|ТIME cover, 9/11, 1995|
To a die-hard imperialist, who lives and breathes relativistic logic, even contemplating the possibility that the Serbs are not the blackest of villains while their enemies - supported by the Empire - are the purest of innocents would be absurd. In their minds, it is not the deed that merits condemnation, but the identity of the (alleged) perpetrator. So the Tribunal's decision to consciously render verdicts that amount to amnesty of Croatian and Albanian atrocities against the Serbs doesn't upset them in the least.
Trouble arises when people serving the Empire do so because they actually believe the official cover story - human rights, charity, justice, peace, reconciliation, etc. Such people are shocked by the Tribunal's travesty because from their standpoint, the Gotovina/Markac/Cermak and Haradinaj/Balaj/Brahimaj verdicts were stupid.
One example is David Harland, former senior UN official in Bosnia, whose essay criticizing the ICTY for "selective justice" appeared in the New York Times of all places. While making sure to repeat the dogma that the "Serbs committed many of the war’s worst crimes", Harland argues that they "were not at all alone, and it is not right, or useful, for them to carry the sole responsibility. Convicting only Serbs simply doesn't make sense in terms of justice, in terms of reality, or in terms of politics."
It is a fact, as Harland states, that "more Serbs were displaced - ethnically cleansed - by the wars in the Balkans than any other community. And more Serbs remain ethnically displaced to this day." But should he really be surprised that the Empire isn't the least interested in prosecuting the atrocities of Croats, Bosnian Muslims or Kosovo Albanians - who have, in his words, "taken ethnic cleansing to its most extreme form"?
Croats (and Albanian volunteers who went on to command the KLA) were Washington's "junkyard dogs", and the campaign commanded by the recently released generals was planned and executed with Washington's full knowledge, input and assistance. It wasn't the Europeans or the Saudis who persuaded Bosnian Muslim Alija Izetbegovic to renege on an already-signed compromise that would have spared Bosnia bloodshed, but the American ambassador Warren Zimmerman. By the time NATO troops poured into Kosovo to ensure the KLA could murder, pillage and torch with absolute impunity, killing Serbs had been a treasured Imperial practice for years.
Before Haradinaj, Gotovina and Markac, there were Naser Oric and Florim Ejupi. Oric was the Muslim warlord of Srebrenica, who boasted about raiding the surrounding Serb villages from his ostensibly demilitarized fiefdom, and taking no prisoners. He was acquitted by the ICTY as well. The Tribunal didn't even bother with Ejupi: the Albanian terrorist who had bombed a bus of Serb civilians first "escaped" from a major U.S. military base (!), and when he was eventually tracked down, arrested and convicted, the EU's "law and order mission" set him free within months.
While pretending to be even-handed might sound like a good policy, why bother? The Serbs aren't actually resisting - a succession of increasingly quisling regimes set up in 2000 has ensured that official Belgrade would serve the interests of Empire first and foremost, and never so much as contemplate the interests of Serbia. Time and again, the quislings have tolerated a veritable train of humiliations heaped on them by the Tribunal, UNMIK, EULEX, OHR, etc. A nice self-fulfilling prophecy there: treat the Serbs as cattle long enough, they begin to act like cattle, thus providing justification for the treatment.
What the Tribunal is doing isn't stupidity, but rather hubris, the boundless arrogance of a torturer whose victim has long since stopped resisting, and is practically begging for more. Whether this perception is accurate or mere wishful thinking is open to debate, but that it informs the torturer's actions is undeniable.
Harland himself doesn't have the excuse of ignorance. Quite the contrary. He has been a prosecution witness at several ICTY "trials" over the years, yet somehow never noticed that the Serbs he testified against by and large weren't charged with actual atrocities, but of a mythical crime of conspiracy invented specifically for the ICTY.
Or did he? Consider this answer of his at the "trial" of Gen. Ratko Mladic in July this year:
"A: That has been overstated. In -- that was chosen as the trigger, but had that not been the trigger the operation would have taken place a few days or weeks later or even earlier.Harland is saying that NATO would have bombed the Bosnian Serbs no matter what they had or hadn't done. Hard to believe? Not at all. Wasn't the name chosen for the bombing campaign "Deliberate Force," of all things?
Q. But if Serbs -- in other words, Serbs had no way that they could avoid these NATO air-strikes according to you; is that so?
A. Not unless they stopped fighting."
(ICTY transcript, p. 879, lines 20-25)
So it rings offensively naive (at best) when Harland concludes that ICTY's actions are "the opposite of what the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was created to achieve." Quite the contrary, it is precisely what it was established for: to impose a narrative of the wars that would blame exclusively the Serbs, while giving a blanket amnesty to their enemies and external sponsors thereof. It has always been about lawfare, rather than law, prejudice rather than judiciary.
This is, of course, cold comfort to the Serbs - but they have bigger problems right now than some self-appointed falsifiers of history in funny robes, or their media apologists. The ICTY's narrative will last only so long as the Empire can impose it through force and lies. And even a casual look at the world suggests that won't be the case much longer.
At which point it might be wise to remember the neglected words of Thomas Jefferson: "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever."
Fellow blogger Crappy Town notes the Tribunal's penchant for prosecuting Bosnian Croats, which fits perfectly into the prevailing paradigm. Why some Croats, but not others? Because the Croatian Croats were good Imperial proxies and fought Serbs ("bad guys"), while the Croats in Bosnia fought Muslims ("good guys") and therefore need to be punished. How's that for an illustration of Imperial "logic"?