Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Long, Twilight Struggle

2012 began with Angelina Jolie's war porn, and just got worse from there.
Guess who's the Balrog. 
April marked the 20th anniversary of Bosnia's recognition as an independent state - and the outbreak of the (un)civil war that ensued. It's somewhat of a mystery as to why the war, which ended in late 1995, had not restarted by 1997. Though the fact that it never ended for some people, but merely continues by other means, may harbor a clue.

Speaking of never-ending wars,WW2 is apparently still on. Did you know that someone "won" it not once, but twice? The answer may surprise you. Or maybe not. Either way, 50 years later the roles had been rearranged, with the once-and-present Nazi allies becoming the Atlantic Empire's new best friends, while Hitler's enemies are smeared as Nazis reborn.

No doubt that was the intent of an "artistic prank" wherein two NGO drones got a bunch of Serbian political parties to endorse a program originally written by Joseph Goebbels. Left out of the reports was the insignificant detail that all the parties involved were pro-Empire. When facts get in the way of a good story, too bad for the facts.

Prior to the May elections in Serbia, I put together a quick guide to political parties involved. The distinctions between them were smaller than it appeared, though. On St. George's Day, the Dragon won. Sure, it seemed like a small victory when the sycophantic Boris Tadic lost the presidency to Tomislav "Undertaker" Nikolic. Soon, however, the darkest suspicions about the "progressives" and their partners in crime began to seem downright benign compared to the actual betrayal in the works.

While as late as October is still seemed as if the new-old government in Belgrade was playing stupid, they soon demonstrated they weren't playing at all. Even as the Empire proclaimed an amnesty for murderers of Serbs, Belgrade signed "agreements" and promised "platforms" to recognize the Empire's monument to evil in fact, if not in name.

The besieged Serbs in Kosovo appealed to Moscow for protection, and organized a transparent, democratic plebiscite where they overwhelmingly voted against becoming "Kosovians". While Moscow offered moral support - but not much more - Belgrade responded with betrayal, and the Empire with violence.

Adding insult to injury, throughout the year, the Empire that no one could supposedly resist was revealed as a bumbling bully. Its contempt of decency was openly on display - not just when the Serbs were concerned, but also in other places it had occupied. Its propaganda has been having less effect. The invincibility it asserted was a result of self-deception and deliberate misunderstanding. How could such hubris and stupidity in service of twisted values continue to dominate? Not because the Empire itself is strong, I think, but because its victims are weak, infested by Empire's death cult.

The hostility and downright bigotry towards the Serbs can be explained in part by money, but more so by a lust for power, and a fair bit of historical baggage. Forcing a "gay pride parade" on places like Belgrade had nothing to do with actual homosexuals, or human rights and values, but everything to do with a display of power.

Why the Serbian politicians decided to outdo their predecessors in groveling is still a riddle; perhaps because they are spineless cowards, perhaps because they really believe the Empire means them well - even though it manifestly does not. Either way, at the end of 2012, treason in Serbia is still a profitable endeavor. How long that shall remain the case, I do not know.

Back in April, as I profiled the Serbian political scene, I wrote:
"The Serbs have displayed remarkable resilience. After a century of fighting horrific wars; surviving several attempts to obliterate them physically and culturally; social engineering seeking to obliterate their identity, language, culture and history; demonization designed to crush their spirit; communism and banksterism nearly wiping out their economy and enterprise - they are still hanging on. Many others would have broken long ago."
It may appear right now that this Empire will succeed where others have repeatedly failed.

But I think not.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Faith, Force and Freedom

Looking back over 2012, it's been one of my leaner blogging years. Not because nothing was happening worth mentioning - quite the contrary - but because I saw little point in addressing people who just didn't care to listen.

When ideology or prejudice trump reality in the minds of men, discussing reality with them becomes an exercise in pointless frustration. Thinking stops, and everything becomes a conditioned response. The campaign for Emperor demonstrated this on a daily basis. So did the horrific massacre at Sandy Hook elementary. Before the victims were even buried, the usual suspects began with the usual arguments: ban guns, register the mentally ill, whatever. Control, control, control, it's always about control.

Part of that is the corruption of reasoning I did write about. Another part of it is solipsism. In America especially, countless people live their lives entirely obsessed with themselves, to the point where other people simply aren't real to them. They are like NPCs in a video game. And since one doesn't empathize with NPCs, having zero empathy for other people has become the norm. When these NPCs are seen as obstacles to one's happiness - the paramount purpose of life robbed of all other meaning - the next step is actively hating those other people, and finding ways of hurting them. The pathology has a scale, of course: from forum trolling, via committing suicide by jumping in front of a train at rush hour, to picking up a rifle and shooting up a mall, school or movie theater.

That is not to say that video games are to blame. Quite the opposite. Games offer an escape from a reality that has long since become virtual. Remember the Bushians' disdain for the "reality-based community"? The notion that they were creating reality by the sheer force of their willpower, while the pesky realists were merely observing and analyzing it? Well, they aren't the only ones to believe it, just arrogant enough to admit it openly.

Modern omnipotent government has made treating people as things into an art form. Look at the militarized police, or the callous disregard for the lives of people in invaded - oops, liberated - countries. Look at the drones and their pilots. Being a sociopath is almost a recommendation for the job.

If we're looking at a "culture of" anything to blame for the rotten mess we're living in, it's got to be this culture of narcissism, as Brendan O'Neill describes it. Guns? Serbia has the second-highest concentration of guns per capita, after the U.S., but there are no rampage murders there. The Orthodox Church, which is most definitely not concerned with an individual's feelings, might have something to do with it as well.

Of course, the Serbs have gone to the other extreme, refusing to use their weapons even for legitimate self-defense. 

Yet I've been unable to put into words the conclusion that simply leaps out from all this, for several days now. Until I saw this article. So I'll borrow Daniel Greenfield's turn of phrase, and say that what both the Serbs and the Americans need to learn is that "when you give up faith to force, then you also abandon any further reason to resist that force. Without faith, it is easier to let force win."

Saturday, December 08, 2012

A Very Deliberate Injustice

ТIME cover, 9/11, 1995
As I noted before, the manifest injustice of the so-called war crimes Tribunal should hardly come as a surprise. Complaining about it is worse than worthless - it is harmful, since it only lends legitimacy to an institution that never had any from the start, and only barely managed to successfully conjure a pretense of it on a handful of occasions.

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.
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)
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?

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"?