Saturday, May 30, 2009

Why so Hasty?

Following a tour in Belgrade, Banja Luka, Bijeljina and Toronto, the Lord Byron Foundation for Balkans Studies held a conference in Washington, DC on Wednesday (May 27). In cooperation with the American Council for Kosovo, the five-hour conference on Capitol Hill featured presentations by a series of experts on the current situation in the Balkans and the alarming announcement of U.S. intent to re-ignite the region's powder keg.

In the opening remarks, columnist (and my colleague from Doug Bandow argued that a colonial project in the Balkans is absolutely against American national interests, and that Washington would do best to leave the Balkans to the Balkans. Bandow termed the U.S. and EU policy in the region as "destructive hypocrisy," where the only consistent "principle" is that the Serbs always lose.

Gregory Davis, author of a documentary on Islam, was of the opinion that Washington was practicing "imperial democracy," using the jihad to break any nation that refuses to submit to U.S. hegemony, for whatever reason. However conflicting the interests of the Empire and the jihadists, when it comes to places like Serbia, or Russia, their purposes align.

Ronald Hatchett (Center for Global Studies) took up the inconsistency of Western policy in the Balkans, explaining that it lacked any principle but force. He cited examples of how Serb readiness to negotiate in Bosnia (both before and during the conflict) and Kosovo was interpreted as weakness, thus encouraging a more aggressive approach by Washington. The Serb peace initiative from late 1994 was spurned by Washington, and thousands more died over the following year before a similar compromise was reached at Dayton.

As for the current situation in Bosnia, Hatchett pointed out that centralization was not a standard EU condition for accession. Many EU members are federated or complex states (e.g. Spain, Germany) while Belgium - the seat of EU power - is on the verge of breakup. Why such insistence to centralize Bosnia?

Prof. Steven Meyer noted that calls for amending Dayton go as far back as 1996. Dayton itself, he explained, is founded on a paradigm of Western control, akin to the 1878 Congress of Berlin. The Balkans is seen as a playground of great powers, and though that age of hegemony is over, all too many in the Balkans - Serbia in particular - still accept the paradigm. What the West has tried to create in the Balkans, the quasi-states of Bosnia and Kosovo, has little grounding in reality.

Meyer rejected the claim put forth by the "new" foreign policy establishment (resurrected from the Clinton era) that the Balkans policy was on track till 2006, when "nationalists" in Bosnia derailed it, and President Bush did not react. In reality, the failed Bosnian reform was sunk by a Muslim protege of Washington, and Bush had already accepted the Clintonite agenda on Bosnia and Kosovo by then. The real cause of failure was the flawed 1990s policies of the people who are now back in charge. They are blinded by smugness and self-convition, and won't accept failure, so they are trying to "finish the job."

Rounding out the first panel was William S. Lind, of the Free Congress Foundation, who spoke of the Balkans in the context of 4th generation warfare. The so-called "international community," he explained, was really a transnational, globalist "new class" seeking to establish a soft totalitarianism (a la Huxley's Brave New World). If that is understood, then the seemingly random policies of Washington become perfectly consistent and predictable. Globalist ideology, nothing more than warmed-up Cultural Marxism of the Frankfurt School, seeks to dismantle the Western civilization in order to create a post-modern, multi-cultural, post-historical society on its ruins. It uses radical Islam as a tool of destruction, and considers Russia one of the greatest threats to this endeavor.

The reaction to globalization has manifested itself in the "4th generation warfare," which isn't so much a revolution in the way war is fought, as a challenge to the entire political and military system established in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia. The state faces a crisis of legitimacy. By establishing weak quasi-states in the Balkans and weakening the Serbian state, the globalists have made the Balkans fertile soil for 4th generation institutions, from jihadists to organized crime. At best, these institutions come to inhabit the hollow shells of states (such as in western Africa, Iraq or Afghanistan), at worst things devolve into Somalia-type anarchy. Paradoxically, the globalists are sawing of the branch they are sitting on, as the "new class" relies precisely on the nation-state system to achieve its objectives.

What does that mean for the Balkans? Lind speculated that further pressure to recognize the seizure of Kosovo and abolish the Bosnian Serb Republic would lead to such a crisis of legitimacy for the government in Serbia, that it could result in the rise of 4th-gen elements eager to seek solutions outside the accepted political framework. There are precedents in Serbian history for this: the Black Hand, for example.

In the second half of the conference, we heard from James Bissett, former Canadian Ambassador to Belgrade, who recalled the role of his colleague and neighbor Warren Zimmerman in igniting the Bosnian war. Bissett is convinced that Zimmerman, as a career diplomat, did not act on his own, but rather followed instructions from above.

Srdja Trifkovic, of the Lord Byron Foundation, expressed apprehension that the current regime in Belgrade was unwilling to resist American demands, while at the same time there was no real political opposition to threaten its dominance. American policymakers have returned to the 1990s, and are trying to use the Balkans to recover the power and prestige dented by the failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as reassert the hegemony in Europe.

James Jatras, of the American Council for Kosovo, noted that it was no longer 1999, and that the U.S. now lacked resources to impose reality. It could not really do so even in the 1990s.

The conclusion I took from the conference is that the whole Imperial "re-engagement" hinges on Belgrade and Banja Luka surrendering yet again. And while such thinking may make some sense when it comes to Belgrade, where the ruling coalition was created by the U.S. and is "afraid of its own shadow" (Meyer), it seems less likely in the case of the Bosnian Serbs.

So it seems that the "international community" is running out of time. The age of its hegemony is over, and as a result of globalist policies the West is crumbling economically and morally. This is why Washington is in such a hurry to "finish the job" in the Balkans. If the Serbs manage to hold on, they may yet see the colonial model end up in the dustbin of history.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Medium is the Message

Russia Today interviewed me about Biden's visit, earlier this morning (link):

The very fact that Biden, hero of the "Bosniaks" and about to be decorated by the KLA, was sent to do the Balkans is a message.

Obama's foreign policy establishment, resurrected from the Clinton era, decided that finishing off the Serbs and cementing their "nation-building" enterprise in the Balkans would be the perfect easy victory to salvage the sinking ship of the Empire.

But will the Serbs surrender? Will the Empire's plan succeed? We'll find out soon enough.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Pirates of Piran

I'm old enough to recall the last Congress of the Yugoslav League of Communists (SKJ), in January 1990. After their demands (to scrap the unified Party structure in favor of more power to the republics) were rejected, the Slovenian delegation walked out. The Croatian delegation joined them. Thus began the collapse of Yugoslavia.

In Slovenia, the Communists re-branded themselves as democrats; the first "democratic" president was the very same Milan Kucan who led the Communist walkout. His Croat colleague, Ivica Racan, was less lucky; he would play second fiddle in Croatia's independence drive to chauvinist Franjo Tudjman. But throughout 1991, Slovenia and Croatia were allies in the fight to assert independence and dismantle Yugoslavia.

So I have to admit a certain sense of schadenfreude when I read about the ongoing border feud between Slovenia and Croatia, which is interfering with Croatia's bid to join the EUSSR. Having disposed of Yugoslavia and either "erased" (Slovenia) or ethnically cleansed (Croatia) their unwanted inhabitants, Zagreb and Ljubljana are now tearing at each other with hatred previously reserved only for the Serbs.

The heart of the dispute is Croatia's assertion of maritime borders that would deny Slovenia access to the open sea in the Bay of Piran. On one hand, it is hard to be sympathetic to Zagreb; Croatia already controls most of the eastern Adriatic, from Istria to Dubrovnik, some 1000km of coastline. Slovenia has about 50km, Bosnia has less (and even that on paper only), and Montenegro has the rest. On the other hand, Slovenia is clearly using its position of EU membership to strong-arm Croatia on the issue.

Not surprisingly, the commissars in Brussels see the entire affair as horribly embarrassing. Not only does it interfere with their plans to annex Croatia, it undermines the whole 1990s narrative of "democratic" Croats and Slovenes fighting together against the evil Serbs.

Personally, I think Slovenia is doing the Croats a favor, albeit unwittingly. If they thought Yugoslavia was "violating their rights," wait till they get a taste of the EUSSR! At least the Croats had a fair bit of power and influence in Belgrade, making the break from Yugoslavia that much easier; breaking away from Brussels will be quite different. And given the whole animosity for the Slovenians, which appears to be mutual, one wonders why they'd want to be in the same polity with each other again. Ah, but logic and EUSSR seldom mix.

Croatia and Slovenia became bedfellows in order to kill off Yugoslavia (which benefited them both enormously, by the way). That marriage of convenience is long over. Yet I find it hard to feel sorry for either.

You wanted "independence"? There you go. Have fun.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

No Accident

On May 7, 1999, during the NATO offensive against Yugoslavia, an American bomber dropped a precision bomb into a corner office of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. NATO claimed it had been a "mistake" and the CIA even concocted an implausible story about "old maps" used to plan the attack.

In November 1999, however, the Observer (UK) - a paper that supported the NATO bombing, be it noted - revealed that it had not been an accident:

But the midnight strike was so precise the embassy's north end was untouched, leaving the marble and glass of the front entrance and the ambassador's Mercedes and four flower pots unscathed.

Why do I believe this, even though the officialdom on both sides of the Atlantic has repeatedly dismissed the Observer's claims? Very simple: because the Observer story introduced a perfect red herring. Namely (emphasis added):

The Chinese Embassy in Belgrade was deliberately targeted by the most precise weapons in the US arsenal because it was being used by Zeljko Raznatovic, the indicted war criminal better known as Arkan, to transmit messages to his `Tigers' - Serb death squads - in Kosovo.

Say what? Well, admits the Observer, Arkan's "precise role in Kosovo is still not clear." But hey, the ICTY "had good reasons to suspect" that Arkan and his men were "playing a murderous role in Operation Horseshoe, Milosevic's plan to ethnically cleanse Kosovo of its majority Albanian population."

You know, the fictitious plan conjured by the Bulgarian intelligence and furnished to the Germans? The plan that didn't actually exist? That plan.

And the Chinese personnel killed on the occasion? Must have been intelligence officers, obviously, says the Observer. The Chinese must have been helping the Evil Milosevic (why? Because NATO says so!), and the bombing was a message to them both.

It's blindingly obvious that the Chinese Embassy attack could not have been accidental. Most likely it was a message: to Beijing not to interfere, and to Belgrade to abandon all hope of resisting. The "death squads" and "Horseshoe" angle is horse-hockey, of course, but some sort of moralistic cover was needed for a naked show of force. That's how that entire war was justified, after all.

Observer's report smells like a "yes, but" defense leaked from NATO (or rather, Foreign Office and the State Department), seeking to accept the blame for the bombing but justify it by the necessity of stopping the Evil Serbs. It all adds up, really. It's certainly a lot more plausible than a threadbare story about "old maps."

With a quisling regime in Belgrade getting ready to welcome Deputy Emperor Biden - one of Washington's most outspoken Serbophobes - it may appear that the Serbs have forgotten 1999. I'm willing to wager the Chinese have not.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Skull Tower

If there was just one thing I could show someone seeking to understand the Serbs, I would take them to a hill northeast of Niš (Ниш), and show them the Skull Tower.

Skull Tower, Nis, Serbia
Though Serbian medieval statehood was mortally wounded in the battle of Kosovo (1389), its last embers were smothered in 1459, as the conquering Ottoman Turks swept into Europe again following their conquest of Constantinople. For the next three centuries, Serbs lived under the Ottoman yoke. Some converted to save their lives and property. Some sough refuge in remote areas, or the Austrian and Hungarian borderlands. Others trudged on, bowed but not broken, all the while hoping for freedom.

Though there were previous attempts to liberate Serbia, none lasted very long until the rebellion led by Karađorđe (Карађорђе, Black George) in 1804, known as the First Serbian Uprising. Not until 1813 were the Turks able to end the rebellion - in blood, as usual.

In May 1809, at the height of the uprising, a force of Serb fighters was advancing on Niš, then an Ottoman stronghold. Told of the approach of a Turkish relief force, they dug in on the hills northeast of town. On May 31, the Turks attacked the redoubt on Čegar Hill and broke the Serb line. In the last desperate act of defiance, Serb commander Stevan Sinđelić (Стеван Синђелић) shot at the gunpowder barrels in the redoubt, blowing up himself and the rearguard but also the advancing Turks. This enabled the remaining Serbs to withdraw.

The Ottoman commander of Niš, serasker Hurşid Ahmed Pasha (a Christian from the Caucasus, enslaved as a child and sent into the Janissaries), offered a prize on the rebel heads, then had them skinned, stuffed, and sent to the sultan as trophies. Then he built a tower of brick and mortar, and mounted the flayed skulls in windows made for that purpose. The result was Skull Tower (Ћеле-кула), intended to strike fear into the Serbs.

Fifteen feet (4.65 m) tall, and about 13 feet long and wide, there were 56 rows of skulls on all four faces of the tower, 17 skulls in a row (for a total of 952). Initially the Turks guarded the tower closely, to prevent relatives from giving the skulls a Christian burial. Later on, however, they abandoned it to neglect and elements. It is said that between 1861 and 1864, Midhat-pasha wanted to dismantle the tower, but the local Turks thwarted him.

When Niš became a part of Serbia in 1878, construction began on the chapel that was to protect the tower from further erosion. The chapel was finalized in 1938, and restored in 1989. Of the skulls originally built into the tower, only 58 remain. A skull said to belong to Sinđelić is preserved separately, in a glass case.

Famous French poet, statesman and traveler Alphonse de Lamartine had passed through Niš in the early 1830s, and left this description of the tower:
"The sun was scorching. When I was about a league from the town, I saw a large tower rising in the midst of the plain, as white as Parian marble. I took the path which led to it... I sat down under the shade of the tower to enjoy a few moments' repose. No sooner was I seated than, raising my eyes to the monument, I discovered that the walls, which I supposed to be built of marble or white stone, were composed of regular rows of human skulls; these skulls bleached by the rain and sun, and cemented by a little sand and lime, formed entirely the triumphal arch which now sheltered me from the heat of the sun... In some places portions of hair were still hanging and waved, like lichen or moss, with every breath of wind. The mountain breeze, which was then blowing fresh, penetrated the innumerable cavities of the skulls, and sounded like mournful and plaintive sighs...
"My eyes and my heart greeted the remains of those brave men whose cut-off heads made the cornerstone of the independence of their homeland. May the Serbs keep this monument! It will always teach their children the value of the independence of a people, showing them the real price their fathers had to pay for it."
(from "A Pilgrimage to the Holy Land... Made during a Tour in the East in 1832-1833" Published in London, 1835, vol. 3, pp 105-106).

But as time went on, the world changed, and many things that should not have been forgotten were lost. Today, their own government tells the Serbs they should value comfort over freedom, material goods over dignity, pleasure over honor. In just the last twenty years, over a million Serbs have been forced from their homes and dispossessed. First forced into Communist-imposed borders, Serbia itself is now being partitioned anew, as its province of Kosovo was occupied by NATO in 1999 and declared an "independent" Albanian state in 2008. The very real suffering of Serbs in Ottoman times, during two German occupations in the 20th century, and in the wars of the 1990s, is routinely dismissed or minimized, even as Serbs are accused of committing wholly fabricated "genocides" against their neighbors, who somehow always happened to serve the conquering outsiders.

The Skull Tower is not just a reminder of the steep but necessary price of freedom. It is also a monument to the brutality of the supposedly "tolerant" and "multicultural" Ottoman Empire, and the horrific institution of devşirme that produced psychopaths like Hurshid Ahmed Pasha.

Those who seek to conquer the Serbs ought to take a long, hard look at this monument. The Turks once believed their dominion would last forever. But in 1815, another uprising began. By 1830, Serbia was an autonomous principality. In 1878 it was recognized as independent. And in 1912, the Ottoman Empire was chased out of the Balkans at long last.

So long as a people value freedom, they can either prevail or perish, but can never be conquered.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Shape of Things to Come

Economic crisis, pestilence, wars and rumors of wars... Even allowing for the hype generated by the power-seeking governments and their media fellow-travelers, it ought to be intuitively obvious to a casual observer that the world is in a pretty rotten shape overall.

William S. Lind, whose columns on Fourth Generation warfare I've been following for a couple of years now, speculated about what might be in store in his 300th column, on April 21. I made a note to comment on it, but got sidetracked by the surge of jihadist propaganda.

Anyway, here's Lind, on April 21, at (emphasis added):

"...foreign policy failures and military defeats – or even more embarrassing "victories" – become just two of a larger series of crises, including the economic crisis (depression followed by runaway inflation), foreign exchange crisis (collapse of the dollar), political crisis (no one in the Establishment knows what to do, but the Establishment offers the voters no alternative to itself), energy crisis, etc. Together, these discrete crises snowball into a systemic crisis, which is what happens when the outside world demands greater change than the political system permits. At that point, the political system collapses and is replaced by something else. In the old days, it meant a change of dynasty. What might it mean today? My guess is a radical devolution, at the conclusion of which life is once again local.

That would be, on the whole, a happy outcome. But I fear this will be a trip where the journey is not half the fun.

All of which reminds me of another quote, a bit more poetic but saying much the same thing, from about 13 years ago:

"The future is all around us, waiting, in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain."

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Nazis then, Nazis now

I wrote about the "Srebrenica Genocide Blog" just yesterday, as a bastion of Muslim propaganda. Looking more closely at the site, however, I've realized it is also the nexus of the most recent propaganda surge, coinciding with the Holocaust Remembrance Day.

As it turns out, the SGB was the source of articles appearing at, a news portal otherwise dedicated to "all things Apple." It wasn't a case of "iJihad", after all.

The outrageous statement of Mustafa Ceric I blogged about last weekend, claiming that Bosnian Muslims and Jews had a "joint experience of persecution," was posted on the SGB on March 28. Another article that appeared on Palluxo, about the "victims of Serb terror" is on SGB as well, with pictures.

Why would the SGB try and feed its propaganda through a third-party portal? Well, Palluxo promises: "Your press release will appear in Google News immediately" (emphasis added). And so they do! Yet Palluxo's contact page explicitly states that "All submissions will be manually reviewed. Submissions without contact details will not be published." Granted, though they say anything "Apple-centric" will be published for free, they don't explicitly exclude other topics - yet there is nothing else on that site that is not actually related Apple products, except for the "Srebrenica genocide" propaganda. Interesting.

But the hows and whys of Muslim propaganda getting published on an Apple-related news portal are less interesting than the content of that propaganda. Not only is it seeking to equate the Serbs with Nazis by imagining parallels between the Bosnian War and the Holocaust, it also claims that the Serbs were the real thing - actual allies of the Nazis in WW2, who persecuted Jews with enthusiasm.

To someone wholly ignorant of the Balkans, such as the bulk of the Western public, this twisted argument might make sense. People don't just turn into Nazis overnight, there has to be a background to it, right? And if one proceeds from a premise that the Serbs committed genocide in recent years, then the claim they had committed genocide before seems all the more plausible. Except the premise is completely wrong - and the very people advancing this propaganda are doing it to hide their own Nazi connections!

In the early 1990s, the Croatian government and the Izetbegovic regime in Bosnia sought help from American PR agencies in order to not just demonize their Serb adversaries, but cover up their own links to the events of WW2. Croatian president Franjo Tudjman was a Holocaust revisionist and an apologist for the Ustasha regime, which began the mass slaughter of Serbs and Jews in April 1941 and whose brutality horrified even Hitler's envoys in the Balkans (Neubacher, von Horstenau). Alija Izetbegovic, the supposedly "multiethnic democrat," was an active member of Muslim Youth, an organization that during WW2 supported the Ustasha regime. (At the time, Muslims were considered "Croatian brothers.")

With all this in mind, the PR companies proceeded to actively target the Jewish public opinion:

"...the Croatian and Bosnian past was marked by a real and cruel anti-semitism. Tens of thousands of Jews perished in Croatian camps. So there was every reason for intellectuals and Jewish organizations to be hostile towards the Croats and Bosnians. Our challenge was to reverse this attitude. And we succeded masterfully." (James Harff or Ruder Finn, 1993 interview)

A transference took place: the real Nazi connections of Muslims and Croats (and later Albanians) became the fabricated Nazi connections of the Serbs. It was the Jews and Serbs who found themselves targeted by the Nazis and the Ustasha, while Muslims and Croats (and Albanians) did the persecuting. But the mass murder of Serbs in WW2 was kept under wraps by Yugoslav authorities after 1945, as it would have unraveled the fictitious history of "brotherhood and unity" which they used to run the country. As a result, the mass extermination, displacement and forced conversion of Serbs under the Ustasha regime remains virtually unknown in the West.

On May 1, the SGB published an excerpt from "Serbia's Secret War," a 1997 propaganda pamphlet allegedly written by "Dr. Philip J. Cohen," accusing the Serbs of being Nazi allies in WW2, persecuting the Jews, and then covering all of it up with a massive propaganda effort. One doesn't have to be a psychologist to recognize projection here.

Advertised as relying on sources "previously unknown in the West," the book received a lot of attention. There is just one small problem (in addition to it being completely false, that is): Cohen, a dermatologist, is not a historian, and speaks not a shred of Serbian, Croatian, or "Bosnian." How could he have written this book?

The obvious answer is, he couldn't. Serbian-American historian Carl Savich argues that the real author of "Serbia's Secret War" was Croatian propagandist Ljubica Stefan, and that Cohen (as well as David Riesman, who wrote the prologue) were recruited to give the Croatian propaganda a Jewish face. Not only was this supposed to be more effective in targeting the Jewish public opinion, but any criticism of the book could be dismissed as anti-Semitism.

Savich's argument is compelling. Compare, for example, the claims made here (site run by a Croatian propagandist), crediting Ms. Stefan, with those made on the SGB and quoted from "Cohen's" book. Identical!

It is revolting enough that propaganda has distorted the reality of recent Balkans events to suit today's political agendas. But the fact that propagandists, PR specialists and hack "historians" have twisted Balkans history from WW2 to portray the actual victims of genocide (the Serbs) as perpetrators thereof... now that's just plain horrifying.

Update (May 6, 2009): As if on cue, Marko Attila Hoare appears on (the new, redesigned) Palluxo to defend Official Truth (as established by him and his family). All of the things he cavalierly dismisses as fabrications are either true, or he's phrased them as to be straw men. But hey, don't listen to me: read his defense of Franjo Tudjman! I won't waste my breath debating this lowlife, except to point out that his academic credentials tell more about the pathetic state of higher education in the West than about his "expertise" as a historian or anything else.

Update 2 (May 7, 2009): And here's another "Hot Topic" feature promoting "Serbia's Secret War" by Ljubica Stefan - erm, Philip Cohen. I think it can be safely assumed that Palluxo is fully in service of propaganda interests represented by Hoare and the SGB.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

A Foundation of Lies

For years, the "Srebrenica Genocide Blog" has been dedicated to the shrill repetition of the official line about what happened in July of 1995: a "genocide" of innocent Muslim civilians, brutally slaughtered by evil Serbs, to hear them tell it.

Just below the main title, in bold block letters, the SGB proclaims:


Oh, is it now?

The Bosnian Muslims have claimed "genocide" since 1993, when the Izetbegovic regime filed a suit before the International Court of Justice (urged by judicial activist Francis Boyle) against Serbia (FR Yugoslavia). None of the "evidence" they offered stood up to ICJ's scrutiny, except for Srebrenica - and even that was never examined by the ICJ, merely assumed as true based on ICTY's ruling.

John Laughland asked the obvious question, just the other day:

But what is the evidence for the finding that genocide was committed at Srebrenica? I am not asking this question in the useful sense in which it has been asked (and answered) by investigators such as Jonathan Rooper. I am asking what evidence was submitted in court at the ICTY in support of this uniquely successful claim.

Turns out that Germinal Civikov, a Bulgarian who lives in The Hague and Cologne, has written a book about the whole case. Laughland describes the findings of “Srebrenica: Der Kronzeuge” (Wien: Promedia, 2009, in German) as "devastating":

Civikov explains that the ICTY ruling that genocide was committed at Srebrenica on the orders of the Bosnian Serb leadership is based on the testimony of a single witness, a self-confessed perpetrator of one of the massacres called Drazen Erdemovic.

Erdemovic claimed he was part of a unit that executed some 1200 Muslim civilians in the course of one night. They were taken off the buses in groups of ten, and shot in a nearby field. Civikov did the math, and came to the obvious conclusion: even if it took 10 minutes to kill each group, the executions would have taken twenty hours, not five. They would have had to shoot a group every 2.5 minutes to maintain the pace, and that left no time for "arguments... between the executioners and the victims" or for the executioners to "drink and quarrel," as Erdemovic described. Yet he kept telling this story over and over to the ICTY, despite the fact that it was physically impossible.

Not letting facts get in the way of a good story has been a feature of the Bosnian War from the very beginning. Remember the story of Borislav Herak, who claimed (coached by his Muslim captors) that he saw the Canadian General Lewis McKenzie at an alleged "rape camp" near Sarajevo? McKenzie was not even in Bosnia at that time, and the claim has been demonstrated over and over to be complete and utter rubbish - but every so often the Muslims dig it up and serve it anew, and the press just gobbles it up.

Then there is the story of Momir Nikolic, a Serb officer who collaborated with the ICTY and - caught in perjury - admitted making things up in his testimonies. A reporter for a pro-Tribunal propaganda outfit (which, incidentally, is linked prominently on the SGB) dared challenge the ICTY's plea-bargaining system over the incident, and got fired. Nikolic's false testimony was not only not overturned on account of perjury, but used to convict several other Serb officials!

Erdemovic, described by Civikov as a "pathological liar," served ICTY's purpose perfectly. He spun a story, pointed fingers, got a symbolic conviction and was given a new life in the West. Meanwhile, based on his testimony, a bloody episode of the Bosnian War was branded "genocide," an entire nation was demonized because of it, and even the ICJ was duped into believing the ICTY verdict was legitimate.

Turns out the "judicial fact" is very much a "matter of opinion," after all.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Spiking the Water

The British, having already embraced a total surveillance state, are now favorably looking at Japanese research about spiking the water:

Very low levels of lithium in drinking water may help prevent suicide in the general population, according to a new study. The study has prompted calls for further research into the possibility of adding lithium to drinking supplies – like water fluoridation to improve dental health.

Researchers at Oita University in Japan measured natural lithium levels in tap water in 18 communities in the surrounding region of southern Japan. Writing in the British Journal of Psychiatry, the researchers said: "Our study suggests that very low levels of lithium in drinking water can lower the risk of suicide. Very low levels may possess an anti-suicidal effect."

(hat tip: David Kramer at the LRC blog)

The first thought that crossed my mind was of life imitating art. A key plot point of the 2005 SF flick "Serenity" was the horrific chemical experiment on a colony planet: in order to calm down the population, the government used "G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate" (a.k.a. "Pax") in the air supply. It worked all too well: 99% of the people just sat down and died. The rest turned into homicidal maniacs.

Then there's the plot of the 2007 Will Smith vehicle "I Am Legend," in which a viral vaccine against cancer causes 90% of humanity to die and the rest to become hyper-aggressive vampiric cannibals.

If art is any indicator, these social- and bio-engineering experiments not only fail, but have horrific blowback. But when has that stopped a government determined to "make people better", as one character aboard "Serenity" put it?

Next time you reach for that glass of water, ask yourself what's in it.