Russian Embassy in the USA official reaction to the Mueller Report (MUST READ)

Another important dispatch from The Greanville Post. Be sure to share it widely.

“It is an attempt to lay the blame at someone else’s door.  This is not our problem. The problem is in US politics...
The other team lost. They are reluctant to acknowledge the mistake. It is easier to say, “We are not to blame, the Russians are to blame, they interfered in our election.” It reminds me of anti-Semitism: the Jews are to blame for everything. We know what such sentiments can lead to.
They lead to nothing good. The thing to do is simply to
work and think of how to get things right”.

President of the Russian Federation,
(in response to a question from American journalist
Megyn Kelly at the plenary meeting of the St Petersburg
International Economic Forum, June 2, 2017)

"If American democracy is destroyed within the next
generation, it will not be destroyed by the Russians or the Chinese but by ourselves, by the very means we use
to defend it".

“American Militarism”, 1970, Epilogue



Be sure to get the most unique history of the Russo-American conflict now spanning almost a century!  The book that every American should read.

Nuclear Armageddon or peace? That is the question.
And here’s the book that answers it.
How did we come to be in this horrid pickle? Join the discussion! Read Ron Ridenour’s provocative bestseller The Russian Peace Threat, the most scathing and irrefutable exposé of US foreign policy and its malignant obsession with the elimination of Russia as a countervailing force in world affairs. Buy it today direct from us. You don’t have to patronize Amazon. Just click on the bar below.


.CLICK HERE to buy The Russian Peace Threat.

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Bernie and the Nuclear-capable F35s

By Renee Parsons

Another important dispatch from The Greanville Post. Be sure to share it widely.

Dateline: 04/19/2019

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]resh off what the MSM is celebrating as a surprise victory for a Bernie Town Hall on Fox News, lurking in the background is his inexplicable support over the years for basing the highly controversial F35 at the Burlington International Airport. We now know, thanks to a conscientious citizen who bothered to read the fine print, that those F35’s will be nuclear-capable and of immense explosive power.

In September, as the fall colors begin to change in Vermont, City of Burlington residents may not be in the streets waving American flags as eighteen F35 Lightening II radar-evading stealth fighter jets land at the Burlington Airport. As part of a Pentagon plan to deploy 2,500 jets nationwide, the F35’s will join the 158th Fighter Wing, a unit of the Vermont Air National Guard, affectionately known as the Green Mountain Boys as its aging F-16 jets are replaced.
Not just known for its foliage, cheese and maple syrup, Vermont is also host to an active aero space industry which already supplies 2,000 jobs. The jet’s bay door and GAU-22 gun system will both be produced in Vermont. With the Air Force spending $84 million per jet from Lockheed Martin, the DOD will spend $100 Million for infrastructure improvement and a new training center at Burlington where they will share one runway with commercial air traffic.
Basing more than a dozen F35’s in Burlington will bring a totally new generation of aircraft to Vermont as new high tech jets, not yet fully mature with all of its kinks and safety issues worked out, normally experience more accidents and ‘incidents’ in a shake down - and the F35 has had more than its share.

The F35 was commissioned by the Pentagon in 1995 at a cost of $1.5 Trillion, becoming the most expensive weapon system in US history as well as providing significant technical challenges including a “catastrophic engine failure” with total damage estimated at $50 million, a “life threatening ejection seat malfunction” and a crash in South Carolina due to a faulty fuel tube.  The new controversial bomber jet fighter planes will be located in a dense area surrounded by public schools, a college and residential neighborhoods.

While the seven year debate over the F35 has been an intense round of public hearings and debates and public meetings, at least one lawsuit, and three of the most affected communities all formally opposing the F35 and even a successful anti F35 voter referendum which was adopted by the public, the state’s elected political leadership chose to ignore the outcome.

But it wasn’t until retired Air Force Col. Rosanne Greco was reading through a 68,000 heavily redacted Air Force document related to the lawsuit that she discovered vague references about the F35 carrying nuclear bombs.
Researching further, Greco who has thirty years of intelligence experience with the highest security clearances, is a specialized expert in nuclear weapons and arms control and a member of the US START delegation, confirmed the stunning news that the F35 was designed from the outset and had always been intended to carry a nuclear payload as it was to become an integral part of the US nuclear strategy.

Throughout all the furor, the Air Force never informed Vermont residents that the F35 was designed as a dual-capable plane; that is, able to deliver either a conventional weapon or a nuclear weapon or that its new guided bomb, the B61-12 was being specially designed to fit into the F35’s bay.

As if that belated information were not reason enough for the entire State of Vermont to be explosively irate at being lied to by the Pentagon, the state’s elected political leadership has yet to feel the full wrath of a citizenry that has only just begun to realize the consequences of being consistently lied to by its favorite sons. During the entire seven year campaign, both Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy refused to meet with citizens who opposed the F35. In a short, pithy joint statement in 2016, the state’s entire Congressional delegation echoed their support for the F35 being based in Vermont.

And the B61 is one hell of a bomb – its range can be adjusted from .03 kilotons up to 50 kilotons. The bomb that killed 150,000 people in Hiroshima was a 15 kiloton bomb. Greco makes the point that the Green Mountain Boys could now directly initiate on their own ala Dr. Strangelove or participate in a nuclear war as ordered by the President. In addition, Vermont now becomes a central target in any potential conflagration since it is the delivery system that is the target. With no aircraft to carry them, bombs per se are not the target. The Burlington International Airport will now become Ground Zero.

When Greco’s revelations regarding the jets nuclear capability became public, Sanders and Leahy were unwavering in their denials and refutations which have been in direct contradiction with Air Force and DOD statements in the public record.

“Consequently the United States will maintain and enhance as necessary, the capability to forward-deploy nuclear bombers…around the world. We are committed to upgrading the DCA with the nuclear-capable F35 aircraft.”
                           Department of Defense, 2018 Nuclear Posture Review
                           Chapter VII, “Current and Future US Nuclear Capabilities, page 54

Further, the MIC boasts of a nuclear loaded F35 for its “..combination of accuracy and low-yield make the B61-12 the most usable nuclear bomb in America’s arsenal.  This makes using nuclear weapons thinkable for the first time since the 1940s” as if that is a good thing! Further military assessments suggest “Yet the most dangerous nuclear bomb in American’s arsenal may be the new B61-12.” And that “What makes the B61-12 bomb the most dangerous nuclear weapon in American’s arsenal is it usability. “

State political leaders have been so supportive that former Governor Peter Shumlin traveled to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida came away declaring that “Listening has been a real eye opener. It is surprising how quiet the F35 is.” Noise abatement is a major issue since the F35 is four times louder than the F16’s being replaced and required the destruction of 200 homes identified as being within the zone that exceeded acceptable decibel level. How nearby public school students or at the nearby college will be expected to learn and concentrate in an environment unfit for residential habitation remains to be seen.

During a 2016 campaign debate in which F35 supporters cited the local Air Guard’s efforts after the 911 attack, Burlington Mayor Milo Weinberger, another politically elite F35 supporter responded that “They flew over an area already devastated by a terrorist action. I don’t believe they stopped a single thing from happening.” Without meaning to, his comments raise a valid question about why the Pentagon funds local Air National Guard unit other than as a glorified jobs program.

In justifying his support in 2016, Sanders said it was not the plane but the jobs and economic advantage of the F35 that he supports. "In the real world, if the plane is built … and if the choice is if that goes to Vermont … South Carolina or Florida. What is your choice as a United States Senator?" he asked. "And that's what the Vermont National Guard wants, and that means hundreds of jobs in my city. That's it."

Sanders claim that the project will add 1,100 new jobs to the Airport is fraudulent, according to Greco who says that with departure of the F16s’, there will be a one for one swap with the previous F16 employees being trained on the F35s.

The question is when did Bernie and the doddering Sen. Leahy, who apparently was the prime mover and shaker to bring the F35 to Vermont, discover that the F35 would be nuclear capable? And most importantly given his Presidential ambitions, will Bernie lie from the Oval Office to cover up war crimes or create false flag attacks or hide information like the F35 suddenly becoming part of the government’s nuclear deterrence program? Greco says that public records shows that after Vermont was initially explored and dismissed by the Air Force as being an unsuitable location with South Carolina being the preferred location, Leahy personally intervened to bring the F35 to Vermont.
It is inconceivable that the Air Force would keep that level of pertinent information secret from two US Senators who had become its reliably pro- F35 allies while they opposed and deceived the best interests of their own constituents .

The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff we publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for our website, which will get you an email notification for everything we publish.

Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist for Friends of the Earth and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31

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Be sure to get the most unique history of the Russo-American conflict now spanning almost a century!  The book that every American should read.

Nuclear Armageddon or peace? That is the question.
And here’s the book that answers it.
How did we come to be in this horrid pickle? Join the discussion! Read Ron Ridenour’s provocative bestseller The Russian Peace Threat, the most scathing and irrefutable exposé of US foreign policy and its malignant obsession with the elimination of Russia as a countervailing force in world affairs. Buy it today direct from us. You don’t have to patronize Amazon. Just click on the bar below.


.CLICK HERE to buy The Russian Peace Threat.

Debunking The “Assange Is A Russian Agent” Smears


This is an excerpt from the upcoming mega-article “Debunking All The Assange Smears”, which is still under construction. I’m putting together a comprehensive list of all the major smears and disinfo that’s being circulated about Julian Assange, and refuting those arguments with the help of information brought to me by my readers and social media followers. Keep a lookout for the full article; it should be out soon, and it’s gonna be good. If you have any articles, tweets or short videos you’ve found which do a good job of refuting a specific Assange smear, please send them to me at admin@caitlinjohnstone.com, along with any smears you”d like to have more help addressing.

Smear 4: “He’s a Russian agent.”

Not even the US government alleges that WikiLeaks knowingly coordinated with the Kremlin in the 2016 publication of Democratic Party emails; the Robert Mueller Special Counsel alleged only that Guccifer 2.0 was the source of those emails and that Guccifer 2.0 was a persona covertly operated by Russian conspirators. The narrative that Assange worked for or knowingly conspired with the Russian government is a hallucination of the demented Russia hysteria which has infected all corners of mainstream political discourse. There is no evidence for it whatsoever, and anyone making this claim should be corrected and dismissed.

But we don’t even need to concede that much. To this day we have been presented with exactly zero hard evidence of the US government’s narrative about Russian hackers, and in a post-Iraq invasion world there’s no good reason to go pretending that we have. We’ve seen assertions from opaque government agencies and their allied firms within the US-centralized power alliance, but assertions are not evidence. We’ve seen indictments from Mueller, but indictments are assertions and assertions are not evidence. This doesn’t mean that Russia would never use hackers to interfere in world political affairs or that Vladimir Putin is some sort of virtuous girl scout, it just means that in a post-Iraq invasion world, only herd-minded human livestock believe the unsubstantiated assertions of opaque and unaccountable government agencies about governments who are oppositional to those same government agencies.

If the public can’t see the evidence, then as far as the public is concerned there is no evidence. Invisible evidence is not evidence, no matter how many government officials assure us it exists.

The only reason the majority believes that Russia is known to have interfered in America’s 2016 election is because news outlets have been repeatedly referring to this narrative as an established and proven fact, over and over and over again, day after day, for years. People take this repetition as a substitute for proof due to a glitch in human psychology known as the illusory truth effect, a phenomenon which causes our brains to tend to interpret things we’ve heard before as known truths. But assertions are not the same as known truths.

For his part, Julian Assange has stated unequivocally that he knows for a fact that the Russian government was not WikiLeaks’ source for the emails, telling Fox News in January 2017 that “our source is not the Russian government or any state party.” You may be as skeptical or as trusting in his claim as you like, but the fact of the matter is that no evidence has ever been made public which contradicts him. Any claim that he’s lying is therefore unsubstantiated.

This is the best argument there is. A lot of people like to bring up the fact that there are many experts who dispute the Russian hacking narrative, saying there’s evidence that the DNC download happened via local thumb drive and not remote exfiltration, but in my opinion that’s generally poor argumentation when you’re disputing the narrative about WikiLeaks’ source. It’s a poor tactic because it shifts the burden of proof onto you, making yourself into the claimant and then forcing you to defend complicated claims about data transfer rates and so on which most people viewing the argument won’t understand, even if you do. There’s no reason to self-own like that and put yourself in a position of playing defense when you can just go on the offense with anyone claiming to know that Russia was WikiLeaks’ source and just say “Prove your claim,” then poke holes in their arguments.

There is no evidence that Assange ever provided any assistance to the Russian government, knowingly or unknowingly. In fact, WikiLeaks has published hundreds of thousands of documents pertaining to Russia, has made critical comments about the Russian government and defended dissident Russian activists, and in 2017 published an entire trove called the Spy Files Russia exposing Russian surveillance practices.

Of course, the only reason this smear is coming up lately is because people want to believe that the recent imprisonment of Julian Assange has anything to do with the 2016 WikiLeaks email publications. It isn’t just the propagandized rank-and-file who are making this false claim all over the internet, but Democratic Party leaders like House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden. As we should all be aware by now, Assange’s completely illegitimate arrest in fact had nothing whatsoever to do with 2016 or Russia, but with the 2010 Manning leaks exposing US war crimes. Anyone claiming otherwise is simply informing you that they are brainwashed by Russia conspiracy theories and have no interest in changing that character flaw.

The smearer may claim “Well, he toes the Kremlin line!” When you ask them to explain what that means, they’ll tell you it means that WikiLeaks speaks out against western interventionist and war propaganda narratives like Trump’s bombing of Syria, or their criticism of the establishment Russia narrative which tries to incriminate WikiLeaks itself. That’s not “toeing the Kremlin line,” that’s being anti-interventionist and defending yourself from smears. Nobody who’s viewed their 2010 video Collateral Murder will doubt that criticism of the US war machine is built into the DNA of WikiLeaks, and is central to its need to exist in the first place.

In reality, anyone who opposes western interventionism will see themselves tarred as Russian agents if they achieve a high enough profile, and right-wing empire sycophants were fond of doing so years before the brainwashed Maddow Muppets joined them. Russia, like many sovereign nations, opposes western interventionism for its own reasons, so anyone sufficiently dedicated to their own mental contortions can point at a critic of western imperialism and say “Look! They oppose this subject, and so does Russia! They’re the same thing!” In reality a westerner opposing western interventionism is highly unlikely to have any particular loyalty to Russia, and opposes western interventionism not to protect their own geopolitical agendas as Moscow does, but because western interventionism is consistently evil, deceitful and disastrous.

The smearer may claim, “Well he had a show on RT in 2012!” So? What other network would air a TV program hosted by Julian Assange? Name one. I’ll wait. If you can’t name one, consider the possibility that Assange’s appearances on RT were due to the fact that western mass media have completely deplatformed all antiwar voices and all criticism of the political status quo, a fact they could choose to change any time and steal RT’s entire audience and all their talent. The fact that they choose not to shows that they’re not worried about RT, they’re worried about dissident thinkers like Assange.

In reality, Assange’s 2012 show “The World Tomorrow” was produced separately from RT and only picked up for airing by that network, in exactly the same way as Larry King’s show has been picked up and aired by RT. Nobody who isn’t wearing a tinfoil pussyhat believes that Larry King is a Russian agent, and indeed King is adamant and vocal about the fact that he doesn’t work for RT and takes no instruction from them.

The only people claiming that Assange is a Russian agent are those who are unhappy with the things that WikiLeaks publications have exposed, whether that be US war crimes or the corrupt manipulations of Democratic Party leaders. It’s a completely unfounded smear and should be treated as such.


To be continued! Keep a lookout for the full mega-article, “Debunking All The Assange Smears”, which I’m working on furiously and which will be out shortly.


Everyone has my unconditional permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitterthrowing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandisebuying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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Debunking The “Assange Is A Russian Agent” Smears

Caitlin Johnstone is a brave and lucid Australian journalist dedicated to exposing the lies and crimes of the US-led empire.

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From our archives: The Dismantling of Yugoslavia (Part I)

Another important dispatch from The Greanville Post. Be sure to share it widely.

A Study in Inhumanitarian Intervention (and a Western Liberal-Left Intellectual and Moral Collapse)

by and First run on Monthly Review on Oct 01, 2007 • (Republished on TGP on Oct 10, 2007)

Jump to Part: II, III, IV | Glossary | Timeline

NATO bombing of Serbia. Many Serbs still regard NATO as a terrorist organization.

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he breakup of Yugoslavia provided the fodder for what may have been the most misrepresented series of major events over the past twenty years. The journalistic and historical narratives that were imposed upon these wars have systematically distorted their nature, and were deeply prejudicial, downplaying the external factors that drove Yugoslavia’s breakup while selectively exaggerating and misrepresenting the internal factors. Perhaps no civil wars—and Yugoslavia suffered multiple civil wars across several theaters, at least two of which remain unresolved—have ever been harvested as cynically by foreign powers to establish legal precedents and new categories of international duties and norms. Nor have any other civil wars been turned into such a proving ground for the related notions of “humanitarian intervention” and the “right [or responsibility] to protect.” Yugoslavia’s conflicts were not so much mediated by foreign powers as they were inflamed and exploited by them to advance policy goals. The result was a tsunami of lies and misrepresentations in whose wake the world is still reeling.
Key to the Former Yugoslavia
From 1991 on, Yugoslavia and its successor states were exploited for ends as crass and as classically realpolitik as: (1) preserving the NATO military alliance despite the disintegration of the Soviet bloc—NATO’s putative reason for existence; (2) overthrowing the UN Charter’s historic commitments to non-interference and respect for the sovereign equality, territorial integrity, and political independence of all states in favor of the right of those more enlightened to interfere in the affairs of “failing” states, and even to wage wars against “rogue” states; (3) humiliating the European Union (EU) (formerly the European Community [EC]) over its inability to act decisively as a threat-making and militarily punitive force in its own backyard; (4) and of course dismantling the last economic and social holdout on the European continent yet to be integrated into the “Washington consensus.” The pursuit of these goals required that certain agents within Yugoslavia be cast in the role of the victims, and others as villains—the latter not just belligerents engaged in a civil war, but evil and murderous perpetrators of mass crimes which, in turn, would legitimate military intervention. At its extreme, in the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Yugoslavia has been cast as one gigantic crime scene, with the wars in their totality to be explained as a “Joint Criminal Enterprise,” the alleged purpose of which was the expulsion of non-Serbs from territories the Serbs wanted all to themselves—an utterly risible caricature, as we show below, but taken seriously in Western commentary, much as Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” were to be taken early in the next decade.

While the destruction of Yugoslavia had both internal and external causes, it is easy to overlook the external causes, despite their great importance, because Western political interests and ideology have masked them by focusing entirely on the alleged resurgence of Serb nationalism and drive for a “Greater Serbia” as the root of the collapse. In a widely read book that accompanied their BBC documentary, Laura Silber and Allan Little wrote that “under Milosevic’s stewardship” the Serbs were “the key secessionists,” as Milosevic sought the “creation of a new enlarged Serbian state, encompassing as much territory of Yugoslavia as possible,” his “politics of ethnic intolerance provok[ing] the other nations of Yugoslavia, convincing them that it was impossible to stay in the Yugoslav federation and propelling them down the road to independence.” In another widely read book, Misha Glenny wrote that “without question, it was Milosevic who had willfully allowed the genie [of violent, intolerant nationalism] out of the bottle, knowing that the consequences might be dramatic and even bloody.” Noel Malcolm found that by the late 1980s, “Two processes seemed fused into one: the gathering of power into Milosevic’s hands, and the gathering of the Serbs into a single political unit which could either dominate Yugoslavia or break it apart.” For Roy Gutman, the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina “was the third in a series of wars launched by Serbia….Serbia had harnessed the powerful military machine of the Yugoslav state to achieve the dream of its extreme nationalists: Greater Serbia.” For David Rieff, “even if [Croatia’s President Franjo] Tudjman had been an angel, Slobodan Milosevic would still have launched his war for Greater Serbia.”1

In a commentary in 2000, Tim Judah wrote that Milosevic was responsible for wars in “Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo: four wars since 1991 and [that] the result of these terrible conflicts, which began with the slogan ‘All Serbs in One State,’ is the cruelest irony.” Sometime journalist, sometime spokesperson for the ICTY at The Hague, Florence Hartmann, wrote that “Long before the war began, Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia and, following his example, Franjo Tudjman in Croatia, had turned their backs on the Yugoslav ideal of an ethnically mixed federal State and set about carving out their own ethnically homogeneous States. With Milosevic’s failure, in 1991, to take control of all of Yugoslavia, the die was cast for war.” After Milosevic’s death in 2006, the New York Times’s Marlise Simons wrote about the “incendiary nationalism” of the man who “rose and then clung to power by resurrecting old nationalist grudges and inciting dreams of a Greater Serbia…the prime engineer of wars that pitted his fellow Serbs against the Slovenes, the Croats, the Bosnians, the Albanians of Kosovo and ultimately the combined forces of the entire NATO alliance.” And at the more frenzied end of the media spectrum, Mark Danner traced the Balkan war dynamic to the Serbs’ “unquenchable blood lust,” while Ed Vulliamy asserted that “Once Milosevic had back-stabbed his way to power and had switched from communism to fascism, he and Mirjana set out to establish their dream of an ethnically pure Greater Serbia cleansed of Croats and ‘mongrel races’ such as Bosnia’s Muslims and Kosovo’s Albanians.”2

This version of history—or ideology under the guise of history—fails at multiple levels. For one, it ignores the economic and financial turbulence within which Yugoslavia’s highly indebted, unevenly developed republics and autonomous regions found themselves in the years following Tito’s death in 1980, the aptly named “great reversal” during which the “standard of living whose previous growth had muted most regional grievances and legitimized Communist rule declined by fully one-quarter.”3 It also ignores the geopolitical context marked by the decline and eventual dissolution of the Soviet bloc, just as it ignores the German, Austrian, Vatican, EU, and eventual U.S. interest in the dismantlement of the socialist as well as federal dimensions of a unitary Yugoslav state, and the actions that brought about that result. Furthermore, it underrates the importance of Albanian (Kosovo), Slovene, Croat, Macedonian, Bosnian Muslim, Montenegrin, and even Hungarian (Vojvodina) nationalisms, and the competing interests of each of these groups as they sought sovereignty within, and later independence from, Yugoslavia. Perhaps most critical of all, it overrates the Serbs’ and Milosevic’s nationalism, gives these an unwarranted causal force, and transforms their expressed interest in preserving the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) and/or allowing Serbs to remain within a single unified successor state into wars of aggression whose goal was “Greater Serbia.”

The standard narrative also fails egregiously in claiming the Western interventions humanitarian in purpose and result. In that narrative those interventions came late but did their work well. We will show on the contrary that they came early, encouraged divisions and ethnic wars, and in the end had extremely damaging effects on the freedom, independence, and welfare of the inhabitants, although they served well the ends of Croatian, Bosnian Muslim, and Kosovo Albanian nationalists, as well as those of the United States and NATO. Furthermore, NATO’s 1999 bombing war against Yugoslavia, in violation of the UN Charter, built upon precedents set by NATO’s late summer 1995 bombing attacks on the Bosnian Serbs. More important, it provided additional precedents which advanced the same law-of-the-jungle lineage under the cover of “human rights.” It thus served as a precursor and a model for the subsequent U.S. regime’s attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, and the lies that enabled them.

Another notable feature of the dismantling of Yugoslavia was the very widespread support for the Western interventions expressed by liberals and leftists. These intellectuals and journalists swallowed and helped propagate the standard narrative with remarkable gullibility, and their work made a major contribution to engineering consent to the ethnic cleansing wars, the NATO bombing attacks, the neocolonial occupations of Bosnia and Kosovo, and the wars that followed against Afghanistan and Iraq.

1. Geopolitics and Nationalism

The Yugoslav (or “South Slav”) solution to this region of Southeastern Europe’s “national question” had always been tenuous. “Failure…to maintain the [united, federal] state throughout the…country’s existence [was] an ever present possibility,” Lenard Cohen and Paul Warwick write. Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo—the three most bloodily contested areas in the 1990s—had all been “areas of high ethnic fragmentation” and “persistent hotbeds of political criminality.” Throughout Yugoslavia’s brief history, ethnic unity “was more an artifact of party pronouncements, induced personnel rotation, and institutional reorganization, than an outcome of genuine political incorporation or enhanced cohesion among the different segments of the population”4

This fragile state of affairs had been held together by the rule of Tito, along with Western support for the independent Yugoslavia in an otherwise Soviet-dominated area. Tito’s death in 1980 loosened the authoritarian cement. The collapse of the Soviet bloc a decade later deprived Yugoslavia of Western support for the unified state. As the last U.S. ambassador to Yugoslavia purportedly instructed Belgrade upon his arrival in April 1989: “Yugoslavia no longer enjoyed the geopolitical importance that the United States had given it during the Cold War.”5

Yugoslavia’s economy was deeply troubled by the 1980s. Unemployment was dangerously high and persistent. Regional inequalities remained the rule. On a per-capita basis, Slovenia’s income by the late 1980s was at least twice the average for Yugoslavia as a whole, Croatia’s more than one-fourth greater, and Serbia proper’s roughly equal to the average. But Montenegro’s was only 74 percent of Yugoslavia’s average, Bosnia-Herzegovina’s 68 percent, Macedonia’s 63 percent, and Kosovo’s 27 percent.6 What is more, Yugoslavia borrowed abroad heavily in the 1970s, and it accumulated a large external debt that stood at $19.7 billion in 1989.7 With hyperinflation spiking upward to more than 1,000 percent this same year,8 Yugoslavia was pressured by the IMF to undertake a classic “shock therapy” program that threatened the solidarity of its population.

Economic decline was accompanied by a diminished confidence in the federal system and the rise of republican challenges to it. But as Susan Woodward notes, taking the lead “were not the unemployed but the employed who feared unemployment” and property owners who feared “that they would lose value and status.” It was in the two wealthiest republics of the northwest, Slovenia and Croatia, but Slovenia in particular, that the drive toward autonomy took the most pronounced anti-federal form.9 Although less than 30 percent of Yugoslavia’s population lived in Slovenia and Croatia, they accounted for half of federal tax revenues—before they stopped paying it. They openly resented these obligations. Longing for closer ties with Western Europe, they revolted.10

In what Robert Hayden calls the “new doctrine of republican supremacy,” by midsummer 1989 Slovenia had rejected the federation. Amendments were proposed for Slovenia’s constitution that clashed with its federal counterpart. Among these was a notorious amendment that defined “Slovenia” as the “state of the sovereign Slovenian nation”—a change that the Borba newspaper (Belgrade) editorialized would “divide Yugoslavia.” In February 1990, the Constitutional Court (a federal body) ruled against Slovenia’s assertion that its laws took precedence over federal ones. This included the “question of secession,” which the court ruled “could only be decided jointly with the agreement of all the republics.” The court also ruled “that the Presidency of Yugoslavia would have both the right and the obligation to declare a state of emergency in Slovenia if some general danger threatened the existence or constitutional order of that republic, on the grounds that such a condition would also threaten the whole of the country.” Slovenia “rejected the court’s jurisdiction,” Hayden adds.

In April 1990, both Slovenia and Croatia held the first multiparty elections in Yugoslavia since the late 1930s. A coalition of six parties called DEMOS that campaigned on an independence platform received 55 percent of the Slovene vote. In Croatia, Franjo Tudjman’s blatantly nationalistic and separatist Croatian Democratic Union received 70 percent. News accounts conveyed the resurgence of nationalist politics in Slovenia and Croatia, along with a distinct flavor of ethnic chauvinism pitting these Westernized republics against the other, less advanced counterparts. Hayden notes that on July 2, 1990, the Slovene parliament declared Slovenia’s “complete sovereignty,” and that the “republic’s laws superseded those of the federation.” Then on July 25, Croatia’s parliament did likewise, making Croatia “a politically and economically sovereign state” (Tudjman). Finally in September—still three months before its own republican elections, in which Milosevic’s Socialist Party received 65 percent on a platform of preserving Yugoslavia, in explicit opposition to the separatist parties that had come to power in Slovenia and Croatia, and were to be soundly defeated in Serbia—Serbia adopted a new constitution granting its laws the same supremacy over federal institutions. “If the Slovenes can do it, so can we,” a member of the Serbian Presidency said. With these challenges to federal authority by each of the three most powerful republics, the “collapse of the Yugoslav state was inevitable,” Hayden concludes.11

In contrast to the standard narrative, it is clear that nationalist forces at this time were stronger in Slovenia and Croatia than in Serbia. The decisive, history-making difference, however, was that in Slovenia and Croatia, the nationalist parties that won the April 1990 elections also adopted separatist platforms. Not only did they challenge the federal institutions as a whole, they also sought to sever ties with them—the last real bonds left from the Tito era.

Had Western powers supported the federal state, Yugoslavia might have held together—but they did not. Instead they not only encouraged Slovenia, Croatia, and later Bosnia-Herzegovina to secede, they also insisted that the federal state not use force to prevent it. Diana Johnstone recounts a January 1991 meeting in Belgrade between the U.S. ambassador and Borisav Jovic, a Serb then serving on Yugoslavia’s collective State Presidency. “[T]he United States would not accept any use of force to disarm the paramilitaries,” Jovic was told. “Only ‘peaceful’ means were acceptable to Washington. The Yugoslav army was prohibited by the United States from using force to preserve the Federation, which meant that it could not prevent the Federation from being dismembered by force”12—a remarkable injunction against a sovereign state. Similar warnings were communicated by the EC as well. We might try to imagine what the United States would look like today, were the questions it faced in 1860 about its federal structure and the rights of states handled in as prejudicial a manner by much stronger foreign powers.

At the heart of the multiple civil wars had always been a simple question: In which state do the people of Yugoslavia want to live—the SFRY or a successor state?13 But for a great many Yugoslavs, an answer contrary to their desires and contrary to the Yugoslav constitution was imposed from the outside. One way this was accomplished was by the EC’s September 1991 appointment of an Arbitration Commission—the Badinter Commission—to assess legal aspects of the contests over Yugoslavia. This body’s work provided a “pseudo-legal gloss to the [EC’s] opportunistic consent to the destruction of Yugoslavia demanded by Germany,” Diana Johnstone writes.14 On each of the major issues contested by the Serbian republic, the commission ruled against Serbia. Yugoslavia was “in the process of dissolution,” the commission’s notorious Opinion No. 1 stated when published on December 7, 1991. Similarly, Opinion No. 2 held that “the Serbian population in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina…[does not] have the right to self-determination,” though it “is entitled to all the rights concerned to minorities and ethnic groups under international law….” And Opinion No. 3 declared that “the [former] internal boundaries between Croatia and Serbia and between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia…[have] become frontiers protected by international law.”15 Remarkably, the commission recognized the right of republics to secede from the former Yugoslavia, and thus affixed the right of self-determination to Yugoslavia’s former administrative units; but the commission detached the right of self-determination from Yugoslavia’s peoples, and thus denied comparable rights to the new minorities now stranded within the breakaway republics. The breakaway republics themselves might be blessed with foreign recognition; or, like Serbia and Montenegro for the remainder of the decade, recognition would be withheld, and its peoples rendered effectively stateless.

From the standpoint of conflict resolution, this was a disastrous set of rulings, as the republics had been administrative units within Yugoslavia, and three of them (Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Serbia) included large ethnic minorities who strongly opposed the terms of Yugoslavia’s breakup, and who had been able to live with each other in relative peace on condition that their rights were safeguarded by a powerful federal state. Once the guarantees of the federal state were removed, it was inflammatory to deny peoples the right to choose the successor state in which they wanted to live; and the more ethnically mixed a republic or even commune, the more provocative the foreign demand that the old internal republican boundaries were sacrosanct.16 But the Badinter Commission’s rulings made perfect sense from a much different standpoint: That of prescribing an outline for Yugoslavia’s dismantlement that was in accord with the demands of the secessionist forces in Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina and their Western supporters, while ignoring the rights (and wishes) of the constituent “nations” as specified in the Yugoslav constitution, and justifying foreign interference in the civil wars as a defense of the newly independent states.

Germany in particular encouraged Slovenia and Croatia to secede, which they did on June 25, 1991; formal recognition was granted on December 23, one year to the day after 94.5 percent of Slovenes had voted in a referendum in favor of independence. EC recognition followed on January 15, 1992, as did U.S. recognition in early April, when Washington recognized Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina all at once. More provocative yet, whereas the UN admitted all three breakaway republics as member states on May 22, it withheld the admission of a successor state to the dismantled Yugoslavia for another eight-and-a-half years; the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, composed of Serbia and Montenegro, often denigrated as the “rump” Yugoslavia, was not admitted until November 1, 2000, almost four weeks after Milosevic’s ouster. In other words, the two republics within the SFRY—itself a founding member of the UN—that rejected the dismantling of the federal state had been denied the right to succeed the SFRY as well as membership within the UN for close to a decade. At this highest level of the “international community,” it would be difficult to find a more extreme case of realpolitik at work, but it was a realpolitik that assured a violent outcome—and to the victor, the spoils.

A far more aggressive U.S. policy toward Yugoslavia began in 1993, with Washington anxious to redefine NATO’s mission and to expand NATO eastward; and searching for a client among the contestants, Washington settled on the Bosnian Muslims and Alija Izetbegovic. To serve these ends the Clinton administration sabotaged a series of peace efforts between 1993 and the Dayton accords of 1995;17 encouraged the Bosnian Muslims to reject any settlement until their military position had improved; helped arm and train the Muslims and Croats to shift the balance of forces on the ground;18 and finally settled at Dayton with an agreement that imposed upon the warring factions terms that could have been had as early as 1992, but for one missing link: In 1992, a Western-managed neocolonial regime, complete with NATO serving as its military enforcer, still was not achievable.19 Now into the twelfth year after Dayton, Bosnia remains a foreign occupied, severely divided, undemocratic, and in every sense of the term—failed state.20

A similar process took place in Kosovo, where an indigenous, ethnic Albanian independence movement was captured by an ultra-nationalist faction, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), whose leaders soon recognized that, like the Bosnian Muslims, they could enlist U.S. and NATO sponsorship and military intervention by provoking Yugoslav authorities to violence and getting the incidents reported the right way. Thus in the year before NATO’s seventy-eight-day bombing war in the spring of 1999, the “KLA were responsible for more deaths in Kosovo than the Yugoslav authorities had been,” British Defense Secretary George Robertson told his Parliament.21 As was true of the Bosnian Muslim and Croat forces before their major spring and summer offensives in 1995, the KLA received covert training and supplies from the Clinton administration,22 a well-guarded secret to the Western publics then being fed lines about “Milosevic’s willing executioners” marching off to perpetrate genocide in Kosovo.

On matters of principle, neither the EU nor the United States have been consistent on secession rights. In 1991–92, they encouraged the republics of Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina to break away from Yugoslavia; the federal state was denied any right to use force to prevent them from doing so; and no one living within these republics was permitted to break away from them. And yet as recently as June 2006, the EU, United States, and UN accepted Montenegro’s right to break away from its Serbian partner; and more recently, the UN’s special envoy for Kosovo Martti Ahtisaari has supported the right of the Serbian province of Kosovo to break away from Serbia once and for all—“to be supervised for an initial period by the international community.” Calling NATO-occupied Kosovo “a unique case that demands a unique solution,” Ahtisaari reassured that Kosovo would not “create a precedent for other unresolved conflicts.” With resolution 1244, Ahtisaari reports, the “Security Council responded to Milosevic’s actions in Kosovo by denying Serbia a role in its governance, placing Kosovo under temporary UN administration and envisaging a political process designed to determine Kosovo’s future. The combination of these factors makes Kosovo’s circumstances extraordinary.”23

The UN special envoy is badly deluded. Kosovo is a NATO-occupied province in southern Serbia, following NATO’s illegal war in the spring of 1999. Kosovo’s status ought to be no different than was Kuwait’s on August 3, 1990: It is a territory taken by military force in contravention of the UN Charter, and its independence should mean above all the restoration of its sovereignty to Serbia. But as with the subsequent U.S. wars and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Security Council neither condemned NATO’s 1999 aggression nor demanded that measures be taken to remedy it, for the simple reason that three of the Council’s Permanent Five members had launched it. And in 2007, the UN’s special envoy shows not the slightest interest that Serbia entered into its war-ending treaties under the duress of a conquered state. Instead of demanding that NATO return the province to the country from which it was seized, the UN not only accepts the aggression as a fait accompli, but also affirms its legitimacy on “humanitarian” grounds. The Ahtisaari solution is a case of “commissioned power politics.”24 The only “extraordinary” circumstance is to be found in which group of states launched the war. (On the fraudulence of the “humanitarian” rationale for NATO’s war, and the inhumanitarian effects of both the war and occupation, see sections 9 and 10.)

In sum, the United States and NATO entered the Yugoslav struggles quite early and were key external factors in the initiation of ethnic cleansing, in keeping it going, and in working toward a violent resolution of the conflicts that would keep the United States and NATO relevant in Europe, and secure NATO’s dominant position in the Balkans.

2. The Role of the Serbs, Milosevic, and ‘Greater Serbia’

A key element in the myth structure holds that Milosevic incited the Serbs to violence, setting loose the genie of Serb nationalism from the bottle that had contained it under Tito. During the prosecution’s opening statement at his trial, a videotape was played of Milosevic uttering the words “No one should dare beat you” at the Hall of Culture in Pristina in April 1987. “It was that phrase…and the response of others to it that gave this accused the taste or a better taste of power, maybe the first realisation of a dream,” prosecutor Geoffrey Nice told the court. With these words Milosevic “had broken the taboo of [Tito] against invoking nationalism,” Dusko Doder and Louise Branson write, “a taboo credited with submerging ethnic hatreds and holding Yugoslavia together for more than forty years….The initial impact was catastrophic: rabid ethnic nationalism swept all regions of Yugoslavia like a disease.”25

But neither these remarks by Milosevic nor his June 28, 1989, speech on the six-hundreth anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo had anything like the characteristics imputed to them. Instead Milosevic used both speeches to appeal to multi-ethnic tolerance, accompanied by a warning against the threat posed to Yugoslavia by nationalism—“hanging like a sword over their heads all the time” (1989).26

In his 1987 speech—the words “no one should dare beat you” having been uttered in response to the news that the police had roughed up some local Serbs—Milosevic said “we do not want to divide people into Serbs and Albanians, but we must draw the line that divides the honest and progressive who are struggling for brotherhood and unity and national equality from the counterrevolution and nationalists on the other side.” Similarly in his 1989 speech, he said that “Yugoslavia is a multinational community and it can survive only under the conditions of full equality for all nations that live in it,” and nothing in either of these speeches conflicted with this sentiment—nor can quotes like these be found in the speeches and writings of Tudjman or Izetbegovic. But the standard narrative steers clear of Milosevic’s actual words, understandably, as the misrepresentation that surrounds the simple phrase “no one should dare beat you” is deeply ingrained, and repeated by the ICTY’s prosecutor, Silber and Little, Glenny, Malcolm, Judah, Doder and Branson, and a cast of thousands; also by The Guardian and the New York Times, to name but two, all of whom allude to these speeches in the inciting-Serb-nationalism mode, but almost surely never bothered to read and report their actual content.

The massive trial of Milosevic, with 295 prosecution witnesses and 49,191 pages of courtroom transcripts, failed to produce a single credible piece of evidence that Milosevic had spoken disparagingly of non-Serb “nations” or ordered any killings that might fall under the category of war crimes. But the so-called Brioni Transcript of talks that Croatian President Franjo Tudjman held with his military and political leadership on July 31, 1995, reveal Tudjman instructing his generals to “inflict such a blow on the Serbs that they should virtually disappear.”27 What followed within days was Operation Storm, a massive, well-planned military blow that made the Krajina Serbs literally disappear. Imagine the windfall that a statement such as Tudjman’s would have provided Carla Del Ponte, Geoffrey Nice, Marlise Simons, and Ed Vulliamy, had it been Milosevic who uttered a statement directly linking him to criminal activity of this magnitude. But by the summer of 1995 Tudjman was a U.S. ally, and Operation Storm was approved and aided by the United States and some of its corporate mercenaries.28

Similarly, in Alija Izetbegovic’s Islamic Declaration, first circulated in 1970 but republished in 1990 for his presidential campaign, his major theme is what he called the “incompatibility of Islam with non-Islamic systems.” “There is neither peace nor coexistence between the ‘Islamic religion’ and non-Islamic social and political institutions,” Izetbegovic argued. “Having the right to govern its own world, Islam clearly excludes the right and possibility of putting a foreign ideology into practice on its territory. There is thus no principle of secular government and the State must express and support the moral principles of religion.”29 Again, nothing ever uttered by Milosevic matches this for a program of ethno-religious intolerance. But as it was the prescription of a man who became a key U.S. client, Izetbegovic’s beliefs were ignored by the same journalists and historians for whom “no one should dare beat you” was alleged to herald the breakup of an entire country. Instead, David Rieff adopted the Bosnian Muslims as his “just cause” because, in his account, theirs was “a society committed to multiculturalism…and tolerance, and of an understanding of national identity as deriving from shared citizenship rather than ethnic identity”—and this witness-bearer claims to be referring to the “values” and “ideals” that Izetbegovic’s Bosnia would uphold!30

In the series of ICTY indictments of Milosevic et al., the charge that he was striving to produce a “Greater Serbia” ranks high among the causes of the wars. This is also the standard formula that entered into the intellectual and media narrative of cause, as expressed by Judah’s statement “that it all began with the slogan ‘All Serbs in One State’” and in an obituary in the Washington Post in March 2006, where we read again that Milosevic’s “pledge to unify all Serbs in one state turned into an ironic promise.” And in a comprehensive offering of cliché lies, we find Mark Danner in the New York Review of Books stating: “As had the Yugoslav wars, the Dayton peace sprang from the forehead of Slobodan Milosevic, the architect of Greater Serbia, the man who had built his power base by inciting and exploiting Serb nationalism.”31

Milosevic humiliated. Held like a common criminal. This is what should happen to Western leaders, the real senior mass murderers.

One serious problem with the prosecution’s theory and the premise of the establishment narrative—that Yugoslavia’s wars were the result of the “incendiary nationalism” (Marlise Simons), “blood lust” (Mark Danner), and ruthless contempt for the “mongrel races” (Ed Vulliamy) by the Serbs and Milosevic—is that Serbia proper, the alleged heartland of this “joint criminal enterprise,” was itself subject to no “ethnic cleansing” whatsoever throughout the wars, but witnessed a net inflow of refugees from other former republics. (For data on refugee flows in the former Yugoslavia, see section 9.) This dramatic fact was brought out by Milosevic in his trial, during his examination of defense witness Mihailo Markovic, a noted professor of philosophy and one of the founders of Praxis. Acknowledging the “paradox in view of all these charges” concerning “Greater Serbia” and “ethnic cleansing,” Markovic said that “Serbia still has today the same national structure that it had in the 1970s,” and that although “Serbs were expulsed from practically all the other republics, Serbia did not change.” “Why would Serbs be expelling Croatians from Croatia if they’re not expelling them from Serbia?” Markovic asked the court. “Why would Serbs be expelling Albanians from Kosovo if they’re not expelling them from Belgrade and other parts of Serbia?” Shortly thereafter, Milosevic directed much the same question back toward Markovic:

Milosevic: [I]f you have in mind that the greatest part of that Greater Serbia would be precisely the Republic of Serbia, which did not see any expulsions at all throughout the crisis, do you find it logical that Serbia should initiate expulsions from territories outside of Serbia?

Markovic: Well, I already told you it seems illogical to me.32

Obviously, these are important questions, whose answers cast doubts on a fundamental tenet of the standard narrative. If the Belgrade Serbs, as the alleged originators of the “joint criminal enterprise” to create a “Greater Serbia,” did not implement their conspiracy where they held unquestioned power, inside Serbia proper, then what is the likelihood that the prosecution’s theory for the wars has any merit? Lead prosecutor Geoffrey Nice had no solution for this “paradox.” And Marlise Simons, Mark Danner, Ed Vulliamy, David Rieff, and others have not dealt with it by any method other than yet more misleading rhetoric and strategic silence. This exchange was unreported in any Western media institution.

But in an even more devastating development in the Milosevic trial, which occurred during its defense phase, prosecutor Geoffrey Nice admitted that Milosevic’s objective of allowing Serbs to live in one state “was different from the concept of the Greater Serbia….”33 Nice was responding to questions that had been raised by amicus curiae attorney David Kay and presiding judge Patrick Robinson about the prosecution’s claim that Milosevic et al. had a plan to create a “Greater Serbia,” and what such a plan really meant—a charge that exists in each of the three indictments for Croatia, in both indictments for Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that is either asserted or implied by countless news and historical treatments of the wars. “I had the clear impression that this was an essential foundation of the Prosecution’s case,” Judge Robinson noted.34 A short while later, Judge O-Gon Kwon asked Nice to explain to the court the “difference of the Greater Serbia idea and the idea of one—all Serbs living in one state.” Nice replied:

[I]t may be that the accused’s aim was for that which could qualify as a de facto Greater Serbia….Did he find the source of his position at least overtly in [the] historical concept of Greater Serbia; no, he didn’t. His was…the pragmatic one of ensuring that all the Serbs who had lived in the former Yugoslavia should be allowed for either constitutional or other reasons to live in the same unit. That meant as we know historically from his perspective first of all that the former Yugoslavia shouldn’t be broken up….35

In this passage, Nice betrays the fact that the prosecution itself doesn’t believe its most notorious accusation against Milosevic et al., as to why Yugoslavia broke apart: That leading Serbs in Belgrade and elsewhere conspired to create a living space exclusively for Serbs, cleansed of the other ethnic groups (“Greater Serbia”); that they entered into this conspiracy by no later than August 1, 1991; and that they were willing to perpetrate any atrocity, genocide included, to execute their conspiracy. Instead, what the prosecution really believes is that the breakup of Yugoslavia was accompanied by civil wars, plain and simple; that the principal crime for which Milosevic et al. have always been held responsible among the Western powers was the crime of trying to hold Yugoslavia together, against the West’s efforts to dismantle it; and that once events beyond their control closed-off this option, they attempted to hang onto a smaller successor state established on the same principles as the larger one they had lost. That they were not striving for an “ethnically pure” Serb state was made clear by the absence of any ethnic cleansing in Serbia proper.

Of course, the prosecution would reply that once Yugoslavia had undergone the process of dismantlement—and on July 4, 1992, Opinion No. 8 of the Badinter Commission declared that as a “matter of fact,” the “process of dissolution of the SFRY referred to in Opinion No. 1…is now complete and that the SFRY no longer exists”36—any attempt by the minority Serb populations of Croatia or Bosnia to secede from the new, internationally recognized states and to join the “rump” Yugoslavia was an act of rebellion, and any aid provided by Milosevic to these rebels was interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states, aggressive, and criminal. But Badinter ran roughshod over both Yugoslavia’s constitution and fundamental principles of self-determination: The former reserved the right of secession to Yugoslavia’s constituent nations, not to its administrative units;37 and Badinter’s endorsement of the independence claims of Yugoslavia’s Slovenes, Croats, Muslims, and Macedonians, while rejecting the claims of its Serbs, ranks among the greatest and most costly exercises of the double-standard in modern times.38

Despite the allegations to the contrary, it remained the prosecution’s belief throughout the trial that the Milosevic regime’s political objective at the time of the secessions of Slovenia, Croatia, and later Bosnia-Herzegovina was to preserve the SFRY; and that if this could not be done, then as much of the old SFRY as possible should be kept within a single, unitary successor state. Indeed, this was the reason for which Milosevic’s Socialist Party had received 65 percent of the Serbian vote in December 1990, in the republic’s first multiparty elections: Not to create a “Greater Serbia,” but to preserve Yugoslavia. Until historians recognize that the ultimate crime for which the serial indictments have been brought against Milosevic et al. was the crime of trying to hold the SFRY together or a successor state on a similarly unified, federal model, they will never understand the enormity of what Nice conceded in court on August 25, 2005. As best we can tell, this startling concession to the Milosevic defense and the historical record, which amounted to the prosecution’s de facto abandonment of the main component of the ICTY’s case, has never been reported in the major English-language print media.

Furthermore, it is not even true that Milosevic fought to keep all Serbs in one state. He either supported or agreed to a series of settlements, like Brioni (July 1991), Lisbon (February 1992), Vance-Owen (January 1993), Owen-Stoltenberg (August 1993), the European Action Plan (January 1994), the Contact Group Plan (July 1994), and ultimately the Dayton Accords (November 1995)—none of which would have kept all Serbs in one state.39 He declined to defend the Croatian Serbs when they were ethnically cleansed in two related operations in May and August 1995. He agreed to an official contraction in the earlier SFRY to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (i.e., to Serbia and Montenegro—itself further shrunk with the exit of Montenegro), which in effect abandoned the Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia to their fate outside any “Greater Serbia.” His aid to Serbs in both Croatia and Bosnia was sporadic, and their leaders felt him to have been an opportunistic and unreliable ally, more concerned with getting the UN sanctions against Yugoslavia removed than making serious sacrifices for the stranded Serbs elsewhere.

In short, Milosevic struggled fitfully to defend Serbs who felt abandoned and threatened in the hostile, secessionist states of a progressively dismantled Yugoslavia; and he wanted, but did not fight very hard, to preserve a shrinking Yugoslav Federation that would have kept all the Serbs in a successor common state. For historians, journalists, and the ICTY to call this a drive for a “Greater Serbia” is Orwellian political rhetoric that transforms a weak and unsuccessful defense of a shrinking Yugoslavia into a bold and aggressive offensive to seize other peoples’ territory. It is also of interest that the clear drives of Croatian and Kosovo Albanian nationalists toward a “Greater Croatia” and “Greater Albania,” and Bosnian Muslim leader Izetbegovic’s refusal to agree to a settlement (with U.S. encouragement) in hopes that with NATO aid he could rule over all three “nations” in Bosnia, have been ignored in the standard narrative as serious causal factors in the ethnic wars of the 1990s.

It should also be clear that the assured claims of Silber and Little, Glenny, Malcolm, Judah, and Simons (and they are only a small sample from a vast universe) about who was responsible for the breakup of Yugoslavia is ideology and myth parading under the guise of history—easily confuted, but part of the standard narrative that is unchallengeable in a closed system.

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  1. Laura Silber and Allan Little, Yugoslavia, rev. ed. (New York: Penguin Books, 1997), 26; Misha Glenny, The Fall of Yugoslavia, rev. ed. (New York: Penguin Books, 1996), 33; Noel Malcolm, Bosnia, rev. ed. (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 212; Roy Gutman, introduction, A Witness to Genocide (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1993), xviii; David Rieff, “The Balkans,” Toronto Globe and Mail, July 19, 1997.
  2. Tim Judah, “Is Milosevic Planning Another Balkan War?” Scotland on Sunday, March 19, 2000; Florence Hartmann, “Bosnia,” in Roy Gutman & David Rieff, eds., Crimes of War (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1999), 50–51; Marlise Simons, “Slobodan Milosevic, 64, Former Yugoslav Leader Accused of War Crimes, Dies,” New York Times, March 12, 2006; Mark Danner, “America and the Bosnia Genocide,” New York Review of Books, December 4, 1997; Ed Vulliamy, “Profile: Mira Milosevic,” The Observer, July 8, 2001.
  3. Harold Lydall, Yugoslavia in Crisis (New York: Clarendon Press, 1989), esp. 40–71; and John R. Lampe, Yugoslavia as History, 2nd ed. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 322. In Lydall’s words, “the year 1979 was climacteric: from that year onwards, the trend of economic change [was] in almost all respects downwards” (40).
  4. Lenard Cohen and Paul Warwick, Political Cohesion in a Fragile Mosaic (Boulder: Westview Press, 1983), esp. chap. 7; here 1; 152; 157.
  5. Warren Zimmermann, “The Last Ambassador,” Foreign Affairs, March/April, 1995.
  6. Dijana Plestina, Regional Development in Communist Yugoslavia (Boulder: Westview Press, 1992), table 6.1, 180. For what these numbers represent, see n. 9, xxvii.
  7. World Development Report 1991 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), table 21, “Total external debt,” 245.
  8. Susan L. Woodward, Balkan Tragedy (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1995), esp. figure 3.3, 54.
  9. Susan L. Woodward, Socialist Unemployment (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), esp. 345–70, here 361. Also see “Unemployment Rate by Republic or Province,” 384.
  10. As Dijana Plestina sums up her study: “[E]conomic regionalism, that is, the pursuit of one’s own region’s economic interests, explains better than any other factor the Yugoslav socialist regime’s overall failure in narrowing regional economic inequalities.” Regional Development in Communist Yugoslavia, 173. She adds that by 1990, the disparity in per capita income between Slovenia and Kosovo had reached as high as 8:1.
  11. Robert M. Hayden, Blueprints for a House Divided (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999), 27–52.
  12. Diana Johnstone, Fools’ Crusade (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2002), 24.
  13. The logic of the constitutional crisis that led to Yugoslavia’s violent breakup is best exemplified by the oft-quoted, oft-misrepresented, and perhaps apocryphal quip attributed to a Macedonian political figure: “Why should I be a minority in your State, when you can be a minority in mine?”
  14. Johnstone, Fools’ Crusade, 36–40.
  15. Perhaps the most accessible copy of the Arbitration (or Badinter) Commission’s Opinions is to be found within the electronic archives of the European Journal of International Law 3, no. 1 (1992), and 4, no. 1 (1993), http:// www.ejil.org.
  16. According to Yugoslavia’s 1981 census, out of a total population of 22.4 million, Slovenia was 90.5 percent Slovene; “Serbia proper” 85.4 percent Serb; Croatia 75.1 percent Croat and 11.5 percent Serbs; Montenegro 68.5 percent Montenegrin; Macedonia 67 percent Macedonian; and Bosnia- Herzegovina 39.5 percent Muslim, 32 percent Serb, and 18.4 percent Croat. The autonomous region of Kosovo was 77.4 percent Albanian; and Vojvodina 54.4 percent Serb and 19 percent Hungarian. See Cohen and Warwick, Political Cohesion in a Fragile Mosaic, appendix A, “The Ethnic Composition of Yugoslavia,” table A.1, 164.
  17. See the invaluable memoir of David Owen, Balkan Odyssey (New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1995).
  18. On covert aid to the Croatian and Muslim forces, see the report by the House Committee on International Relations (a.k.a. the “Iranian Green Light Subcommittee”), Final Report of the Select Subcommittee to Investigate the United States Role in Iranian Arms Transfers to Croatia and Bosnia, U.S. House of Representatives (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1997); and Cees Wiebes, Intelligence and the War in Bosnia, 1992–1995 (London: Lit Verlag, 2003), esp. 157–218.
  19. NATO remained the sole military enforcer of Dayton from January 1996 through December 2005, when it was joined by a European Union force (EUFOR).
  20. See David Chandler, Bosnia (Sterling, VI: Pluto Press, 1999); David Chandler, Empire in Denial (Ann Arbor: Pluto Press, 2006).
  21. George Robertson, Testimony before the Select Committee on Defense, U.K. House of Commons, March 24, 1999, par. 391.
  22. On covert aid to the KLA, see, e.g., Ian Bruce, “Serbs used CIA phone to call in convoy raid,” The Herald (Glasgow), April 19, 1999; Tom Walker & Aidan Laverty, “CIA aided Kosovo guerrilla army,” Sunday Times, March 12, 2000; “NATO Faces Combat With KLA Forces Which the US Trained and Armed,” Defense and Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, February, 2001; Peter Beaumont et al., “‘CIA’s bastard army ran riot in Balkans,’” The Observer, March 11, 2001; James Bissett, “We created a monster,” Toronto Globe and Mail, July 31, 2001.
  23. Martti Ahtisaari, Report of the Special Envoy of the Secretary- General on Kosovo’s future status (S/2007/168), March 26, 2007, par. 5; par. 15.
  24. See Johan Galtung et al., “Ahtisaari’s Kosovo proposal,” Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, May 11, 2007.
  25. Milosevic Trial Transcript, February 12, 2002, 19; Dusko Doder & Louise Branson, Milosevic (New York: The Free Press, 1999), 3–4; also 43ff.
  26. See “Speech by Slobodan Milosevic in Kosovo Polje,” BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, April 28, 1987; and “Slobodan Milosevic addresses rally at Gazimestan,” BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, June 30, 1989.
  27. For our reference to the Brioni Transcripts of July 31, 1995, see Milosevic Trial Transcript, June 26, 2003, 23200 (lines 1–10).
  28. Ken Silverstein quotes a writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, who noted that as of early 1995, the Croatian military “consisted of criminal rabble, a bunch of fucking losers. MPRI [i.e., the Virginiabased Military Professional Resources Incorporated] turned them into something resembling an army.” Private Warriors (New York: Verso, 2000), 173.
  29. Alija Izetbegovic, Islamic De-claration, 1970, 1990, 30, as posted to the Web site of the Balkan Repository Project, http://www .balkanarchive.org.yu.
  30. David Rieff, Slaughterhouse, 2nd ed. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 10.
  31. Daniel Williams & R. Jeffrey Smith, “Crusader for Serb Honor Was Defiant Until the End,” Washington Post, March 12, 2006; Mark Danner, “Endgame in Kosovo,” New York Review of Books, April 7, 1999.
  32. Milosevic Trial Transcript, November 16, 2004, 33460–63.
  33. See Milosevic Trial Transcript, August 25, 2005, 43223ff; here 43225, lines 9–10.
  34. Milosevic Trial Transcript, August 25, 2005, 43224, lines 11–12.
  35. Milosevic Trial Transcript, August 25, 2005, 43227, line 6 through 43228, line 3, emphases added.
  36. For the Badinter sources, see note 15, above.
  37. According to the opening words of the Preamble to the 1974 Constitution of the SFRY, “The nations of Yugoslavia, preceding from the right of every nation to self-determination, including the right to secession, on the basis of their will freely expressed in the common struggle of all nations and nationalities in the National Liberation War and Socialist Revolution…” (emphases added). See Snezana Trifunovska, ed., Yugoslavia Through Documents (Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1994), 224–33, here 224. No fragment among this Constitution’s 10 principles or 406 articles contradicted what its preamble unambiguously proclaimed, and earlier constitutions (e.g., 1963 and 1971) had as well: That the “subjects” to whom the rights of self-determination and secession belonged were explicitly defined as nations—real flesh and bone people, not republican units in the federation—of which Yugoslavia recognized six equally: Croats, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Bosnian Muslims, Serbs, and Slovenes.
  38. See Peter Radan, The Break-up of Yugoslavia and International Law (New York: Routledge, 2002), 216–22. Here we add that the Slovene and Croat declarations of independence of June 25, 1991, each separately affirmed the “right of the Slovene nation to self-determination” and the “right of the Croatian nation to self-determination.” Thus, as the two triggers for Yugoslavia’s breakup, this fact underscored the belief then prevalent in Yugoslavia that the legal subject to whom the rights of self-determination and secession belonged was the nations, and not, as the Badinter Commission would later rule, the republics (i.e., mere administrative units within the SFRY). See Trifunovska, Yugoslavia Through Documents, (a) Republic of Slovenia Assembly Declaration of Independence, Ljubljana, June 25, 1991, 286; and (b) Constitutional Decision on the Sovereignty and Independence of the Republic of Croatia, Zagreb, June 25, 1991, 299.
  39. See, e.g., Owen, Balkan Odyssey; Woodward, Balkan Tragedy; Lenard J. Cohen, Broken Bonds, 2nd. ed. (Boulder: Westview Press, 1995); and Steven L. Burg & Paul S. Shoup, The War in Bosnia-Herzegovina (Armonk: M. E. Sharpe, 1999).

The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff we publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for our website, which will get you an email notification for everything we publish.

Edward S. Herman was a professor emeritus of finance at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, who wrote extensively on economics, political economy, and the media. Among his books are Corporate Control, Corporate Power (Cambridge University Press, 1981), The Real Terror Network (South End Press, 1982), and, with Noam Chomsky, The Political Economy of Human Rights (South End Press, 1979), and Manufacturing Consent (Pantheon, 2002). David Peterson is an independent journalist and researcher based in Chicago. 

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Victor Laszlo : Role Model for Assange, Manning and Snowden


[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his writer's favorite film of all time, right ahead of Seven Days In May and JFK is of course Casablanca. The film had it all, from WW2 suspense to old fashioned romance... with a good dose of twists and turns. In the film Paul Henreid plays Victor Laszlo, the Czech resistance leader, who has already escaped and eluded the Gestapo a few times. Laszlo has  been tortured on more than one occasion, yet told them nothing important. He comes to Casablanca in search of a way to leave North Africa and go to the USA to continue his important work. In a powerful scene near the end of the film Laszlo and Humphrey Bogart's lead character Richard Blaine (AKA Rick of Rick's Cafe Americain)  discuss Laszlo's work:

Rick:  Did you ever wonder if all of this is worth it?

Victor: You might as well question why we breathe. If we stop breathing we will die. We stop fighting our enemies and the world will die!

How many times those of us who swim against the current of popular belief have asked ourselves questions like that. How many times our close friends and loved ones may have asked us " Hey, you're not getting paid for what you're doing and it's getting you nowhere. Why not just chuck it and live a life?" The answer usually comes from deep within us. Look at the work of Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Eric Snowden. These three not only risked their entire careers but one did jail time, and all three face false charges of treason in their quest for truth and justice. When the US government, in league with their international lackeys, has committed so many war crimes and crimes against humanity, those three, like Victor Laszlo, jumped into the fray and told the truth. Remember the horrific and disgraceful Apache helicopter massacre of July, 2007? That was when gun crews were heard on tape firing on a group of unarmed Iraqi men ( with two Reuters journalists among them) as if it was some fucking video game! From ten to eighteen men were killed, and two children sitting in a car were badly wounded! Yet, the release of this film was seen by US authorities as a breach of what, national security? If Victor Laszlo had access to such information against the illegal occupiers of his country, he would have done the same thing.

I asked a few colleagues and guests of my radio show as to why they write and rally others for the cause of defying this empire:

Paul Edwards, filmmaker and columnist: I write because it's what I can do to fight the sickening fraud, deceit and injustice and crime of my own vicious and corrupt country: America!

Peter Koenig, geopolitical analyst, lecturer and writer: Yes, we are surrounded by what some call the Devil's Minions. ... this should give us more energy to NOT LET GO! Do we have the stamina to bring sufficient conscience into the war arena to slowly turn that ship around?

Bob Koehler, Anti war and anti empire columnist : Activism isn't about shaking your fist at the bad guys. It's about co-creating the future. It's participatory evolution. To the extent that I listen to my soul, I am an activist.

Edward Curtin, professor, historian and anti imperialist writer- It is the call of my conscience, a spiritual necessity. Or call it simply my human response to violence and injustice. I could not live with myself if I did not respond.

Patrice Greanville, Media & geopolitical analyst: Revulsion.  The US empire represents what organised, sociopathic selfishness—capitalism—will do on a global scale when given favorable circumstances. As a virulent plutocracy, America is and has been for a long time the worst enemy of peace, justice and democracy, and a scourge not only on humans and innumerable helpless creatures, but the lifegiving planet itself, which it sees only as a resource to endless wealth and power. All wrapped up in a monumental cocoon of hypocrisy. Minimum decency obligates us to resist.

It seems like Americans always look for leaders to speak for them in every such manner. NO, what we need here during these terrible times, are more regular folks, like those quoted above, to speak up and  speak out for themselves about the need for drastic change. Why drastic? Well, as with WW2 Europe, the forces of evil , with their lust for greed and power, are ' Too Big To Succeed' and must be thwarted. Victor Laszlo , Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Eric Snowden were not schooled to become activists. They chose to!!

—PA Farruggio

Palm Sunday 2019



Philip A Farruggio  is contributing editor for The Greanville Post. He is also frequently posted on Global Research, Nation of Change, World News Trust and Off Guardian sites. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen and a graduate of Brooklyn College, class of 1974. Since the 2000 election debacle Philip has written over 300 columns on the Military Industrial Empire and other facets of life in an upside down America. Philip has an internet interview show, "It's the Empire... Stupid" with producer Chuck Gregory, and can be reached at paf1222@bellsouth.net

The Russian Peace Threat examines Russophobia, American Exceptionalism and other urgent topics

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