Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Without A Doubt

The choice of Martti Ahtisaari to lead the "negotiations" over the fate of occupied Kosovo should have been yet another warning sign to anyone in Serbia still in possession of a shred of sanity. The Finn was not only instrumental in "negotiating" a ceasefire in 1999 that NATO proceeded to treat as unconditional surrender, he proceeded to serve on the board of the International Crisis Group along with Gen. Wesley Clark. Even without Clark, the ICG has established itself as a violently Serbophobic supporter of Imperial intervention in the Balkans, and its platform of independence for (Albanian) Kosovo, separatist Montenegro and centralized Bosnia has been adopted as official US policy back in May.

Given all that, there should be absolutely no doubt as to what "status" he - or more accurately, the interests he represents - will work towards when the "talks" start next year. After Rambouillet, the bombing, and the occupation (with its ethnic cleansing and plunder), can anyone still seriously believe the "international community" (i.e. the Empire) will not award Kosovo to the Albanians? Of course, since the Empire wants to keep Albanians in its thrall, the process won't be quick, straightforward or simple; there will be many strings attached. But the intent is clear, beyond reasonable doubt.

Ahtisaari himself dropped another clue yesterday, telling reporters in Pristina how he could envision Kosovo as self-sufficient. "I think there is in the future the possibility for sustainable economic development," he's quoted by Reuters. Kosovo has abundant natural resources, and "(e)veryone wants to create conditions in which these can be properly exploited."

This is so self-explanatory, it doesn't need further comment. What does, however, is the idiotic "logic" of the witless quislings in Belgrade, who instead of making their case for Kosovo on grounds of law, sovereignty and principle prattle on about "preserving stability" and "endangering democracy" and how and independent Kosovo would not be self-sufficient.

Ahtisaari has just done a hatchet job on that last "argument," while the previous two are entirely vacuous to begin with. "Stability" and "democracy" are whatever the Empire says they are. Why would every report on Kosovo mention the "90% Albanian majority" if not to create the impression their desire for independence is democratic? (democracy = majority rule) As for stability... who is it that threatens violence and bloodshed if they don't get their way, Serbs or Albanians? Right. So, keeping the Albanians from getting medieval serves the interests of stability far better than not sticking it to the Serbs. They aren't likely to go on a rampage, set roadside and suicide bombs, or assassinate people, after all.

Ahtisaari's slip - or was it? - about Kosovo's abundant resources should be the final tip-off to everyone with even a single functioning brain cell as to what the "international community" intends to do. The real question now is how to stop it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Freedom, Real and Imagined

From an article by Joseph Sobran, titled National Socialism Comes to America:

"Americans are still permitted to do a great many things, though not as many things as their ancestors could take for granted. Fine. But permission isn’t freedom. The privilege of a subject isn’t the right of a free man. If you can own only what the government permits you to own, then in essence the government owns you. We no longer tell the state what our rights are; it tells us.

Such is the servitude Americans are now accustomed to under an increasingly bureaucratic state. Permission, often in the form of legal licensing, is the residue of the old freedom; but we’re supposed to think that this is still “the land of the free,” and that we owe our freedom to the state, its laws, and especially its wars. The more the state grows — that is, the more it fulfills the character of national socialism — the freer we’re told we are."

These past several weeks, while I wasn't posting on the blog, I've been thinking about the American bureaucratic state and comparing it to the Socialist Yugoslavia of my youth. Back then, people had a distrust of government born out of many failed promises, and decades of experience with "gaming" the bureaucratic system to provide themselves and their relatives the services (monopolized by the state, and therefore both unreliable and shabby) they needed. We understood we were better of than Soviet client-states and even the USSR itself, but few fully realized the reason for that was a higher degree of economic liberty. To further complicate things, much of our "prosperity" was a result of easy credit, fueled by IMF and World Bank loans.

Now I look at the country where I've lived for almost 10 years, and I see the same state-supremacist thinking I grew up with in Socialism, the same credit boondoggles that preceded my country's downfall, the same bureaucratic incompetence that we used to joke about, then circumvent (something not easily achieved here). Add to that the gargantuan military, the National Security state, and a dictatorial Emperor - um, President, yes - and a population 10 times that of Yugoslavia in 1991, and the problems that killed my country are that much more amplified in this one.

But hey, people believe they are free - even though that word has lost all its meaning for them long ago. If you're completely oblivious to something, you can't really miss it when it disappears, right?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Extortion's New Name

According to Financial Times, it's "incentive."

Reporting on the Congressional hearing in which the State Department's Balkans point-man Nicholas Burns first overtly mentioned that Serbia's entry into EU and NATO would depend on the "successful outcome" of Kosovo talks, FT explained Burns's threat as "incentive" to Belgrade. Their headline declared: "US backs Kosovo incentives for Serbs."

Even Reuters was more honest, calling it a "new U.S. demand on Belgrade."

I don't doubt in the least that the sycophantic lowlives running Serbia will point to this "incentive" as a "necessary precondition for entering Euro-Atlantic integration and creating a normal, democratic state" or some such fatuous nonsense.

Let's review the situation:
  • The UN abandoned its own policy of "Standards before status," though it only required a pretense of tolerance on part of the Kosovo Albanians, and they refused to show even that. The same envoy who whitewashed the 2004 pogrom now recommended the final status talks;
  • Kosovo viceroy and OSCE have been coaching Albanian negotiators;
  • the government of Bush II has adopted a Balkans policy crafted by Clinton-era officials, notably Nicholas Burns and Richard Holbrooke (who was once again in the Balkans recently as official US envoy);
  • The UN envoy charged with Kosovo talks is Martti Ahtisaari, the former president of Finland who was instrumental in deceiving the Milosevic government into surrendering Kosovo to NATO in 1999, and has since served on the ICG board with Wesley Clark and other interventionists;
  • The ICG, created in the heyday of Clinton interventionism, has consistently advocated the independence of Kosovo, centralization of Bosnia and secession of Montenegro - all of which have now become part of the official U.S. policy;
  • Serbia's membership in EU and NATO - a remote prospect at best, and on careful analysis actually undesirable - is now being conditioned by the separation of Kosovo and Montenegro, just as Holbrooke and the ICG have been saying for years.
Coincidence? There is no such thing in politics.

It should be intuitively obvious to even the most casual observer what the Empire's intentions are concerning the Balkans, and specifically the Serbs. If the unelected rulers of Serbia refuse to see it, perhaps it is time for Serbia to get new rulers. While there is still any Serbia left.

A Birthday Gift

A month from now, will be 10 years old. It was set up as a protest against Bill Clinton's interventionism in the Balkans, and has continued to oppose the military (and political) violence by the emergent American Empire ever since.

Unlike many situational opponents of particular foreign adventures, opposes foreign intervention on principle, arguing that it goes not only against the Constitution and other laws, but against the true American values. They have opposed Emperor Clinton as well as Emperor Dubya, the war in Kosovo as well as that in Iraq; and will, no doubt, oppose any future emperor and his or her wars.

I've been a columnist there since late 2000, and my 231st piece ran yesterday. is running their quarterly Pledge Drive this week. They are counting on their readers, freedom-lovers and opponents of aggression to put their money where their values are. Don't think of it as a donation - think of it as a subscription, a payment for the value you are receiving from reading news, commentary and blog posts that tell you what the mainstream media tries to omit, reveal what the powers that be want hidden, and spread the word about things the Empire would rather be kept silent.

If you value the service provides, you'll go over to the site and make your contribution. You pay a lot more to get "news" from the mainstream, and you know well enough how truthful and honest those are. So go ahead, vote with your wallet. Whatever the Empire may say or do, that right, that choice, is still yours.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Recycled Lies

Here is the current mandatory propaganda meme in stories by Reuters, tracked across several articles:
"Kosovo has been run by the United Nations since 1999, when NATO bombing forced then-President Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw his forces. Some 10,000 civilians were killed during his two-year crackdown on an Albanian guerrilla insurgency.

Kosovo’s 90-percent Albanian majority has been clamoring for independence ever since."
There are at least four things here that, mildly put, do not correspond with reality. First, the phrase "his forces," referring to Slobodan Milosevic, as if the Serbian police and the Yugoslav Army were his private institutions. Nobody calls the U.S. troops in Iraq "George Bush's forces," especially not Reuters.

Second, the "factoid" that "10,000 civilians were killed" in Kosovo is an absolute, unvarnished lie. Not only has the number of dead associated in any manner with the terrorist campaign of the KLA and the NATO bombing never exceeded 3,000, a substantial portion of that were KLA bandits. Are they to be counted as "civilians"? What about the actual civilians, Serb and Albanian, murdered by the KLA, or killed by NATO? Reuters here clearly misrepresents both the number of dead and their identity.

As for the last sentence, which often stands as a paragraph of its own, it is both inaccurate and deceptive. Kosovo only became 90% Albanian through the ethnic cleansing of Serbs and birth rates far exceeding those in Albania or Macedonia, and only in the latter part of the 20th century, specifically during the period when the province was under control of ethnic Albanians (whether of the Communist or fascist variety). It is specious to posit Albanian numerical superiority as the basis of their claim for independence, without noting how it came into being.

Finally, the Albanians of Kosovo have not been "clamoring for independence" since 1999, but since 1981, or even earlier. This claim is completely fabricated.

Now look at the meme in its entirety: It is geared to insinuate (and none too subtly) that Milosevic personally oppressed and mass-murdered the Albanians of Kosovo, the majority in the region, until NATO and the UN came to their rescue in 1999. On that basis, the Albanians are asking for independence. Presented with such an argument, who wouldn't be sympathetic to their claim? And that is precisely the purpose of this confabulation.

Why Governments Torture

Charles Featherstone is fast becoming one of my favorite LRC writers. Here's an excerpt from his piece on government and torture, published today:

"[Governments] don't torture because of need. Governments torture to humiliate and destroy. They torture to strip a person of his humanity, to make him or her face unrestrained state power alone, unaided and helpless. States torture and kill because they can, because even if the state isn't really God, it can play God by taking life when it pleases and how it chooses. Because it is a way to annihilate a human being, slowly, one atom at a time."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Returning the "favor"

A friend directed to my attention this afternoon to a new blog, Balkans Without Borders, billed as "Helping to make the world into what the world is making of the Balkans." I'm guessing it grew out of frustration with the Imperial policy in the peninsula - towards the Serbs in particular - and was inspired by the ongoing riots in France.

Today's "Protest to Mr. Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic..." turns the Imperial rhetoric back against its authors, claiming that if Serbia has lost its right to Kosovo because of alleged excessive force against its Albanian immigrants, surely the French have relinquished their right to Paris for the same exact reason.

Of course, the wonderful send-up of imperial "logic" won't make an impression on the policymakers, who seem to universally believe in the "Abramowitz doctrine" of arbitrary principle. Nonetheless, it might shake awake at least some of the people - both in the Balkans and in the West - who still believe the nonsensical drivel that is the Official Truth.

Because the Empire really is bent on creating a global Balkans, with or without this witty blogger's help.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Tragedies in the Lives of Nations

Fans of Hoppean history should rejoice, says Jørn K. Baltzersen today on LRC, over the new book by Dr. Matthew Raphael Johnson, "The Third Rome: Holy Russia, Tsarism and Orthodoxy," published by the Foundation for Economic Liberty.

On this anniversary of Red October, Dr. Johnson's book mourns for the world that was lost when the Russian tsarist government was destroyed by Communism. His book examines and explodes the myths about Russia in the West, some generated by Communists and others engendered by prejudice towards Orthodoxy, and reveals the Romanov empire as far more liberal than Western Europe at the time (the tax rate comparison in particular is very instructive).

It is doubtful that the Romanov Russia can be restored. Communism and "transition" have left their marks, and the future generations of Russians (provided there are any) will have to cope with them. But they - and other nations whose histories were altered by this destructive creed - would do well to seek clues to this healing process in their own history, tradition, culture and faith, rather than aping the present-day imperial West.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

As Worthless as Dollars

Here is what James Grant wrote in the New York Times on October 26 this year, commenting on the choice of Ben Bernanke as the new Fed Chairman:
"...the post-1971 dollar is purely faith-based. Not since the Nixon years has a holder of dollars had the privilege of exchanging them for a statutory weight of gold. Rather, the dollar is a piece of paper, or electronic impulse, of no intrinsic value. It is legal tender whose value is ultimately determined by the confidence of the people who hold it."

If faith can make dollars valuable, it stands to reason that lack of faith can make them worthless. Something to ponder.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Heart of the Matter

Today on LRC, Anthony Gregory admonishes those who avoid seeing the forest from the trees:

The state is not about laws on pieces of paper. It is about looting and violence. Its principal methods of funding are theft and counterfeiting, its regular modus operandi is extortion and its most conspicuous projects are assault and murder.


The state is an organization of coercion, a monopoly on aggression, falsely legitimized by its own fiat and sanctified in idolatrous mythology and through lying propaganda. There is no technicality that can curb its inherent conflict with the natural law and individual liberty. It draws actual blood, bankrupts actual companies, bombs actual cities and taxes actual wealth. Its soldiers shoot to kill, its taxmen are equally ruthless. In principle, it is no more bound by a subsection of its tax code than a mobster is bound by his vague promise to protect you. It is for all these reasons that the state must be understood and eventually dismantled wherever and whenever possible. Don’t get too distracted by the fine print and neglect the big picture.

Gregory doesn't deal here with the Empire (the state writ global), but his argument applies to it as well. Those people who still believe international law serves to restrain the Empire from visiting its whims upon whomever it chooses, or that the Empire has any intention of respecting the treaties it signed, are just as deluded as those who seek loopholes in the US tax code.

I want to retch every time I hear some two-bit wannabe diplomat from Belgrade "defend" Serbia's territorial integrity by invoking Resolution 1244, for example. Quibbling about details in Empire's arbitrary proclamations is futile - after all, it can simply make another, and move along on its merry pillaging way.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Tom Friedman and Imperial Hypocrisy

I've considered Thomas Friedman scum since way back in the spring of 1999, when he was baying for Serbian blood as NATO bombers pounded Belgrade and KLA set Kosovo on fire. Nothing he has written since has made me change my mind.

But after the relentless repetition of the "NATO took control of Kosovo to stop evil Serbs from slaughtering innocent Albanians" lie by just about every print and broadcast medium in the US for the past six years, I thought no one remembered Friedman's bloodlust anymore. Turns out I was mistaken. Someone named Drew Hamre wrote an op-ed in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune this Saturday, attacking Friedman for demonizing the Sunnis of Iraq (see text here); to underline the sheer hypocrisy of Friedman calling the Sunnis terrorists and murderers, Hamre used the following examples:

"Friedman has urged terror bombing to force regime change in Serbia ("Let's see what 12 weeks of less than surgical bombing does," April 6, 1999)... Friedman has advocated bombing electrical grids, knowing full well the mortal damage that results when refrigerators and filtration pumps die ("It should be lights out in Belgrade," April 23, 1999)... Friedman has previously argued for war on a people, not just its government ("Like it or not, we are at war with the Serbian nation").

All of this is in the context of Friedman's comments on Iraq, which have run in the same vein. "He appears intent on caricaturing a people, and then demonizing them," Hamre says, describing 9perhaps unwittingly) the US media coverage of the Balkans - and Iraq - over the past 15 years.

Of course, the advocates of Empire - be they social-democratic "liberals" or national-socialist "conservatives" - will at this point argue that there is nothing hypocritical about Friedman's rants against either Serbs or Sunnis. They are, after all, evil, and Americans who bomb them are good; "everyone knows" that. But what makes one good or evil, if not their deeds? If something is considered a heinous crime when attributed to Serbs, should it not be considered a crime when perpetrated by Americans? Quod liced Iovi non licet bovi is such a Roman sentiment. If the Imperialists are saying they are to the rest of the world as gods unto cattle, then we are indeed cattle for not shoving that opinion down their arrogant gullets, so they may choke on it.

Someone has already done something like that for Friedman; earlier this year, Matt Taibbi penned a superb takedown of the pompous blowhard, worth referencing every time some ignorant idiot in your environs mentions that columnist as worthy of anything but contempt:

"Friedman is... a genius of literary incompetence... It's not that he occasionally screws up and fails to make his metaphors and images agree. It's that he always screws it up. He has an anti-ear, and it's absolutely infallible; he is a Joyce or a Flaubert in reverse, incapable of rendering even the smallest details without genius. The difference between Friedman and an ordinary bad writer is that an ordinary bad writer will, say, call some businessman a shark and have him say some tired, uninspired piece of dialogue: Friedman will have him spout it. And that's guaranteed, every single time. He never misses."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the kind of writer the Imperialists consider a "sage." Says a lot about them, doesn't it?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Loving the Emperor

Gene Healy wrote an interesting piece in Reason online, concerning Americans' love affair with the Imperial Presidency, as manifested in a current television show starring Geena Davis.

"what's interesting about the show isn't the idea of a woman president, and it certainly isn't the hackneyed dialogue. If C in C is worth watching at all, it's for what it tells us about modern, popular views of the presidency. Judging by the first three episodes, and the show's popularity, the romance of presidential power transcends left and right.
"Geena Davis' Mac Allen is an independent, and if her politics are thus far difficult to discern, it may be because they consist of convictions shared by both parties, such as dedication to a militarized drug war and a hyper-Wilsonianism that sees all the world's quarrels as our own.
"there can be no doubt that the Imperial Presidency is alive and well. And most Americans, liberal or conservative, can't imagine it any other way. The public is no longer content to accept a mere chief magistrate, charged with faithful execution of the laws; instead, over the 20th century, the president has been transformed into a national Father-Protector, who is supposed to keep us safe from everything from economic dislocation to bad weather."

Though the facts of the American Empire should seem crystal clear to just about everyone who cares to look, all too many people are still convinced that this country is a constitutional republic. To steal the line from a movie, the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled is convincing people he did not exist. So long as the illusion of a republic persists, Americans will not challenge the American Empire, and keep thinking it's the measure of being "presidential" when Geena Davis - or Martin Sheen, for that matter - order other countries blown up.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Onward and Upward

After almost five years of Thursdays, Balkan Express (est. October 19, 2000) is moving - by a day. From this week onward, it will appear on Wednesdays. It may be five years since the 'revolution' in Serbia, and ten since the Bosnian War ended, but the Empire is still knee-deep in the Balkans mud, and getting deeper.

Will the illegal occupation of Kosovo end in an ethnically-cleansed Albanian statelet? Will the efforts to create a centralized Bosnia-Herzegovina lead to peace and harmony, or another war? Will the EU devour the region, and either solve its problems or create new ones? That, and a lot more, as Balkan Express enters its sixth year - now on Wednesdays.

(reposted from the blog)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Birds of a Feather

Natasa Kandic, the foremost peddler of atrocity porn in Serbia, is to become a honorary citizen of Sarajevo. So says her "Humanitarian Law Centre" in a triumphant post on the globalist web portal,

The "honor" was awarded by the Sarajevo City Council, which apparently considers Kandic someone who has "made extraordinary contributions to the development and promotion of Sarajevo, as well as the field of improvement of international and human relations, based on the principles of solidarity, democracy, humanity and tolerance among peoples of various creeds."

There is, of course, nothing in Kandic's work that resembles anything close to solidarity, democracy, humanity and especially tolerance. Then again, the current Sarajevo City Council is notorious for asserting it was being multi-ethnic and tolerant when it appointed a "Bosniak," a "Bosnian" and a "Muslim" to its offices because it could not round up enough Serbs or Croats to fill the sham multi-ethnic quotas. From the pages of Sarajevo dailies and weeklies pour out the messages of such vitriolic hatred (mostly for Serbs, but Croats are targeted every so often as well) to make Kandic's Serbophobic ravings seem mild by comparison. My hometown has become an abomination, indeed.

I suppose this council and Kandic deserve each other, kindred spirits as they are. But Sarajevo deserves better than either of them.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Finding Serenity

"Once you've been to Serenity, you never leave."

Television is often seen as mind-numbing poison - and in most cases, that's precisely what it is. But every once in a while, something truly brilliant appears on the telescreens: something different, unique, unusual. Such was Firefly, in the fall of 2002. And because it was so different, it was smothered quickly by the suits at the network that has made lowering the lowest common denominator a profitable mission.

Something happened then the suits did not expect. When it came out on DVD, Firefly became a runaway hit. We wanted to know what happened to Captain Mal and his raggedy bunch of misfits in their struggle to "find a job, any job," and "keep flying," always a step ahead of the tyrannical Alliance. And tomorrow we will.

"Serenity," the long-anticipated feature film sequel to the 13 episodes of "Firefly," opens Friday across the US. If you value liberty, despise tyranny and hanker for an old-fashioned adventure, see this movie. You won't regret it.

Monday, September 12, 2005

This is why...

Since the news, rumors and images started coming in from the lost city of New Orleans, I've seen many interesting opinions about the man-made disaster that followed the natural one. I have yet to see a better take than this piece by Butler Shaffer, on today:
"Once again, the Events in New Orleans have brought into focus the long-standing question that we have heretofore preferred not to face: is society to be organized by and for the benefit of individuals or of institutions? Does life belong to the living, or to the organizational machinery that the living so unwisely created? We are confronted – as was Dr. Frankenstein – by a monster of our own creation, which must control and dominate us if it is to survive. We continue to feed this destructive creature, not simply with our material wealth, but with our very souls and the lives of our children. [...]

In the outpouring of individual compassion and cooperation following the disaster in New Orleans, the state discovered a threat to its existence. Political systems thrive only through division and conflict; by getting people to organize themselves into mutually-exclusive groups which then fight with one another. This is why “war is the health of the state.” But if people can discover a sense of love and mutuality amongst them, how is the state to maintain the sense of continuing conflict upon which it depends?

This is why the state must prevent the private shipment of truckload after truckload of private aid to victims; this is why flood victims – including those who want nothing more than to remain in their homes – must be turned into a criminal class, against whom state functionaries will “lock and load” their weapons and “shoot and kill... if necessary.” The state is fighting for its life, and must exaggerate its inhumane, life-destroying capacities in order to terrify the rest of us into structured obedience.

Forcibly tossing people out of their homes, seizing their weapons and depriving them of their property is obviously not about "helping" them - it's about helping the state. It's not about compassion, but control. This is the true face of government - not just this government, here and now, but government in general! - and it sure is ugly.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Imaginary Outlets

It isn't often that I can laugh uproariously upon reading what is supposed to be a serious quote from the legacy media. Usually, their stuff is so out of touch with reality, it's painful, frustrating, or both.

In today's New York Times there is an article (warning: they may require you to register) on the runaway success of "World of Warcraft." It's a massive multi-player online game that appeals to both player-vs-player and role-player crowds, and has over 4 million subscribers worldwide - a phenomenon in the industry that used to be proud of half a million. Anyway, the Gray Lady quotes a skeptic thusly:
"I don't think there are four million people in the world who really want to play online games every month," said Michael Pachter, a research analyst for Wedbush Morgan, a securities firm. "World of Warcraft is such an exception. I frankly think it's the buzz factor, and eventually it will come back to the mean, maybe a million subscribers."

"It may continue to grow in China," Mr. Pachter added, "but not in Europe or the U.S. We don't need the imaginary outlet to feel a sense of accomplishment here. It just doesn't work in the U.S. It just doesn't make any sense." (emphasis added)
No need for imaginary outlets? Why, then, are millions of Americans investing money they don't have into plywood palaces at obscenely inflated prices, courtesy of Boss Greenspan's cheap credit and fiat currency? Why are thousands of bureaucrats intent on reshaping the world against the wishes of its "reality-based" community? The world would be a better place if they all paid $15 a month to stay at home and play "American Empire" or "The Sims." Or "World of Warcraft," come to think of it; having to earn money the hard way - fighting monsters and crafting products people can use - might teach people a thing or two they appear to have forgotten.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Empire vs. America

My criticism of the Empire has frequently been mistaken as criticism of America, as if they are somehow one and the same. In the eyes of the imperialists, certainly - but anyone else should be able to easily see that not only are they two different things, but also mutually exclusive.

Libertarian columnist Vox Day offers an explanation that might help:

The "freedom" espoused by the utopians should never be confused with the unalienable freedoms that are the American birthright, however. It is no accident that despite the fact that they speak of an American empire, the quasi-democratic systems that result from American military invasions and occupations are inevitably free of the not only the checks and balances of the American Constitution, but also a good part of the American Bill of Rights. [...]

The reason that advocates of utopian empire are inherent traitors to the United States and enemies of its Constitution is because without respect for national sovereignty and self-determination, the United States itself has no raison d'etre. The protections of its constitution are nil and its unalienable rights are void if they are in conflict with the wishes of the utopians. In the same way that neither the Serbs nor the Kurds are permitted the right of self-determination under this utopian scheme, Americans are denied the very rights that they are supposed to be guaranteed. [...]

And because it offers the promise of freedom while delivering its opposite, the neocon's utopian concept of empire is doomed to failure by its inherent inconsistencies. The World Democratic Revolution is no more tenable than the World Communist Revolution, and like its intellectual parent, will eventually collapse into totalitarian tyranny. The particular danger for the United States is that following the tradition of imperial overstretch, its abuse as the utopians' primary weapon will cause the remnants of its constitutional system to break down as well.

Quoted from "On global empire" at Vox Popoli.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Against the "Strategic Class"

In the run-up to the 2004 U.S. elections, I pointed out the lack of difference between a Democratic and a Republican empire, drawing a parallel - as all too few have - between the Bushite "War on terrorism" and the Clintonite "Humanitarian crusade."

Now it seems that some Democrats are finally coming to understand that their "strategic class" (as Ari Berman of The Nation masterfully put it) is just as imperialist, if not more, than the neocons. Berman actually lays out a whole hierarchical pyramid of imperialists on the Democrat side, starting with Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton in the Senate, through Richard Holbrooke, Mad Madeleine Albright and Jamie Rubin in the gray diplomacy, down to think-tanks like the Council of Foreign Relations (strangely, not mentioning the ICG) and pundits like Thomas "give war a chance" Friedman.

But Berman is unable to answer his own question - "Why is the assumption of interventionism dominant in Washington's foreign policy discourse?" - because of a logical handicap. As Justin Raimondo explains this morning:
...there is a "simple answer," and it is the natural tendency of the Washington elites to assume the efficacy of government action as the solution to all problems. The "strategic class" is founded, after all, on the premise that the U.S. must intervene – militarily and otherwise – in the affairs of other nations in order to secure its own "national interests." The question isn't whether or not to intervene, but what strategy ought to underpin our intervention. (emphasis added)

The unspoken argument is that both the Democrats' "strategic class" and the Republican neocons are working hand-in-hand, complementing each others' efforts, to destroy what is left of the American republic and replace it with an American Empire.

Raimondo - no Democrat by any stretch of imagination - holds out hope that the Democrats will find some way to reclaim their Jeffersonian heritage; that, by challenging not just this war but imperial intervention in general they will manage to argue themselves out of their menshevik ideology. Perhaps he is being too much of an optimist. Individual redemption is possible - I went from a Communist Pioneer to an anarcho-capitalist libertarian, though the road wasn't easy. But collective redemption of an entire party? It's almost easier to believe the present-day Republicans will resurrect the Old Right...

The best I can hope for at this time is that the Democrats' Balkans policy, recently co-opted by Bush II, will become associated with the catastrophe in Iraq, and scrapped by the time the next election comes around.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Antiwar Verse

Rudyard Kipling's poetry, though good, was in the service of promoting the Empire of the day - in his case, the British. Richard Cummings of writes Kiplingesque verse against the empire of the day - in this case, American.

Here is just a sample, to whet your appetite:
The bombs that you dropped
Left Fallujah in rubble,
For the stench there can't be any words.
But no one could tell
In this bloody hell,
Were they Sunnis, or Shi'ites or Kurds?
Read the whole thing here.

If I had any poetic talent whatsoever, I would try to try to adapt this to the Balkans; but beyond "Were they Muslims, or Croats, or Serbs?" nothing comes to mind.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Missing the Plot

I was reading today's LRC, and I caught this fantastic quip by the always wise Bill Bonner:
"Watching the news is a bit like watching a bad opera. You can tell from all the shrieking that something very important is supposed to be happening; but you don't quite know what it is. What you're missing is the plot."

If there is a better description of mainstream news nowadays, I've yet to hear it. Of course, the "plot" that does emerge from all the shrieks of deliberate (or sometimes not) disinformation is the Official Truth, a shoddy work of fiction that is nonetheless taken at face value by the masses simply because they cannot conceive being lied to on such a grand scale. But just because one cannot grasp something, that something is no less real.

(Off-topic here, I was thinking of posting an apology for the relative paucity of posts lately, and the absence of Balkan Express, but then I realized I'd already said, right in the beginning, that I'll post as often - or as little - as I felt necessary. So I'll just chalk it all up to August heat exhaustion and move along.)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

"Shoot the first Serb..."

According to the Belgrade daily "Srpski Nacional," the commander of Zagreb riot police, one Zvonimir Vitjak, threatened the Serb soccer fans planning to attend a match between Belgrade's Crvena Zvezda and a Croatian team.

"We'll shoot the first Serb who tries to make trouble. There will be no mercy for Belgraders, if they so much as think of disturbing the peace here... No matter how many Serbs come, we are ready to meet them," Vitjak is quoted as saying.

He added, "We all remember the Serb who carried the photo of Draža Mihailović on Jelačić Square. I promise I will personally deal with every Serb that gets a similar idea... I don't care that this is a European game. I will do anything to preserve the dignity of all Croats." (all emphasis added)

This racist drivel comes on the heels of last week's celebration of the August 1995 ethnic cleansing of Serbs. It's an illustration of the extent to which Serbs are hated in Croatia. Vitjak wasn't warning Zvezda fans, or hooligans, he was warning Serbs. He wasn't speaking of upholding the law, but of preserving Croatian "dignity."

Earlier this year (March), a riot in Zagreb targeted athletes, journalists and fans from Serbia after a handball game between a home team and Belgrade's Partizan. No arrests were made. Somehow I don't think Mr. Vitjak was too concerned with Croats who were "disturbing the peace" by beating up Serbs. After all, probably considering it a patriotic duty, it's what he would do.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Help fund

I'm sure all the faithful readers of Balkan Express have already donated to, to help keep it going for another quarter. I mean, they do provide far more in the way of news and opinion that your mainstream media, and charge nothing for it but what you give of your own volition. That alone is far more honest than the mainstream media, who take your money, then tell you lies - and lots of them.

You want lies? Go somewhere else. You want the truth - if you can handle it! - read And if you don't think the truth is worth a couple of dollars, then frankly, I don't even want to know you.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Whipping Boy

It has long been obvious that the Serbs are the Empire's designated culprit in the Balkans. But it now appears they are becoming the whipping boy for just about everything, including the troubles the Empire is having with the jihad. At least some in Serbia are aware of this, and may yet be able to put an end to the thugs in power, who slavishly race to please the Empire by beating up on their own, already battered, people.

War of Values

Željko Vuković

Večernje Novosti, 30 July 2005

What would happen if 2/3 of Serbia's Muslims were considering emigrating to another country, fearing Christian Serbs? And if they documented their fear by the fact that one in five of them had endured some kind of assault or humiliation in the past week? And if the official figure of 1200 incidents of attacks on Muslims in Serbia were an understatement of reality, which ranged from insults to mosque-torchings and even murder?

Why, the democratic-humanist lynch mobs would rise instantly to protect the endangered and frightened Muslims from the aggressive, primitive Serbs. Maybe the new Draskovic-Sheffer pact could save us from another merciful bombing, but we would certainly not escape harsh economic sanctions and other collective punishment. Because when the democratic, humanitarian West hears that its Balkans Muslims are getting hurt, it cries and rages and knows no mercy.

Only, the Muslims who are considering emigration and fear assault and humiliation don't live in Serbia, but in the UK! They fear not Serbs, but those very same Brits who so conscientiously care for Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo. Of course, the British will never be collectively blamed, let alone punished, for these assaults on their fellow Muslim citizens. The people to pay the price will again be - the Serbs!

Oh yes. Because every time the Western powers clash with Muslims, whether at home or in Iraq, Afghanistan or another Muslim country, they crack the whip over Serbia. To show the world that their military interventions and intolerance are not driven by hatred of Islam and Muslims in general, they decide to help the Muslims of the Balkans.

That is why the British foreign secretary, during the week when British Muslims dared not step out of their homes, made a quick hop to Potocari to tell the world how the British sympathize with Bosnian Muslims and would do everything that the crimes against them are not forgotten or unpunished. Meanwhile, the British viceroy in Bosnia, Paddy Ashdown, has pushed for abolishing the Serb Republic, as that would be the best proof of how much his country and the West care for the wishes and needs of the brotherly Muslims.

This is why London and Washington are stubbornly keeping silent abouot Al-Qaeda and other "holy warriors" in Bosnia and Kosovo. But they think of Serbs as soon as a terrorist bomb explodes on their doorstep! Only a few hours after the London explosions, the British media were reporting the explosives used were purchased in Serbia. They have yet to report that the two British-Muslim organizations suspected of terrorist attacks in London and ties to Al-Qeada, have been active in Bosnia and Kosovo for years.

Were Serbs to become more pacifist than Gandhi, it would change nothing. They would still remain the nation whose chastising is supposed to paint the false picture of Western hegemons' democracy and humanism.

So, whenever there is news of a terrorist attack in some Western country, or if a Western power starts to deal with its own, or non-Balkans Muslims, the Serbs should beware; they are about to suffer next.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Empire, Jihad, and Choice

Writes Charles Featherstone, of

"We are at war with Muslims, but not all Muslims. In fact, the struggle is only with a small number of Muslims who have not only embraced a revolutionary political ideology, but have chosen to act on that belief. (And we would likely still be at war even if we gave them everything they wanted.) Our failure to properly appreciate that, to drive ourselves to a frenzied panic, to mull genocide as the answer to our problem, to fear we will lose when clearly we will not, is to create an existential dilemma where none exists...

To target nation states or whole communities ... in response for the actions of single individuals acting on behalf of a completely voluntary, non-state revolutionary group is the height of foolishness.

It also proves we've met an enemy we can't bomb. And the folks who run the Pentagon don't know what to do with enemies except bomb them."

In the aftermath of September 11, one of the most difficult questions I've had to deal with in criticizing the American Empire was the issue of terrorism and jihad. The debate was framed- quite deliberately - by the Emperor himself, in the nonsensical terms of "you're either with us, or with the terrorists."

But how about, "none of the above"? Being opposed to a gang of Muslim fanatics trying to re-create a VII (or XI?) century jihad with XXI-century technology did not, does not, and should not mean siding with the abomination that has murdered the American republic and possessed its cadaver. Or vice versa: just because George W. Bush and his minions have fabricated a danger that would justify their imperial adventure doesn't mean a danger does not exist. It just isn't the danger they are carping on about.

It is not "terror" itself the Empire claims to be - or should be - fighting. After all, terror from the skies, or the threat thereof, is its preferred method of keeping the rest of the world in line. The enemy here is the fanatical jihad movement, nurtured by that very same Empire as a weapon against the USSR back in the 1970s (in profound ignorance of jihad and Islam in general). It has since become loose, feeding on hatred over the real and perceived outrages against Muslims, beginning with the first Gulf War in 1991 and continuing with the "genocides" in Bosnia and Chechnya.

(As an aside here, the oft-used argument in America that punishing the Serbs for "genocide" against the Balkans Muslims would demonstrate the good will of the West is cynical. There would be no gratitude from Muslims, Balkans or otherwise, for something they consider America's obligation. I mean, who ever gets praised for doing what is expected of them? Furthermore, the fanatical Muslims will never be pleased by anything the "Crusaders" do. The whole "appease the Muslims by kicking the Serbs" thing is as stupid as it is irrational.)

Anyway, once the Empire invaded and occupied Iraq - using the same pattern of aggression established with Serbia - things got a bit more complicated. Among the Iraqi insurgents who have made life hell for the occupiers are both patriots and bona fide terrorists. The Empire, understandably, blurs the distinction - and if history is any indicator, the terrorists (who are more determined to inflict, and accept, death) will eventually overwhelm the patriots, if they haven't done so already. But my guess is that most Iraqis shooting at Americans are fighting for the same reason anyone fights invaders: "they are over here."

One can - and should - oppose both the Empire and the jihad on moral grounds. Both seek to impose ideas and interests by force, and are impervious to reason. Neither has any respect for life, liberty or property. The "with us or against us" is a choice between two evils. I don't have to choose evil at all - and neither do you.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Decline and Fall of Conservatism

Apologies for the lack of posts. Between certain personal obligations and the blistering heatwave rolling across the United States, it's been very hard to think, let alone make coherent comments about anything.

Butler Shaffer of doesn't have that problem . Indeed, he continues to write amazing philosophical essays. His latest, "The Decline and Fall of Conservatism," explains how a once-great philosophy of individual liberty, property rights and society-over-state degenerated into a totalitarian institution that tramples liberty, destroys property and elevates state above all.

I really shouldn't quote from the article, as taking anything out of context would be doing it injury; but there is a metaphor I cannot resist mentioning:

"...when the Soviet Union collapsed, conservatives were left without a raison d’être. Their very existence, as a political movement, ceased to be. They had accumulated weapons and powers – along with an army of defense contractors eager to keep the game going – but no "enemy." Conservatives – and, I should add, so-called "liberals" – were like a man with a leash, desperately in search of a dog."

Simply brilliant.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Conscience and freedom

I'm backdating this post to July 13, when it should have appeared. That I forgot to post it does not mean its message is any less important; only that I can be incredibly absent-minded at times.

This is a quote from a 1987 book, specifically from a lecture given by one Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger - now Pope Benedict XVI. The full text is on

"Where conscience prevails there is a barrier against the domination of human orders and human whim, something sacred that must remain inviolable and that in an ultimate sovereignty evades control not only by oneself but by every external agency. Only the absoluteness of conscience is the complete antithesis to tyranny; only the recognition of its inviolability protects human beings from each other and from themselves; only its rule guarantees freedom."

These are certainly words to live by. One does not have to be Catholic to agree.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Long Way From Over

At Monday's commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the fall of Srebrenica, a column of Bosnian Muslims marched in wearing T-shirts with the photo of warlord Naser Oric and the slogan "Is self-defense a crime?" This presumably refers to Oric's wartime actions, which resulted in thousands of Serb civilians brutally murdered and dozens of villages destroyed.

Others bore the wartime sigil of the Bosnian Muslim government, the cynically appropriated shield of medieval Christian kings. They chanted "Long live the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina" - the name under which the Muslim-dominated government declared independence in 1992 - and "Death to the Serb Republic!"

Think the Bosnian War ended in 1995? Think again...

(photo: Zoran Šaponjić, Glas Javnosti, 12. July 2005)

Monday, July 11, 2005

Montenegrin Separatists Lose It

Say something the Montenegrin separatists don't like, and you may find yourself shot - or accused of terrorism. Last spring, the editor of a Podgorica newspaper who wrote about president/prime minister Milo Djukanovic's shady adventures in cigarette-smuggling was gunned down. The recent accusation of terrorism came at the expense of Srdja Trifkovic, Chronicles editor, prolific historian and commentator, after his recent appearance at a forum opposing Montenegrin separatism.

According to Trifkovic's colleague (and author of a great history of Montenegro) Thomas Fleming, papers close to the government accused Trifkovic of authoring a death threat to Djukanovic; the purported threat is a crude and sloppy forgery - which did not prevent the leading Empire-glorifying daily in Belgrade (the Jacobin Danas) from eagerly parroting the charge.

Aware that American money won't keep their criminal gang in power forever, that support for "independence" has consistently remained low (were it not so, the referendum Djukanovic keeps threatening to call would have taken place years ago), that their attempts to establish separate"Montenegrin" nation, culture, church, history and language have been recognized as a demented joke, and that the only way to avoid Italian smuggling indictments is diplomatic immunity, Djukanovic and his cronies have become desperately delusional enough to believe they could shape reality through propaganda.

Earth to Milo: it doesn't work, not even for the American Empire. Sooner or later, reality bites back. Looks like his time is just about up.

[As a side note, Dr. Fleming's condemnation of this smear campaign soon drew the attention of rabid Islamists (see writeback), whose absurd and hysterical charges against Dr. Trifkovic also named yours truly. Though signed "CAIR," the post actually reeked of Stephen Schwartz.]

Friday, July 08, 2005

Useless Power

Charles Featherstone of LRC had another fantastic commentary yesterday, which I somehow missed. For all its belligerence and bluster, he says, the Empire is already crumbling:
America's Army, Navy and Air Force have become useless instruments. Our soldiers can occupy, our planes can bomb relentlessly and with precision, our ships can patrol the seas, but who fears us now? Five years ago, when the glow of the War to Liberate Kuwait and air offensive against Yugoslavia still made American arms appear invincible, perhaps the governments and peoples of the world trembled at the thought of the United States military. But today, when a few thousand insurgents can tie down, tire and incapacitate that Army, what is there to left to fear?

Some governments may still quake at the thought of air strikes and the destruction of government "capital" and "investments" they would bring. But a people determined to resist us can look at Iraq and take heart – yes, we can be beaten. It's not all that hard.

[Paul] Harvey is right to fear defeat. In many ways, we have already lost.

When our whole approach to fighting "terror" is to inflict pain on people until they behave they way we want, what do we do when they can take all the pain we have to give? How much more pain are we willing – or able – to inflict until we realize the pointlessness of it all? Or until conscience confronts us?

And how many hydrogen bombs are we willing to use? One? Two? A dozen? A hundred? And if people still resist, or are driven to resist, what then? Shall we destroy the entire world?

We have unleashed our power upon the world only to discover that it is terribly finite, a great deal more limited than we hoped and imagined. Hundreds of billions of dollars spent on bombs, tanks, planes, soldiers, and every passing day we are less and less able to bend the world to our will.

A whole arsenal of useless power.

Those who engineered the rise of the American Empire in the mid-1990s wanted it to be both feared and loved. Bush II decided to dispense with love; "Oderint dum metuant" really did become the Imperial motto. But now the fear is almost gone, and hate is all that remains. Now what?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Newton's Third Law

On Wednesday, June 29, there was a commentary in the Belgrade daily Glas Javnosti that captured the ire of the Serbian public over the relentless media campaign concerning the "genocide" in Srebrenica. Titled "Srebrenica and Reaction," it can be read in a BBC translation here.

However, considering the BBC translation somewhat lacking, I'm offering my own. You be the judge of how they compare, but do note the point the author is making, for when you hear the next round of Srebrenica hysteria.

Action causes reaction. There is no principle more simple and more true. If you beat your wife, your daughter will certainly fall for some local thug. If you write something about Dinkić, he will sic his BIA (Badgering Inspectors' Armada) on you. If you mess with Brankica "Insider" Stanković, you will have to extradite Radovan Karadžić to avoid arrest...

This natural law applies to Serbs as well. If you tell us a story about Srebrenica every night at bedtime, we will wish to never hear it again. If every session of the parliament turns into an argument over Srebrenica, we will elect other MPs, who will argue about something different. If you continue to invite Nataša Kandić to your shows, we'll change the channel...

Since the Scorpions' atrocity video was shown, we have been watching a sort of Olympics for NGO-profiteers. Nataša Kandić & Co. can hardly manage to run from B92 studios to an exhibit on Srebrenica, then take their seats at a round table on Srebrenica, then dash to a conference on Srebrenica, from which they would race to a debate on Srebrenica, after which they would saunter to a forum about Srebrenica, finishing it off with a rally about Srebrenica. All along telling the foreign media, who paint them as local pillars of democracy and free speech, about their "martyrdom" in uncovering the "truth" about Srebrenica.

Meanwhile, Bojan Pajtić of the Vojvodina Executive Council proposes that Serbia declares a day of mourning for Srebrenica (yes, the same Bojan Pajtić who told Serbia that there is no need for Bodrum Day - imagine that, he's still a free man!), and Exit organizers decide that the entire festival will fall silent in the night of July 10-11, to commemorate Srebrenica... If it didn't smell like Nenad Čanak, it would downright Kandić-like. Speaking of Exit, what is Maja Gojković doing? What's the use of having a Radical as the mayor of Novi Sad, if Exit organizers can fall silent at will?

The hysterical campaign of "All Serbs are guilty of Srebrenica" will make us all eventually say, "Enough with the 'truth' about Srebrenica". Action and reaction.

You know, Americans never adopted a resolution on Hiroshima or Nagasaki, not to mention Iraq, Milica Rakić, the Indians... The English will never declare a day of mourning over the Falklands Islands. Croats will never so much as think of silencing the Split festival over Jasenovac, or the bombings of refugee columns in "Flash" and "Storm". It's a good bet the Bosniaks [sic] will never apologize for the suffering of Serbs in Sarajevo, or around Srebrenica, or because Izetbegović rejected the Cutilheiro peace plan.

Instead of learning from Americans, the English, Croats and Bosniaks, we Serbs constantly holler about "crimes in our name". So it makes sense that the United States Senate declares us - and only us - the culprits for a crime that took place 10 years ago, with a special resolution. There could be a connection: clamor about "crimes in our name" and the Senate slaps you down. Action, and reaction.

Miodrag Zarković

Friday, July 01, 2005

Hourglass Hypocrisy

I've long intended to address the activities and existence of the Jacobins in Serbia: the militant, Empire-worshipping, media-dominating "non-governmental" and "civic" faction that is small in numbers, but loud enough to drown any reasoned debate in that beleaguered society.

Recently, political commentator Marinko M. Vučinić took to task the editors of "The Hourglass," a popular show on the Jacobin B92 television, on the site of Nova Srpska Politička Misao (see original here). I've taken the liberty of translating just one passage from his commentary, which in my opinion describes extraordinarily well the main discourse of the Jacobins - their hatred, frustration and alien relationship with ethics:

"What are the main positions of these passionate zealots for truth in Serbia? Without even trying to appear objective, they treat their opinions as absolute. For them, Serbia today is a place of horror, a bandit state, a black hole of Europe where it is impossible to live or think in a civilized manner. National mentality dooms the Serbs to be manipulated slaves; our history and traditions are nothing but illusions and myths; we are prisoners of the past, unable to embrace Europe and modernity. We are steeped in chauvinism and clericalism, unable to face the past; politics is dominated by thugs, liars and swindlers.
The exception, of course, are representatives of the so-called civic intelligentsia, who always merit approval. So what if no one ever explained to Biljana Srbljanović how the "terribly interesting, competent and fascinating" Čeda Jovanović came to own a house with a pool in Ripanj, multiple apartments, horses...? It matters not. Such things are trivial compared to the importance of this ideological stormtrooper's modernization efforts. So you see, the relentless criticism of the "Hourglass" editors does know some limits, if only when it concerns the like-minded."

Friday, June 24, 2005

Liberty, Congress and Old Glory

Musing on the flag-burning amendment recently passed in the House, Anthony Gregory of LRC offers this for thought:
"...ever since the Washington administration, federal politicians have attempted to circumvent, and all too often have succeeded in circumventing, the Bill of Rights’ limits on government power. From the first National Bank to the Federal Reserve, from the Alien and Sedition Acts to Japanese Internment, from the first U.S. invasion of Canada to the second war on Iraq, the busybodies in Washington have frequently carried out colossal projects for which one searches in vain for Constitutional authority."

And also:
"Almost everyone in Congress actively and consistently votes against American liberty. Those who desecrate the Bill of Rights and yet feign a tear at the trumped-up intellection of Old Glory being burned in protest by dangerous anti-American radicals have little understanding of freedom – or America, in the best sense of the word."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

A Pagan Theocracy?

LRC blogger Charles Featherstone noted yesterday that when a U.S. Army reservist desecrated the Quran as supposed retaliation for Muslims burning the American flag, he was unwittingly (or perhaps not?) comparing the Stars and Stripes to what the Muslims believe is "God's speech, an attribute of God, present with God from the beginning." In other words, the soldier was claiming that the United States and its banner were a manifestation of God.

Lew Rockwell isn't surprised:
"The Tomb of the Unknown is a temple complete with mock religious ceremonies... Mt. Rushmore mimics religious statuary in Luxor or Babylon. A Roman temple offers us Lincoln Best and Greatest on his fasces-encrusted throne. The Jefferson Memorial is a Greek temple. The Washington Monument is an Egyptian religious symbol. DC is strewn with these chilling edifices. And the Christian right, in the Yankee-Puritan tradition, regards the US state as God's chosen instrument on earth, and Bush as his prophet. This kid is simply a cruder version of the official view, which will have no other gods before DC."

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Atrocity Porn Failure Frustrates Peddlers

Since the video of Serb militiamen executing six Bosnian Muslim captives first appeared two weeks ago, there has been a relentless barrage of propaganda in the Western press about how this was the "irrefutable" proof that the "genocide" in Srebrenica really happened, and that units and authorities from Serbia itself were involved. But despite the initial confusion, born of understandable nausea at the shocking images, many people in Serbia still refuse to swallow the pail of garbage the Imperial propaganda is so insistently shoving down their throats.

I've got a whole column dedicated to this coming out tomorrow on, so I won't rehash the points I've made therein. But another article came across my desk this morning, by one Beth Kampschror of the Christian Science Monitor - a champion of Balkans intervention if there ever was one, and a paper with vested interest in the Official Truth about Srebrenica, as it was one of their reporters, David Rohde, who helped craft the original story.

Kampschror's piece is simply awful, wallowing in double-talk, deceptive phrasing and outright lies. One is tempted to take it apart sentence by sentence - but it would actually take more time and space than it takes to write such trash. I'll try to hit just the salient points.

The "images are gripping and seem irrefutable," she says. They are indeed; no one can refute that six Muslims were killed on that slope, just as shown in the video. No one has tried. It's the implication that this somehow proves that 8000 Muslims were killed, or that the killers were Serbian police, that is rightly doubted. So Kampschror complains the video "has not yet busted the myth that Serb officers did not commit Europe’s worst massacre since the Holocaust." That is because the real "myth" here is precisely what she asserts to be the truth. And where is the Anti-Defamation League when you need it, to put a stop to these incessant and fraudulent comparisons to the Holocaust?

While maintaining that somehow the executioners of the six men were "Serbian officers," Kampschror actually calls the Scorpions - a militia unit formed in 1992 by Serbs who rebelled against Croatian rule - "Serbian-funded." Well, what is it? Were they Serbians, or funded by Serbia? Were they under orders from Belgrade, as Kampschror's colleagues far and wide keep repeating, or was Belgrade paying for their lunch? The question itself is absurd when considering who is CSM's source on this: yes, none other than Natasa Kandic. She claims no one could have gone to Bosnia without government approval and support - an assertion as false as it is idiotic.

"Public opinion in Serbia has long held that the Srebrenica massacre never happened, or that the Muslims were equally guilty if it did," goes Kampschror's straw-man argument. Certainly, Serbians did not believe the official story of the "genocide" in Srebrenica, partly out of instinctive refusal to believe one's own people can commit such atrocities, but also because the same media that authored the Official Truth on Srebrenica have lied shamelessly about other things - e.g. never mentioning the documented atrocities against Serbs. Crimes of the Muslim militias against the Serbs in and around Srebrenica are even more horrifying than the Kandic video (see here).

Eventually, Kampschror gets to the real gripe, and its source: the Hague Inquisition and its collaborators, who were frustrated that their conference on Srebrenica this past weekend was ignored by the Serbian government. The ICTY representative in Belgrade, Alexandra Milenov, tells Kampschror that despite the "overwhelming quantity of evidence," the Krstic conviction, and the Republika Srpska report that "confirmed what the tribunal had already ruled on, you still have voices of denial." Yet the ICTY's "evidence" is hardly overwhelming in quality, consisting mostly of allegations repeated ad nauseam, assumed to be true. General Krstic was convicted of "aiding and abetting" genocide, but the genocide itself was simply asserted as a fact. The RS report from last year was extorted by viceroy Ashdown, and is as valid as the confessions of Stalin's purge victims.

Finally, Kampschror objects that the "nationalist majority" in the Serbian parliament refused to pass a resolution written by Kandic and her fellow ICTY partisans, because they insisted "that crimes were committed individually, rather than blaming the Serbian institutions that made those crimes possible."

What institutions? Kampschror names them earlier in the article as "traditional voices of denial" and "Milosevic-era leftovers": the military, the police, the Serbian Orthodox Church. Tie this back in with the distasteful but deliberate Holocaust comparison from the opening paragraph, and you realize that CSM's correspondent is arguing that the Serbian people and its government were the modern incarnation of the Third Reich. She's not the only one, either.

There is much more legerdemain in the article, but it all follows the same pattern: how dare these Nazis still deny what the Official Truth has proven through endless repetition?

It's because they aren't Nazis, Beth, and the "truth" and "proof" you claim they should accept is nothing but a rotting pile of lies.

Cold-blooded Lies

"Web of cold-blooded lies" is the title of Eric Margolis's column at the Toronto Star today, linked on the news page of, about the UK memos revealing the effort to deceive the British and American public into supporting the invasion of Iraq. As Kevin Zeese reveals on, there are actually seven documents indicating what could be rightly termed the conspiracy to commit aggression.

Margolis, Zeese and not a few other commentators who have addressed the issue of Downing Street memos, wonder where is the popular outrage. The US and UK have manipulated the United Nations into providing an excuse for an illegal, immoral and illegitimate aggressive war and occupation of another country's territory. Shouldn't their people be angry that they've been deceived?

Of course they should - and that they are not reflects all the moral corruption of the "West" today. But not even the complacent Westerners deserve to be lectured on accepting lies and war by the likes of Eric Margolis, who has a vociferous champion of Imperial intervention in Kosovo - one just as illegal, immoral, illegitimate, and based on lies as Iraq. That web of cold-blooded lies, not a few of which have been enthusiastically parroted by Margolis over the past six years or so, remains - in the words of mainstream propaganda trying to present fiction as fact - "widely believed."

So where is the outrage?

Monday, June 13, 2005

Russia and the Yugoslav Template

Among the Serbs there is a certain Russophilia. It was born during the long dark of Ottoman occupation, where the notion of a Slavic, Orthodox power that could counter the pressures of the Muslim sultans as well as the Catholic Emperors of Austria, gave people hope for freedom. But Serbia's experiences with Russia have been mixed. When Russia withdrew its support from the Serb rebels in 1812 (pressed as it was by Napoloen), the Ottomans reconquered Serbia with a vengeance. The Obrenovic princes' Austrophilia meant the Russians were more favorably inclined to Bulgaria. St. Petersburg betrayed Belgrade during the 1908 Annexation crisis. Russia did stand with Serbia in 1914, but they both paid a heavy price. Perhaps most ironically, the Serbs' Russophilia was crudely exploited by the Communists, who used it to sell their ideology - only to imprison and purge the Russophiles in 1948, during the feud with Stalin. But in the minds of many Serbs, there remained a romantic notion of the "Russians" coming to the rescue - perhaps misguided, certainly unfounded, and definitely unrequited.

So it is not Russophilia that makes me pay attention when the Empire attacks Moscow. It is the uncanny similarities between the Imperial assault on Russia, and what has taken place in the Balkans over the past 15 years or so - patterns that have connected fully only after I read Justin Riamondo's column today at

Consider: the color-coded "revolutions" had their beginning in Serbia, in the fall of 2000. Indeed, anywhere a new "revolution" is being brewed, Imperial mercenaries from Serbia (former Otpor and other NGO acolytes) can be found "visiting" and "consulting."

There is also an analogy to be made between Chechnya and Kosovo. Though of course it is not the heartland of Russia (that was Ukraine - and it's already detached, courtesy of the Orangists), Chechnya's separation could mean the unraveling of Russia; its pseudo-federalist organization, a leftover from Communist times, leaves it vulnerable to regional separatism, just as Yugoslavia was. And though the KLA is decidedly more fascist than fundamentalist, it is no less terrorist - and has the same purpose to the Empire - as the Chechen jihadis.

One reason the pattern was not obvious earlier, perhaps, is that the Empire owned Russia for most of the 1990s, when a drunken idiot sat in the Kremlin and his "pro-Western" advisers ran amok. It was the American "privatizers" (or is that privateers?) who created the oligarchs, and systematically robbed Russia of what little wealth survived the Reds. Most of the oligarchs' money - and indeed, the oligarchs themselves - ended up in the West. Serbia, too, had its oligarchs and thieves - but they were not Imperial stooges, and their money ended up in neutral banks of offshore tax havens (Cyprus, Cayman Islands, etc.). While the Serbian people had every right to object to being fleeced like that, that was not the Empire's concern. Indeed, the one thing Serbia's post-revolutionary masters have been ruthlessly efficient at was taxing their subjects.

The current rulers of Serbia - witless, confused and obsequious - uncannily resemble Yeltsin's Kremlin. And the attacks on Vladimir Putin echo those made against Slobodan Milosevic.

Although the analogy should not be stretched too far, a pattern is there. The Empire seeks dominion, and won't accept anyone who refuses to serve, or stands in the way. The political elite that has built its career on fear of Communism for five decades has come to feel some of that fear itself; Russia to them is still a dangerous rival that must be destroyed, or prevented from rising again. They look at China with the same paranoid neurosis. Empires see the world in imperial terms; the very notion that a nation could not seek power over others is alien to them.

So, was Yugoslavia a test-bed for the Soviet Union and Russia? A laboratory for tactics of the New Order? Or was it a grim demonstration of Imperial ability to impose its will anywhere, anytime, an Alderaan of our time? The answer - while it hardly matters to people reduced to picking up the scraps of their lives - may help save others, elsewhere. If Solzhenytsin's interview is any indication, the Russians may already know what is coming. But knowing something and dealing with it are different things altogether.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

A Crazed Cult

I'm an unabashed fan of, and I make a point of visiting every day. In many ways, I consider it valuable education - in history, philosophy, economics, even gourmet food. But one of my very favorites - no offense to others - has to be Butler Shaffer, whose musings on politics and philosophy never fail to impress.

His most recent essay, "Democrazies," explores the secular religion of the ballot-box in the aftermath of the French and Dutch referenda on the EU. He draws the conclusion that ought to be obvious - that in the Age of Empire, "democracy" means voting the way the government wants:
The impending collapse of our politically-structured world just might take with it the structured mindset upon which it has been built. And within its rubble may be found the remains of the secular religion “democracy,” whose catechisms are today preached from academic cathedrals and the media. In that day, perhaps, our archeological descendants may search the debris for an answer to the question our generation is too terrified to ask: by what justification do men and women organize to inflict violence upon their fellow humans?

Worth reading in its entirety.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Haradinaj Released

The Hague Inquisition has decided to grant provisional release to Empire's fair-haired boy. Our Man Ramush is heading home, as the “Trial chamber is satisfied that, if released, he will appear for trial and that there are no indications that he will pose any danger to victims, witnesses or other persons," according to the ICTY press release duly quoted by Reuters.

No indications? I've known from before that the ICTY has no relationship whatsoever with reality, but this is surely too rich. Aren't Albanian "narcs" routinely murdered in that province "liberated" from civilization? Isn't the Haradinaj clan notorious for killing rivals? Didn't Carla del Ponte herself complain that her biggest problem in Kosovo was Albanian witness intimidation?

But none of that matters, you see. Ramush is Empire's man, and he gets special treatment. As Reuters so helpfully informs, "diplomats say Haradinaj’s departure left a gaping hole in Kosovo’s government as the province nears negotiations on its final status." In plain English, Ramush is needed to help keep the KLA on a leash while its masters do their work. If there was any doubt about that message, the following paragraph dispels it:
Some analysts say Haradinaj’s presence, albeit behind the scenes, could give Kosovo’s leadership renewed direction and discipline as it strives to meet standards of democracy and minority rights the West has set as a condition for the talks.

These "analysts" are most likely ICG, which Reuters is unnaturally fond of quoting.

It all comes together, then: Ramush's indictment and surrender were a publicity stunt, aimed at boosting the Albanians' image and deceiving the Serbs into believing the "international community" actually had principles. His release, a political necessity that defies all law and logic, shows one more time that the ICTY is beyond any doubt a tool of the Empire. And it all fits Washington's "new" Kosovo policy, which the knuckle-dragging morons in Belgrade are doing their best to ignore.

Another day, another outrage.

Monday, June 06, 2005


I am not shocked.

Hey, I was in Bosnia during the war - spent the entire siege in Sarajevo, matter of fact - and have seen plenty of death, onscreen and off. I almost want to say I can't be shocked by any atrocity porn anymore, though I probably shouldn't; there seem to be no limits on human depravity, and someone, somewhere might just surprise me.

But the couple of minutes of "shocking" video that have been playing over the weekend as "proof" of Serbian involvement in the July 1995 events in Srebrenica - courtesy of the notorious Natasa Kandic and the crew from IWPR - while horrifying, are nothing that hasn't happened in dozens of places around Bosnia between April 1992 and November 1995. The cast of characters and locations differ - sometimes it is Serbs shooting Muslims or Croats, other times it is Croats shooting Serbs or Muslims, or Muslims shooting Croats or Serbs (and often other Muslims) - but the script remains the same. It proves absolutely nothing but the depravity of war and of people who make a spectacle of it, be they the executioners who film their own handiwork (e.g. "Naser Oric's Greatest Hits") or those who use such recordings to further their political agendas.

There is much to be written about this, and not enough time in the world to do so, but I shall give it a try over the next couple of weeks. The issue of how many people died in the aftermath of Srebrenica's fall - and how - is too serious to be addressed in an off-handed, hysterical or propaganda manner, which is what the general tone of reporting about it has been for nearly a decade. Indeed, the very vehemence with which the champions of the Official Truth push their story - which brims with righteous rage but often lacks sense - suggests there is more to it than meets the eye, the paper, or the screen.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A Pyrrhic Victory

The French have spoken. Chances are they objected to the EU not because it was a liberty-crushing bureaucratic Leviathan, but because it wasn't giving them enough tax loot. Still, that distinction - while crucial in principle - doesn't matter much right now. The obtuse, 300-page-plus EU Constitution has always been a waste of paper; the French voters just made it official.

Or did they? When the people fail to dance to the government's tune, the government hardly ever changes the tune. It changes the people instead. In Britain, Tony Blair is trying to weasel out of calling a referendum of their own, and will most likely try to sneak the Constitution past the Brits via the Parliament. Other EU tributaries, even France, may choose to do so rather than face the prospect of public embarrassment that comes with a "No" vote. They could keep calling votes till the desired result is achieved, but there is always the risk of failure.

A couple of years back, the residents of Northern Virginia, on the outskirts of Washington, DC, rejected overwhelmingly their government's proposal for a sales tax increase. The tax hike was supposed to fund roads and rapid transit (a problem particularly affecting the area, with tens of thousands of government drones heading to work and back to their hives every day), and was supported heavily by big business interests and the media. Yet the end result was well over 55% against.

Less than a year later, the Virginia legislature passed a slate of unprecedented tax hikes, including a sales tax increase.

Anyone still thinks democracy works? I pity you.

Friday, May 27, 2005

How Liberty Dies

Inspired by a truly great line from "Revenge of the Sith," Steven LaTulippe at LRC writes "So This Is How Liberty Dies." The ending is so beautifully written, it simply begs to be quoted at length:
Truly, we are seeing the visions of Yeats [see here] come to life before our very eyes.

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."

A glance at the structure of our government in this late era of republican governance demonstrates a variety of oddities and ironies. The most interesting is the observation that each branch of our government is now ignoring those areas where its actual responsibilities lie while simultaneously intruding into areas where it was once explicitly forbidden. [...]

Thus, we have a judiciary that wants to be a legislature, a legislature that wants to be a sugar daddy, and a president who wants to be an emperor.

It is a sorry sight to behold, and one that will probably make for a great tragic adventure series someday.

Unfortunately, we are all cast in the role of the "innocent bystanders."

And everyone knows what usually happens to them.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Going Upstream

Gary North at writes that "mainstream" media (MSM) are being replaced by "upstream" media:
Issue by issue, readers are concluding, "We’ve been lied to." They are correct. The Establishment at some point will face the implications of widespread disbelief in everything it says. At some point, people will not voluntarily do what they are told when they perceive their leaders as liars. When that day comes, political consensus will disintegrate. So will the mainstream Establishment’s control systems.

Let's hope this happens sooner, rather than later.

More Balkan Lies

I don't read The Guardian much. It's a bastion of "humanitarian imperialism" in the UK, which had enthusiastically cheered the NATO aggression of 1999 and continued to cheer for the occupation since. To be fair, they have also featured commentaries by Neil Clark, whose Marxist criticism of the occupation has been surprisingly well-argued, and a splendid article by Kate Hudson (the historian, not the actress) about the parallels between Kosovo and Iraq. One of their columnists, Julie Burchill, also made a good case against the Kosovo war in her own inimitable style. And, of course, they publish commentaries by John Laughland of the BHHRG, whose analyses have been proven true repeatedly.

But none of that can excuse Jonathan Steele.

As one of the many journalists who profited from channeling Imperial propaganda during the 1990s Balkans crisis, Steele threw himself passionately into the cause of "independent Kosova" this spring, first arguing that anything else would be a "victory for Milosevic," and now producing a disgusting "analysis" of the "Balkan question," so unashamedly pro-Albanian it would have embarrassed even Enver Hoxha.

For Steele, Albanians can do no wrong, and they are ever and only victims. To hear him say it, the war in Kosovo was a Serbian "campaign of ethnic cleansing and the guerrillas of the Kosovo Liberation Army sought to defend the majority Albanian community." The 2004 pogrom was "clashes and shooting between Serbs and Albanians," in which - he points out with relish - most of the 19 killed were Albanian. (Why yes, Jonathan, Albanians do get killed when they attack KFOR and KFOR shoots back.) He also repeats the deliberate lie about Serbs drowning Albanian children, without mentioning that no one had ever found so much as an indication (much less evidence) that it was anything but a malicious fabrication.

For Steele, the only good Serbs are the meek, forgiveness-begging, groveling apologists for "multi-ethnic hopes," who claim Albanians have every right to kill them if they so desire and show "great sensitivity to the much worse suffering of the Albanian community." The only good Macedonians are those who appease Albanian demands ("most Macedonian politicians saw the value of making appropriate concessions to the other community rather than going to war").

Steele laments Albanian poverty, but sees nothing wrong with KLA memorials sprouting everywhere, lavishly funded by diaspora money (and "voluntary contributions" to KLA "tax collectors", surely). A gigantic black eagle Albanians intend to erect above Tetovo will cost 40,000 Euros - about $50,000, give or take. I wonder (and Steele does not), how come the people supposedly mired in poverty, frustration and despair have all this money to throw on monuments to the KLA and provocative nationalist iconography? Steele calls it "patriotic," but he'd describe a Macedonian or Serbian monument as "ultranationalist."

Even Steele acknowledges that had 9/11 been an 8/11, the Ohrid Accords would have never happened - Ali Ahmeti's KLA spinoff, the "National Liberation Arrmy," would have been classified as terrorists. But since that didn't happen - and isn't that a relief for the Kosova-lovers of the West? - the murder of Macedonia was OK.

This facetious and execrable commentary reveals all the arrogance, ignorance, stupidity and bigotry of people who label themselves the "international community" as they traipse across the globe spreading the gospel of Empire. It was their meddling that brought the war to the Balkans in the first place, made "peace" a fraud and justice a mockery.

Now that Bush II has decided to officially embrace the Clintonist line on the Balkans, Steele and his ilk are no doubt delirious with joy. But they should not be too proud of this virtual reality they've constructed. The power to deceive the Earth is no match for the power of truth.