Saturday, April 30, 2005

Christ is risen!

In the light of the Resurrection we comprehend our entire life and rejoice in it. This day of the Resurrection is a day to rejoice in life and Life Eternal. We must witness to this world and to this time the joy which the Resurrection of Christ brings us today, for this is a Joy which no one else can ever give us, and which cannot be taken away.

(Patriarch Pavle, Paschal Encyclical 2005)

Thursday, April 28, 2005

"There can be no partition of Serbia"

Historian Dušan Bataković, author of the Kosovo Chronicles and currently Ambassador of Serbia-Montenegro in Athens, gave a very interesting interview to NIN magazine this week. I've taken the liberty of translating some highlights:
...what is bad for Kosovo is bad for Serbia. Taken together, they are an organic whole, and despite the differences in mentality, chronic violence and contrary political tendencies, they are bound by many unbreakable ties.
It is Serbia's duty, regardless of the seemingly intractable conflict, to protect in the long-term the interests of all its citizens in the province - Albanians, Serbs and others.
Any form of independence of Kosovo is absolutely unacceptable for Serbia, not just because that endangers Serbia's vital interests, but also because Serbia and Montenegro, as responsible members of the international community, cannot accept dangerous precedents with long-term catastrophic consequences... The independence of Kosovo would not only violate the UN Charter, the entire international order and the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, it would also set a dangerous precedent encouraging all other aggressive separatist movements in Europe and Eurasia. ... There is no separate "Kosovar" nation with a separate identity; there are only Albanians and Serbs.
The old notion of the Albanian lobbyists – to pay off Serbia for ceding Kosovo - de facto recognizes that Kosovo does not belong to them. They may not be aware of this, but the subconscious is at work here. If you want to buy something, that means you are conceding it belongs to someone else.
The independence of Kosovo would mean the partition of Serbia. Whenever it is said there can be no partition of Kosovo, I always agree, because there can be no partition of Serbia, either.
We are... at the crossroads of highways, railways, riverways, oil and gas pipelines, and in that context the issue of Kosovo - though threatening and incendiary - becomes only part of a geopolitical jigsaw. Which is why I always emphasize the following: you cannot satisfy the extremely particular interests and 19th-century ideological demands of 1.7 million Albanians in Kosovo, while permanently frustrating eight million Serbs, who are the key to the long-term stability of Western Balkans.

Bataković is a fan of "Euro-Atlantic integration," which I am not, but his positions on Kosovo are easily the best-articulated Serbian policy I've heard in a long time.

Also interesting is his answer to the question about "certain officials" (i.e. former FM Svilanović and others) who "privately" renounce Kosovo in talks with foreign officials:
If that is true... then it is an act of ultimate political irresponsibility. Part of the political elite that holds such opinions - and the foreigners need to be aware of this - does not represent the majority political opinion in Serbia. Those are private opinions of suck-ups, not positions reflecting official state policy. We have here a dangerous mix of provincialism and false cosmopolitanism, both reflections of a pathetic personal and political inferiority complex among the political class.


No, that's not a typo, just a "term of endearment" for the current UK Prime Minister, who recently dared say he "never told a lie." Right. And I'm the reincarnation of Sultan Saladin.

I don't know who took this photo, on today's front page of, but it's worth a ten thousand words...

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Lots of Hot Air

AP quotes the latest bloviation of Serbia's deputy Prime Minister Miroljub Labus: “That is the task of our whole society... we must all work together to join the E.U.,” he said after the Brussels Leviathan approved the possibility of annexation talks (presumably refraining from licking its chops). Ah yes, nothing so refreshing as a blast of collectivist claptrap in the mid-afternoon... though to be fair to Labus, it was just around lunchtime in the States when the story hit the wires.

Showing it isn't only the Eurocrats and neo-imperialists who have a pathos for symbolism, the perpertually whiny Keynesian also "expressed hope that stabilization and association talks would start Oct. 5 - the fifth anniversary of Milosevic’s ouster from power."

Well, not much trumps getting rid of a tyrant at home (stipulating that's what Milošević was) except to replace him with thousands of tyrants abroad, now does it? Worked for the French, right?

Sickening. Just sickening.

Remember the Armenians!

When speaking of forgotten genocides, it would be a colossal oversight and horrible injustice to omit the suffering of the Armenians. In 1915, under the pretext of preventing "rebellion" in areas bordering tsarist Russia, the Ottoman Empire deported Armenians en masse from their historical homeland, killing anywhere from 800,000 to 1.5 million in the process.

This was the first real genocide of the 20th century, and its success - the Ottomans were never called to account, and the Ataturk government that replaced them finished the job by ethnically cleansing the Greeks - inspired others. Adolf Hitler reportedly quipped, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of Armenians?" Thanks to Ankara's efforts to suppress any inquiry, and Turkey's strategic value as American ally during the Cold War, few speak of it even today.

For more information, see Gary North's excellent article today on And remember the Armenians.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Hague Update: Muzzled no more?

Slobodan Milošević was back in court this morning, after witness Kosta Bulatović had refused to testify in his absence. It could be that Bulatović's refusal to testify - similar to another witness boycott last year, when the Inquisition tried to impose counsel on Milošević - showed the Inquisitors that any attempt to muzzle the defendant would only backfire.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Putin, Truth Irritate Empire

According to AP, Russian president Vladimir Putin lamented the demise of the USSR in his equivalent of the "state of the union" address:
"First and foremost it is worth acknowledging that the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century," Putin said. "As for the Russian people, it became a genuine tragedy. Tens of millions of our fellow citizens and countrymen found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory. The epidemic of collapse has spilled over to Russia itself."

The agency immediately cast this statement in a sharply negative light, reminding of Putin's KGB past and his "resurrection" of communist symbols. Complaints of dictatorship, curtailing democracy, muzzling the media, cracking down on "businessmen" (i.e. oligarchs loyal to the Empire) followed, rounded off by criticism from the usual gaggle of Imperial sycophants - whose political following in Russia is nonexistent, but who can always be counted on to say something bad about Vladimir Vladimirovich.

Here's the thing: USSR's collapse wasn't tragic in principle, but it certainly was a tragedy in practice, and about that, Putin is absolutely right. Thanks to the witless American puppet in the Kremlin, the USSR fractured along the Stalinist borders, leaving tens of millions of ethnic Russians stranded in hostile territory. The successor states came under the rule of pro-Western (i.e. anti-Russian) nationalists, who have been trying their best to invent anti-Russian ethnic identities, suppress Russian language an heritage, and even celebrate their Nazi alliances.

Nor has the Soviet collapse been bad only for Russians. Central Asian republics are having jihad trouble. The Caucasus has been writhing in open or covert warfare since 1991 - from the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict to factional strife in Georgia and the southernmost regions of Russia (Chechnya, Ingushetia, Ossetia, Dagestan).

In fact, only a very small segment of society in the former USSR profited from its collapse: politicians and criminals (or do I repeat myself?). While the "new class" parties in glitzy night clubs with the best vodka, best cocaine and best whores, the normal, ordinary folk - clerks, workers, farmers, teachers, etc. - struggle to survive, while their sons turn to crime and their daughters to prostitution. Is this not a tragedy? If not, what would be?

Yet the American Weltreich has the nerve to accuse Russia of "imperialism" whenever it tries to get up from her knees and the mud she's been shoved into. Putin has been increasingly demonized - and no, that's not too harsh a term to describe it - in the western press, almost like Slobodan Milosevic. Indeed, the Empire has practiced many policies eventually used in the former USSR in the Balkans, from manipulating ethnic conflict to "democratic revolutions."

Kind of puts things into perspective, doesn't it?

Friedman Undone

I fulminated over the weekend when I saw that moronic blowhard Thomas Friedman had a new book out on how wonderful globalization was. This from a guy who once said, "the hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist—McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas," demonstrating an unfathomable capacity for economic ignorance. In line with this militaristic fetish, he has been a cheerleader of every Imperial war since at least Yugoslavia 1999 ("give war a chance" and "we can do 1389").

I'm not an anti-globalist; any sort of unimpeded exchange of goods, services and ideas promotes civilization and general well-being. But Friedman's "globalization" is an Imperial nightmare - and unfortunately, because of nitwits like him, too many people go sour on true market freedom and confuse it with evil democracy.

Fortunately, the intrepid Matt Taibbi of the New York Press reviews Friedman's claptrap in a fashion certain to dissuade anyone with a functioning forebrain from reading The World Is Flat - not even for laughs. Says Taibbi:
Friedman is such a genius of literary incompetence that even his most innocent passages invite feature-length essays.

And it just gest better from there.

PS: Ironically, I noticed Taibbi's review on EastEthnia, a blog by Eric Gordy; he authored a book on Serbia a little while ago - which I haven't read yet - but a perusal of the blog suggests he's a fan of people I tend to despise. For instance, he cites favorably a Jacobin Youth website Zamisli Srbiju and a specific contribution by professional Serb-baiter Petar Luković. Gordy actually says he's "happy to remmend just about anything" by Luković. So am I - as examples of damn-near-criminal hate speech. But hey, if he likes Taibbi, he can't be all that bad...

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Trial in Absentia

According to the BBC, the Hague Inquisition physicians declared that Slobodan Milošević's blood pressure was "too high," and that he was at risk of a heart attack. So the "judges" banned him from the courtroom and tried to continue the "trial" without him.

This is precisely what Canadian attorney Tiphaine Dickson warned about, in February this year:
Elsewhere in the Appeals Chamber ruling, however, President Meron made a startlingly ominous claim: the right to be tried in one’s presence is not absolute (it, too, it seems, is but a "presumption") and can be obviated by "substantial disruption" of the proceedings. This disruption need not be deliberate or even intended by the accused, and can be caused merely by illness. The possibility of holding in absentia proceedings in the [Milošević] case as a result of illness... had just been approved ...

The British Helsinki Human Rights Group published a similar analysis the same day (February 20), making the following point:
no legal system in the world recognises a difference between a defendant being too ill to defend himself, and too ill to stand trial. If Mr. Milošević is too ill, the trial should come to an end immediately. The ICTY has invented this distinction for the purposes of imposing defence counsel on Mr. Milošević, just as soon as his defence got under way...

This sudden muzzling of Milošević comes as a shock only to those who haven't monitored the course of the "trial" over the past couple of months. While the Prosecution was presenting its case, mainstream media eagerly published trial updates, most often simply repeating prosecutors' claims as if they were established truth. Milošević's defense, by contrast, has been ignored almost completely.

If reports by a well-informed and knowledgeable supporter of Milošević are accurate - and they are based on official transcripts, so it's easy to check - the prosecution's case has been repeatedly exposed as a convoluted mess of lies, distortions, fabrications and conjecture. From the top EU observer, through Macedonian medical workers, to the CSI examiners of Racak dead, defense witnesses have been destroying the Prosecution's case. Prosecution's cross-examinations have consisted mainly of cheap, racist ad hominems and attempts to disprove evidence with pro-Imperial propaganda.

At a status conference on Thursday, April 14 - Milošević once again refused to introduce written testimonies in lieu of live witnesses, demanding the right to a public trial. He also demanded equal time to present his case; the "court" gave him only 150 days, while the Prosecutors had over 300 - not to mention years of time to prepare a case, millions of dollars in resources, and complete domination over the media, which Milošević is forbidden to contact.

In short, the "trial" has been going so badly for the Inquisition, it has decided to resort to trickery and have Milošević tried in absentia.

Whether the trial takes two more days or two more years, everyone knows what the verdict will be; the evidence to convict Milošević may be nonexistent, but to acquit him would destroy the ICTY, its backers, and the hordes of their sycophants. The entire justification for Washington and Brussels' meddling in the Balkans would be shot to pieces, the entire forged history of the 1990s exposed as a fraud that it is.

This is a show trial - it always has been - trying to create a perception of fairness (note that most ICTY supporters argue for just that - "perception" - not actual fairness). Milošević has already been convicted in the Empire-dominated court of public opinion; his "trial" at The Hague is only an effort to give the propaganda an official imprimatur. Everything the Prosecution has done - from issuing the indictment during NATO's war; adding to it retroactively Bosnia and Croatia; amending the indictment afterwards; calling 300 witnesses, none of which was worth a damn; and resorting to logical fallacies, creative reasoning and routine violations of common sense, not to mention jurisprudence - demonstrates that they just don't have a case. But Milošević isn't fighting their meaningless indictment, he is fighting the ICTY itself, and its paymasters - and apparently, too well. Like him or hate him, agree with his policies or not, one must respect the man's courage and tenacity.

After Milošević was prevented from attending his own lynching, defense witness Kosta Bulatović refused to testify. The Inquisition accused him of being "in contempt of the court." He wasn't, really - but he should be. Contempt is the only proper animus towards this malicious, fraudulent circus that defiles justice with every fiber of its being.

A Transparent Ploy

An Albanian blog calling itself "Balkan Update" (sic!) posted a particularly revolting bit of speculation Wednesday. Under the title "Serbia trying to stir chaos in Kosovo," the autor - someone named FeFe - speculates that the bombing attack on Rugova, the killing of Enver Haradinaj, and the bombing of Veton Surroi's offices are all to blame on Serbian intelligence.

Serbian spies have long been the phantoms of grim tales told to scare Albanians, Croats, or Muslims into obedience. Albanians and their partisans (such as the ICG, and even the US government) have long alleged the existence of "Serb paramilitaries" in Kosovo, going so far as to suggest the Mitrovica "bridge watchers" were actually Serbian plainclothes police. None of these stories have ever been substantiated.

Were Serbia an organized state with a strong, decisive government independent from foreign control and meddling, it would absolutely make sense for it to engage in covert operations in the occupied territories of Kosovo and Metohija [marked "Kosova" in bright green on the map FeFe features]. The occupation is all the motive it needs. However, Serbia is not the kind of state just described. It is weak, poor, controlled by a shaky, feeble-minded coalition government and riddled with Imperial "advisors" and "observers." Between the Hague Inquisition, DOS and the current NATO lobbyist as Defense Minister, its military has been gutted. Police, too. And thanks to the current foreign minister's jihad against security services, they aren't in good shape either. So while there may be a motive, there are no means. Not to mention no human resources to conduct such activity.

Ah, but the Albanian blogger has it all figured out. See,
The Serb Intelligence community has continued to maintain a relationship with those previous Albanians [sic] whom it calls “loyal citizens”.
This is nothing less than a call for a witch hunt among the Albanians who may not be vocal supporters of the independence cause. Many have been killed already on mere suspicion of "collaboration"; Haradinaj and his siblings in particular were known for killing "traitors."
But before there is an Albanian Inquisition, let's consider one other possibility, offered by Occam's razor as the simplest and most likely explanation: Hashim Taqi. No one from Taqi's party (DPK) was targeted in the attacks. They have attacked Rugova's and Haradinaj's people before. The DPK has been excluded from power - and thus cut off from access to outside funding - by Rugova and Haradinaj since last winter. Most KLA veterans are members of the DPK. The KLA is a terrorist movement, specializing in assasinations and bombings. And they sure have plenty of resources on the ground.

So there's the means, there's the opportunity, what about motive? Well, "FeFe" actually offers it up, when he accuses "Serb Intelligence." The attacks serve as a way for Taqi to pressure and intimidate his opponents, Albanians get angry and start purging "loyalists," and Serbs get the blame. As far as the KLA is concerned, this is a close to a perfect ploy as it gets.

Well, except for the pesky little fact that it's all so transparent, anyway.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Jasenovac? What Jasenovac?

Jasenovac Ustashe, taking a break from murder (From RS Archive) 
Chris Deliso of Balkanalysis points out the latest travesty of the Western media: 59,000 stories on Auschwitz, three on Jasenovac. As if the third-largest death camp in Nazi-occupied Europe simply never existed. Franjo Tudjman certainly thought so, and it appears the current Croatian leadership shares his "historical" perspective.

Contemporary German estimates of Serbs murdered by the Ustasha (in Jasenovac and elsewhere) ranged as high as 750,000. Wiesenthal center uses the number of 600,000. Serbian researchers have spoken of up to 700,000 victims. Modern revisionists, Croat and otherwise, talk of 30-100,000, at most. Among them is the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which has given far more press to "genocides" supposedly committed by Serbs the 1990s.

For genocide to happen, there must be a clear genocidal intent. There is no doubt whatsoever that the Ustasha "Independent State of Croatia" (NDH) had precisely such an intent. The policy of "Kill a third, expel a third, convert a third" targeted almost 2 million Serbs who in 1941 lived in the territory claimed by the NDH (most of today's Croatia and Bosnia). Jews and Romany ("gypsies") were exterminated alongside the Serbs, but the "Eastern schismatics" were clearly the Ustasha priority target. Parks and public transportation in Zagreb forbid entry, in very deliberate order, to "Serbs, Jews, Gypsies, and dogs."

The exact number of victims needs to be established not to argue whether the genocide happened - because it demonstrably has - but as a historical fact. Not knowing the exact number of victims only invites manipulation, whether from those who seek to minimize the crime or blow it out of proportion.

Manipulation is the key to understanding why Auschwitz was given so much coverage, and Jasenovac almost none. The mass murder of Jews at the hands of Hitler's Reich has been hijacked by the American Empire as an argument for "humanitarian intervention" worldwide (e.g. Bosnia, Kosovo). The mass murder of Serbs at the hands of the Ustasha, with the active involvement of the Catholic Church, does not fit into the carefully crafted and nurtured image of Serbs as evil murderers, and Croats, "Bosnians" and Albanians as their innocent victims.

This is why the commemoration of Auschwitz - while appropriate and necessary - has also been turned into a political spectacle, while the commemoration of Jasenovac has been shoved down the Memory Hole. This is why one should expect a media circus this July, on the 10th anniversary of the "genocide" in Srebrenica. In our Brave New World, it's only some genocides - and some victims - that matter.

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Forgotten Genocide

(Illustration: NIN magazine, issue 2833, 14 April 2005) 
A service and commemoration ceremony today in Donja Gradina, (Serb Republic, Bosnia) marked the sixtieth anniversary of the breakout from the Ustasha death camp of Jasenovac, the third largest concentration camp in Europe during WW2.

Much can be said and written about Jasenovac, because too much still remains unsaid. In the Jasenovac “factory of death,” the indescribable brutality of Croatian Ustasha often baffled even the monstrous imagination of their Nazi allies. Yet today, attempts to rationalize (and even deny) the Ustasha genocide of Serbs, Jews and Roma, have become more frequent and increasingly brazen.

Unlike other Holocaust-affected countries, neither the Serbian government, nor the Serbian public show the proper respect for the horrendous suffering of Serbs during the Nazi occupation, despite the warnings and appeals coming from genocide researchers like Dr. Milan Bulajić. Open attempts to minimize the horrors of Jasenovac and the Ustasha "Independent State of Croatia" (NDH) are met with indifference.

Most Serbs are familiar with the “theses” of former Croatian president and quasi-historian Franjo Tudjman about “thirty thousand dead in Jasenovac,“ and the entire libraries of similar “history” generated by the Ustasha émigrés. Recently, however, at the opening of the new Yad Vashem holocaust museum in Jerusalem, the current Croat president Stjepan Mesić scandalously insulted the victims of Ustasha genocide. During the speech of Bosnian president Borislav Paravac, who mentioned 700,000 Jasenovac dead – Mesić interrupted with a claim that the number stood for “all the dead in the former Yugoslavia.” Official Belgrade, of course, stayed silent.

Yad Vashem, however, took a clear stand; Avner Shalev, director of this respected Israeli institution and a leading Holocaust expert in the world, announced he would attend the service and the commemoration in Donja Gradina, along leading a seven-member delegation. He would ignore the commemoration in Jasenovac itself, scheduled by Croatia for the following week. [Update: Dr. Shalev could not attend the commemoration, due to illness.]

Especially shocking is the official "view" of Jasenovac in Croatia; in addition to the usual number games, the existence of Jasenovac victims is being erased through dubious redefinitions of modern Jasenovac. According to someone’s monstrous ideas, it is supposed to become a “place of tolerance,” a “symbol of diversity” or some other dubious entry in the dictionary of transitional political correctness. A one-time proposal by the Croatian authorities to turn Jasenovac into a “reconciliation park,” where the Ustasha executioners would be buried alongside their victims, simply beggars belief.

A more detailed account of the 60th Jasenovac commemoration can be found in the current issue of NIN magazine, by Branko Božić and hieromonk Jovan Ćulibrk, coordinator of the Jasenovac Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Hieromonk Ćulibrk reveals that the New York-based Jasenovac Research Institute (JRI) successfully lobbied Mayor Michael Bloomberg to declare 22 April – the anniversary of the breakout – as Jasenovac Day in New York City. Another result of JRI efforts will be the unveiling of a memorial plaque to Jasenovac victims in the Holocaust Park in Brooklyn.]

Another specter haunts Croatia today. During the funeral of Pope John Paul II, a CNN anchor mentioned the Pope’s “controversial beatification” of Alojzije Stepinac, the archbishop of Zagreb during NDH.(It must be a bizarre coincidence that the comment was made by the notorious Serbophobe Christianne Amanpour, of all people). This prompted heated reactions of the Croatian public and Catholic clergy, united in the defense of the name and legacy of "Pavelić's cardinal". Thus Vlado Košić, deputy Bishop of Zagreb and chairman of the ”Justitia et pax“ committee of the Croatian conference of Bishops, dubbed the linking of Stepinac with Pavelić's regime “crude untruths.” It would have been useful, though surprising, had the Croatian public expressed similar criticism towards the 64th anniversary of NDH’s establishment, on April 10…

In addition to beatifying Stepinac, the omission of Jasenovac from the late Pope's itinerary during his multiple visits to Croatia, and the Mass he held at the Petrićevac monastery – an Ustasha killing site – during his visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina, did not contribute in any way to helping the Serbs heal. Nor did it do anything to further the needed rapprochement and reconciliation of Catholic Croats and Orthodox Serbs. Also, Vatican's role in hiding and rescuing Ustasha war criminals after WW2 is well known and documented. Even after all these years, the Vatican has yet to offer an official apology.
It is not the intent of this reminder to nurture bad blood towards the Catholic Church, or to accuse the entire Croat people for horrible crimes committed in its name. Quite the contrary. After all, many Croat anti-fascists perished in Jasenovac alongside the Serbs, Jews and Roma. However, to quote George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

The only way to avoid a new Jasenovac or a new Auschwitz is precisely to remember the Serb, Jewish, Russian, Polish, Roma and other victims of the madness that spawned Hitler, Himmler, Eichmann, Pavelić, Luburić… There is no statute of limitations on their crime, and the names of these murderers must remain in the minds of the coming generations, as both a memory and a warning.

Their victims must never be forgotten. We owe it to them.

Memory eternal.

(Translated from; the original text uses the photos from the “Concentration camp Jasenovac” collection of the Serb Republic Archives, as well as from the collection of Mr. Carl Savich.)

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Kosovo Explained

"If Kosovo does not belong to us, why do they demand we give it up? If it belongs to them, why are they taking it by force? And if they can take it by force, I don't know why they are so hesitant about it."

- Matija Bećković, poet and academic (NIN, issue 2831, 31. March 2005)

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Unbearable Smugness of Eurocrats

Three cheers for Chris Deliso, who takes to task Timothy Garton Ash over his empire-mongering op-ed in Thursday's Guardian. Here are just some choice passages:
This tired and all too common argument for empire posits that, left to its own devices, the Balkans will smolder in war and discord for all eternity. Therefore, it is up to the EU – altruistic and benevolent as always – to save the Balkanians from themselves: “ the Balkans, the choice is Europe or war.”

No, this is the choice as presented by the EU and reverberated endlessly through its echo chamber in the Western media...

The overly simplistic (though entirely fitting for the task at hand) impression left by Ash is of a whole part of Europe ruined by one civilization. Further, the whole of the Balkans must be brought in to the fold by August 2014 – to create a majestic symbolic spectacle out of the one-hundred year anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the beginning of World War I...

Considering that the EU has always, politically at least, been characterized far more by symbolism than substance, it is not surprising that they would set such grandiose but in reality meaningless goals for themselves. With the pace of this remorseless expansion, and the increasing grumblings it’s causing in the established countries of the union, it can only be hoped that the great anniversary will also mark the death of the European Union itself.

This imperialistic mindset, Deliso says, is partly a product of imperialist legacy, and partly a solipsistic dream of Eurocrats; the ruling class in European capitals and their satellite principalities who have a vested interest in creating a continental über-state: money, power, prestige, perks - easy living at someone else's expense. As I've pointed out before, there is no need for Balkans countries to join the EU; the tyrannical kleptocratic future is already here, and how!

The entire piece is on Enjoy!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Sapienti sat.

Better off without Kosovo? Think again!

On March 26, the Jacobin daily Danas published an op-ed by one Ivan Ahel, "expert in systems and management theories," who offered arguments why Serbia would be better off without Kosovo. I initially dismissed Ahel as a state-supremacist who operated in the dreamworld of statistics and systems that had little connection to reality. The BBC thought otherwise, and posted a translation of Ahel's article through their Monitoring service. It was soon making rounds on pro-Albanian websites and forums.

I won't repost the article here; it is easily available at the two links above. However, shortly after BBC's translation was published, I read an interesting rebuttal of Ahel's remarks by John Bosnitch, a journalist in Japan. Originally posted in a closed email forum, Mr. Bosnitch's article is published here with his permission.

"Expert" Ahel selling a rotten apple
I remain totally unconvinced after reading Mr. Ivan Ahel's regurgitation of the standard Western diet of disinformation about why Serbs should give up what other nations would never even dream of losing. Will there never be an end to such new encouragements to surrender? Who is Mr. Ivan Ahel? And what is his background and training?

The threat he tells us of is that the Albanians would make up 20% of any joint state and 30% of the army and will start populating central Serbia... So what? In the European Union that Mr. Ahel wants Serbia to join, the Albanians will freely be able to move across borders and inhabit the exact same areas of central Serbia that he warns us that they might occupy now. Except, of course, in the EU, Serbia would no longer have the national sovereignty needed to respond to the situation. Mr. Ahel's report smacks of Orwellian propaganda: white is black and black is white, whenever he says so.

Mr. Ahel's report has been quoted by BBC under the title, "Expert argues why Serbia would be better off without Kosovo". What are they talking about? What "expert"? In what field, "nation-breaking"? The BBC will of course title responses like mine, "Extremist denies facts about Kosova."

My fellow Serb (?) Mr. Ahel, says, "Reason and not myths and emotions should decide the final status of Kosovo." If he were telling the truth, he should also have written an article titled, "Reason and not myths and emotions should decide whether Serbia joins the German-dominated EU." Does anyone really think that Mr. Ahel will ever write such an article? Does anyone think that Mr. Ahel is going to tell the Serbs, a nation that has lived at the exact center of Europe for over a thousand years, how stupid it sounds when they repeat silly EU-centric mantras like "Let's become Europeans!"

First, Ahel bases his "analysis" on an imaginary scenario that Serbs would never accept: that Kosovo, as an ethnic Albanian statelet, would be granted equal "republic" status in a union with Serbia and Montenegro. His argument, like a house built on sand, simply cannot stand. Not only would we never grant separate republic status to the historic core of Serbia, even if we did, the Albanians would then have a republic's right to secede and would surely destroy the state union the very next day. So, Mr. Ahel's premise of a Kosovo republic is a complete nonstarter. But like any confused traveler who sets out on the wrong road, Mr. Ahel then continues to write about all kinds of make-believe consequences.

To be honest, some of his purported consequences sound relatively good. Ahel writes: "Albanians would fill many ministerial positions." Fine, let's make one of them the minister for fighting smuggling and the Mafia drug and sex-slave trade. We might then finally get that situation under control. Ahel writes that an Albanian would be "head of state and foreign minister once in three or six years". Fine, if that right is reciprocal for Serbs, that would be a big improvement from Tito's Yugoslavia (about which some Serbs still reminisce) in which no Serb was ever head of state and "Serbs" (Serbs in name only) would at best get the premiership or foreign ministry only once every eight years. Ahel writes that Kosovo does "not have economically important resources." However, another Western-backed nongovernmental organization called the European Stability Initiative calls Kosovo a place that is "remarkably rich" in natural resources. Curiously, the ESI is financed by the same types of U.S. backers that finance Mr. Ahel's Forum of Ethnic Relations to urge Serbia to give up Kosovo.

Mr. Ahel is loose with his facts and even worse with statistics. Citing economic figures from soon after the 1993 Western-induced run on Yugoslavia's banks and wartime hyper-inflation, Mr. Ahel tries to convince us that the Serbs are performing poorly, and that the underproducing Albanians will pull our per capita average income even further down. He then makes comparisons directly against data for the ethnically pure states of Slovenia and Croatia, neither of which is under the pressures and sanctions that the U.S. is still putting on Serbia. Mr. Ahel's comparisons are obviously unbalanced. Instead of trying to convince Serbs to commit national-identity suicide, he would be better off trying to convince his economic mentors in the U.S. to give Serbia a fair chance in international trade and commerce.

Mr. Ahel writes, "In a [new] common state, central Serbia and Vojvodina would have to support 2m poor and production-wise non-productive Albanians and that kind of money flow would create big problems for Serbia. The four to five times poorer Kosovo would be an impediment to Serbia's development." There is no basis for these conclusions. The levels and rates of infrastructure development in Kosovo and the rest of Serbia do not necessarily have to be the same. Any reasonable form of autonomy would see the residents of Kosovo paying taxes mainly to their local institutions and having their regional infrastructure development being led and paid for by their locally elected and funded provincial institutions. There is no reason whatsoever to expect that the residents of the rest of Serbia, or of Montenegro, should pay for utilities, roads, administrative facilities, or even garbage collection in Kosovo. We are continually being fed a story that Kosovo cannot prosper unless it is independent, but no one talks too much about how Kosovo will suddenly get the money that it needs upon becoming independent. The honest truth is that all of these economic assessments are based on a development model centered on massive borrowing from Western financiers. The collateral for such loans is national sovereignty, which is lost as loan recipients turn their nations first into economic, then political and finally military colonies of the U.S. and German-led empires. As long as Kosovo is not independent, the Albanians in power there simply do not have the legal power to sell Kosovo's soul to international bankers. That is good, because the soul of Kosovo is not theirs to sell.

Mr. Ahel paints a picture of a Kosovo and a Serbia in which there is no hope for progress. If anyone is starting to believe that message it is only because the brainwashing by Mr. Ahel and other Western programmed "experts" is starting to work. God and fate have placed the Serbian nation at the ideal crossroads of trade and commerce, on land that is rich and productive both above and below the ground. Mr. Ahel is acting like just one of the many servants of foreign powers that hope to convince us to either give away or sell our birthright to foreigners for a few pennies, just like the Americans cheated their native peoples into selling them Manhattan Island for a handful of shiny pieces of glass.

Mr. Ahel writes as if there were no connection between the strategic infrastructure bombing conducted by NATO and the subsequent offers by Western financiers to lend us money to rebuilt the very same things that their bombers earlier destroyed. To take his advice of accepting the West's deal, would be like letting a thief steal your car every single morning, then going to work all day so that you could buy your car back from the thief in the evening, every day, forever. This is not a viable economic plan for Serbia.

Mr. Ahel refers to past demographic trends in Kosovo to try to scare the few remaining Serbs into running away. Without even mentioning that a great portion of the population expansion in Kosovo is the result of unrestricted illegal immigration during the Tito era and since the NATO bombing, he tells us that they are reproducing so fast that there will be 8 million Albanians in central Serbia within 40 years. Why does he not also admit the statistical truth that if they continue reproducing at that rate, Albanians would also be the single largest nation in Europe in 120 years? The mathematics is clear, but it bears no relationship to reality. Such projections are based on unfounded presumptions that we will continue along the defeatist road that we are being led on by the current Western-backed regime in Belgrade. The fact is that their mismanagement and general incompetence will bring a fundamental change of government in Serbia long before Mr. Ahel's fantasies could ever come true.

Central Serbia is being depopulated as a result of a self-destructive government policy of over-concentration in Belgrade. When the people of Serbia and Montenegro decide to make themselves happy and successful, they will have to start by building some joint institutions, including a new federal capital, in the Raska area that would bring together their peoples and resources in a state union built on trust and common ancestry. Even one such simple step could reverse the flight of people and investment from the rich heartland of the nation. What is lacking is not the resources, nor the people, nor even the will needed to succeed. What is lacking is a national leadership with the vision needed to find a viable solution and the courage needed to implement it. Kosovo has never "left the Serbs". Kosovo remains geographically exactly where it has always been. It is we, the Serbs, who have been leaving Kosovo. Until we realize that the current state of affairs is totally within our power to change, we cannot move forward. Adopting Mr. Ahel's medieval-style pseudo-medicine of self-amputation as our primary economic plan for the third millennium would be no less than the final coup de grace for the Serbian nation. No nation can survive the amputation of its heart.

Mr. Ahel suggests that, without independence, Kosovo Albanians would inevitably seek their version of Hitlerian "lebensraum" in central Serbia . Other than the time Mr. Ahel appears to have spent outside Serbia getting indoctrinated in Western voodoo economics, he has not yet traveled far enough from his home "village" to learn that a broader perspective can change everything. Here in Tokyo, we could fit the entire Albanian population of Kosovo into my local city ward (opština) and not even notice the difference. A more imaginative perspective is needed to save Kosovo and the rest of Serbia. Mr. Ahel's study misleadingly mistitled "Systemic Approach to the Kosovo Problem," merely represents defeatism, intellectual laziness and transparent illogic.

Good fruit does not grow from poor seed. Mr. Ahel's report is a product of the Forum for Ethnic Relations NGO, which is a branch of the U.S.-based NGO called the Project on Ethnic Relations. The U.S. group is marking out the ethnic fault lines along which the U.S. and Germany will seek to break apart the entire Slav world from the Balkans to Kamchatka through a policy of "divide and conquer". Growing from such poor seed, Mr. Ahel's "study" is a rotten apple that I, for one, am not biting.

Monday, April 11, 2005

A Missed Anniversary

Sunday was the 64th aniversary of the date when the "Indepedent state of Croatia" (NDH) was declared on the heels of the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia. Its leaders, the Ustashe, matched their Nazi sponsors in hatred and often exceeded them in brutality; and while they have killed tens of thousands of Jews and helped the Nazis kill even more, their preferred targets were Orthodox Serbs.

While allegations of Vatican's complicity in Nazi crimes have been raised but remain controversial and heavily disputed, there is no disputing the role of the Catholic Church in Ustasha crimes. The NDH was militantly Catholic, and the focus of its genocidal policy were the "Eastern Schismatics," as Catholics saw all Orthodox believers.

With the full knowledge and blessing of the Church, the Ustashe launched a policy of murder, expulsion and forced conversion of Serbs almost immediately after establishing the NDH - and long before Hitler's endloesung. The methods used by the Ustasha and the joy with which they murdered horrified even some German observers. In addition to massacring Serb civilians and hunting royalist and communist partisans, NDH units also fought for the Reich, mainly in the East.

After the war was lost, Croat clergy used its Vatican connections to smuggle notable Ustashe and Nazis out of Europe; the Allies did not interfere, as the same organization smuggled valuable Nazis into the West, where they would be enlisted for the looming standoff with the Soviets.

Alojzije Stepinac, the Archbishop of Zagreb and the vicar to Ustasha poglavnik Ante Pavelić, was arrested and imprisoned by the Communists for his complicity in Ustasha crimes. He died under house arrest in 1960. Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1998, setting off a storm of protests from Serbs and Jews.

After the war, thousands of NDH troops were captured and executed by the Yugoslav Communist forces, along with other non-Communist militias (many of which collaborated with the Germans). Their deaths are now referred to as the "Path of the Cross" (križni put).

In 1990, Franjo Tudjman's Croatian Democratic Union - funded in part by Ustasha emigres - won the general elections in Croatia, and proceeded to rehabilitate the NDH, sometimes in name but more often in fact. Most criticism has focused on Tudjman's reintroduction of the checkerboard flag, but a far worse offender has been the resurrection of NDH-era vocabulary. Tudjman even introduced the "new" currency, named after the NDH currency of 1941-45. Furthermore, Tudjman resurrected the anti-Serb rhetoric of Pavelić, setting off a civil war after Croatia's secession from Yugoslavia. The war resulted in almost-complete expulsion of Serbs who lived in territories claimed by Croatia, something even Pavelić failed to accomplish. The day Croatian armies entered the capital of the rebel Serb republic is now a national holiday, "Homeland Gratitude Day."

Tudjman died in 2000, and the successive governments visibly moderated their position on Serbs under the pressure of international public opinion. But Tudjman's NDH-inspired imagery, language and holidays remain. The Catholic Church is refusing to admit wrongdoing in the NDH, and is proud of its support for Tudjman. So one should not be surprised that small groups of open NDH sympathizers celebrated Sunday's anniversary, but that there weren't more of them.

Friday, April 08, 2005

State of Turbulence

Butler Shaffer has another insightful essay over on
Our current American society has been in this state of turbulence for some time, without much focused intelligence guiding alternative courses of action. Because governments thrive on conflict – which they promise to "manage" – America is characterized by cross-currents of demands people make upon one another, a destructive force arising from endless divisions, confrontations, politically-enforced expectations, and discord. Such conflicts find expression in efforts to micromanage the personal and social lives of others; a disrespect for the inviolability of one another’s lives and property interests; quarrels over the role that "spiritual" versus "secular" values are to play in legal and political policies; disputes regarding the sanctity of life, and the social value of "wars" and "peace;" and the relative importance of the "individual" versus the "collective."

[...]I have long thought that the oppressive and destructive American political system will eventually reach a breaking point where the addition of one more intrusion upon the lives of people will produce a nonlinear reaction (i.e., a consequence out of all proportion to that singular factor). Like the Boston "tea party" or the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, some will mistake this single event for what may prove to be the "cause" of the collapse of the American nation-state. Something which, standing by itself, would seem to have little significance – like a woman refusing to move to the back of a bus – may become the focal point for the release of long-suppressed emotions and resentments.

[...] The current corporate-state system is beyond repair and should be abandoned. Trying to salvage its antiquated and life-destructive forms is as senseless as trying to rehabilitate a Jeffrey Dahmer. The time will come, and soon, when we shall be called upon to discover new social systems and new ways of thinking about what it means to be a human being living in society with others. Whether such fundamental changes are brought about through conscious effort on our part, or are thrust upon us by events that trigger a collapse of institutional viability, remains to be seen.

Friday, April 01, 2005

"Freedom Legion," or something else?

Over on the LRC blog, Laurence Vance notes the proposal of crazed neocon Max "More Americans Need to Die in War" Boot to solve the military's recruitment woes by establish a "Freedom Legion."

Writes Boot in the L.A. Times:
"And rather than fighting for U.S. security writ small — the way the Foreign Legion fights for the glory of France — it would have as its mission defending and advancing freedom across the world."

Hmmm... a military arm composed of foreigners fighting on the side of an empire bent on world domination, practicing wanton aggression and claiming it's saving the world from a totalitarian ideology. Sounds remarkably like the Waffen-SS.

U.S. ends in 2007, says Koranic scholar

According to an Arab "scholar" named Ziad Silwadi, the United States will be destroyed in 2007 by a giant tsunami, as Allah's punishment for its "sins," reported the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. Silwadi drew this conclusion after a "thorough analysis" of Koranic verses.

I wish I could say this is an April's Fool, or another article from The Onion, but apparently Silwadi is quite serious.

Tempting as it is to dismiss him as a raving lunatic, one must keep two things in mind. One is that immanentizing the eschaton has been wildly popular in recent years among the so-called Christian fundamentalists in the U.S.; witness the phenomenon of the "Left Behind" books. Not a few Americans are convinced we live in the End Times prophesied in the Book of Revelation; they also tend to believe the U.S. government is on the side of the angels. So, apocalyptic Islamic scholars, though nuttier than a squirrel's cheeks in October, aren't necessarily the nuttiest folks around.

The second thing to bear in mind when considering this Silwadi character is that he does say something rather sensible:
"It would be fair to say that the world would be better off with a US that is not a superpower and that does not take advantage of weak nations than a world where this country does not exist at all," he added."The world will certainly lose a lot if and when this disaster occurs because of the great services that American society has rendered to the economy, industry and science."

Notice the "if and when" in Silwadi's statement. Unlike some soi-disant "prophets" in the West, he is absolutely certain of his claim. And if one reads the JP report, it becomes obvious why: it's based on dubious numerology and stretched interpretation of some Koranic verses.

Odds are, therefore, that we won't see the end of the U.S. in two years - although America's continued survival as such is by no means guaranteed for much longer. Only a complete idiot would deny that the world would be worse off without the United States, even as it manifestly would be better off without the American Empire.

Even a broken watch is right twice a day, and Silwadi happens to be right about something that most people - both advocates of the American Empire and its avowed enemies - tend to miss. When the collapse comes, and it is about as inevitable as anything in history, it would be good to keep this in mind.

"Reality Park"

Chris Deliso's by now traditional April Fools' column at is like satire from The Onion: uproarious, but too close to the truth for comfort. If there is anything the state-supermacists have demonstrated consistently over the years - besides the propensity for violence, anyway - it is that they are capable of far more outlandish and absurd things than even the cleverest satirist could conjure.

Anyway, Deliso's piece is worth reading in full, but here is just the part that pertains to Serbia, whose corrupt politicians and oblivious people continue to believe in the "earthly paradise" of the EUSSR:
Speaking of Serbia, [Stability Pact Commisar] Busek at the same time iterated that every diplomat’s favorite punching bag would in fact never join the union, but be preserved as a sort of “reality park,” in which smoking, drunkenness, unemployment, turbo-folk and dangerous, outdated cars would be preserved forever. “This way,” he said, “Europeans will have a chance to enjoy, at least for a few days of vacation, the visceral thrill of what life used to be like before we opted for a nanny state of total comfort and regulation,” he said.