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Comment by BeliVuk
Twenty-five years ago, NATO nations violated international law and committed war crimes by bombing Yugoslavia. This may be difficult for people who believe in the American world view to understand. More than 2,000 civilians were killed and wounded by NATO deliberately attacking “dual use” facilities, factories, power plants, TV stations, roads, bridges, and railways. They killed over 6,000 Yugoslav soldiers and police officers, and in the process, deliberately caused massive damage to non-military civilian infrastructure, all prohibited under international conventions.
What the American media and their government told us about the bombing of Serbia was false, a lie that the recently published book by Andy Wilcoxon documents and verifies with evidence. Wilcoxon provides evidence, from documents, court records, and witnesses that the bombing of Serbia had nothing to do with “humanitarian intervention,” but was used as a deception by the USA and her NATO allies to justify future wars of aggression in the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.
Professor Emeritus of Finance at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Edward S. Herman writes in Global Research that: [“the successful demonization of the Serbs, making them largely responsible for the Yugoslav wars, and as unique and genocidal killers, was one of the great propaganda triumphs of our era. It was done so quickly, with such uniformity and uncritical zeal in the mainstream Western media, that disinformation had (and still has, after almost two decades) a field day.]
The Mass Media, in the advanced capitalist countries are highly concentrated, Wilcoxon notes in his well-documented book “Joint Criminal Enterprise-why everything you were told about Slobodan Milosevic and the Serbs is wrong.” The Mainstream Media is controlled by a few owners. It is especially true in the case of the USA where the media can saturate the public with views that deviate significantly from reality. Along this same line in the January 2005 issue of Monthly Review, writer Robert W. McChesney has a disturbing article on the power of propaganda in the USA:
[“The United States has witnessed the emergence of what is undoubtedly the most sophisticated propaganda system ever developed, making it possible for control of the media to translate into the power to sway large parts of the society. An understanding of this problem is crucial if one is to grasp the changes occurring in U.S. society today: from war to privatization to the suppression of human rights”. }
The founding fathers of present America recognized “high crimes and misdemeanors’ for others, but they ignored them when they committed them in self-interest. They spoke of lofty goals for the new republic, the rule of law, due process, and an independent judiciary, but ignored them when America and NATO invaded country after country. In two hundred and fifty years, nothing has changed: self-interest dominates American institutions at home and abroad.
The Nuremberg trial and the UN Charter govern rules of warfare. In the international system, born out of WWII, war is illegal except in very restricted cases like domestic terrorism and defense from external attack. States have no right to attack other states, not even on human rights abuse claims. This position is based on the understanding that there are no war crimes without war and that war always makes things worse
If the Serbian or Yugoslav military officers were guilty of war crimes for defending their homeland, then the leaders and military officers of NATO from the US, Canada, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, UK, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Holland, and Turkey are equally, if not more, war criminals and should have been prosecuted by the Hague Tribunal. The NATO action against Yugoslavia was a joint criminal enterprise unlike any other since WWII. However, as Wilkinson writes, the Hague Tribunal was used to justify the NATO war and at the same time, punish the victim. The war criminals went on to invade Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Rwanda and to destabilize Eastern Europe and countries in Latin America using humanitarian intervention to sell their war crimes.
The grievous economic error committed by the Yugoslav government was the decision to borrow development capital from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, since both institutions were effectively under the control of the USA, and had been since 1946. The monetary policies of these two institutions were used to destabilize the Yugoslav economy. The crisis caused by the IMF and the World Bank were used by Western nations and their media to blame Belgrade and the Serbs. This diabolical strategy of the US to undermine the economies of countries that deal with the IMF and World Bank caused the collapse of the Yugoslav economy with serious consequences as Wilkinson so well explains.
Andy Wilcoxon, in chapter after chapter, outlines how Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo violated the Yugoslav constitution and unilaterally declared their independence from Belgrade telling their people to use all means to solve their economic crisis. He points out how the Slovenian home guard killed JNA surrendering soldiers who refused to shoot on their countrymen; he points out how years of Croatian and Albanian terrorism, at home and abroad, was ignored, including the massacre in Gospic where Croatian Nazis went from house- to- house and took Serbian doctors, lawyers, and teachers and executed them.
The allegations against Milosevic over Bosnia and Croatia were cooked up in 2001, two years after an earlier indictment had been issued against him by the separate international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at the height of NATO’s attack on Yugoslavia in 1999. Notwithstanding, the atrocities by the KLA, NATO claims that Serbia was pursuing genocide turned out to be war propaganda, so the ICTY prosecutor decided to bolster a weak case by trying to “get” Milosevic for Bosnia as well. It took two years and 300 witnesses, but the prosecution never managed to produce conclusive evidence against its star defendant, and its central case has now been conclusively blown out of the water exonerating Milosevich. in the so called “the trial of the century” after they killed him.
However, it is Yugoslavia, not Iraq or Afghanistan, that war proponents continue pointing to as a model for future wars, unless as Wilcoxon writes, we stop them. Wilcoxon provides ample evidence in some 250 pages of professionally written analysis how NATO and American political, economic, and military actions are sold by the Western Media as a force for good.
This Media force for good ignores the fact that any rebellion against American order and ultimatums will be met with sanctions; they will smash you into The Stone Age, starve your children, and say like Madeline Albright, Clinton’s Foreign Secretary, the “price was right.” They will use their military to invade you and bathe your land in blood and depleted uranium. In the end, their injustice will prevail. They will put you on trial in one of their tribunals and convict you by using manipulated evidence, place you in jail. and poison you as they did with Milosevic.
Wilcoxon, with nothing to gain, is not the only one to expose NATO’s criminal war against a nation that fought in two wars on our side. If as NATO apologists write, Milosevic and Serbia wanted to create greater Serbia, they ignore the fact that Serbia could have had whatever they wanted after WWI and after WWII as it was offered to them by their allies. The question which many ignore, including the Hague Trial, does not escape Wilcoxon. Why would Milosevich go into Bosnia or Croatia to cleanse Muslims and Croats when he did not touch any of them in Serbia? The only crime of Milosevic was his attempt to save the unity of socialist Yugoslavia, and therefore, they killed him.
In effect, many like Wilcoxon write what Milosevic tried to do was, first, to prevent the disintegration of Yugoslavia, and second as that disintegration occurred, to protect the Serb minorities in the new states and allow them either to remain in Yugoslavia or obtain autonomy in the new rump states. This view is supported by none other than Charles Boyd, former deputy commander of the U.S. European command who commented on the issue in 1995:
The popular image of this war in Bosnia is one of unrelenting Serb expansionism. Much of what the Croatians call ‘occupied territories’ is land that has been held by Serbs for more than three centuries. The same is true of most Serb land in Bosnia . . .. In short, the Serbs were not trying to conquer new territory, but merely to hold onto what was already theirs.
While U.S. leaders claim they want peace, Boyd concludes, they have encouraged a deepening of the war. At first, Milosevic tried to reason with the fanatic separatist leaders of Slovenia and Croatia saying that the people of the Balkans would be better off in a unified federated Yugoslav state which could eventually join the European Union. As independent, squabbling rump states, they would lose total control of their economies and be subject to unrestrained IMF control which would reduce them to what they were prior to WWI, servants of the Germans and Austrians.
Except for Slovenia, this is exactly what happened, so Milosevic was correct in his prediction. If Germany, Austria, and the Vatican had not encouraged and supported the separatist factions, the country may have stayed together, especially since the USA initially opposed the breakup of Yugoslavia. With the Lewinsky scandal swirling around Clinton, he used the Yugoslav crisis to divert attention from his sexual activity in the White House.
Wilcoxon explains how under the leadership of the United States, NATO intervened in the civil war in Yugoslavia, a war that the West had created, aided, and abetted. As soon as the bombing started in Bosnia, there was no further talk about dismantling NATO. On the contrary, the air strikes had given new life to the organization. Now the talk was of expansion and for new missions to be undertaken. NATO had a new purpose: one billion to destabilize Serbia, a billion to destabilize Georgia, over five billion to destabilize Ukraine, and we know millions were killed and billions spent in the Middle East.
In the Serbian Province of Kosovo, rebellion was fomented as we now know by the intelligence services of at least three of the NATO countries: the USA, Britain and Germany who supplied the terrorist organization, the KLA, the organization created by Ben Laden, with weapons and logistics. This provided the United States with the opportunity of employing NATO to bring down the Serbian leader, Slobodan Milosevic, who refused to privatize collective property. The United States used a fabricated and staged Racak Massacre to justify the bombing.
Using as an excuse that Serbs refused to sign the infamous Rambouillet Agreement which would have resulted in the occupation of Serbia and Kosovo going to Albania, NATO began to bomb Yugoslavia in March 1999. The bombing continued for 78 days until a peace treaty was brokered by the Russians and the United Nations. The US and NATO have violated that treaty by ignoring Resolution 1244 which stated that Kosovo remains part of Serbia.
The bombing of Serbia violated NATO’s First Article, a violation of the United Nations Charter, violated international law, and ignored all agreement signed by Yugoslavia as a founding member of UN. Ironically and shamefully, none of the democratic leaders of NATO member countries [except for Greece] challenged the US led bombing. When Madeline Albright, the United States Secretary of State, shortly before the bombing was informed by the British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cooke, that lawyers in his Ministry believed the bombing to be illegal if done without UN approval, she abruptly dismissed his concern by telling him to“get new lawyers!” The niceties of international law and the formalities of obtaining UN approval before intervening in the domestic affairs of a sovereign state were to be set aside in favor of, “conflict prevention,” of “crisis management,” and “crisis response operations.”
These buzzwords and demonization of a people and its leaders sold well in the West as it turned the original treaties into scraps of paper; however, nobody seems to care. We now have a “treaty on wheels” that can be used for whatever purposes the United States wants to use it. It can be wheeled out whenever it is convenient and used whenever it is awkward to obtain legislative authority to wage war. It is a sad situation and a dreadful indictment of today’s political leaders when it’s possible to mold international instruments and treaties that serve the interests of the Empire, while at the same time, blaming the victim for the criminal acts of the aggressor.
NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia will be regarded by future historians as the act that completely dismantled the international security framework so carefully crafted by democratic statesmen in the aftermath of two world wars and the advent of nuclear weapons. It will be marked as the point in history when other so-called democratic leaders acted dishonorably to set the clock back to the days prior to the Second World War when military might was the only criterion that counted in the conduct of international relations.
Wilcoxon and many others who champion peace over war, ask why was Milosevic placed on trial in the first place only to be “exonerated after he was murdered?” Wilcoxon writes, Milosevic was charged with aiding and abetting the conflict in a “joint criminal enterprise” for the purpose of creating a Greater Serbia. There is little evidence, as Wilcoxon documents, to support this and yet initially he was found guilty. This, of course, was a way NATO could absolve itself of its criminal responsibility for the illegal war.
Some Canadians legislator. lawyers and military officers say that his trial was frontier justice followed by a lynching. Noted Canadian criminal lawyer Edward Greenspan has condemned the trial of Yugoslavia´s deposed President Slobodan Milosevic as a “kangaroo court” and a “lynching.”
Wilcoxon’s thesis is supported by a well-known Canadians provincial politician, Ed Schreyer former Premier of Manitoba. He writes, “I have been taken in hook line and sinker by the lies of Lloyd Axworthy, the Liberal Foreign Minister under Chretien, and I am going to do something about it?”
Maj-Gen. Lewis Mackenzie, now retired, commanded UN troops during the Bosnian Civil War of 1992. In the National Post, June 2004, he writes, “we bombed the wrong side.” One of Mackenzie’s officers, Sergeant Rollie Keith from Chilliwack, British Columbia, testified at Milosevic’s trial about the breadline and Markale markets massacres as Muslim Croat war crimes to garner western sympathy. This crime was also exposed by French general Philippe Morillon, and Indian general Satish Nambiar who served with the UN in Bosnia.
Professor Muendel, and many top lawyers from Osgoode Hall Law School and across Canada, launched criminal proceedings against NATO leadership for their criminal actions against Yugoslavia. Joseph Bissett, former ambassador to Yugoslavia, was dismissed by Axworthy for opposing and exposing NATO’s illegal war on Serbia.
The whole concept of an international court for war criminals is rife with folly and shame. Essentially, it´s winners whitewashing their criminality at the expense of their victims. When Wesley Clark, the US general in charge of the bombing, testified against Milosevich he fabricated evidence. In truth, he was more of a war criminal than Milosevic. Similarly, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who was bent on war against Serbia over Kosovo suggested, on KLA hearsay evidence orchestrated by Albanian Kosovars and William Walker, a US envoy in the region, that Milosevic was guilty of genocide.
Arbour, former Canadian Justice of the Supreme Court of Ontario, on instructions from Clinton’s Foreign Secretary, laid charges against Milosevic on this fabricated and invented evidence for which she was rewarded with a position at UN. Arbour cites the massacre at Racak in Kosovo in her indictment of Milosevic. Later, Racak turned out to be a fake massacre used to frame the Serbs.
Kosovo was an unnecessary war, and a fabricated war condemned by James Bissett, former Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia and now chairman of the Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies. Reviled by Ottawa and dismissed as ambassador for his outspoken dissent, Bissett and others are dismayed that NATO, formed as a defensive alliance to protect Europe from Soviet aggression, became an interventionist force in a civil war that was no threat to other European countries. Bissett finds this both ironic and shameful. as he noted that the “bedrock of morality and high principle” on which NATO was formed has been eroded: “NATO has become just another tool of American foreign policy.”
The trial of Milosevic was an attempt to justify NATO´s actions in what is known as “Madeleine Albright’s war.” The reality of Milosevic´s trial is that the verdict of guilty was in before the trial began: only the sentence remained to be imposed, but rather than do that they killed him.