That was my first reaction to the headlines concerning today's verdict in the case of "Kosovo six" - the political, military and security leaders of Serbia, surrendered to the Hague Inquisition by the quisling regime in Belgrade. Most headlines focused on the fact that Milan Milutinovic, former President of Serbia (1998-2002), was acquitted of all charges. Oh, and by the way, the deputy Prime Minister, Defense Minister, two top military commanders, and the internal security chief were all convicted of "a broad campaign of violence directed against the Kosovo Albanian civilian population."
See what they did there? Right now, agencies like AP are bemoaning the "blow to prosecutors who three years ago lost their chance of convicting former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic of similar crimes." Nothing is made of the fact that key officials of the Serbian government have all been convicted of a conspiracy to expel Albanians from Kosovo. Yet. Oh but it will be, and soon.
Milutinovic's acquittal was as deliberate as the conviction of the other five. By acquitting him, the Inquisition convicted the late Slobodan Milosevic. As "judge" Bonomy - who was brought in to take over the Milosevic "trial" after the death of "judge" May - put it, "In practice, it was Milosevic, sometimes termed the 'Supreme Commander' who exercised actual command authority over the (Serb army) during the NATO campaign."
Such arrogance. Such stupidity. "Supreme Commander" is the literal translation from Serbian, but refers to the concept known in the U.S. as "Commander in Chief." In other words, in time of war, the President is the supreme commander of the military. Bonomy basically concluded that water was wet, and found sinister implications in that!
As for the arrogance... did he, or did he not, use the expression "NATO campaign"? Because the elephant in the room when it comes to any discussion of Kosovo in 1999 is the fact that the alleged crimes Serbia is accused of supposedly occurred during the so-called NATO campaign. So why did NATO start the campaign, again? There's a hole in the causal loop here one could drive the entire carrier battle group through: if Serb forces committed atrocities against Albanians (as the ICTY asserts) during the NATO "campaign" that was supposedly provoked by atrocities against Albanians... but not before that "campaign," then how could the "campaign" have been about preventing or punishing crimes that had not happened yet?
At which point it becomes obvious that the "campaign" was, in fact, an unprovoked war of aggression.
Now consider this: the ICTY issued its "indictment" of Milosevic during the NATO "campaign." But the "Tribunal" flat-out refused to investigate NATO:
"...the Prosecutor has announced her conclusion, following a full consideration of her team’s assessment, that there is no basis for opening an investigation into any of the allegations or into other incidents related to the NATO air campaign. Although some mistakes were made by NATO, the Prosecutor is satisfied that there was no deliberate targeting of civilians or unlawful military targets by NATO during the campaign." (emphasis added)
Read the press release I linked. What it says is that the ICTY asked NATO officials if they had committed any crimes. NATO said, "Who, us? Never." And the ICTY then said "Well, OK then." That was it.
The purpose of today's verdict was threefold: to legitimize the NATO aggression from 1999 (i.e. NATO action was necessary and appropriate because the Serbs were engaging in a criminal conspiracy to murder and expel Albanians); to buttress the "Independent State of Kosovo," proclaimed last February but so far recognized by only 55 governments; and to brand Serbia as the aggressor and criminal, rather than the victim of NATO's aggression, occupation of Kosovo and the ethnic cleansing of its citizens that followed.
Yet I am not surprised by the verdict at all. Not because the charges are true (I personally believe they are entirely bogus, but that's beside the point, really), but because a different verdict would have been impossible. The ICTY is located on the territory of a NATO member. Most of its funding comes from NATO member governments (predominantly the U.S.). It relied on NATO to get access to sites of alleged atrocities, secure and protect local witnesses, even arrest suspects. The very purpose of this bastard court is to provide a quasi-legal context to the tragic Balkans wars of the 1990s by blaming everything on the Serbs. It's not just that Serbs make up the majority of the "indicted"; but that the entire Serb political, military and security leadership has by now been put on trial. Croats, Muslims and Albanians accused of atrocities, even on the spurious grounds of "command responsibility," are nonetheless tried as individuals. Serbs, however, are all supposed to be part of this phantom "joint criminal enterprise," evil masterminds behind the bloody Balkans wars.
I won't call this verdict "shameful", even though it is, for that would imply the Hague Inquisition has some sort of moral code. It does not. It is a perversion, created for the sole purpose of manufacturing political cover for aggressive outside interference in the Yugoslav wars of succession. It has neither moral nor legal authority to try anyone, no matter what he may or may not have done in the course of the wars.
Today's verdict is the latest (but probably not the last) in a long line of insults and injuries aimed at Serbia, even - especially - after a U.S.-backed coup ousted the government of Slobodan Milosevic from power in October 2000. The current regime, utterly devoted to licking Imperial boots, will do nothing to protest or contest this atrocity. It will collaborate with the Empire in the diabolical plan to brand the Serbian people as aggressors and war criminals, justify the terror bombing of their cities, murder of their children, and seizure of their land. If the Serbs have any dignity left, they need to deal with their quislings appropriately, and soon.
What may seem like a triumph for the Inquisition and the Empire is entirely irrelevant to the big picture, though. The Empire's catalog of crimes is hefty enough even without this latest travesty. It is already drowning in its own iniquities, its fate already sealed and merely unfolding as the world watches. And though they have forsaken their own history, culture and traditions, its leaders would do well to recall the words of Thomas Jefferson: "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever."