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En français: Milosevic est disculpé mais rien n’arrête la machine de guerre de l’OTAN
Milosevic exonerated, as the NATO war machine moves on
Neil Clark , 2 Aug, 2016
The ICTY’s exoneration of the late Slobodan Milosevic, the former President of Yugoslavia, for war crimes committed in the Bosnia war, proves again we should take NATO claims regarding its ’official enemies’ not with a pinch of salt, but a huge lorry load.
For the past twenty odd years, neocon commentators and 'liberal interventionist' pundits have been telling us at every possible opportunity, that Milosevic (a democratically elected leader in a country where over 20 political parties freely operated) was an evil genocidal dictator who was to blame for ALL the deaths in the Balkans in the 1990s. Repeat after me in a robotic voice (while making robotic arm movements): 'Milosevic's genocidal aggression' 'Milosevic's genocidal aggression'.
But the official narrative, just like the one that told us that in 2003, Iraq had WMDs which could be launched within 45 minutes, was a deceitful one, designed to justify a regime change-op which the Western elites had long desired.
The ICTY’s conclusion, that one of the most demonized figures of the modern era was innocent of the most heinous crimes he was accused of, really should have made headlines across the world. But it hasn‘t. Even the ICTY buried it, deep in its 2,590 page verdict in the trial of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic who was convicted in March of genocide (at Srebrenica), war crimes and crimes against humanity.
There was no official announcement or press conference regarding Milosevic‘s exoneration. We’ve got journalist and researcher Andy Wilcoxson to thank for flagging it up for us.
How very different it all was when the trial of the so-called ‘Butcher of the Balkans’, began in February 2002! Then, you‘d have to have been locked in a wardrobe not to be aware of what was going on.
CNN provided blanket coverage of what was described as “the most important trial since Nuremberg.” Of course, Milosevic’s guilt was taken as a given. “When the sentence comes and he disappears into that cell, no one is going to hear from him again,” declared US lawyer Judith Armatta from the Coalition for International Justice, an organization which had the former US Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Warren Zimmerman, as an advisory board member.
Anyone who dared to challenge the NATO line was labeled a “Milosevic apologist”, or worse still, a “genocide denier”, by ‘Imperial Truth Enforcers’.
But amid all the blather and the hype surrounding the ’trial of the century’ it soon became apparent the prosecution was in deep, deep trouble. The Sunday Times quoted a legal expert who claimed that “Eighty percent of the prosecution’s opening statements would have been dismissed by a British court as hearsay.” That, I believe, was a generous assessment.
The problem was that this was a show trial, one in which geopolitics came before hard evidence. It’s important to remember that the original indictment against Milosevic in relation to alleged Kosovo war crimes/genocide was issued in May 1999, at the height of the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia and at a time when war was not going to plan for the US and its allies.
The indictment was clearly designed to exert pressure on Milosevic to cave into NATO’s demands.
The trouble for NATO was that by the time Milosevic’s trial was due to start, the Kosovo narrative had already unraveled. The lurid claims made by the US and its allies about genocide and hundreds of thousands being killed, catalogued by the great John Pilger here, had been shown to be false. In September 2001, a UN court officially held that there had been no genocide in Kosovo.
So in an attempt to beef up their weakening case against Milosevic the prosecutors at The Hague had to bring in new charges relating to the war in Bosnia, accusing ‘Slobo’ of being part of a ‘joint criminal conspiracy’ to kill/ethnically cleanse Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims in pursuance of a ’Greater Serbia’ project.
In normal criminal prosecutions evidence is collected and then, if it’s deemed sufficient, charges are brought. But the opposite happened in the case of Milosevic: he was charged for political reasons and the hunt for evidence then followed.
The irony is that the former Yugoslav President had already been praised by President Clinton for his role in brokering a peace deal in Bosnia in 1995, which was signed in Dayton, Ohio.
The truth is that Milosevic was no hardcore Serb nationalist but a lifelong socialist, whose commitment was always to a multi-racial, multi-ethnic Yugoslavia.
His aim throughout his time in power was not to build a ’Greater Serbia‘, but to try and keep Federal Yugoslavia together, as the ICTY now belatedly acknowledges.
Not only was Milosevic not responsible for ethnic cleansing which took place in Bosnia, he actually spoke out against it. The ICTY noted Milosevic’s “repeated criticism and disapproval of the policies made by the Accused (Karadzic) and the Bosnian Serb leadership.” Milosevic, a man for whom all forms of racism were anathema, insisted that all ethnicities must be protected.
But in order to punish Milosevic and to warn others of the consequences if they dared to oppose US power, history had to be re-written. The pro-Yugoslavia socialist who had opposed the policies of the Bosnian Serb leadership had to be turned, retrospectively, into the villain of the Bosnian War and indeed blamed for all the bloodshed which took place in the Balkans. Meanwhile, the aforementioned US Ambassador Warren Zimmerman, whose malign intervention to scupper a diplomatic solution helped trigger the Bosnian conflict got off scot-free.
The ‘Blame it All on Slobo’ campaign saw facts simply thrown out of the window. One article, written, I kid ye not, by an Oxford University Professor of European Studies even had Milosevic as leader of Yugoslavia in 1991 (the year that Slovenia broke away). In fact the Bosnian Croat, Ante Markovic, was the leader of the country at the time.
Inevitably, Milosevic was likened to Hitler. “It was just like watching the evil strutting Adolf Hitler in action,” wrote the News of the World’s political editor, when Milosevic had the temerity to defend himself in court. “There were chilling flashes of the World War Two Nazi monster as the deposed Serb tyrant harangued the court.”
To make sure readers did get the Milosevic=Hitler point, the News of the World illustrated their diatribe with a picture of Hitler ‘The Butcher of Berlin’, in front of a concentration camp, with a picture of Milosevic ‘The Butcher of Belgrade’ superimposed on a picture of a Bosnian concentration camp. Which in fact, he had nothing to do with.
Very conveniently for the prosecution, Milosevic died suddenly in his cell in March 2006.
Going by what we had seen at the trial up to that point, it’s inconceivable that a guilty sentence could have been passed. A whole succession of ’smoking gun’ witnesses had turned out to be dampest of damp squibs.
As I noted in an earlier piece:
Star witness Ratomir Tanic was exposed as being in the pay of Western security forces, whilst ex-Yugoslav secret police chief Rade Markovic, the man who was finally going to spill the beans on Milosevic and reveal how his former master had ordered the expulsion of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo, in fact did the opposite and testified that he had been tortured to tell lies and that his written statement had been falsified by the prosecution.
In addition, as I noted here, the former head of security in the Yugoslav army, General Geza Farkas (an ethnic Hungarian), testified that all Yugoslav soldiers in Kosovo had been handed a document explaining international humanitarian law, and that they were ordered to disobey any orders which violated it. Farkas also said that Milosevic ordered no paramilitary groups should be permitted to operate anywhere in Kosovo.
When Milosevic died, his accusers claimed he had “cheated justice”. But in fact, as the ICTY has now confirmed, the injustice was done to Milosevic.
While he had to defend himself against politically-motivated charges at The Hague, the US and its allies launched their brutal, illegal assault on Iraq, a war which has led to the death of up to one million people. Last year a report from Body Count revealed that at least 1.3 million people had lost their lives as a result of the US-led ‘war on terror’ in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Those sorts of figures help us get Kosovo into some kind of perspective. Even if we do hold Milosevic and the Yugoslav government responsible for some of the deaths there in 1999, (in a war which the West had clearly desired and provoked) far, far, greater death and destruction has been caused by the countries who were the keenest to see the President of Yugoslavia in the dock. As John Pilger noted in 2008, the bombing of Yugoslavia was the “perfect precursor to the bloodbaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Since then we’ve also had the NATO destruction of Libya, the country which had the highest living standards in the whole of Africa and the backing of violent 'rebels' to try and achieve ‘regime change’ in Syria.
You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to see a pattern here.
Before a US-led war or ‘humanitarian intervention’ against a targeted state, a number of lurid claims are made about the country‘s leader and its government. These claims receive maximum media coverage and are repeated ad nauseam on the basis that people will bound to think they’re true.
Later it transpires that the claims were either entirely false (like the Iraq WMD ones), unproven, or greatly exaggerated. But the news cycle has moved on focusing not on the exposure of the fraudulent claims made earlier but on the next aggressive/genocidal ‘New Hitler’ who needs to be dealt with. In 1999 it was Milosevic; now it’s Assad and Putin.
And guess what, dear reader? It’s the same people who defend the Iraq war and other blood-stained Western military interventions based on lies, unproven claims or great exaggerations, who are the ones doing the accusing.
As that very wise old saying goes: When you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back to you.
Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66
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Milosevic Exoneration: Radio Free Europe's Clumsy Attempt at Damage Control
August 9, 2016
Gordana Knezevic of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) attacked me and she attacked Neil Clark for reporting that Slobodan Milosevic has been exonerated by the Karadzic trial chamber at the ICTY for crimes committed during the Bosnian war. According to Ms. Knezevic, the reporting done by Neil Clark and myself was "a perfect example of fact-bending journalism".
Ms. Knezevic argues that "The Trial Chamber did not in fact make any determination of guilt with respect to Milosevic in its verdict against Karadzic. Indeed, Milosevic was not charged or accused in the Karadzic case. The fact that a person is, or is not, found to be part of a joint criminal enterprise in a case in which he is not charged has no impact on the status of his own case or his own criminal responsibility. In short, the trial against Karadzic was against him and him only, and therefore has no impact on the separate case against Slobodan Milosevic."
To bolster her claim she cites correspondence she received from the ICTY, which reads:
What Ms. Knezevic clearly fails to comprehend is the nature of the charges against Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic. Milosevic and Karadzic were accused of being co-conspirators and together undertaking a joint criminal enterprise to ethnically cleanse Muslims and Croats from Bosnian-Serb territory.
Paragraph 9 of the indictment against Karadzic says: "Radovan KARADZIC participated in an overarching joint criminal enterprise to permanently remove Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat inhabitants from the territories of BiH claimed as Bosnian Serb territory by means which included the commission of [crimes]." And in Paragraph 11 the indictment asserts that "Radovan KARADZIC acted in concert with other members of this criminal enterprise including [...] Slobodan MILOSEVIC".
Conversely, paragraph 6 of the indictment against Milosevic says: "Slobodan MILOSEVIC participated in the joint criminal enterprise [...] The purpose of this joint criminal enterprise was the forcible and permanent removal of the majority of non-Serbs, principally Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats, from large areas of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, through the commission of crimes." And in Paragraph 7, "The individuals participating in this joint criminal enterprise included Slobodan MILOSEVIC, Radovan KARADZIC, [etc ...]".
Because we are talking about the exact same joint criminal enterprise, Ms. Knezevic is not correct when she says, "The fact that a person is, or is not, found to be part of a joint criminal enterprise in a case in which he is not charged has no impact on the status of his own case or his own criminal responsibility."
Although Milosevic wasn't officially "charged" in the Karadzic trial (he had been dead for two years before Karadzic was even arrested), it was the indictment's assertion that Radovan Karadzic and Slobodan Milosevic undertook the joint criminal enterprise together that prompted the Karadzic chamber to make findings regarding Slobodan Milosevic's culpability. The charges against Milosevic and Karadzic are inexorably linked. The Karadzic indictment accuses Slobodan Milosevic of participating in the very same joint criminal enterprise that he was charged for in his own trial. The Karadzic chamber's determination that there was insufficient evidence to find that Slobodan Milosevic was part of the exact same joint criminal enterprise he was charged for in his own trial impacts his criminal responsibility in a very direct and obvious way, especially considering that the presiding judge in the Karadzic trail was one of the judges who sat on the bench throughout the Milosevic trial.
The Karadzic chamber didn't stop at finding that the
evidence against Milosevic was merely "insufficient" either. As
I observed in my original article, the judges went beyond that and
cited exculpatory evidence showing that he opposed ethnic
cleansing and sought a political solution that was fair to the
Muslims and the Croats, facts which Ms. Knezevic completely and
dishonestly ignores in her argument.
Ms. Knezevic sneers that "Clark and his ilk can continue to imagine an alternate reality" ... then in the very next paragraph she claims that Slobodan Milosevic was the President of Yugoslavia in 1992 (he wasn't the president of Yugoslavia until 1997), which goes to show that the director of RFE/RL’s Balkan Service is a fool who doesn't even know basic facts about the country she's reporting on -- facts like the correct identity of the president.
She links to a bizarre rant against the Ron Paul Institute because she says it helps her "understand the background and motives of Milosevic's apologists abroad".
Then she continues her Sigmund Freud act by claiming that "the dangerous delusions" of the Serbian people "led to the catastrophic wars of the 1990s," before accusing them of being in "denial of war crimes" committed in their name.
As an American, if my taxes weren't paying for RFE/RL to disseminate this nonsense, I'd be laughing at the fools who hired her and pay her salary. Unfortunately, I'm the schmuck whose taxes are paying for this. I look around my country and I see Detroit in shambles, I see a skyrocketing murder rate in Chicago, I see homeless people sleeping on the streets, but instead of fixing that we've got RFE/RL paying a Serbian Uncle Tom to denigrate her own people. I don't know about you, but that doesn't strike me as a particularly useful expenditure of taxpayer dollars.
She says, "If one rather bland, months-old, morsel of legalistic caveat is the prize catch for Clark after trawling through several thousand pages of transcripts of the Karadzic trial, then it is a rather poor one. One is left with the impression that apologists for dictators and deniers of mass crimes continue to excel in the mendacious art of clutching at straws -- in this case, a single straw."
If Ms. Knezevic thinks the exoneration of one of the most vilified men of the 1990s for the most serious crimes he was accused of is just a "bland legalistic caveat" especually when the allegations against him were used to bomb and impose sanctions on his country, then I suppose she's entitled to that opinion, but if she thinks this is the only interesting morsel that's going to come out of the Karadzic proceedings, then she's got another thing coming. If she thinks the Karadzic trial proceedings support her agenda and her version of events with regard to "the causes of the breakup of Yugoslavia, and Serbia's role in the wars," then she will be sorely disappointed if she ever bothers to come down off her high horse long enough to do her job as a journalist and go "trawling through several thousand pages of transcripts of the Karadzic trial" for herself.
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Inviato da: jugocoord at tiscali.it