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The Price of Truth
by Diana Johnstone [posted 29-3-2001]

[Note: On March 23-24 the Belgrade Forum hosted an international conference to commemorate and analyze the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia. Diana Johnstone, whose work awakened many of us to the truth about the U.S./German/British assault on Yugoslavia, could not attend. However, she sent the following statement. It includes most interesting comments about the U.S.-pushed effort to jail Yugoslav President Miloshevich who was removed from office Oct. 5th in what is described oxymoronically in the Western press as a "democratic coup."- Jared Israel]

Dear Friends,

Thank you very much for your invitation to attend the Conference on "The Truth About NATO Aggression". The 24th of March, 1999, was a day of lies, injustice and war that must be neither forgotten nor forgiven. The injustice, the loss of life and the destruction cannot be undone, but the lies must be relentlessly denounced and exposed. It is appropriate to hold such a conference on Truth on this tragic anniversary -- this year and no doubt for years to come, as the task of establishing the truth is likely to be long and hard.

Unfortunately, this year I am unable to attend for personal reasons. However, I wish to stress that my absence in no way indicates any lessening of my commitment to the struggle for truth, justice and peace in the Balkans. This struggle is now in a very difficult phase, as the United States is bringing all manner of pressure to force the Serbs themselves to endorse the falsified version of history used by NATO to justify the cruel and illegal air war launched against Yugoslavia just two years ago.

It was not enough to bomb Yugoslavia, killing innocent civilians and destroying the country's infrastructure, or to turn over part of its territory to criminal bands of armed racists who murder defenseless citizens and mount new military provocations as NATO looks on helplessly. The United States and its NATO partners now demand that Serbian authorities cooperate in rewriting history in order to blame the victim not only for the bombing but for all the wars that ravaged Yugoslavia throughout the 1990s. That is the reason for the insistent demand to turn over former President Milosevic to the "International Criminal Tribunal". The objective is a political show trial, no different from the notorious show trials of past dictatorial regimes, designed to rewrite history to suit the dominant power and its clients.

American officials are quoted as urging Serbian authorities to keep searching for some crime committed by Milosevic, since "he's certainly guilty of something..." No such frantic search is necessary to find the guilt of NATO leaders. They launched an illegal war. They targeted civilian infrastructure, used toxic weapons. The evidence has been compiled by jurists in several countries. The matter is clear. But the ICTY prosecutor refused to investigate NATO, not surprisingly, since she works for them, although she seems not even to realize it.

The demand to extradite a former head of state to a grossly biased political Tribunal in return for dollars is an attempt to turn Serbian government ministers into bounty hunters. A reward of $5 million is offered for Milosevic. The U.S. Congress dangles aid dollars in front of Serbian officials, and gives them a deadline to comply with U.S. dictates by the end of the month or else the goodies will be snatched away. Serbia is summoned by the United States to abandon its dignity and capacity to judge its own reality in exchange for a fistful of dollars -- a scenario worthy of a spaghetti Western.

Milosevic -- and Serbia -- must be found guilty in order to prove that NATO was innocent. The bounty hunters might profit from the bounty money. The Serbian people would pay dearly. Politically, materially and in the right to their own truth.

At the conference in Belgrade last year, I remarked that I did not consider it my business to intervene in Yugoslavia's internal politics. I can understand that people may be tired of suffering hardships, of being treated as pariahs by the Western powers, isolated and subjected to sanctions. I can understand they may grasp at illusions. I can understand that they may want to be treated as "normal", regardless of the price. But watch out! The price for giving up the truth and abandoning justice may be much higher than it seems. Serbia deserves the respect of the world, and this respect is and will continue to be earned by a courageous and stubborn devotion to truth.

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