Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Long, Twilight Struggle

2012 began with Angelina Jolie's war porn, and just got worse from there.
Guess who's the Balrog. 
April marked the 20th anniversary of Bosnia's recognition as an independent state - and the outbreak of the (un)civil war that ensued. It's somewhat of a mystery as to why the war, which ended in late 1995, had not restarted by 1997. Though the fact that it never ended for some people, but merely continues by other means, may harbor a clue.

Speaking of never-ending wars,WW2 is apparently still on. Did you know that someone "won" it not once, but twice? The answer may surprise you. Or maybe not. Either way, 50 years later the roles had been rearranged, with the once-and-present Nazi allies becoming the Atlantic Empire's new best friends, while Hitler's enemies are smeared as Nazis reborn.

No doubt that was the intent of an "artistic prank" wherein two NGO drones got a bunch of Serbian political parties to endorse a program originally written by Joseph Goebbels. Left out of the reports was the insignificant detail that all the parties involved were pro-Empire. When facts get in the way of a good story, too bad for the facts.

Prior to the May elections in Serbia, I put together a quick guide to political parties involved. The distinctions between them were smaller than it appeared, though. On St. George's Day, the Dragon won. Sure, it seemed like a small victory when the sycophantic Boris Tadic lost the presidency to Tomislav "Undertaker" Nikolic. Soon, however, the darkest suspicions about the "progressives" and their partners in crime began to seem downright benign compared to the actual betrayal in the works.

While as late as October is still seemed as if the new-old government in Belgrade was playing stupid, they soon demonstrated they weren't playing at all. Even as the Empire proclaimed an amnesty for murderers of Serbs, Belgrade signed "agreements" and promised "platforms" to recognize the Empire's monument to evil in fact, if not in name.

The besieged Serbs in Kosovo appealed to Moscow for protection, and organized a transparent, democratic plebiscite where they overwhelmingly voted against becoming "Kosovians". While Moscow offered moral support - but not much more - Belgrade responded with betrayal, and the Empire with violence.

Adding insult to injury, throughout the year, the Empire that no one could supposedly resist was revealed as a bumbling bully. Its contempt of decency was openly on display - not just when the Serbs were concerned, but also in other places it had occupied. Its propaganda has been having less effect. The invincibility it asserted was a result of self-deception and deliberate misunderstanding. How could such hubris and stupidity in service of twisted values continue to dominate? Not because the Empire itself is strong, I think, but because its victims are weak, infested by Empire's death cult.

The hostility and downright bigotry towards the Serbs can be explained in part by money, but more so by a lust for power, and a fair bit of historical baggage. Forcing a "gay pride parade" on places like Belgrade had nothing to do with actual homosexuals, or human rights and values, but everything to do with a display of power.

Why the Serbian politicians decided to outdo their predecessors in groveling is still a riddle; perhaps because they are spineless cowards, perhaps because they really believe the Empire means them well - even though it manifestly does not. Either way, at the end of 2012, treason in Serbia is still a profitable endeavor. How long that shall remain the case, I do not know.

Back in April, as I profiled the Serbian political scene, I wrote:
"The Serbs have displayed remarkable resilience. After a century of fighting horrific wars; surviving several attempts to obliterate them physically and culturally; social engineering seeking to obliterate their identity, language, culture and history; demonization designed to crush their spirit; communism and banksterism nearly wiping out their economy and enterprise - they are still hanging on. Many others would have broken long ago."
It may appear right now that this Empire will succeed where others have repeatedly failed.

But I think not.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Faith, Force and Freedom

Looking back over 2012, it's been one of my leaner blogging years. Not because nothing was happening worth mentioning - quite the contrary - but because I saw little point in addressing people who just didn't care to listen.

When ideology or prejudice trump reality in the minds of men, discussing reality with them becomes an exercise in pointless frustration. Thinking stops, and everything becomes a conditioned response. The campaign for Emperor demonstrated this on a daily basis. So did the horrific massacre at Sandy Hook elementary. Before the victims were even buried, the usual suspects began with the usual arguments: ban guns, register the mentally ill, whatever. Control, control, control, it's always about control.

Part of that is the corruption of reasoning I did write about. Another part of it is solipsism. In America especially, countless people live their lives entirely obsessed with themselves, to the point where other people simply aren't real to them. They are like NPCs in a video game. And since one doesn't empathize with NPCs, having zero empathy for other people has become the norm. When these NPCs are seen as obstacles to one's happiness - the paramount purpose of life robbed of all other meaning - the next step is actively hating those other people, and finding ways of hurting them. The pathology has a scale, of course: from forum trolling, via committing suicide by jumping in front of a train at rush hour, to picking up a rifle and shooting up a mall, school or movie theater.

That is not to say that video games are to blame. Quite the opposite. Games offer an escape from a reality that has long since become virtual. Remember the Bushians' disdain for the "reality-based community"? The notion that they were creating reality by the sheer force of their willpower, while the pesky realists were merely observing and analyzing it? Well, they aren't the only ones to believe it, just arrogant enough to admit it openly.

Modern omnipotent government has made treating people as things into an art form. Look at the militarized police, or the callous disregard for the lives of people in invaded - oops, liberated - countries. Look at the drones and their pilots. Being a sociopath is almost a recommendation for the job.

If we're looking at a "culture of" anything to blame for the rotten mess we're living in, it's got to be this culture of narcissism, as Brendan O'Neill describes it. Guns? Serbia has the second-highest concentration of guns per capita, after the U.S., but there are no rampage murders there. The Orthodox Church, which is most definitely not concerned with an individual's feelings, might have something to do with it as well.

Of course, the Serbs have gone to the other extreme, refusing to use their weapons even for legitimate self-defense. 

Yet I've been unable to put into words the conclusion that simply leaps out from all this, for several days now. Until I saw this article. So I'll borrow Daniel Greenfield's turn of phrase, and say that what both the Serbs and the Americans need to learn is that "when you give up faith to force, then you also abandon any further reason to resist that force. Without faith, it is easier to let force win."

Saturday, December 08, 2012

A Very Deliberate Injustice

ТIME cover, 9/11, 1995
As I noted before, the manifest injustice of the so-called war crimes Tribunal should hardly come as a surprise. Complaining about it is worse than worthless - it is harmful, since it only lends legitimacy to an institution that never had any from the start, and only barely managed to successfully conjure a pretense of it on a handful of occasions.

To a die-hard imperialist, who lives and breathes relativistic logic, even contemplating the possibility that the Serbs are not the blackest of villains while their enemies - supported by the Empire - are the purest of innocents would be absurd. In their minds, it is not the deed that merits condemnation, but the identity of the (alleged) perpetrator. So the Tribunal's decision to consciously render verdicts that amount to amnesty of Croatian and Albanian atrocities against the Serbs doesn't upset them in the least.

Trouble arises when people serving the Empire do so because they actually believe the official cover story - human rights, charity, justice, peace, reconciliation, etc. Such people are shocked by the Tribunal's travesty because from their standpoint, the Gotovina/Markac/Cermak and Haradinaj/Balaj/Brahimaj verdicts were stupid.

One example is David Harland, former senior UN official in Bosnia, whose essay criticizing the ICTY for "selective justice" appeared in the New York Times of all places. While making sure to repeat the dogma that the "Serbs committed many of the war’s worst crimes", Harland argues that they "were not at all alone, and it is not right, or useful, for them to carry the sole responsibility. Convicting only Serbs simply doesn't make sense in terms of justice, in terms of reality, or in terms of politics."

It is a fact, as Harland states, that "more Serbs were displaced - ethnically cleansed - by the wars in the Balkans than any other community. And more Serbs remain ethnically displaced to this day." But should he really be surprised that the Empire isn't the least interested in prosecuting the atrocities of Croats, Bosnian Muslims or Kosovo Albanians - who have, in his words, "taken ethnic cleansing to its most extreme form"?

Croats (and Albanian volunteers who went on to command the KLA) were Washington's "junkyard dogs", and the campaign commanded by the recently released generals was planned and executed with Washington's full knowledge, input and assistance. It wasn't the Europeans or the Saudis who persuaded Bosnian Muslim Alija Izetbegovic to renege on an already-signed compromise that would have spared Bosnia bloodshed, but the American ambassador Warren Zimmerman. By the time NATO troops poured into Kosovo to ensure the KLA could murder, pillage and torch with absolute impunity, killing Serbs had been a treasured Imperial practice for years.

Before Haradinaj, Gotovina and Markac, there were Naser Oric and Florim Ejupi. Oric was the Muslim warlord of Srebrenica, who boasted about raiding the surrounding Serb villages from his ostensibly demilitarized fiefdom, and taking no prisoners. He was acquitted by the ICTY as well. The Tribunal didn't even bother with Ejupi: the Albanian terrorist who had bombed a bus of Serb civilians first "escaped" from a major U.S. military base (!), and when he was eventually tracked down, arrested and convicted, the EU's "law and order mission" set him free within months.

While pretending to be even-handed might sound like a good policy, why bother? The Serbs aren't actually resisting - a succession of increasingly quisling regimes set up in 2000 has ensured that official Belgrade would serve the interests of Empire first and foremost, and never so much as contemplate the interests of Serbia. Time and again, the quislings have tolerated a veritable train of humiliations heaped on them by the Tribunal, UNMIK, EULEX, OHR, etc. A nice self-fulfilling prophecy there: treat the Serbs as cattle long enough, they begin to act like cattle, thus providing justification for the treatment.

What the Tribunal is doing isn't stupidity, but rather hubris, the boundless arrogance of a torturer whose victim has long since stopped resisting, and is practically begging for more. Whether this perception is accurate or mere wishful thinking is open to debate, but that it informs the torturer's actions is undeniable.

Harland himself doesn't have the excuse of ignorance. Quite the contrary. He has been a prosecution witness at several ICTY "trials" over the years, yet somehow never noticed that the Serbs he testified against by and large weren't charged with actual atrocities, but of a mythical crime of conspiracy invented specifically for the ICTY.

Or did he? Consider this answer of his at the "trial" of Gen. Ratko Mladic in July this year:
"A: That has been overstated. In -- that was chosen as the trigger, but had that not been the trigger the operation would have taken place a few days or weeks later or even earlier.
Q. But if Serbs -- in other words, Serbs had no way that they could avoid these NATO air-strikes according to you; is that so?
A. Not unless they stopped fighting."
(ICTY transcript, p. 879, lines 20-25)
Harland is saying that NATO would have bombed the Bosnian Serbs no matter what they had or hadn't done. Hard to believe? Not at all. Wasn't the name chosen for the bombing campaign  "Deliberate Force," of all things?

So it rings offensively naive (at best) when Harland concludes that ICTY's actions are "the opposite of what the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was created to achieve." Quite the contrary, it is precisely what it was established for: to impose a narrative of the wars that would blame exclusively the Serbs, while giving a blanket amnesty to their enemies and external sponsors thereof. It has always been about lawfare, rather than law, prejudice rather than judiciary.

This is, of course, cold comfort to the Serbs - but they have bigger problems right now than some self-appointed falsifiers of history in funny robes, or their media apologists. The ICTY's narrative will last only so long as the Empire can impose it through force and lies. And even a casual look at the world suggests that won't be the case much longer.

At which point it might be wise to remember the neglected words of Thomas Jefferson: "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever."


Fellow blogger Crappy Town notes the Tribunal's penchant for prosecuting Bosnian Croats, which fits perfectly into the prevailing paradigm. Why some Croats, but not others? Because the Croatian Croats were good Imperial proxies and fought Serbs ("bad guys"), while the Croats in Bosnia fought Muslims ("good guys") and therefore need to be punished. How's that for an illustration of Imperial "logic"?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Corvus oculum corvi non eruit

Ramush Haradinaj, KLA, released today by the war crimes "Tribunal", was greeted upon his triumphant return to occupied Kosovistan with billboards like these:
Pristina, occupied Kosovo, today (via NSPM)

Look at the flags.

Enough said.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Monument to Evil

The recent decision by the Hague Inquisition to reverse the convictions of two Croatian generals wasn't just a favor to Empire's onetime "junkyard dogs"; its wider implication was that abuse, expulsion and murder could be practiced with impunity, as long as the perpetrators thereof are Imperial "allies," and the targets are Serbs.

This is the message the Albanians have been hearing for years. Remember, the military leader of the terrorist KLA - now the Kosovian "defense minister" - was a general in the Croatian Army, serving under one of the generals the Inquisition set free. Now, however, they had a chance to show their pride in such impunity, on the occasion of an Albanian national holiday.

On November 28, 1912, what became the Albanian national flag - black eagle on red field - made its first appearance. Each year, the Albanians celebrate this as "Flag Day", and even though "Kosovia" has its own, politically correct flag, its blue and gold are nowhere in evidence these days, amidst the sea of red and black.

The central, pan-Albanian celebration has already taken place - in Skopje, capital of the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia. Why not Tirana, the capital of Albania proper? Or Pristina, the capital of "independent Kosovo"? Simple. Skopje was the ancient capital of Serbia, and though modern Serbia doesn't claim the territory of Macedonia, the Albanians do.

But wait, there is more. In Presevo, a southern Serbian town claimed by Albanians as part of "Eastern Kosova", the local KLA first put up a monument to its "freedom fighters," then dared the Serbian police to come take it down. And yesterday, the following picture appeared in Serbian newspapers:
A model outside the Bujanovac Culture Hall (source)
An installation outside the Culture Hall in Bujanovac (a town near Presevo also claimed by the KLA), purports to represent the house in Valona where the Albanian flag first flew a century ago. However, the model is painted a shade of yellow entirely inappropriate for the original - invoking comparisons to the notorious "Yellow House."

This was the name given to a farmstead in Albania where, during and after the war to claim Kosovo (1999), the KLA killed and dismembered (in that order, if they were lucky) dozens of abducted Serb civilians, to sell their organs on the black market. When word of the "Yellow House" first emerged, the KLA, the Albanian authorities and the house's owners denied everything. The Hague Inquisitors claimed they had found nothing, and just accidentally happened to destroy all the evidence from the investigation. But as you can see, the KLA is now rubbing it in.

Pogroms based on blood libel. Desecrated churches and cemeteries. Pride in terrorism and butchery. All cheered on by the "international community" and the self-appointed defenders of "human rights." A month ago, Secretary of State Clinton declared that the cause of "independent Kosovia" was a personal matter - "for me, my family and my fellow Americans."

Clinton has a shopping center named after her. There are streets and boulevards named after her husband, and an Enver-style statue in downtown Pristina. I guess what's left to their "fellow Americans" is Kosovo itself - a monument to evil if ever there was one.

Proud yet?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Injustice for All, Redux

When the ICTY convicted two Croatian generals (and acquitted another), in April last year, I wrote:
"It would be a mistake to believe that the Tribunal or the Empire have suddenly developed a case of caring about Serb suffering. At best, the judgment against the generals is a gambit to create the perception of impartiality, while continuing to pursue the "Greater Serbian conspiracy." Under the JCE, the accused is guilty of merely existing - i.e. holding a position of authority the Tribunal decides should have had control or even awareness of events - so the fact that one of the generals was acquitted strongly suggests the verdict was political. It is entirely possible that the other two will be acquitted in the appeals process..." (Injustice for All, April 15, 2011; emphasis added)
So I can't say that I was surprised by today's decision by the ICTY to overturn the original verdict in the appeals process, and set the generals free.

The original verdict had two objectives: to clear the nominal obstacles to Croatia's entry into the EU, and to bait the Serbs into lending the ICTY some legitimacy, until it could finish the process of blaming them for the 1990s Balkans wars. It has accomplished both, so now it can be disposed of.

This is just one more tile in the mosaic of evidence indicating that the faux "tribunal" is a political court, nothing more.

Monday, November 12, 2012

An Enduring Mystery

On Veterans' Day (originally Armistice Day, commemorating the end of the Great War), a local newspaper in Bellingham, Washington published a letter from one of the local soldiers, who took part in the IFOR peacekeeping mission in Bosnia.

Officially, everyone was enthusiastic about the mission, and its success in stopping the previously intractable Bosnian War was later taken for granted. But one of the things I learned in Bosnia, while having the honor to work with retired Army colonel David Hackworth, was that one should always trust the grunts, not the "perfumed princes" with fruit salads on their uniforms. And from what I've heard from the grunts - much, much later - it was a near run thing that Bosnia did not relapse into war by the end of 1996.

Here's something PFC Matthew Levi Aamot, wrote in that letter to his grandmother Charlotte, in March 1996:
"One thing that bothers me here is all the kids who stand out at the road and beg food. Thing is, most of these kids so far are well fed and clothed, and are just trying to get something for nothing. ... Suspect that the kids are being paid by the Bosnian army to get ahold of our MREs (meals) to use for themselves.

I also think that these people are just using this year to rearm and recruit more troops. After we leave they will fight again. Maybe we can help get peace established, but somehow, I don't think that us being here will make a lasting impact."
Yet somehow, the peace took. The war has been in remission ever since. And there have been few attempts to explain why. Maybe because the U.S. troops stayed on beyond the one-year deployment that was originally promised? Perhaps because Washington refused to green-light a new war in Bosnia, as it had Serbia to fry? Or was it that the armistice, once it actually took hold and became peace, proved too seductive to people who had to be lied into war to begin with?

It is hard to tell. But until it is figured out, I'm afraid that deciding whether PFC Aamot was right or wrong may hinge solely on the definition of "lasting."

Monday, November 05, 2012

Parallel Perspectives

The Cults of Bosnia and Palestine, by Richard Ziegler
Baico Publishing, Ottawa, 2012
136 pages (softcover)

Two years or so ago, the "Gaza flotilla" incident made me wonder whether Israel was getting "Serbed." It was just a brief glance at some patterns too eerily similar to be coincidental. Yet the whole subject of propaganda, manufactured consent and perception management simply begged for a more detailed study, by someone who could devote enough time, resources and scrutiny to it.

Canadian author Richard Ziegler's second book, "The Cults of Bosnia and Palestine" is one attempt at such a study. A self-identified leftist (his first book was titled "Reclaiming the Canadian Left"), Ziegler has chosen to examine the strange parallel thinking on the Western Left when it comes to the Bosnian and Palestinian conflicts.

Having spotted the same "invective" used to describe the Bosnian Serbs in use against Israel, Ziegler ventures to answer the question "whether some of the charges against [Israel] are made in good faith, or are merely an imitation of a proven strategy." (p.2 ) This comparative approach characterizes all four sections of the book.

In the short, introductory chapter Ziegler explains that the Left's obsession with Bosnia and Palestine most likely lies in its tendency to look for the "victims of oppression" and identify with them. The second chapter dwells on the concepts of "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing," both of which have been employed in crafting the narratives of Bosnia and Palestine. Ziegler notes the dubious emergence and questionable meaning of the term "ethnic cleansing", arguing it was used as a catch-all condemnation of Serbs. But he also tackles the thorny subject of genocide, first noting the absurd contortions applied to Rafael Lemkin's definition by war crimes prosecutors (p.29), then examining the implications of comparing Bosnia to the Holocaust (p.35). Of particular interest is Ziegler's argument that seeing genocide everywhere in effect tends to devalue the significance and distinctiveness of the Holocaust, thus indirectly amnestying its perpetrators.

Chapter 3 deals with Islam and history involved in both regions. Here Ziegler makes an important observation that the Left has not only adopted myths about peaceful coexistence of everyone under Islam, but generally dismissed history as a factor in both conflicts (p. 70-71). He explains the Leftist reluctance to criticize Islam as a result of perceiving the Muslims as the oppressed, and therefore being on the "good" side of identity politics.

Ziegler's venture into explaining the development of anti-Serbism on the Western Left in the final chapter is a very intriguing read. He may not be entirely right to dismiss the lack of prior anti-Serb sentiment on the Left - Engels wrote a scathing attack on the Slavs following the failure of the Hungarian Revolution in 1849, which is often mistakenly attributed to Marx and even excerpted out of context to sound worse - but certainly paints a detailed picture of the circumstances in which the modern anti-Serb thought in the West coalesced in the early 1990s. This is contrasted with prior anti-Semitism on the Left, and the many projections, false analogies and cognitive dissonance that characterize the Left's hostility to both Serbs and Jews. A good overview of the pattern that emerges in both instances is laid out at the very end (p. 118-119). Ziegler's conclusion is that leftist beliefs about Serbs and Jews are almost religious in nature, "and thus impregnable to argument, evidence or reason." (p. 120).

If anything, the book is too short. Documenting the instances of anti-Serbism in the Western press, both mainstream and alternative, over the past two decades would result in a multi-volume work by itself. Yet if Ziegler's conclusion is correct, and the quasi-religious conviction on the Left is impervious to reason, the quantity of evidence becomes somewhat irrelevant, and the quality of the argument more important than ever. To someone who has decided that Serbs and Jews must be evil, no amount of proof to the contrary will suffice to persuade them otherwise.

Nonetheless, Ziegler has done extensive research. Fully 54 pages of the volume's 136 are filled with  often explanatory footnotes. He doesn't cherry-pick favorable authors, either, but includes arguments from all over the spectrum (including myself at one point). Unlike many a scholar, however, he doesn't try to pad the volume with needlessly complex verbiage; Ziegler's prose is crisp, clean, and legible. One doesn't have to be a scholar to understand what he's arguing, or to appreciate the amount of time and effort that went into condensing what could have been a sprawling argument into such a compact volume.

Though plenty of targets of Imperial "liberation" have been softened up by propaganda, no one else has received the "full Serb" just yet. But with the demonization proving so effective, that may only be a matter of time. A great deal of its effectiveness is due to the involvement of the Left, which has successfully styled itself as standing for niceness and tolerance and against all name-calling. Except when it comes to those "disgusting Serbs" and Jews, of course.

The Cults of Bosnia and Palestine, by Richard Ziegler, will be presented on November 14, at Ottawa's Collected Works bookstore.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Madeleine the Bigot

On October 23, Czech filmmaker Vaclav Dvořák (author of the documentary "Stolen Kosovo") crashed the Prague book-signing of former U.S. State Secretary Madeleine Albright. Asked to sign not her self-praising book, but rather the posters of her "greatest hits" (jihad in Bosnia, ethnic cleansing in Croatia, stolen Kosovo), Albright shrieked "Get out!" and called Dvořák and his associates "disgusting Serbs," as can be seen on video.

"Disgusting Serbs, get out!" Albright in Prague, 10/23/2012
Can you imagine if she'd said "disgusting Arabs," or anything else for that matter? Isn't this sort of irrational hatred the very definition of bigotry? Sure - but while bigotry against anyone else is a career-ender in the modern West, bigotry against the Serbs is perfectly acceptable. One might even argue it's mandatory in certain spheres of society, media and politics in particular.

So widespread and accepted has this bigotry become, that efforts to fight it have sprung up only recently, and without official support of the Serbian government (out of fear of offending the bigoted foreigners, most likely). For example, during the 1990s, the British press depicted the Serbs as monkeys, among other things. U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke was proud of his disdain for Serbs; it simply oozes from the pages of his memoir. And Madeleine Albright is apparently unconcerned about displaying her bigotry as well.

Where does all this animosity come from? The torrent of abuse over the years has even made some Serbs believe they must have done something to deserve it. Many blamed the "Milosevic regime", and believed the 2000 coup - funded, organized and supported by the Empire - would put a stop to the hatred. Yet 13 years hence, with Milosevic himself long dead and all the subsequent governments making licking the foreign boot their #1 policy priority, the bigotry shows no sign of abating. Could it be that the roots of it go farther back, long before Milosevic?

Oddly enough, the case of Madam Albright might help shed some light on this.

When Marie Jana Korbelová was born in Prague in 1937, her father Josef Korbel worked as the press attache at the Czechoslovak embassy in Belgrade, Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The very next year, however, the Munich "agreement" surrendered parts of Czech territory to Hitler, and in March 1939, Nazi Germany occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia. Justifiably fearing persecution on account of his Jewish faith, Korbel first converted to Catholicism, then fled with his family to the UK (ironically, the country most responsible for the betrayal in Munich). During the war, he worked for the Czech government in exile, and after 1945 was sent to Belgrade again, this time as the ambassador. He kept little Marie out of Tito's public schools, choosing to have her educated by a governess at first, and later at a boarding school in Geneva. This is where she became "Madeleine". When Stalin cracked down on the insufficiently obedient Czech government in 1948, Korbel fled again - this time to the U.S., where he requested political asylum.

"Madeleine" is thus raised Catholic. In 1959, she becomes an Episcopalian ("Protestant, yet Catholic") to marry journalist Joseph Albright. In the late 1960s, she attends Columbia University in New York, and takes a graduate class taught by Zbigniew Brzezinski. He later became President Carter's National Security Adviser, and in 1978 brought Madeleine to the NSC. After Reagan's election, she moved to the think tanks, continuing to work with Brzezinski on his project of toppling Communism in Europe through the Catholic Church. In 1982 she went to Poland to interview "Solidarity" activists. Upon returning, she taught at Georgetown, a prestigious university originally set up by Jesuits. She remained involved in Democratic politics, and in 1992 joined Bill Clinton's transition team to set up his NSC. As a reward, she was appointed Ambassador to the UN in late 1993, and in 1997 became the first female U.S. Secretary of State. All of this is public record.

What does this biography tell us about Madeleine, the person? First of all, that her defining identity and influences in life have all been Catholic; it wasn't until 1996 or so that she found out that Korbel had been Jewish! Her mentor in Washington was the aggressively Catholic Brzezinski, who didn't care whether the Russians were Orthodox or godless Reds, he hated them all the same (with the Afghan jihad as a result).

Now, consider the long-standing Catholic bigotry towards the Orthodox ("eastern schismatics"), amplified by the Serbs' role in bringing down the Catholic Habsburg Empire, the Cold War animosity towards the "Red Russians", Brzezinski's Polish Russophobia, and the fact that the early 1990s propaganda claimed the "Communist" Serbs were oppressing the Catholic Croats and Slovenians...The writing is on the wall, pretty much.

Ironies abound, of course. While it was the Serbs' refusal to perish that eventually led to Austrian defeat, the Czechs were among the first to declare independence from Vienna. And though Albright has repeatedly invoked the specter of Munich to justify her belligerent politics, a Munich-like dismemberment of a country was precisely what the U.S. did by declaring occupied Kosovo "independent", her Czech colleague Jiři Dienstbier pointed out in 2008. Unaware of her Jewish origins, she deliberately backed a policy of treating the Serbs the same way Hitler did, and sided with Hitler's unrepentant allies. And is it really a coincidence that the Rambouillet ultimatum so resembled the Austro-Hungarian note from 1914?

So it is unfortunate that Dvořák wore a Palestinian scarf when confronting Albright. If he meant to bait her, a mitre would have worked far better.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A tale of two cemeteries

Serb cemetery in Albanian-occupied Djakovica; destroyed, desecrated, defiled.

Albanian cemetery in Serb-controlled Mitrovica.
The pictures speak for themselves.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hamlets in Belgrade

By the time "The Enduring Schism" posted, I was already halfway across the world, jetting off for a two-week visit to the Balkans. I've only returned a week or so ago, and have been sorting impressions and catching up with news ever since.

Part of the trip included a visit to Serbia - all too brief, alas, but intensely productive. Much has changed since my last visit, back in 2005. That was before the "EUrophile" government had wormed its way into power in the confused aftermath of "Kosovian" secession; I knew opposing them was morally right even from across the Atlantic, but seeing the effects of their misrule only confirmed it. My only regret, again, is that I didn't have more time.

There isn't much to say about the current government, except that it bears an uncanny resemblance to the waffling princeling of Denmark. They may not be quite the replacement quislings I thought them earlier this summer, but their reaction to the slings and arrows of the Empire, the EU and their local enablers can only be described as whiny. Contrary to Sun Tzu's advice to fight when "in death ground," they have chosen to try subterfuge and press on, as if nothing were amiss.

"Alas, poor Serbia. I knew her, Horatio" (Sir Lawrence Olivier as Hamlet)
Such a non-response has proven strangely effective, though. Having predicated their approach on encountering either submission or resistance, neither the Germans, nor the Empire, nor their "NGO" infantry on the ground know what to make of the government's weaponized confusion.

One example was the "pride parade," scheduled for October 6. The government banned it at the last moment, using the pretext of security (ironically, put into place by its parade-supporting predecessor, aiming to stop the opposition from protesting). Yet the police then deployed 2000 riot control officers to protect a distasteful "art exhibit" by a Swedish artiste, calculatedly insulting Christianity and Judaism. After several days of public outrage - but no violence - the exhibit was ordered to close.

Another case of the "confusion bomb" in action has been the reaction to the "soccer racism" story. At an under-21 match against England (which Serbia lost, 0-1), one English player was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct at the end, and a fight broke out on the pitch. The player, Danny Rose, claims he was the target of racist insults by Serbian fans. Media in the UK have seized upon Rose's claim to wallow in a vicious Serbophobic campaign echoing the 1990s.

At any point between June 2008 and June 2012, the response from Belgrade would have been a simpering apology. Not so this time. Serbia's embassy in London has stayed mum (which might be for the best, considering), but basketball star Marko Jaric criticized the hysteria, while the Serbian Football Association (FSS) posted a video clip from the match that directly contradicts Rose's claims.

Yet just as one might think there's a method in the madness, the Prime Minister goes and meets with the Crime Minister of Thacistan, pretending that's perfectly normal and that Serbia is engaging in "constructive negotiations" with separatist terrorists while respecting its constitution and sovereignty.

While it is possible that a meaningless meeting filled with worthless words is just the thing to throw the "Snake" and the rest of his organ-and-heroin merchant clique off-balance, I'm afraid that might be giving the people involved too much credit. Had they been able to do right by Serbia, they would have done so many times over by now. Unlike their predecessors, they do not wish their country harm - but may yet, in their indecision and ineptitude, ill serve her cause.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Enduring Schism

One reader asked for my comment on Ralph Raico's essay on the Great War, recently posted on the Mises Institute site, and featured on It is the same essay that Justin Raimondo mentioned in late June, which I addressed in my column three days later.

Though I have written about the Great War before - here, for example, also here and here - I've decided to do it again, because I've just noticed something that's been there all along. Namely, for all their mutual enmities, the Western Europeans - Catholics, Protestants or secularized descendants of both - always seem to have a common attitude towards the Orthodox Europeans (Serbs, Russians, Romanians, Greeks, and even Bulgarians). Even while fighting the Muslims - from the Seljuks and Arabs of the Crusades to the Ottomans and Mamelukes later - the West continued trying to crush the Orthodox, sometimes even prioritizing it (e.g. 1204).

"Serbia must die" - Austrian cartoon from 1914
I've written a lengthy essay about this for, which should be posting today. It goes over the Balkans Wars, the history of Catholic persecution of the Orthodox before, during and after the Ottoman conquest, and ends with the Great War. It's an issue that needs to be clarified, because what we're seeing today is the same sort of pattern coming from the West: Russia is the enemy, the Other - and the Serbs are Russians Lite, who need to be crushed because their stubborn resistance might give others ideas.

I don't know whether Raico's tendency to blame Russia and Serbia for daring to resist Teutonic aggression is a function of this othering of the Orthodox, or the inexplicable sympathy for Austria-Hungary that many libertarians have, probably originating with Ludwig von Mises.  In any case, both Raico's arguments and the language he uses (not qualifying "Greater Serbia" as a canard, for example) suggest that he swallowed the Austro-Hungarian narrative hook, line and sinker.

And we're still dealing with the legacy of Austro-Hungarian identity politics. Croatian identity, for example, was set up under Habsburg aegis as Catholic and militantly Serbophobic. This eventually led to the genocide perpetrated by the Croatian state between 1941-45, with the blessing and participation of Catholic clergy.

Serb leaders involved in the creation of Yugoslavia in 1918 did not understand that those who identified as Croats and Muslims did not consider the Serbs their kin, but rather their inferiors. Becoming Catholic (in Austrian-held lands) or Muslim (in Turkish-held lands) meant escaping the life of oppression and contempt in which the Orthodox Serbs were held by both empires.

Whether it was called "one people, three faiths" (under the Kingdom) or "brotherhood and unity of nations and nationalities" (under Tito), it was a lie. Close to a million Serbs paid with their lives for believing that lie in 1941-45, while another million was displaced and tens of thousands died in the 1990s. Yet all too many believe it even now, just as they continue to fawn at the West that rejects them as the Other. Such people are beyond help.

The rest? The choice they have is the same today as it ever was: renounce their identity and embrace another (Croat, Bosniak, Montenegrin, "Kosovarian", "Vojvodinian", etc.) to be accepted by the current imperial powers, or stay true to their roots and be oppressed. But oppressors come and go, and those who give up their identity never seem to gain happiness that way. Only hatred.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Case in Point

Reactions to my essay about the upcoming "Belgrade Pride" have been typical - from diatribes against homosexuality to diatribes against "homophobia." Both miss the point.

I stand by my contention that attempts to organize a parade in Belgrade have little or nothing to do with persons of alternate sexual proclivities, and everything to do with humiliating Serbia and furthering the agenda of social engineering intent on destroying that country. At the very least, it's a distraction for other things.

You want evidence? Here's a screenshot from the Facebook page of Predrag Azdejkovic, a notorious professional "GLBT" activist:

He "dreams of being fisted by Nick Vujicic."

Vujicic, a man who has devoted his entire life to helping others (rather than whining about his condition), has no limbs.

How is that for tolerance, acceptance, human rights and fighting "H8"?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Conquerors on Parade

Two years ago, a "Pride Parade" turned into a day of anti-government riots, as some 6,000 police protected a handful of professional activists and their foreign sponsors as they strolled through occupied Belgrade. I speculated at the time that the police was inching towards mutiny; though no hard evidence came forth to corroborate the guess, the following year the parade was canceled as a security risk.

In May this year, within days of the quisling regime losing the presidential vote, the "LGBT activists" announced they would parade on October 6. The date is absolutely not accidental: October 5 is the date of the "revolution" in 2000 that brought in a government loyal to foreign interests. More militant of the quislings have since invoked "October 6" as a symbol of the need to "finish the job" - which, according to them, is to strip the Serbs of all the "regressive" values: religion, tradition, nationhood. Once the Serbs stop being Serbs, they cease to be a "factor of disturbance" for various foreign powers with designs on the strategic territory they oh-so-inconveniently inhabit.

I've explained this last year, but it bears repeating: the way its organizers are going about it, the "Pride" isn't about anyone's human rights - including those in Serbia who define themselves through their sexuality - but rather a tool of social and political engineering. While much of the resistance and resentment is driven by a dislike of homosexuality, it is the engineering aspect that actually drives the violence and threats thereof.

Having a country blockaded, bombed, demonized in the media the world over - all without a chance to defend itself - then handed over to a gang of thieves for a dozen years, is not going to make anyone particularly tolerant, forgiving or civil. How anyone can think that foreign-funded activists demanding special rights, while insulting everyone around them, could conceivably advance any cause of acceptance or tolerance is beyond me as well.

And now celebrities from the West, past and present, are getting involved - as if their stardom gave them any special standing to preach to people they know nothing about (and what they think they know is wrong). It's the "Pussy Riot" affair all over again - except that over the past week, the hypocrisy of it became even more apparent in the Western response to Muslim riots around the world. Apologetic statements seeking to placate the rioters only reinforce the conclusion that the West only listens to the argument of force, rather than the force of argument. The inescapable - though unfortunate - lesson of the riots is that rage gets results, while reason only results in more mockery.

Instead of fighting for life, liberty, and property - concepts that would actually encourage tolerance and acceptance of their lifestyle - the professional alt-sexuals demand the "right" to parade down the streets of Belgrade like a conquering army. That's not supposed to endear them to the general public - but perhaps that's precisely the point. "Tolerance" is seldom the objective of those who demand it the loudest. The Parade is a stick with which to beat the Serbs until they submit. Don't be surprised if they hit back.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

That September Day

From the Gray Falcon archives:
"I remember that Tuesday morning the way I remember much of the Bosnian War: in vivid detail. The confusion, the shock, the horror of the burning and crumbling towers, the pillar of black smoke coming from the Pentagon. But the world didn't stop turning. And nothing actually changed that day." 
(9/11, September 11, 2011; Read the rest)

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Empire's Values

"Hypocrisy," wrote the great French writer Francois de La Rochefoucauld, "is the homage vice pays to virtue."

Today, vice is what passes for virtue, and hypocrisy seems to have become the principal value of the Atlantic Empire and its satellites.

It's bad enough that the Empire has internalized the belief that killing people is somehow "saving" them, due to the miraculous transubstantiation of anyone killed by Imperial ordnance into an "enemy combatant." But when a country that routinely invades others, overthrows governments by force or subterfuge, and sponsors terrorists (e.g. Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, KLA, Libyan and Syrian "freedom fighters) is setting up a committee for "atrocity prevention," what is one to conclude other than that it has left logic a few exits back?

The "Pussy Riot" tempest in a teacup is a perfect example of hypocrisy that simply rampages throughout every layer of society in the Empire. Sure, the desecration visited upon an Orthodox temple by the three orgy-loving "activists" pales in comparison to the oeuvre  of those paragons of tolerance and freedom in Kosovistan (under NATO's loving gaze no less). But don't you see, that just shows how oppressive Russian autocracy truly is! In a truly free, democratic society, all the churches would be razed and evil Orthodoxy abolished - or so reason the Marxists.

Wait a second, isn't America supposed to have fought the "long, twilight struggle" against Marxism and Leninism for forty-odd years? And didn't the collapse of the Soviet Union and the abolition of Communism usher in the End of History? Well, sure - but that's beside the point, since we're all Marxists now.

Let me explain. Karl Marx argued that life had been better in "noble savage" times without private property. Sure, people lived in caves, had but rudimentary tools, starved more often than not and died of old age at thirty - but they were just! Because his vision of an egalitarian world ran up against the notion of objective truth or virtue - something valued not only by Christian and Jewish philosophers but the Greeks and Romans before them - Marx railed about religion being the "opiate of the masses" and posited the existence of "communist truth", i.e. whatever was useful to the communist cause. Half a century later, his disciple Vladimir Ilyich Ulanov (better known as "Lenin") distilled this to a simple dichotomy: "Who-Whom".

While Marxism-Leninism was officially retired about two decades ago, cultural Marxism remained alive and well. And at its foundation is the relativistic logic proposed by Marx and championed by Lenin: it doesn't matter what is done, but who does it to whom. When "we" do something, that is by definition good, and when those Other People do the same thing - or even something considered virtuous under the wretched old "normative" logic  - it is by definition evil. Isn't it wonderful to have a moral compass that always points exactly where one wants it to?

Imagine the existence of an "activist group" funded by a foreign government, with a lewd name rendered only in a foreign language (e.g. Пизда Бунт), specializing in public acts of indecent exposure they call performance art, and therefore protected free speech. Imagine them barging into the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. Or wold it have to be a mosque? Or maybe an abortion clinic? One never knows what's actually considered sacred by the Imperial establishment these days. In any case, do you honestly think those very same media that cried crocodile tears over the fate of "Pussy Riot" wouldn't be leading the lynch mob, torches and rope in hand, in this instance?

Or do you think they'd sing them praises as brave pioneers of tolerance, diversity and freedom of expression - as they've done with "Pussy Riot"?

The answer to that question pretty much determines whether you're a cultural Marxist - i.e. believe in that relativistic pseudo-logic of who/whom - or not.

Now, standing up for the downtrodden workers exploited by the Industrial Revolution's robber barons is a good thing. But the bright shining future Marx envisioned for them involved caves. They were concrete instead of stone, but that's hardly the point. The equality he envisioned turned into a coerced equality of misery for most, and a life of plenty for a few. How exactly was that a good thing? I've lived in a Marxist society, and I've seen how quickly and easily it morphed  into the worst version of pagan nihilism. When you make people believe they are no better than animals, don't be surprised when they bite.

To be fair, cultural Marxism is no more an American value than original Marxism was a Russian value. Both were imposed on their host nations, if by different means. And it isn't just a thing of the "left" (democrats, reformers, progressives, whatever), either. The "right" is hardly different, amounting to at best a caricature opposition. They say they are defending tradition, but are no longer capable of articulating what that tradition is, much less why it's worth fighting for. (See the just-finished RNC convention in Tampa for a host of examples). To a 1950s liberal, a typical "conservative" of today would seem to the left of Stalin.

Besides, targets of Imperial "do-gooderism" worldwide certainly don't care whether their murderers wear ties or tie-dyes. Dead is dead.

Whatever you want to call the ideology currently dominating the West (Transnational Progressivism, Globalism, One-Worldism, Secular Humanism, etc.), its basic philosophy is Marxist and neo-pagan. It loathes tradition, family and kinship, property and commerce. It extols coercion, violence, welfare and conflict. And it disguises itself with pleasant-sounding words whose meaning has either been reversed or eliminated entirely: equality, democracy, freedom, diversity.

Not content with dismantling their own countries in this manner, the followers of this ideology  desire to remake the world as well. In that, they are aided by veritable cults of fanatical followers,  drawn by promises of riches and power but find fulfillment only in the feeling of smug self-righteousness: the "human rights activists" and "NGOs" (funded by foreign governments, ironically), professional revolutionaries and their spear-carriers, useful idiots and true believers.

They target Christianity and Judaism, though for the time being they seem to have a love affair with Islam. It isn't a cozy relationship; both the riots in Europe and the bloodbaths in Iraq and Afghanistan offer object lessons in what happens when Islam and cultural Marxism mix. Not surprisingly, the cultural Marxists refuse to acknowledge the problem exists, since that would clash  with their narrative.

Fight back, and the mainstream media - as well as the twitterati and blogger brigades serving the Cult of Death - declare you uncivilized, primitive, retrograde, repressive. Pure projection, all of it - for it is they who desire to abolish civilization, extol force as the arbiter of all, wish to reverse the history of humanity and repress anyone who dissents. Much as they loathe the naive evangelicals who believe their actions can bring about the Rapture, the secular cult is exactly like them, in that they seek to "immanentize the Eschaton", bringing about the End of History by obliterating all competing thought.

Their ultimate objective is not universal happiness. Nor is it diversity, equality, freedom, democracy or justice. Those are but flowery phrases that are mere means to an end. And that end is "all the kingdoms of this world, and the glory of them." This is why they hate Christianity, for its unequivocal rejection of that offer. And why they attack Orthodoxy in particular: because, unlike most other branches of Christianity, it still persists in upholding that rejection.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Not Just A River in Egypt

An acquaintance of mine is vacationing on Cyprus, and recently posted this to her Facebook page:
The people of Cyprus are pretty religious and very Orthodox Christian. They keep icons on their desk in business offices, including the bank. Wednesday, the 15th, is dedicated to the Mother of God and it's a national holiday. Everything is closed.

But the cheapest satellite network here is the Nile Network [NTN], which the British here subscribe to for their holiday rental apartments and houses so that people on holiday have something to watch and they don't have to pay much. The Nile Network includes both Al Jazeera and CNN, and breaks 5 times a day for Muslim prayer. In the middle of an old American action movie (in English, with Arabic subtitles), an imam will come on and preach Islam - with English, Russian or Greek subtitles, depending on which holiday makers he is in the mood to hit today - for 15 minutes. The Nile Network tells you when a movie will be on, not as "Tuesday the 14th at 6 PM", but rather as "The Second Day (or 3rd) day of Ramadan at 6PM", so you have no idea when this movie is going to be on unless you check the Islamic calendar.

This place is pretty amazing. Most Greek Cypriots just basically ignore it all, never would subscribe to the Nile Network even for their holiday rentals, and kind of think that the British are a bit nuts.
A beach in Cyprus
The Cypriots might be onto something here. What else should one think of a tourist who pays good money to visit Cyprus, and instead of enjoying the local charms - food, landscapes, people, culture, etc. - they sit at their rental  and watch American action movies, with breaks for Islam?

Nile's Wikipedia page lists the network's goals thus (emphasis added):
  • Address foreign viewers in Egypt and all over the world with regard to culture, economy, tourism, and art, and to initiate a constructive dialogue between different cultures in foreign languages. 
  • Present the views of the Egyptian government and people on various issues concerning the Arab World and the Middle East, as well as global issues. 
  • Reflect the image of modern Egypt, and all its concrete achievements in the form of national projects in the fields of education, women's rights, health care, and the establishment of a democratic atmosphere
  • Broadcast news events from Egypt and the Arab World, and analyzing and discussing them with officials, politicians, analysts and cultured Egyptians, Arabs and foreigners in foreign languages. 
  • Present objective news on international events, analyzing and discussing those events to help foreign viewers understand the truth about the Egyptian and Arab stances on the current international events in order to protect foreign viewers from falling prey to biased media. 
  • Present images of Egypt and reflect its religions and values, humanitarian and tolerance. 
All the standard buzzwords and catchphrases are there. When you distill the verbiage, you're left with an understanding that Nile is an Egyptian propaganda channel. There's nothing wrong with that, mind you. But it's very interesting that they wrap that propaganda in American action movies - hardly a reflection of Egyptian "religion and values." 

I've observed a similar phenomenon in Serbia, where a network called B92 injects its propaganda (also called "news") into a stream of American entertainment programming. Not surprisingly, B92 was directly funded by the Empire for years - and may still be; though the station's ownership has supposedly changed, its slant hasn't changed in the slightest. The difference here is that NTN is spreading Egyptian propaganda abroad, while B92 is spreading Imperial propaganda at home (sometimes with hilarious results). Yet they have the same modus operandi: come for the fun, stay for the indoctrination.

Needless to say, this kind of propaganda works best on a thoroughly disoriented audience: people whose own culture, heritage, identity and values have been systematically stripped away. That way, when someone else's ideas and values are presented to them, they are embraced as a breath of fresh air. Earlier this year, indie Finnish satire Iron Sky played this for laughs in a subplot where a PR wizard earnestly brands an electoral campaign with ideas from actual Nazis (from the Moon!). 

Have the British been so tenderized? Brendan O'Neill seems to think so, illustrating the claim with examples of reactions against the people who dared dislike the opening ceremony of the Olympics. He also argued that the arrest of a boy who sent a nasty tweet to a British diver showed a "culture of intolerance" that has developed in the UK - paradoxically, in the name of imposing "tolerance" and "diversity." British tourists are already showing an alarming lack of judgment by choosing to watch TV while vacationing in what is by all accounts an exceptionally beautiful country. So, who knows?

Nile TV is merely exploiting an opening provided to it by culture warriors in the West. Serbs at least have a cause to be angry at B92, as it both creates and exploits the confusion in their society. If the British tourists fall for any of Nile's propaganda, it will be nobody's fault but their own. 

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Hostile Actions

The online edition of Albuquerque Journal ran a story today, almost entirely based on a New Mexico National Guard press release, that three Guard members are scheduled to receive Purple Hearts, "for injuries they received during hostile actions in Kosovo on Sept. 27, 2011."

What was it that happened in Kosovo on September 27 last year? Oh, yes: the Americans opened fire on unarmed Serb demonstrators, injuring several. I wrote about it then, and another blogger has helpfully collected a selection of video clips, stills and background information.

But to hear the ABQJ tell the story, "New Mexico troops helped prevent a Serbian mob from breaking through a border crossing and potentially killing a group of German soldiers on the NATO team, the Journal reported last December."

NATO's actual mission (from The Weight of Chains)
First of all, that was no "border crossing," but a checkpoint on the road between (the occupied Serbian province of) Kosovo and (the rest of) Serbia. Granted, the U.S. government believes that "Kosovia" is an independent state, and has tried to impose this belief on the rest of the world. But the very least a journalist could do is acknowledge that there is in fact a dispute. Secondly, the "Serbian mob" consisted of unarmed civilians. The German soldiers had body armor, rifles and tanks. Who was really a threat to whom? But since one can hardly have a story of heroism involving Our Boys ("New Mexico troops," to be precise) shooting at unarmed people whose land they are occupying, these inconvenient facts had to go.

At the time of the incident, KFOR claimed some of its troops were injured. They never offered any evidence for that, however - unlike the Serbs, who documented their injuries with photos and unedited video footage. But the ABQJ helpfully explained that the "The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and is specifically a combat decoration." (emphasis added)

There is no mention what the "instruments of war" allegedly used on the New Mexicans might have been. But note that the said instruments have to be wielded by "the enemy" in a combat situation. So by the NMNG's own admission, the Serbs of Kosovo are "the enemy" and NATO's "peacekeeping" mission is really a combat mission. Judging by KFOR's operational activities, the objective of that mission is to finalize the ethnic cleansing of Serbs begun in 1999, thus creating and securing a 100% Albanian "independent state of Kosovo."

Closing up the story, the ABQJ paraphrases a statement by former Guard commander, Maj. Gen. Montoya, who reportedly said that New Mexicans' handling of the situation was praised by U.S. "military leaders around the world" (?!) for "potentially stopping a new Kosovo war by managing conflict situations without lethal force."

Whoa. First we had the deliberate shooting of unarmed civilians re-told as Saving Gefreiter Gruber, and now it has morphed into "potentially stopping a new Kosovo war"? I used to wonder how the U.S. government and military could make embarrassingly stupid decisions; now that I know how divorced they are from objective reality, I wonder no more.

Final question: if live ammunition isn't "lethal force," General Montoya, what, pray tell, is? Unarmed Serbs, perhaps?


From a regular reader:
"If New Mexico troops have now been granted Purple Hearts for routine crowd control duties, isn't it that much more imperative that NATO military authorities track down the identity of, and award the highest existing medals for bravery to, those daring NATO pilots who, dropping cluster bombs from a high altitude, risked their lives in a daring confrontation with enemy troops who would pass by the area unarmed thirteen years in the future?  Never have so many owed so much to so few."

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Defining Empire, Again

Cleaning up some archival material the other day, I looked at the very first post here, almost eight years ago. At one point there, I said I would "define Empire only once". Looking at that definition, however, I find it wanting:
The best I can say is that it is not so much a place, as a state of mind (credit to Chris Deliso for the phrase). Though historical analogies are perilous, tempting inappropriate parallels and interfering with rational analysis, they are nonetheless a sort of practical shorthand for describing modern phenomena. Today’s Empire to me is what is colloquially known as “The West,” and is not just the U.S. or the E.U., but both...
From a distance of eight years, I can see a little better now. Though what I call the EUSSR is an adjunct of the Empire, a transnational-progressivist reiteration of the Soviet Union that bows to twelve yellow stars on a blue field instead of one on red, the actual Empire is headquartered in Washington. I've even taken to calling it the "Atlantic Empire" for the sake of precision, as it represents a continuation of the British Empire of yore in terms of geopolitical goals (if not quite ideology).

A 1942 movie about a cattle empire; irony deliberate
It was in October 2004 that an unnamed White House official - later identified as Karl Rove - spoke the famous words dismissing the "reality-based community" to Ron Suskind of the NYT Magazine: "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality."

That's precisely the "state of mind" I was talking about, though I didn't realize it then. Sure, EUrocrats try to change observable reality by twisting language and making up convoluted laws, but  they stop short of rearranging reality at gunpoint - mostly because they have become squeamish about warfare. Americans don't have that "problem." 

To people who share Rove's view of power - whether they call themselves Republicans, Democrats or something else - being an empire means one is no longer bound by anything. Not the Constitution, not natural or divine law, not language, and not even physical reality. Everything is just a function of the Nietzschean "will to power". If they want something, they take it, by whatever means are most expedient. They can make excuses afterwards, or in many cases not even bother. As one former UN GenSec wrote, they see "little need for diplomacy; power is enough."

Is it? Judging by the extent to which Imperial will has been thwarted by actual reality at every step, no, power isn't enough. Examples are legion, from Afghanistan and Iraq, to Empire's failure to impose its will in Bosnia, or fully crush Serbia, or compel the world to recognize "Kosovo" as an independent state.

A thousand years ago, the Viking king of England ordered his chair be set on a beach, and commanded the waves to halt. Obviously, they did not. According to chronicler Henry of Huntingdon (Historia Anglorum), Canute the Great then said, "Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws."

Yet the way most people think today, Canute was a fool who really thought he could command the tide - thus missing the whole point of his little demonstration, intended to show the importance of reality to his sycophantic courtiers. 

In ancient Rome, imperium meant "power to command" - i.e. state authority over the individual. Today, it denotes the belief that one state - the U.S. - has authority over the rest of the world. It is an idea the founders of America would have recoiled in horror from, recognizing it as the ancient sin of hubris. Yet there we have it.

Until the tide comes in, anyway.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Interesting Times

It has been a year since the self-proclaimed "Kosovian" authorities tried to take over the Serb-inhabited north of the occupied province. When they failed, NATO and EULEX were called in - only to be thwarted by non-violent protests of the local population. Tanks and live gunfire could clear the road temporarily, though it soon became clear that they could kill the Serbs - and face the consequences once the footage hit YouTube (which it would have within minutes) - but they could not compel them to obedience. Harassment has continued ever since - just this morning, Polish troops had sealed off one road, while "Kosovian" Very Special Police robbed a Serb bank last week - but it looks like both the "Kosovarians" and their Imperial sponsors are waiting for the new/old regime in Belgrade to find a way of surrendering the occupied territory and the Serbs therein.

(Yes, those were links from B92, because they were the only links in English I could find. There's definitely a gaping hole ready to be filled with English-language news coverage that would not be in service of Serbia's enemies.)

Saturday was also the anniversary of Austria-Hungary's 1914 ultimatum to Serbia, the true start of the Great War; a century hence, some still blame Serbia and Russia for upsetting the old Imperial order. Times change, but the argument remains the same; the invader always wonders why we refuse to just die already. Can't say I have much sympathy for either the argument, or the invaders making it.

When I say that "all of this has happened before, and is happening again", I'm not just using a catchphrase from Battlestar Galactica; the scenario developed for Balkans interventions (first in Bosnia, then in "Kosovia") is actually being applied to Syria. The trouble with imagining oneself as a knight-errant is that the rest of the world is then divided into two categories only: dragons and damsels in distress. Delusional much?

The other problem with interventionism is that it just doesn't work. Sure, it can force things temporarily - kind of like what KFOR does with the barricades in Thacistan - but that just creates more problems down the line. The 1878 Congress of Berlin, for example, "solved" the Balkans crisis in a way that made WW1 almost inevitable. Yet now some people want to do it again.

While I haven't done much writing here lately - most of my attention has been devoted to the other blog, columns and some translation and editing work - I did manage to add some blog links. If you are interested in news from and about Syria (actual news, not the propaganda), the Moon of Alabama blog is the place to go. I've also added the blog of a sometime commenter and very astute writer, "Hero of Crappy Town" (fans of Firefly will get the reference). I should have done so much sooner.

I'll see July off with something I've said before, but may as well say again. The Empire is constantly harping on about how the people it has "helped" need to "come to terms with reality" - but by that it means the virtual reality, established and maintained through lies and coercion. Meanwhile, the Empire itself refuses to accept actual reality, and the gap between the two is widening by the day.

These are interesting times, indeed. In a very Chinese sense of the word.

Monday, July 23, 2012

RIP Alexander Cockburn

Alexander Cockburn, 1941-2012
Late yesterday I heard that Alexander Cockburn had passed away, at the age of 71. He had cancer that ended up being terminal, but chose not to make it into a public spectacle (unlike, say, Christopher Hitchens). A prolific writer and outstanding editor, he kept writing till the very end, and his pen remained as sharp as ever.

It was just a month ago that I caught one of his pieces in CounterPunch, and commented on it. The magazine had been one of the few voices consistently opposing Imperial meddling under the guise of "humanitarianism", whether in the Balkans or elsewhere.

The fact that Cockburn and his associates self-identified as leftists, yet as an avowed libertarian with a monarchist streak I found myself agreeing with them more often than not, just goes to show how pointless these labels are for understanding the business of humanity.

There is a line in the great Serb epic, The Mountain Wreath, that goes something like this: "Blessed are those who live forever, for their births had purpose." I can't think of a more fitting epitaph for this great man. I hope his soul finds peace, and his words continue to inspire others to fight the darkness, madness and despair that ever seek to drown the world.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Succor From an Unlikely Source

Lord of the Rings (from Wikipedia)
As a big fan of J.R.R. Tolkien's work, and Peter Jackson's screen adaptations thereof, I was amused by something a friend mentioned this morning. The amusing part is not that Jackson's movie trilogy is currently being shown in Serbia, but by whom: none other than a TV network originally established and funded by the Empire to spread pro-Imperial and anti-Serb (or am I repeating myself here?) propaganda. How ironic is it that they are now showing - most likely in a bid to improve their ratings - an epic that stands for everything they fight against, from liberty, tradition, honor and decency, to resisting the seemingly unstoppable military and propaganda might of Mordor?

That led me to contemplate how the "Lord of the Rings" would look if amended and adapted to fit the Imperial vision of the world, promoted by this particular network and the quisling cult it serves. Perhaps it would involve a panel of "expert analysts", explaining to the public what the story really means:

  • Bilbo Baggins is a thief and a rogue, who stole the Ring from its rightful owner, Gollum;
  • Gollum is an exemplar for progressive citizenry, putting above all the search for his personal pleasure, the "Preciouss";
  • Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin are dangerous terrorists who got a hold of a Weapon of Mass Destruction;
  • Aragorn represents the anachronistic and outdated institution of hereditary monarchy;
  • Legolas and Gimli are closeted LGBTQ persons;
  • Elrond and Galadriel are selfish Elves who refuse to share their bountiful wealth with the underprivileged Orcs of Misty Mountains. Moreover, they aided the Fellowship's invasion and destruction of Moria, which the peaceful Orcs barely managed to liberate from their Dwarvish oppressors, with Sauron's selfless aid;
  • Gandalf is the instrument of the Wizard-Elvish conspiracy against peace and welfare of all the peoples of Middle Earth, offered by the legitimate overlord Sauron;
  • Sauron is the misunderstood, well-intentioned peacemaker, who only wishes to integrate all of Middle Earth and usher in an end to history of warfare and strife;
  • Saruman is a realist, who understands the value of Mordor's politics of peace. He promotes industrial development and biological research, for which he is targeted by fanatical eco-terrorists;
  • The Nazgul only wanted to retrieve the WMD from the Hobbit terrorists, but the evil Gandalf murdered their poor innocent horses at Bruinen, and later interfered in their humanitarian air patrols over the bandit Rohirrim and rebels of Gondor;
  • Theoden is a crazed dictator, leading his people to ruin by choosing to fight Sauron and Saruman instead of reaching a peaceful settlement with them, abolishing the anachronistic monarchy and living in peace under the progressive, pragmatic democrat Grima Wormtongue;
  • Denethor is a wise leader of Gondor, usurped by evil wizard-conspirator Gandalf, who also turned his sons to treason. Boromir is the misunderstood hero, while Faramir an incompetent fool holding outdated ideals;
  • The siege of Minas Tirith was Mordor's legitimate response to the aggression of Elven "Axis of Evil" (Rivendell-Lothlorien), led by Gandalf, and the terrorist activities of the Fellowship...
And so on.

You may laugh at the obvious twisting of the story, but this is precisely the kind of poisonous drivel being poured into the eyes and ears of Serbs for years now, via this particular TV network and many others, by various servants of Empire: NATO lobbyists, self-proclaimed reformers, promoters of regional autonomy, "cultural decontamination," liberal and other Democrats, etc. The entire ideology of Serbia's quisling cult is servitude - to the Empire and its coercive might - expressed through contempt for liberty, justice, tradition and natural values.

There is a great quote from Gandalf, midway through The Two Towers: "Oft evil will shall evil mar." True enough, for in a bid to improve its ability to tell lies, the cult's TV is actually giving succor to those who oppose the present-day Sauron and his servants. Irony is not dead, and there is yet hope for the world.