NATO-Yugoslavia war, prelude to more bloodshed

This 1999 Associated Press video says about itself:

Hundreds of mourners have flocked to the funeral of a three year old girl allegedly killed during airstrikes on Belgrade.

Milica Rakic was apparently hit by shrapnel following the NATO bombing of the suburb of Batajnica on Saturday night. Milica’s father Zarko, mother Dusica, and brother Aleksa were inconsolable as scores of people filed past the small coffin to pay their last respects.

In a reading at the funeral, the young girl’s kindergarten teacher said the child was an accidental victim and claimed that NATO would be lying when it said it was sorry that the child was killed.

The conflict in Yugoslavia has been full of tales of horror and sadness. Today was no different. Hundreds of mourners turned out in Batajnica, a suburb of the Yugoslav capital, for the funeral of a three year old girl, Milica Rakic.

She was allegedly killed by shrapnel during a NATO bombing raid on Belgrade Sunday night. Relatives and friends paid their final respects, standing in silence outside the small chapel where the service was held.

Milica’s parents and her older brother were inconsolable – mother Dusica breaking down in grief over the loss of her child. The young girl’s grandmother clutched one of Milicia’s favourite dolls, a tragic reminder of the victim’s tender years.

The harshest words came from Milica’s kindergarten teacher, who blamed NATO forces for the death of the little girl. She said they didn’t care what happened to the people of Belgrade.

SOUNDBITE: (Serbo-Croat) “For them (NATO) you were just an accidental victim and ironically they will say they are sorry. But they are lying when they say that – they are not sorry.” SUPER CAPTION: Milicia’s Kindergarten teacher

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Twenty years since the US bombing of Yugoslavia

23 March 2019

March 24 marks 20 years since the US and NATO launched a one-sided war against Yugoslavia, bombing Serbia and its capital Belgrade for 78 straight days. Factories, schools and hospitals were destroyed, along with bridges, roads and the electrical grid in a bid to bomb the Serbian population into submission to US and Western European imperialism’s domination of the Balkans.

The airstrikes killed around 2,500 people and wounded another 12,500 according to Serbian estimates.

One of the US-NATO airstrikes used laser-guided bombs to take out a railway bridge in southern Serbia, killing at least 10 people on a passenger train.

60 train passengers may have been killed then, according to Wikipedia.

Another slaughtered 21 people in a nursing home. And a deliberate strike on the TV broadcaster RTS in Belgrade took the lives of 16 civilian workers.

In one of the most provocative acts of the war, the US carried out a strike on the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, killing three people. Washington claimed that the bombing was an “accident”, but Beijing and the Chinese population rightly saw it as an act of aggression that foreshadowed an escalating US military buildup against China.

“Operation Noble Anvil”, as the bombing campaign was dubbed, was launched without any authorization from the United Nations after Serbia’s President Slobodan Milosevic refused to accept the so-called Rambouillet Agreement, which in reality was a US-NATO ultimatum that demanded Belgrade allow NATO troops to occupy the province of Kosovo and be granted free rein over all of Yugoslavia. Even the veteran imperialist war criminal Henry Kissinger acknowledged that the so-called agreement “was a provocation, an excuse to start bombing.”

The war constituted the final chapter in the imperialist dismemberment of Yugoslavia, a country that had existed since 1918. Having pulled the rug out from under the Yugoslav economy, the major imperialist powers encouraged the growth of ethnic nationalism—spearheaded by ex-Yugoslav [government] bureaucrats turned communalist capitalist politicians—warming their hands over the fire as they pushed Serbs, Muslims and Croats to slaughter one another, and using Yugoslavia as a testing ground for military intervention and a new generation of so-called precision-guided munitions.

The essential precursor of the war was the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the hands of the Moscow Stalinist bureaucracy. During the Cold War, Washington and its NATO allies had supported the unity of Yugoslavia as a counterweight to the influence of the USSR in the lands to its south. But after the Stalinist bureaucracy’s drive for capitalist restoration culminated in the breakup of the Soviet Union, the imperialist powers launched a reckless and ultimately catastrophic scramble for the Balkans.

Germany began by recognizing the independence of the Yugoslav republics of Slovenia and Croatia, flexing its new-found muscles as an imperialist power in Europe following its 1990 re-unification. While Washington first opposed the move, it subsequently threw itself into the carve-up by recognizing Bosnia-Herzegovina as an independent “nation” meriting its own state. This set the stage for a bloody conflict between the territory’s three constituent populations –Muslims, Serbs and Croats–and ultimately imperialist intervention.

Underlying the drive to war over Kosovo was the imperialist imperative of bringing Serbia, the strongest power in the region, to heel in order to solidify US-NATO hegemony.

The war was launched by the Democratic administration of President Bill Clinton under the thoroughly discredited and hypocritical banner of “humanitarian intervention” and the claim that the US and its allies were intervening to stop a massacre of Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian population at the hands of Serbian security forces.

Washington and its European imperialist allies, backed by a thoroughly pliant capitalist media, cast Serbian leader Milosevic as a new “Hitler” and the Serbian people as a whole as “Nazis”, obscenely comparing the repression in Kosovo to the Holocaust.

Claims that 100,000 ethnic Albanians had been slaughtered that were floated in advance of the US-NATO war were debunked in its aftermath. The real death toll in Kosovo before US and NATO bombs began to fall was revealed after the war to have been closer to 2,000, with the majority of the killings committed by the armed separatist group, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

The KLA, previously classified by Washington as a terrorist organization, was elevated in the run-up to the war as the sole legitimate representative of Kosovo’s population. Its extensive ties to organized crime throughout Europe as well as to Al Qaeda were swept under the rug as the CIA poured money and arms into the group, which carried out terrorist bombings and ethnic killings against the Serbian population. The KLA, working in close collaboration with its US sponsors, sought to create as much violence and death as possible in order to pave the way to Western intervention.

Twenty years later, the former chief of the KLA, Hashim Thaçi–proclaimed in Washington as “the George Washington of Kosovo”–has headed a succession of governments, even as control of the landlocked mini-state’s economy remains in the hands of European Union officials and its territory is still occupied by 4,000 NATO troops, including 600 US soldiers.

Thaçi has been exposed in numerous investigations as the head of a criminal organization involved in drug trafficking and prostitution as well as in the appalling trafficking in human organs “harvested” from captured Serbs. Washington and the EU have repeatedly intervened to prevent him from being prosecuted for war crimes and other criminal activity.

The “humanitarian” intervention to halt “ethnic cleansing” has resulted in massive ethnic cleansing, including the driving out of two-thirds of the 120,000 Roma and Ashkali living in Kosovo as well as many thousands of ethnic Serbs.

Despite Kosovo being the largest per capita recipient of foreign aid on the planet, the landlocked mini-state remains the poorest territory in Europe, with an official unemployment rate of 30 percent (55 percent for youth) and wages averaging just $410 a month. With all of its wealth and military power, US and German imperialism have managed to create only a failed state and a government controlled by a Mafia.

None of the wounds inflicted upon the former state of Yugoslavia by imperialist intervention have healed. The Balkans remain a powder keg that can be set off at any moment, igniting–as they did in the 20th century—a wider war that can bring in the major powers.

Among the most politically significant features of the 1999 Kosovo war was the unabashed and enthusiastic support lent to the US-NATO bombing of Serbia by former opponents of the American intervention in Vietnam and even self-proclaimed socialists in both Europe and America. This emerging pseudo left, whose social base was among privileged layers of the middle class, would go on to provide crucial political support to imperialism in similar bloody “humanitarian” regime change operations that have devastated both Libya and Syria.

The World Socialist Web Site and the International Committee of the Fourth International opposed this reactionary outlook from the start, denouncing the onslaught against Yugoslavia as an imperialist war waged to assert US hegemony over the Balkans as part of a re-division of the territories of Eastern Europe and Central Asia left in a political vacuum following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

In June of 1999, after the relentless bombing of Serbia forced Belgrade to withdraw security forces from Kosovo and open the way to US-NATO occupation, the World Socialist Web Site warned in an statement by David North, the chairperson of the WSWS and the Socialist Equality Party (US) titled “After the Slaughter: Political Lessons of the Balkan War”, “The bombing of Yugoslavia has exposed the real relations that exist between imperialism and small nations.”

The statement continued, “The great indictments of imperialism written in the first years of the twentieth century—those of Hobson, Lenin, Luxemburg and Hilferding—read like contemporary documents. Economically, small nations are at the mercy of the lending agencies and financial institutions of the major imperialist powers. In the realm of politics, any attempt to assert their independent interests brings with it the threat of devastating military retaliation. With increasing frequency, small states are being stripped of their national sovereignty, compelled to accept foreign military occupation, and submit to forms of rule that are, when all is said and done, of an essentially colonialist character.”

It went on to warn that the “cult of precision-guided munitions” promoted on the basis of the United States’ casualty-free Kosovo war, ignored the more basic tendencies of economic development. “Neither this advantage [in the arms industry] nor the products of this industry can guarantee world domination”, it said. “Despite the sophistication of its weaponry, the financial-industrial foundation of the United States’ preeminent role in the affairs of world capitalism is far less substantial than it was 50 years ago.”

Nearly two decades later, this prognosis has proven correct. For more than a quarter century, the US ruling elite has sought to sustain its global dominance through the uninterrupted and reckless use of military power. This has resulted in a string of failures from Afghanistan to Iraq, Libya and Syria–as well as Kosovo—that have served only to exacerbate the crisis of the global system, while exposing the limitations of American military power.

The US-NATO war in Kosovo has been followed by NATO’s relentless expansion eastward, bringing US troops to the very border of Russia. While still playing the “humanitarian” card on occasion, Washington has jettisoned the “war on terror” as the central rationale for global US militarism, adopting a strategy of “great power” conflict, openly preparing for war against nuclear-armed Russia and China, as well as potential challenges from its erstwhile allies in Europe and Asia.

The destructive policies pursued by US imperialism are giving rise to an immense growth of social tensions and class struggle around the world, including in Kosovo, which has seen a wave of strikes against the abysmal conditions facing the working class, as well as in the United States itself. This rising movement of the international working class provides the only viable answer to the growing threat of multiple military conflicts across the globe igniting a new world war. The decisive lesson of the Kosovo war and what has followed is the necessity of building an international, socialist antiwar movement based upon the working class.

Bosnian war crimes suspects arrested in the Netherlands

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

War criminals arrested in the Netherlands

Thursday, May 8th, 2014, 12:06 (Update: 08-05-14, 12:43)

Two men suspected of war crimes in the Balkans have been arrested in Spijkenisse and Heumen. The Public Prosecutor reports this.

The two were arrested at the request of Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the 1990s, they are said to have committed war crimes against the civilian population.


The 43-year-old man from Spijkenisse has Bosnian citizenship. He is said to have been involved in murder, torture and psychological and physical violence against civilians.

The man served in the Bosnian-Croat army. According to the extradition request, he was camp commander in June 1992 in the Derventa region. There, civilians with Serbian backgrounds were held captive in a school.

A prisoner, said to have been accused of an attempted escape by the camp commander, was shot dead with an automatic weapon. Prisoners were beaten with rifle butts, their teeth were kicked out of their mouths and cigarettes were extinguished on their bodies.


The man from Heumen is 52 years old and has both the Bosnian and Dutch nationality. He is said to have committed war crimes in 1992, as a member of an armed group during the Balkan war.

With other armed men, he is believed to be responsible for the death of an inhabitant of the Bosnian village Beslagici.

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Serbian three-year-old bomb victim commemorated

Milica Rakić

From B92 radio in Serbia:

April 17, 2013 | 17:42

Anniversary of death of 3-year-old victim of NATO bombing

Source: B92

BELGRADE — Today marks 14 years since the death on April 17, 1999, of three-year-old Milica Rakić, killed during a NATO air raid.

The child was fatally injured in the bathroom of her home, when a shrapnel from a cluster bomb hit her in the head.

The apartment building where her family lives is located some six kilometers from the military airport in the Belgrade suburb of Batajnica.

The traces of the damage done by the bomb are still visible on the facade around the bathroom window. The family decided not to repair the wall, as a reminder of the horrific crime.

The toddler’s death became the symbol of the suffering of the Serbian people during the war that NATO waged against the country in the spring of 1999.

This is a music video from Yugoslavia of a song, with English subtitles, about the death of Milica Rakić.

The EU has started accession negotiations with Serbia, using the membership talks as a form of blackmail to curb Russian influence: here.

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Kosovo privatisation enriches NATO warmongers

Remember how berserk neo-conservative or “liberal hawkish” supporters of George W Bush’s and Tony Blair’s Iraq war became, whenever someone mentioned the word “oil” in an Iraq context?

This video from the USA says about itself:

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich: “Privatizing Iraq’s Oil is Theft!”

When George W. Bush and Tony Blair started the bloody Iraq war, government propaganda, slavishly echoed by the corporate media, said the war was because Iraq had weapons of mass destruction … oops, it did not have those arms … the war was because secularist Saddam Hussein had links to ultra-religious Al Qaeda … oops, that was a lie as well … the war was because Saddam was a dictator and it would bring human rights … oops, Saddam was one of many dictators, most of them supported by Bush’s USA and by Blair’s UK (like used to be the case for Saddam); and torture, killings, and other human rights violations got worse, not better, after Bush and Blair had invaded Iraq.

When someone dared to say “No blood for oil“, the Bushite and Blairite apologists for the Iraq war went hysterical. Their lovely baby, their lovely Iraq war, could never ever be about something as prosaic as oil corporations’ profits (or arms dealers’ profits … oil was and is a major factor in a complex of causes, not the sole 100% cause).

Well, the Australian conservative government, Bush and Blair allies in the Iraq war, admitted that oil did play a role in the Iraq war. Alan Greenspan, George W. Bush’s economic “czar”, admitted the major role of oil.

Both George W. Bush and Tony Blair profited personally from oil from Iraq which they invaded. And US ex-Iraq occupation bigwig Peter Galbraith grabbed hundreds of millions in Iraqi oil money. So much for that “humanitarian” war.

Oh yeah, that other “humanitarian” war, in Afghanistan, supposedly did not have anything to with pipelines or minerals. Yeah right. And pigs fly.

Back in time to another “humanitarian” war. The 1999 NATO war against Yugoslavia. How “humanitarian” was that?

By John Glaser in the USA:

Empire Pays For Corporatist US Diplomats in Kosovo

December 12, 2012

The New York Times published an article yesterday detailing how top former US officials who helped spearhead the Clinton administration’s bombing of Serbia in 1999 are now deeply embedded in lucrative rent-seeking activities with Kosovo’s corrupt semi-government.

Beneficiaries include: former Secretary of State Madeline Albright; General Wesley Clark, who led the NATO bombing campaign; James W. Pardew, the Clinton-era special envoy to the Balkans; Mark Tavlarides, legislative director at the Clinton White House’s National Security Council; and countless others not specifically named in the article.

These crafters of US foreign policy now benefit off the unscrupulous state structure their discretionary war helped establish. US aid since the war has been cultivating a “thugocracy.”

Clark “is chairman of Envidity, a Canadian energy company seeking to explore Kosovo’s lignite coal deposits and produce synthetic fuel,” the Times reports.

Albright founded Albright Capital Management, which “has been shortlisted in the bidding for a 75 percent share in the state telecommunications company, PTK,” a venture that “is expected to bring in between $400 million and $800 million.”

Albright is chair of the NATO committee planning more “humanitarian” wars. The committee includes a Shell oil fat cat. It used to include Tony Blair’s ex-Secretary of War … oops-a-daisy … “Defence” Geoff Hoon. It does not include Hoon any more. Hoon disappeared because of his corruption.

Pardew has had his eyes on PTK too, though, and has “lobbied top Kosovo officials on behalf of a competing consortium, Twelve Hornbeams S.a.r.l /Avicenna Capital LLC.”

So many former American officials have returned to Kosovo for business — in coal and telecommunications, or for lobbying and other lucrative government contracts — that it is hard to keep them from colliding.

Foreign policy experts say the practice of former officials’ returning for business is more common than acknowledged publicly. Privately, former officials concede the possibility of conflicts of interest and even the potential to influence American foreign policy as diplomats who traditionally made careers in public service now rotate more frequently to lucrative jobs in the private sector.

Indeed, it goes beyond the telecom company:

The biggest infrastructure project in Kosovo’s post-Yugoslav history, a 63-mile stretch of highway connecting Pristina to the Albanian border, was awarded in 2010 to Bechtel of San Francisco in a joint venture with a Turkish company, Enka.

At the time, the prime minister estimated the deal at $1 billion.

Bechtel had help getting the contract from Mr. Tavlarides, the legislative director at the National Security Council during the 1999 Kosovo intervention. According to a lobbying report filed with the United States government, Mr. Tavlarides lobbied on behalf of Bechtel in Kosovo on “highway-related issues” while working for Van Scoyoc Associates, a Washington-based lobbying firm.

Mr. Tavlarides now works at the Podesta Group, which signed a $50,000 monthly contract with the Kosovo government on Jan. 1, advising it on communications and strengthening Kosovo’s ties to the United States government. The Podesta Group was co-founded by John Podesta, White House chief of staff in Mr. Clinton’s second term. Mr. Podesta left the firm in 1993. It is still owned by his brother, Anthony.

In an interview with the Times, Clark said it was “insulting” to suggest there’s any conflict of interest. “My business is aboveboard, transparent and helps the Kosovar people,” he said. His business ventures are benefiting from the thuggish administrators in Kosovo as they “privatize” state-corporate entities – and he thinks he’s still doing the humanitarian thing? The Kosovo government, according to the Times, also denies that any of these former US officials are getting special treatment.

But a leaked memo from a meeting between Pardew and Kosovo’s prime minister tells a different story:

The choice of Mr. Pardew as their emissary was “vitally important,” the memo noted, because Kosovo’s elite “know and love him for his role on the ground during the war.”

After the memo became public, Mr. Pardew withdrew from lobbying for the consortium, and he declined to comment.

It’s quite a set up these American statists have: launch a war to become heroes in a secessionist province of Serbia, and then reap endless financial benefits via crony corporatism going on 13 years hence.

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NATO pressure frees Croatian war criminals

This video says about itself:

Neo-Nazism In Croatia/ Obsession With Historical Paradox

Apr 4, 2008

Over 60,000 fans celebrating Croatia’s Nazi past with Hitler style hand salutes – “Sieg Heils”.

By Paul Mitchell:

Croatian war criminals released after appeal by Western military chiefs

11 December 2012

In April 2011, the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) found Croatian general Ante Gotovina and Assistant Interior Minister Mladen Markac guilty of war crimes committed during 1995’s Operation Storm military offensive and sentenced them to 24 years’ and 18 years’ imprisonment, respectively.

The two leaders were accused of involvement in a “Joint Criminal Exercise” (JCE), led by late Croatian president Franjo Tudjman, aimed at “the permanent removal of the Serb population from the Krajina region by force, fear or threat of force, persecution, forced displacement, transfer and deportation, appropriation and destruction of property or other means”. More than 150 Croatian Serbs died, hundreds disappeared and 200,000 fled in what was described as the biggest act of ethnic cleansing in the Balkan Wars. Half of the refugees have still not returned to their former homes.

In January 2012, 12 US, Canadian and British military experts, three of whom had served as judge advocate generals (senior military lawyers) and one as the top legal adviser to the US Army, launched an appeal to overturn the convictions. They argued that the court was wrong to use a “200-metre standard” by which artillery bomb craters located more than 200 metres from a legitimate military target were deemed evidence of unlawful indiscriminate attacks on civilians. If the standard became enshrined in international law, they declared, future Western military operations would be put in jeopardy and commanders would run the risk of being hauled in front of human rights courts accused of war crimes.

The appeal document concluded with a letter from General Ronald H. Griffith, vice chief of staff, the second highest officer in the US Army, from 1995 to 1997 and current executive vice president of the private military company Engility, formerly known as Military Professional Resources Inc. (MPRI). Griffith declared, “Should the standard of review adopted by the Trial Chamber gain traction as a controlling interpretation of international law it will ultimately expose commanders who have conducted military operations in compliance with accepted doctrinal principles and in a morally responsible manner to the threat of being brought before some international court and charged, as was General Gotovina, with war crimes.”

Last month, the ICTY Appeals Court overturned the convictions of Gotovina and Markac, declaring that the original court had “erred” by using the “200-metre standard”. The rest of the charges against the two war criminals fell like dominos. By a 3-to-2 majority, the court declared that the mass exodus of Serb civilians “cannot be qualified as deportation” and the existence of a JCE “cannot be sustained” and ordered Gotovina and Markac to be released.

Two of the five judges dissented from the majority opinion. Maltese judge Carmel Agius said that he “strongly disagreed” with almost all of the conclusions reached by the majority and was “distancing himself” from their decision. Italian judge Fausto Pocar insisted that the judgement “contradicts any sense of justice”.

Former ICTY chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte declared, “I am shocked, very surprised and astonished because it is absolutely unbelievable what happened after ruling the sentence of 24 years in prison to general Ante Gotovina.” Current chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz said that “those affected by crime committed in connection with Operation Storm are not satisfied by the outcome and feel their suffering has not been acknowledged”. He hoped the Croatian authorities would use the evidence his office had gathered to prosecute those responsible.

Brammertz’s plea was quickly forgotten. After flying back to Croatia, Gotovina and Markac received a hero’s welcome from a crowd of 100,000 in the capital, Zagreb. President Ivo Josipovic welcomed the verdict, and other government figures and officials declared the men’s release was proof that no ethnic cleansing had occurred in Croatia. Gotovina declared that the “Homeland War is now clean, it belongs to our history, it is a basis on which we build our future.” Media reports suggest he will stand in the next presidential elections.

Serbian president Tomislav Nikolic denounced the Appeal Court’s decision as “scandalous,” declaring that it “will not contribute to stabilisation of the situation in the region but will reopen all wounds.” Russian United Nations ambassador Vitaly Churkin declared, “In its work, the ICTY demonstrates neither fairness nor effectiveness.”

The two have been released in the first instance because the Croatian army acted as Washington’s proxy against Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, with President Bill Clinton’s special envoy Richard Holbrooke describing them as his “junkyard dogs”. In November 1994, MPRI was contracted to train the Croatian army at the time of a UN-monitored ceasefire. Photographs show Gotovina with US military personnel in front of a computer screen showing “Battle Staff Training Program” and “Welcome to Training Center Fort Irwin”. Franjo Tudjman’s son Miro, head of Croatian intelligence at the time, claims the Croatian and US governments enjoyed a “de facto partnership”.

In 2002, Henry Hyde, chairman of the House Committee on International Relations, was already warning that the ICTY could investigate officials who were “formulating and carrying out US government policy” in connection with Operation Storm. The Washington Times repeated Hyde’s warning and attacked the concept of command responsibility as a threat “to US national interests” and “Washington’s ability to project its power around the world.”

Such concerns also lay behind the release, a few days after that, of Gotovina and Markac, of Kosovo Liberation Army commander and former prime minister Ramush Haradinaj and others accused of being members of a JCE involved in the torture and murder of Kosovo Serbs, Roma and Egyptians in a KLA compound in the village of Jabllanicë in 1998. A partial re-trial had been ordered because the original trial was surrounded by allegations that witnesses were subjected to systematic harassment and intimidation. Del Ponte was also forced to complain to the United Nations Security Council and UN secretary-general Kofi Annan about the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and its chief, Soren Jessen-Petersen, who, she said, protected Haradinaj. She asked, “How can the rule of law be implemented if UNMIK chiefs so openly support a person who is accused of some of the gravest crimes in international law?”

Both the Croatian and Kosovan Albanian leaders played a key role in ensuring US hegemony within the Balkan region. The US had been intent on preserving a unitary Yugoslav state as a bulwark against a Soviet thrust into the Mediterranean, but this changed with the collapse of the USSR and the reunification of Germany in 1991. When German imperialism, anxious to flex its political muscle, promoted secession in Slovenia and Croatia and rushed to extend recognition, both the US and the other western European powers reversed their previous opposition.

It was inevitable, given the history and politics of Yugoslavia, that the break-up of the federation would lead to civil war. The secession of provinces would suddenly deprive ethnic minorities of the constitutional protections they had enjoyed under the federation.

Dutch girl murder’s suspect arrested, NOT a refugee

Marianne Vaatstra

In 1999, in Friesland province in the Netherlands, there was the horrible case of Marianne Vaatstra.

This sixteen-year-old girl from Zwaagwesteinde village was raped and murdered. For thirteen years, the police was unable to find out who was the murderer.

Though the police did not know, Rightist media pundits claimed to know. There were refugee camps in Friesland province. Johnny Foreigner must have been Marianne’s rapist and murderer, the xenophobes claimed.

First, there was talk about a refugee from Yugoslavia. Conveniently, at the time when NATO bombed Yugoslavia. Later it was suggested the rapist and murderer was an Iraqi refugee (by, eg, the Katholiek Nieuwsblad, a weekly representing the far Right wing of the Roman Catholic church). Or an asylum seeker from Afghanistan. Again, countries in which the Netherlands, being part of the NATO alliance, participated in wars. The murderer-rapist was non-white. The murderer-rapist was a Muslim, the bigots screamed. The police supposedly had not arrested murderous Johnny Foreigner because of anti-racist “political correctness”.

Police did extensive DNA research around Zwaagwesteinde village. Yesterday, they finally arrested a suspect of the Marianne Vaatstra murder. Was he a Yugoslav? an Iraqi? an Afghan? an African?

No, he was a 45-year old white farm owner living not so far away from the Vaatstra family. 100% DNA match, news sources say.

Will the racists now say they are sorry? Don’t count on it.

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Stop one-sided NATO war propaganda in Belgium

From 18-27 October in Brussels, Belgium, there will be a so-called “Freedom Festival”, organized by the local government and NGOs.

At first sight, it looks promising:

Political and artistic, intercultural and creative, festive and subversive, Festival des Libertés returns each autumn to mobilise all forms of expression in order to offer an overview of the state of rights and freedoms around the world, to point out lurking dangers, to bring people together in a fun, relaxing atmosphere, to encourage resistance and to promote solidarity.

Resistance against what or against whom, one may ask?

This video from Britain is called Jamie Shea, NATO spin doctor.

As Belgian peace movement intal reports (translated from their Dutch):

The Freedom Festival on 22 October will give the floor to NATO spin doctor Jamie Shea. Title of the ‘debate’: «Should we intervene in Syria?». A strange ‘debate’, however, because in the panel there is no critical opponent of Shea. So Jamie Shea will get a platform without any speaker questioning NATO’s intervention policies.

We demand: there should be an opponent of Jamie Shea speaking, who should be able to criticize his views. The audience has a right to that.

For more information about Jamie Shea and how you can support this demand, please visit this link [in Dutch, but can be translated with Google Translate etc.]:

You may of course publish this open letter on Facebook and other social media.

Part of the info on the intal site, translated from Dutch:

Who is Jamie Shea?

The world knows Jamie Shea as the public relations face of the Kosovo war of 1999, when NATO for 78 days and nights bombed Yugoslavia. That was an illegal war waged in violation of international law and without a UN mandate.

During its aggression NATO was guilty of numerous violations of the laws of war, including the deliberate bombing of civilian targets. Today no one can deny that this “humanitarian war” was based on lies, deception and manipulation – with anything but altruistic goals at stake.

Jamie Shea is still at NATO today, as Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges.

Kosovo anti-privatisation protest

This video says about itself:

This movie was made to serve as a prime example of post Yugoslav Balkan mentality.

A destruction of a state that was once economically and socially prosperous nation with high inspirations in the world’s affairs. Today, the countries that have sprang from her are only the corrupt, inefficient, filled with post Yugoslavian Balkan uncivilized ignorant mentality in other words, only the light shade of a country that was once SFR Yugoslavia.

Long live Brotherhood and Unity, long live Yugoslavia.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Outrage over privatisation

KOSOVO: Thousands of ethnic Albanians demonstrated against government corruption and the embezzlement of public funds in the disputed region today.

Protesters chanted “Thieves” and carried banners denouncing the privatisation of the country’s post and telecommunications company PTK.

Opposition leader Albin Kurti said that Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s administration was selling off public enterprises.

The EU has launched a string of investigations into the embezzlement of state funds by senior officials in the province.

Photos of the protest are here.

Roots of Egypt’s Revolution: Labor Unions and the Uprising in Tahrir Square: here.

Yugoslavia war, 1999-2009

This video is called Carla Del Ponte: Kosovo Serbs Murdered For Their Organs.

NATO bombs still haunt Serbs, 9 years on.

By David N. Gibbs, in the United States Jewish magazine Tikkun:

Was Kosovo the Good War?

This article draws from David N. Gibbs‘s new book, First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia (Vanderbilt University Press, June 2009), especially from chapter 7. Readers interested in obtaining full source citations can find most of them in the book or request them from the author at

As the 1999 NATO war against Serbia reaches its tenth anniversary, it is being recalled with a measure of nostalgia. The Kosovo war is remembered as the “good war” — a genuinely moral military action, which offers a reassuring contrast with the Iraq fiasco. The Kosovo war was undertaken (so the argument goes) only as a last resort, to restrain an unpleasant dictator (Slobodan Milosevic) who would only respond to force. And the war produced positive results, in the sense that Kosovo was freed from Serb oppression and Milosevic was soon overthrown. Now, a decade later, the Kosovo war is recalled as an exemplary case of humanitarian intervention, and is widely viewed as a model for possible interventions in Darfur [see also here] and elsewhere. Indeed some of the key figures in the Obama administration, notably Samantha Power, have advocated that “humanitarian intervention” on the model of Kosovo should be a basic theme of U.S. policy.

Given the importance of Kosovo as a model for future military actions, it is important to understand more fully what actually happened in this critical case. New information has become available in recent years from the Milosevic war crimes trial and other basic sources — information that casts the war in a wholly different (and not so positive) light. In what follows, I will review some of these revelations, and how they have discredited widely accepted myths about the “benign” character of the Kosovo intervention.

A review of Gibbs’ book: here.

An interview with David N. Gibbs, author of First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia: here.

Prosecute NATO Yugoslavia war crime, Amnesty says

This video is called Danilo Mandic interviews Noam Chomsky on NATO bombing [of Yugoslavia]. – 36:15 – 4 okt. 2006.

From British daily The Morning Star:

NATO attack on Serbian TV station ‘a war crime’

Thursday 23 April 2009

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL demanded on Thursday that NATO chiefs be held accountable for the deliberate bombing of a TV station in the then-Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) a decade ago.

On April 23 1999, 16 civilians were killed and 16 others injured during an air raid on the headquarters and studios of Radio Television Serbia in central Belgrade.

Ten years on, no-one has been brought to justice for what Amnesty International described as a “serious violation of international humanitarian law committed by NATO.”

NATO bombers killed a total of approximately 500 civilians [other estimates are thousands] and injured 900 during Operation Allied Force between March and June 1999.

NATO member states had claimed at the time that the 78-day aerial campaign against the FRY was a “humanitarian intervention” designed to halt Belgrade’s war against separatist Albanian insurgents in Serbia.

As reports of ongoing violations by NATO forces persist in Afghanistan, Amnesty called on the Western military alliance and its member states to “ensure independent investigations, full accountability and redress for victims and their families.”

Amnesty spokeswoman Sian Jones said: “The bombing of the headquarters of Serbian state radio and television was a deliberate attack on a civilian object and as such constitutes a war crime.”

NATO officials confirmed to Amnesty in early 2000 that they had targeted RTS because of its propaganda function in order to undermine the morale of the population and the armed forces.

Ms Jones observed that “justifying an attack on the grounds of combating propaganda stretches the meaning of ‘effective contribution to military action’ and ‘definite military advantage’ – essential requirements of the legal definition of a military objective – beyond acceptable bounds of interpretation.

“Even if NATO genuinely believed RTS was a legitimate target, the attack was disproportionate and hence a war crime,” she pointed out.