Children of Lies

Earlier this week, the principal source of the hoax that served as the excuse for the 2003 invasion of Iraq was revealed. Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, a.k.a. "Curveball," was an Iraqi exile whose fanciful stories were collected by German intelligence and fed to the CIA, then used as justification for the war Bush the Lesser’s cabinet began planning immediately after 9/11. "Curveball" is now being thrown under the proverbial bus, but one can hardly blame him for telling the Empire what it wanted to hear. Make no mistake – Bush II wanted to take out Saddam Hussein, and in pursuit of that objective he’s used an array of varied and often contradictory excuses. The WMD hoax was just one of them; some may remember the insinuation that Hussein was linked to Al-Qaeda and 9/11, or the explanation that the bloody insurrection that followed was part of the grand strategy to "fight terrorists over there" instead of on U.S. soil. Perhaps the most cynical was the claim that violent "regime change" in Baghdad would cause a cascading spread of democracy in the region, given the Imperial reaction to recent events in Tunisia and Egypt.

The Iraq war was only possible because four years earlier, the Empire had successfully got away with a war of aggression based on lies, contradictory justifications and spurious excuses. Professional spin doctors had masterminded the propaganda battle, which was far more important than the actual war effort. The pattern was obvious to some in 2003, and still more in 2009. Yet the attack on Yugoslavia, under the guise of NATO, is still considered a crowning "success" of Empire’s foreign policy, and the self-proclaimed "nation" of Kosovo that emerged from that murderous lie is celebrated as proof of Empire’s benevolence.


In the smokescreen of lies deployed to shroud the Kosovo War, it is hard to notice two principal differences between the UNSCR 1244, the fig leaf for NATO’s occupation of the Serbian province, and the Rambouillet ultimatum used by the Empire as a pretext for the assault. The Rambouillet document demanded of Yugoslavia to allow free access of NATO forces to all of its territory, and envisioned an independent, Albanian Kosovo within three years. Resolution 1244 emphatically guaranteed the sovereignty and integrity of  Yugoslavia.

As with all other deals it ever made, the Empire paid lip service to provisions of 1244, but began to undermine Yugoslavia almost right away. In October 2000, it funded and organized a "democratic revolution" to overthrow the government of Slobodan Milosevic. Imperial agents have been part of every government since, to greater or lesser extent. By 2003, Yugoslavia was abolished in name, and in 2006, Washington and Brussels ensured that a crooked referendum in Montenegro gave their client, Milo Djukanovic, a majority necessary to declare independence. By the following year, NATO’s former envoy was named "mediator" of Kosovo status talks, and his proposal was predictably an independent Albanian state. When the Serbs protested, German ambassador to Belgrade warned them they would lose even more land if they didn’t knuckle under.

Empire’s principal client in Serbia, president Boris Tadic, was narrowly re-elected in January 2008. Only then did Washington green-light the "Assembly of Kosovo" to declare independence, on February 17, 2008.

Desperately Seeking Legitimacy

So far, the self-proclaimed "Republic of Kosovo" has been recognized by 75 governments. Between last summer’s logic-torturing verdict of the International Court of Justice and Belgrade’s complete capitulation at the UN in September, it seemed that its general acceptance was inevitable. Then came the report by a Swiss human rights envoy, in December 2010, describing Kosovo’s rulers a network of organized crime, murder, extortion, and trafficking in guns, narcotics, sex slaves and forcibly harvested organs.

Denials from the Kosovo Albanian leadership and their Imperial patrons focused not on refuting the charges, but attacking the messenger, accusing Senator Marty of seeking to "harm Kosovo’s image." This is an interesting Freudian slip. For what else does the self-proclaimed independent state have, except the image created by PR agencies and Imperial propaganda?

There is no "Kosovar" nation except in stories by Western news media; the Albanians in Kosovo consider themselves Albanian, and support unification with their ethnic kin in the region in what they term a "natural Albania." For years, they and their Imperial backers argued that independence was the only solution to widespread joblessness, poverty and lack of basic utilities (which somehow all functioned just fine before the occupation – yet another parallel with Iraq). Yet nothing has changed in three years since "independence." The only business flourishing in the self-proclaimed state seems to be organized crime.

Few seem to believe the legitimacy of the elections Hashim Thaci won just before the Marty report came out, so obvious and widespread was the fraud. Such is the confidence in the new Thaci-led government that some frustrated Albanians have actually called for the U.S. to install a protectorate, and administer the territory directly.

Meanwhile, the Empire has been laying the groundwork for getting rid of Thaci and replacing him with someone more loyal, who just happens to be at the forefront of the "natural Albania" movement. All in the name of "regional stability," no less.

Another Great Whitewash?

It bears repeating that every single excuse, justification and pretext offered by NATO for its unprovoked attack on then-Yugoslavia were eventually exposed as false. Meanwhile, actual atrocities by the KLA against the non-Albanian inhabitants of the province have been amply documented, and even took place right in front of NATO "peacekeepers." That even the 2004 pogrom was flipped around as the key argument in favor of an Albanian state in Kosovo demonstrates the determination of Empire to impose its fictional world upon actual reality, and the lamentable willingness of all too many to accept the imposition.

Now, however, that imposed fiction faces a threat unlike any before, in a credible report by a reputable international figure. For the Imperial fiction of "independent Kosovo" to survive, the Marty report must go away. This is why Washington is proposing that the allegations detailed in the report should be investigated by EULEX – the EU mission designated to aid the government of "independent" Kosovo. This is the same EULEX that released a convicted terrorist – who blew up a bus filled with Serb civilians in February 2001 and then "escaped" from Camp Bondsteel, the maximum security US military installation – and abandoned the investigation into the August 2003 shooting of Serb children. It isn’t hard to guess what the eventual outcome of an EULEX inquiry would be.

The real question is whether the Empire will have enough money, power and influence to pull off such a colossal whitewash. Yet this is no longer 1999, or 2003, or 2008, or even 2010, when a sycophantic and quisling regime in Belgrade snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in order to show loyalty to the Empire. That regime is now tottering, and the Empire itself isn’t looking too well.

Thus the saga of Kosovo continues.

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Author: Nebojsa Malic

Nebojsa Malic left his home in Bosnia after the Dayton Accords and currently resides in the United States. During the Bosnian War he had exposure to diplomatic and media affairs in Sarajevo. As a historian who specializes in international relations and the Balkans, Malic has written numerous essays on the Kosovo War, Bosnia, and Serbian politics. His exclusive column for debuted in November 2000.