A massive brawl that occurred between Croat and Muslim students in the Bosnian city of Mostar is blamed on Wahabis, suggests the report by the NGO Croatia Libertas.
“It is about groups that have a radical interpretation of Islam and influence the youth. The attacks have spread on all high schools in Mostar,” says Leo Plockinic, representative from Croati Libertas.
Plockinic says that the organized Wahabis are armed with light weapons.
Police spokeswoman Lejla Trivun said that 5 teens have been arrested over the weekend.
She said that on Sunday evening students gathered on both sides of the Boulevard, a street that demarcates Croatian and Islamic part of Mostar. Youngsters were gathering rocks with an intent to start the violence.
Wahabis have been involved in a string of attacks across Bosnia. Croatians have been targeted in particular. Last week, two Wahabis sought to enter a Catholic church at wee hours seeking to “silence” the church bells.
November 25, 2008
Serbs, Lies, and Videotape
by Julia Gorin and Lev Gorin
June 19, 2005Links open in a new window.
Recently, Hannity & Colmes, of the “usually less easily fooled than other networks” Fox News Channel, treated us masses to a “genocide” video that’s just been handed over to the Hague’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Pouring even more gasoline onto the carefully cultivated and long accepted caricature of the evil Serb, Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes were of one mind when Hannity called the actions of the Bosnian Serb soldiers in the video “pure evil” and “evil incarnate.”
Without being wrong about evil on display in the video, the network had been had. The circulation of, and the outrage surrounding, this tape — especially high right now in guilt-ridden Serbia itself — is a sign that things have gone from bad to worse in the prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic.
Tsk, tsk, Fox.Â SomebodyÂ hasn’t been following the Milosevic trial. But since that somebody will look silly only to the six or so Americans whoÂ haveÂ been following it, there’s no risk in spouting the Hague Tribunal’sÂ PR. PR because this trial is supposed to justify the new International Criminal Court’s (ICC)Â existence and convince the Bush administration of its utility, not its futility.Â Â
There’s a reason for the conspicuous three-year near silence by all major media on this oh so momentousÂ Second Nuremberg,as it was billed â€” a silence broken only one or two days a year, when they’re finally able to offer up a damning piece of evidence that will perpetuate the version of events we’ve been sold from the beginning.
What even the most sporadic trial observer would know is that the Court has spent the last three years discovering what many of us knew in 1999: Milosevic was “a thug whose brutality played into the terrorists’ hands,” as former Boston Herald columnist Don Feder has aptly and repeatedly explained, but he was no exterminator. Working backwards to make the crime fit the punishment, however, the ICTY has had to redefine “genocide.”Â Thus, Milosevic faces charges of genocide even while the extermination of more than 100,000 black Moslem and Christian men, women and children by Arabic Moslems in Sudanstill hasn’t been granted the label. But then, the exterminators there aren’t white Christian Serbs.
The 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 7,000 Moslem males was inexcusable, but it wasn’t genocide. If you would, imagine a scenario in which a single event is manipulated to lend credence to an ocean of lies. Imagine Srebrenica. Here it is in April 1993, from someone who was there. Haris Nezirovic was a Bosnian journalist writing for the weekly “Slobodna Bosna” (“Free Bosnia”), andÂ this for the UK Independent:
“The UN hopes to evacuate 15,000 people over the next few days. The Moslem command defending Srebrenica claims the UN operations amount to complicity in Serbian ‘ethnic cleansing’. Privately, the commanders add, they believe that the Serbs will not launch an all-out attack as long as refugees are there. More importantly, they say that without the civilians the defense of the town would crumble. They believe that Moslem fighters are better motivated when their families are there behind them …
“What this means in practice is thousands of civilians will have to remain in full range of Serbian guns: children with scabies who cannot be treated because of a lack of medicine; the elderly who are so weak from hunger that they cannot fight for air-dropped scraps of food; and mothers who feed their babies with warm water because nothing else is available …
“When the first UN trucks came last month, they were supposed to evacuate only a few wounded, but hundreds rushed on board. When the next convoy came on 28 March, thousands stampeded towards the vehicles.
“‘We’ll screw up those convoys,’ said Naser Oric, the local Moslem commander … When another convoy came on 30 March, masses of civilians surrounded the trucks but were kept back by the commanders’ personal guard–a group of 30 foul-mouthed soldiers suspected of robberies and other crimes. During the night, the guards accepted bribes in German marks to let people on board. Many refugees on the UN list for evacuation were beaten up. Witnesses said the deputy commander slapped and kicked women and pushed children from the trucks.
“On 4 April the local [Moslem] police used fire hoses to keep people away from the UN vehicles. Jets of water knocked down anyone who approached. Soldiers climbed on trucks and fired into the air …
“Ever more frequently, you hear civilians say, ‘Our soldiers are worse than Chetniks, the Serbs.’”
Sarajevo, meanwhile, “never seemed very interested in the fate of…Srebrenica,” says Radio Netherlands editorÂ James Kliphuis, “except to list it as [a] supreme example of the outside world’s lack of interest in what happened to the Bosnian Moslems.” AstatementÂ entered intoÂ testimony at the ICTYÂ in Feb. 2004, by UN Commander in Bosnia from 1992 to 1993 Philippe Morillon, read: “The aim of the [Bosnian] presidency from the very outset was to ensure the intervention of the international forces for their own benefit, and this is one of the reasons why they never were inclined to engage in talks.”
That presidency refers toÂ Alijah Izetbegovic, who was beingÂ investigatedÂ by the ICTY for war crimesÂ (which the Court revealed only upon his death in 2003), and whoÂ was part of theNazi SS Handzar divisionÂ during WWII, which butchered Serbs and the ethnic minorities of Yugoslavia. He alsoÂ authored “The Islamic Declaration”,Â in which heÂ stated: “TheÂ shortestÂ definition of the Islamic order defines it asÂ unity ofÂ faithÂ and law,Â upbringing and force, ideals and interests, spiritualÂ community and State … aÂ MoslemÂ generally does not existÂ as anÂ individual…Â There can be noÂ peace or coexistence between ‘the IslamicÂ faith’ and non-Islamic social and political institutions.”
Pursuant to Izetbegovic’s end game, writes Michigan-based Balkans writer and historian Carl Savich, “the Bosnian Moslem faction engaged in propaganda, staged massacres, killed Bosnian Moslem civilians to garner sympathy [e.g. the Markale Marketplace bombings in 1994 and 95, and firing mortars from hospitals to elicit return attacks] and used civilian hostages or shields to further its propaganda of victimization.”
The widely cited 2002 official Dutch report on Srebrenica seems to confirm the use of such tactics. As BBC.comÂ reportedÂ that year, the Dutch Government “pins part of the blame on the Bosnian Moslems themselves, saying the Bosnian army had provoked attacks.”
Srebrenica Moslems “ravaged and ransacked neighbouring ethnic Serb villages,” continues Kliphuis, “killing and maiming the residents, who were often too old to offer any resistance….The Serb villages were then set on fire.” After his role in killing up to 2,000 Serbs, Oric himself fled Srebrenica just before it was stormed by the Bosnian Serb army.
The Serbs separated women and children from the men before executing the 7,000 that we hear about–the men killed without being distinguished as civilians or POWs, making Srebrenica a massacre, something the Serbs admit.
By deeming Srebrenica a genocide, the court at the Hague hasexpanded the term’s legal definition, so that now, not only do 7,000 bodies qualify (regardless of how many belong to armed fighters), not only does there not have to be genocidal intent, but it doesn’t even have to involve eliminating the child-bearing sex or the offspring of the ethnic group in question. As a BBC.com report concluded, “the definition may now be applied to conflict in a small community, where local atrocities can be labeled as genocide.”
The 2002 Dutch report, meanwhile, goes on to state that no evidence “suggests the involvement of the Serbian authorities inBelgrade,” with principalÂ responsibility attributed to fugitive Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic.
Which brings us to the Milosevic trial. Like a Moliere farce, within months of 19 Moslem hijackers (some of whomÂ fought in Bosnia) attacking the United States, the trial of Slobodan Milosevic began at the Hague in the Netherlands, today a country whereÂ artistsÂ andÂ members of parliamentÂ are hunted down for practicing freedom of speech (e.g. Theo van Gogh, Geert Wilders, Ayaan Hirsi Ali) — by the co-religionists of those on whose behalf Milosevic is being prosecuted.
If one wonders why, 364 days out of 365, our media organs send us no word from this “Nuremberg II” — incidentally a laughing stock among legal experts (deputy prosecutor Geoffrey Nice had to reprimand reporters for knocking the prosecution’s performance and flimsy evidence)–the following trial developments, easily gleaned from a casual perusal of wire copy or European press, may help explain:
The first week of the trial in particular was marked by one embarrassment after another for the prosecution, starting with the testimony ofÂ Ratomir Tanic, who was supposedly present when the genocide order was given but who under cross-examination couldn’t even say where in the presidential palace Milosevic’s office was located â€” and eventually turned out to have beenÂ paidÂ by British intelligence to testify. Then there was a witness namedÂ Halit Barani, whom Milosevic asked if he knew that KLA commanders were to assassinate all Albanians loyal toSerbia. BaraniÂ revealedÂ that he was sympathetic to the KLA, had met with numerous commanders, then indicted the entire Albanian population of Kosovo: “The KLA was born from within the people, to protect parents, brothers and sisters.”
A 2002 BBC wireÂ reportÂ related Albanian “farmer” Agim Zeqiri’stestimonyÂ that Serb forces burned down his village and killed members of his family. Upon cross-examination, when the proceedings brought to light that his village of Celina was harboring and supporting Albanian rebels, Zeqiri claimed to feel too ill to continue, but “did acknowledge that the KLA had used the village as a source of provisions and that at least 300 members of the KLA were based there.”
Another witness, Fehim Elshani, was actuallyÂ rebukedÂ by the now deceased presiding judge Richard May, when he refused to answer Milosevic’s questions at all. In the end, he testified that he did not know of any KLA crimes, while admitting that his son was KLA. Elshani, Zeqiri and another “farmer”, Halil Morina — whoÂ claimedÂ to have no knowledge of any KLA presence in his village of Landovica (where after the war a monument was erected to the town’s fallen KLA soldiers) — frequently avoided eye contact with Milosevic as he cross-examined them.
The three-judge panel actually ruled in favor of Milosevic’s objections to admitting testimony from chief Kosovo war crimes investigator Kevin Curtis because of the irrelevance of “evidence” composed entirely of “repeating stories he had heard from others,” the AP reported. When the prosecution’s intelligence analyst Stephen Spargo detailed through maps the routes taken by 800,000 or so deported or fleeing Albanians in 1999, Milosevic asked whether he knew that 100,000 Serbs left Kosovo along with everyone else once NATO started bombing. Spargo answered that he “hadn’t been assigned to document Serb displacements.” Naturally. In Kosovo, Milosevic continued, since there were 10 Albanians to every Serb, proportionally speaking, more Serbs than Albanians fled Kosovo–casting doubt on the forced-deportation argument that theÂ Clintongovernment helped craft for our consumption.
Milosevic scored points early on when heÂ showedÂ the court an Albanian map depicting Greater Albania, which included southeastÂ MontenegroÂ , southernÂ SerbiaÂ , westernÂ Macedoniaand parts of northernÂ GreeceÂ in addition to Kosovo–a long-harbored dream of many inÂ AlbaniaÂ and Kosovo. It goes without saying that the American people were not shown this map of Greater Albania as they were being sold a story of Milosevic’s push for a “Greater Serbia.”
Meanwhile, theÂ forensic evidenceÂ at theÂ RacakÂ “massacre,” our pretext for bombing our historical ally whose people saved 500 downedÂ U.S.Â pilots in WWII, disproved that a massacre had taken place. And virtually every Albanian-rumored “mass grave” in Kosovo turned up empty, as Wall St. Journal‘sÂ Daniel Pearl wasÂ findingÂ a few years before Moslems killed him inÂ PakistanÂ .
The first Western leader to appear at the trial was Lord Paddy Ashdown, former head ofÂ EnglandÂ ’s Liberal Democrat Party and current UN High Representative inÂ Bosnia. Ashdown was also the first witness toÂ admitÂ that the KLA fighters were a terrorist organization whichÂ YugoslaviaÂ was fighting.
Eastern European and Balkan affairs writer Neil Clark summed up the trial in a UK GuardianÂ articleÂ of Feb. 2004 (the month the prosecution wrapped up its two-year case): Â “Not only has the prosecution signally failed to prove Milosevic’s personal responsibility for atrocities committed on the ground, the nature and extent of the atrocities themselves has also been called into question.”
Without a smoking gun linking Milosevic to crimes in Kosovo (widely anticipated to be an easier indictment to make stick thanCroatiaÂ andÂ BosniaÂ , where local Serbian leaders were in command), the Tribunal gave prosecutors the green light to tack on charges related toÂ CroatiaÂ and Bosnia. It was a move that chief prosecutor Carla Del PonteÂ initially said the prosecution wouldn’t pursue, given that that conflict was closed with the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords, which the Clinton administration hosted and for which the administration hailed Milosevic as a force for peace and stability in the Balkans.
Going ahead with the BosniaÂ charges, then, the prosecution brought in the UN Commander Philipe Morillon in February of last year, his testimony meant to tie Milosevic to Srebrenica. Giving instead unwelcomeÂ testimonyÂ that Milosevic had headed off an initial attack on Srebrenica’s Moslems, Morillon said he had asked Milosevic in 1993 to intervene with the Bosnian Serb government to prevent a potential massacre in Srebrenica, which Milosevic did, convincing the Serbs to halt their offensive so the UN could set up a safe haven. Morillon,Â whose residence was shelledÂ by Bosnian Moslems during the war, was the one to set up the safe haven–but he failed to demilitarize it, enabling the Bosnian Moslem commander Naser Oric to turn the enclave into his military base of operations, from which he launchedattacksÂ on Serbs.
Morillon, who saw the exhumed remains of tortured, mutilated, and executed Bosnian Serb civilians and soldiers, alsoÂ saidÂ that Oric’s forces engaged in “attacks during Orthodox holidays [including Christmas Eve] and destroyed villages, massacring all the inhabitants. This created a degree of hatred that was quite extraordinary…”
If there was a clear guilty party, and a clear victim on behalf of whom support, and later war, by the United States was warranted, logic demands an explanation as to how it can be that more than a year into the proceedings, the Court haltingly, quietly decided it had to issue warrants for, and try,Â CroatsÂ andAlbanianÂ andÂ Bosnian MoslemsÂ for war crimes as well, making the “victims” guilty too. Nasir Oric, who didn’t take prisoners, was ultimately indicted–though his indictment wasÂ notÂ made public. (There are videotapes of Oric’sÂ atrocities; as well, images of Bosnians and Albanians victoriouslyÂ holding upÂ orsteppingÂ on disembodied Serb heads are viewable.)
And yet even in those once- or twice-a-year “updates” onÂ the HagueÂ Tribunal by our major newspapers and networks, the only graphic details we’re permitted to know of and judge are of Serbian crimes. It’s a silence that should be deafening to any American patriot. When, for the sake of context, mentioning Bosnian Moslem acts becomes unavoidable, such acts are referred to as “attacks”, but not “slaughters”, “massacres”, “atrocities”, “crimes against humanity” or, perish the thought, “genocide” or “ethnic cleansing”, even if in this case intentÂ waspresent. Such inflammatory language, after all, is reserved for Serbs. “Revenge killings”, the term that continues to be used to describe AlbanianÂ murdersÂ of Serbs in Kosovo (includingoctogenarians) and that could easily describe what the Serbs did in Srebrenica, remains the exclusive privilege of the Balkans’ Moslems.
Americans don’t hear about the ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Srebrenica, just as they didn’t hear much about theÂ ethnic cleansing by CroatiaÂ of up to half a million Serbs. Anyone looking for the truth about the Balkans is labeled “pro-Serb”, “anti-Moslem”, or a victim of “Serbian propaganda” (try and find that in this country). Meanwhile, even the truest Bosnian Moslem victims, genuinely “believing themselves the virtuous victims of ‘aggression’ and ‘genocide’,” writes Washington-based blogger Nebojsa Malic, are “blinded to Izetbegovic’s hateful ideology of domination that toreÂ BosniaÂ apart.”
SerbiaÂ has been experiencing a uniquely weird national phenomenon of late. Tired of being a pariah nation, whether that status is deserved or not, the Serbs are putting themselves through a sort of self-punishment. Wanting to be allowed back into the international fold of “decent” nations, they desperately want their government to just fall in line with any Western demands, and they want Milosevic convicted, so they can finally put the 90s behind them. To that end, many Serbs alternate between practicing self-censorship (it’s politically incorrect in Serbia today to defend or explain Serb actions of the 90s), and self-deception, wherein Serbs manage to convince themselves that the world is right and they were the bad guy of the 1990s, themselves chiefly to blame for the civil wars that destroyed their country. In other words, the Serbs are betraying their own history. Perhaps the first intimation that this would come was a NY Times op-ed in 1999, written by a Serbian woman who said that although the numbers in Kosovo aren’t panning out, even if a single Albanian was killed excessively, her country deserved what it got.
It’s gotten so that in January 2004, the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) had to issue aÂ statementÂ disputing a self-blaming Belgrade report on mass graves in Kosovo: “Some media reports have quoted a senior Belgrade official as stating that there are 198 mass graves in Kosovo. The Office on Missing Persons and Forensics (OMPF) would like to categorically state that no evidence has been provided to OMPF regarding existence of any mass graves in Kosovo. Such unfounded statements reflect a lack of sensitivity to an issue that is extremely emotive and causes considerable anguish for all affected families.”
In the meantime, the authentic mass graves that are beingÂ foundcontain Serb bodies–presumed to be those of civilians missing since 1998 and thought to be kidnapped by the KLA, as BBC.com reported in March. “If confirmed, this would be the second such find in a month after 24 bodies were found in a cave” in February, with wrecked cars thrown on top of them, according to local media.
The “Hannity & Colmes” hosts said that it seemed whoever the Serb was that offered up the Srebrenica tape to the Court apparently had a “bout of conscience.” But if one knows anything about the way things work in the Balkans now, the more likely story is that someone was just looking to get paid, and the easiest way to do that today is to help push the old story.
Offering a glimpse into the Serbian state of mind, along with a hope for reconciliation withÂ AmericaÂ , is a letter from Aleksandar Kis, ofÂ Vrsac,Â Serbia:
“In my country today it is almost illegal to say that we are right. Sometimes when I wake up, I believe that I live inÂ AlbaniaÂ orÂ Croatia. Even our own media are anti-Serbic! Only few media are free to comment anything, others are under democratic censorship. …
“You see, there are less than 2-3% Serbs in Kosovo comparing to pre-war numbers, but there are 100,000 Albanians inÂ Belgrade. In my hometown, I go to Albanian-held bakery …
“InÂ Serbia, we have few free media, of which one is ‘Srpski Nacional’ newspaper that was supporting Bush campaign last year, calling for Serbs to influence their relatives inÂ USAÂ to vote for Bush. This paper is trying to tell Serbs thatÂ USAÂ is no longer foe and aggressor. [I hope] to achieve that Star Spangled Banner isn’t a symbol of oppression for us anymore … We never consideredÂ USAÂ as evil. Strangely for Europeans, we more liked Nixon and Reagan than Kennedy. I want to say, we consideredÂ USAÂ a country ‘across the lake’. We don’t understand what happened with our relationship.”
Trying to improve that relationship, SerbiaÂ hasÂ offeredÂ a battalion to assistÂ U.S.Â troops in Kabul. But who will assistÂ SerbiaÂ with the terror haven that is Kosovo? Certainly not those pushing for the province’s independence, something that would be a key nail in the free world’s coffin once peacekeepers, now acting as our eyes and ears there, have to leave.
As the world adeptly looks the other way, not only is cultural genocide taking place and history being perverted, but the international meddlers are capitalizing precisely on the public’s disinterest in the Balkans, officially establishing an Islamic gangster state in Europe as our exit strategy (read: escape strategy).
The meddlers include the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Crisis Group, a number of Congressmen, most of the Clinton-era State Department — now working for quasi-governmental institutes — and Wesley Clark. ClarkÂ warnedÂ in a February Wall St. Journal op-ed that “a violent collision may occur by year-end” if we don’t again give the Albanians what they want — and advocated doing just that. After all, a violent collision would keep his “successful war” — as he spent all of election year billing it in contrast toÂ IraqÂ — in the spotlight, so he wants to close the book on Kosovo as soon as possible. Besides, he alreadyÂ promisedÂ his erstwhile campaign donors, the National Albanian American Council, that “Kosova” would be independent, using the purposeful Albanian mispronunciation of the Serbian word as his old boss had. In the Journal piece, Clark even suggested pummeling the Serbs again ifÂ BelgradeÂ got in the way (since it’s easier than fighting Albanian terrorists).
So that Americans don’t start connecting any obvious dots, two things must remain obscured as the Milosevic verdict nears and as the push for Kosovo independence goes full throttle this year: the al QaedaÂ connectionÂ to Bosnia andÂ Kosovo, and the ever-presentÂ atrocitiesÂ against Serbs.
The broadcasting of the Srebrenica video was actually an opening salvo in this campaign, whether the Fox News Channel is aware of it or not (the hosts certainly are not, but if the network is, it’s an ominous sign). Yesterday Fox announced Wesley Clark, whose Albanian friends are promising war against NATO and UN forces if there is no independence for Kosovo, as its newest military and foreign affairs analyst. The channel that’s supposed to function as a deprogrammer for the public’s media-produced minds, has itself become part of the machine.
Understandably, for Sean Hannity the video broadcast offered a rare chance to throw a bone to the Moslem world — precisely the purpose the Serbs have been serving for the rest of the globe all along. (Because somehow, even while atrocities across the planet are indeed brought to us by Moslems, in a bizarre twist from the trend, we found a singular, exceptional case not of Moslems waging a jihad, but of secularÂ EuropeÂ ’s religious misfits doing so, the Orthodox Christian Serbs.)
Serbs are the universal punching bag; there are no repercussions for anything one might say about them. Serb concerns are routinely trivialized, their perspectives dismissed as whining or self-serving. When, in the midst of our 1999 offensive on Yugoslavia, a friend calling in to a talk radio show dared imply that Serbs weren’t responsible for the Markale Marketplace bombings, she was instantly reprimanded by the incredulous hostess: “Are you defending theÂ SERBS?!”
The Serbs have been “targeted by propaganda of unprecedented proportions accusing them of Nazi-like evil,” writes Malic (recall former CNN reporter Christiane AmanpourÂ showingÂ us a funeral she said was for two Moslem babies killed by a Serb sniper but who turned out to be Serbian babies killed by a Moslem sniper). If there has been hesitation from Serbian authorities, whether in helping to hunt down wanted war criminals or officially admitting that Srebrenica was a massacre, it’s because they are “rightly afraid it would be considered an admission of the fabrications as well,” Malic adds.
With the videotape that’s being circulated now, there is a renewed rehashing of Serb wickedness, its pitch highest inSerbiaÂ itself where, Mr. Kis reports, all media are pointing an accusing finger at Milosevic, the country and the Serbian people in general. One law professor on national TV said the execution showed the “collective guilt” of the Serbian people.
As the ten-year anniversary of Srebrenica approaches this July 11th, we can expect to see a sensational flurry of Serb vilification — again. It’ll be how we know things must be going really badly for the Tribunal, which desperately requires a new wave of shocking images so that the catastrophe that is the International Criminal Tribunal for the formerÂ YugoslaviaÂ won’t start looking like a colossal waste of time and money, and the ICC can seem to have a reason to exist. They’ll try to win in the court of public emotion the case Â they’re losing in the court of foregone conclusion.
We won’t be hearing much about all the Bosnian charities being monitored orÂ raidedÂ for funding terrorism, or about the Bosnian who was one of theÂ mastermindsÂ behind the Madrid bombing, or about the six Algerian-born Bosnian citizens held at Guantanamo for planning to blow up the American and British embassies in Sarajevo (NY Times, 10/21/04), or about Bosnia issuing passports to Osama bin Laden and his second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri, who hasÂ operatedÂ camps and WMD factories throughout Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Bosnia. Nor will we hear that the terrorists who carried out a spate of suicide attacks in Iraq last August, including one at the UN headquarters that killed 22, wereÂ trainedin Bosnia, or that al Qaeda’s top Balkans operative,Â al-Zawahiri’s brother Mohammed, had a high position in the KLA. We’ll never know thatÂ Bosnia today isÂ the “one-stop shop close to Europe” for all the terrorism needs — weapons, money, documents — of Chechen and Afghani fighters passing through Europe before heading to Iraq.
Three weeks into our 78-day bombing ofÂ BelgradeÂ , an Indian UN commander inÂ Bosnia, General Satish Nambiar, gave aÂ speechin New DelhiÂ saying, “Portraying the Serbs as evil and everybody else as good was not only counter-productive but also dishonest. According to my experience, all sides were guilty but only the Serbs would admit that they were no angels, while the others would insist that they were. With 28,000 forces under me and with constant contacts with UNHCR and the International Red Cross officials, we did not witness any genocide beyond killings and massacres on all sides.”
Starting with the elder President Bush and escalating under Clinton, we consistently abetted nationalism and xenophobia in the Balkans at the expense of Christian Serbs, and today our media and government continue trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole. With the decision on Kosovo’s status looming, the administration of George W. Bush has an opportunity to right a historic wrong and chart a straight course in the Balkans, one that will finally be in line with his defining vision, the War on Terror.Â Â
Great nations admit their mistakes. They don’t reinforce them. But in the coming weeks, when this country falls way short of its potential for greatness as Americans are treated to a rare, genuine propaganda campaign reinforcing our Balkans mischief, it will be up to the American people to demand that the record be set straight.
If a commission was set up to determine whether a presidential administration did or didn’t do all it could to prevent kamikaze attacks on 9/11, good G-d, what of an administration that committed the might of the U.S. Air Force to bomb Europe for a legacy beyond sexual harassment — lying about genocide to achieve it?
Anyone looking for evidence of a “treasonous war”, of being “misled into war”, “rushed to war” or being “lied to”, look no farther than 1999. Recovered at an Afghanistan al Qaeda training camp was an Albanian Kosovar’s applicationÂ reading, “I have Kosovo Liberation Army combat experience against SerbÂ and AmericanÂ forces … I recommendÂ (suicide)Â operations againstÂ (amusement)Â parks like Disney.”Â If the protests reserved for a Republican war had also been mounted against the Democrats’ war in Kosovo, had we known our friends from our enemies and not allowed the Balkans to become a terror gateway into the Western world, it’s just possible we may never have had 9/11.
It was Lee Hamilton, the man who would become co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, whom President-elect Bill Clinton patted on the shoulder in 1992 andÂ assured, “I’ve been traveling around our country for a year and no one cares about foreign policy other than about six journalists.”
HamiltonÂ responded by remindingÂ ClintonÂ that the last two presidents had built their legacies on foreign policy. It would appear that ultimately, President Clinton fell back on Hamilton’s suggestion.
Testifying at the Milosevic trial at the Hague last September, former policy analyst James Jatras, who worked for the Senate Republican Policy Committee from 1985 to 2000,Â quotedÂ the 9/11 Commission’s finding that it was in 1990s Bosnia that the “groundwork for a true terrorist network was being laid.” That network is today known as al Qaeda.
The Balkans were the early, key prize thatÂ Iran and Osama bin Laden sought as a terror corridor to the West. We delivered it to them. Why?
Senator Hamilton, your commission’s work is unfinished.
Copyright Â© 2005 by Julia Gorin.
Julia Gorin is a New York-based writer and contributing editor toÂ Jewish World ReviewÂ and toÂ FrontPageMag, where this article first appeared. VisitÂ her websitefor more links to published writings.
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