, they would answer that they wanted to preserve the independence of Serb territory within Bosnia rather than become a minority in a State ruled by the Muslim majority…However, according to ICTY the objective of the Serbian mini-republic was to “permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Serb-claimed territory … through the crimes charged”, described as the “Overarching Joint Criminal Enterprise”, leading to several subsidiary JCEs…The problem here is not that such crimes [expulsions] did not take place – they did – but that they were part of an “overarching civil war” with crimes committed by the forces of all three sides. If anything is a “joint criminal enterprise”, I should think that plotting and carrying out false flag operations should qualify…One of the subsidiary JCEs attributed to Karadzic was the fact that between late May and mid-June of 1995, Bosnian Serb troops fended off threatened NATO air strikes by taking some 200 UN peacekeepers and military observers hostage. It is hard to see why this temporary defensive move, which caused no physical harm, is more of a “Joint Criminal Enterprise” than the fact of having “[lethally] targeted UN personnel”, as the Muslim side did.

Many well informed Western and Muslim witnesses testify to the fact that the Serb takeover [of Srebrenica] was the unexpected result of finding the town undefended. This makes the claim that this was a well planned crime highly doubtful…ICTY’s constant bias (it refused to investigate NATO bombing of civilian targets in Serbia in 1999, and acquitted notorious anti-Serb Bosnian and Kosovo Albanian killers) drastically reduces its credibility.

ICTY reiterated its earlier judgment that the “killings demonstrate a clear intent to kill every able-bodied Bosnian Muslim male from Srebrenica. Noting that killing every able-bodied male of a group results in severe procreative implications that may lead to the group’s extinction, the Chamber finds that the only reasonable inference is that members of the Bosnian Serb Forces orchestrating this operation intended to destroy the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica as such.” In other words, even though women and children were spared, Srebrenica was a unique genocide, due to the “severe procreative implications” of a lack of men…This judgment is widely accepted without being critically examined. Since wars have traditionally involved deliberately killing men on the enemy side, with this definition, “genocide” comes close to being synonymous with war.

As if to make a point, the verdict was announced on the 17th anniversary of the start of NATO bombing of what was left of Yugoslavia, in order to detach Kosovo from Serbia. Just a reminder that it’s not enough for the Serbs to lose the war, they must be criminalized as well.

The verdict is political and its effects are political. First of all, it helps dim the prospects of future peace and reconciliation in the Balkans. Serbs readily admit that war crimes were committed when Bosnian Serb forces killed prisoners in Srebrenica. If Muslims had to face the fact that crimes were also committed by men fighting on their side, this could be a basis for the two peoples to deplore the past and seek a better future together. As it is, the Muslims are encouraged to see themselves as pure victims, while the Serbs feel resentment at the constant double standards. Muslim groups constantly stress that no verdict can possibly assuage their suffering – an attitude that actually feeds international anti-Western sentiment among Muslims. […]

The final recurring theme that I’ll mention here seems to be prosecution documents that don’t make their way to Serb defendants. On March 23rd, the day before the verdict was due, Karadzic defense attorney Peter Robinson tweeted:

@PeterRobinICTY
Just rec’d 208 pages of exculpatory material in #Karadzic case from #ICTY prosecution this afternoon. Seriously, prosecutors?

This recalls a May 17, 2012 item, which the UK Mirror headlined “War Crimes Trial Blunder: Butcher of Bosnia’s genocide case halted after prosecutors’ error“:

The man dubbed the Butcher of Bosnia Ratko Mladic had his war crimes trial dramatically suspended today…because prosecutors failed to disclose thousands of documents to his defence.

Just another “blunder.” And notice how they still can’t seem to decide which one — Mladic or Karadzic — to dub “Butcher of Bosnia,” and so they split it between the two, sometimes calling one “Butcher of the Balkans” and the other “Butcher of Bosnia,” and sometimes applying one or both titles to Milosevic as well, when they remember about him. Also be on the lookout for facts eventually admitted by the Court (such as the Muslim side shelling its own civilians), to continue being reported as outlandish ravings by a desperate despot in denial. (For example, Reuters reporter Thomas Escritt’s “Karadzic denies Bosnia war crimes as he starts defence” was written in 2012, but the Islamic self-bombing that Karadzic claims and the report scoffs at will continue to be attributed to the mere defendants and not as the (reluctant) findings in his case.)

In addition to the Karadzic conviction doing its part for the general goal of justifying the 1990s Western policies and NATO operations that catalyzed worldwide jihad, it also had a more specific endgame, as outlined by Dr. Srdja Trifkovic last month:

Karadzic Sentencing Designed to ‘Delegitimize’ Republika Srpska (SputnikNews.com, Chronicles Magazine, March 26, 2016)

We are going to see the use of this verdict as another building bloc in the political case for the dismantling of the Dayton Agreement, signed in the fall of 1995, which recognized the Republika Srpska as a semi-autonomous entity within Bosnia-Herzegovina. This will be used, together with some previous verdicts, as justification for a sustained attempt to delegitimize its existence and to claim that — having verified the guilt of Karadzic — it is now time to look for another arrangement for the future of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a more or less unitarized state — in which, by virtue of their members, the Muslims will have predominance.

…The whole show at The Hague Tribunal has the task of providing legal justification for the decisions made by the Western powers in the 1990’s…a tribunal with a clear brief to prove Serbian guilt, as retroactive justification for political decisions made at the time.

…It is up to the Russians in particular to consider the implications of the quasi-legal proceedings at The Hague as a sword of Damocles that can be used against anyone who is politically inconvenient to the powers-that-be, such as the Donbas leaders today or Bashar al-Assad tomorrow.

… For as long as we have [a] political agenda, and in particular the pernicious doctrine of collective command responsibility — the so-called “joint criminal conspiracy [enterprise]” — anyone connected with a political structure that is inconvenient to the Western powers can be criminalized.

It is not a matter of committing real war crimes; it is a matter of collective guilt because you do not belong to the right side of history. In that sense, The Hague is even more politicized than the Moscow processes of 1936-1938.

Attesting to this dynamic was the Nov. 2012 conviction-reversal of two top Croatian generals who had led a homicidal and stated ethnic cleansing campaign against the Serbs of Krajina — just in time to clear NATO member Croatia’s legal slate for its 2013 EU entry. Jatras in November 2012:

[T]o claim guilt on the basis of a “joint criminal enterprise” (JCE) where there is no direct evidence of the accused’s personal participation in a crime does have its legal problems. That said, the fact that the clearing of the Krajinas was a JCE — that its intention was precisely to uproot the Serbian population — is well attested, including by [Croatian wartime president Franjo] Tudjman’s own words. Certainly far better attested than anything that can be demonstrated regarding, say, Srebrenica or Kosovo, where the proof of the JCE is entirely lacking….In short, there’s no way decently to dismiss JCE basis for Croat defendants (much less Muslims and the oh-so-righteous jihad) while rubber-stamping Serb convictions based on JCE.

This only shows that the purpose of ICTY was to criminalize the Serbs and their aspirations as such, netting such individuals as needed…while legitimating those of the Croats and, especially, Muslims (including Albanians).

So the merry game of rock, paper, scissors continues. Serbs are uniformly guilty. Muslims are uniformly innocent. Croats are guilty if their victims are Muslim, innocent if their victims are Serbs.

And this is all without even mentioning the tribunal’s legitimacy to begin with, as Nebojsa Malic reminded us the day after the Karadzic verdict:

The Hague is not bringing peace, reconciliation or closure — but a cynical victor’s justice, an endorsement of ‘might makes right.’ …The very purpose of the ad-hoc tribunal, a brainchild of the Clinton administration’s “human rights interventionists,” was to deny any legal legitimacy to the Serbs, while bestowing it on the US and its regional clients and proxies.

… Yes, [the tribunal] was established…under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, allowing the creation of “measures to maintain or restore international peace and security.” The very inception of the ICTY required stretching the definition of “measures” to include judicial power the UNSC clearly lacked — and therefore could not delegate.

Even if the tribunal were perfectly legitimate to begin with, its pattern of indictments should have been a signal something was amiss. The ICTY and its backers clearly believed any Serb atrocities were systematic and deliberate, while those committed by anyone else were random or incidental. While every single senior Serb official in present-day Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia was hauled before the court, only a few lower-level Croat, Bosnian Muslim or Albanian officials were even indicted — and most of them were acquitted outright, or on appeal. Only Serbs were charged with genocide — by definition, a systematic crime. Only Serbs were accused of a “joint criminal enterprise,” a category specifically constructed for the tribunal by a US jurist. [The gracious contribution of Pittsburgh law professor John Cencich, a Croat-American.]

“NATO countries are those that have provided the finance to set up the Tribunal, we are amongst the majority financiers… so let me assure that we and the Tribunal are all one on this, we want to see war criminals brought to justice and I am certain that when Justice [Louise] Arbour goes to Kosovo and looks at the facts, she will be indicting people of Yugoslav nationality and I don’t anticipate any others at this stage,” NATO spokesman Jamie Shea told reporters on May 17, 1999. Telling enough?

The Dayton-dismantling tool that the Court provides, meanwhile, is understood well enough by Serbian politicians — even those who play ball with the West and shamefully, finally acquiesced this year to formal NATO cooperation:

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic — who organised a protest rally in 2008 when Karadzic was sent to The Hague — warned on Thursday prior to the verdict that he will not allow the UN court’s verdict to be used to undermine Republika Srpska.

“I warn those who think they can use today’s verdict against the former president of Repubika Srpska for a political or any other kind of attack on Republika Srpska, that in line with Dayton agreement, Serbia cannot, should not and will not allow that,” Vucic said.

A mouse warning a snake. So far, it’s only ever ended one way.

The quote came from a Balkan Insight article titled “Serbian Nationalists Rally Against NATO, Karadzic Verdict“:

Commenting on the verdict, Seselj said that Karadzic “was convicted…because he is [a] Serb who found himself at a decisive and historic moment at the head of Republika Srpska”.

Seselj slammed the Serbian government for agreeing to cooperate with NATO’s Support and Procurement Organisation.

“Those who were bombing us in 1999, who were killing our children, those criminals from NATO, have now got the right voted in by parliament to walk freely across Serbia,” Seselj said.

The cooperation agreement with NATO “guarantees diplomatic immunity and freedom of movement through Serbia for NATO troops,” RT explained. “The troops are to uphold peace and stability in the region in exchange.” That part of the agreement is surely a punch line, as one protester’s words illustrate:

“We think it is hypocrisy to say that NATO will guarantee stability and security to our people in Kosovo and Metohija,” Milica Djurdjevic, spokeswoman for Zavetnici (Oath Keepers), the right-wing Serbian party that organized Sunday’s protest, said.

“Kosovo has had a NATO base for years now. And despite their presence, Serbs were persecuted, some [most] of our holiest and oldest monasteries were burnt, our houses were burnt and people were expelled from their homes.”

She also accused the alliance of breeding global problems [e.g. terrorism and migration] instead of solving them.

“I think what Nato did by bombing Serbia actually precipitated the exodus of the Kosovo Albanians into Macedonia and Montenegro. I think the bombing did cause ethnic cleansing. The whole business in the Balkans has been mismanaged from the start. It was obvious it was going to blow up.”

–Former British Foreign Secretary and NATO Secretary-General Lord (Peter) Carrington, Saga Magazine, Aug. 27, 1999

“Never before have so few lied so thoroughly to so many, as in connection with the Kosovo war.”

–Former Bundestag Member Willy Wimmer, 1999

“I was just a child in 1999 when NATO was destroying my country without any real basis. I swore to myself that I would defeat that same world in my own way and here I am today. That destruction did not destroy me, nor my people. They did not break our soul and we are yet joyful despite our problems. That is victory.”

–Novak Djokovic, March 24, 2016, via Opanak (Facebook)

“Some Serb paramilitary groups caused many sleepless nights to both Mladić and Karadžić. Not all of them were helpful and welcome. Some of them included even criminal elements, psychopaths. The others treated the Croat or Muslim civilians too heavy-handedly, but it could be understood to some extent, but not permitted, [particularly] if some of them had seen their families assassinated by the Muslims or the Croats. President Karadžić issued many orders to protect Muslims from those irregulars. I have seen many relevant documents about it. On the other [hand], some Serb paramilitaries helped a lot the unprepared and undefended Serb settlements that had been at the beginning an easy prey to the organized and trained Croat and Muslim bands, e.g., in northern and eastern Bosnia.”

–Czech university professor Rajko Dolecek, in an account of some conversations with Ratko Mladic, posted Dec. 16, 2009

“I did everything in human power to avoid the war. I succeeded in reducing the suffering of all civilians. I proclaimed numerous unilateral ceasefires and military containment. And I stopped our army many times when they were close to victory.”

–Radovan Karadzic, Opening Defense Statement, Oct. 16, 2012

******UPDATE******

It seems that just this past December another witness — a protected witness in the Mladic trial — testified that the marketplace bombing, specifically in February 1994, was not only perpetrated by the Muslim side, but ordered by President Izetbegovic himself. The item below is from Balkan Insight, Dec. 16, 2015, and notice the word choice in the headline “Mladic Witness Claims,” as opposed to the more commonly used (when reporting from judicial settings) “testifies.” Notice also the integral role played by a certain West-beloved cleric named Ceric. And for the first time, we have names offered up of the actual men behind the attack: Mladic Witness Claims Bosniaks Staged Market Attack

Protected witness GRM-116, who testified in Mladic’s defence at the Hague Tribunal on Tuesday, claimed that the attack on the market that killed 66 civilians in February 1994 was approved by the then Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic.

The witness said that as a member of the Biseri special security unit from 1992 to 1994, he worked on security at the Bosnian presidency building.

He said that during that time he could hear what Izetbegovic and others said during meetings.

According to the witness, Izetbegovic’s main goal was to ensure Western intervention to help the Bosniaks “by creating mass suffering in Sarajevo and Srebrenica”.

He said that Izetbegovic was heavily influenced by Islamic community leader Mustafa Ceric. According to the witness, Ceric convinced Izetbegovic that “losses must be suffered”.

Speaking about the attack on the Markale market, GRM-116 testified that was “Ceric’s idea, which was carried out by generals Sefer Halilovic and Mustafa Hajrulahovic, alias ‘the Italian’”.

“I was there when Alija [Izetbegovic] approved this,” he said.

At the next meeting, the witness said that Halilovic reported the first attempt was a failure because the mortar hit the roof of the market.

“Alija told them to try again. They went and soon we heard what happened with Markale,” he said.

Izetbegovic, who died in 2003, said after the attack that it was a “black and terrible day for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

As commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, Ratko Mladic is charged with terrorising the population of Sarajevo during wartime with a campaign of shelling and sniping.

According to the charges, the mortar which killed 66 citizens at the Markale market on February 5, 1994 was fired from Bosnian Serb positions. […]

******UPDATE******

In another recent example of categorizing things that go the Bosniaks’ way as “fair,” professional Srebrenica widow Munira Subasic reacted last June when Switzerland gave precedence to a Bosnian warrant over a Serbian one for Srebrenica warlord Naser Oric, tormentor of fellow Muslims and killer of Serbs: “This is the only fair decision.” (In the Reuters item that carried it, one couldn’t help noticing that Oric was referred to with the innocuous word “defender” of the town, in an all too Balkans-typical grafting by Western press of one side’s self-serving terminology.)

Restaurant honours mass murderer (Herald Sun, April 13, 2008)

An acclaimed Melbourne restaurant has sparked multi-ethnic outrage for paying homage to a fascist warlord and mass murderer.

The plush Katarina Zrinski restaurant attached to Footscray’s Croatian Club has been branded “disgusting” for its celebration of genocidal World War II Croatian leader Ante Pavelic.

Pavelic, who historians say was responsible for the deaths of up to 500,000 Jews, Serbs, Muslims and gypsies, has been described as the Heinrich Himmler of the Croatian nation.

The popular restaurant during the week displayed a big portrait of Pavelic on its wall and T-shirts depicting Pavelic for sale at the bar.

The T-shirts also showed two commanders of the Ustashe’s notorious Black Legion, which murdered thousands of civilians, and Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, who was jailed for collaborating with the Ustashe.

Drinkers at the bar were also toasting “The Poglavnik” - the name fascists use for their Fuhrer - and on Thursday the restaurant commemorated Hitler’s establishment of the puppet state of Croatia on April 10, 1941.

On Tuesday the restaurant was reviewed in a Melbourne newspaper’s food section, with its “large, airy downstairs dining room perfect for large, extended family groups”.

Dr Bob Miller, a Balkans expert at the Australian National University, has hit out at the club’s feting of Pavelic.

“It’s disgusting. This would be the equivalent to the German community honouring Himmler,” he said.

“Even the Nazis found the Ustashe regime’s actions so brutal as to be counter-productive.”

Serbians in Victoria have also expressed their distress.

“How can they do this?” George Marinkovic, publisher of the Serb Voice, said.

“Can someone explain this? We are in one beautiful country and you are going back and promoting fascists from the Hitler era. I cannot understand it.”

Dr Colin Rubinstein, executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, said: “While it is entirely understandable that Croatian Australians would want to celebrate the self-determination of modern democratic Croatia [as if it’s not the direct legacy of WWII Croatia], to celebrate a fascist World War II Nazi puppet state and its war criminal leader is totally contrary to the norms of multicultural Australia and should be condemned by Australians committed to a tolerant, diverse and democratic society.”

Club president Tony Juric acknowledged the restaurant honoured Pavelic, but said the leader had nothing to do with the Nazis.

“What the Nazis did was a disgrace and we had nothing to do with that,” he said. “I have never received one letter of complaint from a Jewish or a Serb organisation.”

One is left too speechless after that last line to offer intelligent commentary. But to echo Dr. Miller, it was the Nazis who ultimately wanted nothing to do with the Ustashe, as the latter were far too brutal.

Serb returnees, priest under attack in Croatia (B92, Tanjug, March 23, 2008)

ZADAR, ZAGREB — Ethnic Serbs in the vicinity of Zadar, in Croatia, have once again been targeted Saturday. Unknown perpetrators broke into and robbed a house in the village of Ceranje Donje near Benkovac. The house, which belongs to late Gojko Čubrilo, and is now used by his daughter Ksenija J., both Serb returnees, was then vandalized. The attackers also spilled some 500 liters of wine from the barrels inside the house. Beside this incident, Croatian MUP in Zadar also said a car belonging to Orthodox Serb priest Ljubomir Crnorak was stoned in Benkovac, when all the windows on the vehicle were smashed.

The Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Dalmatian Eparchy condemned the incidents, and said the priest’s vehicle likely came under attack because of false allegations, printed in a local newspaper, that Crnorak “had erased the Croatian coat of arms from his license plates”.

The vice-president of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) in Croatia, Milorad Pupovac, also condemned the attacks, which happened in his native village, where six returnee houses were vandalized last year.

Some 250,000 Serbs were ethnically cleansed from Croatia during Operation Storm in the summer of 1995. Official Croatian government data says that 50,000 of them have since returned.

Serb Basketball Fans Hurt in Croatia (Balkan Insight, Jutarnji list, Tanjug, March 17, 2008)

Five Serbian citizens were beaten up while taking a break at a service station in Croatia, local media reported Monday.

The five, fans of the Vojvodina basketball team, were driving in a car with Serbian plates on their way back from Split where they had attended a match between Serbia’s Vojvodina and Croatia’s Split basketball teams.

They had stopped to rest in Dobra in central Croatia early Sunday when they were attacked by a group of masked people.

Croatian police confirmed the incident. The Jutarnji list daily said no one was seriously injured but other sources reported that two were hospitalized while other three suffered minor injuries.

(If the victims had traveled in order to cheer the Vojvodina team, there’s a good chance that, ironically, they were ethnic Hungarian citizens of Serbia, another group that’s looking for a piece of Serbia for itself. But all it took to get hurt was a Serbian license plate.)

On this very weekend in 2008, we also saw the following Croatian epiphany:

Croatian Breakthrough: This Year, Let’s Not Give Less Money to the Holocaust Memorial than to the Memorial for the Nazis who Killed People There

Oh but here’s post-EU Croatia:

Wiesenthal Centre urges Croatia to end pensions to Nazi [veterans] (AFP, May 19, 2015) (It’s actually a double pension, according to the article above, enacted within two years of Croatia starting its secession war.)

And full-circling back to this week, from Jerusalem Post, by Simon Wiesenthal’s Efraim Zuroff, April 13, 2016:

…Earlier this week, Croatian army veterans (of the war of the Nineties against Yugoslavia) of the Ninth Division gathered to celebrate their unit’s 25th anniversary, but also to mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) which was governed by the fascist Ustasha movement and pursued genocidal policies against Serbs, Jews and Roma. The veterans’ call to legalize the Ustasha salute of “za dom spremni” (the Croatian equivalent of the Nazis’ “sieg heil”) is an attempt to legitimize the murderous policies of the NDH and whitewash that regime’s crimes.

Another typical initiative, but one which is much more dangerous, is a new documentary movie entitled Jasenovac-Istina (Jasenovac - The Truth), which had its world premiere this past February 28 in Israel, of all places, most probably to help deflect potential criticism of its highly controversial content. Jasenovac, which was established in August 1941, was the largest of the concentration camps created by the Ustasha regime of the NDH in order to rid their country of its minority populations, as well as their Croatian political opponents…

…[T]he film claims that Jasenovac was actually only a labor/concentration camp, not one at which there was any attempt to commit genocide of any sort, and that the number of Ustasha victims there was less than the number of innocent people murdered by the Yugoslav partisans after the war on the same site. In other words, it was the Communists who set up a “death camp” in Jasenovac, not the Ustasha, a totally unsubstantiated claim without any hard evidence to back it up.

…In addition, the film accuses former Croatian presidents Mesic and Josipovic, both known for their opposition to fascism and Ustasha nostalgia, as well as several left-wing journalists, of keeping alive the [”]Communist myth[”] of Jasenovac, and covering up the full truth about postwar Communist crimes. Needless to say, recently-appointed Croatian Minister of Culture Zlatko Hasanbegovic, who is well known for his support for right-wing causes, was quick to praise the film. [See Wiesenthal Center Shocked by Appointment in Croatia of Fascist Culture Minister Hasanbegovic and Calls for his Immediate Replacement, Feb. 5.]

Given these circumstances, the Serb and Jewish communities, along with the Croatian anti-fascist organizations, have decided to boycott the official government memorial ceremony annually held at Jasenovac on April 22. Instead, the Jewish community announced that it would hold its own memorial ceremony a week earlier on April 15, as a form of protest against the government’s failure to act against the revival of fascism and anti-Semitism in the public sphere.

The only good news in that respect these days was a declaration by both the Croatian president and prime minister (separately) that the Ustasha government was a “criminal regime,” but these pronouncements were apparently only made at the request of the US State Department’s envoy on Holocaust issues, who met with them earlier this week in Zagreb. […]

Interestingly, while the date March 24th was symbolically reserved for the Karadzic verdict this year, those headlines came perilously close to being upstaged on that same day by an unwelcome headline regarding our pal Croatia, “Croatia’s ‘Banal’ Fascism on Display at Israel Match.” (Four days later, Zuroff was busy again: “Wiesenthal Center Calls for Sanctions Against Croatian Soccer Fans in Wake of Fascist and Anti-Semitic Chants at Recent Israeli-Croatian Friendly Match

Indeed, why is a Nazi hunter having such a busy 2016 in Croatia? Here he was the previous week:


Nazi-Hunter Criticizes Croatia Fans’ Fascist Chants
(Balkan Insight, April 6, 2016)

…“If the prime minister and/or at least other ministers would have clearly and unequivocally denounced the disgusting behaviour of the Croatian fans after the match, the damage done would have been mitigated somewhat, but the only response from the prime minister’s office was a short press release condemning the use of symbols and slogans of totalitarian regimes, without mentioning the match and the specifics of the event,” Zuroff wrote in his article.

[Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic’s statement responding to the Jewish and Serb boycott of the annual Jasenovac commemoration seemed to blame the boycotters: “I’m sorry that this occasion, instead of paying respect to the victims, is used for politicization that opens new divisions in society. All that not only insults the victims and their families, but also inflicts huge damage on Croatia.” (It’s apparently gotten so that the previous government, itself no beacon of anti-fascism, has joined the boycott, acknowledging that the current government has a fascism problem.)]

[Zuroff] also criticised Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic and Education and Sports Minister Predrag Sustar, who attended the match against Israel in Osijek, for not reacting immediately.

“Given the fact that these chants were clearly heard by all those in the stadium, their failure to respond is an indication of tolerance for such outrageous, insulting and clearly anti-Semitic behaviour,” Zuroff said.

Zuroff alleged that Croatia is “a country where manifestations of fascism and anti-Semitism are very common, especially in the local soccer stadiums…”

…Football governing body FIFA fined the Croatian Football Federation 55,000 euros after fans chanted “Za dom spremni” at a match against Norway in March 2015, and ordered the national team to play its next match to an empty stadium. […]

And yet here was that June:

Croatia faces hardline sanctions over swastika etched on pitch (InsideWorldFootball.com, By Mark Baber, June 15, 2015)

…[I]ncredibly, despite a giant swastika being emblazoned on a pitch during a televised match which was being held behind closed doors due to previous racist incidents, the game continued with groundsmen attempting, but failing, to remove the markings at half-time.

…Following the imposition of the closed door sanction, the Croatian FA…blamed an anti-racism campaigner for bringing the problem of racist chanting to the attention of UEFA, despite the history of Nazi sentiment expressed by Croatian fans which included 200 of them lining up in swastika formation on the terraces in a game against Italy in Livorno 2006. The ineffectiveness of the Croatian Football Federation in tackling the problem is unsurprising given that [Croatian Football Federation president Davor] Suker himself has been photographed paying his respects at the tomb of the fascist Ustase leader and war criminal Ante Pavelic in Madrid.

Then that August (under a slightly different headline): Croatians chant “Kill a Serb” at concert organized by local authorities to celebrate Serb-expulsion national holiday (Balkan Insight, Aug. 6, 2015)

And September:

Croatia coach defends controversial choice of Simunic [as his assistant, citing Simunic’s “decency”, “patriotism” and promoting “a good atmosphere”] (Joe Simunic was of course the soccer star who celebrated Croatia’s World Cup qualification in November 2013 with the Croatian-fascist chant “Za Dom Spremni” — a Croatian ‘indiscretion’ that uncharacteristically found its way to mainstream radars, such as ESPN’s.)

Meanwhile, a few more details on Croatia’s new culture minister, Hasanbegovic, a Croatian Muslim:

Croatian Historian Condemns Minister’s WWII Rhetoric (Balkan Insight, April 13, 2016)

…Culture minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic has never expressed any regret for his controversial statements in the 1990s praising Croatian Nazi-allied Ustasa fighters as heroes, [historian] Natasa Matausic told BIRN in an interview…Matausic also criticised more recent statements by Hasanbegovic in which he…insisted that Croatia was “tragically defeated in 1945…”

Hasanbegovic has said that the state should cut the funding for the annual commemoration at Jasenovac, arguing that the event was used for “the rehabilitation of Yugoslav communism”…Matausic also had harsh words for Croatia’s HDZ-backed President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, who visited the Auschwitz concentration camp in January.“I remember, after my first visit to Auschwitz, faced with the fact that the name ‘death factory’ for this camp is not a metaphor but a literal meaning, I was completely broken. I couldn’t eat, sleep or see anyone near me,” Matausic said.“The president, in the other hand, had enough strength to support our handball players at a match in Cracow after her visit to Auschwitz,” she added…

Mind you, what expectations can one have of the permanently recovering fascists of Croatia, when the godfather himself — the U.S. — gives tacit blessings to such goings-on? It was after a doppelganger Croatian year of escalating clerical-fascist activity (2006-07) that NATO gave the nod to Croatia as its/our home base in the Balkans:


As you probably are not aware, on October 1st [2007] NATO began twelve days of special forces maneuvers on land and in the air and sea, on the Yugoslav side of the Adriatic. Thirteen countries are participating, including twelve NATO members plus Croatia, which is hosting the maneuvers even though it is not a member — a first. Albania and Montenegro, also not members, are observing. Serbia is not.

These military maneuvers, positioning Croatia as NATO’s command center in the Adriatic Sea area, with coastal states Albania and Montenegro as deputies (see map), are being held after a year of escalating clerical-fascist activity in Croatia, activity to which NATO, by presenting Croatia as a model Adriatic state, has given its blessing.

Now, keeping this year’s ‘colorful’ Croatia headlines in mind, enjoy this final flashback to Bush’s last year, 2008:

Bush: Croatia a Good Example for the Region

The United States of America supports Croatia’s membership of NATO, said the president of the USA, George W. Bush in an interview for Croatian Television (HTV)…adding that…Croatia has become an example for the other countries created after the fall of Yugoslavia…I am coming to a different country from the one visited by my forerunner Bill Clinton. Since then society, government and economy have changed – said the president of the most powerful country in the world. He explained that NATO is important because it will ensure stability and security, which will attract foreign investments which bring well paid jobs.

Remarks by President Bush and Prime Minister Sanader of Croatia in Zagreb, Croatia (PRNewsWire, April 5, 2008)

…The United States appreciates the leadership you have shown in the cause of freedom. We re pleased Albania and Croatia have been invited to join NATO…Laura, who has joined me today, and I are proud to stand on the soil of an independent Croatia.
(Applause.)

The Croatian people have overcome war and hardship to build peaceful relations with your neighbors, and to build a maturing democracy in one of the most beautiful countries on the face of the Earth.

(Applause.) Americans admire your courage and admire your persistence.

And we look forward to welcoming you as a partner in NATO.

Henceforth, should any danger threaten your people, America and the NATO Alliance will stand with you, and no one will be able to take your freedom away.
(Applause.)

With the changes underway in this region, Europe stands on the threshold of a new and hopeful history.

The ancient and costly rivalries that led to two world wars have fallen away. […]

So much for that.

Croatia has served as a very good example, following a very dramatic moment, and that is the breakup of Yugoslavia…I’m really looking forward to going to your country…And they say it’s one of the most beautiful coastlines in the entire world.

–President George W. Bush, March 26, 2008

As we all know, human rights don’t matter if you’ve got a nice coast. And so that’s usually what most articles about Croatia in the West are about. Not only was HBO’s “Game of Thrones” sold on it, filming part of the show there, but CNN has been known to loop Croatian tourism ads saying ‘Croatia — the Mediterranean as it once was.’

And so Croatia, that good guy of the Balkans — “leading the way to the EU” — pledged help to other Balkan nations on their own path to the EU: Croatia pledges to help fellow Western Balkan countries on path to EU (Xinhua, March 29, 2008)

Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic said on Saturday that his country is willing to assist fellow Western Balkan countries on their path to EU membership by offering them its experience and advice…Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn stressed the positive role of Croatia in stabilizing the region….

As Miodrag Linta, head of Serbia’s Coalition of Refugee Associations, put it in November 2014, Croatia presents itself “as a country that has met all the requirements before entering the European Union and therefore claims the right to lecture Serbia about respecting the standards of democracy and the rule of law - which represents the pinnacle of cynicism.”

He added:

More than 100,000 people gathered [in Knin, Croatia, to commemorate 1995’s Serb-cleansing Operation Storm] for the 11th time, organized by Marko Perković aka Thompson, many of whom carried flags, hats and other props with the symbols of the WW2-era Nazi entity known as the Independent State of Croatia (NDH). Linta added that those gathered in Čavoglava sang songs with lyrics such as, “Oh mother Croatia, we will slaughter Serbs …” and the like, and also chanted slogans of NDH’s Ustasha regime which spread hatred towards Serbs. Linta specifically invited parliamentary groups to condemn, in a declaration, convicted war criminal Dario Kordić, former president of the HDZ party in Bosnia-Herzegovina and vice-president of the war-time Croat Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia entity. He this year addressed the event in Čavoglave and said it was “a magnificent gathering, and a road sign showing Croatia where it should go.”

Kordić, Linta recalled, was this year was released from prison after serving two thirds of his sentence of 25 years, handed down by the Hague Tribunal for the war crimes he committed against Bosniak civilians.

Meanwhile, in addition to graciously offering to mentor other Balkan countries vis-a-vis the EU, Croatia in 2009 also made this promise: “Croatia won’t block Serbian integration”

Fast-forward:

Croatia to block Serbia from joining EU over [2003] war crimes law (Feb. 6, 2015)

Serbia’s EU accession talks blocked by Croatia (March 21, 2016)

Croatia Stalls Serbia’s EU Negotiations (April 7, 2016)


EU Urges Croatia Not to Block Serbia’s Path
(April 15, 2016)

This was an item from the summer, circulated by Liz, which I’d meant to briefly dissect:

Polish MEP Janusz Korwin-Mikke gives Nazi salute and shouts facist slogan in EU parliament (International Business Times, July 10)

Right-wing Polish MEP Janusz Korwin-Mikke stunned fellow members in the European parliament when he rose to his feet during a debate on transport and gave a Nazi salute.

“Ein Volk, ein reich [one people, one empire],” Korwin-Mikke proclaimed as the parliament debated a German motion to standardise bus and train tickets across the EU.

The slogan was one of the most repeated phrases in Nazi Germany and was usually followed by “ein Führer,” (one leader), a reference to Adolf Hitler. Korwin-Mikke had meant to mock the standardisation which he said was a blow to European diversity. However his point was somewhat overshadowed by the display.

In the past Korwin-Mikke, who is fiercely pro-Putin, has decried the EU as a “communist project” and said the European Commission building would be better used if it was turned into a brothel. [Agreed.]

He has also not hidden his contempt for democracy and said he had sought political position for diplomatic immunity, a large pay cheque and an office in the European parliament. [The first honest MEP?]

In the past Korwin-Mikke, who has been an MEP since July 2014, has also used the n-word in parliament, said women had evolved to be less intelligent than men, and socialist[s] were more stupid than monkeys.

Well who ever said monkeys were stupid? Socialists, on the other hand…

OK, so his woman and n-word comments notwithstanding, it’s too bad he wasn’t yet an MEP in July 2013, or he might have offered the same display in honor of Croatia’s entry into the EU, which official Poland was a little too happy about.

Some interesting things about the July item:

1. The fact that there is at least one MEP who admits the EU project is Hitler’s dream come true while also being blatantly commie in nature. (As we know, the two rivals — fascim and communism — have always dovetailed, ergo the initial alliance between them.)

2. The fact that this is a wayward Pole. While Poland is being used as a tool against Russia, he is pro-Russian. He is also anti-communist. Which lays bare Zbigniew Brzezinski, the reputed and professed “anti-communist-slash-anti-Soviet” who turned out to be, simply, anti-Russian-slash-anti-Orthodox. How else does one explain our continuing Russia-loathing policies (under his eternal tutelage) even as Russia’s leader criticizes Soviet policies, and as we take the USSR’s place behaviorally? Mind you, this Pole is anti-communist and pro-Putin while also being anti-fascist. Whereas Washington and “the Allies” lacked the imagination to figure out how to be against one without being for the other. Even after that WWII Serbian guerrilla general showed them how it was done, the one we forsook in favor of communism — Mihailovic.

Poland was billed throughout the 1980s as anti-communist, and yet it has again taken center stage in the U.S. war against a non-communist Russia. So the “anti-communism” ran a bit deeper than that, as embodied in Brzezinski. Korwin-Mikke is the consistent Pole, someone who really does hate communism per se, rather than using it as camouflage for hatred of Russia. Unlike all the Western pretenders, who are just building a more expansive, commie-hued totalitarian empire, and resent Russia for standing in the way.

I’m also glad to be reminded of the “ein Fuehrer”reference, because it evokes yet another parallel with the most prominent current fascism we face, the Islamic one: Similar to “one leader,” I’m referring to that ubiquitous Muslim index finger in the air meaning “one god,” theirs.

Thanks to Aleksandra Rebic for circulating:

“KINGDOM OF YUGOSLAVIA DURING WORLD WAR II” by Miloslav Samardzic to be screened on Sunday April 19, 2015 (In Serbian with English subtitles)
at St. Luke Serbian Orthodox Church
10660 River Road, Potomac, Maryland 20854
after the Liturgy and Coffee Hour
(To start around 12 p.m.)
301.299.2704
info@svluka.org

Trailer can be seen here and here:

It will be interesting to see whether or not the film, which is full of rare footage and photos, accounts for the Allied betrayal of Mihailovich and Yugoslavia with the little-known fact that, according to American WWII intelligence officer Lt. Col. Robert McDowell, the Vatican needed for the barbarity against Orthodox Serbs by Catholic Croatia — a Hitler-aligned WWII loser and therefore vulnerable to punishment — to be concealed. Meanwhile, Churchill needed the Vatican’s help in keeping the Irish in check. And so a deal was struck: Yugoslavia would be handed over to the Communists, who were adept at suppressing information; Croatia would be reabsorbed into Yugoslavia and therefore would lose without losing; and Tito — that big Partisan warrior against the Fascists, who nonetheless entertained close to 300 meetings with them — would be our man to help everyone forget who did what to whom, under the Commie banner of Brotherhood and Unity.

The film comes at an opportune time, given that the E.U.’s newest pride and joy, Croatia, has just appointed its first female president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, of neo-Ustasha 1990s president Franjo Tudjman’s party. One of many NATO-approved “former” fascists, she promises to continue the fine Croatian tradition of minimizing the horrors that went on at Jasenovac. (So, America, let that be instructive in case we think that female “firsts” promise anything other than business-as-usual.)

A sampling of those horrors surfaced on Thursday in a Haaretz book review:

“A Hell Called Jasenovac” by Erwin Miller, translated from Croatian to Hebrew by Miriam Steiner-Aviezer. Yad Vashem Publications, 143 pages, 68 shekels.

…It is based on the articles, eyewitness accounts and memories of Erwin Miller, a young Jew from a small community in Croatia, who was imprisoned for four years, from age 17, in the hell that was named Jasenovac, the concentration camp that was considered “the Auschwitz of the Balkans.”

[We know, of course, that Jasenovac was more than the Auschwitz of the Balkans, it was the blueprint for Auschwitz, if one looks at the timeline.]

…It provides detailed description of the tortures and abuse and killings of Serbs, Roma and Jews by Croatians, who employed primitive, cruel, blood-curdling methods throughout most of the war years…Jasenovac existed from mid-1941 until the end of the war.

The purposes of this compound of camps were the imprisonment of Croatians who opposed the regime, and ethnic cleansing [extermination] of others. No less than 600,000 people were murdered there, the vast majority of them Serbs, as well as approximately 14,600 Roma…and between 20,000 and 25,000 Jews…

An international delegation eventually paid a two-hour visit to the camp, and a second delegation, from the Red Cross, visited in June 1944 — too late, of course - and without being shown any traces of the atrocities: the shattering of skulls with axes, the severing of body parts, beheadings and hanging of victims on rows of trees, slitting open of prisoners’ stomachs with a unique knife [the infamous “Serb cutter”], and disposal of their remains in the nearby river. The vast majority of killings were carried out with knives, hammers and axes…The rock bottom of the events…is the execution of a young man from [the author’s] town who tried to escape but failed due to heavy snow that upset his plans: he was skewered alive on a pole that pierced his naked body, which turned blue. The screams persisted until the young man finally died. All throughout, the prisoners stood there, weeping.

Another question pertains to the role of clergymen in the camp: the priest Miroslav Filipović-Majstorović, for instance, who with his own hands murdered dozens of prisoners, with a cruelty that was exceptional even at Jasenovac. He was in the habit of coming back from his killing sprees wearing his blood-stained priest’s cloak, the large cross around his neck, a dagger stuck in his belt and a spear in his hand. He would cut off dozens of victim’s ears with the dagger, and it was he who devised the unique knife with which the prisoners’ stomachs were sliced open…

I’m glad to see that Yad Vashem is the publisher of this book, because as recently as my 2007 visit there, throughout all the Holocaust exhibits, nowhere was the word Jasenovac — or even Ustasha or Croatia — to be found. Could 70 years of suppression finally be lifting?

Another book that’s just come out is by the above-mentioned WWII researcher and filmmaker Miloslav Samardzic. The book, which has the same name as the film, presents the basics about WWII Yugoslavia, facilitated with many photos. The volume benefits from Belgrade’s very recently opened archives, as well as from documents discovered only three or four years ago in Freiburg, Germany, about the real “Siege of Sarajevo.”

Thanks to the publisher of @PoglediFR (or facebook.com/PoglediWorld), Slobodan Kostadinovic, for getting this important work out there.

Yesterday, Pamela Geller was good enough to take a minute from — literally — saving the world, to cross-post Aleksandra Rebic’s open letter marking March 24th. She preceded it with the following introduction and my note to her (and there were some good comments by her clueful readers right off the top):

On March 24, 1999, Bill Clinton unleashed a disastrous NATO air campaign against Yugoslavia, against the Christian Serbs, against a sovereign nation that did not pose a threat to members of the alliance.

The bombing campaign was the second major combat op in its history, following the 1995 bombing of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The US involvement against the Christian Serbs was astonishing. Fifteen [16] years on, we see the poison fruit of Clinton’s war, including the ethnic cleansing of Sarajevo (now all Muslim), while paving the way for an Islamic state in the heart of Europe.

Much thanks to Julia Gorin, who reminds me to mark this black day: “A day that means nothing by now to the forgetful American mind, but a day that will live in infamy more than any other in my mind and in those of others who remember.

“This was the day, 16 years ago, that our supposedly anti-war president (still a shock to call him that) Bill Clinton announced to the world that NATO planes were in the skies, bombing our ally of WWI and WWII, Serbia. Talk about a ‘rush to war,’ as the Right was accused of in the 1.5-year run-up to Iraq. (Even a month before, in Feb. 1999, Weakly Standard, for example, had not one article about a possible war in Yugoslavia, or mentioning Kosovo. Yet, like foot soldiers, as soon Clinton pulled it out of a hat in March, they and everyone else was on board.)

“Anyway, I just wanted to forward these few paragraphs, written today by Aleksandra Rebic — a onetime neighbor of one of the 500 American pilots sheltered from the Germans by Mihailovich’s guerrillas after crashing in Yugoslavia — marking the day.”

WHAT IS OWED TO THE SERBS / By Aleksandra Rebic March 24, 2015

One of those moments you never forget: Before the dawn on March 25, 1999, I stepped outside the door to find The New York Times there on the ground with the headline announcing that NATO had begun its bombing campaign against the Serbs in the former Yugoslavia on March 24, 1999. I remember looking at that front page of the paper before picking it up and thinking – “They are really doing it. It’s no longer a threat. It’s real. It’s real. What a mistake. What a mistake.” Then I picked up the paper and went back inside. So began a 78 bombing campaign which included the time span over the Easter holiday and my family’s Christian Patron Saint’s Day – our Krsna Slava, St. Lazarus Saturday – which falls a week before Serbian Orthodox Easter.

I love America. Always have. Always will. But that bombing campaign in 1999, yet another horrific mistep in American foreign policy against the Christian Serbs that had spanned throughout the decade of the 1990s, beginning with the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, was a mistake of GIANT proportions. The Serbians had always been one of America’s most steadfast and loyal Allies and certainly her best friend in the Balkans for sure. What hurts the most is that now so many Serbians no longer consider America a friend or an ally and have no wish to be either of those to America. That is the real tragedy. The WRONG people were targeted. The WRONG people were punished. The WRONG people in the Balkans were alienated.

The NATO bombing campaign of 1999 against the Serbs stands as one of the most unjust acts of aggression in the history of the world. I can only hope and pray that, at the very least, some day there will be a public act of contrition in the form of a public apology from America, regardless of whether there is one from her NATO allies or not, and that this apology will resound for all the world to hear.

AMERICA OWES SERBIA THAT ACT OF REPENTANCE, AND MUCH MORE.

My new friend Jerry Gordon, a senior editor at New English Review, in March posted a blurb about Professor Raphael Israeli’s new book:

Thursday, 14 March 2013

The Death Camps of Croatia Visions and Revisions 1941-1945

by Raphael Israeli

Transactions Publishers
ISBN :978-1-4128-4975-3
New Brunswick (U.S.A.) and London (U.K.)
201 p.

Blurb for Book Jacket

The Death Camps of Croatia — Visions and Revisions, 1941-1945 chronicles the virtually unknown Genocide committed in unspeakable ways by the Ustashi fascists, Catholic priests and Bosnian Muslims of 700,000 Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies and dissident Croatians in the Jadovno and Jasenovac death camps during the period from 1941 to 1945 in wartime Yugoslavia in the Nazi-supported [Independent State of Croatia]. Using recent archival research unveiled at the Jadovno Conference in 2011, the author reveals the catastrophic and grisly testimonies of how these atrocities were committed and the evidence destroyed. It is a masterful and scholarly expose of the hitherto revisionist history of the Holocaust committed in wartime Yugoslavia.

Review

…That genocide is now considered the worst per capita in Europe surpassing those of the SS death factories of Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Treblinka. The slaughter was even found to be despicable by the Nazis…Over 80 percent of Yugoslavia’s [sic: Croatia’s] pre-war Jewish population of over 86,000…lost their lives in the death camps…Marshal Josip Broz Tito, wartime Partisan leader immured knowledge of these Croatian Death Camps in postwar Yugoslavia. The book defeats the revisionist history of the genocide perpet[u]ated by contemporary Croatian leaders aimed at covering up what occurred…The author pays special attention to the insidious role of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the Haj Amin al Husseini, and Hitler’s guest in Berlin during WWII. The author connects the Grand Mufti to the Muslim Brotherhood, his intervention in pogroms against Jews in Iraq, recruitment of Bosnian Muslim SS Waffen troops and scuttling of Jewish Children transports to Palestine…

Jerome B. Gordon, author of The West Speaks and a senior editor of The New English Review.

One sentence in the review which I did not include has the book revealing a “hitherto unknown genocide by nationalist Serbs and Cetniks who during the Nazi occupation relentlessly tracked down and killed Jews.” This caused me to raise my eyebrows, and I supposed that perhaps Israeli — like every other journalist, scholar and historian who’s worried about making the Serbs look too much better than their enemies — felt compelled to include such a section in order to morally equalize WWII Serbs with WWII Croatians. While I’d be surprised if some tracking-down and turning-in of Jews didn’t go on in Serbia, as it did in almost every European country, it certainly wasn’t the case with the most famous Chetnik fighters — those of Draza Mihailovich — who had 2,000 Bulgarian Jews fighting alongside them.

It’s possible the moral equivalence came from Communist sources that the author may have used. Or perhaps from the notorious, paid-for screed by Philip Cohen Serbia’s Secret War. Mihailovich did specifically address anti-Semitism as unacceptable, which implies there was at least some of it among his forces. But that’s a very long way from “relentlessly tracked down and killed,” much less “genocide.” It’s possible also that Israeli is conflating Mihailovich’s men with the collaborationist Nedic government, which did help hunt down Jews for the Gestapo. (Mihailovich had moles within the Nedic regime, funneling money, food and supplies to the resistance.) Even in that case, though, it would be a bit like comparing Vichy France to the SS itself. (Worse, since it took a lot more Serb blood than French before collaborating.)

What is described in the quote below applies also to the terrorists and mobsters of the KLA who are the U.S.-approved “leaders” of “independent” Kosovo, and helps explain it:

I remember the awkward moment when the Government dropped Draza Mihailovich and backed Tito. In the future, our directive ran, Mihailovich’s forces will be described not as ‘patriots’ but as ‘terrorist gangs’; in the future, we shall also drop the phrase ‘red bandits’ as applied to the Partisans and substitute ‘freedom fighters.’ …I assumed that the men far above who made the policy-decisions were as cynical about the distinction between bandit and Partisan as we were. Only later did it dawn on me that British Cabinet ministers, archbishops and newspaper editors actually believed our propaganda and took this moral double-talk seriously.

–Richard Crossman, New Statesman, Dec. 15, 1956

In reference to the above, I’ve often mused: If the belligerents, the Western interlopers, the dutiful scribes and their vested corporate editors have come to believe the lies they were telling, are they still lying? Or did they once lie, and now are simply deceived by themselves?

A note on Richard Crossman, from Aleksandra Rebic, from whom I got the above quote:

Richard Crossman (December 15, 1907 – April 5, 1974) …was a prominent Socialist, a British Labor Party politician, a Cabinet Minister…an author, and the editor of the New Statesman - Britain’s Current Affairs and Politics Magazine which is still “in circulation” today. Although Crossman was a prominent and devoted Socialist, he was a staunch anti-Communist. Crossman edited “The God that Failed” (1949) which is a collection of essays written by Communist intellectuals who became “disillusioned”.

Richard Crossman was around when the British, under the wartime leadership of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, made the policy decision with regards to Yugoslavia to drop their loyal and dedicated ally General Draza Mihailovich and support Josip Broz Tito in 1943/44, during WWII. You might think that a British socialist such as Crossman would not have had a problem with that “policy change”, but he did. Over ten years later, in 1956, it still bothered him enough that he wrote about it in the New Statesman.

I was struck by the extent to which his astute observations continued to remain relevant as the 20th century ended and into the 21st century. They continue to remain on the mark today, over fifty years later. That’s the thing about “Truth”. It remains morally absolute.

How far The New Statesman has fallen. Last month during the Olympics we were treated to the following from what passes for a statesman today, one Denis MacShane, who writes as if entirely indentured to the mobster-terrorists he helped prop up when he was a Labour minister. Hell, he’s so invested in the terrorists that he refuses to believe that mafia kingpin and former KLA boss Thaci (a.k.a. Kosovo’s “prime minister”) had anything to do with the KLA’s murder-for-organs operation. And when Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic dares to voice concern for his citizens and speak of the impending fate of the last of Kosovo’s Serbs, even this isn’t allowed. The usual pattern holds: Not only are Serbs not allowed to live in Kosovo, but they’re not even allowed to object to that fact.

An old Balkans spectre returns at the Olympics
Serbia’s new president is reviving the language of break-up and partition.
(Aug. 5)

A spectre is haunting the Balkans. Twenty five years after Slobodan Milosevic launched [sic] the nationalist conflicts with a rant [sic] in Pristina about the iniquities of the people of Kosovo, the new president of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic, has returned to the theme with the accusation that the government of Kosovo is planning “genocide” against the Serbs who live in the country.

…In an extraordinary outburst, Nikolic gave an interview in London in which he accused the internationally supervised government in Pristina of planning to expel the 40,000 Serbs who live in the north of Kosovo.

“When you expel 40,000 people, regardless of whether they are women, men, and when you change the ethnic composition of the territory that is genocide. There is a danger that Pristina would be prepared to go that far. The only armed force there, apart from the international community, is Albanian. I am convinced they wouldn’t mind doing that immediately.”

Nikolic has a fondness for the “G” word. His first statement after his election in May was to deny that the cold-blooded organised [sic] killing of 8,000 [sic] men at Srebrenica could be described as a genocidal crime….the language Milosevic used [sic] in 1987 to whip up Serb nationalist passions against Kosovans remains a point of reference for him.

The new prime minister of Serbia, Ivica Dacic, was Milosevic’s spokesman and has taken over the leadership of the Serb Socialist Party, once headed by Milosevic. Dacic has talked of a new partition of Kosovo…Belgrade’s refusal to deal [sic] with Kosovo is causing a nationalist backlash all over the Western Balkans.

But for the Milosevic retreads who have won power in Belgrade on the back of increasing unemployment and poverty, the spirit of 1987 demands that Kosovo has to accept re-partition and other humiliations to placate Serb nationalism. The presence of a contingent of Nato troops will prevent any outbreak of violence and Pristina is focused on inward investment , winning recognition for their young nation and offering the Serbs anything short of breaking apart Kosovo which diplomats think will lead to further demands for new frontiers and partitions elsewhere in the western Balkans.

The EU made major concessions to Nikolic’s predecessor, Boris Tadic, in order to nudge Serbia to a compromise on Kosovo so that both countries could advance towards EU membership….But the new nationalists in power in Belgrade have pocketed these and reverted to old lines. A new strategy for the western Balkans is needed. Milosevic caused the break-up of the former Yugoslavia into seven separate nations. His successors are back with more break-up and partition language. It was a disaster in 1987. It remains bad, sad politics today.

Who knew MacShane could write in Albanian, which is how this reads. We also have that favorite, WSJ-esque, touch of making the ‘Milosevic era’ comparison. Plus the usual inversion of blaming any further secessions in the region not on the actual precedent — the Kosovo secession — but on the federalists who want to remain citizens of the country they’ve always been citizens of (the Serbian citizens of northern Kosovo). Then of course, in addition to calling it “major concessions” when a peep is belatedly tolerated from Serbia in the course of her rape, a Serb leader is “nationalist” if he talks of partition, which had been on the table when compromise by the Albanians was futilely hoped for by the internationals.

The best comment after this carbon-writing came from journalist John Bosnitch:

Mon, 2012-08-06 08:20

Dear Editor,

Yes, there is a spectre haunting not just the Balkans, but the whole of Europe. That spectre is the spirit of the Nazi newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, which is, in this case, haunting the pages of the New Statesman. The dripping race hatred so evident in your article denouncing Serbian President Nikolic’s desperate call for protection against genocide is a prime example of why we Serbs are starting to see ourselves as…the next “Jews” of this German-dominated continent that has the Holocaust to show as its most historically relevant example of its treatment of minorities and other “chosen peoples”.

As an ethnic Serb, I cannot ignore the droning German-led EU calls for the elimination of the last vestiges of my nation from our southern heartland-province of Kosovo. We already endured our Kristallnacht in the March 2004 Kosovo Pogrom, when in less than 72 hours, 35 churches and monasteries were set aflame (many of them dating to the 14th century and representing an irretrievable loss for mankind). Dozens were killed, thousands wounded, thousands of houses and shops leveled and more than 4,000 Kosovo Serbs were expelled by rampaging Albanian extremists.

Now we are hearing from sources in Berlin and from their backers in Washington that the time has finally come to resolve the “Kosovo Serb Question” with what would amount to a new Final Solution directed against that last surviving ten-percent remnant of Kosovo’s indigenous Serb population.

And yet, when our new, democratically elected president dares to plead for help at the Olympic altar of peace and international friendship, your writer, Denis MacShane, not only rejects but denounces our plea in a manner reminiscent of how England and the rest of the “civilized” world rejected and turned back the S.S. St. Louis, the ocean liner carrying over 900 doomed Jews trying to flee Hitler in 1939.

May I therefore make the traditional one last request of the condemned before more than a thousand years of Serbian culture and ethnic heritage is erased from our Kosovo homeland? Please do send Denis MacShane to report from Kosovo after we inconvenient Serbs are gone, so that he may dance on our graves and report the event as a festival of European inter-ethnic understanding and progress. His resulting article will most certainly go down in the history of hate literature and seal the reputation of the New Statesman forever.

Sincerely,
John Bosnitch
Journalist
The InterMedia Center News Agency
Belgrade, Serbia

A comment by “PEN” is also worth quoting:

…[Serbs] are subjected to constant harassment, intimidation, and risk life and limb when trying to return to their homes. A returnee Serb couple in their seventies were murdered recently. Churches demolished. Cemetaries vandalised and desecrated. Buses carrying children stoned etc etc. But of course none of this would chime into your rosy picture of Albanian run Kosovo. And so far as partition and changing borders is concerned isn’t that what the Kosovo project was all about in the first place. Did anybody ask the Serbian people if they agreed to the partition of their country. You sound like a mouthpiece for the Pristina government.

As with all things Balkan, Western media differs not at all from Ottoman media. Below is an article from The Journal of Turkish Weekly:

Nikolic’s Comments on Kosovo Draw Fire (Aug. 2)

The refusal of ultra-nationalist Serb President Tomislav Nikolic to rule out partitioning Kosovo along ethnic lines, reminding people of the bloody wars that followed the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia, is causing sharp reactions.

…Nikolic said that Serbs in Kosovo are living “under the threat of genocide,” and any attempt to impose Pristina’s rule in the north “could lead to a Serb exodus.”

“What if the Serbs move out? Who will accept the results of such genocide?” Nikolic told The Guardian. The new president said 40,000 people could be expelled, “regardless of whether they are women, men, [civilians or] soldiers.” The result would be a change to “the ethnic composition of the territory.”

“Nikolic is embarrassing himself with statements about genocide that have no basis in fact and ideas about partition that would end Serbia’s hopes of ever gaining entry into the EU,” Daniel Serwer [did he just come up with another new rule for Serbia’s EU entry?], professor of conflict management at the US-based Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, told SETimes.

“[Nikolic] should consult Serbs south of the Ibar River about his partition ideas: most of them are strongly opposed, as is the Serbian Orthodox Church,” he said. [See how Serwer conveniently cites the for-sale part of the Church that we installed.]

Seb Bytyci, executive director of the Balkan Policy Institute in Pristina, said Kosovo’s institutions are multi-ethnic and have not undertaken any action that would be described as aiming to cause Kosovo Serbs to flee.

“On the contrary, Kosovo has spent tens of millions of dollars to build a multi-ethnic and integrated society. This rhetoric of victimisation is what has contributed to the terrible wars of the 1990s,” Bytyci told SETimes. [And as an Albanian, he should be an expert on victimization rhetoric.]

“Since 1999, Serbia has maintained parallel institutions in Kosovo, in breach of Resolution 1244, which have sought to undermine Kosovo’s development, chiefly by maintaining segregation between Serbs and Albanians. And throughout this time, Serbia has sought to create a mini-state in northern Kosovo, severely undermining the stability of the whole region,” Bytyci told SETimes.

Right. It’s Serbia that divides Serbs and Albanians. And not the Albanian feces on the walls of houses for Serb returnees, which keeps Serbs out.

Below is Nikolic’s Guardian interview that MacShane was most likely referring to:

Serbian president Nikolic warns of Kosovo genocide (July 29)

The Serbian president has claimed Serbs in Kosovo are living under the threat of genocide and would not rule out a partition between ethnic Serb and Albanian regions of the former province….arguing that until now only Serbia had been asked to make concessions in efforts to defuse the dispute and it would now demand more concessions from Pristina.

“What compromise has been done by Pristina up to now? None. All the talks have been on things Serbia will accept. Serbia hasn’t set any conditions,” he said. “It’s not a compromise if Serbia is always backtracking step by step. It’s not a compromise if Pristina says its independence is recognised and that it will realise its independence on our territory.”

A Serb enclave around the northern half of the divided city of Mitrovica refuses to accept rule from the ethnic Albanian government in Pristina, the focus of tension since Kosovo declared its independence in 2008.

Kosovo’s leadership has repeatedly called for the international community to help it extend its authority into the Mitrovica enclave and has been increasingly assertive in its efforts to force the issue.

Nikolic said any attempt to impose Pristina’s rule could lead to a Serb exodus. “What if the Serbs move out. Who will accept the results of such genocide? That is one of the definitions of genocide: when you expel 40,000 people, regardless of whether they are women, men, [civilians or] soldiers, and when you change the ethnic composition of the territory. That is genocide.

“There is a danger that Pristina would be prepared to go that far…” He added that the only thing preventing such action was the presence of Nato troops. [Who so far have been helping beat the Serbs into submission to Pristina rule, which ultimately will have helped lead to the exodus.]

Nikolic underlined an earlier declaration that he would never exercise power in Pristina, and called on his Kosovan counterpart, Atifete Jahjaga, to admit she would never govern in northern Mitrovica…

Nikolic said his greatest challenge was to fill the estimated $3bn (£2bn) hole in the budget. He asked for international assistance…but warned creditors against making their help conditional on Serbia making concessions over Kosovo.

“Maybe someone thought we were ready to make various concessions if we were poor. But we expect the international community and our friends to help us to recover the economy in line with their duties and obligations,” he said. “We don’t want be treated like country cousins.”

I’m proud of Right Side News, which today has published my article “Propagandist at Washington Times Perverts WWII History to Scorn Serbs.”

It has photos and footage related to the most suppressed WWII story ever.

It turns out that someone at the State Department knew all along that Croatia never answered for its Nazi past and shouldn’t just sail into the EU un-scrutinized and unreformed. Unfortunately, it’s a bit late. This former Under Secretary of State, Stuart Eizenstat, could have spoken up when Croatia was put on the fast-track in the mid-2000s, or even as late as last year, when the final stage of accession began; Croatia will be an EU member by mid next year.

Still, one is grateful for the following item from Thursday’s Haaretz (and please don’t be fooled by the paper’s — likely not Eizenstat’s — clumsy efforts at moral equivalence where there is none, via the strained insertion of Serbia):

EU should hold Croatia and Serbia accountable for Holocaust roles, says U.S. diplomat (June 21)

Former Under Secretary of State Stuart E. Eizenstat tells Haaretz in a wide-ranging interview that if Croatia wants to join the democratic body, it must follow rule of law and come to terms with its past.

By Mordechai I. Twersky

A leading U.S. diplomat and former ambassador to the European Union is calling on the EU to encourage Croatia and Serbia to take responsibility for their roles in the Holocaust before granting them EU membership.

“Now is the time for the European Union to exact the maximum amount of leverage,” said Stuart E. Eizenstat, a former U.S. under secretary of state, who served as the Clinton administration’s special representative on Holocaust-era issues. “Once they’re in, the leverage is lost.”

Eizenstat, who gave a wide-ranging interview to Haaretz while attending the President’s Conference in Jerusalem yesterday, noted that Croatia’s president, Ivo Josipovic, was also in attendance. He said Josipovic must go beyond his apology, issued last February, for his country’s role in the crimes committed against the Jews during the Second World War. He called on him to commence with a restitution program and the formation of an independent commission of international scholars to examine the country’s wartime past.

“Neither one of those is being done right now with respect to Croatia,” said Eizenstat, who has negotiated agreements with Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France and other European countries with regard to restitution of property, compensation for slavery, recovery of looted art and bank accounts, and payment of insurance policies for Holocaust victims.

According to the Yad Vashem’s website, 30,000 of Croatia’s Jews died during the Holocaust - 80 percent of the country’s Jewish population.

Croatia is expected to gain EU membership next year.

Serbia applied for EU membership in 2009 and may be granted entry as early as 2014. Yad Vashem estimates that 14,500 Jews were exterminated in Serbia during the Holocaust.

“This is a time to say, ‘Look, if you’re going to get into a democratic organization with rules of law, you have to demonstrate that the rule of law applies to you as well, and that you’re going to find ways to deal with your past,’” said Eizenstat, America’s ambassador to the EU from 1993-1996, who accused the EU of not holding Central and Eastern European countries accountable.

“It’s never been on the EU’s agenda,” said the 69-year-old diplomat, a native of Atlanta, Georgia. “They need to take the lead, and they simply haven’t.”

Haaretz attempted to reach the Croatian delegation attending the Jerusalem Conference but did not receive a response before press time. […]

Perhaps “it’s never been on the EU’s agenda,” Mr. Eizenstat, because the EU was, after all, conceived by “former” Nazis in 1957, and modeled on a less malevolent version of Hitler’s vision.

The stats mentioned by Haaretz — 30,000 Jews killed by WWII Croatia — naturally neglect to mention the 750,000 Serbs that Croatia killed, many of them alongside Jews at the notorious but unknown-to-Westerners concentration complex of Jasenovac, WWII’s third-most efficient death camp and in fact its first, laying the blueprint for the rest.

Clearly, Haaretz knows there’s nothing politically incorrect about ignoring the always politically correct deaths of Serbs.

Now, that’s what wasn’t mentioned about Serbs. What was mentioned follows protocol as well: “…14,500 Jews were exterminated in Serbia during the Holocaust.”

But there is a world of difference between “in Serbia” and “by Serbia,” between Nazis doing the killing in occupied Serbia and Croats doing the killing in Axis-allied Croatia. Nor, again, can one help but notice that the two mentions of Serbia — just enough to equalize it with Croatia — seem shoehorned in. They are outside of quotation marks, that is, not attributed to Eizenstat, whose quotes mention only Croatia. Another clue pointing to a bit of editorial guidance is the part about attempts to get a comment from the Croatian delegation.

Closing with a bit of history: While some Serbs did turn Jews in to the Germans (without doing the actual killing) — as was happening all over Europe — Haaretz’s glaring insertions perplexed Hague analyst Andy Wilcoxson, who sent an email elaborating:

I think there were probably some Nazi collaborators among the Serbs, but I don’t think there was a single country occupied by the Nazis where there weren’t collaborators.

What I do know is that the Chetniks [Serbian guerrillas] raised a rebellion against the Nazi occupiers, and that the vast majority of Serbs were either Communist Partisans or Royalist Chetniks. I also know that Truman posthumously gave [Chetnik] General Mihailovic the Legion of Merit. The fact that Truman gave him the award *after* the Communists executed him for “collaborating with the Nazis” tells me that President Truman didn’t put any stock in the allegations of Nazi collaboration [by Mihailovic’s Chetniks], which he was certainly aware of when he decided to give him the award because the allegations were all over the media by then.

I also know that if you go to a library and search the microfilms of American newspapers for stories mentioning Chetniks during World War II, especially 1941 and 1942, it was reported at the time that the Chetniks were leading the rebellion against the Ustasha and Nazi occupation forces in Serbia.

Here is a movie produced by 20th Century Fox in 1943 about the Chetniks.

Amazing how they can re-write the history of the 2nd World War to turn the Serbs into the Nazis they fought against and get away with it, when it was obvious to EVERYONE during the war that the Serbs sided with the Allies.

(Similarly, last year a writer named Royston Jones wrote for WalesHome.org: “While a small number of Serbs collaborated, the vast majority reacted as Serbs always have when threatened or invaded. They fought. The courage and doggedness of Tito’s (mainly Serbian) Partisans and the royalist (and totally Serbian) Chetniks led by Draža Mihailovic is well documented. The vast numbers of German troops they tied down for years undoubtedly helped the Soviets achieve victory on the Eastern Front.”)

Look for this documentary about WWII’s Halyard Mission, the largest American air rescue from behind enemy lines that no one knows about. (Because it was made possible by Serbs, and by Serb-Americans in the U.S. military):

Appendix A

At least reunified Germany has had Croatia’s back all along:

MEPs wrestle over report on Croatia’s EU progress (March 1, 2007)

…The report says that the “effective prosecution of war crimes is still being undermined by hostility at local level against initiatives questioning Croatia’s role in the conflict.”

It urges Zagreb “actively to encourage and support the prosecution of war crimes.”

It also “deplores” the government’s offer to help pay the defence costs of General Ante Gotovina and its offer to act as amicus curiae for this and other cases….

“I am satisfied with Croatia’s progress. At the moment I do not see any problems on the Croatian side for EU entry before the European elections in 2009 if prime minister Sanader pushes on with his successful policies,” said centre-right German MEP Elmar Brok.

And once we became Germany’s foot soldier, not only did we assist militarily in the biggest ethnic cleansing of the Balkan wars — Croatia’s 1995 Operation Storm which expelled 250,000 Serbs while bludgeoning those too old to make it out — but the reasons for our initial objections no longer mattered, as these more recent rosy headlines demonstrate:

Cheney: US backs Croatia for joining NATO, EU (May 7, 2006)

Bush: Croatia a Good Example for the Region (March 27, 2008)

Bush hails Croatia’s NATO acceptance (April 5, 2008)

US and UK clash over Croatia’s EU membership bid (Jan. 1, 2009)

Bush praises Croatia, promise to work on visa waiver program (April 5, 2008)

U.S. President George W. Bush praised Croatians as hardworking, freedom-loving people on Saturday and promised that America and NATO would stand by Croatia if anyone should endanger it.

Washington did not initially support Croatia’s independence….It was not until April 1992 that the U.S. recognized Croatian independence — three months after the European Union did. In the 1990s, Washington also disapproved of Croatian nationalism.

Bush’s visit is seen by the government as a confirmation that Croatia is now fully embraced by the West.

History be damned.

Appendix B

After my Croatia article ran in Jerusalem Post in February 2010, a friend shared the following revelation, indicating that WWII Croatia was a precedent for more than just death camps, and leading to the question whether six million Jews died for the dream of an independent Catholic Croatia:

Interesting chapter [in The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, Indiana University Press]. Page 39:

“….The Croatian genocide is significant historically because of its timing and the circumstances surrounding it. By failing to speak out publicly against genocide in Croatia, the Holy See lost an opportunity to condemn it in 1941, just months before the Holocaust began. The circumstances are equally important. Since the main victims of Ustasha genocide were Orthodox Serbs, Pope Pius XII forfeited an opportunity to denounce a genocide that did not involve Hitler’s plans for Jews which had not yet been worked out in detail. Among the Axis powers, the Italians found the brutality of the Ustasha murderers horrifying and the Germans saw it as economically disruptive. The summer of 1941 would have been the right moment in time for the Holy See to exercise moral leadership.

“Why then did Pope Pius not address this moral issue? It was not because it did not occur to him. Cardinal Eugene Tisserant had smelled genocide in the air at the beginning of WWII and had suggested to Pius at that time that he address the issue in an encyclical. Rather, it was because the Holy See preferred to bring diplomatic pressure on the Ustasha government instead of challenging the fascists publicly on the immorality of genocide. [Croatian fuehrer] Pavelic’s diplomatic emissaries to the Holy See were scolded gently by Monsignors Tardini and Montini…”

The genocide of Serbs and Jews in Croatia happened first — before Hitler’s started The Final Solution — and the Vatican was intent on keeping Catholic Croatia as a state, so they didn’t want to rock the boat by “condemning genocide” as a moral issue because it would damn Croatia and might even reflect badly on the Catholic Church given how religiously motivated that the Ustashe were…Once Pius remained silent about genocide in Croatia, Hitler had him over a barrel: What kind of “moral high ground” could Pius have condemning Hitler killing Jews when he’d never opened his mouth on what was happening in Catholic Croatia?

Jasenovac, the only death camp in Europe not run by Nazi Germany but rather by the Croats themselves, was built almost a year before Auschwitz . I had always assumed that the Croats had seen Germans sending Jews to death camps so they joined in by building Jasenovac, but based on the timeline it was the other way around. Croatia’s Jasenovac was actually the model for Auschwitz, right down to having a railway close by to transport people…(It’s true that Dachau was built in 1933, before the war began, but Dachau began primarily as a concentration camp to house political prisoners — mostly Christians.)

But don’t ask a Croatian about any of this stuff. He’ll believe he has no idea what you’re talking about and will call you a Chetnik for bringing it up. Anyway, it’s all about the beautiful coastline, Dude. Welcome to the EU!

*****TWO UPDATES AT BOTTOM*****

In my blog responding to The Washington Times and its calumnist — I mean columnist — Jeffrey T. Kuhner, I made a couple references to the traumatized Canadian UN soldiers who witnessed the aftermath of the crimes by rampaging Croatian troops upon Serbian soldiers and civilians alike. I wanted to just illustrate some of what that was referring to, with a few random excerpts:

ASHAMED OF OUR INCOMPETENCE: Recollections of a Canadian Soldier
Translated interview with Peter Cochrane, by Ljiljana Mitrovic

…One evening while heatedly debating how politicians yet again stirred the ashes and reignited the embers in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo, and how many Serbs died in this last war, a passerby (from Georgia – formerly in USSR), obviously not realizing his surroundings, took it upon himself to announce that the Croatians didn’t kill enough Serbs. Before the present, shocked Serbs could react, [the stranger slugged him].

“I didn’t have a choice; I had to knock him out,” begins Peter Cochrane, a Canadian soldier who served as a peacekeeper in Serbian Krajina and Slavonia from October 1992 to October 1993. An experience which he says will remain forever etched into his conscious and subconscious mind.

Massacre in Medak Pocket

“I was a witness to the endless lines of broken figures carrying what they could take away on their shoulders. And the fallen cities, burning villages, bloody sidewalks, mass graves - everything that is unimaginable in modern society” confesses Pete who, with his gesture towards the Georgian, awakened a trust in even the most skeptical among us.

Born September 4th, 1965 in Montreal, where his family still resides, at the age of 21 Pete decided to join the Canadian armed forces.

After his training in Quebec, Nova Scotia and Alberta, he was transferred to the Third Battalion PPCLI Division (Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry)…In 1992 he was sent to the territories of the former Yugoslavia. There he spent the next six months in Krajina and Western Slavonia….

…”That breed of hate and resentment I simply couldn’t imagine. We, the UN soldiers, tried to help the poor locals on both sides of the conflict, but couldn’t do much due to political directives coming from New York. When I went into this mission I thought I was going there to help the people and to maintain peace with no regard towards nationality. Yet, because of orders coming from ‘above’ I was extremely frustrated and paralyzed to do anything as were the rest of the UNPROFOR soldiers whose hands were tied.”

“For example: It was well known to us that there were three mass graves in the vicinity of Uljanik, where Serbs were buried”, continues Pete in the same breath. “Given orders to go down there and investigate, we discovered bodies of massacred Serb civilians and sent our report to New York. They did absolutely nothing about the matter, nor did it in any way dawn on them to blame the Croatians. The same was seen, in an already witnessed scenario, around the villages in the area of Pakrac. Many knives were dragged across the throats of women, children, elderly and others… many more men were captured in a cursed ring of hate and revenge. I remember we patrolled for days around those villages. In one of the houses lived an old woman, as you would say, who had one foot in the grave. For days she greeted us with Turkish coffee and plum brandy (rakija). Then one day, she wasn’t there. Then the second, then the third… Being curious as to her whereabouts, we went into her open house and found her on the floor with her throat slit. We asked ourselves who she could have possibly crossed.

Then, there was a little Serbian boy who lost his family to a grenade explosion and was dramatically disturbed by the incident. Every day he greeted our patrol with an endless stream of “kako ste, kako ste” (how are you) which is why we dubbed him the ‘kakoste kid’. We gave him candies and food, then one day we found out he was killed. Again, why?

I even participated in the first big Canadian firefight in almost 40 years, on September 8th, 1993 in Medak Pocket.

At that time, while guarding the Serbian villages, we were attacked by the Croatian army. Upon our return to the demolished houses we came upon a scenario which cannot be forgotten. Slaughtered people, children and animals… a massacre unthinkable for civilization. I was ashamed of the political decisions of my superiors. Truth be told, I was ashamed of neither myself nor my friends since we were doing everything in our capacity to help civilians, especially children and the elderly. But, the effects of those memories I feel to this day.”

Could you understand what was going on there?

“At that time I couldn’t. Nobody could have understood that. But then, upon my return to Canada, I began to study the history of the former Yugoslavia and many things became clear. Only then did I comprehend what sorts of lies were being served through the “free” western media. There was a lot of shooting, and blood, especially at night. Fields were over-filled with mines in which many Canadian soldiers were injured including me. “

Pete does not wish to speak of injuries he sustained in just such a field, from which he almost went deaf and is frequently reminded of by the shrapnel in his leg…

“As a soldier you have to be strong, yet a stint in the battlefields of Yugoslavia will leave a lasting impression on the strongest of men. My friend who spent only six months in Croatia and was injured there a number of times, upon his return to Canada sought the help of numerous doctors and psychologists, but nobody could help him. He was found in his own apartment, having taken his own life, his pistol still in his hand.”

Hell in Kosovo

…During the 85th anniversary of the Canadian army [Pete] met Major General Lewis Mackenzie, with whom he is impressed primarily because of his objective political views.

“He is one of those rare leaders who always speaks the truth”, says Pete as he continues the story about his service, which eventually brought him to Kosovo and Metohija in July of 1999.

Right around the time when this Serbian region was a new hotbed around which all proven contributors and sub-contributors to the advanced Balkan crisis circled like vultures, Canadian troops had an assignment to protect Serbian Churches and other Serbian holy sites. Nothing personal against Pete and his objectives, but Archbishop Artemije at that time announced “churches and monasteries that survived 500 years of Turkish occupation, didn’t survive two months in the presence of 50,000 heavily armed international ‘peace keepers’.”

It is assumed that war is waged to prevent ethnic cleansing and genocide, to establish law and order.

“For me, it’s an astounding figure that out of the 80,000 Serbs in the region who we were supposedly protecting when we arrived in Kosovo, there were just 8,000 left only a few months later”, recalls Pete Cochrane.

This means that any living human being who wasn’t Albanian by descent was forced out of Kosovo and Metohija under the ‘watchful eye’ of heavily armed NATO soldiers.

“Those who stayed were attacked every day. And the properties of those who fled or were killed were pillaged and Serbian monuments were systematically defaced. Rule of law was - no law. We couldn’t do much nor did we know how to subdue the hordes of Albanians who rushed to destroy everything that lay in front of them. I’m ashamed that when I was in Kosovo I couldn’t do more for the innocent Serbian people.

Were you able to avoid your mission to Kosovo?

“Yes, but in that case I would have had to face the consequences - which goes without saying when you’re employed by the army. But, to be honest, before I left for Kosovo, I didn’t know what was waiting for me. Afterwards it was too late. During my time in the former Yugoslavia I didn’t do anything I regret. But, I do regret that I couldn’t do more.”

Croatian atrocities being forgotten: Cdn. officers (CBC News, July 21, 2003)

Canadian officers say they are frustrated by inaction over a 1995 ethnic cleansing operation by Croatians against Serbs – one in which the Croats may have had western help.

They documented numerous atrocities during Operation Storm, which was a four-day campaign by the Croats to recover land held in central and southern Croatia for four years by Serbian militias.

However, not one person has been arrested and brought before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

More than 200,000 Serbs were expelled, and thousands were killed.

“Just amazing. You can see the holes in the back of the head,” said Capt. Gerry Carron, showing pictures he took to document the killings.

“We found people in wells,” he said. “There was an old lady we found head-first in a well. Why did they do that?”

Some top military officers said the expertise required to plan and execute Operation Storm meant it couldn’t have been done by the Croats alone.

Croatia’s American consultant

Fingers have been pointed at Military Professional Resources Inc. (MPRI), a U.S. consulting company based in Alexandria, Va. The company’s Web site points to an article in which the Croatian government praised the job MPRI has done for it – although MPRI has denied involvement in Operation Storm.

Croatia was getting assistance in other ways. Argentina [Nazi haven] supplied artillery used in Operation Storm – despite a UN ban and even though its own soldiers were working there as [ostensibly “neutral”] peacekeepers.

Looking back, Capt. Carron said peacekeepers may have made things worse by disarming the Serbs while the Croats re-armed.

Canadian officers say the involvement of the West could explain the foot-dragging on prosecution….

Embedding has been disabled for this documentary that interviews some of the Canadian soldiers — “The Ghosts of Medak Pocket” — but it is gripping. It includes some disturbing footage taken by the UN troops themselves. The introduction from the youtube account holder reads:

This is the story of brave men of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (2PPCLI) who put their lives on the line to protect Serbian civilians of Medak Pocket from Croat ethnic cleansing and whose noble cause and valiant actions were kept under wraps under the general pressure of anti-Serbian policy.

In 1993, Canadian peacekeepers in Croatia were plunged into the most significant fighting Canada had seen since the Korean War. Their extraordinary heroism was covered up and forgotten. The ghosts of that battlefield have haunted them ever since.

Canadian peacekeepers in Medak Pocket, Croatia, found no peace to keep in September 1993. They engaged the forces of ethnic cleansing in a deadly firefight and drove them from the area under United Nations protection. The soldiers should have returned home as heroes. Instead, they arrived under a cloud of suspicion and silence.

In Medak Pocket, members of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry did exactly the job they were trained — and ordered — to do. When attacked by the Croat army they returned fire and fought back valiantly to protect Serbian civilians and to save the UN mandate in Croatia. Then they confronted the horrors of the offensive’s aftermath — the annihilation by the Croat army of Serbian villages. The Canadians searched for survivors. There were none.

The soldiers came home haunted by these atrocities, but in the wake of the Somalia affair, Canada had no time for soldiers’ stories of the horrific compromises of battle — the peacekeepers were silenced. In time, the dark secrets of Medak’s horrors drove many of these soldiers to despair, to homelessness and even suicide.

Of course, no good Serb-slaughter goes unrewarded in the Balkans, and so it wasn’t long before an Albanian general with a prominent role in Medak and Storm was installed as “prime minister” of Kosovo, seen by Washington as a hardliner who could speed independence along:

General Who Ordered Attacks on Canadian Troops Becomes Prime Minister of the U.N.-Administered Serbian Province of Kosovo (Canada Newswire, March 13, 2006)

Agim Ceku, who is alleged to have led an unprovoked 1993 military attack on Canadian Peacekeepers in the Medak Pocket region of Croatia, has been chosen by Albanians [and facilitated by Washington] to replace the outgoing prime minister….

The Medak offensive, allegedly planned by Ceku, is also known as the “Medak massacre”. This name is entrenched in the minds of many Canadian Armed Forces personnel as Canada’s largest military battle since the Korean War. Four Canadians were wounded in the clash that left nearly 30 Croatian soldiers dead.

According to reputable sources, Agim Ceku was instrumental in the 1993 Croatian military offensive at Medak, and was one of the key planners of the 1995 ethnic cleansing operation ‘Storm’. Both of these operations involved the deliberate shelling of civilians, rape, torture, systematic arson, and the permanent expulsion of Serbs from the Krajina region of Croatia.

It is an insult to Canada, and in particular the honourable and respected personnel of the Canadian Armed Forces, that Agim Ceku is not behind bars.

[He’s quite the opposite of being behind bars, actually. In 2007 at the joint American-German Marshall Center in Garmisch, Germany, which trains Eastern Europeans in Western military ways and takes pride in grads going on to attain general officer rank and cabinet appointments back home, the “Highest Ranking Graduate” being touted, with enlarged photo and all, was General — oops, Prime Minister — Ceku. “The only good part of this story,” according to author and Naval War College professor John R. Schindler, from whom I learned of this, “is that this was pointed out to me, last month in Garmisch, by a Muslim graduate of the Marshall Center, a senior minister from one of the -stans, who was every bit as horrified by this as I was, who called Ceku a ‘war criminal’ even before I did.”]

This recent appointment raises concern that a man who helped plan and execute two campaigns of ethnic cleansing has become the Prime Minister of Kosovo, a province where intolerance towards non-Albanians continues unchecked and unabated. […]

UNPROFOR footage shown at Croatian generals’ trial (Feb. 13, 2008)

Video footage of UNPROFOR entering the Medak Pocket was shown at the trial of Rahim Ademi and Mirko Norac.

The Croatian generals are on trial for war crimes carried out against civilians during the Medak Pocket operation. Croatian forces entered the region several days before UNPROFOR’s arrival.

On a number of videos, one can see villages razed to the ground, with UN soldiers picking up dead bodies and placing them in body bags. Footage of the identification of 50 bodies returned to the Serbs by Croatian forces in Korenica was also shown yesterday.

The video, filmed by the Reuters news agency, shows Croatian and UN officials meeting at the demarcation point after Croatian forces were obliged to leave the region under the terms of an agreement concluded between the two forces.

A Canadian battalion commander said in an interview that the Croatian forces had delayed their exit from the region, which was why UN forces had entered the territory several hours later than planned.

“We were fired on by the Croatian forces on several occasions. There were several incidents and we returned fire several times, but no one was killed,” UN officer Mark Rullo said in the video.

He said that Croatian forces had been issued a second ultimatum the next day in Ribnik that they should leave or risk being fired upon by UN forces.

Another UN officer, who did not give his name, said that the Serb homes in the occupied villages had been destroyed just before the arrival of the peacekeeping forces.

“They wanted to make sure that there was nothing left here when we arrived,” he added. […]

Canadian lieutenant-general in war criminals’ cross hairs
By SCOTT TAYLOR (Halifax Herald, May 5, 2008)

…The previous week, Lt.-Gen. Leslie had taken the witness stand at the Hague Tribunal to testify against a Croatian general accused of war crimes. The incident to which Leslie was an eyewitness occurred in August 1995 during the most violent episode of ethnic cleansing during the civil wars that heralded the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. At that juncture, a Canadian battalion and a large number of Canadian UN observers were located in the Krajina, an ethnic Serbian enclave in the newly declared independent republic of Croatia.

When the Croats seceded from Yugoslavia, the Krajina Serbs declared their own independence from Croatia. An armed standoff over this territory had existed from 1991 until the summer of 1995. When Croatian forces launched a major offensive to eliminate the Krajina pocket, the Canadian peacekeepers did not resist the Croatian attack, and the tiny Serbian army in the Krajina fled without much of a fight. Having already experienced the Croatian brand of ethnic cleansing, in particular the infamous massacre and rape of innocent Serbs in the Medak Pocket in 1993, the Serb civilians also fled the advancing Croats.

As the Serb soldiers fled into Bosnia, hundreds of thousands of Serbian refugees streamed into the Krajina capital of Knin. It was here that then-colonel Leslie was based with the UN mission. As the offensive approached Knin, the UN advised the Croatian troops that the city was devoid of Serbian military targets and should be regarded as an “open city.”

Despite the UN warnings, the Croatian gunners launched a devastating barrage that killed hundreds of defenceless Serb civilians. At that time, Leslie and other senior Canadian officers angrily denounced this as a war crime.

To his credit, Leslie, now army commander, was not dissuaded from testifying at the Hague by domestic political pressure….Predictably, the Croatian defendant, Gen. Ante Gotovina, wasted little time before unleashing his lawyers on a smear campaign against Leslie.

Last September a similar case occurred when two Croatian generals accused of war crimes in the Medak Pocket incident blamed the Canadian peacekeepers of having killed the innocent Serbs and committing the atrocities…What is noticeably absent on these occasions is any sort of supporting fire from the Canadian government.

Therefore, when Croatian war criminals accuse our soldiers of committing these atrocities and cast aspersions on our decorated generals, one would expect to see a purple-headed Peter MacKay kicking over garbage cans and demanding apologies on behalf of our maligned soldiers. Instead of meekly accepting Croatia’s membership into NATO last month, Canada should have demanded justice be brought upon the perpetrators of these heinous crimes as a prerequisite to Croatia’s entry into the alliance.

That is the kind of political support our soldiers deserve - not just red sweatshirts on Fridays and flag-waving rallies.

There is a good story to go with all of this as well, about another Canadian soldier, one that illustrates that in recent years Canada and Canadians have behaved more like what America is supposed to be, and once was (e.g. standing by Israel; the prime minister initially vetoing the Srebrenica resolution which, I think, Parliament eventually passed anyway).

‘King Marco’ left his legacy in Bosnia (The Canadian Press, April 20, 2002)

Major Shane Schreiber, who serves in another unit of the Canadian Forces in Kandahar, wrote this tribute the day after Sgt. Marc Leger’s death.

I had the pleasure of having worked with Sgt. Leger for two years when I commanded A Company (Parachute). He was a soldier of rare skill, compassion and intellect.

My most vivid memory of then-Master Cpl. Leger was during our tour in Bosnia in 2000. By that time, most of the international aid agencies had abandoned Bosnia for more exciting missions elsewhere, but the need was greater than ever because of the return of large numbers of displaced persons to their war — destroyed homes (and lives).

Master Cpl. Leger had been given a particularly difficult area of responsibility in a place called the Livno Valley. Here, Serbs who had been ethnically cleansed by their Croat neighbours were returning to shattered homes. Despite the fact it was beyond our mandate, Master Cpl. Leger felt he had to do something to help these people.

To him, it made no sense that he was enforcing a peace that kept these people living like refugees in their own homes.

He began by doing little things, like constantly harassing his company commander (me) for resources to help these people. He took leftover and thrown away building supplies and distributed these on patrol. He snuck food from the camp kitchen, and spirited off the camp water truck when no one was looking. The more he found to help with, the more he needed, as those villagers he was helping told their friends to return home, that the Canadians would help them. Soon, a shattered village began to rebuild.

The Livno valley became Master Cpl. Leger’s adopted home. He lived in the camp with the rest of us, but his heart and mind was always with ‘his’ people stuck in the bombed-out houses among mine-strewn fields. He could not accept that humanitarian aid agencies had simply left these people to fend for themselves. He began to badger the local UNHCR representative, and any aid agency that drove through the area was stopped by Master Cpl. Leger and given a lecture on the conditions and requirements for assistance.

Finally, I explained to Master Cpl. Leger that to get any resources from UNHCR or any other aid agency, he was going to have to get their attention, and the only way to get their attention was to get the locals to appoint a mayor to plead their case directly. Seizing on the idea, Master Cpl. Leger organized a “town hall” meeting with his people. He explained the realities and the requirements, and explained the need to choose a leader, a spokesperson. Unanimously, they chose him.

Amused, he explained that he could not act as their spokesperson; he was a Canadian soldier — not a Bosnian politician. He explained the foreign concept of an election, and they all agreed that this was an excellent way to choose a new mayor. Again, Master Cpl. Leger was the unanimous choice.

Less amused and more concerned, Master Cpl. Leger explained in detail that the mayor had to be one of them. Finally, after much good-natured teasing and a quick lesson on the concept of democratic elections theory done through a bemused translator, the locals chose their mayor. But they immediately became a constitutional monarchy when, again by unanimous decision, they named Master Cpl. Leger their king. ‘King Marco’ was to become Master Cpl. Leger’s lasting title, both in the Livno Valley, and within the parachute company.

In his advocacy for the plight of the Livno Valley, King Marco became the irresistible force that eventually wore away the immovable rocks of misunderstanding and apathy. Eventually, he became a spokesperson for returnees throughout the Canadian area of responsibility, and his passion and his commitment made him an eloquent representative.

I used to love to bring VIPs, like our British divisional commander, the American three-star commander of SFOR, or the Canadian ambassador to Radonovici in the Livno Valley for Master Cpl. Leger to brief. His forthright manner and common sense solutions made converts of them all, and I watched with pride as he stickhandled every question until even the most skeptical became his supporters.

Master Cpl. Leger’s proudest day of the tour was when the first red tile roof went up in the Livno Valley, reversing a 10-year cycle of destruction and despair. King Marco had brought hope back to the Livno Valley.

For his work in the Livno Valley, Sgt. Leger was deservedly awarded a Chief of Defence Staff Commendation last year…

What I find incredible is that Sgt. Leger was not all that different from every other trooper in my company. What I find even more surprising is how an institution as publicly maligned and neglected as the Canadian army can continue to consistently attract and retain guys like Marc Leger. As historian Jack Granatstein has said of another Canadian army at another time, it is probably a better organization than the people of Canada know or deserve. Marc Leger, and his fellow soldiers are, as the Prime Minister has already said, “the best face of Canada.”

He was a goddamned hero, and we should all take our lead from his spirit and his actions.

The King is Dead. Long Live the King.

Another nice article about Sgt. Leger seems to avoid mentioning that these were displaced Serbs he was helping:
Marc Leger’s widow continues his work in Bosnia (Canadian Press, May 10, 2003)

With a heavy heart, Marley Leger opened a community centre in eastern Bosnia on Saturday, carrying on the work begun by her husband, Sgt. Marc Leger, who was one of four Canadian soldiers killed by U.S. friendly fire last year in Afghanistan.

After his death, Leger launched a memorial fund to continue the restoration work he started while on a NATO mission in war-ravaged Bosnia. After a year of fundraising and with the help of the Canadian military, she travelled to Livno Valley to open the centre and unveil a plaque in his memory.

“It was like coming home to my long-lost relatives,” Leger said Saturday in an interview from Bosnia after the opening ceremony. “The people were so receptive. And it was very emotional.

“I had a really tough time leaving them today. I cried quite a bit.”

After he died in April 2002, the residents sent a letter of condolence to Marley Leger.

“He was the world to them and it wasn’t only because he brought aid back into the area,” Leger said. “It was because he gave so much of himself and he loved them and embraced them and he brought hope back into an area that was devastated.”

Most of the residents are elderly, Leger said, and she hopes that the rebuilding of the centre, along with much-needed restoration of power to the area, will bring young people back.

“I can’t thank Canadians enough for helping me with this project,” she said. “There were donations anywhere from $25 to thousands of dollars.

Leger’s next challenge is to raise enough money to put a roof on the church next to the community centre, which she estimates will cost $10,000 to $15,000. She said there is about $6,200 in the account now.

“They touched my heart just the way they touched Marc’s and I don’t know how they couldn’t do that to you. They’re such humble people but would give you anything. And the fact that you give them your friendship is the world to them. That’s what Marc stood for.”

Marc Leger of Lancaster, Ont., was one of four Canadians killed during a training exercise near Kandahar, Afghanistan, on April 17, 2002, when the U.S. pilots mistook them for enemy combatants. While Maj. William Umbach circled overhead, Maj. Harry Schmidt dropped a 225-kilogram bomb on his unsuspecting allies.

Also killed were Pte. Richard Green, 21, of Mill Cove, N.S., Pte. Nathan Smith, 26, of Ostrea Lake, N.S., and Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer of Montreal.

Another eight Canadians were injured.

An American officer, Col. Patrick Rosenow, said in March there was sufficient evidence to send the pilots to a court martial, but that the charges should be dismissed and their case should be handled outside a military court. […]

Apologies for being asinine enough to dwell on what I know is a mere, unrelated coincidence, but I can’t resist: Well no wonder the Serb-lover was killed by “friendly” fire. And by a National Guard pilot, no less (see below). This would be the same National Guard currently shooting up Serbs in Kosovo as we speak. The last item is from Canada’s “Fallen Heroes Project”:

Sgt. Marc Leger


Lancaster, Ontario, CAN
Army, SGT, Third Battalion of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (3PPCLI)
04/18/2002 Afghanistan, Kandahar

Sergeant Marc Leger died at the hands of an errant bomb unleashed by a ‘gung ho’ American National Guard pilot who thought he was under attack while patrolling in Afghanistan during the war there. It is not, however, Leger’s death in Afghanistan that puts him on the list. During an earlier time in Bosnia, Sergeant Marc Leger became known as ‘King Marco.’ During his time in Bosnia, Leger was exposed to the horrors of ‘ethnic cleansing.’ In the Livno Valley, Bosnia, ‘King Marco’ is hailed as a hero. While on his peacekeeping (a misnomer) tour of duty, Leger was charged with disarming potential insurgents and providing security for all ethnic groups. Additionally, he was given the responsibility of assisting returning Serb refugees as they settled back into their communities. Most of the farmhouses had been destroyed by a rampaging Croat army hell bent to ethnically cleanse the area of all Serbs. The Croats killed or drove off livestock, poisoned wells, destroyed Serb Orthodox churches and laid land mines. One Serb family that managed to survive by fleeing, returned to their homeland only to face a place of destruction. With their few possessions, the family of Miorad Kozomara began to rebuild their home; all that remained from before was their house with its partial roof but little else; no doors, no windows, no livestock, and no seed to plant a crop. One day, a jeep with some Canadian soldiers arrived and told the Kozomara family that they were there to help. Sergeant Marc Leger was their leader.

When he saw the desperate state that faced the Serb family, Canadian Leger “badgered the local United Nations High Commission of Refugees’ representative and any aid agency that drove through the area.” For six months, Leger hounded the UN representative and other officers for resources. [Canwest news service]

“He took leftover and thrown-away building supplies and distributed them while on patrol. He snuck food from the camp kitchen and spirited off the camp water truck when no one was looking.” [ibid.]

Leger managed to pry money from the Canadian International Development Agency to re-roof 28 local houses. One re-roofed house is emblazoned with the Canadian Maple Leaf and the CIDA logo. [ibid.]

Recently, when the Serbs in the Livno Valley learned of Sergeant Marc Leger’s death, they mourned. One said, “We never could have returned to this valley without the help of that big Canadian soldier.” [ibid.]

The Kozomara family learned of King Marc’s death through one of their sons who lives in Canada. The news of Sergeant Leger’s death shattered Mrs. Kozomara. “I got very nervous and started crying as if my son had died,” she said. [ibid.]

Sergeant Leger’s widow, Marley Leger, will take the proceeds of the ‘Sergeant Marc Leger Memorial Fund’ to local officials so that a gutted schoolhouse can be rebuilt as a community centre and medical clinic. A plaque will be attached to the building; the plaque dedicates the building to Sergeant Marc Leger’s memory. ‘King Marc’s’ memory lives on.

Of the aforementioned Canadian heroes, Sergeant Marc Leger is the one that stands out. His heroism truly qualifies as “a person who does great and brave deeds and is admired for them.”

I guess during those times that I’m going off about the vast quantity of German-origin last names operating in the world-coordinated undoing of Serbia and Serbs as Germany finally wins WWII, I need to remember that Leger is a German last name too. (I think.)

*****UPDATE*****
I’ve just been corrected. A reader informs me that “Leger,” while Germanic in origin, is now very French in Quebec. And Marc is the French spelling of Mark, of course.”The surname is quite common in Quebec – so any good French Canadian reading this would take exception!! Please don’t call him German!!”

*****SECOND UPDATE******

I came across a comment that’s tangentially related to this blog. It appeared in Feb. 2011 under an article titled “Serbia: The Shame of the West,” which was written by a Welshman named Royston Jones. The link doesn’t work anymore, but I believe that the comment below appeared in response to anti-Serb comments posted by an international affairs graduate student named Ard Morina:

Feb. 18, 2011 8:07 a.m.

Ard Morina, Canadian soldiers in Croatia WITNESSED Croats killing Serb civilians in the Medak Pocket massacre. The Croats were forcing the Serbs to carry looted belonging[s] for the Croats and when the Canadian soldiers would get close the Croats would start killing them [the Serbs]. Further the Canadian soldiers took pictures of some of these dead Serbs that the Croats didn’t get cleared away. They found raped and murdered teenage girls in a basement – their bodies still hot from being burned.

Many Serbian massacre victims were left as they lay and not in graves. I’ve seen pictures and autopsy reports – full identifications. If the Serbs retook a village after a Muslim attack they’d find these bodies and then give them a proper burial, and Croats were known to bury the dead Serbs at a certain number of inches apart so it wouldn’t always qualify as a “mass grave”. This was told to me by an American UN worker from Tennessee – Stephanie Bond – who was there during the Croatian war and worked there as a return officer for a few years later.

She said Croats were using German street cleaning machines to clear off the blood and gore and wrecked vehicles of a road which was bombed as strafed by Croat planes as the Serb refugees were fleeing.

I’ll also post the article itself, since it’s no longer findable online:

Serbia: The Shame of the West (WalesHome.org, Feb. 15, 2011)
A proud people of an unjustly vilified nation
By Royston Jones

TODAY, Serbs around the world are remembering the Serbian National Revolution; a somewhat protracted affair generally agreed to have started in 1804 and concluded by 1835. So radical was this arrangement – a constitutional monarchy, abolition of feudalism – that Serbia’s autocratic neighbours insisted the constitution be watered down lest these dangerous ideas spread.

This fear and loathing was not to be an isolated incident. In fact, few nations in recent decades have been so universally vilified. Why that should be so can only be understood by glimpsing into Serbia’s history and looking at the events that have shaped modern Serbian attitudes, about themselves, their neighbours, and the wider world.

In the mid 14th Century the Serbs had an empire, ruled by Stefan Uroš IV Dušan, but the empire did not outlast the man, with the nation suffering two catastrophic defeats to the Ottoman Turks at Maritsa (1371) and Kosovo Polje (1389). The latter battle is of course more poetically known as “The Field of Black Birds”, a seminal event in their history that Serbs regard as both the birth of the modern nation and the door on an era of oppression and suffering.

During those dark centuries the fragmented territories of the Serbs knew, at varying times, partial independence, suzerain status or direct Turkish rule, but the people always remained focused on unification and independence. As unforgiving opponents of the Sublime Porte, Serbs often allied themselves with the Kingdom of Hungary and other Christian powers. Serbian tenacity and willingness to fight became legendary, resulting in Serbs being recruited by neighbouring countries as soldiers, even being settled with their families in troubled border regions.

Following the revolution the remainder of the nineteenth century was relatively stable, apart from a few minor conflicts. Finally, at the Congress of Berlin in 1878, Serbia was recognised by the Great Powers as an independent state, and became a kingdom under Milan (Obrenovic) I in 1882. Although Serbia was now fully independent there remained outside the Kingdom many areas inhabited by Serbs. The inevitable irredentism that resulted led to strained relations with neighbouring states.

Then came Sarajevo. Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb, and member of the Young Bosnia organisation, set out with a few comrades to assassinate the Austrian archduke, Franz Ferdinand. The attempt failed and Princip was returning to his lodgings when to his surprise he saw the royal car again – it had taken a wrong turn. Now there would be no mistake. The event that sparked the First World War happened by pure chance.

In that European tragedy Serbia suffered 450,000 dead, or 16.11% of her total population, more than any other combatant nation. By comparison, France lost 4.29%, Germany 3.82% and the UK 2.19%. Such were the losses that the Serbs often had to withdraw – even to Greece and Corfu – to recruit and regroup. But they always came back fighting. It’s easy to say, ‘Well, they started it!’. But Princip’s group included Bosnian Muslims and Croats. This unity didn’t suit the agenda of the Austrians or their ally, Germany; for them it was simple: Princip was a Serb and so the plot, via the Black Hand organisation, was traced back to Belgrade.

As one of the victors, Serbia was rewarded with a new country, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, ruled by Alexander I, of the old Karadordevic dynasty. A superstitious man, Alexander. As a result of three members of his family dying on a Tuesday he was reluctant to undertake official duties on that day, but on October 9, 1934 he had no choice. While being driven through the streets of Marseilles on a state visit to France he was assassinated by a Bulgarian member of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation (IMRO). According to many who have researched this (the first filmed assassination) IMRO was in league with the Ustaše, the Croatian fascist organisation, and both were secretly sponsored by Mussolini.

The Second World War was a time of yet more blood-letting. While a small number of Serbs collaborated the vast majority reacted as Serbs always have when threatened or invaded. They fought. The courage and doggedness of Tito’s (mainly Serbian) Partisans and the royalist (and totally Serbian) Chetniks led by Draža Mihailovic is well documented. The vast numbers of German troops they tied down for years undoubtedly helped the Soviets achieve victory on the Eastern Front. Yet, as ever, there was a price to be paid.

The Ustaše was well rewarded after the German invasion, ruling the Nazi puppet-state of Croatia (including Bosnia), with Croats providing recruits for a Croatian SS division. The Kosovo Albanians had their SS division and ethnically cleansed Serbs from Kosovo. Many Bosnian Muslims also sided with the Nazis. Bizarrely, Himmler showed quite a liking for Islam, regarding it, with its promise of paradise and maidens, as a good religion for a warrior. Surrounded by enemies the life of a Serb became very difficult.

The names of Auschwitz, Belsen and other Second World War extermination camps are familiar to us all, but few know the name Jasenovac. This camp, run by the Ustaše, did the Nazis’ bidding in exterminating Jews and Roma, but saved most places for Serbs. Overall, some 390,000 ethnic Serb residents of Croatia and Bosnia died at the hands of the Ustaše, though not all at Jasenovac, and in total well over half a million Serbs died.

The post-war history of Yugoslavia should be familiar to most readers. Under President Tito Yugoslavia achieved a certain amount of prosperity, and became a beacon for non-aligned countries during the Cold War. Yet in seeking to overcome the internal tensions of his country Tito came to be seen by many Serbs as favouring other nationalities above them, working for a “weak Serbia, for a strong Yugoslavia”. When he died in 1980 the stage was set for the next act in the Balkans tragedy. The only surprise was that it took so long for the curtain to rise.

There isn’t the space to deal with everything that happened between 1991 and 1999. The Western – in other words, the US – interpretation of this period runs as follows: Tired of Serbian oppression the other nations of Yugoslavia decided upon independence, but then found themselves subject to all manner of horrors inflicted, either by the regular Yugoslav army, police, or Serb irregulars. The Western media followed this line unquestioningly.

Here’s a different interpretation, for which we need to examine the general (and all too often unsubstantiated) claims of Serbian “brutality” in response to the break-up of their “empire”. The northernmost territory, Slovenia, and the southernmost, Macedonia, split with hardly any bloodshed. (In fact, the worst trouble in Macedonia came, post-independence, from secessionist Albanians.) The fighting was concentrated in Croatia, Bosnia and, finally, Kosovo – an Autonomous Province of Serbia. Why should Serbia, and Serbs generally, respond differently in different areas? Because Slovenia and Macedonia contained few ethnic Serbs. Whereas the other three areas contained large numbers of ethnic Serbs for whom anyone with a knowledge of recent Balkan history should have been very concerned.

Croatia was home [to] well over half a million ethnic Serbs, mainly in the Krajina region. Had you been a Krajina Serb in the country that had once been ruled by the Ustaše, and was now led by nationalist demagogue, Franjo Tudman, would you have felt safe? Wouldn’t you have sought help from fellow Serbs? When the 300,000 or more surviving Krajina Serbs were expelled in 1995, their homes burnt and the old people they had to leave behind killed, Western politicians and media referred to it as “an exodus” . . . for only Serbs can be guilty of ethnic cleansing.

As late as 1998 the US State Department had the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) listed as a terrorist organisation. The very same bunch of drug-traffickers and gun-runners whose leader Hashim Thaçi was then being lionised by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, with his gang promoted as freedom fighters, posing in front of the cameras and promising to go fight the Serbs. (Posing was what the KLA was best at, it did very little fighting.) And as we all know now, the KLA also ran a lucrative organ harvesting business from Serb civilians they kidnapped and butchered.

Why so many lies? Put quite simply, the West (again, mainly the US) had an agenda based on geopolitical considerations. The Soviet Union was breaking apart. The Cold War was over and Eastern Europe was in turmoil, with every Ivan and Istvan wanting to be a capitalist and to drive a Merc. The one remaining obstacle to the eastward advance of Western ideas (and goods) was perceived to be Yugoslavia led by Serbia, which despite the strained relationship under Tito, was now rediscovering older ties with its Orthodox cousins in Russia. Ergo Yugoslavia had to be dismembered and Serbia itself weakened.

This strategy became linked with the Gulf War. On February 23, 1991 a US-led force began the ground attack to “liberate” Kuwait. As we know, this was, militarily, successful, but there were unforeseen complications. Not least among those complications was the presence, post-conflict, of US military bases in Saudi Arabia. “Crusaders” so close to Mecca outraged many Muslims, not least, Osama bin Laden. It was this US military presence in his homeland that turned Osama bin Laden against the West. In a desperate attempt to placate the Islamic world the USA wanted to be seen defending Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo.

You may see this as an apologia for the Serbs. So be it. But it is not the work of a denier. In the various conflicts of the 1990s many crimes were committed by Serbs, none worse than the massacre at Srebrenica. But why did the politicians and the media take me, and you, for idiots in telling us that the other parties were all innocent victims? Doesn’t it worry you that in a democratic society we were lied to over such a lengthy period? Those lies are slowly unravelling, but time is passing and the belated truth will never have the same impact as the nightly television reports we all saw, with their strident and insistent message: ‘the Serbs are guilty’.

Yet if we are considering war crimes . . . It was significant that rather than put in ground troops to link up with the heroes of the KLA the USA chose to bomb Serb civilians in order to bring their government to the surrender table. In killing Serbian civilians and bombing Belgrade the USA committed war crimes. But of course the USA won, so no one will indict Uncle Sam, even though his war crimes were filmed and otherwise better documented than any of the ‘atrocities’ alleged to have been committed by the Serbs.

Given that on more than one occasion they have come close to total annihilation as a people, we should not be surprised that when threatened Serbs fight back with everything they’ve got. But their struggles have invariably been defensive. Whether fighting medieval Turks or 20th Century Germans the Serbs have fought in defence of their land and their people. It was the same in the 1990s when Yugoslavia was broken apart.

Why the West – yes, again the USA – chose to misrepresent the situation has been explained. The dismemberment of Yugoslavia, the support for Croat neo-fascists, Albanian gangsters, and possibly even foreign mujahideen who came to kill Serbs, is one of the most dishonourable chapters in recent Western history.