Thursday, November 10, 2005

Extortion's New Name

According to Financial Times, it's "incentive."

Reporting on the Congressional hearing in which the State Department's Balkans point-man Nicholas Burns first overtly mentioned that Serbia's entry into EU and NATO would depend on the "successful outcome" of Kosovo talks, FT explained Burns's threat as "incentive" to Belgrade. Their headline declared: "US backs Kosovo incentives for Serbs."

Even Reuters was more honest, calling it a "new U.S. demand on Belgrade."

I don't doubt in the least that the sycophantic lowlives running Serbia will point to this "incentive" as a "necessary precondition for entering Euro-Atlantic integration and creating a normal, democratic state" or some such fatuous nonsense.

Let's review the situation:
  • The UN abandoned its own policy of "Standards before status," though it only required a pretense of tolerance on part of the Kosovo Albanians, and they refused to show even that. The same envoy who whitewashed the 2004 pogrom now recommended the final status talks;
  • Kosovo viceroy and OSCE have been coaching Albanian negotiators;
  • the government of Bush II has adopted a Balkans policy crafted by Clinton-era officials, notably Nicholas Burns and Richard Holbrooke (who was once again in the Balkans recently as official US envoy);
  • The UN envoy charged with Kosovo talks is Martti Ahtisaari, the former president of Finland who was instrumental in deceiving the Milosevic government into surrendering Kosovo to NATO in 1999, and has since served on the ICG board with Wesley Clark and other interventionists;
  • The ICG, created in the heyday of Clinton interventionism, has consistently advocated the independence of Kosovo, centralization of Bosnia and secession of Montenegro - all of which have now become part of the official U.S. policy;
  • Serbia's membership in EU and NATO - a remote prospect at best, and on careful analysis actually undesirable - is now being conditioned by the separation of Kosovo and Montenegro, just as Holbrooke and the ICG have been saying for years.
Coincidence? There is no such thing in politics.

It should be intuitively obvious to even the most casual observer what the Empire's intentions are concerning the Balkans, and specifically the Serbs. If the unelected rulers of Serbia refuse to see it, perhaps it is time for Serbia to get new rulers. While there is still any Serbia left.

A Birthday Gift

A month from now, will be 10 years old. It was set up as a protest against Bill Clinton's interventionism in the Balkans, and has continued to oppose the military (and political) violence by the emergent American Empire ever since.

Unlike many situational opponents of particular foreign adventures, opposes foreign intervention on principle, arguing that it goes not only against the Constitution and other laws, but against the true American values. They have opposed Emperor Clinton as well as Emperor Dubya, the war in Kosovo as well as that in Iraq; and will, no doubt, oppose any future emperor and his or her wars.

I've been a columnist there since late 2000, and my 231st piece ran yesterday. is running their quarterly Pledge Drive this week. They are counting on their readers, freedom-lovers and opponents of aggression to put their money where their values are. Don't think of it as a donation - think of it as a subscription, a payment for the value you are receiving from reading news, commentary and blog posts that tell you what the mainstream media tries to omit, reveal what the powers that be want hidden, and spread the word about things the Empire would rather be kept silent.

If you value the service provides, you'll go over to the site and make your contribution. You pay a lot more to get "news" from the mainstream, and you know well enough how truthful and honest those are. So go ahead, vote with your wallet. Whatever the Empire may say or do, that right, that choice, is still yours.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Recycled Lies

Here is the current mandatory propaganda meme in stories by Reuters, tracked across several articles:
"Kosovo has been run by the United Nations since 1999, when NATO bombing forced then-President Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw his forces. Some 10,000 civilians were killed during his two-year crackdown on an Albanian guerrilla insurgency.

Kosovo’s 90-percent Albanian majority has been clamoring for independence ever since."
There are at least four things here that, mildly put, do not correspond with reality. First, the phrase "his forces," referring to Slobodan Milosevic, as if the Serbian police and the Yugoslav Army were his private institutions. Nobody calls the U.S. troops in Iraq "George Bush's forces," especially not Reuters.

Second, the "factoid" that "10,000 civilians were killed" in Kosovo is an absolute, unvarnished lie. Not only has the number of dead associated in any manner with the terrorist campaign of the KLA and the NATO bombing never exceeded 3,000, a substantial portion of that were KLA bandits. Are they to be counted as "civilians"? What about the actual civilians, Serb and Albanian, murdered by the KLA, or killed by NATO? Reuters here clearly misrepresents both the number of dead and their identity.

As for the last sentence, which often stands as a paragraph of its own, it is both inaccurate and deceptive. Kosovo only became 90% Albanian through the ethnic cleansing of Serbs and birth rates far exceeding those in Albania or Macedonia, and only in the latter part of the 20th century, specifically during the period when the province was under control of ethnic Albanians (whether of the Communist or fascist variety). It is specious to posit Albanian numerical superiority as the basis of their claim for independence, without noting how it came into being.

Finally, the Albanians of Kosovo have not been "clamoring for independence" since 1999, but since 1981, or even earlier. This claim is completely fabricated.

Now look at the meme in its entirety: It is geared to insinuate (and none too subtly) that Milosevic personally oppressed and mass-murdered the Albanians of Kosovo, the majority in the region, until NATO and the UN came to their rescue in 1999. On that basis, the Albanians are asking for independence. Presented with such an argument, who wouldn't be sympathetic to their claim? And that is precisely the purpose of this confabulation.

Why Governments Torture

Charles Featherstone is fast becoming one of my favorite LRC writers. Here's an excerpt from his piece on government and torture, published today:

"[Governments] don't torture because of need. Governments torture to humiliate and destroy. They torture to strip a person of his humanity, to make him or her face unrestrained state power alone, unaided and helpless. States torture and kill because they can, because even if the state isn't really God, it can play God by taking life when it pleases and how it chooses. Because it is a way to annihilate a human being, slowly, one atom at a time."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Returning the "favor"

A friend directed to my attention this afternoon to a new blog, Balkans Without Borders, billed as "Helping to make the world into what the world is making of the Balkans." I'm guessing it grew out of frustration with the Imperial policy in the peninsula - towards the Serbs in particular - and was inspired by the ongoing riots in France.

Today's "Protest to Mr. Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic..." turns the Imperial rhetoric back against its authors, claiming that if Serbia has lost its right to Kosovo because of alleged excessive force against its Albanian immigrants, surely the French have relinquished their right to Paris for the same exact reason.

Of course, the wonderful send-up of imperial "logic" won't make an impression on the policymakers, who seem to universally believe in the "Abramowitz doctrine" of arbitrary principle. Nonetheless, it might shake awake at least some of the people - both in the Balkans and in the West - who still believe the nonsensical drivel that is the Official Truth.

Because the Empire really is bent on creating a global Balkans, with or without this witty blogger's help.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Tragedies in the Lives of Nations

Fans of Hoppean history should rejoice, says Jørn K. Baltzersen today on LRC, over the new book by Dr. Matthew Raphael Johnson, "The Third Rome: Holy Russia, Tsarism and Orthodoxy," published by the Foundation for Economic Liberty.

On this anniversary of Red October, Dr. Johnson's book mourns for the world that was lost when the Russian tsarist government was destroyed by Communism. His book examines and explodes the myths about Russia in the West, some generated by Communists and others engendered by prejudice towards Orthodoxy, and reveals the Romanov empire as far more liberal than Western Europe at the time (the tax rate comparison in particular is very instructive).

It is doubtful that the Romanov Russia can be restored. Communism and "transition" have left their marks, and the future generations of Russians (provided there are any) will have to cope with them. But they - and other nations whose histories were altered by this destructive creed - would do well to seek clues to this healing process in their own history, tradition, culture and faith, rather than aping the present-day imperial West.