Thursday, January 04, 2007
The truth about Kosovo
As victims of injustice go, then perhaps Slobodan Milosevic is not the highest priority. As John Pilger described him: “Milosevic was a brute; he was also a banker once regarded as the west's man who was prepared to implement "economic reforms" in keeping with IMF, World Bank and European Community demands.”
The old dictator died in prison during 2006, perhaps somewhat fortuitously for the prosecutors in the Hague, as the prospect of Milosevic’s acquittal was a real one.
Strange things happen in the Blogosphere, and Dave Osler bundled a celebration of Milosevic’s death in with Pinochet, Niyazov and Saddam. In the thread of comments supporters of the AWL have repeated the NATO lie that Serbia was planning a “extermination or expulsion” of the Albanian population of Kosovo. Yet for some reasons Dave's blog wouldn't allow me to reply to them. (This problem seems to have been solved)
The dismantling of Yugoslavia, and the subsequent NATO attack on Serbia were an historic turning point.
In particular, it saw the manufacturing of a casus belli through NATO seeking to impose a military occupation of the whole of Serbia in the first draft of the Rambouillet agreement, under terms that no Serbian government could accept – a condition that NATO removed after weeks of bombing to secure an agreement. NATO then attacked Serbia in alliance with the terrorist Albanian supremacist organisation, the KLA. (shown in the picture)
And most significantly it was a rehearsal for manufacturing consent for a war under cover of a specious humanitarian intervention. John Pilger quotes UN Balkans commander, Major-General Lewis MacKenzie, "We have subsidised and indirectly supported [the KLA’s] violent campaign for an ethnically pure Kosovo. We have never blamed them for being the perpetrators of the violence in the early 1990s and we continue to portray them as the designated victim today in spite of evidence to the contrary." The Serbia war also saw parts of the British left line up with NATO, uncritically repeating allegations of atrocities, and misrepresenting the dismantling of Yugoslavia as national liberation from Serb domination.
Even the usually pro-US NGO, Human Rights Watch, (who supported the war) documented human rights abuses by the KLA in the lead up to war that are symmetrical to those committed by Yugoslav forces:
There is an excellent demolition of this NATO spin, in Herman and Peterson's article in ZNET. They argue: “The word genocide was applied to Serb operations in Kosovo even before the NATO bombing, although the number killed in the prior 15 months was perhaps 2,000 on all sides and despite the fact that there was no evidence of an intent to exterminate or expel all Albanians. The Kosovo conflict was a civil war with defining ethnic overtones and brutal but not unfamiliar repression (less ferocious than that carried out by the Croatian army against the Krajina Serbs in August 1995, in which some 2,500 civilians were slaughtered in the course of a few days). Even for the period of the bombing the term genocide is ludicrously inapplicable. The Serb reaction to bombing, while frequently savage, was based on their correct understanding that the KLA was linked to NATO and that NATO was giving it air support (Tom Walker and Aidan Laverty, “CIA Aided Kosovo Guerrilla Army,” Sunday Times [London], March 13, 2000). Their brutalities and expulsions were concentrated in KLA stronghold areas, and those expelled were sent not to death camps but to safe havens outside Kosovo. The intensive postwar search for killings and mass graves has produced under 3,000 dead bodies from all causes—killings of the same order of magnitude as the 1995 Krajina massacres of Serbs, carried out with U.S. support.”
A good summary of the arguments is in John Pilger's article, originally from the New Statesman: "the International War Crimes Tribunal, a body effectively set up by Nato, announced that the final count of bodies found in Kosovo's "mass graves" was 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army. "
Had NATO been seeking to prevent an actually occuring genocide, then then choice of targets was eccentric. For example bllowing up the bridges in the Northern City of Novi Sad, as far from Kosovo as it was possible to be. Pilger reports. " In the bombing campaign that followed, it was state owned companies, rather than military sites, that were targeted. Nato's destruction of only 14 Yugoslav army tanks compares with its bombing of 372 centres of industry, including the Zastava car factory, leaving hundreds of thousands jobless. Not one foreign or privately owned factory was bombed.
Strangely the British leftists who trumpeted the exagerated atrocity claims in support of an independent Kosovo are rather silent about the brutal reality Of Kosovo today. Not only is the province now a wild west haven of gangster capitalism, domiated by prostitution and drug trafficking, but as I have written before, NATO ruled Kosovo has also seen a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing.
In March 2004, up to 50000 ethnic Albanian rioters launched a pogrom against their Serb and Roma (Gypsy) neighbours. The pogrom followed delibertely inflammatory and untruthful broadcasts that the tragic drowning of three Albanian boys at the village of Cabra was due to them being driven into a river by a mob of Serbs. An account that the well respected agency Human Rights Watch concluded was completely untrue.The account of the following pogrom in 2004 by Human Rights Watch is truly shocking. As they report “Once the violence began, it swept throughout Kosovo with almost clinical precision: after two days of rioting, every single Serb, Roma, or Askaeli home had been burned in most of the communities affected by the violence, but neighboring ethnic Albanian homes were left untouched.” NATO troops took 6 hours to respond to calls for help by Serbs in Pristina, despite elderly defenceless and disabled people being attacked in their homes by the mob of Albanian extremists.It is important to note that according to HRW the ethnic cleansing of minorities by the NATO backed KLA/UCK started immediately after the Serbs withdrew: “Before the 1999 war, some 350 Ashkali families lived in Vucitrn, many of them engaged in the butcher trade. After the war, many of the Ashkali were attacked by ethnic Albanians. At least five Ashkalis from the town were abducted and “disappeared” and more than a hundred Ashkali homes burned. Almost the entire Ashkali community of Vucitrn fled, with only ten to fifteen families deciding to stay.”In 2004 the Albanian supremacists came to finish the job, watched and not hindered by NATO troops: “the Ashkali recalled the terror they felt when their homes were set on fire with their families inside and no-one came to help them. Nejib Cizmolli, a thirty-seven-year-old Ashkali [man], recalled being trapped on the second floor of his burning home with eleven people, including children aged three, eight, fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen”