Friday, April 15, 2011

Injustice For All

Something strange happened at the Hague Inquisition today. The faux court, styling itself the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia) passed judgment on three Croatian generals, accused of atrocities during the 1995 campaign that obliterated the UN-guarded zones inhabited by ethnic Serbs. Two generals, Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, were sentenced to prison terms; the third, Ivan Cermak, was acquitted.

The strangeness was not in that the court more or less specifically established in order to persecute (not a typo) Serbs has actually convicted Serb-killers. That has happened a time or two before. Rather, Gotovina and Markac were convicted on grounds of belonging to a "joint criminal enterprise" (JCE) against the Serbs, led by Croatia's first president, the late Franjo Tudjman.

So far, that quasi-legal construction, developed specifically for the prosecution of Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, has been used solely to prosecute every Serb official that the Inquisition could get its hands on. While pointedly not interested in examining jus ad bellum questions, the Tribunal has nonetheless sought to delegitimize all Serb war efforts by blaming the Yugoslav wars on Milosevic's alleged - but never proven - conspiracy to create a "Greater Serbia." Meanwhile, other belligerents were put on trial infrequently, and then only for jus in bello infractions and always individually. So the use of the JCE against Croatians is a somewhat unexpected turn.

The generals' defense, like that of official Zagreb, has been two-pronged. On one hand there was the "logic" that Croatian troops could not have possible done anything illegal, since they were only acting in legitimate self-defense. (This is the sort of morality that runs rampant these days, where the deeds themselves do not matter, only the identity of the perpetrator.) On the other hand, faced with tapes and transcripts of Tudjman's orders to obliterate the Serbs, they argue that they were only doing Empire's bidding, and ought not be punished for it.

For it was Washington that coordinated the August 1995 operation (known as Oluja, or "Storm") with Tudjman and his generals, having trained and equipped the Croatian military through the "private contractor" MPRI. There are numerous testimonies about this, including one in Richard Holbrooke's memoir of his colleague Robert Frasure referring to the Croats as America's "junkyard dogs," about whose methods one ought not get "squeamish." Washington's Ambassador to Zagreb, Peter Galbraith, even said that the exodus of Serbs in 1995 could not be qualified as "ethnic cleansing," since ethnic cleansing was something only the Serbs committed!

Given that both ICTY and Croatia were instruments of Imperial policy, it was not unreasonable of Zagreb to expect never having to answer for its actions. The Empire is notorious for throwing its allies under the bus, though, once they've served their purpose...

It would be a mistake to believe that the Tribunal or the Empire have suddenly developed a case of caring about Serb suffering. At best, the judgment against the generals is a gambit to create the perception of impartiality, while continuing to pursue the "Greater Serbian conspiracy." Under the JCE, the accused is guilty of merely existing - i.e. holding a position of authority the Tribunal decides should have had control or even awareness of events - so the fact that one of the generals was acquitted strongly suggests the verdict was political. It is entirely possible that the other two will be acquitted in the appeals process (as was the case with Bosnian Muslim warlord Naser Oric).

None of this is helping the Croatians cope; they've been told for years that their side was virtuous, innocent and pure, their cause just and unimpeachable. This verdict plays havoc with their self-perception. It also threatens the current government, which has very little to show for two decades of independence, and prefers to hide behind the mask of patriotism (per Samuel Johnson).

Predictably, there has been very little solidarity among the Serbs for Croatia's situation (just as there never is any the other way 'round). But to cheer the Inquisition's persecution of someone else actually means validating its persecution of one's own, by recognizing the ICTY's dubious legitimacy. Namely, this ad hoc Tribunal is thoroughly illegal and illegitimate, having been established by the UN Security Council as an instrument of peacekeeping. The UNSC does not have judicial powers, and therefore cannot delegate any; the ICTY's legitimacy is a thinly stretched fiction, occasionally bolstered by displays of facetious even-handedness such as the Gotovina/Markac verdict.


Unknown said...

If Operation Storm was a joint criminal enterprise, then the independent state of Croatia (might as well write in capital letters once again) which is founded on it, is therefore an illegitimate and illegal political entity.

kapetan Mile said...

two things i'd like to point out in this verdict. First, the lack of media coverage at least here in north america. Had it been a serb it would have made headlines all over. Second, i hate it when i read that krajina serbs were "occupying" that region of croatia. It doesnt matter that these people lived there for centuries. WAKE UP. Finally i'm glad to see they could pin it on tudjman even while dead, something they could never do to Milosevic. as far as it goes for my personal satisfaction, it helps a lot.

Eugene Costa said...

The list of those thrown under the bus by the Empire in recent years is long. Just a few names that might be put on it--the Shah, Noriega, Pinochet, Saddam Hussein, Ben Ali, Mubarak.

One might add the Argentine junta, though it was Pinochet who stabbed them in the back in regard to Britain, before he himself became an embarrassment to the Empire.
And after all that murder and torture the Argentine strong men worked in the company of their US and Chilean allies too.

Has any enterprising Serb transposed such a list in the Roman alphabet and posted it in the obvious city squares as, say, food for thought?

The Falcon certainly is off to a good start.

Interestingly, neither Slobadan Milosevic nor Muammar Gaddafi qualify.

From a distance Milosevic looks a little like Allende, too trusting and naive.

Gaddafi is....well, we'll see soon enough, but not naive.

The Hero of Crappy Town said...

Reportedly the key piece of evidence for the prosecution were the so called Brioni transcripts. They have Franjo Tudjman explaining that Croatia has the support of the United States. He explains they have been given a green light to do what they wish provided they can do it quickly. He talks about a window of a few days to up to possibly eight days in which their hands will be untied. So if there existed a "JCE", then the US was obviously a party to it, and the Brioni transcripts which were good enough to convict the Croatian generals are evidence of that.

So when can we look forward to indictments of American nationals?

CubuCoko said...

By the ICTY? Never. They specifically said, years ago, they could only put the natives on trial.

Anonymous said...

I think you posted the wrong hyperlink to "..warlord Nasir Oric)."

Media perception is what drives international politics and domestic/international affairs especially when it is presented by an alleged authoritative and independent source hence the international show trial at the Hague which was created by the lobbying effort of George Soros and the Queen of Holland.

The father of PR Edward Bernays knew this when he funded phoney professor and experts who would claim smoking has no lasting harmful effects, fluoride in drinking water or lead in oil.

The often cited “evidence” of Serb guilt is that the overwhelming cases in the Hague and prosecution of war criminals are Serbs.

"Such as it is, the press has become the greatest power within the Western World, more powerful than the legislature, the executive and judiciary. One would like to ask; by whom has it been elected and to whom is it responsible?
— Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn"

CubuCoko said...

Thanks Jack; fixed now.

Eugene Costa said...

The mention of Solzhenitsyn is quite apropos in the context of Bernays especially. There is a certain kind of naivety that is very powerful and which the Russians long ago saw in the Holy Fool and Blessed Idiot, and this is poison to the Bernayses of the world.

They cannot really believe, for example, that there really are people wholly unmoved by the fantasies they sell.

One remembers Solzhenitsyn in New England as high drama--a theater of real life that seldom got in the press.

He had no idea really why he had been lionized in the West, and when he realized he was just a tool he reverted to the Holy Fool, as much a thorn in the American side of the Cold War as he had been in the Soviet.

The Americans, on the other hand, really did not credit his symmetry or seriousness, or his contumely, which one guesses Stalin did, thus not shooting him but having him live to tell his tale, just not in the middle of a life and death fight with other foes.

No doubt Falcon will have a reflexive reaction even against adding that small codex, which is fine.

On the other side Debord and Sanguinetti bored through with the
razor-sharp auger of Villon and Rabelais and the realism of Macchiavelli respectively.

Consider Sanguinetti, for example:

"Long before the advent of the spectacle, religion, which has always been a prototype of functional ideology for all the old powers, had invented the devil, the foremost and supreme agent provocateur, who was to assure the most complete triumph of the kingdom of God; religion did nothing other than project into the metaphysical world the simple necessity of any concrete and real power. Thus, Cicero needed to amplify the risk constituted by Cataline, in order to magnify his own glory as saviour of the fatherland, and multiply in that way his own abuses. For any power, the only real catastrophe is to be swept out of history; and each power, once weakened and feeling the imminence of this real catastrophe, has always tried to consolidate itself in pretending to wage an unequal struggle against a very convenient adversary: but such a struggle always was also the last oration pro domo sua that this power would declare. History is full of similar examples."

[Gianfranco Sanguinetti tr. NB]

Sanguinetti then quotes Courier.

The interesting aspect is that Debord and Sanguinetti both pointed out the final and fatal flaw of the Spectacle without
making it anything but logically prehensible.

Which is to say, in a way, that not even a Bernays could grasp it and turn it to his own account and that of his masters.

With the Empire now compiling a completely new list of devils, the old devils can laugh, for they are used to being devils by now.

It's the old angels that really have to worry.