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Slobodan Miloshevich: Key Symbol in a Great Power Game
by Sven Olafsson [2-April-2001]

Introductory remarks
by Jared Israel

The following article raises some important points which are also discussed in Diana Johnstone's article, "The Price Of Truth," at http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/Johnstone/24th.htm . These points concern the consequences for the Serbian people of the arrest of Mr. Miloshevich. Because this issue is so important, I wish to make a few points about the article, to clarify the consensus of opinion at Emperor's Clothes.

Mr. Olafsson says that Mr. Miloshevich "is today unpopular in his own country". This view is commonly put forth in the West, but without evidence.

The only test we have of Mr. Miloshevich's popularity is the September 23, 2000 election, where he ran for Yugoslav President against Voyislav Koshtunitsa, who was backed by 19 parties, and openly supported by U.S. and European leaders.

Miloshevich got 40% of the vote to Koshtunitsa's 49%, or, if you believe the claims of Koshtunitsa's organization, a bit over 50%.

However, close to 40% of eligible voters did not vote. That is, a plurality failed to vote.

Since the DOS parties backing Koshtunitsa posed this election as do-or-die, it is reasonable to assume that most of the non-voters were Serbian patriots who didn't want to vote for Mr. Miloshevich on the first round but who were horrified by Mr. Koshtunitsa's immense financial support from the U.S. It is quite possible that Mr. Miloshevich would have closed the 10% gap in a runoff election. We shall never know because DOS created provocations intended to prevent a runoff - and destroyed the September 23 ballots when they sacked the Yugoslav Parliament building. Was this a coincidence? I don't think so.

Please consider the circumstances surrounding the Sept. 23 vote. First, the U.S. had created an entire organizational and media apparatus inside Yugoslavia, involving thousands of people, with the sole purpose of politically isolating Mr. Miloshevich. As you may not be aware, most Serbian media was financed by Western, anti-Miloshevich sources. Add to that the anti-Miloshevich propaganda from the BBC, CNN, etc., which are watched in Yugoslavia. (1)

Second, the US, England, Germany and Norway (and perhaps other countries) poured vast sums into Yugoslavia to finance the Koshtunitsa forces. The impact of this money was a hundred times greater than it would have been in the U.S., because in Yugoslavia a person is lucky if they earn $75 (U.S.) a month and because many young people simply cannot find jobs. We don't yet know, and may never know, the real total of this money, but it is reasonable to think in terms of several hundred million dollars. To make a reasonable (but understated) comparison, imagine the impact of BILLIONS of dollars on a U.S. Presidential election.

Third, the opposition promised to end Yugoslavia's isolation, to end sanctions and to secure foreign aid - all desired by ordinary people. Moreover, the West not only agreed to do these things if Koshtunitsa was elected, but it also promised to inflict harsh measures, possibly including military attacks, if Miloshevich won. This threat was backed by the ostentatious maneuvers of the U.S. 6th Fleet, in coordination with the anti-Serbian Croatian military, right before and during the elections. And remember, the Presidential election occured while NATO occupied the Serbian province of Kosovo, with U.S.-armed and trained terorrists attacking inner Serbia.

Given these immense Fifth Column and external pressures, it is remarkable that Mr. Miloshevich did so well. Imagine if these pressures were applied to an incumbent in the U.S. How many votes would he or she get?

I was in Serbia for a week, from March 20 to March 27th. I had the honor of speaking at a rally of some 50,000 people called by the Socialist Party to commemorate the bombing of Yugoslavia, which began March 24, 1999. The audience was politically sophisticated, overwhelmingly workers and farmers, very passionate and very brave - for you must remember, Serbia has been through a fascist-like coup. People told me of being fired from their jobs and beaten for speaking their mind, or, in one case, for writing a critical letter to Koshtunitsa.

On every street you see billboards with Miloshevich's face staring down, like the face of the arch-demon Goldstein in Orwell's book, '1984', with the words underneath 'WHO IS GUILTY?" The media is entirely monolithic, i.e., just like the U.S. media. Socialists and anti-DOS nationalists rarely get their ideas on TV or into print. Most of the media ignored the huge and important antiwar rally.

The Yugoslav economy is now functioning at 40% of the (low) level at the time of the Oct. 5th coup. The country is riddled with strikes - none of this is reported in the West. I spoke to many people and over and over I heard the same thing: people who voted for Koshtunitsa feel they fell for a scam.

Therefore the notion that Serbia has gone from loving to hating Mr. Miloshevich is false. It is my opinion that the DOS authorities launched the drive to arrest Miloshevich, involving 10,000 police and the real possibility of a Chilean-type attack on the Socialists, precisely because the Socialists and anti-DOS nationalists are gaining support and therefore the U.S. ordered DOS to nip this problem in the bud. Will an anti-DOS government, perhaps made up of Socialists and nationalists come to power? It is a real possibility, if these forces champion national sovereignty and social justice for working people and militantly expose current "legal" attacks.

My second point concerns what Mr. Olafsson says about the Hague Tribunal. I agree with him that it is an illegal body, set up to serve U.S. geopolitical interests - mainly to terrorize and destroy the leaders of Serbian resistance. (2)

But Mr. Olafsson writes:

"[The] existence of an instrument of political inquisition, such as Hague 'tribunal', that can declare someone 'illegal' at the will of a great power can lead to creation of several parallel institutions. Each will be under control of one or another great power. Breakdown of mutual diplomatic recognition that is likely to follow will paralize completely paralyze international relations. "

The problem is that this misses the main reality of our time: that the United States Establishment is making a drive for world domination. It is setting up Fifth Column organizations and media in many countries. It is using terrorist proxy armies against the Balkans and the Former Soviet Union. Nobody but the U.S., and its European flunkies - for that is what they are - is about to set up Hague-type Tribunals. The danger is not that the Hague will be imitated by other superpowers, but rather that the "legal standards" of the Hague, which come straight from the Inquisition (3) will be applied all over the world as they are right now being applied in Kosovo (4) and in inner Serbia as well, as exemplified by the U.S.-ordered arrest of Mr. Milosevich.
- Jared Israel

Slobodan Miloshevich: Key Symbol in a Great Power Game
by Sven Olafsson

Slobodan Miloshevich is demanded for sacrifice by the West for three reasons: to justify and vindicate NATO aggression of 1999, to confirm to the world the "special guilt" of the Serbs in the Balkan conflicts of 1990s, and to make a precedent for dealing with political enemies in the future.

It would be unnecessary to mention the obvious in the beginning, but I want to point out that 99% of what matters in international politics is power. Reader who disagrees with this will probably disagree with what follows; and it is not the goal here to persuade anyone in the truthfulness of my statement. Firm believers in the prevalence of human rights and humanitarian concerns in the thinking of governments; those who believe the power and significance of international institutions; who believe in the infinite righteousness and morality of the West and immorality and perversity of the rest of the world, -- these people are either na´ve, blind, or fanatical. They probably need not read further.

The Scapegoat

The name of Slobodan Miloshevich is probably one of the most frequently mentioned in connection with the Balkan conflicts of the last decade. Over the years he was accused of all imaginable sins -- from cynical exploitation of "radical nationalism" and financial fraud to the very serious charges of war crimes, including organisation of genocide. Virtually all of these accusations (including those concerning purely domestic issues, such as economic crimes) have been voiced exclusively in the West, and picked up in Yugoslavia only by the most radical opposition whose ties with Western governments and secret services have long ago become openly acknowledged.

These accusations were in line with the overall campaign of demonizing Serbs and their leadership, which was an integral part of US military-political policy in the Balkans. However, while accusations of domestic crimes were made in part to influence Miloshevich's standing at home, the farcical indictment by the Hague "tribunal" has different aims. It basically puts Yugoslavia and its people into a position, where they are facing a choice of accepting or not accepting the role of culprits and the image of demons, and recognizing or not recognizing NATO's right to attack their country.

The matter is not about merits and faults of Miloshevich; it is not about whether he should be considered a saint or a demon; it's not about whether he is honest or not. One may have different attitudes towards Miloshevich, but one thing stands clear: if the people of Yugoslavia respect themselves; if they do not want to vindicate the crimes of the NATO aggressors; if they do not want to agree and take upon themselves the role of the main culprit in the Balkans pushed on them during the last 10 years by the West; and if they don't want to carry the economic burden of the aggressor (reparations, individual claims, etc.) they should never let Miloshevich become the scapegoat, a kind of sacrificial lamb, that is to be given in exchange for some vague "benevolence" of the superpower and its allies, and forgotten forever.

The Reasons

The Balkan policies of the West culminated in an outright war of Spring 1999, a war that was fought in contravention of international law, and whose perpetrators, far from being called to responsibility, continue to occupy high positions in their countries or international bodies. Realistically, of course, they will never be called to responsibility. And realistically, the Hague Tribunal would mean nothing were it not a political institution with the full weight of the world's only superpower behind it. It is understood that this tribunal, nominally created by the UN and ironically recognized by Yugoslavia itself, is a powerful instrument in the hands of those who own it. While the powerful states can violate international law and, thanks to their excellent system of propaganda, persuade public and official international opinion that they did not violate it, the small countries are constrained by the distribution of power, to submit to pressures of the great powers. Yugoslavia showed that even a small country can put a great resistance to a devastating aggression by the largest military alliance in the world. But it also became obvious that this resistance cannot be sustained for long. In this respect, it is perfectly understandable that today, after devastation and with the new hopes for reconstruction and national revival, many in Yugoslavia are tempted to cooperate with the Hague institution. This would be one of the gravest mistakes.

The "indictment" of Miloshevich was a purely political act that took place at the moment, when NATO badly needed justification for what was becoming an embarrassing campaign of violence against Yugoslavia, and as it became ever more difficult to misinform their domestic and international public opinion of the situation in the region. Taking to account that since the time the war ended and NATO-led forces entered Kosovo-Metohija, more and more revelations about the true aims, nature, and consequences of that war become known to the wider public, leadership of the alliance and its members continuously looks for a way to vindicate the aggression. Slobodan Miloshevich, a formerly powerful leader who suddenly lost power and is today unpopular in his own country is the perfect target, especially since he had been demonized by the West during the decade. Thus, the first negative effect of extradition of Miloshevich would be vindication of NATO crimes, a de facto justification of its policies against Yugoslavia. Giving up Miloshevich would be equivalent to recognizing that the cause of the war was inside Yugoslavia, and that NATO had to take legitimate steps in response to an alleged aggression and war crimes. Vindication of NATO's actions would effectively mean the end of Yugoslavia's chance to successfully press for justice any time in the future. It will also mean effective abandonment of Kosovo and Metohija.

The second negative effect -- potential extradition would mean a de facto recognition by the Serbs of the role of the main and almost only culprits for everything that happened in the former Yugoslavia since its disintegration. The logic "Miloshevich is evil and is a criminal; the Serbs elected Miloshevich; therefore the Serbs are evil and have a collective criminal guilt" would be used to reaffirm the previous claims to this effect; it would make the demonization of Serbs during previous years justified. The implications of this effect concern more than just national honour and dignity; they can open the Pandora's box for future moral, material, and potentially territorial claims, the disastrous consequences of which and implications for the existence of the Serbian nation are too obvious.

The third effect would be a de facto (and probably de jure) recognition of the right of the powerful states to disregard the sovereignty of Yugoslavia (and other small states at that). Of course, de facto, interference into small states' affairs has existed for as long as the international system itself. But Yugoslavia is a country whose sovereignty has been disregarded so blatantly and on so many occasions in the last 10 years, despite strong resistance that today, voluntarily letting others interfere into Yugoslav internal affairs and disrespect the legal system, would mean a drastic loss of sovereignty. It would also would open way to further interference, on ever-increasing scale.

Most importantly, a precedent would be created for dealing with foreign political enemies, with potentially devastating consequences for the system of diplomatic international norms. Diplomatic recognition has been making possible the preservation of some fundamental level of trust that are critical for conduct of any international dealings and negotiations even during the worst conflicts between states. Existence of an instrument of political inquisition, such as Hague "tribunal" that can declare someone "illegal" at the will of a great power can lead to creation of several parallel institutions. Each will be under control of one or another great power. Breakdown of mutual diplomatic recognition that is likely to follow will paralize completely paralyze international relations.

Dozens of new government officials in today's Yugoslavia, under direct influence of the West, are so eager to disregard all these factors, and so fanatical about cooperation with the "international community" that there can be no mistake that they defend not the interests of their country and their people, but are satisfying their ideological beliefs, labouring for the money they have been paid by the Western governments, finally releasing their personal hate for Miloshevich, if nothing else. Recent history teaches that a blind embracing of a new ideology, while disregarding reality and being idealistic about others' intentions, can lead to disappointment, failure, and humiliation. Experiences of Russia and Ukraine in the 1990s show this very well.

Arresting and sacrificing Miloshevich might bring in some money. It might bring some words of approval ("Good boy!" persistently comes to mind). But what else? Nothing, apart from immense humiliation and a deep sense of shame that will be there sooner or later, and will be haunting the Serbs for generations to come.

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