Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

December 21, 2007

A Serbophobe outburst in the Nation Magazine

Filed under: cruise missile left,Yugoslavia — louisproyect @ 8:48 pm

The current issue of the Nation Magazine has an extraordinarily long article titled “Western Promises” that accuses the Western imperialists being soft on the late Slobodan Milosevic and other Serbs. It was written by Marc Perelman, the diplomatic correspondent of the Forward, a Jewish-American weekly in NY with historic ties to the social democratic leadership of the ILGWU.

Perelman uses nearly 6000 words to make the case that the U.S. and Britain “sabotaged” the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and allowed Serb criminals to go scot-free. It relies heavily on the word of one Florence Hartmann, a Serbophobe reporter for Le Monde in the early 1990s who became an assistant to Carla Le Ponte, the chief prosecutor of the ICTY. Hartmann is the author of one of those typically one-sided biographies of Slobodan Milosevic that makes him out to be Satan’s Spawn. Perelman’s article, however, relies heavily on her latest book titled “Paix et châtiment: Les guerres secrètes de la politique et de la justice internationales” (Peace and Punishment: The Secret Wars of Politics and International Justice) that is not yet available in English.

Hartmann is even too much for Marcus Tanner, who covered Yugoslavia for the Independent and hewed to their Serbophobe editorial position. In a review of a collection of articles on Yugoslavia co-edited by fellow Serbophobes Roy Gutman and David Rieff, Tanner dismissed Hartmann as an untrustworthy crank:

Some of the articles are sermons and rants. Florence Hartmann’s piece on Bosnia is just a series of accusations that have been bundled together. That “Milosevic made it his mission to set Yugoslavia’s ethnic and national groups against one another” is one of a great many “facts” that are baldly asserted without any supporting evidence.

–The Independent (London), August 3, 1999

Why the Nation Magazine would waste 9 pages circulating ideas that stemmed from Ms. Hartmann is somewhat beyond me, but then again they had the “wisdom” to publish the awful Joaquin Villalobos’s attack on Hugo Chavez.

The gist of Hartmann’s complaint is that a deal struck between the West and the Serb Republic to divide up Bosnia resulted in the slaughter at Srebrenica, Zepa and Gorazde since they fell within territory that was to be ceded to the Serbs. Hartmann’s argument is not new as Perelman reports:

The story of how the city was overrun and several thousand inhabitants were executed as UN peacekeepers watched helplessly has been recounted many times, most grippingly by David Rohde, an American reporter who first uncovered evidence of the massacre and whose Endgame: The Betrayal and Fall of Srebrenica (1997) describes the event through the eyes of seven witnesses. Rohde concluded that the litany of mistakes that led to the massacre was a “passive conspiracy” rather than a cynical backroom deal.

Missing entirely from these accounts of the Srebrenica killings that most assuredly did take place (although to describe them as “genocide” is positively Orwellian) is the ratcheting up of tensions at the hands of Muslim militias. You never find the name Naser Oric in the reporting of a David Rohde or a Roy Gutman, but Bill Schiller (by no means pro-Serb) wrote in the July 16, 1995 Toronto Star:

On a cold and snowy night, I sat in his living room watching a shocking video version of what might have been called Nasir Oric’s Greatest Hits. There were burning houses, dead bodies, severed heads, and people fleeing. Oric grinned throughout, admiring his handiwork.

“We ambushed them,” he said when a number of dead Serbs appeared on the screen.

The next sequence of dead bodies had been done in by explosives: “We launched those guys to the moon,” he boasted.

When footage of a bullet-marked ghost town appeared without any visible bodies, Oric hastened to announce: “We killed 114 Serbs there.”

Later there were celebrations, with singers with wobbly voices chanting his praises. These video reminiscences, apparently, were from what Muslims regard as Oric’s glory days. That was before most of eastern Bosnia fell and Srebrenica became a “safe zone” with U.N. peacekeepers inside – and Serbs on the outside.

Despite Oric’s taste for Serb blood, his forces were inexplicably withdrawn from Srebrenica just before the Serb counter-attack. A small UN force proved incapable of withstanding the Serb militias and the net result was a bloodbath.

Where Hartmann sees UN and Western inaction as proof that they were willing to cast the Muslims to the wolves as part of a process of carving up Bosnia ethnically along the lines of the India-Pakistan division, Diana Johnstone views it as a necessary first step in drawing NATO into the fray. If the UN was incapable of stopping the Serb Stalinist-Fascist-Satanist onslaught, then more powerful forces had to be mobilized. Waving the “bloody shirt” in this fashion has become more and more instrumental to the war aims of imperialism. Only a few years after Srebrenica became a rallying cry of the cruise missile left, Racak would play the same role in precipitating NATO intervention in Kosovo. And then more recently the attack on the WTC served similar purposes. One imagines that if there is ever an all-out nuclear war, it will be some other incident of “genocide” that will necessitate B-52′s being sent on their way to teach the miscreants a radioactive lesson.

If the goal of Perelman’s article is to convince readers of Serb guilt that the ICTY overlooked, it does not do a very good job. For example, there is much ado about the “Kula Tapes” that link Milosevic with the “Red Berets,” a highly trained detachment of the Serb army that operated in Croatia and Bosnia. Supposedly the U.S. sent a copy of the tape to ICTY that concealed key information about Milosevic’s culpability.

Perhaps people like Florence Hartmann and Marc Perelman are still stung by the ICTY’s decision that Milosevic was not directly involved with what they called “genocide” in Bosnia, so somebody has to be blamed for that failure. You have to stop and ask yourself why the U.S. would withhold such evidence when there is nothing in the tapes that has anything to do with Western failure to come to the aid of the Bosnian Muslims.

Contrary to Perelman and Florence Hartmann, there is substantial evidence that Milosevic was absolutely innocent of the charges against him as this report by Chris Stephen in the habitually anti-Milosevic London Observer (October 10, 2004) would indicate:

FRESH controversy has hit the war crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic with a claim from a senior intelligence analyst that the Yugoslav leader is innocent of genocide.

Dr Cees Wiebes, a professor at Amsterdam University, now says there is no evidence linking Milosevic to the worst atrocity of the Bosnian war, the massacre of 7,000 Muslims at the town of Srebrenica.

Srebrenica, which was overrun by Serb forces in July 1995, forms the basis of the genocide charge against Milosevic, but Wiebes, a member of a Dutch government inquiry into the atrocity, said there is nothing to link Milosevic to the crime.

‘In our report, which is about 7,000 pages long, we come to the conclusion that Milosevic had no foreknowledge of the subsequent massacres,’ he says in a radio programme, The Real Slobodan Milosevic, to be broadcast by BBC Five Live tonight. ‘What we did find, however, was evidence to the contrary. Milosevic was very upset when he learnt about the massacres.’

The prospect of the former Balkan strongman being cleared of the most serious charge he faces is a fresh blow to an already troubled case, which begins hearing defence evidence this week after several months of delays.

Any failure to prove genocide will cast a shadow not only over this case but over the whole practicality of holding tyrants to account in war crimes trials, most obviously in the case against Saddam Hussein.

Wiebes headed a team of intelligence specialists commissioned by the Dutch government to look into the massacre because its own forces were present in the town under the UN flag.

He had access to secret files, key diplomats and hundreds of witnesses to a massacre in which Muslim men and boys as young as 12 were butchered by Bosnian Serb forces. But while clearly implicating senior Serb field commanders, including General Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian army chief still on the run, Wiebes says Milosevic played no part.

He said it was understandable that Milosevic was upset ‘because in this phase of the war he was looking for a political settlement and this was not very good for him’.

Furthermore, if Western complicity with an alleged war criminal like Slobodan Milosevic would get in the way of a successful prosecution, then why in the world did the U.S. agree to allow Saddam Hussein to stand trial? Surely, he would have been able to “expose” American collaboration in his war with the Kurds as some leftist commentators predicted. Unfortunately, kangaroo courts like the ones that took place in the Hague and Baghdad are not set up for an evenhanded examination of all the facts. Neither Milosevic nor Saddam Hussein received adequate legal representation. And even if they had been able to bring to light American complicity, nothing of consequence would have come out of it since the propaganda machine of the West had already condemned such men to become “unpersons” in the Orwellian sense.

In keeping with the overall credulousness of the article, Perelman calls on a witness even more doubtful than Florence Hartmann:

In Srebrenica: Un génocide annoncé (Srebrenica: A Genocide Foretold), a book published in France on the tenth anniversary of the massacre, French writer Sylvie Matton offers some fresh acknowledgments by senior European political and military officials–mostly French–that the tragic fate of the enclave was no mystery. The most vivid acknowledgment is provided by Alain Juppé, who was prime minister of France at the time of the Srebrenica massacre. “It was widely known that the Serbs wanted to take the enclaves and annihilate the men,” Juppé told Matton, who then asked Juppé what he meant by “annihilate.” “Let’s say we knew they would take no prisoners,” he answered.

After reading this, I paused for a moment with my mouth agape. Who in their right mind would take Juppé’s word about anything? Alain Juppé was probably the most hated politician in recent French history, although Sarkozy seems poised to surpass him before long. The two of them came into office with a mandate from the French ruling class to break the powerful trade union movement and both ended up with bloody noses in the process. In 2004, he was found guilty of stealing money from his party, the Rally for the Republic, for which he got an 18-month suspended jail sentence and was banned from holding office for 10 years.

Fortunately, the Nation Magazine does occasionally allow the truth to filter through on the Balkans wars. In George Kenney’s review of Noam Chomsky’s “The New Military Humanism: Lessons From Kosovo” that appeared nearly 8 years ago to the day, the notion of a Serb master plan to subjugate its neighbors gets thoroughly debunked. Kenney writes:

On March 18, the day the Rambouillet talks broke down, David Scheffer, the State Department’s ambassador at large for war crimes issues, proclaimed that “we have upwards to about 100,000 men that we cannot account for” in Kosovo. Depending upon the sophistication of the press organ involved, this statement was variously construed as a warning or, as the New York Daily News put it in a headline the next day, 100,000 Kosovar Men Feared Dead. The specter of mass murder critically supported public acceptance of NATO airstrikes, which began less than a week later, on March 24. After two months of bombing, the Yugoslav regime was still, to the Administration’s deepening chagrin, in the fight. By this time there were increasing murmurs of discontent in the press regarding the effect of NATO airstrikes on unmistakably civilian targets. Ambassador Scheffer stepped to the plate again in mid-May, calling for “speedy investigations” of war crimes (by Serbs) while now noting that “as many as 225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59 remain unaccounted for.” Several wire services quoted him on different days as saying that “with the exception of Rwanda in 1994 and Cambodia in 1975, you would be hard-pressed to find a crime scene anywhere in the world since World War II where a defenseless civilian population has been assaulted with such ferocity and criminal intent, and suffered so many multiple violations of humanitarian law in such a short period of time as in Kosovo since mid-March 1999.” It was a profoundly ignorant remark, of course, but what’s important is that the Administration’s laserlike focus on allegations and innuendoes of genocidal acts securely established the legitimacy of continued bombing for an at-that-time unknown, perhaps lengthy period.

Helpfully sensing that Washington–Scheffer and a battalion of like-minded flacks–had gone too far out on a limb, in June and July the British started publicizing their reduced estimate that 10,000 Albanian Kosovars had been killed. For whatever reason that number stuck in establishment circles. In fact, however, it appears to be still too many. The actual number is probably somewhere in the low thousands.

In mid-July sources from the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo, known as KFOR, were telling the press that of 2,150 bodies found by peacekeepers only 850 were victims of massacres. Nevertheless, still eager to bolster the Serb=devil argument, National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, in an address to the Council on Foreign Relations on July 26, poignantly mentioned “the village of Ljubenic, the largest mass-grave site discovered so far from this conflict, with as many as 350 bodies.” Berger may not have been aware that the Italian in charge of the site, Brig. Gen. Mauro Del Vecchio, had told the press several days earlier that the exhumation had been completed at the site and that seven bodies had been found. All press mention of Ljubenic ceases after that point.

That’s the kind of writing that the Nation needs, not the drivel offered up by Marc Perelman.

11 Comments »

  1. Nice post louis. I was wondering if you have read Edward S. Herman and David Peterson’s “The Dismantling of Yugoslavia,” lengthy piece in the Monthly Review? If so, what did you think?

    Comment by atlas — December 21, 2007 @ 9:59 pm

  2. “In 2004, he was found guilty of stealing money from his party, the Rally for the Republic, for which he got an 18-month suspended jail sentence and was banned from holding office for 10 years.”

    Oy! Didn’t know you knew so much about that guy, but this is not entirely correct. He appealed and got the ban to last only 1 year.

    http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alain_Jupp%C3%A9

    “Le 1er décembre 2004, celle-ci réduit la condamnation à quatorze mois de prison avec sursis et un an d’inéligibilité.”
    He went to Canada, to teach at some university. Then went back to work within the Sarkozy government this year. He ran for the regional elections and lost them in his very stronghold town, Bordeaux.

    Comment by littlehorn — December 22, 2007 @ 2:57 am

  3. Florence Hartmann said “The ICC is the best gift we have from the bloody XX century.” Kirsten Sellars, otoh, doesn’t consider “Nuremberg and Tokyo” quite so unalloyed a good precedent:

    The post-second world war Nuremberg and Tokyo trials established the blueprint for the modern ad hoc tribunals on former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. From the start, politics impinged openly upon the legal process, and there were accusations of double standards from both conservatives (‘our generals would have done the same’) and from radicals (‘Dresden and Hiroshima were war crimes too’). Some lawyers questioned the legal basis of the newly created ‘crimes against peace’ and ‘crimes against humanity’. The Tokyo trial aroused particular controversy, and the Indian judge Radhabinod Pal, rejected all guilty verdicts as victors’ justice. William Douglas of the US Supreme Court later wrote of the Tokyo trials: ‘It took its law from the creator and did not act as a free and independent tribunal. It was solely an instrument of political power.’

    The Allied prosecution of German and Japanese leaders was primarily prompted by political concerns, however high-minded the judges and vile the crimes of many of those involved. Justice had to be seen to be done, but within the framework of broader post-war strategies. At Tokyo, some defendants were scapegoated while a blind eye was turned to others-notably Emperor Hirohito-in order to bolster American occupation policies in Japan. At Nuremberg, evidence of Allied atrocities (e.g. the Soviet massacre of Poles at Katyn) or aggressive war plans (e.g. Britain’s proposed invasion of Norway) was ignored. And once the political and propaganda value of the trials began to wane, the Allied authorities simply wound up the proceedings. Thus, when the lesser tribunals became an obstacle to the creation of the Federal Republic, the Allies shortened the sentences of many Nazi war criminals. Most were freed by the mid-Fifties.History, as we know, is written by the winners. The ensuing justice is conquerors’ justice, so only losers ever stand trial for war crimes.

    btw, is it just me or have others also noticed that current or former staff writers of Forward are only interested in keeping alive some good vs. evil stories that they can force into a certain Procrustean bed of signification? If existing reality–or history–cannot be hammered into a preconceived narrative, it’s not worth bothering with.

    Comment by sk — December 22, 2007 @ 6:48 am

  4. I could never understood why any real leftist would waist his time defending Milohevic and his policies .It could be the case that western media demonised Serbs actions in the the last wars in Yugoslavia and did not put enough attention to similar actions of other ethnic groups groups (Croats, Muslim,Albanians). But why are leftists so much concern about that? Because Mloshevic was same kind socialist?
    As a socialist Miloshevich does not deserve 1 second of support. He is mostly responsible for destruction of any socialist idea in former Yugoslavia, by his retrograde policies , which started from 1987 when he defeated Dragisha Pavlovic (real hope for democratisation of communist party in Serbia) and started to play with nationalism. In 91 he rejected any agreement to save Yugoslavia, as confederation or loose federation as only possible solution for Yugoslavia survival,
    And the end he finished surrounded and supported by gangsters, criminals, fascists (what socialist!).
    He is maybe not directly responsible for any atrocities in Bosnia but he supported a thug criminal and fascist Karadjic and his criminal policies in Bosnia(ethnic cleansing of republica Serbska) involving JNA, allowing all those criminal voluntaries armed bandit groups from Serbia to enter and start rape of Bosnia.

    Comment by Yugoslav — December 23, 2007 @ 5:00 am

  5. This is not about defending Milosevic’s policies. It is about resisting imperialism. Furthermore, Karadzic was no better or no worse than the Muslim militia leaders. All in all, the internecine warfare in Bosnia is a reminder that class should supersede race/ethnicity. Tito had this vision in a kind of warped Stalinist fashion and so did Milosevic. Milosevic was guilty of a lot of things but whipping up Serb nationalism was not one of them.

    Comment by louisproyect — December 23, 2007 @ 1:14 pm

  6. Hi dear Luis,
    I am with you in resisting imperialism, but that does not mean not having open eyes (critique views especially of those to pretend to be socialist or fight against imperialism to save their skin), which is difficult especially for those outside.
    I have bee Marxist for last 40 years (at least trying that, read a lot but I am not really eloquent guy especially in English). The last 10 years I was reading also Chomsky and Herman (they are also in our anti-imperialist camp ) and you (last 2-3 years) but my biggest disappointment is yours assessment of what has happen in Yugoslavia and especially Bosnia (I am Bosnian, Srbo-Croat=Yugoslav).
    A lot of leftists intellectuals in the world came under strong influence of Miloshevic and his s propaganda playing socialist and Yugoslav card. You are right describing Miloshevich as “warped Stalinist” but to have such policy in the late 80’s and 90’s in Europe was disaster for socialism in Serbia and Yugoslav communist party. In 88 when his policy become obvious he should be immediately removed from any leadership position but because of various selfish games between other republic leaders in Yugoslav communist party he was not contested, with disaster consequences.
    There are a lot of leftist intellectuals Marxist orientation from Serbia ( who analysed what happen during that time and you should read them ).
    Miloshevich discovered power of nationalism when he visited Kosovo in 87 and started to play on that card {he is not nationalist himself). By using that he defeated his opponents and started organising big anti-bureaucracy meetings around Serbia when he removed leadership from Montenegro , Vojvodina and masses cried “Slobo, Slobo, Serbia, Serbia) and everybody watched that on TV in all Yugoslavia. In that time 1988-89 there was no Tudjman or Izetbegovic and nationalism was forbidden at list in media.
    He was first leader who used that nationalistic rhetoric openly after nationalism in Croatia in 60s was defeated by Tito.
    From 89 or 90 I stoped reading Serbian main daily news papers wanted vomit over so much nationalistic outbursts ( Miloshevich did systematic cleaning of all main media from his opponents,he realise and use power of media as the powe of nationalism, under slogan of democratisation and fight against bureaucracy, what joke –it was really dangerous read his statements and believed in that and do not know what he was really doing).
    When multiparty elections started in various republic of Yugoslavia nationalists won everywhere, and that was mostly reaction to what was happening in Serbia ( In Croatia nationalists won by margin (36%) and only thanks to new majority election system created by Croatian communist(33%) (they thought that will suit them if they have slim majority) they got big majority in parliament and started they ultra nationalistic policy.)
    The multiparty election in Serbia were a last one and Miloshevich “socialists” won (only socialist party that won “free” democratic election in any so called socialist country). Why? Because its socialist policies ? Milosevic had all media under control and his nationalistic policies were not matched by his opposition. Kosovo, Kosovo , Serbia , Serbia and Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia (to fool naives).
    His fight for Yugoslavia was main reason why Yugoslavia was not survived in any form and finished in bloody wars.
    Regarding a thug Karadzic: He was only nationalist and fascist who openly had policy and did it of an ethnic cleansing of territory under his control of non-Serb destroying all cultural monuments, churches, graveyards to clear any resemblance of existence of others in Repoblica Serpska (my dictionary is really deficient to describe my disgust, as “half” Serb, for him and his policy and what he did ).
    He started it. Others did similar things but could not match him. In multiethnic societies you have actions and reactions. Some things are not allowed but if one group did it others will do the same.
    Serbs Nazis policies and doing in Bosnia are rightly demonised by media , probably others are not enough for similar thing , but why that was concern of leftists . All that did not help Bosnian Muslims, Republica Srebska was created and recognized internationally in Dayton, thanks to also Muslims and Croats Bosnian leaders there, who signed that and millions Bosnian refugees stayed out of Bosnia till now.

    Comment by Yugoslav — December 23, 2007 @ 11:44 pm

  7. I think “Yugoslav” is quite right to insist that there is more break than continuity between Tito and Milosevic, especially in relation to the “national question”. I see no problem with making this point while remaining resolutely hostile to imperialist machinations up to and including the 1999 NATO bombing campaign and subsequent creation of a protectorate in Kosovo.

    There is no need to prettify Milosevic, even to the admittedly limited extent of describing his supposedly “warped Stalinist” emphasis on class. He was quite happy to team up with Tudjman and the US when it was a matter of carving up Bosnia-Herzegovina at Dayton in 1995. Where was the emphasis on class then?

    Albanian Kosovar protestors used to march under large portraits of Tito, because of the measures he took to meet their aspirations within a Yugoslav framework. You won’t find any Milosevic portraits among Albanian Kosovars today, although I suspect many Serb Kosovars might have one!

    Comment by raghu — December 24, 2007 @ 3:44 pm

  8. Louis, you wrote an excellent article. The NATION has long been a center of virulent anti-Serb propaganda despite its inclusion of the odd dissenting voice. A few comments of my own. The Kula tapes were played at the trial, at least in part but the claims in the NATION article are nonsense. The Krajina Red Berets were a volunteer unit set up in Krajina under the command of the locals (not the JNA) in 1991. There was the same or similar unit in Bosnia later but again under local command. These were not connected with the JNA however and even prosecution witnesses including captain Dragan denied that they were. There was a JSO red beret security group set up in Serbia but that was in 1996 or 1997 after the wars in Bosnia and Croatia.

    The ICTY had their shot at Milosevic and lost very badly. The trial convinced me more than anything else that he is innocent of the ICTY’s charges. As far as the media is concerned though the actual trial is irrelevant and they continue to pronounce Milosevic guilty (or in light of the ICJ verdict to grasp at weak parts of the ruling and howl that the ICTY , the U.S. or whoever sabotaged the case.)

    The comments of “Yugoslav” are more or less what you would get from the BBC propaganda film “The Death of Yugoslavia”. Yugoslav’s understanding of politics is incorrect. First, the issue of Kosovo. Troubles in Kosovo predated Milosevic by many years. The 1981 riots for Kosovo independence occurred when Kosovo had maximum autonomy and years before Milosevic was even a serious political figure. Albanian persecution of the Serbs and other minorities there was real and even covered sporadically by the western media (although one could debate the extent of the persecution). Serbs really were leaving Kosovo and someone did need to address that. Milosevic came and listened to people in 1987 and then when Serbs were attacked by Albanian police he stated that they shouldn’t be beaten. This is taken as proof of his nationalism but what else was he supposed to do? Ignore the claims of Serbs? Support the beating?

    I have read a number of his speeches and interviews and did not find evidence of xenophobia, racism, exclusive nationalism etc. in them. There was a strong opposition media which had a larger circulation than the government by the mid- 1990s and was funded by large sums of cash from the west.

    What does it mean “after nationalism in Croatia in 60s was defeated by Tito.”? Masspok took place in the early 70s and Croatian nationalism was hardly defeated. Is “Yugoslav” really claiming that Milosevic’s rise to power triggered a revival of Ustashe symbols, holocaust denial and a fascist program in Croatia?

    Milosevic did not reject a confederation in 1991. He objected to the EU’s attempt to make the Yugoslav republics independent states. There were a number of attempts at compromise including the 1991 Belgrade initiative which would have made key concessions to keep Bosnia in Yugoslavia and would have made Izetbegovic president of Yugoslavia. It never gets mentioned, just like the Lisbon Accords of ’92 almost never get mentioned. Both compromises were supported by Karadzic and Milosevic and rejected by Izetbegovic but that doesn’t fit the standard narrative of genocidal Serb aggression and innocent Muslim moderates so it gets dumped down the memory hole.

    Contrary to the conventional wisdom of “Yugoslav” even ”The Death of Yugoslavia” accepts that the war started with a Muslim attack on a Serbian wedding in Sarajevo. Volunteers did go to Bosnia from Serbia. However, this includes Muslims from Sandzak and Albanians from Kosovo who went to fight for the Bosnian Army. It should be noted that paramilitary formations were connected with the opposition parties not the SPS, Milosevic’s party. The opposition was on the whole a lot MORE nationalist than Milosevic. Draskovic’s earlier speeches were harsher than Seselj’s before Draskovic changed his spots and became the West’s chosen democrat. The opposition attacked Milosevic for his blockade of Republika Srpska and Zoran Djindjic even went to Republika Srpska to roast an ox with Karadzic in solidarity with the Bosnian Serbs.

    All sides committed atrocities but hysterically demonizing the Serbs (throughout former Yugoslavia) is supporting the Empire not anything leftist. The media and NATO attack the Serbs as a people and they have been doing it for over fifteen years now. The demonization of a people always starts with the demonization of its leader(s). Going over and over the alleged “Nazi policies” of the Bosnian Serbs from over ten years ago while ignoring the crimes of others is nothing more than parroting imperial propaganda.

    Regarding Srebrenica there were claims that it was in part connected with French intelligence. I do not know if this is true but it certainly could be. Drazen Erdemovic served less than 5 years despite confessing to the murder of something like 70 people and participating in the execution of many more. The Pauk unit which was jailed in Serbia and took part in the Srebrenica massacre was released after the “Democratic Opposition” came to power in 2000. No one in the west complained. There are many indicators that the standard Srebrenica narrative shows a distorted and decontextualized picture filled with contradictions and glaring omissions as well as self-righteous interventionist moralizing.

    I could go on and on responding to Yugoslav’s nonsense but this will do for the moment.

    Raghu, what does it matter if the Albanian strikers had banners of Tito? What was their program? Was it “progressive” and all about workers’ rights or was that just a cover for a regressive chauvinist program culminating in greater Albania? Moreover, what should have been done about the persecution of Serbs or the fact that Serbia could not function properly if Kosovo and Vojvodina could block any new legislation while Serbia could not interfere in their internal affairs?

    Milosevic, the U.S., Tudjman AND Izetbegovic split Bosnia into 2 parts at Dayton. So what? Was Milosevic to single handedly create class unity in Bosnia after a 3 ½ year civil war along ethnic lines?

    Comment by Dimitri — December 30, 2007 @ 3:05 am

  9. Dimitri,
    It is difficult for me to comments (English and writing are not my stronger sides) to yours half truths statements in defence of Miloshevic (“The demonization of a people always starts with the demonization of its leader”), but I will try and give some links in English that somehow better express my views (obviously I do not agree 100% with them) .The people should not be identified by his leader but obviously people could be manipulated by his leader and support him (Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Tito, ….).
    My opinion regarding Miloshevic is based on personal experience living in former Yugoslavia and closely watching his rise to power in Serbia supported by so many , especially Serbian intellectuals , mostly on the right. Marxists left despised him (in Serbia) and that’s I am so disappointed that Luis and some other Marxists in the world could find some good words for him. Probably those critics from Serbia and their texts are not available in English.
    First I did not talk bout situation in Kosovo but of Miloshevic discovering power of nationalistic rhetoric and media after one visit of Kosovo when he said to Serbian people that police should not beat them! and that was constantly repeated on TV ( in reality police was attacked by some Serbian Kosovar group and all events was staged to provoke a police action, that was latter admitted by someone local group leader who organise that) Later Miloshevic seems did not have similar massage to Albanians (that police should not beat them).
    He removed his main opponent on famous 8th session in 87 where his Stalinist nature was exposed for those who wanted to see. He promised easy and quick solution for Kosovo and removed all those who supported D.Pavlovic and his cautious approach to a complex Kosovo problem.

    http://www.bosnia.org.uk/bosrep/report_format.cfm?articleid=3033&reportid=169

    http://www.scc.rutgers.edu/serbian_digest/258/t258-1.htm

    ( read part 19 september 1987). I was really admirer of Dragisha Pavlovic and his fight for democratisation of Serbian communist party. He attracted a lot of bright and educated young people, who really believed in socialism, giving a hope in different politic, different communist party. But all of them are replaced and expelled without discussion, arguments, just accused and outvoted by those who did not believe in socialism but their membership in communist party was useful in their carriers , like in Stalinist time.
    Read Mioshevic conclusion at that session and find out how easy is to fall in a Stalinist trap!

    http://www.dcwmemory.org.yu/textviewer.php?language=eng&type=3&f=21987

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8th_Session_of_the_Serbian_Communist_Party

    Regarding beginning war in Bosnia you can read

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnian_War

    Chronology
    and conclude by yourself,
    did the war started by killing a groom’s father at a Serb wedding procession on the second day of the referendum, on March 1, 1992 in Sarajevo’s old town Baščaršija or “In April 1992, Bosnian Serb forces began a methodical effort to seize control of as much territory as possible, especially in the eastern part of Bosnia (which is adjacent to Serbia), as a step toward a possible union with Serbia. Backed by JNA units, self-proclaimed “Chetnik” gangs that included criminal elements used terror tactics to drive Muslim villagers out of their villages. Many of those Muslims arrived as refugees in larger cities like Zepa, Srebrenica, Tuzla and Sarajevo. Serb units seized roads and began a siege of Sarajevo, shelling the city and using snipers to kill civilians”.
    Many of those “Chetnik” gangs were not local fighters but already experienced “warriors” from Serbia (from war in Croatia).
    “Jugoslav Army” controlled border between Serbia and Bosnia and actively supported and armed activities of those volunteers.
    Regarding Nazis regime : it was clear that I am talking about regime in Republika Srpska 1992-95. Account of that regime is total destruction of everything non-serb on that territory and for me, personal stories from my Serbian relatives .
    I already said that Miloshevich fight for Yugoslavia mainly caused its destruction. That was like when you have friend that want to help you and you asking him: please do not help me because you are really destroying me.
    Milosevic and confederation: Dimitry I really do not know your sources.
    At first: Yugoslav communist party was dissolved on its last congress on the question more centralisation or more autonomy for republic organisations (Miloshevic, Kucan).
    Because his stalinist policies in Serbian party and Serbia , removal of all his opponents, no discussion, arguments, just acceptance of Milosevic will, removal of leaders in Kosovo and Vojvodina, Milosevic was wrong person to fight for Yugoslavia. Everybody wanted escaped from Yugoslavia which he was proposing (does not matter that some proposals were ok).
    After multiparty elections in all republics (everybody was avoiding multiparty election for Yugoslav assembly including Miloshevic) only real solution to somehow save Yugoslavia was some kind of loose federation or confederation.
    Miloshevic was proposing more centralised Yugoslavia and if he accepted any kind of confederation there would be no war (before Slovenia and Croatia proclaimed independence they proposed some kind of asymmetric federation Slovenia or Confederation Croatia, bosnia and Macedonia proposed some kind of loose federation, and that was proposed later by European Union representatives ).
    Miloshevic did not recognised border with Croatia in the case of Croatia independence.
    He proposed (14.7.91) that confederation to Izetbegovic only after Slovenia and Croatia were already independent states (25.6.91), and Yugoslavia did not exist any more and he already had a war with Croatia.
    Lisbon proposal was better then a war and should be accepted to avoid the war. But why treat of civil war from Karadzic? That treat was criminal as all that came from Karadjic. (As Bosnian I was against that proposal and any ethnical division of Bosnia was something unnatural having in mind ethnic mixture of Bosnia, especially towns (30% of mixed marrigies) and that ethnic division was possible to achieve only by ethnic cleansing, destruction and war crimes. That exactly happened thanks to Karadjic) But knowing creasy Karadjic and that he was serious in his treat and also what had happen in Croatia Srpska Krajina and ethnic cleansing of Croats from that territory Izetbegovic should accept it.
    I did not mention Srebrenica .I was talking about ethnic cleansing in Eastern Bosnia at the beginning of the war in Bosnia. Your “French connection” tells a lot about your sources.
    I could continue with my nonsense but this could be enough.

    Comment by yugoslav — January 2, 2008 @ 3:31 pm

  10. ____
    |…….|
    |…….0
    |……./|\ Loui
    |……./.\
    |_

    Comment by kk — May 15, 2010 @ 2:09 am

  11. I✈
    NY

    ▓▓▐▐▐ ▓█▄▀▄▀▄▀▄▀▄▀▄▀▄▀▄█▓▐▐▐ ▓▓

    Comment by kk — May 15, 2010 @ 2:12 am


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