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by Jared Israel (9/16/99)

"Asked why he feels Clinton is so vital to getting the peacekeeping effort off the ground, [East Timorese Bishop Carlos] Belo said with a smile: 'Because he's the boss of the world.'" (AP, Sept. 14, 1999, our emphasis)

The following article of necessity assumes certain agreements, namely that:

  • The U.S. attacked Serbia for geopolitical not humanitarian reasons;
  • One U.S. goal is to eliminate the Serbs as a political force;
  • Contrary to media slant, US activity in the Balkans has in fact opposed multiethnic unity, not encouraged it.

Of course, some readers will have different views. Please see the end of this report for articles which go into these issues deeply. But irrelevent of where readers stand on these questions, every decent person may want to read the following, which is by way of a warning.

Meeting in Montenegro

Peter Galbraith is no ordinary U.S. citizen. He was Ambassador to Croatia during the planning and execution of Operation Storm. In that massive military assault, during which he was shown on Croatian TV riding a tank, 250,000 Serbs, mostly farming families, were driven from their ancestral lands by the Croatian Army.

Galbraith was the US emissary who helped effect a political deal between Bosnian Islamic Fundamentalists and Croatian Fascists that made that vicious assault possible. Under the leadership of Galbraith and others, US planes buzzed the fleeing farmers like cowboys herding cattle, strafing the stragglers, killing 14,000 civilians. The entire Krajina section of Yugoslavia, ancestral home to over 250,000 Serbs, was emptied. It's villages are silent to this day. Property worth tens of billions of dollars was grabbed by Croatia. President Clinton congratulated Ambassador Galbraith, his trusted 'Peacekeeper.'

According to Serbian opposition sources, the same Mr. Galbraith was in Montenegro recently. He met with Serbian politicians from the Alliance for Change and urged them to start a Civil War in Serbia. He promised that the Milosevich government would be destroyed quickly; he promised US help; and then, he promised, they would get everything they want.

A continuing tragedy

Reports that the Serbian opposition was planning to incite civil war have been circulating for weeks. Indeed rarely has a coup d'etat received so much public attention and evaluation before the fact. I am convinced the civil war (or attempted civil war) rumors have a basis, at least in the desire of the plotters; and they are openly supported and encouraged by the US government, which has much military and economic strength. So I will provide readers with the information I have.

First, a letter and some news reports from Italy. Second, an AP dispatch, Sept. 12. And third, a note from Diana Johnstone in Paris.

A Report from Italy

A few weeks ago I received the following letter from some friends in Rome:

"Here are the articles you asked for. But first, a little introduction to put them in context.

During the bombardment of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by NATO, Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic refused to carry out emergency defense measures. Montenegro, as you know, is part of the Yugoslav Federation, the other part being Serbia, and the defense measures were constitutionally required. Moreover, they were ordered at the Federal level. Not only did Djukanovic refuse to help with defense against NATO, he even went "on tour" of Europe, currying favor with the very heads of states which were bombing Serbia - and Montenegro as well!

An Italian journalist wrote that on May 13th some Djukanovic advisers received a huge cash "gift" from the USA. We are searching for this article to send to you.

You probably already know about the Montenegrin "proposal" to transform the Yugoslav Federation into a loose "Union" with two currencies, two armies, and so on. We put "proposal" in quotes because it is hardly a sincere proposal. It is, like the Rambouillet agreement, a case of "making you an offer you cannot accept." In other words, Montenegro proposes, Serbia rejects, Montenegro secedes, Serbia goes to war to preserve the union, and so on. Civil war.

The Montenegrin government gave Federal and Serbian institutions 6 weeks to reply. Afterwards: referendum and independence. The deadline is the third week in September.

Some easy calculations show that the secessionist "line" has the majority in the Montenegrin Parliament, though narrowly; there is some disagreement within the ruling parties and moreover most Montenegrins are pro-Yugoslav. That is, they are against Montenegrin secession, against civil war.

The rest of our information is taken from two sources - Il Piccolo, a regional Italian newspaper and Il Manifesto. Il Manifesto is perhaps the main left-wing newspaper in Italy. It may be surprising to your readers in The U.S., where the left is far weaker than here, that since the inclusion of "former communists" in the ruling circles, Il Manifesto has had quite strong ties with leading institutions. This newspaper seemed to share the attitude of Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini, who was considered a sort of "friend" of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. During the NATO bombing, the newspaper was clearly against the war.

There have been a lot of contradictions in the Italian left as well as the government itself about the war. Now Il Manifesto writes that Lamberto Dini and the Italian government are actively supporting Montenegrin Pres. Djukanovic's secessionist policy, which of course is hardly pro-Yugoslav. Given their intimate relations with governing circles, we can assume Il Manifesto is really well informed on this account!

The August 27th issue of Il Manifesto ( had quite a lot of stuff regarding this secession-to-come:

  • They wrote that a delegation from the US State Department visited Montenegro and met Djukanovic, Djindjic and others in Budva [Montenegro] a week ago [i.e., third week in August], but this was kept secret for days. The official confirmation of this meeting came from members of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which is in the Montenegrin government, for instance Ranko Krivokapic whose interview appeared on August 28th in Il Manifesto. At this meeting the Americans said "they are not against" a Montenegrin declaration of independence. "Not against." With just such casualness does the world's Great Ruler accept this tribute from its eager Montenegrin pet.
  • Pres. Djukanovic's political adviser, Miodrag Vukovic, visited German Foreign Minister Fischer in Berlin on August 26th. Fischer said Germany is "in principle" against Montenegro's secession BUT "if Belgrade will not accept the Montenegrin proposal for a new federal Constitution, well then..."

Also on August 27th, Italian press agencies distributed alarming reports concerning Montenegro-based smuggling and Mafia activities. The Montenegrin government is strongly linked to cigarette and stolen car smugglers, who virtually finance the small Republic. In recent times there has been a huge deal with Philip Morris cigarettes; there is also a kind of business trafficking in refugees from Kosovo (mostly Roma ('Gypsies') now, but Albanians previously) seeking a better life in Italy.

The most important report on these issues comes from DIA, the Italian Agency against Drogues, part of the Ministry of the Interior. It says the activities of the Montenegrin and Albanian Mafias are linked with those of the Italian one, particularly from Puglia in the extreme south-east peninsula of our country.

That's all for now.

Coordinamento Romano per la Jugoslavia (CRJ)"

Italian newspapers: Plans for a civil war

T. Di Francesco writing in Il Manifesto, 08.08.99

  • Consider the question of Montenegro, which has been fiercely raised as a provocation by the Montenegrin president, Milo Djukanovich, whose aim is to dissolve the Yugoslav mini-federation. To replace it, he proposes a community between Montenegro (with a population of 600,000) and Serbia (with 10 million), an independent currency, Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense for Montenegro. He gives the Federal and Serbian governments six weeks to decide on accepting such proposals. The deadline is approximately Sept. 25. After which Podgorica [i.e., Montenegro] will act, by organizing a referendum, a first step towards secession....

    Italy, which has historically been on Djukanovic's side, keeps apparently quiet, but meanwhile sends Secret Service officers to Podgorica [in Montenegro], with the official aim of stopping the flow of Roma ("Gypsy") refugees from Kosovo, which have now changed status from refugees to illegal immigrants. [They no longer have the right to asylum in Italy because the war, which was never actually declared, is now nevertheless declared "finished" ... Even though people die every day in Kosovo by hand of NATO's ally the KLA, alias UCK] But these hundreds of Secret Service officers are probably indeed the evidence of Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lamberto Dini's support for the destabilization of Yugoslavia and for the new crisis that is being prepared by the devoted Montenegrin President, who has strong connections to criminal organizations in the region.

  • Mikla Tadic, quoted by M. Forti in Il Manifesto, 08.08/99.

  • To this aim [Montenegrin Pres.] Djukanovic hired US economist Steve Hanke, the man who organized the currency board that stabilized the Bulgarian currency. Hanke outlined a plan to introduce, by fall, a new dinar in Montenegro, closely tied to the German Mark (as is the new currency in Bosnia) and supported by a currency office.... Each time Djukanovic, at that time Prime Minister of Montenegro, asked or more independence to liberalize the economy, [Yugoslav Pres.] Milosevic answered by closing the border and reducing the exchange of goods with Serbia. Djukanovich answered by opening the border with Italy, for cigarette smuggling, and with Albania, for importing oil. He also liberalized the import of second-hand cars, mainly cars stolen in Western Europe, which the Montenegrins buy from the Croat-Bosniac Mafia in border towns with Bosnia. Taxes on imported cars, cigarette smuggling (in collaboration with the Apulian Mafia, Sacra Corona Unita) and oil have given Djukanovich the hard currency needed to fill up the treasury of the republic and to prepare for independence from Belgrade.
  • S. Chiarusi in Il Manifesto, 08.11.99.

  • The rich Serbs of the Diaspora [those living in north-eastern Italy, who escaped Socialist Yugoslavia at the time because of their strong anti-communism] do not like Milosevic. They liked [the late Yugoslav Communist President] Tito even less. Neither do they like [Vuk] Draskovich [a key opposition leader who opposes street demonstrations which other opposition leaders have called; he says the other leaders are trying to foment civil war] and [conservative-nationalist leader] Seselj. ... They bide their time, crying, laughing, and giving financial support to… Vojslav Kostunica, leader of the Democratic Party of Serbia, which has a superb building in the center of Belgrade, though the number of the party members equals the number of his relatives....
  • S. Maranzana in Il Piccolo [a regional Italian newspaper] 08.15.99.

  • Bronislav Vukotic is chain-smoking cigarettes in a pub in Trieste owned by a Serbian girl. A former member of the Democratic Party of Zoran Djindic, he is now the President of the Free Trade-Unions of Yugoslavia. "We are going head-on towards civil war. The Albanians in Montenegro have been promised that they can split to join Albania. And Albanians are now more than 40% of Montenegro. From there the first fire will start, which will spread to Kosovo and then to the heart of Serbia. In Belgrade the Albanians are more than 20.000."
  • Guido Ruotolo in Il Manifesto 08.21.99.

  • "If by Sept 21. Milosevic will not go" - the Alliance for Change leaders said yesterday - "we will have a general strike, people will block the streets and organize demonstrations in Belgrade and in all towns of the country." So these oppositionists announce that the "final blow" against the regime ... has been postponed a month". That is, 'til about the 20th of September.
  • From the Associated Press, 9/12

    On September 12th, AP ran a story on Serbian opposition plans. Here are some excerpts:

  • BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) -- In a joint move against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia's opposition parties and the leadership of Montenegro plan to work more closely with each other on reforming the country, a top opposition leader says….

    Milosevic is trying to suppress Serbia's opposition parties and is also at odds with Montenegro's reformist, pro-Western leadership, which he has shut out from governing bodies on the federal level.

    The joint declaration is to be announced after a meeting of Serbian opposition parties and Montenegro's government on Sept. 18 or 19 in the Montenegrin capital, Podgorica….

    Independent, Belgrade-based B2-92 radio reported that several Serbian opposition leaders met directly with Montenegro's president Milo Djukanovic on Saturday to discuss future cooperation (AP 9/12/99, our emphasis.)

  • Some thoughts about this AP dispatch.

    First, by saying the Serbian government is "trying to suppress" the opposition, the AP gives the impression Serbia is a police state. This is inaccurate. The Serbian government has been strikingly gentle with Djindjic's 'Alliance for Change' given that its leaders a) have met with agents of the US, which bombed Yugoslavia for 78 days and b) have rejected the government's call for early elections, instead threatening to force a government change through extreme street actions, i.e., by force.

    The Alliance for Change people have in fact held demonstrations virtually unmolested, including one in the heart of Belgrade. In addition, recent visitors to Yugoslavia report that most of the media, including newspapers, is (as always) anti-government. This is hardly a police state.

    So the AP report is superficial and misleading. Most AP readers are uninformed about Serbian politics, so they would have no way of knowing from this report that the attack is coming from the opposition, not from the government. In this way, if and when civil strife develops, readers will be pre-conditioned to view it as the Serbian government's fault. The strife will in itself seem to confirm what is in fact AP misinformation.

    The same is true of the coverage of the Montenegrin situation. During the bombing of Yugoslavia, the Montenegrin government, constitutionally required to aid in defense, refused to do so. Since then, Montenegrin leaders have openly conspired with the US and Germany to split Montenegro from Yugoslavia. This, the AP mis-describes as the Milosevich government being "also at odds with Montenegro's reformist, pro-Western leadership, which he has shut out from governing bodies on the federal level."

    Despite the misinformation, the AP dispatch does include an important piece of news: last Saturday, members of Djindjic's Alliance for Change met in Montenegro with Montenegrin leaders.

    Visit from an aspiring Mephistopheles

    Also on Sept. 12, the following report arrived, from Diana Johnstone:

    ''Tonight I learned in a telephone conversation with a friend in Yugoslavia that former U.S. Ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith has been in Montenegro, chiding Serbian opposition politicians for their reluctance to plunge Yugoslavia into civil war. (Galbraith was a key backer of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman's August 1995 "Operation Storm" that drove the Serbian population out of the Krajina region of Croatia four years ago.) Galbraith assured the opposition leaders that such a civil war would be short, and would 'solve all your problems'".

    I checked with Diana Johnstone. Her source is reliable.

    So Peter Galbraith, who specializes in making deals that make mass murder possible, was in Montenegro trying to make a deal. There he met with the more extreme (greedier?) elements of the Serbian opposition and, one would assume, some leading Montenegrin politicians linked to the Mob. He made rosy predictions. He made promises. He prodded his hesitant proxies to strike now, for democracy.

    The same plotters met again in Montenegro last Saturday. Never have plotters planned more thoroughly. Never have secret meetings been held with more publicity.

    Absent the Opposition pols suffering a failure of nerve and/or complete incompetence, are we about to witness another act in the U.S. government's production, The Rape of Yugoslavia?

    Or will their open sponsorship by the State Department (including Peter Galbraith) so discredit the Alliance for Change and the Montenegro Mafia-pols that this attempt at Tragedy will instead be played out as Farce?

    * * *


    or more on US government motives in Yugoslavia, check out the following four articles:

    Yugoslavia: Through a Dark Glass, by Diana Johnstone

    Germany and the US in the Balkans: a Careful Coincidence of National Policies? by T.W. Carr

    NATO's Humanitarian Trigger, by Diana Johnstone

    What does NATO want in Yugoslavia? by Sean Gervasi

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