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For fair use only.
To break the cycle of vengeance, the United Nations should take measures to help local courts bring to justice war criminals on all sides of the conflicts in former Yugoslavia. The International Penal Tribunal, in contrast, was set up, organized and funded not as an unbiased world court of justice but as a political instrument directed against a single party to the conflicts: the Serbs. Like the media, the Tribunal ignored the Croatian attacks on Serbs in Western Slavonia, which initiated the rounds of ethnic cleansing producing criminals and victims among all population groups. Situated in The Hague the better to borrow the luster of the venerable International Court of Justice, the Tribunal's conduct actually risks undermining international law. The arbitrary and biased conduct of the Tribunal is most sharply illustrated by the treatment of Bosnian Serb General Djordje Djukich, who after being kidnapped by Sarajevo authorities in violation of the Dayton Accords, was illegally detained and interrogated in the Hague while he was dying of cancer, in a vain effort to incriminate senior Serb leaders. This cruel and arbitrary conduct is the product of the emerging political culture in a United States conscious of being the sole Superpower and convinced that it can and should impose its will on the world. But by abandoning the best of traditional American values in its undeclared war against the Serbs, the Clinton administration may be leading the United States itself into unforeseen troubles.
Some sixteen years ago, Anthropology Professor George Vid Tomashevsich (University of Buffalo) pleaded for non- interference in Yugoslavia by foreign powers and issued this warning in a letter to the New York Times (April 1, 1980)
"...splitting up the admittedly imperfect but viable Yugoslav Federation would be virtually impossible without drastic and brutal political and economic surgery, which at best could not fully satisfy any of the separated parts. Every conceivable divorce between Serbia and Croatia would of necessity involve not only a painful partition of Bosnia and Herzegovina but also the explosive question of the ethnic identity of the Yugoslav Moslems and nightmarish exchanges of hundreds of thousands of uprooted Serbs and Croats from the disputed territories... "
In 1993, as the Clinton Administration decided on an undeclared war against the Bosnian Serbs, the United Nations Security Council set up an International Tribunal to deal with war crimes in the former Yugoslavia since 1991. It was housed at the Hague, not far from the venerable World Court, extant since 1907. The UN Charter made no provision for such a Tribunal (1). Two Muslim states, Pakistan and Malaysia, were among the earliest financial backers. None of the initial 25 hand-picked jurists came from a single country that could be held to be favorable to the Serbs on either political or religious grounds or both (2). The Tribunal's first investigative Commission was headed by an ardent Sunni Muslim scholar from Egypt. His report on war crimes concerned exclusively a section of eastern Bosnia with a once-predominantly Muslim population. It was here, after the international recognition of Bosnia as a state in April 1992, that a collection of Serb irregulars, many fresh out of criminal jails, crossed over and spread terror widely noted in the global media. In its aftermath there was no shortage of war criminals.
Although the ["Tribunal's"] investigative time-frame included 1991, the Commission remained silent about another, much larger [and earlier] event that took place between August 1991 and early 1992. In what is known as Western Slavonia, when both Croat irregulars and Croatia's newly formed army went on a terror campaign in which 189 Serb villages were destroyed, several thousand Serb civilians were killed, 70 Orthodox churches were systematically destroyed, Serb priests and even a Bishop were arrested, while some 40,000 refugees fled in disarray into Bosnia and Serbia. A substantial Serb population in the major Slavonian city of Vukovar disappeared without having fled, leaving traces of torture in the old Austrian catacombs under the city along with evidence of murder and rape. The Western media, whose demonization of the Serbs was already well underway, chose to overlook these events whose crucial significance was thus completely missed by the outside world. It was the massive Croat purge of western Slavonia's Serbs that ushered in and provoked the "modern" post-World War II "ethnic cleansing" which was pinned exclusively on the Serbs in 1992, some months after the whole of Western Slavonia was "freed" and left to the Croats alone. What gives the western Slavonian event (3) an even more acute significance is its impact on the Serbs in general who immediately saw the replay of what was done to the Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia between 1941-1945 (4).
Involving the loss of the lives of several hundred thousand Serb men, women and children in the two regions, that was by far the most bestial example of war crimes in all of Europe under the German Nazi hegemony. Some Serbs were carved up alive or roasted on the spit. In several hundred cases eyes were gouged out with spoons. Hundreds were burned alive in their tightly shut Orthodox churches. Small children were smashed against walls, decapitations and rapes were commonplace, thousands were buried in mass and individual graves as well as caves, tens of thousands were put in 22 concentration camps in Croatia and Bosnia, thousands more were forcibly converted into another branch of Christianity, countless thousands fled in terror out of immediate reach. (5) To be sure, these gruesome crimes were mainly the work of Croat Nazis, none of whose higher-ranking members were ever tried for war crimes. Even officers of the German regular army stationed in the regions felt uncomfortable with the ongoing mayhem. It was hence not difficult to whip the Serb irregulars of April 1992 into a frenzy as their commander "Arkan" (Zeljko Raznatovic) swore that "never again" would the Serbs submit to being ruled by others or permit mass exterminations and mass expulsions of fellow-Serbs "wherever they may be," with reprisals "sure to follow." (6) Arkan then moved into Slavonia and Serb-held Krajina to inflict misery on the Croat peasants who had nothing to do with the earlier ethnic cleansing of the Serbs from Western Slavonia. He thus stepped right into the full view of UN observers and the global media, making it impossible to save the Serbs as a nation from hatreds knowing no bounds and continuing to flourish outside any historic context (7).
By the start of 1996, the Tribunal's expenditures topped $40,000,000, mostly for salaries. It had indicted 46 Serbs, 8 Croats and one Muslim for war crimes. The Serbs were on the Tribunal's list for crimes against both the Croats and Muslims, the Croats allegedly committed crimes against the Bosnian Muslims while the sole Muslim was charged with crimes against the Bosnian Croats (8). In the third week of March 1996, there was an unusual addition to the list of war criminals sought. Three Bosnian Muslims and one Croat were indicted for crimes committed against the Serbs. Indeed, up until then, after more than two years of activity, the Tribunal had somehow failed to indict ANYONE for a wartime crime against a single Serb. This is despite the fact that, by the start of 1996, there were over 1,000,000 Serb refugees from western Slavonia, Krajina and Bosnia, that thousands of Serb civilians had been killed in these sections of "old" Yugoslavia, and that this was done by the Croat irregulars, Croatia's regular army, Bosnian Croats and Muslims alike. The ethnic cleansing of Krajina (August 1995),affecting some 200,000 Serbs, mostly of peasant stock, dwarfed any other instance of such "cleansing" in the former Yugoslavia, during the five-year old civil war among three main co-belligerents. The Bosnian government's army destroyed scores of Orthodox Christian churches and used regularly the United Nations-designated "safe zones" from which to attack the near-by rural Serbs in raids that would never reach the Western European or American TV screens. As a host of UN observers of low and high rank have repeatedly insisted, Bosnian government forces routinely endangered their own civilians through the calculated provocation of Serb shelling which would be on global TV screens within hours, as the cameras were turned on in advance. By early 1994, the War Crimes Commission received an important shipment of documents, many of better than prima facie quality (9), listing crimes committed against the Serbs since 1991. The evidence was submitted through the diplomatic pouch, it was duly signed for and, to this day, has never been used to indict anyone. It was, however, traced to Chicago's DePaul University where the Commission's head (Mammoud Cherif Bassiouni) taught international law briefly. A small team of Catholic volunteer students was given the assignment of preparing a data-base from an even larger documentation for all of the former Yugoslavia, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation provided in-house security (10). When asked to account for the missing documents for crimes against the Serbs, the Commission's head claimed he knew nothing about them. It becomes clear that something is very wrong with The Hague Tribunal (11).
On 23rd July 1996, the following paid advertisement appeared in the editorial page of the Haagsche Courantas a petition to the Hague's Lord Mayor and its citizens, on behalf of the Americans for International Justice Committee, an umbrella group formed in San Francisco in 1993, to monitor The Hague Tribunal (12):
"For several centuries Holland has been regarded as one of the most civilized nations. The Hague in particular has been the seat of the World Court in the current century, a court distinguished by the application of Law to relations and disputes between nations and states. The City and the Court became intertwined, epitomizing some of the most admirable legacies of the Western Civilization itself. The cases heard by the Court and its careful judicial rulings virtually defined International Law, a field now taught at most major universities. The World Court as a global legal Officer, never engaged in advocacy, it never demanded reprisals; it left the acceptance of its rulings to the parties involved. It allowed simultaneous representation and the submission of representations to all sides in a given dispute; it did not launder or argue its findings in public before or during judicial review or proceedings, while the concept of international military intervention to enforce its rulings remained alien to the World Court. Right now, this magnificent legal heritage is being literally raped at The Hague, its respected home. Its image is being subverted by an imposter, a would-be legal organ, inserted deliberately into The Hague in search of a legal and cultural pedigree. It is presented as an international "Tribunal" on war crimes. It uses legal language. It has jurists on its panels. It has funds but, in fact, it is a fraud. It clearly has a mission which by its very nature has become a naked assault on law itself.
Dealing with war crimes in former Yugoslavia, it truncates the true historical context by eliminating all events before l991, invoking statutes of limitations, which do not apply to war crimes. Disregarding rules of evidence and established normal legal procedure, it investigates, indicts, prosecutes and renders sentence as a single body. It demands that arbitrarily proclaimed war criminals be physically delivered to the "Hague Tribunal." It issues daily accusations to the world media against two particular leaders of a single ethnicity and religion in the three-part civil war in which all sides share in brutalities. It does not allow defense attorneys to challenge the accusations, by hiding behind a lack of mandate for trials-in-absentia. It is even demanding that the NATO troops in Bosnia hunt and arrest the two leaders at the risk of both military and civilian bloodshed. It is deliberately sustaining worldwide media frenzy through which the accused is pronounced guilty by association and without trial. It is destroying and making a mockery of the judicial system and secular legal tradition by pursuing its own political objectives. The Americans for International Justice Committee believes that the decent residents of the famous city and its highest elected officials are being deceived and dishonoured by the presence in their midst of a would-be "court of law" conceived in mischief, and motivated by political expediency and bias. It embodies the imperial arrogance of powers whose leaders mistake might for right. We, therefore, respectfully, petition the Lord Mayor and the citizens of the Hague to put the "Tribunal" on notice that, as presently constituted and operated it debases the true Court's historic legacy and is no longer welcome in their city. The proclamation would attest in no uncertain terms that the Hague intends to remain the permanent home and guardian of International Law, fathered by the illustrious Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius (Groot), whose immortal work De ivre belli acpacis (Law of War and Peace, Paris, 1625), had been the guiding light in the slow and painstaking evolution of international legality and morality."
Because even some of the Tribunal's supporters know, without admitting, that it is at odds with the UN Charter, that its establishment and maintenance bring up a host of embarrassing questions (13), one does hear frequently that the Tribunal is not patterned after the World Court but after the Nuremberg and Tokyo precedents. In order to hold this line, it has been advanced that the blood-letting in ex- Yugoslavia is not a civil war but an international aggression. This is because, when Bosnia became an internationally recognized state, elements of the Yugoslav Federal Army failed to leave it fast enough. None of this can withstand even minimal scrutiny. The German and Japanese cases involve military tribunals based not on any charter but on the rights of conquest. Bosnia is not under occupation by NATO (!?). In order to achieve the results of the American presence in Japan and Germany after their conquest, the Bosnia mission would require five times as many troops as there are now and their presence would have to last at least a decade, costing endless billions of dollars, an option unacceptable to the Western European and American peoples and therefore their governments alike. In the meantime, none of the co-belligerents in ex-Yugoslavia will turn over their leaders to The Hague Tribunal.
The Idea of the Tribunal
It would be a mistake to believe that a strong desire to deal harshly with war criminals in the former Yugoslavia persists mainly among segments of the intellectual and political elite in Western Europe, the United States and the Muslim countries. It is far stronger and it will be longer-lasting among the local survivors and relatives of the dead victims on all sides. Local reprisals and counter-reprisals simply insure that human memories will be intertwined or interspersed with hate, which can become obsessive at any time, especially in political and economic crises. If, somewhere along the way, the parties involved do not come to feel that legal justice has actually been done, the cycle o f reprisals cannot be broken for good. This legal justice cannot come from outside. It must be arrived at internally. This is why, ultimately, the trials of killers and torturers of all the parties must be held in the local high courts and not at some distant tribunal. Until the Serbs, the Croats, and the Bosnian Muslims come to genuinely agree, on the basis of self-interest and insurance against future counter-reprisals, to deal directly with their own war criminals, neither the cause of justice nor that of enduring peace, will be served. It will certainly not be served by that well-paid mockery of International Law called, somewhat perversely, "The Hague Tribunal."
Indeed, it is high time to replace this Tribunal with a Permanent U.N. Commission on War Crimes (PCWC) with its own Monitoring Bureau (MB) strictly focused on investigating war crimes and providing the accusations of war criminals while allowing all the follow-ups (indictments, arrests, prosecution and the sentencing) to evolve locally in ex-Yugoslavia. Among other pluses of such a change, one can see the possibility of strengthening the independence of local high courts, reduction of international financial outlays at the Hague and Geneva, the advent of solid accusations which conform to the principles of Anglo-Saxon Common Law and which are not pre-advertised in the media. External powers would also be blocked from dictating the indictments ahead of time and deciding just who is to be punished or else "neglected" in the interest of some "higher goal." The Monitoring Bureau would see to it that trials take place within reasonable time limits or that the accusations are returned to the Commission for strengthening. In cases of a blatant circumvention of justice (i.e. a documented war criminal regarded by some at home as a "hero" is found to be not guilty as charged) one outside power at a time could put pressure on the respective governments via the suspension of diplomatic relations first, cultural relations next and trade relations last. This would prevent the punishment of the population through self-gratifying and brutal economic sanctions while escalating pressure in less crippling ways, always one at a time, one power at a time. In the end, there could finally be a concordance of both internal and external means to attain justice and provide a constant deterrent to the commitments of egregious war crimes. Continued support for the Hague Tribunal will achieve nothing but constant irritation without fulfillment, without justice accompanied by the growth of disrespect for law.
Creation of the Tribunal
It was from the Western European side that the earliest proposals came for the Tribunal in 1992, as ethnic cleansing by Serb irregulars came into full view. It took, however, an American architect to put it through. The United States Ambassador to the U.N. [Madeleine Albright] found the starting funds in the amount of $6,000,000,
personally hired the first legal team of 25 jurists and made no secret of her wishes that the Tribunal should go after the Serbs (14). It was not particularly difficult to recruit the Tribunal's personnel with the same sense of mission and the same mind-set. By 1993, a host of European and American intellectuals, as well as politicians from across the political spectrum, castigated their respective governments for not using force to punish the Bosnian Serbs in particular. Some even wanted to bomb Belgrade for what was regarded as a crime, namely the support from Serbia for the Bosnian Serbs. There were at least three media blitzes against the Serbs in 1993 and the Bosnian Serbs did their level best to help the media out. They shelled Sarajevo without any real necessity and were instantly and repeatedly bashed on Western TV screens. They used U.N. personnel as shields against possible bombing of Bosnian Serb targets, which cost the Serbs many old friends in England and France. Over and above the self-inflicted image wounds, the Serbs in both Bosnia and Serbia misunderstood the power of public relations in the new electronic age. They would not hear of spending as little as $76,000 a year to engage an American public relations firm for self-defense when the offer was actually made (15).
The net result was that Serbophobia had a field day without serious opposition from Serbia in Europe and the United States while editors of the scribal media on both sides of the Atlantic suppressed in myriad ways all texts defending the Serbs (16). In turn, this helped greatly in the otherwise strategic decision for the U.S. to enter into
an undeclared war against the Bosnian Serbs, allow the Ayatollahs to violate the arms embargo and the Mujahadeen [Al Qaeda] to enter in numbers
into Bosnia, and actively help establish the Hague Tribunal. Even when numerous false charges and deliberate exaggerations are added (17), the Serbs did not particularly stand out in comparison with some other "modern" examples, but what
the European and American Serb-haters in particular were after was not just punishment but punishment with humiliation. The reason for this obsessive hatred was the insolence of the Bosnian Serbs vis-a-vis much greater powers. If, in order to punish and humiliate Serbs in general, the Hague Tribunal needed to bend the law, circumvent it and violate it, that was of no consequence. Nothing illustrates this better and more poignantly than what Europe's Francophone press called "1'Affaire Djoukitch" (or Djukich affair).
The Djukich Affair
Earlier this year, following the Dayton Accords, which made freedom of movement their center-piece, two high-ranking officers of the Bosnian Serb army were taken prisoner by Sarajevo's government troops while driving in town. They were promptly called "war criminals." At the Tribunal's request, an U.S. transport flew them to The Hague where they were put in an empty Dutch prison, some ten kilometers from the Tribunal. Within several weeks they were put on trial as war criminals. One was a general named Djordje Djukich, the other a colonel named Aleksa Krsmanovich. Both had been non-combat officers, in Logistics. Some details are now in order. Compliance with the Dayton Accords requires that no arrests of alleged war criminals be made unless one or more figure on the Tribunal's list. The officers' captors provided no specific charges against either of the two. No one at the Hague had accused them prior to capture. They were not on any list or in any computer file. Clearly, the Tribunal was in violation of a key Dayton provision for war crimes. This was done deliberately and out of a sense of panic that the Tribunal would not be able to last for long. Despite all of the millions of dollars already spent, it actually had on hand only one accused Serb [Dusko Tadic] facing the judges and the case against him became more feeble [see the case of witness "L"] with the passage of time. Nevertheless, to be able to confront directly two Serb officers of high rank proved irresistible to the Tribunal Prosecutor. It was also against Holland's laws to hold someone in prison for weeks without any charges but this was disregarded while counting on the international status of the UN Tribunal. The pursuit of "international justice" justified breaking Dutch law as well as American laws, given that the Tribunal was actually "made in the USA". Once Djukich and his aide reached the public trial stage they were given an "amicus curae" Dutch lawyer. When he became obviously "amicus" of the judges and not of the defendants, he was replaced by a Serb attorney, who immediately advised non-cooperation with the Tribunal.
In order to keep the officers on hand in prison but with another aim in mind, the Prosecutor decided to transform them into "material witnesses" rather than keep them as alleged war criminals. It wanted them to implicate as war criminals other important Serbs in Bosnia and in Serbia itself. The officers were given hints of leniency by cooperating but were threatened with return to their captors if unwilling to provide the requisite information. To overcome their repeated denials of knowing personally or knowing of any certified Serb war criminals, a team of FBI agents arrived quietly at The Hague, on an arrangement secured by America's UN Ambassador. Their assignment was to "extract" through intense interrogation techniques the kind of data sought at the Tribunal. When even the FBI came out empty-handed, the two officers were put on trial as alleged or would-be war criminals. The general did not have to await sentencing. He had been in acute pain while at the Hague and he died in a Belgrade hospital virtually DOA from a generalized cancer. Neither the Tribunal as a whole nor anyone else had shown any desire to put Djukich in a local hospital but of course, the
imprisonment and the grilling of an obviously dying man could not be considered a crime against humanity. That he was "innocent until proven guilty" did not even enter through the backdoor of the Tribunal. Without any evidence surfacing at the trial, the colonel was eventually released from prison (18). It was observed by the Dutch citizens who had attended the public trial that the judges frequently laughed at the accused officers and their attorney to show that no one at the Tribunal believed in their professions of innocence.
The Political Culture
Under heavy pressure from members of his own (the Republican) party, the powerful Senator Dole, and in the middle of yet another media blitz against the Serbs, President Clinton needed to deflect the constant sniping at him over Bosnia. Hard line action was the answer and thus he rejected the Owen-Vance peace plan (19), unpopular in Washington but actually accepted at Lisbon in l993 by all the co-belligerents in former Yugoslavia. Opposition was voiced on ostensibly moral grounds. It was better to let the bloodshed go on than "reward aggression." Only, here the non-sequitur came in. The Serbs had originally asked for 71 percent of Bosnia.
Having owned legally some 62 percent of its total area the extra 9 percent would have given them little more than a pile of rocks while gratifying the lines of "ethnic demarcation." As even Warren Zimmermann (who helped scuttle the Lisbon Agreement) admits in his new book, the Owen-Vance plan gave the Serbs just 43 percent of the former Yugoslav Republic's landmass or quite a drop (20). It hardly rewarded "aggression," a much abused and inaccurate term that hardly fits the local realities (21). Moreover, under the Owen-Vance plan, which partitioned Bosnia de facto, the Bosnian Muslims were getting most of the minerals, most of the industries, most of the townships and some of the most fertile fields in Bosnia, providing yet another reason why they accepted the peace plan. The Clinton Administration did not think that stopping the war was in the "national interest" because the "West" (U.S. needed to save NATO for two purposes much higher than peace in Bosnia. One was to be able to use NATO as a cosmetic cover for U.S. air power internationally. The other represented a more strategic thinking, to eventually bring NATO to the borders of the former Soviet Union and thus contain Russia in the event of its re-emergence as an imperial power. For the time being the value of Bosnia was in its war.
It was roughly at this point that the UN Tribunal seemed to offer all kinds of rewards, which no one could ever come to understand as another form of aggression against the Serbs. By constantly accusing the Serbs in public, the Tribunal would take some of the steam out of the President's home critics. It would gratify a host of vocal intellectuals at home and abroad, men and women who could not see let alone stomach any fact or truth even remotely favoring or exculpating the Serbs, and whose obsessive hatred had transformed the Serbs into a nation of neo-Nazi thugs, political caricatures with great potential for large-scale harm. The Tribunal could also not fail to please the Muslim countries by perpetuating the Serbs as aggressors and the Bosnian Muslims as victims despite the changes on the ground inside Bosnia, especially since 1995. Two top aides to the National Security Adviser perceived some additional benefits deriving from the Tribunal. Against the lessons of local history, they persuaded themselves that U.S. efforts to achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East would be enhanced by feeding the hapless, inconsequential Serbs into the political shredding machine called the "Hague Tribunal." To top it all, by helping the human rights Serbophobes, the Tribunal would "dissolve" the Serbs as victims and make it virtually impossible to indict anyone except the Serbs for war crimes committed during the last five years.
One of the most acute by-products of the Hague Tribunal and the Djukich Affair, against the background of these foreign and domestic policies, is the light they shed on an emerging, perhaps already established political culture which is asserting itself most clearly in the Balkans, a region of no vital interest to the United States, one devoid of any significant military power. Since the late 1980's, an entire class of strategists and global thinkers, some more astute than others, have come into America's public view through a common link. They all have had the same basic message for the Executive Branch: the U.S. is now the sole super-Power, its might makes it invariably right, both NATO and the UN must bend to the will of U.S. Administrations, the U.S. can and should routinely play dirty given the mondo cane around it but always have on hand one or more moral justifications with which to manipulate, not external enemies (or friends) but public opinion at home. The most succinct and clearest expression of this message was an essay by the National Security Adviser, Anthony Lake, published in the New York Times (op-ed. 23.9.94). Viewing the world as divided between a moiety of good and a moiety of bad societies, he sees the U.S. global mission as a concerted and structured drive to bring the bad societies into the good moiety. To this noble end, the U.S. has the might and the moral authority to do just about what it desires, when it so wishes, and wherever it so pleases. Those bad Bosnian Serb alleged nationalists and hard-liners can be bombed for weeks by NATO. The U.S. will takes precedence over their feelings and right to self-determination, it decrees for whom the Bosnian Serbs may not vote, where they should live and with whom, how they must behave and when their leaders should be smeared and smeared again, in what still passes as a free press at home. If the Spanish Civil War was a testing ground for two ideologies striving to dominate the world, the Bosnian civil war is the clearest attempt to impose a U.S.-dominated political order on defiant nationalism (22), not via the Social Sciences, as George Soros would have it, but through a combination of crippling sanctions that punish the weakest and hi-tech pulverization, with slight risk to the U.S. military (a sort of killing by "immaculate conception" which is never called a war crime) and "minimal collateral damage" as testimony to residual humane feelings at 30,000 feet. This is the real battlefield for the political culture now in the saddle in Washington. U.S. experience in Vietnam has turned deception into both an art form and a science (something that Goethe did not anticipate when he said that "he who has art has science too") practiced paradoxically by an Administration whose participants, with one or two exceptions, never wanted to be even close to the battlefields of 'Nam.
The political culture now in the saddle cannot exist and thrive without constantly manipulating home public opinion, even when deceptions are not necessary at all. As it comes into full view in the Balkans, it explains why our Generals-for-hire (23) can disclaim any connection with the CIA and the Pentagon while training the 100,000-strong Croat army openly preparing to attack and expel the Serbs of Krajina, some 200,000 ("who had it coming") sub-humans from a once unoccupied border and in which the Serbs became its original inhabitants. As the Croat army amassed its heavy guns pointed at Knin, Krajina's main town, during several weeks, the top U.S. general on hand expressed "utter astonishment" at the attack and the subsequent cleansing. The dominant political culture explains why the National Security Adviser and the U.S. Ambassador to the UN gave the green-light to Croatia to go and take Krajina (24). As the saying went, "one less problem for us to solve." It explains how it is possible for the U.S. government officials who had occupied the loftiest moral ground in sustained and cultivated indignation over the ethnic cleansing attributed to the Serbs to turn their "Teflon" backs on the mass of fleeing humanity because it was composed of Serbs. The ethnic cleansing of Krajina in the summer of 1995 was of such magnitude that it could not be immediately eliminated from public view in America. It came as an unpleasant contradiction to many American viewers accustomed to see only Serbian-made horrors on their screens, whether accurately reported or not. President Clinton did receive a request to distance himself from his cabinet members who gave the green light to the Croatian army to take Krajina (25). He would not do even that much. Instead, it was "damage control times," as his Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright displayed somewhat dated CIA aerial photographs which revealed a freshly dug and rather large field near Srebrenica. By juxtaposing an undoubtedly false figure of 8,000 "missing" Bosnian Muslim men (the claim came from Sarajevo) nothing more needed to be said.
"Mass" grave is one the most charged terms in the English language as it brings back pictorial images taken at the end of WW II and immediately revives memories of the Holocaust. There is one basic difference between the mass graves of the Nazis and those attributed to the Serbs, of which Srebrenica is suspected of providing the worst example. The Jews of Europe had never killed Germans and placed them in mass graves. What the Nazis did to the Jews in Europe could not be explained by any real or imagined wrongs that the Jews could be accused of. No matter what squabbles the Serbs had been involved in during the first Yugoslavia, they had similarly done nothing that deserved the long list of mass graves they were dumped into between 1941-45. Whatever mass graves that may actually be uncovered at Srebrenica they are just the direct lineal descendants of the vastly more numerous ones left behind by
the Nazi surrogates in Croatia and Bosnia, some 30,000 Jewish bodies included.
It is by now standard practice in both scribal and electronic media to de-contextualize all the Bosnian phenomena, to eliminate history, almost Soviet-style, from the sociologically manipulated present. Srebrenica provides in an unexpected way precisely what is wrong with both the media and the constant spreading of hate against the Serbs. For almost a year before the Serbs took Srebrenica, a U.N.-designated "safe zone," its Bosnian (Muslim) government forces routinely raided the rural Serbs in the surrounding countryside, committing all kinds of war crimes without any fear that the TV screens of the outside world could be even a silent witness. Nonetheless, a glimpse of this routinized war crime did manage to "get out" via a source that went to Srebrenica, which can be called impartial. A Toronto Star reporter (26) gave an intimate account of his meeting with Nasir Oric, commander of the Bosnian Muslim forces in the "safe zone" of Srebrenica, before its fall to the Serbs. Oric proudly showed him a video-tape of bestial war crimes committed by his men who had destroyed some 200 Serb villages around the town, raiding mostly at night (27). Oric has never been indicted by the Tribunal. As many of the Serb soldiers who took Srebrenica came from the surrounding villages, it would have taken superhuman iron discipline to show much mercy to any adult Bosnian Muslim male. The reason why all the sides to the civil war in ex-Yugoslavia segregated men from women and children is the nature of combatants in a civil conflict since it is easy to switch from soldier to civilian and vice-versa. All of this does not justify the vengeance killings of male prisoners or of unarmed men in flight, but it does indicate what the assorted Western Serbophobes constantly blot out. There are no saints in civil wars, only sinners. The real aggressors are men with guns and the real victims are unarmed.
Following the third and last market-place massacre at Sarajevo, the Clinton Administration moved quickly to suppress and make secret for a longtime to come a UN field report which placed the blame for this amply televised and bloody act squarely on the Bosnian Muslims. Instead, the Serbs were pronounced "guilty" within hours by the NATO commanders who then promptly launched air attacks on the Bosnian Serb positions, both around Sarajevo and throughout Serb-held parts of Bosnia. It was as if the massacre and the rapidly unleashed NATO air raids had been coordinated beforehand. Perhaps they were and possibly not, the rapidity and the coincidence provide only a circumstantial probability. What is beyond speculation, the ensuing weeks of heavy NATO raids in Bosnia saved this purely defensive inter-Westem alliance from being a less then useful relic of the Cold War, with nowhere to go (28).
What is equally beyond speculation, the deceptions moved in with great speed. The NATO strikes were immediately pronounced as a success, especially because they silenced the Serb guns around Sarajevo. The truth happens to be that Serb commanders moved the heavy guns constantly to avoid destruction and the reason why the guns become silent is the fact that Belgrade intervened and had them moved out of Sarajevo's range. The egg was washed off NATO's face for depending on air power and forgetting an old military tenet that still holds: you cannot win wars without the foot soldier. The next deception came with minimal "collateral damage" claims. Several hundred Serb civilians were killed and as many wounded but, given the long-lasting and intense bombings and strafing, that deception was obviously a minor one. The biggest and most blatant deception was that the NATO strikes against the Bosnian Serbs were meant to bring them to the negotiating table. Anyone who had followed to any extent let alone closely, the evolution of conflict in Bosnia knew that its Serbs had been asking to negotiate for almost a year before the raids. The Clinton Administration rejected their requests as unacceptable because "the West" would not accept the partition percentages of territory proposed by the Serbs but advanced its own on a take-it-or- leave-it basis. Behind this persistent rejection lay the opposition of Bosnian Muslims, who would not be persuaded to negotiate, except under one condition. The U.S. (through NATO) must provide and demonstrate an iron-clad assurance that its air power would be virtually in the pocket of the Bosnian government. This is the reason for the full-scale NATO intervention from the air. It is not generally known, even among the more knowledgeable followers of local events, that several of the NATO strikes were directed by none other than Rasim Delic. Commander of all the Bosnian government forces. The "Djukich Affair' has also brought to light something that most Americans would oppose. During the Cold War the FBI's political agenda consisted of watching suspected Soviet spies in the U.S., some of who were also American citizens. The watch included Communists and suspected Communist sympathizers, a less certain area, open to mistakes. When a foreign connection required the local presence of FBI agents they were sent abroad. In the post-Cold War era the FBI's field has been extended to industrial espionage and especially to monitoring, preventing and investigating suspected acts of terrorism against American targets at home and abroad. The recent opening of FBI offices in Europe responds to these new missions. A FBI team was sent to Saudi Arabia, following the death of 19 American soldiers from a terrorist bomb, in yet another use of the Bureau's technical skills. It is clear that a democracy cannot tolerate using the FBI as a political police. But there are ominous signs of changes for the worse. In the most unusual use yet of the FBI, one of its teams was given an ex-post-facto task by a UN Tribunal of trying to implicate any other important Serbs for war crimes by extracting damaging information through intense interrogations o f the two detained Bosnian Serb officers. The officers could really not be charged for anything relating to war crimes. They were kept illegally in a Dutch jail. When even the FBI failed to produce the desired result, the Tribunal's Prosecutor put the officers on trial any- way. Far from being even remotely connected with terrorism against American targets, their only crime was that they were ethnic Serbs. The reigning political culture is also addicted to cruelty. The forced FBI grilling of a Serb general in pain as he was being executed by cancer can bring no glory to one of the most respected law-enforcement agencies in the United States. All the way up the line, President Clinton professes great humanitarian feelings for the elderly and the children who need to be protected at home. Abroad, he imposes brutal economic sanctions, which harm
most the elderly and the children of Serbia while failing to dislodge an undesired head of state. Suicide rates for the elderly and infant mortality rates for the children in Serbia skyrocketed in the sanction years. The attempts of American citizens to send the simplest of medicines to their relatives in Serbia were blocked by the U.S. postal authorities. Hundreds of individuals, across the U.S., who wanted to read regularly Serbian-language newspapers printed not in Belgrade but in Germany could no longer obtain copies on this side of the Atlantic, The Director of the American Red Cross, Elizabeth Dole, Harvard Law school graduate and spouse of Senator Robert Dole, denied aid to the children of Serbia because all Serbs were defined as "aggressors". This was done while American Red Cross trucks took medicines and baby food to the children of Muslims in Bosnia from the Serb capital of Belgrade. It is often the smallest, most obscure incident that brings out the sheer bloody-mindedness of the now-dominant political culture. A Serbian civil engineer working in Baghdad suffered a massive stroke. The Iraqis placed an aircraft at his disposal to fly him to Belgrade but the American Delegate to the Iraq Sanctions Committee refused permission. The engineer and his spouse were then driven across over one thousand miles of scorching desert to fly him out of Jordan. He died on the way in excruciating agony.
The Media and History
The American press, which prides itself on being absolutely free, has imprisoned itself in the domain of foreign policy matters both as a component and servant of the ruling political culture. Hundreds of letters from informed individuals, sent over the last six years to the most prominent newspapers in America, have been suppressed by their Editors because they either defended the Serbs or sought to counter the blatant inaccuracies and propaganda against the Serbs (29). The letters came from both Serb- Americans and others. The Editors also routinely truncated field reports from ex- Yugoslavia to expurgate anything that might favor the Serbs, and if this could not be completely attained, managed to tuck the favorable datum into the near-bottom of a printed text. To be sure, a few letters "for the Serbs" were allowed into print (at times mauled to assert the "right" of editorial abridgment) to suggest that fair play was at work but, more often than not, such an occasional "break-through" was offset by responses that went right on demonizing the Serbs in the fashion prevalent in the press anyway. Just recently the American public has been told, in the very same leading newspapers, the New York Times and the Washington Post, that they had for a long time a "symbiotic" relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency. Thc two newspapers obtained the kind of information and detail neither could afford to get or hope to discover in the foreign areas. In return, they printed what the CIA wanted them to print, refrained from printing what the 'spooks" did not wish to be revealed and, in the rare cases of some disagreement fell back upon the "national interest" as defined by the political culture.
The Hague Tribunal, was, for all practical purposes, sired by the same political culture but here the avenue selected for its expression happens to be Law. The two are mutually exclusive and antithetica1. The American legal system derives from the Anglo-Saxon common law. An accused person is deemed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The burden of proof is on the accuser and its weight escalates with the crime's severity. An accused person and the person's attorney must have access to the accusatory texts, must have the right to confront accusers and witnesses alike, along with the right for rebuttals. Although the Tribunal's formal stance is to adhere to the Anglo-Saxon model, the model itself has been roundly circumvented and violated, moving closer to the Roman Law in which the burden of proving one's innocence rests on the accused. The "Djukich Affair" has stripped the Anglo- Saxon mask from the Roman Law mentality at the Tribunal for, if by some major miracle, the Tribunal could become a real court of Anglo- Saxon common law, it would have to play havoc with the entire patchwork of deceptions and blunders called the Administration's "Bosnia Policy." In such an event it would have had to indict already the military and civilian leaders of all the co-belligerents of ex- Yugoslavia while the U.S. government would have been left without anyone to talk to. Even some of the U.S. officials would not be exempt, at least from the accusation of complicity in crimes against humanity in the former Yugoslavia.
Is there anything in history to provide guidance in respect to America's involvement in punishing the Serbs? Decidedly, there is. In the course of this century the Serbs have been punished three times from the outside and twice from the inside of Yugoslavia after 1921 (then the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes). In the process, the Serbs paid a variety of often very heavy prices but, what is really striking, all five cases ended in disasters of one kind or another, strongly suggesting that there might exist in history a pattern of unintended consequences. The first external punishment of the Serbs came from Austria (1914). It had a good excuse. A Serb nationalist student (Gavrilo Princip) shot and killed the heir to Austria's throne and Serbia was immediately given a 10- point ultimatum. To Austria's surprise, the Serbs accepted nine out of ten demands in a somewhat vague language but Austria went to war just the same. The first invasion of Serbia ended in a humiliating defeat of Austria's army. A second invasion achieved a brief occupation of Belgrade but was repulsed with heavy loss of lives on both sides. This led to the German intervention and Russian mobilization and the rest, as the saying goes, is history, destroying an entire generation in a host of countries and changing the world forever.
Twenty-seven years later it was Adolf Hitler's turn to punish the Serbs, a proud, populist and in crises often insolent people. Hitler was particularly mad at the Serbs for nullifying the Yugoslav-German pact of25th March 1941 just two days later as the Serbs overthrew the Regency and put their young king on the throne. The little Balkan side-show of Hitler's military machine retarded the German attack on Russia by three crucial months as the Nazi divisions got stuck in the Russian Winter and lost a war they could otherwise have won, according to the testimony of some very able German army generals as well as having been stated Hitler himself. The German occupation of Yugoslavia also led to its disintegration, setting a precedent for the future, which is being witnessed today. Another seven years later (1948), it was Stalin's turn to punish Tito and the Serbs. Apart from Tito (a Croat) the Serb Communists con- trolled the army, intelligence and the secret police (OZNA). They blocked Stalin's attempts to take over in all three areas so Stalin expelled Tito and Yugoslavia from the Comintern in 1948. What Stalin did not know at the time, this expulsion led to the poly-centric, essentially nationalist domination of Communism which greatly assisted the U.S. policy of containment until the whole decaying system came down with the Berlin Wall.
Although the list of particulars is a long one, the two internal punishments can be summarized as follows. Croat Nazis, installed by Hitler at Zagreb and given Bosnia as a gift for loyalty, did not know that Croatia would go under Communist rule for 45 years as a result of their genocidal policy against the Serbs. This is necessarily the case because Tito and a handful of Serb, Croat and Slovene Communists with him in the mountains would have amounted to nothing without their Partisan troops. Ninety percent of the Partisans were Serbs fleeing the Croat pogroms. They knew nothing of Communism but, once organized, they could fight and, with misguided Allied help after 1943, they could come to power in Yugoslavia. Tito also punished the Serbs of Serbia for blocking a Communist takeover. He industrialized Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia but not Serbia. He gave autonomy to the Serbian provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo. At Kosovo, he deliberately allowed a flood of Albanian economic migrants to gradually displace the Serbs in an area where culture, religion and state came together as the birthplace of the Serbs. The tragedy of Kosovo is not yet over as the CIA and the Pentagon have been ordered to prepare its future. It will not be long in coming. It is also certain that without having been continuously pushed down and punished by Tito, the Serbs would not have had any need to resurrect nationalism after his death. Whether or not Yugoslavia would have disintegrated anyway is an interesting question (30)but at least neither the Slovenes nor the Croats (whose own nationalism has been the most virulent) could come to float the disingenuous myth that Yugoslavia broke up because of Serb nationalism. The civil war could have been avoided altogether at any rate.
After years of labor, three U.S. public relations firms succeeded in an unprecedented way in globalizing an essentially local hatred (31). There have been some dozen media blitzes of various durations and intensities against the Serbs through the 1990s. Eventually, the Clinton Administration yielded to the pressure and joined the ranks of Serb "punishers." The U.S. slapped crippling economic sanctions on the Serbs, it bombed the Bosnian Serbs for weeks, it resurrected the old Nazi alliance between the Croats and Bosnian Muslims but no longer with the same political orientation, it helped both with battlefield victories over the Serbs, it got implicated in the largest ethnic cleansing of the civil war, in the Krajina, it got the Hague Tribunal to go almost entirely after the Serbs, it threatened mayhem if the Serbs - all of them - - did not sign and agree to abide by the accords drafted in Washington, and it is at this moment getting ready to impose its will again in Kosovo and Albania. It could be said that the Clinton Administration has developed a "Titanic mentality" in dealing with the Serbs as they can do nothing to threaten the United States. The question poses itself: will the U.S. toughness with the Serbs also enter at some point into yet another disaster or disasters or will the external "disciplining" and punishment of the Serbs fail to follow what seems to be a pattern of unintended consequences?
Can the U.S. really defeat the pattern and avoid some disaster as result of its entrance into the ex- Yugoslav tragedy? If it "wins" in Bosnia, the Clinton Administration will conclude that the new political culture gives international confirmation that might always makes right so that the world will be "re-invented" to America's liking. What was done in Bosnia and the rest of the old Yugoslavia can be done elsewhere, as the U.S. reserves the right to select its targets for "necessary improvements." This will gain even more strength in the second term because of one feature that absolutely defines the American Liberals. They sincerely believe they possess a monopoly on both rationalism and reasoning higher than anyone else's and this underpins the philosophical base of the dominant political culture. It cannot be stressed often enough that the "Bosnian dimension" will serve to add impetus to U.S. meddling in ethno-religious conflicts to impose "civilized behavior" (the old French idea of Mission Civilisatrice) worked out in the U.S. policy- rooms and think-tanks and coupled with forceful posturing and a glaring obsession with "leadership" In turn, this will make it certain that America and Americans become the favorite targets of terrorist lunatics, obsessive haters and nationalist avengers from every corner of the planet earth as the pulsating political culture simply eggs them on. Curiously, sight is lost of the fact that virtually everywhere people readily perceive thc relationship between economic well-being and Democracy without a need to violate their cultures or impose foreign wills and solutions to local problems. In the realm of material culture, most of the world is either already "Americanized" or in the process of becoming so. If, on the other hand, the Clinton Administration suffers a perceived setback in Bosnia (and it could come in several shapes) the first unintended consequence could not be long in coming. Where all the Christian Slavs and Greeks had shed rivers of blood over some four centuries to prevent a Balkan-based militant Muslim State, the sociologically-oriented American policy engineers have managed to launch one in just four years (32). Unless American power and wealth are permanently committed Bosnia has no future as something that it has never ever really been, an independent "unitary state." Unless the Serbs and the Croats partition Bosnia, allowing the Bosnian Muslims only the choice of becoming minorities on either side, the U.S. will not be able to control the feelings of Bosnian Muslims anymore than it has been able to control those of Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats. A tripartite division of Bosnia will establish the first Muslim State. It will not take years for the Bosnian Muslims to adopt the Shari'a and turn backwards to the teachings of Al-Ghazali (d.l 1 1) while making a lasting alliance with his Iranian spiritual descendants, thc Ayatollahs, and their Mujahadeen Islamic brooms. Arming such a state with $96,000,000 of U.S. military hardware would be a foregone prescription for Europe's most troublesome future, which is why European states have opposed the arming policy. It is equally possible that thc vacillating, historically uninformed and deceptive U.S. performance in ex-Yugoslavia (whether it looks like a "winner" or "loser") wil1 leave another adverse affect As the Clinton Administration tries "to lead the world" the Bosnia caper will persuade Western Europe, Japan, and possibly China and Russia, to create yet another New World in which plans and decisions made in Washington will often be treated as a joke. This could lead to the problems of "character" and even more "credibility" followed by an ugly chain of reactions that no one really wanted, a sort of Third World War not fought with weapons of physical destruction.
An even greater danger comes from within the American landscape as the anti-immigrant feelings, even against legal alien residents are already reflected in legislation, as a billion dollar expenditure is proposed to greatly expand the FBI (with a focus on terrorism) and as signs of possible "Balkanization" appear on the horizon. Revived and newly-contrived ethno-nationalist groupings, various separatists, dis-trusted and maligned national origins and an ever growing number of defiant minorities which have nothing to do with ethnicity, to say nothing of a larger polarization of the young and the old, the affluent and the underclass, White and Black racists, "patriotic militias" and religious bigots, terrorists made in the USA, anti-abortion fanatics and humanitarians full of hate-all or some have already resonated in one of the U.S. Congress most interesting intellects, Newt Gingrich. Leaving aside the neo-Victorian nostalgia for which he has been roundly attacked, he is trying to hold onto an America society, rooted in the Anglo-Saxon Common Law with English as its official language (33)
* * *
As for the "technical" attempts to internationalize an essentially civil war, one would have to be blind not to see that next-door neighbors, long-time friends and even relatives maimed and killed one another in moments when reason became the first criminally assaulted victim, as everyone spoke the same language. With over one third of the Bosnia's population having been Serb Orthodox (33%), another 8% regarding themselves as Yugoslavs, and still another 14% wishing to be a part of Croatia, the international recognition of Bosnia as a unitary state under the predominantly Muslim government was a good (?) intention on the road to Hell. Thus, the Hague Tribunal has no real precedent. Unless everyone abandons reason, it should not be allowed to become a precedent or anybody's future model. In its present structure, composition, lack of political independence, and practices it is planting the Alrauna seeds for a wide disrespect for law, domestic and international, a development no sane person would wish for.
What has made America both unique and admirable is the ability to welcome legal alien residents representing the most disparate ethnic groups and English-language accents and. in just a few years, turn them into American citizens with a facility that exists nowhere else. At the same time, assimilation into American society has never been predicated on the "requirement" that old-country languages and culturally attractive carryovers be expurgated from the family home, rich or poor. Nor has the American brand of assimilation ever demanded that anyone shed a kind feeling for his or her ethnicity, "old country" or religion. Woodrow Wilson expressed this most succinctly when he told the Serb-American inventor Nikola Tesla that "a good Serb is a good American." Cases of protracted and widespread ethnic hate-mongering are relatively rare as the multi-ethnic American people have generally come to believe that no ethnicity, at home or abroad, is inherently evil because some of its members commit egregious crimes. The most glaring exception has been the maligning and the treatment accorded to the Japanese-Americans, Issei and Nissei, who were virtually dispossessed and placed in detention camps while their sons fought against the Japanese in WW II with distinction for bravery. Nothing could be more lethal for the future of America as one of man's noblest experiments in co-habitation than ethnic hate-mongering and defaming of the type applied to the Serbs during the last seven years. Even Daniel Webster, in his famous tale, could beat the Devil in Satan's own "court of law" because he was an American citizen.
In the aftermath o f the World Trade Center terrorist bombing, the media at once placed "the Serbs" on top of the list of suspects. Had it not been for the fast work of the FBI it is almost certain that Americans of Serb origin would come to suffer all sorts of unpleasant experiences without being even distantly connected with this act of terrorism. It can be reported that even before this event the years of media demonizing have already had an adverse effect on Serb-Americans none of whom has any connection with war crimes in the former "old country." Avoidance at workplace and even the grocery store, snide remarks and outright insults, personal torment and despair among the elderly and less educated Americans who can hardly bear the repeated assaults on the Serbs, their original ethnicity, this much has already been around. Educated Serb-Americans are mostly angry at the media for blocking their communications in attempts to inform the American public about the many aspects that it never comes to see, hear or read (34). As for the Clinton Administration, it has been receiving for years extremely well-in- formed texts from several eminent Serb-Americans seeking to persuade the President to stand openly against the frequent Serbophobic attacks, bigotry and anti-Serb propaganda, to look at the historical contexts and avoid punishing the Serbs in order to gratify domestic hate-mongers. In return, they received the thank-you note from "Bill" Clinton, thanking them for their interest and advising them that he is "working very hard" to attain lasting peace in Bosnia. Considering the sustained quality of the texts sent to the White House, such a note could only be read as an indirect insult. It has become almost a banality to say that the only thing learned from history is that nothing is really learned from it. One can only hope that in punishing the Serbs, yesterday, today and tomorrow at Kosovo, America's reigning political culture can be induced to recall that the unsinkable Titanic fell prey to a block of ice.
1.First Annual Report of the International Tribunal for Prosecution of Persons responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia since l99l, 53 pp. 49/342 - S/ I 994/ 1009, 8 16. l 994. See also Dossier special in Dialogue (Paris): l8, l996; and Srdja Trifkovic, The Hague Tribunal: Dubious Justice, Bad Politics, in Dialogue (Paris): 19, 1996.
2. UN Press and Information Office release on the composition of the Tribunal 2. l 3.31995, 40 p. shows the nationalities of 8 judges in two chambers.
3. The ethnic cleansing of western Slavonia was virtually unreported in the Western media but the starting point would be the Misha Glenny piece on the "Massacre of Yugoslavia", the New York Review, 0l.30.1992 and the report by Yigal Chagan in The Guardian, 08.17.1992, and the Politika text above. All deal with the earliest phase of the event. The most important repository of documentation on western Slavonia between April/May l 99I and mid-1992 is in Belgrade's Museum of Applied Arts. There are some valuable unpublished papers that need to be brought together. Local newspapers, especially Borba, for the period are strong source. Sooner or later, a major work will be in print with devastating documentation. Just how little has been done to examine this period closely emerges from the letter written by Desa Tomasevic, Director of the American Serbian Women's Caucus to Senator Richard Lugar, Chair of the European Affairs Senate Foreign Relations Committee, dated July l4th 1995, reported here. "In connection with the most recent developments in Bosnia and Croatia, our organization would like to pose the following questions to your Committee, which is responsible for the evens in the former Yugoslav Republics. Since we did not receive any response from your Committee to our letter of May 5, 1995, concerning the aftermath of Croatian attack on Western Slavonia, we would like to repeat our questions to you personally:
(1). Where were the UN and the US representatives and the media in May, when the Croatian military performed its ethnic cleansing in Pakrac, Okucani and other Serbian settlements in the area?
(2). What happened to the Serbian children from this area who are still missing?
(3) What happened to the Serbian refugees from this area, bombed by the Croatian planes?
(4). What happened to the Serbian young men from this area caught by the Croatian forces?
(5). What happened to the Serbian dead in this area?
(6). Why were the UN and Red Cross representatives forbidden for weeks to enter the area?
(7). Was it because the Croatian government would not allow them to record and report the truth about massacre of Serbian civilians?
(8). Why is it taking so long to provide answers to the inquiries made by the Serbs to media, the United Nations, Red Cross and the governments of the Contact Group? Today, all of them arc posing similar questions in the aftermath of the fall of Srebrenica and the experiences of the Muslim population of Bosnia.
(9). Why is the Contact group refusing to tail directly to Bosnia's Serbs? Until Israel opened direct talks with Arafat, no mutual accommodations were possible.
(10). Why are you taking sides in this human catastrophe in which all parties are victims and victimizers? As long as our government is taking sides, it will be responsible for further bloodshed. Please read the enclosed to gain a perspective which may help you personally to discharge your responsibility justly".
4. The early phase of this massive ethnic cleansing, destruction and atrocities included, was summarized in "Repetition of a Crime: the Persecution of Serbs in Western Slavonia", Politika, Belgrade, 9.15. 1991.The article includes a map inset showing the 18 burned-down villages and a concentration camp at Suhopolje. The general area was that of Grasko Polje.
5. Extensive details can be found in Edmond Paris' scholarly work Genocide in Satellite Croatia, 1941 -1945, A Record of Racial and Religious Persecutions and Massacres, (translated from French by Lois Perkins), English Edition, Chicago, l961; and in Martyrdom of the Serbs, a compilation of United Nations documents and eyewitness accounts, published in the mid- I 940s, in Chicago, by the Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese for the U.S. and Canada.
6. See Alfred l.ipson's The Roots of Ethnic Violence and Civil War in Yugoslavia, Together, October l99I. The Serb commander was "Arkan" (Zeljko Raznatovic).
7. The Spanish philosopher Carlos Paris put it this way in El Mundo (2. 19.l 993): there was an ongoing orchestrated campaign to satanize thc Serbs and blame them for "all the atrocities in the Balkans"; most of the Westem press elevated this artificial perception into a doctrine that must be adhered to in order to induce a military operation against the Serbs as an "absolute evil" and stop the bloodshed by force. He added that behind the "crocodile tears" shed by the world at large over the Yugoslav drama there was a "complex web of interests" involving the New World Order. See also Alexander Cockbum's "hating Serbs is fun", The Nation (10. 16. 1995). But the most penetrating and poignant statement came from the German historian K. Monzel (University of Saarbrueken) in the Zeit (3. 14. 1993) reproduced here in English translation:
Never since World War II have the Germans been so united in their hostility as they are now against the Serbs. It is curious that politicians and commentators of both the Right and the Left are equally determined to see in Belgrade the only culprit for the Balkan war. It is noteworthy that some of them qualify the Serbs as Communists while the others, with equal conviction, label them as Fascists. Is this hostility towards Serbia based only on moral grounds or does it have some other room as well? It is possible that the long suppressed German anger against the Soviet Union has now been automatically redirected toward Serbia, as nominally the sole remaining "Socialist country" with the Serbs perceived as the last Bolsheviks.
The German animosity against the Serbs is perhaps further explained by the historical rivalry between Germany and Serbia. In the eve of the World War One Germany viewed this Balkan country simply as a trouble-maker. Serbs fought against the Germans in World War II as well.
Now the Germans have sided with their former Croat and Muslim allies. The claim that they are essentially more moderate than the Serbs is absolutely unsubstantiated. The Swiss Neue Zeitung of l5th October l992 reported on the "Horrors Committed by all the belligerents in the Devil's Circle of Hell". German reporting on this matter is certainly unbalanced. At the end of August I 992 a map of Bosnia appeared showing, in addition to 13 Serbian prisoner camps, another 7 held by the Bosnian forces. No one thought of what was happening within them.
Some German positions are obviously based on the view that Serbs are in pursuit of an essentially incomprehensible, senseless regional imperialism. One magazine even expressed fear that Serbia will eventually attack Turkey as well... but this is not true. The truth of the matter is that the Serbs are going through a profound crisis, which is delineating and, at the same time, exacerbating the Balkan war. For over a century and a half they have considered themselves "The Central Nation" of the Balkans... Numerous historians recognized this role for the Serbs. It is hardly an accident that Leopold Ranke devoted one of his studies to the Serbs.
Today, Serbs are threatened with nothing less than the loss of their special place in the Balkans. This is also because of their ambiguous attitude towards the present-day world. The Serbs have lost their authenticity, their peasant- like character, without having acquired a new one. They consider modern civilization as a threat, and obviously do not know how to use it for the advancement of the Serbian society. This country has a shortage of forces of the pre- industrial one... When German politicians and journalists label the Serbs as the World's new Enemy they are contributing to a continuing destabilization of the region. Some circles in Germany are already flirting with the idea of promoting Turkey into a power of the New Order but would restoration of the Ottoman dominion the Balkans be a better solution? Serbia is a cornerstone of any acceptable order in the Balkans. Therefore it must not be allowed to fall. To quote Ranke, "Serbia also plays a role in the world plan".
8. The charges and names can be found in the pp. I -32 (second section) and pp. 19 - 22 (mid section under "Indictments"). Press and Information Office release (ICT), dated 2. l 3. 1995.
9. A list of the documents submitted can be found in Alternative Yugoslav Tribunal (Belgrade, 1995, pp. l67- 194), by Dr. M. Bulajic.
10. See "Managing the Information of Ethnic Cleansing", by Terry Sullivan, DePaul University Magazine, Spring l 994.
11. Srdja Trifkovic, "The Hague Tribunal - Bad Justice, Worse Polities", Chronicles, August l996, C. D. Lummis, "Time to Watch the Watchers", The Nation (9. 26. 1994).
12. This letter was penned by the present writer.
13. Alfred P. Rubin, "An International Tribunal for former Yugoslavia?", Pace University School of Law, International Law Review, Vl/I (Winter1994), pp. 7- I 7, Ruth Wedgewood, "War Crimes in the former Yugoslavia -Comments on the International War Crimes Tribunal", Virginia Journal of International Law, XXXIV/2 (Winter I994).
14. Madeleine Albright has reiterated her key role in the initial funding and staffing of the Hague Tribunal several times, along with her dislike of the Serbs. Interviews with her have appeared in such Serbo-Croat language magazines as Intervju and NlN, an interview with Paul Jankovich about years when her family lived in Belgrade, in Politika 6. March, 1994; see also the New York Times ("Albright makes her UN post a Focal Point", by Barbara Crossette), in the Washington Times ("Albright cites 'moral imperative' for Bosnia Mission" by Catherine Toups), and in the Wall Street Journal (10. I2.1994, by Geraldine Brooks). ln his critical review of "Will the US destroy the UN". ", Strategic Policy, June-July 1996, Gregory Copley finds her to be a negative influence and suggests that her dislike of the Serbs derives from her distant past.
l5. A visiting Serb-American happened to have been in the office of Slobodan Milosevic when the Public Relations firm representative (from Ruder Finn) made the offer. Upon rejection, he went to Zagreb and later represented Croatia with stunning success from the PR point of view.
16. Peter Brock has aptly cailed this "media cleansing". See his "Dateline Yugoslavia-The Partisan Press", Foreign Policy, No 93 (Winter 1993 - 94),pp. 152 - l 72.
17. To provide just one concrete example, a reputable American TV news program which carried an unsubstantiated and untenable report on alleged "mass rapes" by Serbs in Bosnia received a long, detailed letter by the present writer correcting the gross and incompetent distortions. Needless to say, nothing was done to set the record straight.
18. He was returned to Sarajevo. The Dutch prison has been called the "UN Detention Center".
l9. Ch. Reese, "Clinton's Foreign Policy Blunder", Conservative Chronicle, 9. l. l 993. The definitive word on the Owen-Vance or Vance-Owen peace plan is in David Owen's valuable Balkan Odyssey, l 995, pp. 89-149 passim thereafter.
20. In his "Bosnian Policy at odds with History", Stefan Halper places the main blame for the collapse of the Lisbon Agreement on Warren Zimmermann himself, Washington Times, 9. 7. 1995.
21. An unusual discussion of aggression can be read in Bogoljub Kochovich's "Agresseurs et Agressees", Lettres in Dialogue, nos. 2/3 (September 1992). See also Dimitri K. Simes' "Stay out of the civil wars" (in ex-Yugoslavia), N Y Newsday, 7 June l995.
22. Read Joan Phillips' two texts "Cleansing the West's Dirty War", Living Marxism, September 1995, and "America's Balkan Intrigue", Living Marxism, October 1993.
23. See the Associated Press report of November 1995 (printed in the Oakland tribune inter alia) "Generals for Hire ≠ Retired Generals sell their know-how'
24. Croatia's Foreign Minister openly stated m an interview that the US advised its army on how to attack Krajina's Serbs and tacitly approved the attack itself. The New York Times identified National Security Advisor Anthony Lake and Madeleine K. Albright as the officials who gave Croatia the green light to attack in spite of the Pentagon's warning that it would end-up in ethnic cleansing of the Serb population. See. Washington Times, August 6, 1995.
25. R. Kent to President William l. Clinton, Letter, l2. 8. 1995.
26. A reporter from the Christian Science Monitor has seen the sameevidence.
27. Bill Schiller, "Fearsome Muslim Warlords eludes Bosnian Serb Forces", report from Belgrade, 9. 16. 1995, printed in the text by SAVA (Serbian-American Voter Alliance), 26. 7. 1995.
28. See Michael Evans, "NATO struggles to win credibility", The Times, 2.2l. 1994, "Bed-ridden Boris saved NATO's Skin in secret talks", The Sunday Times, 2. 20. 1994, being a joint report from Sarajevo (Colin Smith), Moscow (Matthew Campbell), Washington (James Adams), and London (Marie Colvin).
29. See Qbrad Kesic, "The Business of News: The American Media and coverage of the Wars in the Balkans", Berlin (publication unknown), Julyl994, pp. 71 - 8I; Gregory R. Copley, "Media Agenda vs. Policy", Strategic Policy, November - December 1994; Negovan Rajic, "Misinformation and Collective Psychosis", unpublished paper; Nik Gowling, "Is Television Driving Foreign Policy", Independent, 3 July, l994 (examines the "something-must-be-done factor" through five cases); David Hackworth, "Television War: viewer beware", Atlanta Journal / Atlanta Constitution, September I, 1995
30. Solipsistic answers have been given by Laura Silber and Allan Little in Yugoslavia - Death of a Nation, 1995 (in short, Milosevic did it), and Warren Zimmermann in Origins of a Catastrophe, l 996 (Milosevich and Tujman did it). While the greatest shortcoming of the Silber - Little book is journalistic myopia, Zimmermann is too often self- Serving.
31. For a substantial work on the interaction of television and foreign policy (and not only for Bosnia) see Nik Gowing, June l994, Harvard University working paper 94 - l, real-time television Coverage of Armed Conflicts and Diplomatic Crises: Does it Pressure or Distort Foreign Policy Decisions, 111 pp. For specific instances of public relations successes on behalf of both Croatia and Bosnia see Jacques Merlino's Les Verites Yougoslaves ne sont pas toutes bonnes a dire, (Paris, l993). There is always the question of money. Where did it all come from and how much over the years? One answer is provided in "Croatian funds to VS Politicians "Defense de Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, 3. 31. 1993 as follows:
The United States Congress, still reeling from a series of financial scandals involving representatives and senators, is now bracing for a new problem: the massive financial "contributions" which have been made to election funds of politicians by Croatians sources over the past two to three years. One congressional investigator told Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy that the donations and expenditures on Washington lobbying by the Croatians over the past two years "could well exceed $ 50 million". Much of this came directly from Croatian lobbyists, and some from Croatian American businessmen. Croatia has built up the most effective lobbying and public relations network on Capital Hill since the days when Israel and Greek lobbies were at their peak. "Many of the campaign contributions have been recorded legally", the investigator said, "but many are questionable". But what is more important is that there has been a pervasive attempt to push the United States along a line defined by foreign powers: Croatia and Germany, and it has not been subtle. Elected officials are being told to either support the Croatian line or face either a removal of funding or are told that funding with be given to their opponents, or they are literally bribed into supporting the Croatian line. This was going on long before Croatia even made its open bid for recognition as an independent state". Much of the investigation focuses around conservative Republican elected officials.
32. There are some excellent discussions on this subject. Mervin Hiskett has produced a fine essay in "Reflections on the 'unspeakable Serb"(Birmingham, l994), 36 pp. especially pp. 18 - 34; Sir Alfred Sherman gives a broad five-point assessment with interesting inter-connections in "Islamís New Drive into Europe", Jerusalem Institute for Western Defense, Bulletin VI/3 (October l993); See also Bat Ye'or interviewed by Paul Giniewski, "The Return of Islam to Europe". She gives a penetrating analysis, Midstream (February - March l994).
33. It is the thesis of Benjamin Schwarz (Atlantic Monthly, May 1995, pp.57- 67) that America's stability and unity hardly presented an open door to a welcomed diversity but, rather, the imposition of the dominant "Anglo culture" ("The Diversity Myth: America's leading export"). As we no longer "understand ourselves", he goes on, "we tend to offer naive advice to states ridden by civil strife". While he is correct on the two points, it is also true that no other society has tolerated as much diversity. It really had no assimilationist requirements other than learning English, feeling a sense of loyalty to America and working hard. Citizenship in America over-rode any possibility of a rigid assimilationist code.
34. In several published letters the foremost American student of Yugoslavia, Professor Alex Dragnich of the Vanderbilt University has expressed both sorrow and shame of what the Clinton Administration has been doing m ex- Yugoslavia: "Clinton's action in Bosnia more evil than anything Nixon ever inflicted on us", Nashville Banner, Tennessee, l0. 16. 1995.
Professor Kent's open letter; a petition from Americans for International Justice Committee
entitled "To the Lord Mayor and Citizens of The Hague".
It was published in the largest newspaper in The Hague: "Haagsche Courant" on 23 July 1996.
Kangaroo Court at the Hague ]
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