Friday, March 25, 2011

Empire's Favorite "Serb"

One of the most polarizing politicians in Serbia today is the leader of the "Liberal Democratic Party" (which is neither liberal nor democratic) Cedomir Jovanovic (Chedomyr Yovanovich). He's never done a day of honest work, leaping from the ranks of student protesters in 1996 to spearhead the October 2000 coup, and then to serve Serbian PM Zoran Djindjic as liaison with mob bosses and warlords. Djindjic eventually threw him under the metaphorical bus, but Jovanovic resurfaced after Djindjic was shot, claiming to be the truest heir to his legacy. Other members of the Democratic Party thought otherwise, and Jovanovic left in a huff to form his own party.

The LDP has the support of about 6% of the electorate, but enjoys disproportionate influence in Serbia's mass media. He pretends to be a liberal democrat of the Obama kind, and his party supports multiculturalism, gay rights, "hate speech" laws - pretty much every "progressive" shibboleth instantly recognizable to most Americans. His party is also the most faithful supporter of every U.S. government policy directed against Serbia, from joining NATO to carving off an independent state of Kosovo.

So far, no one in the U.S. has cared that Jovanovic's mentor is Latinka Perovic, a former Communist culture commissar whom the Tito regime sacked back in the 1970s for an excess of zealotry in censorship. Or that his new-found best friend is Jovo Kapicic, a former executioner for the Communist secret police. Then again, the Empire loves old Communists, as long as they transfer their slavish devotion from the Marxist dialectic to the Imperial one.

But what is one to make of Jovanovic's most recent address in the Serbian parliament? At the March 22 session, while complaining that Foreign Minister Jeremic ought to immediately support the bombing of Libya (!), Jovanovic berated him for "having full understanding for meetings with some cannibals down in Africa" instead.

Jeremic had been meeting with the officials from Congo, part of his African campaign to counter Imperial pressure to recognize the "state of Kosovo". So does this mean everyone who dares disagree with the Empire on that is, in Jovanovic's mind, a "cannibal" and a worthless human being? Including, presumably, Emperor Obama's own kin in Kenya...

The worst thing about Jovanovic's racism is that it was so casual. He didn't think twice about it, busy as he was making the argument that Serbia, as a "victim of bombing itself," had a moral obligation to endorse the current bombing of Libya.

Back in 1999, however, neither Jovanovic nor his associates and backers in various "human rights" foundations and committees actually called the NATO bombing "victimhood" or "suffering". Oh no, they were busily applauding the attack on their own country and people, hoping that American bombs would propel them to power - as they ultimately did.

The Empire sure knows how to pick its favorites, doesn't it? At least he's not trafficking human organs, like some others.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

History Repeated

March 24, 1999 - March 24, 2011

Yesterday Yugoslavia.
Today Libya.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cracking the Poise

Warren Christopher, former U.S. Secretary of State, passed away yesterday at the age of 85. According to the Washington Post obituary:

“Writers and commentators characterized him as dour, attentive to detail, patient, steady and poised, but rarely, if ever, charismatic. Clinton once joked that Mr. Christopher was “the only man ever to eat presidential M&Ms with a knife and fork.” No one was surprised when, on an official stopover in Ireland, he ordered Irish coffee, decaffeinated and without alcohol.”

Reading this, I thought I remembered something I'd read in Richard Holbrooke's memoirs, way back in 1999. So I dug through my ancient notes, and sure enough, there it was: the one time Christopher's poise cracked.

In Chapter 18 of “To End A War,” describing the 1995 peace talks in Dayton, Ohio, there is a point where the Americans' eagerness to help the “Bosnians" (Muslims) backfires. Having secured 55% percent of the territory for the Muslim-Croat Federation, they had to cede some land back to the Serbs, to conform to their own principle of splitting the country 51/49. In marathon talks lasting late into the night, Haris Silajdzic, Izetbegovic's foreign minister, ceded back some “worthless land” (Holbrooke's words) to the Serb Republic. It was 4 AM, and the deal seemed done. Except for one tiny little detail - all the land Silajdzic ceded was in Croat hands. When Tudjman's delegation saw the map, they went ballistic. Holbrooke describes the situation:

“Izetbegovic still had not said a word. I turned to him, fearing his response, ‘What do you think, Mr. President? Can we finish the negotiation right now?’
His answer sealed the long day. ‘I cannot accept this agreement,’ he said in a low voice, in English.
‘What did you say?’ Christopher asked, in astonishment.
More loudly: ‘I cannot accept this agreement.’”

The Americans were exasperated.

“'Do you think Izetbegovic even wants a deal? Carl [Bildt, Swedish diplomat] asked. It was a question that Warren Christopher had also been asking. ‘I’m never quite sure,’ I replied... Chris Hill, normally highly supportive of the Bosnians, exploded in momentary anger and frustration. ‘These people are impossible to help,’ he said. It was a telling statement from a man who had devoted years of his life to the search for ways to help create a Bosnian state.”(emphasis added)

The Serbs were willing to accept “rocks, swamps, hills – anything, as long as it gets us to 51-49.” Tudjman offered to contribute 75% of the retro-ceded land, but the Muslims had to give something.

“To our consternation, Izetbegovic refused to budge. While Silajdzic sat silent, Sacirbey argued that the Croat position was still unfair. And, to Christopher’s amazement, Izetbegovic began talking again about Brcko, Srebrenica and Zepa. We returned to my rooms, where Christopher expressed himself in unusually vivid terms on the performance we had just witnessed.”(emphasis added)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stench of Hypocrisy

On this day, seven years ago, Albanian mobs launched a pogrom throughout the occupied Serbian province of Kosovo - torching villages, destroying churches, and expelling tens of thousands of Serbs who had remained in the province following the NATO occupation in June 1999. With a few notable exceptions - the Czech contingent comes to mind - the NATO "peacekeepers" acted shamefully. Those that did not hide in their compounds "helped" by evacuating the Serbs from their villages, which were left to the Albanians for the torching.

Even as the pogrom raged, the Albanians' sponsors in Washington began a propaganda offensive in favor of making the occupied province an independent Albanian state. They created one four years later, after installing a pliant government in Belgrade, and even tortured language, logic and law to make it seem legitimate. When the Serbs were - falsely - accused of atrocities in Kosovo in 1999, NATO violated international law to intervene and occupy the province. When Albanians committed real atrocities, under NATO protection, in 2004 - they got rewarded with a state of their own.

Today, the UN Security Council authorized external involvement in the Libyan civil war - on the side of the anti-government rebels. Meanwhile, in Bahrain, the government has brought in foreign troops, banned all assembly, arrested all opposition leaders, and gunned down unarmed demonstrators demanding basic human rights. But Bahrain is a 5th Fleet base, and its government (as well as the Saudis who are doing the intervening) is an "ally". Once again, some people are more equal than others, and some atrocities are perfectly acceptable when done by "our friends."

Whatever moral high ground the Empire has claimed over the years, it is long gone. Only force from on high remains, and the rank stench of hypocrisy and murder.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Please keep the people of Japan in your thoughts, as they strive to recover from Friday's devastating earthquake and the tidal wave that followed. If you are the praying kind, pray for those survivors lost at sea or under the rubble; those seeking to prevent the meltdown of nuclear power plants; and that the volcanic eruption on Kyushu island does not interfere with the rescue and salvage efforts.

The fragility of human accomplishment against the forces of nature should give us all a sense of perspective about our own lives, things that are really important, and things that may seem important - but are not.

Friday, March 11, 2011


"He was a statesman with a flaw. These people today, they are flaws without statesmanship."

- Brana Crncevic, poet, on Slobodan Milosevic (20 August 1941 – 11 March 2006)

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Short Victorious War

More and more each day I think there might be something to Justin Raimondo's "bizarro world" theory - that this is actually a parallel universe, a parody of our own.

At moments it appears to be 1992 and not 2011, as John McCain and Joe Lieberman clamor for "arming the rebels" and call for sanctions and a no-fly zone. Only this time it is Libya, not Bosnia, in their sights.

As I argued last weekend, the creeping intervention in Bosnia in the 1990s was declared a brilliant success at the time, and that perception was trumpeted even more in the wake of fiascoes that were Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. The current Clinton Restoration government wants nothing more than to repair the Empire's shredded credibility, shaken not only by the futile wars but also the economic crisis and the "sandstorm" of revolts in northern Africa. So they are trying for a Bosnia scenario in Libya, with the usual suspects saying the usual things, while emotional Libyans go on CNN and beg for the Empire to "do something."

Much of modern warfare is perception management (though not all of it; at the end of the day it's still men with rifles that decide things, as the Empire had plenty of opportunities to learn, but somehow never did). The problem with the Empire being so good at it, though, is that after a while other people have begun to understand it as well. So, while a freelance reporter could spin Bosnia as seventeen different flavors of aggression and genocide before breakfast, today such a mission is a tad more difficult.

For example, RT reporters in Tripoli, who were trying to confirm CNN and Al-Jazeera reports of bombings and gunfire in Libya's capital, found none of it. Which begs the question how much of what we hear as "news" from Libya is actually accurate, and how much is the product of a Hearstian directive to furnish the pictures so the Empire could furnish the war?

RT had me as a guest on their evening news yesterday, talking about that particular topic. Even a casual observer can get a sense that everything that's being said and done about Libya these days has been said and done before, in other places, regarding other people. It sounds, reads and feels like a script. Probably because it is.

What business is that of the United States of America, or the European Union, that there seems to be a civil war in Libya? Egypt and Tunisia I could understand, on account of Ben Ali and Mubarak being recipients of American and European funding. Who rules Libya and how can be of concern to the EU only regarding the number of immigrant boatloads landing in Italy, and to the U.S. not at all. Unless having oil automatically makes a country an American "territory of interest"?

Another proof that we live in a bizarre universe is that Eric Margolis and I actually agree on something. When the Empire was targeting the Serbs, he was baying for blood. Only when those bombs and missiles were aimed at Muslims did he suddenly discover the virtues of non-interventionism. Whatever his reasons, though, he's right to argue against an intervention in Libya.

To most Americans, war is an abstraction. It is something that happens in faraway lands, and may require some people to sacrifice their children, but otherwise doesn't do a thing to interfere with anyone's everyday life. There hasn't really been a war on American soil since 1865. So the generals at the Pentagon move markers on maps, and the harpies at the State Department shriek about a military that needs to be used, and the kids that enlisted because McDonald's wasn't hiring push the buttons they are told to push, and foreigners die. Except when those foreigners fight back, and those very same kids end up without lives, arms, legs, or sanity. Not that the generals, the harpies and the vast majority of the country actually care.

For far too long, America's policymakers have lived in the parallel universe of managed perception, to the point where they've begun believing their own manufactured reality is the actual one. In their heads, there's nothing like a "short, victorious war" to cheer the country up, buoy the economy, and give the ruling party a boost at the polls. If they would bother to check the actual history, they would see that this scenario has never worked, for anyone who tried it. But they don't. And so they prepare to go to the shores of Tripoli, unaware that their own Empire is unraveling so quickly that all it needs to collapse completely is just a little push. Which going into Libya just might be.

Monday, March 07, 2011

The Bonfire of the Hypocrisies

(with apologies to Tom Wolfe)

Many a time in the recent past have I thought to myself that we are living in the world mocked in the 1987 movie "The Running Man" (adapted from a Stephen King novel, no less). We're not quite at the point where executions have become game shows, but judging by the standards of "reality" programming, we're arguably not far off.

Another argument that we live in a world gone completely mad is the sight of the American public piling onto Mr. Carlos Estevez, a.k.a. Charlie Sheen, for daring to be himself.

Writes Anthony Gregory (LRC):

There is something rotten in our mass culture. It is the stench of an establishment that pushes a flavor of social progressivism upon the country while reserving the right to burn social heretics at the stake on even the most hypocritical of pretenses.

And it is against this establishment’s witchhunt and all its nefarious social consequences that a defense must be waged. Most certainly, it can be argued that Sheen has not acted virtuously. But the attacks on him have clearly been more distasteful, more pathetic, more indicative of a society in decline, than his own behavior. For the crimes of drug use, sexual deviance, and political incorrectness, a great talent has been thrown under the bus by a drug addled, sexually deviant, socially insensitive, politically clueless mass media and liberal culture. They have eaten one of their own. It has happened many times before, to Robert Downey, Jr., Britney Spears, Tiger Woods, and now Christina Aguilera. And it will happen again. And if even the most handsomely paid actor on TV is helpless against the official pop culture’s hypocritical lynch mob, what hope do any of us little people have should the mob decide we too deserve to be lynched?

And check out Ilana Mercer's great write-ups on the subject, here and here.

Meanwhile, Bradley Manning is stripped naked by his captors, while the government tormenting him thus preaches "human rights" to the world.

O tempora o mores.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Seeking the Death of Hope

In April last year, I wrote about "Serbian Film" - a feature filled with such horrific violence that it merited the classification of "snuff." In that essay, I argued that the first-time director and producer Srdjan Spasojevic had made an intrinsically Serb-hating movie.

Now, I haven't actually seen the film myself; judging by the descriptions from critics, I don't particularly want to. One reader, however, offered a different reading on the film and wished to share it. Given that his comments ran a bit long, and I generally don't approve comments on posts that old, I've agreed to post them here, in their entirety (I've made only the minimal grammatical adjustments) So, let's follow our intrepid yet nameless reviewer into the dark underworld of "Serbian Film":

How are we sure what Spasojevic's message really is? See my analysis below. I would like to hear your thoughts.

Let's start with the contract at the beginning of the film:
Milos says "But I don't know what I am signing."
Vukmir says "You are not supposed to know. If you know you will not be so good."

The contract represents the deal made with the western powers, at that time 10 years ago, in exchange for promises of a better life, a better standard of living.

When Vukmir says "You are not supposed to know. If you know you will not be so good," the meaning is, "If you knew, you would not be obedient to your western masters."

Here Vukmir represents the western powers, the EU, the USA, the architects, the "Directors" of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia with the goal of economic exploitation of the region. This is not a viewpoint exclusive to Spasojevic .See for example the documentary "Weight of Chains." Milos represents the Serbian government.

Vukmir : "There is a serious script. We know it, you don't." i.e. the west's actions are not just an accident but a carefully planned script.

Vukmir shakes hands with Milos and says, "The right hand is the sex center in any man. It's a direct line between your brain and c***." [redaction in the original]
If you know the difference between Rightist and Leftist politics , you will see that this is a sarcastic jab against the Right.

"Only filmed here, but for the foreign market" is referencing that the Serbs are economic slaves of the western powers. For example, Serbian industry and assets are being sold off to foreign investors and corporations, in essence making Serbs employees of foreign corporations.

Vukmir says "You could always make your d*** stand up like a c*** at dawn" . This is making fun of all the sucking up to the west that the Serbian government is doing.

Laylah says to Milos, "The problem with that pension is that it's not lifelong. How much do you have stashed?" This is referring to mundane issues about low pensions and how the privileged have good pensions.

The white rabbit : this is just saying that the promises made to the Serbian government by the west is a fantasy, a fake. When the guy puts the rabbit to his crotch , the director is telling you what he thinks of those promises.

The thing about how Milos looks Swedish: This is trying to say that the Serbian government is not one of us, they are foreigners, in cahoots with foreign governments.

Vukmir says: "Do you know what is proof that there is art in pornography? You , Milos. Your sense of handling a woman, your rhythm of exhausting her, your talent to humiliate her, and then, when she is reduced to dog-s*** , to win her back."

More biting sarcasm. This is saying you exhausted NATO, humiliated NATO (shot down [F-117] stealth, minimal damage to Serbian equipment etc.) but later you just let her back in.

Milos says "I dunno, I'm a little tired of cameras and f******." This one is obviously about the civil wars. Cameras are referring to the world news cameras.

Vukmir : "You're also tired of h****** scum any time your family needs dough. Kissing some wretched c**** with the same lips you kiss your kid."

This one is about the Serbian government asking for monetary assistance from the foreign governments (the scum). What kind of h****** ? Western politician says to [the] Serbian politician, "Here is some money under the table. Now you arrange to sell us this company for cheap." You should be able to see now that pornography here is a metaphor for the relationship between the Serbian government and the western governments.

Milos to his wife: "No, he's some kind of artist with a grand plan ... seems like he desperately needs me since he's willing to offer such cash." Sarcasm about how the western governments are waving the carrot in front of the Serbian government .

Marko: "It's not a d*** , it's a police stick ... why isn't he ... limp , like all the normal people." Spasojevic considers the current government a fascist police state.

Vukmir: "Transmitted live to the world who has lost all that and now is paying to watch that from the comfort of an armchair ... Victim sells." Referring to world media manipulation of the wars.

Vukmir's rants. "This whole country is a bunch of kids discarded by their parents." The people have been abandoned by their government (hence the orphanage setting); the government is busy looking after their own privileges and wheeling and dealings. One frequent complaint you will hear in Serbia is that there is no law.

Let's agree, for the sake of argument, that this analysis is correct. That Spasojevic's snuff script really does work on the level our reviewer claims. First of all, if this is actually the case, then the meaning is buried so deep that very few will ever manage to get past the violence and depravity to see it. If he wanted to make an allegory, he could have done it much more openly. Serbia today may be ruled by a corrupt, quisling regime, but no one has banned allegories yet. For that matter, why not just adapt Kocic's "Trial of a Badger", since that would have been much cheaper and easier?

Secondly, the nihilistic framework in which Spasojevic operates is all too similar to most other films made in Serbia, often with state money. I can understand filmmakers who want a posh Hollywood life being frustrated by Serbia's current predicament. All too often, their bitterness comes out as wallowing in nihilism, caricatured violence and rants at the general populace for failing to be good enough to appreciate their greatness.

It doesn't take a genius to understand that such behavior may be therapeutic for the person in question at the moment, but is ultimately self-destructive for him, and everyone around him, in the longer term. One of the biggest blunders of current Serbian filmmakers, in my admittedly non-expert opinion, is the belief that their audience is worthless. Either they believe, like the yellowcrats and their NGO spear-carriers, that the people are primitive, stupid, uncouth and in need of "getting culture," or they think the populace is too passive, and needs to be exposed to an extreme version of misery in order to be goaded into action.

What they don't seem to understand is that the people have seen misery aplenty. Having lived through war, deprivation, demonization, depredation and despair, they are not easy to shock. Nor is causing shock the right approach, under the circumstances. What they crave, what they need to awaken the spirit of resistance that everyone has been trying to snuff out for years - what they thirst for, more than a dying man in the deep desert thirsts for water - is hope. They aren't looking for a superhero to save the day, or God's Hand of Justice to descend from the Heavens to smite the sinners; but they would like to see someone not reduced to evil by the cruelties of life, just once. Because seeing life grind people to dust got really old years ago. Somehow, though, the filmmakers never got that memo. Perhaps because there are few movie theaters left in Serbia, and there is no real connection between the filmmakers and their audience anymore?

Now, our movie-reviewing friend here has made a compelling argument that Spasojevic may have tried to represent the current situation through an extreme metaphor. If we accept this, though, if we say that that his snuff film is actually meant as a representation of Serbia's destruction at the hands of the Empire, there is one colossal problem with it: in the end, the Empire wins.

To say that "Serbian Film" doesn't promote hope is an understatement comparable only with the degree of hyperbole with which it allegedly represents Serbia's current situation. That film crushes hope, seeks to destroy any last shred of it, and leave nothing in its wake but the darkest despair. It doesn't seek to stir the viewer to resistance against the world it portrays, but to persuade the said viewer that any and all resistance is futile, to the point where even death does not bring relief. If "Serbian Film" is a metaphor, then it is not merely a Serb-hating movie, it is a movie that just hates all humanity in general.

So, really, it would be much better for Spasojevic if his film didn't work the way our reviewer described. That way, it could be considered merely a piece of nihilistic lartpourlartisme, a perverted dark fantasy that tries to ride the rear fender of the Serbophobic bandwagon and make its creator a buck or two. All that would be forgivable.

Trying to kill hope in a people that desperately need it, isn't.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Jihad in Frankfurt

Time and again it happens. Someone opens fire on a bus of soldiers, or targets fellow soldiers on a military base, or shoots up a mall or a recruiting office. Yells "Allahu akbar!" as he does it. And then the Imperial propaganda apparatus musters all its considerable resources to not report the identity of the murderer, deny that his actions could have had anything to do with jihad or Islam, or even not report the event at all.

Why is this? Why is the Empire so hell-bent on denying the existence of jihad? They have no problem playing up the inept shoe bombers, baby-bottle bombers and underwear bombers, whose mad plots never come anywhere close to actually hurting anyone. But when jihadist gunmen actually kill Americans, whether in Salt Lake City, Arkansas or Frankfurt, the Empire goes to great lengths to direct the public's attention elsewhere.

Perhaps it's a power thing. News of airline threats can be used to empower the strip-searching government goons. There is nothing to be gained politically from the American people realizing they can be shot anytime, anyplace.

And then there is another consideration: the said jihadist gunmen may belong to the "wrong" group, designated by the propaganda apparatus as righteous victims that cannot possibly be blamed for anything, including terrorism. There is no way to explain how the U.S. "shares values" with organ-trafficking, drug-dealing slavers and terrorists. So it isn't explained. Facts don't fit the narrative, so if they can't be spun to make them fit, they are ignored or / worse yet - suppressed. No jihad here, move along.

Until next time.