The Delegitimization Campaign Against Nationalists

“A spectre is haunting Europe… All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre…” These are the famous words that in a manifesto by Karl Marx describe the advances of communism in the 19th century. They illustrate how history repeats itself; how man always takes to resistance from oppression, but above all what the consequences of this can be.

To see parallels on today’s world political stage, the best thing would be to look at the election of Trump for president and the so-called Brexit. These are events that often are described as reactions to the negative sides of globalization and immigration, in which one can detect a will from the people to strengthen their national identity and their country’s sovereignty. It is nationalism that we are witnessing in other words.

Just like communism back then, nationalism today is acknowledged to be a power and one that is growing only stronger and stronger. This, one can be sure of, is despite the setbacks with the elections in Austria, the Netherlands and France. According to many experts, these European elections, in fact, do not do much to mask the inevitable: nationalism is on the rise and it still has a very good chance of taking over in these and other countries.

As a natural consequence of this – if we are now to connect back to the beginning, namely what a resistance can lead to – a trend has now appeared, resembling what Marx in the communists’ case described as an “exorcism” by a “holy alliance.” It was a “holy alliance” that felt threatened by communism then which led to efforts to clamp down, and it is a neoliberal establishment that is feeling threatened by nationalism now which is leading to this trend. This is something that bodes good for the nationalists, since we can see that there is something of an instinct involved when peoples’ ideology is rooted in their identity, which in turn can lead to one or two things as we will see at the end of this article. But first we will highlight this trend with several examples. It is a trend that can best be called “a delegitimization campaign against nationalists.”

Nationalism and the Media

One example of this delegitmizaion campaign is the portrayal of nationalism’s successes in recent times, when the liberal media talks about “quick fixes.” So called “quick fixes” is what the nationalists have as one of their great appeals, while the so-called normal politicians, whose followers are depicted as those who unlike nationalists “can read and write,” don’t seem to like these “quick fixes” and actively avoid them.

The problem is that according to the liberals these “quick fixes” are nothing but empty words from the nationalistic leaders, who thereby are portrayed as frauds, and nationalistic voters end up lookin like easily fooled, stupid and impulsive. The nationalists are because of this delegitimized. The truth is that there is something very dishonest about this portrayal, which is one of the proofs for that there exists a delegitimization campaign. This, of course, is thanks to the obvious reluctance of the liberal media and politicians to acknowledge the positive aspects of these proposed, as well as existing, “quick fixes.”

Without doubt, the liberal portrayal is prevailing in the public conscience. But the truth is that there is no objectivity among the liberals that is worthy of the name. Thanks to their portrayal, the people are not allowed to learn the truth. In the case of “quick fixes,” the truth is that they work. To take one good example, there is how Hungary now has the lowest level of unemployment in its entire history; this after having thrown out the International Monetary Fund, one of globalism’s main enforcement mechanisms, something which can’t be called anything other than a “quick fix.”

This example would seem to prove that “quick fixes” work and that the problems that are presented by the media as complicated and nuanced really aren’t. You don’t need a political expert to chew it over for you: simple solutions like banning migrants and banning globalist organizations, some of the nationalists’ goals, can achieve results. The delegitimization is only depending on a distorted picture that is presented by the media.

The False Image of Nationalists

It is a delegitimization campaign that we see that is primarily about making nationalists look ignorant, which the media seems to do every day in their reporting. George Orwell wrote this quip about nationalism which many today would endorse without even thinking twice: “Every nationalist is capable of the most flagrant dishonesty, but he is also unshakably certain of being in the right.”

The truth is that we today know more about these sort of things thanks to social science experiments. Thanks to these, we now have a term called “confirmation bias.” It has been proven by experts that people tend to focus on certain facts that confirm their view of the world. In the same experiments, it has been shown that people think less of facts that do not fit their preconceived narrative. More importantly, there is nothing that says that this only applies to nationalists. But this is what people like Orwell and the media would like to have you believe.
In the case of Orwell, thanks to his words, the safest thing would be to call him arrogant. It is what most of the liberals have become these days when they claim that all nationalists are ignorant, when in fact ignorant people, thanks to what is called “confirmation bias,” can be found on all sides.
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The Mother-View Theory
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One could go further in proving this delegitimizaion by borrowing a word from the Swedish literary scholar and debater Göran Hägg. One’s mother-view, as he called it, is not something people so easily deviate from, after which he took the image in the West of the Serbs as a good example. Good arguments or critiques, according to him, will not affect people because of their mother-view. As an example, consider the authority that science now has in our society. The word of scientists is viewed as authoritative, so everything that they say about global warming is taken as gospel by many people because it subscribes to their mother-view of the world in which science is the definitive authority.
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A mother-view is more or less a part of our identity. This is one of the explanations for why many people refuse to take criticism, even if they are making mistakes or could do better, and this could explain why otherwise intelligent people end up making fools of themselves.
This proclivity to ignorance is precisely what we have seen liberal journalists and politicians fall victim to in Sweden. When attention was turned to migrant crime in their country thanks to Trump and Fox News, we saw this liberal ignorance writ large. They simply could not admit that the nationalists that they had been depicting as idiots were right all along. To do so would admit that they too were ideologically compromised and not objective. This is why it can be claimed that liberals carry on mother-views and “confirmation bias” just like nationalists.
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The Debate on “Fake News”
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A part of this delegitimization campaign is also the liberal debate on so-called “fake news,” in which nationalistic internet sites and newspapers are pointed out as spreaders of lies and propaganda. But all that is needed to see what it is really about is to take a look at a newspaper or a TV-guide: people that claim to be able to talk to the dead and predict the future are incredibly enough allowed to trick millions of people, even though an American foundation for years has offered a reward of one million dollars to anyone who proves that he or she is not a fraud. We could of course mention Wikipedia as well, where everyone can write anything they want. Then the liberal debate on so-called “fake news” speaks for itself: it is a desperate attack on nationalism and is part of a delegitimization campaign.
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The Attack on Russia
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Last but not least we have the attack on Russia to see this delegitimization. Few can claim that Russia has not become something akin to a punching bag, with many liberal journalists relishing the opportunity to bring up the Russian bogeyman. The biggest reason for this attack is of course the country’s nationalistic politics and because it is the country in Europe that has gone the furthest in the dismantling of liberal democracy, which happened because the Russians simply had to break away from Western power structures to maintain their sovereignty. Thanks to this attack, which really is part of a demonization campaign, the Russians end up looking like they are the worthy heirs of Hitler’s nationalistic legacy.
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Today it is primarily about portraying them as guilty of “crimes against international law” because of Ukraine. However, it is only required that one looks at Russia’s annexation of Crimea and then at the United States’ invasion of Iraq. The hypocrisy becomes apperent. How little criticism there is now of the ongoing chaos in Iraq that was done in the name of liberal principles as opposed to the annexation of Crimea that was done on the basis of nationalist principles! The reason for this is that Russia is being used as a political football, and it should be viewed in light of a delegitimization campaign against nationalists. This would be the only way to explain why Sweden’s relationship with Russia is being compared to that of Poland’s, that is to say a country that Russia has been at war with for almost as long as the two countries have existed.
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So the attack on Russia that we now see can be explained. Russia has become an avatar of nationalism according to the liberal press, so of course they attack Russia with anything they can come up with. By digging up more facts on this issue, for instance from the documentary “The Masks of Revolution” by Paul Moreira, one will see only more proof of this attack on Russia, and at the same time of the delegitimization campaign against nationalists.
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The Result of the Delegitimization
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But it is a delegitimization campaign that has started to backfire. We see what these constant attacks on peoples’ identity leads to. Nowadays, when a nationalistic ideology is portrayed as something that only the worst kinds of people partake in, the nationalists’ identification is instinctively only intensified. It is also in this delegitimization campaign that we can find the source to a calling that is now going out to nationalists – just like the case was with the communists in the 19th century, a movement that slowly grew and would come to make up one of the world’s super powers. It is a calling that says “Unite!” – and we are now starting to see the birth of a mass movement whose time has come.
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Alexekin Rockowia
Editor-in-chief of For-Serbia The Website

Liberals and Their Self-Image – Arrogance, Hypocrisy and Ignoranc

Liberals like to see themselves as representatives of common sense, while at the same time they regard nationalists as ignorant and arrogant. We will in this article examine this liberal self-image. As a result we will see that liberals themselves carry on arrogance as well as hypocrisy, in addition to ignorance (which has been proven already).
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Ignorance and arrogance are, to say least, two common words in the liberal description of nationalists. We have seen this, for instance, in the image of Geert Wilders. It was what we saw after one of Wilders’s campaign speeches, one in which he asked the audience if they wanted to have “more Moroccans or fewer Moroccans?” This became one of the recurrent ingredients in the depiction of him as ignorant and arrogant. Naturally, this was in order to delegitimize him. It is something that is being done with most nationalists, and the word ignorance is being used the most in this effort, which can best be called a delegitimization campaign. But the one who knows all the facts also knows that this has been dealt with – and that ignorance is therefore an unjust word in the description of nationalists – since it has been proven that ignorance can be found on all sides. This of course is thanks to the social science studies that lead to the launch of the term “confirmation bias.”
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Now it is time to look at the arrogance part. It will be seen just how much the liberals are wrong here as well. The question that we will be asking is what consists in this so-called nationalist arrogance, and we will see that liberals are the ones who are the most arrogant.
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A Positive Arrogance with Nationalists
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What we can make out in the nationalists’ case is, in fact, a form of positive arrogance. It is simply something that challenges the liberal hegemony, that is to say the soft totalitarianism in the liberal establishment. This is why the statement that we took from Wilders, and that which is said by Trump, often goes over well with the supporters. This positive arrogance is what we see with a lot of nationalists, for instance the Serbian politician Vojislav Šešelj, which we saw during his trial for war crimes at the Hague Tribunal: in connection with this process, while cameras were running, he asked the judges and prosecutors to suck his cock and fuck their mothers.
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In this case the nationalist stood for defiance against a higher and evil power in the form of a illegitimate court; in other cases it can be directed towards an establishment of journalists and politicians that are actually just bullies. Vis-à-vis this the liberal arrogance, which without doubt exists, is graceless and backfires.
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The Liberal Arrogance
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Arrogance in its negative form – that of supremacy – is what the liberals are guilty of. To take an illustrative example, there is a debate that was arranged by the BBC some ten years ago. The question that the audience was going to vote about, and which they voted against with vast majority, was if we needed to create a Western UN. One of the sides in this debate viewed it as high time for this: we in the West, as they saw it, had a moral superiority that was liberal and this way we could bring about more peace in the world. But then one could, if one knows all the facts – the facts that are hardly reported in the liberal media – ask the question how the West’s leading nation, the United States, would play its role in this project. That is to say, if one considers the fact that this is one of the countries in the world that gives itself the right to commit genocide.
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The United States did – which we can mention for the sake of justice – sign the Genocide Convention and also ratified it (after 40 years). But this was done with the reservation that it was inapplicable to the United States! It was this argument that Clinton’s liberal administration had when Yugoslavia turned to the World Court because of American crimes during the Kosovo war, a case which Yugoslavia lost.
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The Kosovo war was also something used in the BBC debate. According to the intellectual liberals who said that we needed a Western UN, this war was a prime example of when liberal principles prevailed. Fact is that this only illustrates arrogance, since the bombing of Yugoslavia was what the left-wing professor Noam Chomsky called the low point in intellectual history for the West; after which he compared liberal newspapers such as The New York Times to the Soviet Pravda.
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At the same time this is a liberal arrogance that can be found way back in history. We see this even with one of the most influential liberal thinkers ever, John Stuart Mill, who justified colonialism in India and talked of Indians as barbarians and claimed that the Brits wanted to help them and give them civilization. Needless to say, he left out the part about the crimes and the inhumane treatment that the Indians had suffered under British rule.
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The Liberal Hypocrisy
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To see the hypocrisy from the liberals, there is a whole host of examples here as well. This of course is thanks to today’s liberal reporting on Russia, Trump and Europe’s nationalists. Take for instance the criticism against Russia after the shooting down of a Dutch passenger plane during the Ukrainian war. This plane was actually located over a war zone (!) which no one seemed to think was strange. But one could go back some 30 years, when American military shot down an Iranian passenger plane, in Iran’s airspace and over its territorial waters, and killed all 290 people on-board. This is something that has never led to an apology from the United States; no one even seemed to care particularly much about it. In the Russians’ case, however, it has haunted them to the point that there was talk of sanctions.
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One can also look at various liberal politicians’ attacks on Russia after the annexation of Crimea. By many of these liberal politicians, this event was regarded as the biggest threat to the stability in Europe since the Second World War. One cannot, according to them, under any circumstances change the borders of sovereign states with force. The truth is that Pandora’s box was opened already in 2008 by themselves when they recognized Kosovo’s unilateral decleration of independence.
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One more example of this hypocrisy or double moral could be found during the election in France. Here Marine Le Pen was accused of pretty much wanting to take France back to the Middle Ages. This was thanks to her view on the Euro, the European Union and NATO. But no one wanted to draw any parallel to Switzerland, one of the world’s most prosperous countries, which doesn’t have any of these things.
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Common Sense and the Liberals
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The image of nationalists vis-à-vis liberals leads us to what is perhaps most important, namely the talk about common sense. Nationalists don’t have this at all according to the liberals. At the same time it is something that is a crucial part in the liberal self-image. Common sense is indeed something that liberals claim to have a lot of, but it is as we now have seen only an expression for their arrogance.
Common sense, by the way, is something that changes over time. This way it was viewed as common sense a couple of centuries ago to believe that the earth was the center of the universe. One has to question one’s own views, and only then you can claim to have common sense. Then you will see that liberals just like anyone else can be ignorant, arrogant and hypocritical – and are far from being synonymous with common sense (if one is critical to the facts that are presented and actually questions).
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Alexekin Rockowia
Editor-in-chief of For-Serbia The Website

Article About Draja Mihailovich – Time’s “Person of the Year” in 1942

DrazaHe clasps the crag with crooked hands . . . he watches from his mountain walls, and like a thunderbolt he falls.

These words, written of an eagle, today are a far better fit for one of the most amazing commanders of World War II. He is Yugoslavia’s Draja Mihailovich. Ever since Adolf Hitler vaingloriously announced a year ago that he had conquered Yugoslavia, Draja Mihailovich and his 150,000 guerrillas in the mountains south-west of Belgrade have flung the lie in Hitler’s teeth. It has been probably the greatest guerrilla operation in history:

Last fall Mihailovich kept as many as seven Nazi divisions chasing him through his Sumadija mountains.

Mihailovich’s swarming raiders have preserved an “Island of Freedom”, which for a time was 20,000 square miles in area, with a population of 4,000,000.

Mihailovich’s annihilation of Axis detachments, bombing of roads and bridges, breaking of communications and stealing of ammunition have been so widespread that the Nazis had to declare a new state of war in their “conquered” territory.

Last October the Nazis even asked for peace.

When Mihailovich refused, they priced his head at $1,000,000.

When the Nazis desperately needed troops in Russia, they tried to leave Mihailovich to the forces of their Axis partners and stooges. But Italian, Bulgarian and Rumanian soldiers could not deal with him, and the Nazis went back. Only last week the Russians announced that a Nazi division had arrived at Kharkov fresh from Yugoslavia—where it had certainly not been stationed for a rest.

Mihailovich’s example has kept all Yugoslavia in a wild anti-Axis ferment. The Axis has resorted to executing untold thousands, but the revolt continues. Last month the Nazis said they had seized Mihailovich’s wife, two sons and daughter, threatened to execute all relatives of Mihailovich’s army and 16,000 hostages if the General did not surrender within five days. He did not. It is a misfortune that conquered Europe cannot learn detail by detail the effective methods used by the gaunt, hard, bronzed fighter on TIME’S cover (painted by one of his compatriots, Vuch Vuchinich—called Vuch, to rhyme with juke). But Draja Mihailovich is completely cut off from the democracies’ press, hemmed in by the Axis forces in Yugoslavia, Rumania, Bulgaria, Albania and Greece. His only direct contact with the world beyond has been through smugglers and a mobile radio transmitter which he concealed somewhere in his mountain fastnesses.

Even so, he has already become the great symbol of the unknown thousands of supposedly conquered Europeans who still resist Adolf Hitler. As he watches from his mountain walls, he stands for every European saboteur who awaits the moment to jam the machine, plant the bomb, or pry up the railroad rail. He has directly inspired others, like Rumanian Patriot Ion Minulescu, who harries the Axis from the Carpathians, and Albanian and Montenegrin guerrillas who worry at Italian flanks on the Adriatic coast.

As a legend, Draja Mihailovich will unquestionably live as long as World War II is remembered. How long Draja Mi-hailovich himself will live is highly problematical. Like the heroes of Bataan, the guerrillas of Sumadija cannot be expected to fight forever without reinforcements at least of ammunition and food. Yet the only way these can be furnished at present is by parachute. Both the Russians and British are said to have dropped small amounts. In recent months Mihailovich has begged over the radio for all he can get. Last fortnight London reported that 24 Axis divisions (Germans, Hungarians and Bulgarians) had been sent into the Sumadija mountains to deliver the coup de grace.

Serb

The once-obscure Balkan officer who has thus far successfully challenged the modern world’s greatest conqueror was born 47 years ago in Chachak, Serbia, in the craggy lands which he now clasps. His parents died when he was a child, and he was raised by an uncle, a musical Serbian colonel. Draja Mihailovich plays the mandolin excellently. He entered Belgrade’s Serbian Military Academy at 15. He has been a lifelong soldier, an officer who got his training under fire. He is also profoundly a Serb. For those who know the Serbs, that fact alone would account for his great-hearted defiance.

The blood bath of oppression which for centuries has laved the minarets and green poplars of the Balkans has also watered a glowing military spirit in little Serbia—an unconquerable will toward freedom.

In 1389, a date of horror in Serbian minds, the Turks defeated the Serbs on the plain of Kosovo and slaughtered the cream of Serbian manhood. For the next four centuries Turkey bore down on Serbia as hard as Adolf Hitler has done, with such devices as impaling, mutilation and the roasting of living Serbs on spits.

Yet Serbia continued to resist, helped by Austria or Russia, who valued the Balkans as a buffer against the Turk, or betrayed them if it suited their purposes. Early in the 19th Century the great Serbian King Kara George fought Turkey with Russian aid, got a limited autonomy with Turkish garrisons still in Serbia. But Napoleon’s advance on Moscow drew away Russian support, and the Turks pressed Serbia hard again. This time Serbia’s Milos Obrenovich made a deal with Turkey for recognition. The deal included the assassination of Kara George, and thus started an Obrenovich-Kara George dynastic rivalry that was to continue for decades.

Serbia’s rulers were often personally weak and depraved, but the Serbs in general grew hard and defiant in the schools of Turkish tyranny and European Realpolitik. They never suffered from the flabbiness that comes with ease. In the First Balkan War (1912), Serbia and her Balkan allies finally ousted Turkey.

In World War I a supposedly exhausted Serbia hurled back two Austrian attacks, was ravaged by typhus and gave way before a third, then fought back again from Salonika. Only a year ago a revolution in Yugoslavia, where the dream of Balkan federation was becoming an actual as well as a political fact, deposed the pro-Nazi regent Prince Paul, and Serbian General Dusan Simovich courageously challenged the juggernaut of Adolf Hitler. In Draja Mihailovich’s mountains the challenge persists today.

Soldier

In 1912, at 19, Mihailovich left the Serbian Military Academy to fight the Turks. Wounded the next year, he returned to school as a sublieutenant wearing the Obihch medal for “personal courage.” In 1914 the Austrian attack again broke up school and Mihailovich was again wounded, received the Order of the White Eagle. On the eve of the Salonika offensive he rejoined his company and finally returned to Serbia wearing its highest decoration, the Kara George Star with crossed swords.

After these two laboratory periods in the field, he studied military theory, held various Yugoslavian commands, was active in political bodies for the preservation of Balkan unity. He was sent as military attache to Sofia (1934) and Prague (1936), and is rumored to have been connected with underground movements working against Nazi influence in both Bulgaria and Czecho-Slovakia.

In 1939, as chief of Yugoslavia’s fortifications, he revealed himself as a Balkan De Gaulle, holding that a nation of such limited financial means should not try to build Maginot Lines but should concentrate on mobile and offensive possibilities. His superiors opposed him and he was transferred to the military inspection service.

Presently he submitted a memorandum warning that a pro-Nazi Fifth Column threatened Yugoslavian unity and full mobilization in case of attack. War Minister Milan Neditch, now Hitler’s Serbian Quisling, asked Mihailovich to withdraw his memorandum. He refused, and was sentenced to 30 days of military arrest for “disloyalty.” He was freed at the instigation of Inspector General Bogoljub Illich, who is now in London with the Yugoslavian Government-in-Exile.

Sumadija

When Hitler’s Stukas bombed Belgrade on April 6, 1941, Mihailovich had a coastal command in Herzegovina. As the Nazis overwhelmed General Dusan Simovich’s bravely fighting army, Mihailovich retreated eastward into mountainous Sumadija, where Serbia had long fought the Turks. Thousands of disbanded or unmobilized Yugoslavian troops joined him, bringing their arms and equipment. The force was swelled by peasants and mountaineers.

The Nazi press has reviled Mihailovich’s army as “rebels, Jews and Communists.” Unquestionably they are rebels. Unquestionably some are Jews, some are Marxist Communists of one shade or another. Many more, probably, are Balkan “Communists,” which usually means partisans of the country as against the city, the farmer as against the businessman. These people in general have Slavic, pro-Russian (Tsarist or Stalinist) leanings. The United Nations press has often referred to Mihailovich’s forces as Chetniks —the name of a Serbian patriotic body which long fought guerrilla wars against Serbia’s oppressors. Doubtless many are Chetniks or their descendants. But Mihailovich’s army is best described as a patriotic Balkan force, with a majority of Serbs, built around a large nucleus of trained Yugoslavian troops.

In size, in the long military experience of its leader and the great number of its troops, it dwarfs the forces of such historic guerrillas as the Tirolean patriot Andreas Hofer, the Philippines’ Emilio Aguinaldo, and Mexico’s Francisco “Pancho” (“I’ll use the whole ocean to gargle”) Villa.

Stories

Tales about Mihailovich, apocryphal or smuggled out of his mountains, abound in Yugoslav circles. It is said that he has done some of his own espionage, eating with German officers in a tavern where the host, devoted to him, was panicky with fright. Nazi officers are said to have driven up to a farmhouse where Mihailovich and friends were staying. When he had convinced the Nazis of his innocence, one of his friends remarked: “That was a close one.” Mihailovich replied: “It was close for them, too.” He pointed to a bush behind which a guerrilla machine-gun crew had been ready for the Nazis. The General is also rumored to have done a brisk trade exchanging Italian prisoners for Italian gasoline at the rate of one Italian private for one can of gas, one colonel for 50 cans.

Today Draja Mihailovich seems legendary, but he is a legend with a big basis in fact: the fact that he has kept from five to ten Nazi divisions at a time fighting to conquer the country which they destroyed twelve long months ago.

Time Magazine (1942)

How Jihad Came to the West

Given that the Bosnian Serb President Milorad Dodik is arranging parades with his police forces and talking about independence for Republika Srpska, the Serb entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Bosnian Muslim and many Western politicians are protesting, it is high time to give a background to what is happening, and what has been happening ever since the fragile peace agreement was reached in 1995.
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If one wishes to understand the present-day situation, it would be best to explain what the conflict is actually about. In today’s Western medias and in the statements made by Western politicians, just like during the 1990s, it is mostly a distorted picture that is given. According to their way of looking at the conflict, it is about the Serbs, who believe that they are superior over the Bosnian Muslims because of religion, wanting to continue what they set out to do in the early 1990’s, that is to create an ethnically pure “Greater Serbia.” The Bosnian Muslims however, according to themselves and these Western medias and politicians, want to sustain a multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina, which its first President Alija Izetbegović is also said to have wanted when the Bosnian Civil War began in 1992.
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The conflict of today does indeed involve religion. It is what everything was about during the war, which led to the deaths of over 100,000 people, roughly half of which were civilian casualties. It is also a fact that it is religion that defines the nationalities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, since Bosnian Muslims, Serbs and Croats all speak the same language – although the language, depending on which group you ask, is called different names.
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Today’s coverage and the background that is given, however, is not objective. Now the truth will be shown; how the war began, how the war in a sense continued even after the peace, and it will be shown that the Serbs were not the bad guys back then, and therefore they are not the bad guys today. This will be done partly thanks to facts from Western sources, including the CIA and NSA, that were made widely known in the Norwegian documentary “Sarajevo Ricochet – The US Green Light” from 2011. We will see that the Bosnian Civil War in fact marked the beginning of Jihad in the West. There are even indications, which will be seen here, that the attacks on 9/11 would not have happened if it weren’t for the Bosnian Civil War.
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“The Islamic Declaration” – or the Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina
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The man who is the most responsible for the Bosnian Civil War and thereby Jihad in the West, is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s first democratically elected President, Alija Izetbegović. As a dissident in the former Yugoslavia, he differed from most of his Bosnian Muslim countrymen, who were known as being loyal to this multi-ethnic creation. It is safe to say that Izetbegović had an ideology, an Islamist, that was not shared by them, who unlike him were secular and not particularly faithful. In his book “The Islamic Declaration” from 1969, he presented “A programme for the Islamization of Muslims and the Muslim Peoples.”
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Here is an example of the message that is found in the book: “A people that has accepted Islam is incapable of living and dying for any other ideal. It is unthinkable that a Muslim should sacrifice himself for any other ruler, no matter who he might be, or for the glory of any nation or party, because the strongest Islamic instinct recognizes in this a kind of paganism or idolatry. A Muslim can only die in the name of Allah and for the glory of Islam, or flee the battlefield.”
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It is a quote that should lay waste to claims that were made, and are still made, that Alija Izetbegović was fighting for a multi-ethnic state. The Serbs of course knew who he was and what he really wanted. The book was after all republished in 1990, which prooves that he had not modified his views. It was around that time that Bosnia and Herzegovina had its first democratic election, after which Izetbegović became its President, even though he represented only a minority of roughly 40 per cent. But Izetbegović had taken this into consideration when he wrote his book: “The Islamic order can only be established in countries where Muslims represent the majority of the population. If this is not the case, the Islamic order is reduced to mere power (as the other element – the Islamic society – is missing) and may turn to violence.”
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He continues his thoughts around this on a following page: “The choice of this movement is always a tangible one and depends on a series of factors. There is, though, a general rule: the Islamic movement should and can start to take over power as soon as it is morally and numerically strong to be able to overturn the existing non-Islamic government, but also to build up a new Islamic one.”
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After reading these quotes, it is obvious that Alija Izetbegović was an Islamist. As such he should not even have become the leader of the Bosnian Muslims. His views and plans were shared only by a small minority of them. The truth is that Izetbegović together with other Islamists hijacked the Bosnian Muslims’ biggest party, the Party of Democratic Action. Its leader should have been Fikret Abdić, who got the most votes, and it was agreed that Izetbegović would be the leader only temporarily, but then came the crisis and things changed. Abdić, a man who was regarded as far more moderate and representing the most Bosnian Muslims, would during the war even come to declare his own republic in Western Bosnia, which allied itself with the Serbs and fought against the Bosnian Muslim government.
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In contrast to Alija Izetbegović, we can take a look at the Bosnian Serb leadership and draw some conclusions. While Izetbegović was politically active and had set out to destroy Yugoslavia several decades before this country fell apart, the Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadžić was a psychiatrist and poet, who had as one of his best friends a Bosnian Muslim, and he had not been politically active. His successor to the post of Bosnian Serb President, Biljana Plavšić, was a professor in biology and had international merits. Together with others in the Bosnian Serbs’ biggest party, the Serbian Democratic Party, which was portrayed as a party for criminals and losers, they constituted the Serbian intellectual elite in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Even if few of these had been dissidents in Yugoslavia, they were accused of having started the war because they wanted to create a ethnically pure state.
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The Background to Jihad in Bosnia and Herzegovina
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This is a little of the background to why the Serbs, after a referendum where a majority had voted for an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina, declared the independence of Republika Srpska, which can be translated as the Republic of Srpska or the Serbian Republic. It was a referendum that was boycotted by the Serbs, and they were right in doing so. The referendum was after all illegal, since the Serbs were a “constitutive people” and hence could not be ignored, according to the country’s constitution. The majority didn’t even want an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina; Croats voted for independence only so that they could join Croatia more easily.
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After the referendum everyone knew for sure that war would come. It was around that time that Radovan Karadžić held his infamous speech in Bosnian and Herzegovina’s Parliament, which during the war was shown in news all around the West, and it is shown still today in connection with his trial at the Hague tribunal. But what people get to see are only a couple of seconds from a speech that was several minutes long. Here Karadžić is shown while he is angry and says that Muslims could face extermination if they continued to go on their road to independence. Then Alija Izetbegović sits in the same chair, calm and tolerant, making it look like he is the good guy.
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The message from Karadžić, if one looks at the whole speech, is that a war had to be avoided at any price. It would be a peace that was not perfect to any of the parties, not even to the Serbs. If war came, according to him in his speech, it was inevitable that fighting would break out in the entire country, since the three groups lived so mixed together; it would be a bloodbath. However, unlike in the case of the Second World War, the Serbs were now prepared. This was Karadžić’s real message.
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What Karadžić knew, together with everyone else in that Parliament, was that all three groups had prepared for war and everyone knew that war would most likely occur. Karadžić was just doing his best and was desperate in that speech, in order to avoid a hell as he called it, even if it meant threatening the Bosnian Muslims and he ended up looking like the bad guy.
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That preparations for war had been undertaken, for instance by hiding weapons and ammunition, could be called an widely known secret. The politicians and journalists didn’t talk openly about it, but even ordinary people knew about it. All the three groups were involved in these preparations, but it was only that the Serbs had learned their lesson from the previous war and were now the most prepared.
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A genocide on the Serbs would not happen this time. In the Second World War the Serbs had suffered millions of deaths. Many Serbian children, women and men had been sent to death camps just like the Jews, or were even thrown into pits together with grenades. Before the genocide, which was committed by Croats as well as Bosnian Muslims, the Serbs had been the largest group in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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The message from Karadžić could not have been made clearer: the Serbs had learned their historic lesson and this time they would win. When war came the Serbs could thus easily take control over towns and villages in most of the country. This meant that the Serbs after a few months controlled around two thirds of Bosnia and Herzegovina, even if they made up only one third of the population. Much was thanks to paramilitary groups from Serbia, such as Arkan’s Tigers. This group had been formed some months before the outbreak of war in Croatia, with the promise not to let history repeat itself.
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It was in April of 1992 that war was a fact. According to a propaganda film that was made in 2000 by Azzam Publication, which was based in London until the attacks on 9/11, war veterans from Afghanistan started arriving after a month. The propaganda film is called “The Martyrs of Bosnia” and in the beginning of the film one can read the following: “The first video ever made about the Mujahideen, by the Mujahideen, in the English language.” In this propaganda film the Islamists even publish names of fallen terrorists, and say things such as this: “What occurred in Bosnia and Herzegovina was not merely a war between the Muslims and the Serbs, but it was a war between Islam and Christianity.”
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It was indeed all about religion. In fact, the Bosnian Civil War could be called the Serbian Civil War. One could digress here a little bit and mention that Bosnian Muslims’ ancestors are in fact Christian Serbs – both Bogomils and Orthodox – who converted to Islam during the Turkish occupation. In the case of the Bogomils, who were part of a faith that differed from Orthodoxy but none the less called themselves Serbs, the reason that they converted was mostly that they were viewed as part of a sect and not accepted by other Christians. But there were also motives that resembled that of the Orthodox Serbs, many of whom converted to Islam throughout the occupation that lasted for almost 500 years, only for the reason of better conditions under the Muslim Turks. This also explains why the Serbs took over so large parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina and why they besieged Sarajevo, since their ancestors were farmers and hence owned a lot of land, while the Muslims’ ancestors had had privileged jobs in the towns.
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So, really, Serbs were killing Serbs. The fact that Serb Muslims created a new nation has among other things led to the illogical word “Bosniak,” which is today being more frequently used in Western medias, not to mention the language called “Bosnian,” which is the same as Serbian in every regard. Since Bosnia is a geographic region that consists of three different groups, both words are illogical. Still the Muslims in Herzegovina and even in Serbia call themselves Bosniaks and say that they speak Bosnian.
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The Jihad in Bosnia and Herzegovina
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Much about the Mujahideen in Bosnia and Herzegovina was made publicly known thanks to the journalists John Burger and Misad Ralić (who no one can claim isn’t objective since he is a Bosnian Muslim war veteran). They were followed by a team of Norwegians for a documentary called “Sarajevo Ricochet – The US Green Light,” where among other things connections are shown between the Bosnian Muslim government and Islamist terrorists who were active in the United States in the early 1990s. This is because of facts that were uncovered about a “humanitarian organization” called the Third World Relief Agency. Through this organization, which was situated in Vienna and had connections to Saudi Arabia, the Bosnian Muslim government got between 300 million and one billion dollars. It was shown thanks to these journalists’ investigaions that money from this organization also funded terrorist activities in the United States. Those who help make this and many other things public knowledge include Michael Scheuer, a former CIA intelligence officer, and John Schindler, a former NSA analyst.
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Serbs’ claims about the Mujahideen and their connections to Alija Izetbegović, however, were ignored as mere propaganda during and after the war. Serbs had after fighting the Mujahideen even obtained evidence of their crimes. This included video footage that was filmed by the Mujahideen for propaganda purposes. One example is what happened in the so-called “Slaughter House at Kamenica,” where around 60 Serbian soldiers were raped, tortured and decapitated. If one looks at the video footage from that place, one can see the fear in the Serbian soldiers’ faces. It is impossible to imagine to what degree they must have felt fear, and what kind of thoughts went on in their heads. Pictures of the Mujahideen walking around with the heads of Serbian soldiers reached the Serbs and spread fear already in the beginning of the war. In an instance that can be found on the Internet, Bosnian Muslim soldiers film a Serbian soldier who has detonated a grenade against his heart, maybe because the Mujahideen oftentimes yelled “Allahu Akbar!” when they advanced.
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The Mujahideen crimes were well-documented and evidence was handed over by the Serbs to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. The fact that no Mujahideen or high-ranking Bosnian Muslim has been indicted and convicted, says a lot about this tribunal. Alija Izetbegović could have been charged long ago, just like many members of the Bosnian Serb government and Serbian generals were charged right after the war. Instead the indictment against Izetbegović was made public only after his death in 2003.
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Probably this was done so that the Serbs couldn’t say that the tribunal hunted only Serbs. The truth is that in the case of non-Serbs it was mostly low-ranking people that were convicted by the tribunal. In few instances it was for command responsibility, which Alija Izetbegović together with other Bosnian Muslim politicians and generals – many of whom are still alive – had in the case of the Mujahideen. The Mujahideen were after all a formal part of the Bosnian Muslim army. This was the same army which according to Western medias and politicians was fighting for a multi-ethnic state.
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How the War Continued in the West
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By 1994 the Serbs were on the retreat and faced being pushed out of virtually all of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Much of this was thanks to bombing from the air by the United States under the leadership of Bill Clinton. It was only after politicians in Serbia and in Montenegro said that they would have to intervene with the Yugoslav army, after hundreds of thousands of Serbs had been expelled from Croatia in less than a week and large parts of Western Bosnia had been lost, that pressure was put by the Americans on Alija Izetbegović to end the war and the Dayton Peace Agreement could be reached. One demand from the West was that all foreign fighters needed to leave the country. However, in many cases of the Mujahideen, who were several thousands, this did not happen. Instead they were given citizenship in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is how the war came to the West.
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One of the Mujahideen that was given a passport, as is shown in the Norwegian documentary, was a brother to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaida after Usama bin Laden. Other things that are shown is Abu Mali, one of Usama bin Laden’s main allies in Europe, sitting next to Alija Izetbegović in a video. Two of the hijackers during the 9/11 attacks had also been Mujahideen in the Bosnian Civil War. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, regarded as the brain behind the 9/11 attacks, lived in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995. The two journalists that took part in the documentary, John Berger and Misad Ralić, also revealed that fourteen major Islamist terrorist attacks around the world, including in Europe, had connections to the Jihad in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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So there are today many things that are happening in Bosnia and Herzegovina, resembling the tensions that went on before the outbreak of the Bosnian Civil War. But unlike the liberals in America, who held power at that time and chose the Bosnian Muslims as their friends, the conservatives actually care about history and tradition. One of these conservatives is Donald Trump’s newly appointed National Security Advisor, John Bolton, who among other things has held a pro-Serbian stance on Kosovo’s independence. Hopefully Trump will keep his promise and not be an ordinary Washington politician. The ordinary Washington politicians, as has been seen now, choose their friends based on what their goals are, rather than choosing their goals based on who their friends are. Now the time is here for the West to get a second chance and choose the right side.
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Alexekin Rockowia
Editor-in-chief of For Serbia

Videos of the Wars Archive

Kissinger on the Siege of Sarajevo

 

Kissinger lays forward some very thought-provoking views and suggestions on what ought to be done in the Bosnian War to media tycoon billionaire Mort Zuckerman, sitting in for Charlie Rose. They weigh more when you bear in mind that it comes from a man of his importance, who by many is regarded as the most influential American Secretary of State of the 20th century.

Among other things, Kissinger dismisses the notion that the Serbs are separatists in Bosnia and goes on to talk about the West’s bombing of the Serbs and the siege of Sarajevo. In line with this perception of the events in Bosnia, Kissinger suggests that the Serbs as well as Croats should be allowed to join their motherlands.

But whilst looking at the interview, one should not forget that it would have been a whole different story had the now-retired man been in office. A former American statesman himself, Kissinger is by no means a saint. It’s just that now he couldn’t care less about telling the truth, and probably more so when the truth is so obvious.

Noam Chomsky Mocks Intellectuals or ‘Independent Minds’

 

Chomsky talks about intellectuals who were supporting the bombing campaign against Yugoslavia and comes to the conclusion that they are far from independent minds. All they really do is follow the party lines within some more or less defined boundaries.

David Hackworth Admires Serbian Defiance

 

Not paying much attention to Shirley Cloyes’ motor mouth, David Hackworth gives his impressions of the Serbian people from this war. 

The Albanian Lobby in the U.S. Congress and The Hague

 

The President of the Albanian lobby on Capitol Hill is first confronted by the Serbian American Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley for his statements about the Albanians’ situation in Kosovo. After this event we will see a clip from The Hague where the accused Slobodan Milošević talks about the lobby’s role in the Kosovo conflict and the demonization of Serbs in the American public. 

Martti Ahtisaari vs. Expert on International Law

 

Despicable as it sounds, what Martti Ahtisaari is really saying on this occasion of him receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2008, is that he implemented the policies of the same states that bombed Serbia and Yugoslavia in 1999. Or in other words: “we fooled the Serbs into these negotiations and said to the Albanians that they would get independence even if they were to blame for them not coming to a reach acceptable to both parties.” With this being said, the Albanian delegation refused to autonomy higher than any international standard anywhere in the world. This was possible only because the politicians in Belgrade don’t want to rule the Kosovo Albanians, which is a fact they have repeated and made clear but one which Martti Ahtisaari does not mention here. Their interest is only to preserve their country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. But luckily, there are always those who stand up for the truth. David Jacobs, a Lawyer and expert on international law, lays waste to myths such as that Kosovo’s autonomy was revoked in 1989, when in fact Albanians had cultural autonomy on a level higher than many other minorities in Europe. This is illustrated by the fact that they had their own newspapers and other media, without any restrictions from the Serbian authorities whatsoever. The thing was that the Albanian leaders saw it differently. As far as they were concerned, “Kosova” was already an independent state so they had no reason to negotiate with Belgrade. This is where the myth about “underground schools and hospitals” and even “apartheid” originates from. It was only a parallel society that they had created voluntarily, the same way they voluntarily refused to vote in the elections of a country which everyone except the Albanians in Kosovo recognized as a real state with that province as an integral part of that state with its internationally recognized borders.

Hypocritical Humanitarianism

From March 24 to June 10 1999, US military forces, in coordination with a number of other NATO powers, launched round-the-clock aerial attacks against Yugoslavia, dropping twenty thousand tons of bombs and killing upwards of three thousand women, children, and men. All this was done out of humanitarian concern for Albanians in Kosovo – or so we were asked to believe. In the span of a few months, President Clinton bombed four countries: Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq (repeatedly), and Yugoslavia (massively). At the same time, the US national security state was involved in proxy wars in Angola, Mexico (Chiapas), Colombia, and East Timor, among other places. US forces were deployed across the world at some three hundred major overseas bases – all in the name of peace, democracy, national security, and humanitarianism.
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Some of us cannot help noticing that US leaders have been markedly selective in their supposedly humanitarian interventions. They made no moves against the Czech Republic for its mistreatment of the Roma (gypsies), or Britain for its longtime repression of the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland, or the Hutu for the mass murder of half a million Tutsi in Rwanda – or the French who were complicit in that massacre. Nor did US leaders consider launching “humanitarian bombings” against the Guatemalan people for the Guatemalan military’s systematic slaughter of tens of thousands Mayan villagers, or against the Indonesian people because their generals killed over two hundred thousand East Timorese and were engaged in such slaughter through the summer of 1999, not to mention the estimated half-million to one million Indonesians these same generals exterminated in 1965 and after.
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Nor have humanitarian concerns caused US leaders and right-wing paramilitary forces to move against scores of other countries around the world engaging in subversion, sabotage, terrorism, torture, drug trafficking, death squads, mass murder, and wars of attrition – actions that have been far worse than anything Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic has been charged with. In most cases, the US national security state has not only tolerated such atrocities but have been actively complicit with the perpetrators – who usually happened to be recipients of US aid and trade.
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Consider how the Kurds have been treated. At twenty-five million, the Kurds are the largest nationality group in the world without their own state. For thousands of years they have been inhabited an area now part of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and the former Soviet Union. For decades US leaders and their faithful media mouthpieces ignored the suffering of the Kurdish people. During a brief period in 1990, while busily discrediting and attacking Iraq, US policy makers and pundits made much of the fact that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was mistreating the Kurds under his rule. But not a critical word has been uttered against Turkey, that most faithful and repressive US client sate, with its long history of torturing and killing dissidents. In recent times Turkish leaders have razed or forcibly evacuated three thousand Kurdish villages; forty thousand Kurds have died in the process, with two million rendered homeless. Here was an ethnic repression  that dwarfed anything the Serbs were accused of perpetrating. Yet US leaders made no move to bomb Turkey. On the contrary, they have sold or given Ankara $15 billion worth of weapons since 1980. As a NATO member, Turkey was one of the countries that assisted in the bombing of Yugoslavia.
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In 1995 the Clinton administration grudgingly acknowledged that Turkish leaders were committing serious abuses. But not to worry. Turkey’s human rights record was reportedly “improving.” In any case, as Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights John Shattuck pointed out, “I don’t think the United States is responsible for Turkey’s internal policies.” Why then does the United States presume to be so urgently responsible for Yugoslavia’s internal policies, to the point of levelling death and destruction upon its people?
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In 1993, Western leaders and liberal media commentators in the Unites States and Britain were calling for an interventionist campaign to rescue the Bosnian Muslims from the reputedly wicked Serbs. At that very time, more than a thousand people were dying every day in the CIA-sponsored war of attrition against Angola, far many times more than were perishing in Bosnia. The civil war in Liberia had displaced 85 per cent of the population. In Afghanistan, in Kabul alone, about a thousand people were killed in one week in May 1993. In July 1993, the Israelis launched a saturation shelling of southern Lebanon turning some three hundred thousand Muslims into refugees, in what had every appearance of being a policy of depopulation or “ethnic cleansing.”
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Why were Western policy makers and media commentators so concerned about the Muslims of Bosnia but so unconcerned about the Muslims of Lebanon or Iraq? Why werethey so stirred by the partition of Bosnia but not the partition of Lebanon? As the journalist and filmmaker Joan Phillips asks:
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Why the Muslims of Bosnia, and never the Serbs of Bosnia? Why have the liberals identified with the Muslim side in Bosnia so strongly that they have disqualified he Serbs from any sympathy? The Serbs have certainly got blood on their hands. But have all the atrocities in the dirty war in what was Yugoslavia been committed by one side? Why are eight hundred thousand Serbian refugees invincible to those liberal commentators searching for victims? Is it because the Serbs are really demons? Or is it because an increasingly conformist and uncritical media jumped on the anti-Serb bandwagon created by their governments at the start of the war in Yugoslavia, and never asked serious questions about what was going on?
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Bosnia must remain “multi-ethnic,” Western leaders argued. even as they tirelessly contrived to break up the large multi-ethnic federation of Yugoslavia, itself a nation of twenty-eight nationalities – and form fear-ridden mono-ethnic statelets. “All in all, there seems to be little consistency and even less principle involved in the liberal crusade for Bosnia. It makes you think that there might be a hidden agenda here somewhere,” Phillips concludes.
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So the question remains: is the US-NATO forceful intervention in Yugoslavia really motivated by a concern for the various non-Serbian ethnic groups? Is it to keep the peace and stop a genocide? For more than a decade, the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia have been presented as the culmination of historically rooted ethnic and religious enmities. The fact is, there was no civil war, no widespread killings, and no ethnic cleansing until the Western powers began to inject themselves into Yugoslavia’s internal affairs, financing the secessionist organizations and creating the politico-economic crisis that ignited the political strife.
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Are the Serbs really the new Nazis of Europe? For those who need to be reminded, the Nazis waged aggressive war on a dozen or more nations in Europe, systematically exterminating some nine million defenseless civilians, including six million Jews, and causing the deaths of millions of others during their invasions, including twenty-two million Soviet citizens. The charges of mass atrocity and genocide leveled against Belgrade will be treated in the chapters ahead.
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It is said that lies have wings while truth feebly slogs behind, destined never to catch up. This is often treated as being the inherent nature of communication. And it may sometimes be the case that truthful but mundane information cannot compete with the broad images repeatedly splashed across the media universe. But this is not sufficient explanation for the way issues are propagated in the global arena. Rather than ascribing reified, self-determining powers to concepts like truth and falsehood, we should note that the lies our leaders tell us succeed so well because they are repeated and ubiquitous dissemination. The truth seldom catches up because those who rule nations and manage the mass communication universe have no interest in giving it equal currency.
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If millions believe the lies again and again, it is because that is all they hear. After a while, it becomes the only thing they want to hear. Truly remarkable are the people throughout the world who remonstrate and demonstrate against these “humanitarian” interventions. The broad public in the United States and other Western countries remained notably lukewarm about the air campaign against Yugoslavia. The Clinton administration seemed acutely aware of this, as manifested by its unwillingness to commit ground troops out of fear that the US public would not tolerate the loss of American lives. A war for which citizens are not willing to make any sacrifices whatsoever is not a war for which the government can claim deep public support.
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Of course, Americans did not like what they heard about “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing,” but there were no signs of the jingoistic fervor that gripped many people during the Gulf War a decade earlier. If anything, there was a general feeling that they were not being told the whole story. The obviously one-sided character of the air war, the fact that Yugoslavia had not invaded anyone, and the impact of the bombing upon a European civilian population contributed to a general sense of unease. Indeed, in the eleven weeks of NATO’s “mission,” support dropped from over 65 per cent to barely 50 per cent and promised to go downward.
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In response, the Clinton administration, with the active complicity of the media, took every opportunity to downplay the death and destruction caused by bombings and every opportunity to hype images of satanic Serbian atrocities. Still, the wavering support for the onslaught must have played a part in the White House’s decision to stop the bombing and settle for something less than total occupation of Yugoslavia. This should remind us that the struggle against war and aggression begins at home. Thus it is imperative for us to make every effort to look critically at the prevailing orthodoxy, and devote ourselves to a different course.
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Michael Parenti
To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia (2000)
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The Bush Administration Blocks a Negotiated Settlement

Despite increasing US influence, the European Community continued its efforts, begun in 1991, aimed at ending the Yugoslav federation through a negotiated secession of the various republics. The EC member states still sought to use the Balkan crisis to affirm the Community’s potential as a global actor. The European Community’s policy of international assertiveness had failed badly in Croatia during 1991, but the Europeans now sought to make up for this failure and to reestablish their diplomatic presence in Bosnia.The continued importance of the Balkan conflict was clear, and is was widely considered “the virility symbol of the Euro-federalists” – a way of establishing the Community as a global player to be reckoned with.

The EC mediation activities were directed by José Cutileiro, a Portuguese diplomat. During February and March 1992, Cutileiro brought together the leaders of the three major groups from Bosnia (including Izetbegović, who represented the Muslims) for a series of international conferences. The EC mediation was predicted on the assumption that Bosnian independence was inevitable, and Cutileiro sought a constitutional arrangement that might defuse ethnic tensions and thus preclude civil war. Cutileiro worked out a plan to divide Bosnia into three separate regions, each of which would possess a high level of autonomy. The central government in Sarajevo would be left with limited powers as part of a confederalized state. Of the total area of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Muslims were to be given effective rule in regions comprising 45 percent of the total, the Serbs would receive 42.5 percent, and the Croats (the smallest of the three groups) would receive 12.5 percent.

The Lisbon agreement, as it became known, was hardly perfect, and it entailed a compromise among all three groups. For the Serbs, it represented some concession with regard to territory. Serbs accounted for less than half the population of Bosnia, and they owned a disproportionate share of the land; the 42.5 percent that they would receive under the Cutileiro plan constituted a reduction in territorial control. From the Muslim side, the entire idea of confederation was a concession. The Muslims effectively controlled the central government, having won the parliamentary elections, and they favored a unified state; they viewed a confederation with a weak central government negatively. From the Croat side, there was surely dissatisfaction that they would control far less territory than the other groups. Significant numbers of each ethnic group would have to live as minorities in areas dominated by another group.

Despite these flaws, the three ethnic groups all agreed to the plan on March 17, presumably because it was better than the alternative, which was war. Crucially, the Izetbegović government also agreed. The possibility briefly emerged that war could be averted through a compromise settlement. The Bush administration, however, opposed the European efforts from the start, and this opposition contributed to the breakdown of the Lisbon agreement. The administration’s opposition flowed from a more basic rivalry between the United States and the European Community, which was growing during this period. With US encouragement, the Croats and Muslims both withdrew from the agreement – effectively reneging on their commitments – Mach 25-26, 1992. The Cutileiro plan was never implemented, and full-scale war commenced within two weeks.

Let us look more closely at the role of US officials and their efforts to undercut the Lisbon agreement. These efforts began with the US ambassador in Belgrade, Warren Zimmermann, who encouraged Izetbegović to reject the peace plan. A New York Times article notes: “Immediately after Mr. Izetbegović returned from Lisbon, Mr Zimmermann called on him…. ‘[Izetbegović] said he didn’t like [the Lisbon agreement],’ Mr. Zimmermann recalled. ‘I told him if he didn’t like it, why sign it?” According to former State Department official George Kenney: Zimmermann told Izetbegović … [the United States will] recognize you and help you out. So don’t go ahead with the Lisbon agreement” (emphasis added. The former Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia, James Bissett, confirms Kenney’s account. In other words, Zommermann offered Izetbegović a direct incentive – US recognition – in exchange for his rejection of the Lisbon agreement.

US efforts to undermine the plan extended well beyond the US embassy in Belgrade. An official Dutch investigation offered this account: “[Secretary of State] Beker’s policy was now directed at preventing Izetbegović from agreeing to the Cutileiro plan … and informing him [Izetbegovći] that the United States would support his government in the UN if any difficulties should arise.” In addition Baker “urged his European discussion partners to halt their plans” for decentralizing authority in Bosnia. It is interesting to note that the section of the Dutch report that discusses this period is entitled, “The Cutileiro Plan and Its Thwarting by the Americans.” Cutileiro himself later claimed: “Izetbegović and his aides were encouraged to scupper that deal [from Lisbon] by well meaning outsiders.” – which was probably a polite reference to the US activities. According to EC mediator Peter Carrington, the “American administration made it quite clear that the proposalsof Cutileiro … were unacceptable.” Lord Carrington also claimed that US officials “actually sent them [the Bosnians] a telegram telling them not to agree” to Cutlieiro’s proposed settlement. These facts strongly suggest that the United States played a key role during this early period of the Bosnia conflict; later claims of US inactivity in Bosnia are incorrect.

The US strategy was successful in removing the possibility of an EC-brokered agreement early in the conflict. Let us now consider a counterfactual question: Could the Lisbon agreement have prevented war in Bosnia? This must remain one of the key “what if” question of the Yugoslav conflict that can never be answered definitively. The plan was accepted by the three parties only in preliminary form, with many details still to be worked out; whether or not a final agreement could have been achieved – even in the absence of US opposition – cannot be known for certain. Nevertheless, the Cutileiro plan clearly held considerable promise, a point acknowledged by former US diplomats. Zimmermann, for example, admitted in an interview with the New York Times that the Cutileiro plan “wasn’t bad at all.” In his memoirs, Zimmermann goes further and states that the Cutileiro plan “would probably have worked out better for the Muslims than any subsequent plan, including the Dayton formula [that ended fighting in 1995].” And according to Sell, who served in the US embassy in Belgrade, the “Cutileiro plan would have established a more effective Bosnian central government and probably resulted in less of an ethnically divided state than the accord agreed to at Dayton.” The Cutileiro plan had the added advantage that it sought to prevent war; this advantage was not shared by any of the subsequent peace proposals, including the Dayton accord.

Some observers doubt that the Lisbon agreement was viable; since, it is alleged, the Bosnian Serb leaders were not negotiating in good faith; they would never have accepted a compromise agreement. There is no question that the Serb leadership contained several dubious figures, some of whom would later orchestrate serious war crimes. In March 1992, however, before full-scale war had begun, Serb leaders welcomed the Lisbon agreement, and they endorsed it in the strongest terms. Radovan Karadžić, who represented the Serbs at Lisbon, called the agreement “a great day for Bosnia and Herzegovina.” And it should be recalled that it was the Muslims and the Croats, not the Serbs, who actually renaged. There is no evidence that the Serbs were bent on war at this point. Even after Izetbegovć reneged, the Serbs remained open to a compromise agreement similar to the Cutileiro plan. As late as April 1992, “the Serb leaders [in Bosnia] were probably still willing to accept a single state organized into a loose confederation divided into three ethnic ‘cantons,'” according to an unclassified report by the Central Intelligence Agency. A revival of the plan now proved impossible, and war was the result.

Overall, US policy – by pushing for early recognition of Bosnia while undercutting EC mediation – augmented the risks of a wider conflict. These risks were recognized in policy-making circles. Sell writes that in early 1992, “The United States … began to press for recognition of Bosnia, reducing the prospects – low as they might be – that continued negotiations could head off conflict.” Kenney states the mater more bluntly: “The [US] intelligence community was unanimous in saying that if you recognize, Bosnia is going to blow up.” The cronology of events supports the view that US policy helped precipitate violence: On March 27, the day after Izetbegovć withdrew from the Lisbon accord – and did so at the urging of US officials – the Serbs declared their independence from Bosnia-Herzegovina, thus laying the groundwork for war. With US support, Bosnia-Herzegovina seceded from Yugoslavia and then achieved international recognition as an independent state on April 6. The Western European states set aside their reservations and went along with the US position on recognition. Full scale ethnic war also commenced on April 6, thus coinciding exactly with the timing of international recognition. Viewed in retrospect, the US policy during this period must be viewed as a destabilizing force. Just as Germany had played a key role in destabilizing the region in 1991, the United States played the destabilizer in Bosnia in 1992.

David N. Gibbs
First Do No Harm (2009)
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The Untold Story

From 1992 to 1995, I made a total of six trips into Croatia and Bosnia to report on the experiences of Canada’s peacekeepers. What became readily apparent was that nightly newscasts back home did not depict the same war-torn Yugoslavia being patrolled by our soldiers.
 
For instance, on September 9, 1993, the Croatian forces unleashed a massive bombardment on a Serbian-held enclave known as the Medak Pocked. This region, designated United Nations Protected Area, was occupied by a Canadian infantry battalion. Following the artillery fire, the Croats launched a pincer-like attack that effectively eliminated the Serbian defenders from the ridgelines. Along the valley floor, Croat tank columns quickly captured four Serb-held villages. Over the next three days, in an effort to fulfil their “protection” mandate, Canadian soldiers from the Second Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (2PPCLI) engaged the Croatian special forces units in a number of firefights. Official reports later stated that some 35 Croats were killed during the skirmishes, while four Canadians were wounded by artillery fire. Through this stoic display of determined resistance, the commander of 2PPCLI, Lieutenant Colonel Jim Calvin, eventually convinced the Croatian commander to withdraw his forces. Before pulling out, the Croats massacred all of the remaining Serb inhabitants. Ordered not to interfere by U.N. Headquarters in Zagreb, the Canadians were forced to stand by as unwilling, impotent witnesses to the carnage. The only recourse possible for 2PPCLI was to catalogue the evidence they had collected, and to seek official U.N. indictments against the Croat commanders as war criminals. Despite the overwhelming evidence, the Croatian government issued a brief, blanket denial, and the whole issue was quickly dropped. The general who had planned and executed the Croatian attack was, in fact, an Albanian Kosovar named Agim Ceku.
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The 1993 action at the Medak Pocket garnered only fleeting coverage on CNN and incredibly, given the magnitude of our soldiers’ actions, went completely unpublicized by the Canadian defence department. In fact, the Canadian public did not even learn of the engagement until three years later, when Ottowa Citizen reporter David Pugliese broke the story on October 7, 1996. (It wasn’t until May 1998 that Lieutenant Colonel Jim Calvin finally briefed Parliament – complete with photographic evidence of the massacre.)
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For the soldiers who took part in the harrowing Medak operation – Canada’s largest ground battle since the Korean war – the lack of public recognition was disturbing. Warrant Officer Matt Stopford was awarded a Mention in Despatches for his courage under fire and for maintaining his position during the first days of the Croatian bombardment. His forward observation post was just metres from the Croat front lines. Thus, during the last night before the withdrawal, Stopford had been an eyewitness to drunken Croat special forces troops – one of whom was parading around with bloodied panties on his head – raping, looting and killing Serbs with impunity. The restrictive U.N. Rules of Engagement prevented Stopford from doing anything but reporting the atrocities to a higher headquarters.
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Upon returning to Canada, Stopford was amazed at the ignorance of the average citizen. “People would hear that you’d just got back from Yugo, and they’d say ‘aren’t those Serbs bastards?’ as if they knew all about the Balkans,” said Stopford. “When you’d start to explain to them how we watched the Serbs get butchered by the Croats, you could see their eyes glaze over. Nobody really wanted to give that much thought to the complexity of the situation in Yugoslavia,” Stopford continued. “For us, it was like coming home from the Second World War and telling people we’d fought for the Germans. Rather than try to explain things, it was easier just to let it go.”
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On August 3, 1995, in the same sector that Lieutenant-Colonel Jim Calvin’s 2PPCLI had resisted the Medak Pocket incursion, the Croats launched Operation Storm. This time, the Canadian peacekeepers did not resist. Rather than endanger their own lives, the men of he Royal 22nd Regiment (Vandoos) surrendered their weapons and observation posts to the advancing Croats. Once again, under the direction of General Agim Ceku, the Croatian Army unleashed a devastating artillery bombardment. This time, however, it was German mercenaries in Croatian uniform who spearheaded the attack, and NATO fighter jets that provided them with tactical airstrikes.
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The Serb defenders of this region (known as the Krajina) didn’t have a chance – tactically or strategically. The moment the artillery bombardment began, Serb civilians – aware of the massacre conducted by Ceku’s troops in the Medak – began to flee into Bosnia en masse. Their soldiers were right behind them.
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Nearly 250,000 Serbs were thus ‘ethnically cleansed’ from the Krajina in advance of the Croat onslaught. Those who chose to remain – or were too tardy in their flight – paid the price. As Ceku’s men swept through the Krajina, all evidence of Serb habitation was systematically destroyed. Civilians were executed; livestock and pets slaughtered; houses burned; and wells poisoned. When thousands of fleeing Serbs sought refuge in the Krajina capital of Knin, General Ceku’s artillery gunners deliberately shelled the city. According to U.N. reports, over 500 civilians were killed or wounded in the bombardment – at a time when Knin was devoid of military targets. In other words, the shelling was an intentional act of terror against unarmed civilians, a war crime.
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Two senior Canadian officials serving with the U.N. were present in Knin at the time of the attack, Major Allain Forand and Colonel Andrew Leslie. Both men submitted detailed complaints to the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal in an effort to indict not only the commanders (including Ceku, who was responsible for the artillery), but also Croatian President Franjo Tudjman. General Forand and Colonel Leslie alleged that only Tudjman himself could have authorized the massive Krajina cleansing and terror bombardments.
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Even though Canadian peacekeepers had been captured and detained during the attack, there was almost no domestic media coverage of the forced displacement of 250,000 Serbs, not to mention the accompanying slaughter. For the Canadian military, the shameful surrender by the Vandoos was an embarrassment that senior commanders understandably did not wish to have publicized.
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Since he U.S. had covertly aided the Croats in Operation Storm (though the provision of arms, training, advisors, satellite intelligence and airpower), the massive Serbian tragedy went virtually unreported in North America.
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Scott Taylor
INAT: Images of Serbia and the Kosovo Conflict (2000)
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