Our War Crimes, and Theirs

At the height of the Kosovo war hysteria, when we were being subjected to a daily barrage of bawling refugees telling vivid horror stories of alleged Serbian “atrocities,” the estimates of dead Kosovars went as high as 100,000. If “genocide” was committed in Kosovo, then where are all the bodies? This is a question that the Western news media, and their overseers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, dare not ask, let alone answer. For the fact is that, so far, a full year after the Kosovo war was launched amid the self-righteous braying of our “humanitarian” militarists, a grand total of 2,108 bodies have been uncovered. How to account for the discrepancy?TALL TALES

The reason is because every tall tale told by a Kosovar “victim” was considered unbiased “testimony” and reported as “fact” by Western governments and the media – and the story was, unsurprisingly, always the same. It was always the Kosovars who were the victims, and the evil Serbs who were cast in the role of “Milosevic’s willing executioners,” in the New Republic’s typically hopped-up phrase. The same methods were used to demonize the Serbs during the Bosnian civil war, and now we have a spate of “war crimes” trials, with indictments based on “testimony” of similar credibility. Bosnian Serb leader Momcilo Krajisnik is the latest to stand in the dock for the “crime” of standing up for the independence of the Serbian people: a few days ago, the NATO-crats came knocking on his door in the night, dragging him out of bed and clapping him into jail on the authority of a secret warrant issued by that star chamber tribunal headquartered in The Hague. The gloating New York Times [April 8, 2000] account gives us the flavor of what life is going to be like in the new world Tony and Bill and George and Al are building for us:

“Long a powerful figure, Mr. Krajisnik, 55, seemed just a slight figure in the largest courtroom of the tribunal. Twice he tried to speak, first asking, ‘May I say a few words?’ and then saying, “I would like to ask for a couple of minutes at this hearing to say a few words in my own defense.’ Both time Judge [Richard] May [of Britain] cut him off, saying that no statements could be made at this stage.”


Bound, gagged, and delivered before their tormentors, all who resist the New World Order will grovel at the feet of the Tribunal’s lord high executioners and beg for mercy – or else find themselves in for long prison terms in the Euro-Gulag. Communism may be dead, but show trials are even more vogueish than ever. Not since Vyshinsky indicted Bukharin and Trotsky as agents of Hitler and the Mikado have so many Stalinists had such a good time of it. Why, it’s almost like the old days of the Moscow Trials again, lacking only a Stalin of sufficient stature to rival the towering evil of the original.


By a great coincidence, the arrest of Krajisnik occurred on the eve of the Bosnian municipal elections – a model of the New Europe in which all Serbian opponents of the NATO military occupation were banned from the ballot. In spite of such measures, including the seizure of Serbian resistance radio and television stations, and censorship imposed by the occupation forces, the remaining Serbs, having been forcibly incorporated into the “multiethnic” state of Bosnia-Hercegovina, stubbornly resist the NATO-ization of their nation. Every effort to install a democratically-elected regime of Quislings has failed, and the NATO-crats are fuming. The American ambassador, Thomas Miller, complains: “I’m not interested in recommending to my bosses in Washington that they put any money into areas where you have people who are doing all they can to obstruct Dayton implementation.” The Times account of Bosnia’s electoral charade goes on to note that “such voting patterns have long obstructed reconstruction efforts.”


The history of these persistent voting patterns, and Western efforts to break them, underscores the eerily Orwellian atmosphere of NATO-run Bosnia: In every election held since the imposition of the Dayton Accords, the Serbian Democratic Party, the party of Radovan Karadzic and Krajisnik, has maintained full support in the Serbian regions, and the Croatian nationalists have retained control of their own precincts. This time, too, it seems that in spite of threats by the Western powers to starve them out and bring them to their knees if they didn’t vote the “right” way, the people outside the Muslim-controlled urban centers such as Sarajevo have rejected the occupiers and their collaborators. Yet still the NATO-crats issue press releases opining that these elections augur the beginning of a “new era” – yet more evidence that the forcible absorption of Serb and Croat communities into a “multicultural” state led by a Muslim fundamentalist party is a glorious success. But what is truly sinister is how brazenly the NATO-crats flaunt their authoritarian proclivities, going so far as to post the names and “crimes” of those purged from the electoral process on their website. This material, which reads like a cross between The Trial and The Red Detachment of Women, is strangely disquieting: it is like reading a transcript of one’s worst nightmare, each sentence building up to that truly terrifying climactic moment when the dreamer is confronted with the naked face of evil incarnate.

“It is with considerable regret that the High Representative and the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] Head of Mission announce the removal from office of various public officials. These officials have failed the voters who elected them by pursuing anti-Dayton, anti-peace, anti-reconciliation and extra-legal agendas – especially at the local level where their obstructionism hurts the very people they should be helping. They have consistently refused to take ownership of the laws of their own nation by refusing to obey the letter or the spirit of law, regulation and court rulings.”


There is something about the very language of totalitarianism that is always a dead giveaway, no matter how hard they try to dress it up in the guise of “democracy.” Naturally, it is for London, Bonn, Paris, and Washington to decide whom has “failed the voters” of Banja Luka, Note, too, the piling-on of epithets, as well as the rather arcane sound of the epithets themselves: to be called “anti-Dayton, anti-peace, and anti-reconciliation,” in this context, is like being called a “Trotskyite wrecker and spy” in the Pravda of the 1930s. Written in the style of a letter announcing a death in the family – “we regret to inform you” – this unsigned pronunciamento is in effect an obituary for democracy in Europe. The eeriest parts list those elected officials unceremoniously kicked out of office and summarize their alleged “crimes.” We learn, for example, that the Mayor of Banja Luka, Djordje Umicevic, has been

“removed for serious and persistent obstruction with regard to all issues involving implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace. Specifically, inflammatory statements creating a non-conducive environment on returns and responsibility for non-implementation of Human Rights Chamber decisions.”


The opacity of this totalitarian lingo, meant to obscure its real meaning, only underscores its ominous aspect. Anything that lights up the linguistic murk emanated by bureaucrats and their journalistic allies is, nowadays, considered “inflammatory” – and in “free,” “liberated,” NATO-occupied Bosnia today, it is a high crime for which you can be deprived of your right to vote and to run for office, like Dragan Meter; the elected Mayor of Prozor-Rama, deposed for

“persistent and serious obstruction of the General Framework Agreement for Peace, including discrimination against minority populations, failure to implement agreements reached with the International Mediator, obstructing the education of minority children, obstruction in enforcing property laws, and a long and wide record of deliberate attempts to undercut reconciliation.”


Translated into simple English, Mayor Meter wasn’t going along with the program, and so they purged him for having the wrong politics. That’s “democracy,” Western European-style, for you – a little experiment in political science, funded by the ever-generous American taxpayers, the implications of which are ominous in the extreme. What is growing in the Bosnian laboratory, nurtured by NATO and generously funded by American taxpayers, is a new kind of European authoritarianism, one even more brazen than the last. This is clear from the rhetoric of OSCE administrators, with its shrillness and unintended ironies, which invariably give their pronouncements a comic opera air – such as when some anonymous writer of OSCE press releases declares that the purging of these politically incorrect Serbian officials should “once again make clear that intolerance and obstructionism will not be tolerated.”


Reading on, we discover that Miladin Simic, the elected President of the Municipal Assembly of Bratunac, has been “removed for persistent, serious and aggressive obstruction to Annex seven of the General Framework Agreement for Peace.” Wow! Surely this is a “war crime” of major proportions: I mean, to have your right to run for office revoked, it must be a serious charge indeed – except it turns out that it isn’t. “Annex seven” of the General Framework is a long tirade of conditions imposed by the victorious Muslim-Croat-NATO forces on the defeated Serbs concerning the treatment of so-called returnees. Second only to a demand for “the repeal of domestic legislation and administrative practices with discriminatory intent or effect” is an edict calling for “the prevention and prompt suppression of any written or verbal incitement, through media or otherwise, of ethnic or religious hostility or hatred.” Under a not very imaginative interpretation of these rules, an article reporting the news of KLA ethnic cleansings in Kosovo, photos showing the burning of Serbian Orthodox churches by Kosovar Muslim mobs, and probably more than half the material on this website are all against the law in “democratic” Bosnia.


Along with Krajisnik’s show trial, the upcoming “rape camp” hearings, and the ongoing investigations of alleged Serbian war crimes, the Hague is being turned into a three-ring propaganda circus that would’ve made Joe Stalin proud. Based on the testimony of Bosnian Muslim “victims,” which is never questioned, the criminalization of all resistance to NATO, political as well as military, is now to be officially established and given the imprimatur of the Tribunal. One such Bosnian Muslim “victim” is cited in the Times piece on the Krajisnik indictment: we are told that “prosecutors and defense lawyers alike sat spellbound as the unidentified survivor described how column after column of Muslim prisoners arrived by bus” and were shot down by Serbian soldiers. Unidentified? In America, everyone accused of a crime is given the right to face his accusers, to know their identity and answer their charges: in The Hague, secret indictments are handed down based on the testimony of secret witnesses. This is not anything Americans would recognize as a fair trial by jury.


Whatever crimes Krajisnik may be guilty of, they certainly pale in comparison to the crimes of NATO and the Western powers, who bombed civilians from 15,000 feet and poisoned the rivers and the land itself with “low-grade” radioactive bombs. And speaking of war criminals, Britain’s Sunday Herald [April 9, 2000] reports that a Scots mercenary, who admits to having committed the most sickening war crimes and boasted about them in a sensationalistic book, has escaped prosecution by the International Criminal Tribunal. A Scottish bank robber and all around criminal type, John MacPhee joined the Croatian militia in 1992 after being released from Manchester’s Strangeways prison. With a rap sheet that seemingly begins at the moment of his conception, including drug convictions and being a suspect in 13 murders, MacPhee was at one time on the UK’s most wanted list. But scratch an ordinary criminal, and you find a moral idealist – a process that seems to work both ways these days. As the Herald reports:

“MacPhee claims he found ‘peace in war,’ saying: ‘After all my years in jail and all the violence I saw in children’s homes, I was basically a maniac. When I heard about the Serbian atrocities in Bosnia I was in jail, and I thought [that] my life has been a waste. I decided I’d go there and fight for something I believed in.'”


Now there was a likely recruit to the ranks of the US/NATO “humanitarian” intervention: a vicious thug who had no trouble passing muster in the US-funded-and-backed Croatian army, which carried out the cleansing of the Krajina region in which thousands of Serbs were slaughtered and hundreds of thousands forced to flee. In his book, The Silent Cry, MacPhee admits to what the Herald calls “a series of barbaric murders.” That is an understatement, considering the following passage from his book. He has just arrived at a hamlet near the town of Gorny Vakuf, where the retreating Muslim army has just raped, tortured, and killed 37 men, women, and children:

“Two enemy soldiers were captured,” he writes. “Guilty or innocent I knew they had to die. I fixed my bayonet and before I knew it one of them was beneath me. My hand was ripping at his flesh, my fingers gouging his eyes, I was becoming worse than an animal … my aim was to kill … I bit into his face, blood poured down my chin, my 18 inch knife stabbed and chopped and slashed. I speared my bayonet into his neck one final time and lifted his body into the air with such force that I broke the bayonet … They shot the other enemy soldier before I could lay a hand on him.”


Having such a way with words, not to mention a knack for giving the worst news just the right “spin,” MacPhee will soon be working for NATO, an even more authentically working class shill than Jamie Shea. This demon admits to raping and killing civilians, but defends himself masterfully: “I don’t consider myself a war criminal. I regret what I did, but I don’t think it was wrong.” While in theory MacPhee could still be called to account by the Tribunal, don’t hold your breath. To focus on the atrocities committed by the Muslim and Croat armies in the Bosnian civil war would inevitably bring up the issue of American complicity. Reports of a group of retired American generals, operating as “Military Professional Resources Inc.,” and based in suburban Virginia, as the real architects of the Krajina blitzkrieg were widely published at the time. In 1996, MPRI won the contract to equip and train the Bosnian-Croat army, then fighting to crush Serbs who wanted out of the Federation.


Another MPRI alumnus, Agim Ceku, is now the commander of the “Kosovo Protection Corps,” whose members are currently engaged in what the London Observer called a “reign of terror” in Kosovo. It was Ceku who commanded “Operation Storm,” the name given by its American sponsors to the four-day ethnic cleansing of the Krajina, during which our friend, MacPhee, wallowed in blood to his heart’s delight. You can bet that none of these murderers, neither the commanders or their blood-crazed stormtroopers, will ever be brought to the bar of justice by the International Tribunal.


And a good thing, too, for the most egregious aspect of this whole International Tribunal business is the question: by what authority does this exalted panel make its judgments? The NATO-crats invoke the Dayton Accords and the joint declarations of the Western powers and their Muslim and Croat protectorates, as well as the authority of the United Nations, but their actions are essentially as lawless as any by MacPhee: the Serbian population of Bosnia never agreed to be governed by the diktat of a transnational judiciary. The Tribunal’s “legal” authority comes out of the barrel of a gun, as Mao explained the Marxist theory of the state. Of course, the Great Helmsman had in mind the “dictatorship of the proletariat” established in the wake of the 1949 victory of the Chinese Communist Party over the Kuomintang, but the dictatorship of NATO is no different in principle or operation. Neo-Stalinism is the rising power in southeastern Europe, sponsored not by the old Stalinist apparatchiks of Milosovic’s sclerotic Serbian Socialist Party, but by the New Labour-New Democrat-Eurosocialist alliance, the international champions of “democracy” and “human rights.” And if that isn’t enough irony for one column, then perhaps all of us are in danger of becoming just a little bit jaded.


I want to bring to your attention, once again, a great little supplement to this website, and that is the Yahoo! Antiwar.com website. Here you can post your own comments, discuss with others the material posted on the main site, and talk back to the editors. Yahoo is a great service, and the site is growing, with more discussion and more members: joining is easy (just click on “join this club” in the upper right hand corner). Antiwar.com is more than just a website: we’re an online community, where free discussion and interaction is a vital part of the movement we are building: a broad-based Left-Right coalition against global interventionism and in defense of national sovereignty. Do you have something to say? Well, now here is a place to say it: check it out.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of Antiwar.com, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].