Saturday, December 30, 2006

Plus qu'un crime, c'est une faute

No doubt, those who suffered under Saddam Hussein's regime welcomed his hanging earlier today. As did those who masterminded the Imperial invasion of Iraq in 2003, some of the very same people who gave Hussein weapons and support back in the 1980s, and a carte blanche for the atrocities he was hanged for.

Debating the fairness of his trial or the legitimacy of the court is a moot point now. Let me dwell for a moment on the timing of Hussein's execution, though. You see, today is the first day of Eid al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice that marks the end of the hajj. It is a holiday marked by ritual slaughter of lambs - sacrifices - to celebrate the fulfillment of Muslims' religious duty to make pilgrimage to Mecca.

Because he was executed on this day, and his last words (reportedly) called for jihad, Saddam Hussein may well become a martyr for millions of Muslims. That's a long way from being a secular dictator who waged war on the Islamic Republic of Iran in the 1980s. And it was American intervention that created "Saddam the martyr," of that there is no question.

Napoleon's foreign minister, Talleyrand, once commented on a politically motivated murder: "Worse than a crime, it was a blunder." ("C'est plus qu'un crime, c'est une faute." - Lucien Bonaparte Mem. an. 1804 (1882) I. 432, quoted here)

While I consider the 2003 invasion and the subsequent occupation of Iraq clearly evil, the execution of Saddam Hussein, and on a major Islamic holiday no less, is seriously stupid.

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Last Christmas

Antiwar.com today has a whole section dedicated to the Christmas Truce of 1914. Four months into the Great War, German, British and French troops in the trenches spontaneously ceased killing each other and spent a day exchanging gifts, playing football and caroling. Afraid that the truce might end the war altogether, generals on both sides ordered the resumption of hostilities and threatened punishment against anyone who even contemplated a truce again. The war went on for three more years, killing millions and mortally wounding European civilization.

Out of its ashes arose the Versailles system, a conflicted Middle East, a vengeful (soon to be Nazi) Germany, and the Soviet Union. Twenty years later, Europe was finished. What exists today is the pale shadow of a once-great civilization, a decadent, nihilistic, post-modernist mess. The mere mention of Christmas has become forbidden in the "tolerance"-obsessed statist anti-culture that is the West today.

The Communist experiment has nearly destroyed eastern Europe. Conflicts created by the post-1918 partition of the Middle East are fueling a global resurgence of Islamic jihad. The American Empire, which arose from World War Two and scored a Pyrrhic victory in the Cold War, is now bleeding itself to death all over the world.

In some ways, that day in 1914 was perhaps the last true Christmas in the West.

There is no going back to that time, of course. And, given that the men who stopped the truce and willingly took their countries to war were a product of that time as much as the soldiers who caroled together after four months of trying to kill each other... I would say that's a good thing. But if there is to be a future for European civilization, we must come to a realization that the past 92 years have not been "progress," but rather a tragedy of some magnitude.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Dying for nothing

A brilliant, heartfelt and altogether too true piece by Fred Reed:

"It’s all but official: The war in Iraq is lost... The troops from now on will die for a war that they already know is over. They are dying for politicians. They are dying for nothing. By now they must know it."
I won't quote more. Wouldn't do it justice. Go read it yourself.

Oh, but the Democrats are in charge now, and everything will be different, right? And as soon as Barack Obama replaces Dubya on the White Marble Throne, things will change, right?

Wrong.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Random Airport Thoughts

I'm on my way to Bosnia again, on family business - though, being a workaholic, I fully intend to do some investigative analysis once there.

Right this moment, I'm sitting on the floor in the corner of the departure lounge of the Vienna Airport, the only place where one can find a free electrical outlet. Most people toting laptops keep them on for an hour or so at most. I have a three-hour layover. I'll be damned if I spend it watching the battery indicator.

I would have been outraged at this obvious oversight on part of the airport management, had I not learned better on my frequent trips to the Old Continent; thanks to their advanced cell phone networks, Europeans tend to use their mobile phones the way Americans use laptops. Besides, at least they do have free Wi-Fi. At the Dulles Airport in Washington, I was barely able to register a signal - for a pay-per-use T-Mobile network, ironically operated by Germans.

Flying in this day and age includes a set of humiliating "security" rituals one has to subject himself to in order to enter a departure concourse. Ever since the idiotic Richard Reed tried to set his shoes on fire, people are made to pad through the security checkpoints barefoot. We never did find out whether Reed's shoes were actually explosive or not. The shoeless requirement has recently been joined by the liquids restriction (3 oz. in the U.S., 100 ml in the E.U.), resulting from an alleged terror plot from this summer.

A thought occurred to me, seeing all the signs and warnings about the danger of toiletries. In order to keep winning, the jihadists don't have to carry out a single successful terrorist attack. Or even bother to try. All it takes is to feed some misinformation about theoretical plots using far-fetched and, frankly, ludicrous methods. Obsessed with "security," the Empire would obligingly react in the predictably paranoid fashion.

I can just imagine some two-bit jihadist "confessing" under torture the existence of "underwear bombs," and the resulting strip-searches of air travelers. Maybe the government "security" bureaucracies would start requiring all passengers to change into hospital gowns and disposable slippers, duly stocked at specialized concessions stores at airports (provided by Halliburton on a no-bid contract, perhaps?). Opportunities for humiliation are endless. The jihadist scum can just sit back and cackle at the stupid, gullible kuffar. Which they probably do already, come to think of it.

I'm all for actual security, but government bureaucracies are institutionally incapable of providing it. The sorry sight of shoeless travelers and baggies filled with toothpaste, lotions and perfume is demonstration enough.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Germans are coming!

Germany is about to turn Bundeswehr into an international intervention force, writes Financial Times. Great. In the words of another blogger, "that's the real problem with the European Union, isn't it... not enough armed Germans with a mandate for international intervention."

On one hand, more German involvement in "peacekeeping" makes me nervous. One of the first things the reunified Germany did was browbeat the nascent EU into dismembering Yugoslavia, back in 1991. Berlin used the Bosnian war to deploy the Luftwaffe outside of Germany for the first time since 1945. The Kosovo Albanian terrorists ("KLA") were originally trained by BND, the German intelligence. The 1999 NATO aggression was actually the first time German troops went to war since 1945, against a country and a people their Nazi predecessors had targeted for destruction with particular malice.

On the other hand, once German troops occupied Kosovo (again), they acted more like caricatures of Nazis from BBC comedies, fleeing in panic before Albanian mobs when even the French showed more spine.

There isn't much anyone can to do stop the Bundestag and Frau Kanzler Merkel from sending German boys to kill and die in foreign lands for the "greater glory of humanitarian imperialism." That is, until those occupied by the "humanitarians" let their displeasure show through bombs and bullets, just as those occupied by the Nazis once did.

Friday, September 29, 2006

27 years for....?

Momcilo Krajisnik, former Speaker of the Bosnian parliament and that of the Bosnian Serbs, was sentenced yesterday by the Hague Inquisition to 27 years in prison (for a man his age, that's a de facto life sentence).

According to Andy Wilcoxson of Slobodan-Milosevic.org, the Inquisition could not find a direct link between Krajisnik and any of the crimes committed (allegedly or demonstrably) by the Bosnian Serbs in the course of the war. So they convicted him of supposedly belonging to a "joint criminal enterprise" to establish a "Greater Serbia" - a fictitious, quasi-legal category developed for the Inquisition by an American lawyer in order to justify blanket indictments of Serb political and military leaders.

As an example of the Inquisition's deliberate duplicity, Wilcoxson cites that "proof" of Krajisnik's alleged participation in a Serb criminal conspiracy was a statement he made in March 1992 that supposedly set off a Serb "expulsion programme." Wilcoxson demonstrates the statement directly referred to the Cutilheiro peace plan (the one Alija Izetbegovic's illegitimate government rejected). To the best of my knowledge, no one at the Inquisition has ever bothered to present evidence that a "Serb expulsion programme" was more than a figment of the prosecutors' imagination; its existence was treated as an established fact.

Naser Oric, who boasted of his atrocities and even filmed them, got two years for "failing to stop human rights abuses" or some such nonsense. Krajisnik gets 27 years for alleged participation (based on deliberately misinterpreted evidence) in a fictitious conspiracy.

Let's call this what it is: "Walking while Serb."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ahtisaari: Patron of the SS?

I've long considered Martti Ahtisaari of Finland a Serbophobe simply because he was an agent of the Empire in 1999 and subsequently a Board member of the International Crisis Group. His statement that Serbs bore collective guilt for what (allegedly) happened in 1999 - and, by obvious implication, that Albanians bore no guilt whatsoever, collective or individual, for what has happened since - did not surprise me much.

According to Carl Savich of Serbianna.com, however, there's another reason Ahtisaari is a Serbophobe: during his presidency, the Finnish government wanted to sponsor a monument to Nazis! Savich writes that Ahtisaari's government wanted to bankroll a monument to the Finnish Waffen-SS volunteers, some 1400 members of the Waffen-SS division "Wiking." (This is in addition to the Finnish troops who fought against the Soviet Union between 1940 and 1945, as allies of Nazi Germany.)

Retired NY Times reporter David Binder wrote that Ahtisaari was one of the Finns displaced by the Soviet invasion of Karelia during the 1940 Winter War. So, it stands to reason he would have anti-Soviet (and anti-Russian, by extension) sentiments. A lot of the early 1990s Serbophobic propaganda played on leftover Cold War stereotypes, endeavoring to portray the Serbs as "Communists" and "Russians lite." Ahtisaari would have absorbed this propaganda when he was involved in the early EU efforts to mediate the conflict between Yugoslav republics - efforts that failed miserably when Germany strong-armed the rest of EU countries into recognizing the unilateral secession of Slovenia and Croatia.

So, Ahtisaari has a family history of being displaced by Russians; his country was allied with Hitler in WW2; he sponsored a monument to the Waffen-SS during his presidency, and he was in position to acquire anti-Serb bias as a diplomat involved in Yugoslav affairs in the early 1990s. I'm no psychologist, but I can see how all that would predispose him towards, say, Kosovo Albanians - who were actually allied with Hitler themselves, but claimed they were victims of "Serb Nazis," and came up with horror stories accusing the Serbian authorities of Hitleresque crimes. Although these stories have never been substantiated, they served as the propaganda justification for NATO's invasion, so anyone involved in that enterprise cannot afford to disavow them. And Ahtisaari was very much involved.

But the issue here isn't whether Ahtisaari is biased. That's been obvious even without these background details that have recently emerged. The issue is what to do about him? Would his inclination towards the Waffen-SS be enough of a political tarnish to have him removed? Or are charges of sympathy for the Nazis taken seriously only when their target is an enemy of the Empire, not its agent?

(Edited on September 18 for clarity)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Koco Danaj and Internet Weasels

Who is Koco Danaj?

According to Italian news agency AKI, relying presumably on Pristina daily Epoka e Re, Danaj is a "political adviser to Albania's prime minister, Sali Berisha."

Days after I described Danaj thusly in my column, Antiwar.com started getting angry emails from Albanians. Koco Danaj, they all claimed, is no adviser to Berisha, but a marginal political figure; I manufactured falsehoods, and should retract his qualification at once; even Danaj himself wrote eventually - albeit in Albanian, so I could not understand a word of what he was trying to say.

So, who is Koco Danaj? I don't know - and honestly, I don't much care. Neither the Albanian government, which denied ties to Danaj, nor my numerous Albanian detractors to Antiwar.com, have at any one point taken exception to the content of Danaj's comments to Epoka e Re: namely, the need for a "natural Albania" in the Balkans. It's these comments, rather than Mr. Danaj's identity, that interested me in the first place. Given that no one made a point of disagreeing with him, he may as well be a political adviser to Mr. Berisha, or the KLA "government" of "Kosova" for that matter.

One of my favorite bloggers often resorts to seeding his writings with "weasel traps" - details deliberately askew, so that the typical internet critic (who enjoys taking potshots at people but flees an actual debate like the devil from a cross) would latch onto them instead of challenging the actual points of the argument.

I wish I were clever enough to do this, but apparently, I don't need to; as the story of Koco Danaj goes to show, my critics are good at making their own weasel traps and springing them without any help on my part.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Voice in the Wilderness

I'm several days late with this, but I just saw a video of Keith Olbermann's newscast last Wednesday night. Finally, someone had the intestinal fortitude to stand up - in the mainstream media, no less! - and call His Exalted Imperial Majesty's government, and Herr Reichsmarschall, on the years of arrogant lies they've peddled for the sake of their power and others' death.

I won't quote Olbermann. His speech - for a speech it was - is much too good to be robbed of tone, timbre and context. A transcript is here.

In his supreme arrogance, Herr Reichsmarschall dared actually say that America faced a new kind of fascism. He was right, though not in the sense he wanted to be. And he was wrong as well; for the fascism - or, rather, national-socialism - that America faces today is not new. It is the same old kind, reawakened from the dustbins of history by people who are just as engrossed by the concept of Will to Power as a mustachioed Austrian painter seventy-odd years ago.

Nations who allow themselves to forget their history, principles and identity are liable to fall prey to false prophets and phoney ideologies. As anyone who has seen Der Untergang should have realized, the evil of totalitarianism was not peculiar to the Germans, just as Communism was not peculiar to the Russians. They suffered nonetheless. The arrogant imperialism of Herr Rumsfeld and His Most Elevated Majesty God-Emperor George W is not peculiar to the Americans; but it is up to the Americans to recognize it for what it is, and make a choice: follow the course of Empire, or oppose it.

Both choices have consequences. Accepting the Empire will be far more dangerous and dire. Keith Olbermann dared oppose it, where so many have stood idly by. It will be tragic if his voice remains alone in the wilderness.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"Bosniaks" vs. Bosnia

The recent flurry of nationalist rhetoric in Bosnia brought to mind something I read a couple of months ago. In March this year, former Bosnian politician - now an analyst - Nenad Kecmanovic gave an extensive interview to Nova Srpska Politicka Misao. Excerpts from it have since appeared elsewhere, but the full article is not available in English.

I've taken the liberty of translating the passages most relevant to the current situation:
[NSPM] Contrary to the widespread thesis that Serbs and Croats are the main opponents of Bosnia-Herzegovina, your opinion is that Bosniaks [Bosnian Muslims] are the destroyers of B-H. What is the basis of your judgment?

Kecmanović: If you have a project you care about, but you cannot implement it without voluntary cooperation of two partners who are not interested, the only reasonable way is to try to persuade them, win them over. Bosniaks, who are precisely in such a situation regarding their desired integration of B-H and the position of Serbs and Croats towards it, are doing precisely the opposite. They label their partners - Serbs, but Croats as well - incessantly as genocidal, fascist war criminals and push them even farther from their project. [...] They simply do not want voluntary, equitable integration that would be achieved through democratic dialog, mutual concessions, compromises and consensus. What they want is a unitary, centralized state, dominated by them, that would be forcibly imposed on Serbs and Croats by the international community.

NSPM: How much room to maneuver do Serbs and Croats have within that concept?

Kecmanović: The right of their neighbors, as constituent people, not to accept their project the Bosniaks don't see as a right to self-determination up through secession, but only as the right to submit or simply leave Bosnia [emphasis added]. So that Serbs and Croats wouldn't have any illusions that this project might actually be beneficial to them, Bosniaks are already declaring themselves the "fundamental people," meaning the other two are not fundamental, but minorities, interlopers, afterthoughts. Their language, invented like the name of their ethnicity, is called not "Bosniak," but Bosnian, in an effort to impose it as the only official language simply by its name. Their historiographers and publicists glorify Ottoman occupation as a Golden Age and a period of tolerance towards Christians, and invent their aristocratic genealogy. Naturally, this provokes in their Christian neighbors the collective memory of centuries of occupation and Turkish atrocities.

On top of all this, they still live in a conviction that, unlike Serbs and Croats, they bear no responsibility for the war, that they were solely the innocent victims, that they killed their neighbors only in self-defense, that only their national movement was not chauvinistic, that Izetbegović was the leader of all Bosnians, that with him they were building a civil society and defended multiethnic tolerance, that the mujahedeen came from somewhere out there, that their connections with Islamic terrorism are malicious fiction, that they embody the values of democracy... and that for all of this, of course, the West simply idolizes them.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Remembering the Storm

I got a blast from the past this afternoon, when someone re-posted a column I wrote last year, on the eve of "Homeland Thanksgiving Day" in Croatia.

The original piece, Remembering the Storm, is available on Antiwar.com. One year later, there's nothing to add, or subtract.

I've just got word that B92, a media house known for its promotion of the globalist, Serbophobic agenda, has actually shown a video clip of Croat and Muslim troops killing Serb soldiers and civilians. (Links: RealVideo, or Avi) It's a surprise, to be sure.

Still, I doubt much will come of it. As a result of over a decade of Serbophobic hysteria, murder of Serbs has just about been absolved as a crime - and in case of people like Ramush Haradinaj or Agim Ceku is actually considered a virtue.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Banned Solitude

Ananova.com reported on 24 July that a Belgrade cafe was forced (presumably by local authorities) to change its name, after U.S. Embassy officials complained it offended them.

Milomir Jeftic's establishment was called "Osama" which in Serbian means "solitude" or "seclusion." The Imperial bureaucrats must have thought it was a paean to Osama bin Laden, a onetime ally of Washington who now leads the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization dedicated to global jihad.

Instead of explaining to the ignorant Americans that:

a) no self-respecting Serb could name an establishment after an Islamic fundamentalist, not after 500 years of Islamic oppression, or after the 1990s wars where Islamic fanatics perpetrated horrendous crimes against Serbs;

b) the man has a right to name his cafe as he damn well pleases, and that's none of the government's damn business, be it Serbian or American,

the quislings in Belgrade leaned on the cafe-owner, rather than risk offending the almighty Empire.

This kind of spineless kowtowing is precisely what's led to the present situation, in which Serbia's about to be raped yet again, and told to enjoy it or risk another beating. If the government's job is to protect its citizens, then whoever was supposed to protect Jeftic from arrogant Americans' whining failed miserably, and should be sent back to under whatever rock he crawled up from.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Whose Intransigence?

The Washington Post is usually somewhat tragicomic in its imperialist cheerleading and dripping Russophobia (which often turns into Serbophobia, as the WaPo sees Serbs as nothing more than surrogate Russians), but its Monday iditorial on "Serbia's intransigence" surely deserves the grand prize in the "Arrogance of Power" contest.

As they see it, a "firm Western consensus" is that Kosovo should become independent so that poor victimized Albanians would never again have to suffer from Serb oppression, while the Serbs would be reunited with their cultural heritage when both Kosovo and Serbia end up as provinces of the EU, along with the rest of the Balkans, in some indeterminate but hopefully soonish future. It's billed as a "forward-looking vision" that most people in the region - including Serbia, they claim - support. Alas, the "problem, as so often during the past 20 years, is Serbia's political leadership, which remains addicted to the poisonous nationalism that drove the country into a series of disastrous wars during the 1990s."

Why, Prime Minister Kostunica dared turn a deaf ear to Western threats and actually had the gall to declare "Kosovo is a part of Serbia," just like the evil Milosevic did in the 1980s! (But, wasn't it? Isn't it? Would saying "California is a part of America" be considered evil, or poisonous, or nationalist?) And even the poor Imperial busboy Boris Tadic is pilloried by the Posties, for "threatening" border changes across Europe, something only the vile Russians ever talk about. And so, sayeth the Post,

"All of this means that the West's attempt to resolve the legacy of the Balkan wars of the 1990s and position the region inside the liberal Europe of the 21st century is in jeopardy of being defeated by Serbia's 20th-century-style nationalism and Russia's 19th-century game of power politics."

Never you mind that the "West" engaged in unprovoked aggression; violated its own laws, treaties, charters and principles to carve up Yugoslavia illegally and illegitimately in the first place (all this talk about a "liberal Europe" is horse-droppings; why did they so wholeheartedly destroy Yugoslavia, if they disliked the notion of a dozen mini-states in its stead?); and that its "solution" is unadulterated thievery. No, it's clearly the evil Serbs and vile Russians who threaten peace in Europe.

The WaPo ends the iditorial on a hopeful note: "The country remains, at least, a democracy: There remains the hope that, if its leaders cannot adjust, its people will eventually choose better leaders."

"Adjusting" means "obeying the Empire," and "electing better leaders" means "electing better quislings." If Tadic, Draskovic and their ilk are not subservient enough for the Washington Post,
probably nothing short of a triumvirate dictatorship by Sonja Biserko, Natasa Kandic and Biljana Kovacevic-Vuco would do.

The Post represents Washington's "liberal-imperialist" establishment, which has been responsible for the U.S. Balkans policy over the past 20 years or so. Sunday's collection of vitriolic drivel encapsulates their view of the Serbs, one that no amount of sycophancy will change. Serbia's spineless leaders ought to show the uppity mandarins in Washington just how severe their intransigence can be. Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Hegemonic Maniacs

Sometimes the sheer absurdity of the world we live in, the wrongness of it, tends to overload my synapses and I just stop paying attention for a while. If I ever allow that condition to become permanent, I would of course become one of the docile drones the Empire counts on to support its continued existence.

Paul Craig Roberts keeps paying attention, though. Just the other day, he listened to two Imperial officials prattle about the need for hegemony on NPR (where else?). In discussing North Korea, Roberts says,

"Both Hill and Carter agreed that no country, with the exception of Israel, has a right to any interests of its own unless it is an interest that coincides with U.S. interests. No other interest is legitimate."

Roberts continues:

"Listening to the pair of hegemonic maniacs, I realized that the United States is the new Rome—there is no legitimate power but us. Any other power is a potential threat to our interests and must be eliminated before it gets any independent ideas."

Yet for all the Neocon prattle about the US being the sole superpower with the world at its mercy, there are billions of people who disagree - and many of them belligerently so. If the USA is the modern equivalent of the Roman Empire, this must be what the Empire looked like in its waning days, its power still considered supreme even as it was in practice nothing more than a cruel joke.

Monday, June 26, 2006

At Last We Understand

Ever since the "October revolution" of 2000, the majority of people in Serbia - and at the very least, the deafeningly vocal minority that controls the media-political space - has maintained the dangerous delusion about Serbia's "democratic partnership" with the Empire. Both Vojislav Kostunica (currently the prime minister) and Boris Tadic (currently the president) have on many occasions called for "partnership" and "reciprocity" in the treatment of Serbia by the soi-disant "international community."

But that delusion has grown more difficult to maintain with the ever-increasing onslaught of demands and threats from Washington and Brussels, which in their supreme arrogance the Imperialists haven't even bothered to disguise with so much as a pretense of propriety. Having established early on that Serbia was not only bending its knee, but prostrate, they've considered only natural to do with it as they wished.

Now that even the weak, sniveling protests of Serbia's "democratic" rulers have met with nothing but scorn in the Imperial capitals, perhaps the delusion will finally be broken beyond mending, and the Serbs will realize their "partnership" with the West was but a different name for slavery. Them as who have eyes can now see clearly.

Nova Srpska Politicka Misao, June 26, 2006

Nikola Malbaški

Complete Defeat!

That analogies between politics and sports are definitely becoming fashionable can be seen from the "football exchange" between Olli Rehn the Government. More important than figuring out whether the "EU is to blame for the loss against Argentina" or if "some countries didn't even qualify, after all" is that we've just suffered a coincidental humiliation in both politics and sports. It is finally clear that our ideas about being a "football nation" and "partners to EU and the U.S." have been delusions. No offense to football, but the defeat of Serbia's policy towards the West, and the West's policy towards Serbia, is the more significant of the two.

Whether speaking for himself or on behalf of the entire society, Prime Minister Koštunica has said what we more or less knew. The Fifth-Octobrist illusion about the West that "supported democratic processes in Serbia" has finally come to an end. That disappontment with the West that euphemistically terms its incessant demands a "partner relationship" is a source of apathy in the Serbian public, especially those in the "democratic forces." The dogma that "Europe has no alternative" is no longer valid, to the joy of some and the sorrow of others. Even the domestic supporters of the "international community" admit that we are being extorted, even if it is for "educational purposes." It's not that the small nations should have the same rights as the great powers, as that's never happened in history, but that even the small nations would have the right to a place under the sun. The incessant barrage of pressure reminds us that we are still on the "vanquished list," and nurtures the Weimar Syndrome.

After all the actual defeats of Serbia, as well as those perceived as such - independent Montenegro, pressure from The Hague and what seems to be in store regarding Kosovo - the least we need are unnecessary humiliations. One can only hope that we've hit rock bottom with the arrival of two U.S. F-16s from the same squadron that bombed Serbia in 1999, piloted by the same people. Between the symbolic football disaster and the "welcome to American heroes" who bombed us, our feelings and frustrations have been confirmed. We must admit to ourselves that we are a nation defeated, that our country is ruined, and tha we need renewal.

One could ask, with good reason, whether we had to lose 0:6 to Argentina, or if those very planes and those very pilots had to land on Serbian soil. Of course that it could have been different. Our defeats in both football and politics could have been more dignified. We could have scored a couple times against Argentina, and made a couple more saves, just as we could have asked not to be "visited" by those very "veterans of humanitarian intervention". They could have sent some other pilots, some other planes from another squadron, maybe even another NATO country that hadn't been so zealous in bombing us. The humiliation would have been lessened, the the taste of defeat less bitter.

Yet that indicates that someone, both here and in the West, does not care much for such "details," and sent whoever was sent to specifically remind us who won and who lost. Football-wise, the Argentines only did their job; we failed completely. But what about the "welcome to our American allies," besides the bitterness of the military so visible on the faces of our airmen and those who consider this an insult to the remnants of our national dignity? Were we fans of conspiracy theories, we'd say that someone is deliberately acting in the fashion calculated to bring the Radicals to power.

While everything looks bleak, however, we ought to consider if there is anything positive in all this. If there is, it would be the end of some illusions, first and foremost the "partnership with Europe," and the naive belief in "quick entry into the EU. " Once a man or a society finally understand the cruel reality surrounding them, they face a choice. Either they will fall into depressing defeatism, or they will snap back and try to improve their precarious position by doing better. Alas, the former now appears more likely.


I haven't been to Serbia in a while, so I don't really know the feeling there. From the media, one would conclude that indeed, defeatism is inevitable and resistance to the Empire is completely unlikely. But the media lie - it is both their job and their pleasure. And maybe those who have forgotten their history, their faith and their identity in order to become "progressive" postmodernists obsessed with material wealth, status and "rights" (i.e. entitlements) of the welfare state are at this point likely to despair that the masters whose boots they've faithfully licked for years are still kicking them. Perhaps they will rail in anger at those who protest the kicking, and advocate an even harder kicking, so the Great Unwashed would finally understand the glory of being Empire's whipping boy. After all, they could have chosen anyone out there, and they chose us! We are not worthy!

But there are those who know better, those who still remember, those who are not yet corrupted, or can be redeemed. Those who should stand up and declare that enough is enough - and has been enough for quite some time. Slavery is not freedom, humiliation is not partnership, occupation is not liberty, and entitlements are not rights. That obedience to the Empire and slavish following of orders are not values to live by. That the causes for which several million of our people have perished - liberty, independence, dignity, freedom, honor - are worth more than all the paper money thrown out of helicopters and stuffed in suitcases for the use of mercenary missionaries.

The world has lied about us enough. We should stop lying to ourselves as well. That alone will not solve our problems. But it's a start.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Peace at last!

UPI reports that, after over 100 years, Montenegro and Japan are about to conclude a peace treaty.

Back in 1904, the Principality of Montenegro declared war on Japan as an act of solidarity with Russia. The Russo-Japanese war ended in 1905 through the mediation of Theodore Roosevelt, but Montenegro never signed a peace treaty with the Japanese Empire. The most likely reason is that no one, including the Japanese, knew that Montenegro had declared war - and even if they did, would have thought it a joke.

I wonder if the Vujanovic-Djukanovic regime will now teach the children in Montenegro how their brave, absolutely non-Serb-related ancestors preemptively stood up to Japanese aggression decades before Pearl Harbor, and how the Japanese finally sued for peace out of fear of Montenegrin military might. Or something.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Voluntary Rape

The drama over Montenegro's separation from Serbia that has taken place over the past two weeks has been but an interlude in the much bigger play - or ploy? - by the Empire in the Balkans. Montenegro was a sideshow, albeit and important one, designed to further the main event: separation of Kosovo from Serbia. Just look at the names of those supporting the "independence" of Montenegro in Washington, and you'll see the same snouts promoting the independence of "Kosova."

In February, when former ICG board member Martti Ahtisaari opened the "negotiations" between Belgrade and the Albanian separatists in Vienna, Stanko Cerovic of the RFI ran a commentary which I've translated below. He described - with all too much sympathy for the poor little Powers That Be in the West - the quandary with Kosovo, and the likely thrust of Imperial policy. While I disagree with several of his assertions, as far as Imperial policy is concerned he has been right so far. That makes this commentary worth revisiting.

Concerning the Kosovo Negotiations

Stanko Cerovic, Radio France Internationale, 20 February 2006

Such as they are, the talks between Pristina and Belgrade that began in Vienna today have no real importance for the future of Kosovo. Even so, they indicate the difficulty of the problem facing not only the Serbs and the Albanians, but also the international diplomacy

This problem is so difficult, complicated and important, that literally nothing can be left up to the Serbs and the Albanians themselves. It is said they would negotiate only the internal arrangements in Kosovo, i.e. the rights of the remaining Serbs, but even those technical details are meaningless until there is a decision on Kosovo's actual official status.

Obviously, there is no point discussing internal arrangements of a state before it is actually a state. International diplomats sponsoring these so-called talks know this very well. The talks are needed to create an impression the Serbs and the Albanians are talking, so the Contact Group could then step in and cut the Gordian knot between them, since they are unable to reach an agreement. That way the Contact Group can feign neutrality and claim it was forced to step in because the Serbs and the Albanians could not find the solution themselves. The “solution” imposed by the Contact Group, after what it would claim was long and neutral deliberation, would be independence.

Arguments for such a decision are familiar already. As Kosovo governor Jessen-Petersen has said, “After all, you have to heed the will of the majority.” This is a sort of a democratic argument. Another is the economic argument, mentioned in every report from Kosovo: that the province is backwards, with over 60% unemployment, and that only independence could fix that. There’s also the strategic argument: so long as there is no security in Kosovo, this would feed Albanian extremism that destabilizes the region – Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro. Resolving the status of Kosovo is the key to regional stability – this is suggested by today’s Financial Times.

There is even a security argument, albeit unrelated to moral and human concerns. According to this, Albanians will be violent towards the Serbs for as long as their desire for independence goes unmet – but would be open to tolerance once independence is achieved. This argument appeared after the great anti-Serb pogrom of March 2004. The pogrom was condemned by the international community, which then promptly concluded it was grounds for fulfilling Albanian demands...

This sort of logic – showcasing just about all the corruption and hypocrisy politics is capable of – isn’t actually as rotten as it appears to its victims, in this case the Serbs and Serbia. International diplomacy is no longer especially partial to the Albanians; unofficially, many admit that NATO’s war was probably a mistake – but such is reality right now that none of those diplomats sees any other choice. Western troops in Kosovo can’t fight the Albanians, and why would they? Even if everyone wanted it, it’s unrealistic to imagine Kosovo in Serbia.

It is obvious that the diplomats are also aware that giving Kosovo independence would create tremendous problems not only in Serbia, but elsewhere in the region and in international relations in general. However much one twists the diplomatic tongue, the brutal truth is that Kosovo is an ancient Serb territory occupied by foreign troops, and if that is how one achieves independence, then any borders of any country are not subject to revision, as it only depends on who does the revising. However, when they weigh the negative consequences of their plan to Kosovo, Western diplomats still think it’s a little easier to impose independence on Belgrade than enter a permanent war with Kosovo Albanians. And they may not be wrong.

The trouble is that only one people and only one state are being violated here: the Serbs and Serbia. Belgrade has the grounds to wonder “Why us?” The answer is, because it is easy. Western diplomacy is trying to soften this injustice through various incentives. The recent visit of the European Commission chairman Barroso to Belgrade was intended to communicate that while taking away Kosovo, Europe is opening a door to integration. There is hope this could assuage the bitterness of Serbs that could bring the Radical Party to power, although no one knows how. The Radicals claim they would defend Kosovo better than the current government.

Concerning this policy, Le Figaro quotes one high UN official, who said:

Serbia will be “voluntarily raped”– namely, Belgrade will be required to declare the rape consensual after the fact, and then be given hush money by the rich playboy responsible for the act, in this case the EU.


Unpleasant, yes, and certainly not even the Western diplomats enjoy such open injustice and brutality, but no one sees another way of untangling the Kosovo knot.

An additional problem is that the various incentives the diplomats offer are far from convincing. Opening the perspective of European integrations to Serbia in return for its acceptance of independence is hardly credible. The Union is not open to further enlargement, and even if it were, only the entire region from Bosnia to Macedonia would be considered as a bloc. No one could even begin to guess when the entire region could satisfy even the minimal criteria for entry. Furthermore, none of the supposed conditions of Kosovo’s independence sound convincing, either. No conditional independence could restrain the Albanian extremiss. For, if the international community could not force them into moderation so far, it’s hard to see how it could do so in the future. The proposed ban on unification of Kosovo and Albania does not sound convincing either. Who could deny the Albanians the right to abolish the border separating them, and why would anyone try?

Under such circumstances, hardly any government in Serbia could accept the Western scenario of voluntary rape, even if it wanted to. But if Belgrade rejects this imposition and declares Kosovo occupied, as has been rumored, the consequences would be harsh and impossible to predict. Both for the Serbian people, in Kosovo and elsewhere, who would need tremendous strength to resist their own extremism as well as international political and economic pressure, and for the entire Balkans – as well as the international community, which would then have to face the consequences of its violation of basic rules governing the affairs between nations.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Together Longer

A joke I heard this morning:

A Montenegrin asks a Serb, "So, where are you going this summer?"
"Turkey," answers the Serb.
"Why?!" asks the Montenegrin in surprise, and a little insulted.
"The sea is cleaner, the beaches are nicer, the prices are better - and we had been in the same country a lot longer..." comes the response.

(thanks to Jelena)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Pots and Kettles

Lew Rockwell raises a valid question concerning the "trial" of Saddam Hussein: on what grounds, exactly, does one put a government on trial?

The essence of government is the right to obey a different set of laws from that which prevails in the rest of society. What we call the rule of law is really the rule of two laws: one for the state and one for everyone else.

Theft is illegal but taxation is not. Kidnapping is illegal but stop-loss orders are not. Counterfeiting is illegal but inflating the money supply is not. Lying about its budget is all in a day's work for the government, but the business that does that is shut down.

So this raises many questions. Under what law should the heads of governments be tried? If they are tried according to everyday moral law, they would all be in big trouble. Did you plot to steal the property of millions of people in the name of "taxing" them? Oh sure! Did you send people to kill and be killed in an aggressive war? Thousands! Did you mislead people about your spending? Every day! Did you water down the value of the money stock by electronically printing new money that you passed out to your friends? Hey, it's called central banking!

Judged by this standard, all states are guilty. And all heads of state are guilty of criminal wrongdoing if we are using a normal, everyday kind of moral standard to judge them. Thus are they all vulnerable.

To be clear, I'm not talking about states in our age, or just particular gangster states. I'm speaking of all states in all times, since by definition the state is permitted to engage in activities that if pursued privately would be considered egregious and intolerable.

So on what basis can one state put another state on trial? Yes, some regimes are worse than other regimes, but who is to decide and on what grounds?
Rockwell isn't a moral relativist - quite the contrary. He isn't advocating letting the government off the hook, but rather arguing against the hypocrisy of one government putting another on trial. "Pot, meet kettle," and all that.

When people like me raised that issue concerning the NATO-sponsored ICTY putting Slobodan Milosevic on trial, we got slammed for "defending the monster Milosevic," as if his misdeeds (both real and imagined) were somehow an excuse for outright war crimes committed by Clinton, Albright, Clark, Solana and the rest of that particular "joint criminal enterprise." When Rockwell and others criticize the show trial of Saddam Hussein and the occupation of Iraq, they are "countered" by "arguments" that Saddam was evil. Evil enough to justify starting an aggressive war, murdering tens of thousands, occupying a country, unleashing a jihad...?

I don't think so, and I wonder how anyone, in good conscience, can.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"Montenegrin" Victory

I don't suppose it will really matter if the 55.4% of votes supposedly giving Montenegro independence in this weekend's referendum are confirmed to be fair and square - the separatists have already declared victory, and the imperial media have already joined them in congratulations. I guess the world is safe, the global peril of Yugoslavia won't bother anyone any more.

Then again, even the New York Times notes that the "diaspora" from Brooklyn (i.e. Gusinje) may have been the deciding factor. It is buried down towards the bottom of the article, but it is there nonetheless. Something the NYT did not mention, however, is that while every pro-separatist "Montenegrin" was registered as a voter in the run-up to the referendum, tens of thousands who lived in Serbia were excluded from voting.

Three photographs came to me today (I have no idea who took them, when and where, so if anyone does, let me know). They show, beyond any doubt, that in addition to Serbs from Montenegro who backed secession for whatever reason, separatist voters were also Croats and Albanians.

Separatists carrying new flags of Montenegro are joined by a supporter sporting the Croatian flag.

Ethnic Albanians (a large bloc of pro-independence voters) wave Montenegrin and Albanian flags, celebrating secession.


Croat and Montenegrin flags, tied together, at an outdoor pro-independence event. Bosnian Muslim SDA party and the Croat HDZ had tied their flags together like this back in 1991...

I've got nothing against Croats, or Albanians, or Muslims (I won't call them "Bosniaks," that's just silly). But there is something wrong with their votes deciding the fate of Serbs in Montenegro. You see, "Montenegrin," like "Bosnian," is a territorial identity; until it was invented by the Communists, there was no "Montenegrin nation." (See here.) However, in the separatist drive to split from Serbia over the past 8-9 years, they've tried to assert a different language, church, even a completely separate ethnogenesis from the Serbs. The government of Milo Djukanovic has done everything in its power to deny its people their Serb identity.

As former Communists who pragmatically switched allegiances to first become "nationalists," then vassals of the Empire, denying their own ethnic identity did not come hard - they never had it to begin with. And now they are in charge of Montenegro, including the 300-odd thousand people who consider themselves ethnic Serbs, and still remember that Njegos, King Nikola and all the other great Montenegrins in history shared that sentiment.

One can only hope that their character and faith will be strong enough to withstand the systematic de-Serbification the separatists are about to begin. If they keep the faith, then perhaps those misguided "Montenegrins" will realize the value of their scorned heritage once their new "independent" state is taken over by folks who'd like to see Albania extend to Dubrovnik, or Croatia to Skadar, or Bosnia to the sea...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

"We've already torched them all"

According to Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti, Italian police released transcripts of wiretapped conversations between Albanian crime lords, boasting to each other of the "brave deeds" from the March 2004 pogrom:

Hazer: Why don't you ask your brother where he is?
Muharem: Why, you're in Mitrovica, right?
Hazer: No, I'm not in Mitrovica... We've torched all the churches in Prizren.
Muharem: Hell, torch them all!
Hazer: We've already torched them all, turn on the television so you can see them burning!
Muharem: I just turned it on.
Hazer: They're showing Prizren right now... All the church have been torched, not one is left.
(Serbian original here.)

Yes, obviously, such "humanitarian" acts and sentiments should absolutely be rewarded by an ethnically cleansed independent state.

Friday, May 12, 2006

How much is truth worth?

I know Balkan Express has been on-and-off lately, but if you'd like to keep reading it, you may want to consider sending a contribution to Antiwar.com. Think about it - you fund Imperial propaganda every time you buy a mainstream newspaper. How much do you value the ability to read something different? Perhaps we don't know the true value of things till they are gone - but by then it is too late.

http://antiwar.com/donate

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

"Undertakers of Bosnia"

After the narrow defeat of the proposed constitutional amendments in the Bosnian legislature last week, the Social-democratic Party of Bosnia plastered the country with posters showing the "undertakers of European Bosnia" - the faces of 16 delegates whose votes defeated the proposal (see photo below).

Legislators who voted against the "April package" constitutional reforms. Source: SDP BiH


Now to see whether the choice of these men and women will have any effect on their candidacies in the general elections this fall. If not, then perhaps Bosnians have the exact kind of government they deserve...

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sovietization of America

The problem with being jaded is that few things surprise and outrage any more. For instance, when I saw what Dick Cheney said in Vilnius last week, I thought "How typical," rather than "Dear God, who does this man think he is!?"

But then, that's precisely what the advocates of Empire and its nefarious workings desire: that we should become weary and complacent - and always, always fearful of the world, from which only the Empire can protect us.

So I'm grateful Justin Raimondo is still capable of crying "bullshit" and letting slip the words of criticism. In his Friday column, "Comrade Cheney vs. President Putin : The Sovietization of American foreign policy," there's nothing I would not have written myself. And I should have.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Democratic Censorship

Last night (April 25), Serbian authorities forcibly closed BK Television. According to the ANEM (Independent Electronic Media Association), this was done on the orders of the Broadcast Council, following BK's criticism of the council's allocation of public frequencies.

There's so much wrong with this picture, it's hard to pick a place to start. First of all, the existence of the Broadcast Council, modeled after the FCC, is an abomination. How can any country have media that are free and independent of government pressure if a government regulatory agency can yank their license or levy fines on them if their content is deemed "inappropriate"? Long and short of it is - it can't.

Second, there's such a thing as due process - or at least there should be. The government should not have the power to simply send over the cops and shut down a TV station, or a newspaper - or anything, really - without properly filed warrants that could be contested in court. Something all too many people aren't aware of is that laws (starting from the Constitution onward) exist to protect them from the government, not the other way around.

This isn't about BKTV - I've hardly ever seen their programming, and its content is frankly irrelevant; if content were grounds for government censorship, B92 would have been eligible for shutdown ages ago (as if that will ever happen to the flagship of Imperial/Jacobin propaganda...). Making its protest a "Yes, but" criticism, ANEM says that the Broadcast Council "is faced with the difficult task of bringing order to the chaotic situation in the Serbian media sector and will have to make many difficult and unpopular decisions..." But what is so chaotic about the Serbian media sector that requires government "ordering," with police batons no less? How is that morally different from the Milosevic-era Media Law that was held up as the paragon of oppression?

I thank God and human ingenuity that with the advent of the Internet age, the whole mainstream-media model is becoming rapidly obsolete, and that soon enough people will be able to generate and distribute information and entertainment content directly to consumers, without government licensing, censorship or "ordering." Yes, this will require readers/viewers to actually think for themselves and decide whether their sources of information are credible or not. But considering how many people buy into outright lies at worst and negligent stupidity at best, only because it comes from the mainstream newspapers and TV, that can only be a good thing.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Absence explained

I've been in Bosnia for the past three weeks, and deprived of reliable internet access, so I haven't been able to post anything about the funeral of Slobodan Milosevic, the elections in Belarus, the Montenegro vote-buying scandal, or even the Bosnian constitutional reform (boring though it may sound, it was actually quite an interesting topic).

Now that I am back Stateside, I'll post some thoughts in the days to come.

Les pieds d'argile

While in Bosnia-Herzegovina this past month, I saw reports of student riots in France over the new employment law, and thought: "Wait a minute... they object to the possibility of being fired, even though they haven't been allowed to work at all before?" Reading up on the French labor laws confirmed my original snap judgment: the minds of the French seem to have been permanently addled by the welfare-state intoxication.

I've nothing to add to Alan Bock's excellent analysis of the situation, except perhaps to recall a post from last year, invoking a Sci-fi analogy to describe the EUSSR. The "People's Republic of Haven," much like France - and its brainchild, the EU - is a giant with the feet of clay.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Chasing a Non-Story

A strange story appeared in the New York Times on March 5. (A version of the story also ran in Australia's The Age the following day. However, The Age's version leaves out the most interesting part, so it's somewhat less useful here.)

Nicholas Wood, writing from Novi Sad, tells of a bizarre incident in which a family was told its father had passed away, only to find representatives of a private funeral home at their doorstep minutes after the hospital's call. Only trouble was, the patriarch was not dead - merely transferred to another ward, and the nurse, seeing the empty bed, jumped to conclusion. She also, allegedly, called the funeral home with the tip, so she could get a "finder's fee." The funeral home director denies the existence of such an arrangement, but Wood's sources in Serbian healthcare testify it is commonplace.

So far, it's a relatively harmless exercise in scorn ("OMG, Serbia's healthcare is so corrupt, nurses call funeral homes to get paid for dead people! Such savages!"), the kind of which wafts from every NYT article about Serbs and Serbia. But then Wood decides to take it to the next level:

"The collusion between health workers and funeral homes echoes a scandal that emerged in Zodz, Poland, in 2002. Prosecutors there investigated a similar trade and found that ambulance workers were deliberately arriving late at emergencies to increase their chances of finding business for funeral homes.

Prosecutors also discovered the widespread use of a muscle relaxant, which they believe was used to kill patients. Two doctors and two ambulance workers are on trial charged in the deaths of 18 people.

No evidence of such practices has come to light in Serbia..."

So, an ethically dubious practice of alerting funeral homes of deaths in hospitals has, in Nick Wood's mind, a lot in common with a criminal affair in Poland, where healthcare workers actually murdered their patients or deliberately allowed them to die. What exactly is the correlation? There isn't any. Oh, but Wood's choice of phrase ("No evidence... has come to light") implies that something like that may have happened in Serbia, it's just that no evidence has been found, yet. A false analogy, garnished with slick verbiage, leaving the impression that Serbian health workers are so corrupt, they are killing their own patients for a payout from funeral homes. Of course, Wood's story claims no such thing; but if it didn't mean to suggest it, why in the heavens did he mention the completely different, unrelated affair in Poland?

This reeks of the same technique used when mentioning "Srebrenica" in the mainstream press, where the (inaccurate) mention of "8000 unarmed men and boys" is inevitably followed with the qualifier, "the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II." And since it's part of the world's collective consciousness that WWII = the Holocaust, there is the Srebrenica = Holocaust (hence Serbs = Nazis) parallel the figure of speech is meant to invoke.

I have no idea how NYT decides on headlines; those choices are probably made in a New York newsroom, not by field reporters like Wood. This one was, "In Serbia, Deaths Set Off a Lucrative Race for Profit." It is by no means an ode to free enterprise (funeral homes), but a piece of filthy propaganda aimed to suggest that Serbs profit from death. The original non-story (nurses tip off funeral directors; amusing, but not criminal) is thus transformed into a vessel for demonization.

Think I'm reading too much into it? If you replaced "Serb" and "Serbian" with, say, "Kenya" or "Kenyan", there'd be an outcry that NYT engaged in racism. But Serbs, man, them you are allowed to hate. Doesn't everybody?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Our Man Agim



Prologue: Tuesday afternoon I received a phone call from a friend in Washington, who told me of information from a trusted source that Bajram Kosumi, "Prime minister" of the provisional Albanian government of occupied Kosovo, will be forced to resign and replaced by than Agim Ceku. 
"Can they do that?" my friend asked. 
"Sure they can, " I replied. "They are the Empire, and Kosumi is a client; they can do anything in Kosovo." 
Well, except protect non-Albanians, their property and culture, anyway - but why belabor the obvious?

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Kosovo PM Bajram Kosumi resigned from office, "under pressure" from "Western mentor states shepherding the U.N.-run Serbian province through talks that could lead to its independence." UN's viceroy and steadfast partisan of the Albanian cause, Soeren Jessen-Petersen, commented: "...we want to support Kosovo, but at the same time we want the leaders and the people to work very, very hard to earn that which they want to see in Kosovo."

(Handy translation: We = Empire; Kosovo = Albanians. Carry on.)

And sure enough, Kosumi's successor is Agim Ceku, the butcher of Krajina and the highest-ranking "military" commander of the terrorist KLA (Hashim "Snake" Thaci was its political leader). He is a natural choice to fill the shoes of Ramush "Golden Boy" Haradinaj, another KLA veteran who resigned as Prime Minister last March to face charges before the Hague Inqusition - which promptly released him and sent him back to Kosovo. Writes Chris Deliso of Balkanalysis.com:

"There's certainly no one as good as Ceku at removing 'unnecessary delays,' especially if it involves removing unnecessary populations."

So let's review here. First Bush II adopts a Balkans policy strategy written by the Clintonites, which amounts to secession of Kosovo, secession of Montenegro, a Muslim-dominated centralized Bosnia and preferably the smallest, weakest Serbia imaginable. Then Kai Eide, the Whitewasher of March, green-lights the final-status talks despite the UN standards (from "standards before status") manifestly nowhere near being met. Then Martti Ahtisaari, who was instrumental in tricking Belgrade to sign a truce in 1999 that NATO interpreted as unconditional surrender of Kosovo, and who then joined the Serbophobic and pro-Albanian ICG, is chosen to chair the negotiations. Then, following the death and beatification of Ibrahim Rugova, American and UK diplomats openly declare that independence of "Kosova" is inevitable, and Belgrade should deal with it. Now the "international community" shows the precise extent to which it controls the Kosovo Albanians, by forcing their top officials (Nexhat Daci, speaker of the Albanian parliament, was also forced to resign) out to make way for their KLA pets.

Despite his involvement in the deliberate slaughter of Serb civilians in present-day Croatia (for which the Inquisition has hounded his immediate superior, Ante Gotovina), Ceku not only didn't get indicted, he was put on UN payroll as commander of the "Kosovo Protection Corps," a sinecure for KLA veterans established after the occupation. When Ceku was arrested on a stopover in Slovenia, on a perfectly valid and legal Interpol warrant based on criminal charges in Serbia, he was bailed out by Viceroy Harri Holkeri who declared that "Serbia-Montenegro no longer had jurisdiction over the citizens [sic] of Kosovo." Holkeri displayed no such decisiveness during the Albanian Kristallnacht a few months later, hiding instead with the best of the rabbits.

After all this, can anyone in Belgrade who still has even a single functioning brain cell honestly believe that the "international community" (i.e. Washington, Brussels and satellites) has anything but an Albanian "Kosova" in mind? There is no doubt about it any more.

The plot to separate Kosovo from Serbia de jure as well as de facto should be the primary concern of whoever heads the government in Belgrade. Not chasing Ratko Mladic, or negotiating the possibility of a theoretical consideration of a promise to maybe negotiate the notion of eventually entering the EU - the preservation of Serbia's territorial integrity, here and now. Acquiescing to the "independence" of "Kosova" is treason. Trouble is, these days treason is trendy in Belgrade. It's progressive, civilized, "democratic" even...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Left, Right and Liberty

From an essay by Anthony Gregory, today at LRC:


To love liberty is to oppose the state’s timeless assault on it, whether wearing the cloak of tradition and cheered on by bloodthirsty generals, corporate suits and social conservatives, or donning the mask of humanitarianism and equality and trailed by a parade of social workers, bureaucrats, unionists, humanities professors and multilateral warmongers. [...] But the ugly thing about politics is, no matter how unsavory one side gets as it is exercising and vying for power, the power itself can always corrupt the other side. Left and right can turn on a dime, but the potential of the state itself to grow and worsen is ultimately constrained only by the laws of economics, by human nature, and by a public opinion inclined to resist the state’s advances, regardless of the garb it wears.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Cartoon Controversy

So, a Danish newspaper prints cartoons of Islam's prophet Muhammad several months ago, and the issue flares up two weeks ago into mass protests, flag-burnings, death threats, boycotts, attacks on embassies and missions...

One of the common misconceptions in mainstream reports about the "cartoon row" is that Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere did not riot because some of the cartoons depicted Muhammad in an unflattering manner, but because they depicted Muhammad at all. Visual depiction of Muhammad is strictly forbidden under Islamic law.

Fair enough - but Denmark, Europe, and the US for that matter, don't live under Islamic law, do they? In fact, they follow a set of laws protecting the freedom of expression (at least on paper). So in these countries, depiction of Muhammad - while some may consider it sinful - is not illegal.

This is where ignorance comes in. See, the cartoons were commissioned as commentary on self-censorship by illustrators who balked at drawing Muhammad for a children's book, fearful of provoking just this sort of reaction. Ironically, the book was supposed to teach Danish children tolerance towards Islam. But whoever was behind it obviously had no clue whatsoever that Muslims consider visual representations of their prophet a sin. Nor were they aware that in Islam, sin and crime and pretty much one and the same, because it is not just a faith, it is a social order. And not just that - it is a universal faith and social order, considered by its followers to be the ultimate divine revelation. Islam respects Judaism and Christianity's right to exist insofar as they are considered previous, "flawed" revelations of the divine message. As such, they get special, second-class status in Islamic societies, while all other faiths are deemed idolatrous and condemned to extermination. But they are not, under any circumstances, ever considered equal to Islam.

And because Islam considers itself universal and ultimate, it does not allow for coexistence with other social, religious or political systems: the dar-al-Islam is in constant conflict with dar-al-harb, the dark world of infidels who dare not accept the final revelation of god. To tell a Muslim that he should tolerate the freedom of a Dane to draw a picture of Muhammad is absurd; the injunction against it is at the heart of Islam, and thus applies everywhere, to everyone, especially the infidels. To deny the universal and ultimate character of Islam is to become apostate - and Islamic law says apostasy is punishable by death.

That is not to say that burning Danish embassies is the only response available to Muslims. Though violence in the name of the faith is considered a sacred charge, Muslims had many choices in how to react to the publication. Someone might have written to the editor and said, "Look, you are infidels and you do not understand. Any depiction of the Prophet is sacrilege to us, and we ask you to respect that." In today's West, obsessed with political correctness and "human rights," do you think anyone would deny this request?

But those who chose to make the cartoons into a focal point of mob violence did so on purpose. They wanted the riots, craved the outrage, desired violence, as it promoted their position within Islam as advocates of jihad against the West. The violence also played up old racist animosities; it should not surprise that Iranian papers thought a fitting response would be a cartoon depicting Anne Frank in bed with Hitler.

In a battle between free speech and "multi-culturalism," in today's Europe, free speech is bound to lose. The post-modern, post-Christian West simply cannot comprehend a religion like Islam, whose followers resort to aggression and murder at the smallest slight. Christians don't burn embassies when someone exhibits a crucifix soaked in urine, do they? Which goes to explain why Christianity is under constant attack by the secular state, and Islam is appeased at every step.

Again, the post-modern, post-Christian society running the West has only one religion - power - and only one saint, violence. Force is the only thing they worship, and the only thing they respect. When Christians are offended by something, they protest with words, and are answered with mockery. When Muslims are offended, people die - and Muslims are answered with apologies and claptrap about sensitivity, respect and tolerance: words they see in a completely different context, one the post-religious West doesn't understand.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Something you can do

It's a twisted, crazy, surreal world we live in, where guardians of Official Truth are telling us things are exactly the opposite of what they appear to be. Oppression is celebrated as liberty and liberty denigrated as treason. Patriotism is labeled criminal, and nihilistic globalism celebrated as progress. What you see, hear and read in the media often contradicts itself, let alone independent observation.

What can one do against such vile corruption? Refuse to accept it, of course. Seek out the truth, wherever it may still survive, and challenge the lies. One way to do this is to support those who challenge the Official Truth: Antiwar.com and LewRockwell.com, to name just two.

Ask youself: how much is liberty worth to you? How much should the truth cost? What is the price of sanity? Then reach into your wallet, or don't. It's up to you - and it should be. You fund the omnipotent state, the perpetual war and perpetual inflation because you have to; the government takes your money no matter what. But you can choose to fight it. This is one way.

Decide.

Friday, February 03, 2006

A Glaring Omission

There is an excellent piece by H. Arthur Scott Trask on LRC today, dealing with the state of perpetual war so beloved of the Imperial government these days. It makes a lot of good points about the Cold War, the imperial mentality and the current "war" on terrorism or whatnot. But it makes one glaring omission: the Balkans.

In Trask's piece, 9-11 follows the 1991 Gulf War, drawing on the continuity between the Bushes. I beg to differ. It was Clinton who ran on an interventionist platform in 1992, and presided over the transformation of NATO into an aggressive alliance, first in Bosnia (1995) then Serbia (1999). It was Clinton who sent troops into Somalia and Haiti, and waged a lengthy air war on Iraq from 1998-99 (stopping only to switch to Serbia). British historian Kate Hudson saw this in 2003, when she called attention to a "pattern of aggression" characterizing the US foreign policy.

Another important aspect of Balkans interventions is that they were gradual. Involvement in Bosnia began as one demilitarized zone for humanitarian aid delivery (Sarajevo airport), then expanded to the no-fly zone, "safe havens," punitive air strikes, and finally a joint military operation with local proxy forces on the ground. Then that precedent was used in 1998 to threaten Serbia over Kosovo, and ratcheted up to full conventional war in March 1999, without even a fig leaf of UN authorization. "Desert Storm" was grounded in international law and authorized by the UN; "Allied Force" was emphatically neither. Can anyone seriously argue that without all those precedents, it would have been possible for Bush II to invade Iraq in the manner he did?

It isn't just the "neocons" that are the problem. Clinton's wars were engineered by "neoliberals," while the neocons cheered on. Both are united in the cause of American Empire, which is the problem. Much as I agree with Trask's article, and the points it's making, I don't see how anyone can fully understand how the Empire came about after the end of the Cold War if the ground-work done in the 1990s isn't at least mentioned. That, rather than personal attachments to the region, is the primary reason I still write about the Balkans.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Better to lose

From an excellent post by Chris Deliso over on Balkanalysis:

"Today we live in an imperial moment like any other. And when it becomes necessary to grovel at the feet of empire to curry favor, those who have neither self-respect nor an interest in self-reliance always win. Sometimes it's better to lose."


Perhaps it is worth noting that people who habitually grovel before empires are triumphant only temporarily; as soon as their patrons are defeated, so is their cause - and they seek out another sponsor (usually ending up doing their bidding in the process; it's how it works). Any sort of lasting achievement comes from those who stand with honor and dignity.

Something to think about.

Friday, January 27, 2006

AI, UPI and "job cleansing"

Amnesty International warned this week that ethnic discrimination in employment is still a problem in Bosnia. Specifically, the advocacy group said, the issue of unlawful terminations in 1992 prevents many people from returning to their homes and resuming their lives.

AI names both the Serb Republic and the Muslim-Croat Federation as culprits, saying that neither have done much to resolve the problem. But to hear United Press International (UPI) tell the story, AI has placed the blame squarely on the Serbs, who "block Muslims" from returning home and to work (see here).

I can see how it happened. The UPI story quotes this part of the AI statement: "Discriminatory dismissals were in many cases the first step in aggressive campaigns of 'ethnic cleansing'....which included killings, forcible transfers and deportations." So, since everybody knows that only Serbs engaged in "ethnic cleansing" and that Muslims were solely their innocent victims...

The truth, of course, is rather different. I know it from personal experience. In those chaotic early months of the war, every side was systematically purging "undesirables" from all public posts. The Muslim regime in Sarajevo kept some Serbs and Croats around for propaganda purposes, but they had no actual authority. After establishing the perception of "multi-cultural, tolerant" Muslims being victimized by "racist, genocidal" Serbs, Izetbegovic purged even those token infidels from his government.

While the media and "human rights" groups often cry crocodile tears about the refugee returns in the Serb Republic, the fact that Muslim and Croat parts of Bosnia are conspicuously devoid of Serbs even now, ten years after the war's end, is often ignored completely. After all, everybody knows...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Boris Tadic just doesn't get it

Serbian president Boris Tadic really doesn't know when to sit down and shut up. True enough, few politicians do - but this one makes choking on his own foot a veritable art form.

It's bad enough that he wanted to go to Kosovo to attend the funeral of Albanian separatist leader Ibrahim Rugova (who is being buried today at the KLA "martyrs' cemetery" in a ceremony celebrating not so much the man, but the idea of Greater Albania), and that he "requested permission" to do so from the UN occupation authorities. Now that the UN hasn't responded one way or another, but the Albanians have erupted in howls of protest about how Tadic - or any other filthy, criminal, disgusting, evil Serb - is not welcome to Rugova's funeral, or to their precious "Kosova" for that matter, Tadic "deeply regrets" it. Not asking permission to visit his own territory, or wishing to support Albanian separatism, but the fact that Albanians have snubbed him so.

According to the AP, Tadic issued a statement Wednesday saying that he "respected the stand of the Rugova family to whom the 'presence of a Serbian president was unacceptable',” and that his "desire was to pay respects to a man who was of a different political persuasion than myself, but who campaigned peacefully for his ideas and who was the legitimate representative of the Kosovo Albanians.”

Where to begin...? I do hope that Tadic is "of a different political persuasion" than Rugova - that is, that the current president of Serbia doesn't share Rugova's ideal of forcible separation of Kosovo from Serbia, involving by necessity the disposal of non-Albanians (Serbs, first and foremost) from the territory. And though many people - including the mainstream Serbian media and politicians - persist in the misconception that Rugova was a pacifist, it is worth noting that the crux of Rugova's strategy was never to negotiate, deal or otherwise engage the Serbs, but to get someone else (specifically, the American Empire) to achieve Albanian goals for them. It is worth noting that the "pacifist" Rugova also had an "army" (FARK) that was eventually absorbed by the KLA simply because the KLA had stronger foreign backing.

Tadic went on to say that, "Unfortunately neither political representatives of the Kosovo Albanians nor the international community realized what a chance this was for us to start changing relations between Serbs and (ethnic) Albanians.”

Let's face it, between the shameless cheer-leading for the separatist cause by viceroy Jessen-Petersen, and the ever-present fear of UNMIK that rampaging Albanians mobs might go medieval on them at the next perceived slight (much as they did to Serbs in 2004 and before), it should be obvious to a blind man that UNMIK doesn't give a rotting roadkill's posterior for Serb-Albanian relations. And neither do the Albanians, if the vitriolic response to Tadic's offer is anything to judge by.

Tadic himself, however, doesn't get it. “If the presence of a Serbian president at a funeral in Pristina is unacceptable, the begging question is whether we are acceptable to one another and whether we shall ever be so in the future,” he said (AP).

Judging by a lengthy history of Albanian violence against the Serbs in Kosovo; the establishment of "Greater Albania" including that territory in 1941-45; the periodic riots demanding independence since 1945; the emergence of the KLA and the NATO aggression in 1999; and the subsequent ethnic cleansing of Serbs ever since - should there be any doubt in anyone's mind that the majority of Kosovo Albanians have decided that no, Serbs are not acceptable to them in any way, shape or form? Not even when they come to validate their separatist agenda, making a complete mockery of themselves (as Tadic would have done)?

That's some powerful hatred there, folks. And Boris Tadic is either too naive, or unbelievably stupid not to see it. Neither of which is exactly a desirable characteristic in a president, however ceremonial his post might be.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Albanians 1, Tadic 0

The not-unexpected death of Ibrahim Rugova last weekend may have delayed the sham talks about the separation of occupied Kosovo, but is, predictably, being used to make that separation just about inevitable. It has also offered yet another opportunity for Serbian president Boris Tadic to humiliate himself and the nation he supposedly represents.

As Reuters reports, Tadic "made a request" to attend Rugova's funeral, and was rejected by the outraged Albanians, who saw this as an insult and provocation. After all, Reuters continues, "the Albanian majority rejects any return to Serb rule after years of discrimination and often violent repression."

First of all, if Tadic really believed Kosovo was Serbian territory, he would not be asking permission to visit - not of KFOR or UNMIK, but especially not of the separatist, Albanian "provisional government." Secondly, why would he, or any other Serbian official, want to attend the funeral of a separatist leader like Rugova, especially when it will be taking place at a KLA cemetery?! Last time I checked, Serbia was still classifying the KLA as a terrorist organization. So how does the president going to a terrorist monument (KLA cemetery) to pay homage to a terrorist ally (Rugova) represent anything remotely legal, legitimate, constitutional or proper?

Oh, some may quibble that Rugova was really opposed to the KLA, a pacifist, a democrat and whatnot. Did he fight for an independent "Kosova"? Yes. Does the KLA? It does. Did Rugova ally himself with the KLA as "president" of the occupation government? He sure did (Ramush Haradinaj's AAK is part of the "government" with Rugova's LDK). QED.

Which brings us back to Tadic. A man who has shown himself to be a sycophant of the Empire, with a penchant for posturing in just the wrong way, in the wrong place, at the wrong time (Srebrenica commemoration, anyone?), has gone and done it again. I don't much care that he's embarrassing himself - stupidity like that deserves a comeuppance - but that, through the misfortune of being the president of Serbia, he gets to project that embarrassment onto an entire nation.

Blackened by the vilest propaganda as the intellectual heirs of the Third Reich, blockaded, bombed and put on show trials by kangaroo courts and two-bit hack journalists, displaced from homes, stripped of rights and land - all over the past 15 years of "democracy" and "liberation" by the Empire - the Serbs at least had some remaining dignity in their tragedy. Boris Tadic and others like him are working real hard to destroy that dignity. Makes me wonder if they are doing it on purpose.