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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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.

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.

BOSNIAN Serb Prime Minister Milorad Dodik has accused international administrators in his country of running the country like an occupying power: here.

Dutch Princess Mabel pro peace?

This is a video from a Dutch satirical TV program, about Princess Mabel doctoring a film about her life, especially her relationship to gangster Klaas Bruimsma, like she vandalized her Wikipedia entry.

From GPD news agency in the Netherlands:

Princess Mabel [of the Netherlands] will serve as the first Chief Executive of The Elders, Desmond Tutu, Chair of the Elders, announced on Wednesday. She will oversee the day-to-day operations for the Elders, a group of eminent individuals convened by Nelson Mandela to use their wisdom, independent leadership and experience to tackle some of the world’s toughest problems.

According to Dutch daily De Volkskrant, the originator of the idea of the Global Elders is not Nelson Mandela, but British millionaire Richard Branson.

In itself, the idea of ex-politicians like in the Global Elders, commenting on the policies of their successors, is not a totally bad idea. Arguably, ex politicians often have better ideas than when they still were in office: Jimmy Carter (one of the Elders), Colin Powell

However, having the day-to-day operations for the Elders in the hands of Princess Mabel is a bad idea.

The GPD article continues on Mabel:

She founded and was the executive director from 1993 through 1997 of the European Action Council for Peace in the Balkans, a West-European non-governmental organization dedicated to establishing peace, democracy and stability in the Balkans.

Mabel Wisse Smit, as she was known then, worked ‘for peace and democracy’ in the Balkans jointly with well-known militarist, anti democrat, and supporter of apartheid in South Africa, Margaret Thatcher. The “Action” which that “Council” lobbied for, was Western military aggression in Yugoslavia. Mabel’s boyfriend then, before she became a princess by marriage and after Dutch gangster Klaas Bruinsma, was Bosnian politician Sacirbey, jailed for shady financial and arms deals.

Nelson Mandela is well known as an opponent of the Yugoslavia and Iraq wars. It will not work well for him to have Princess Mabel as a filter on his views.

Where millionaires, whether Richard Branson, Mabel’s employer George Soros, or the sponsors of the American Enterprise Institute are involved, critical distance is necessary.

George Soros’ Ex, Brazilian Actress Adriana Ferreyr, Sues for $50 M; Claims Billionaire Hit Her, Didn’t Give Manhattan Apartment: here.

Karadzic and Bosnia: here.

Italian dies from depleted uranium of Kosovo war

Depleted uranium in KosovoFrom the Google cache.

Italian dies from depleted uranium of Kosovo war

Linking: 321 Comments: 8

Date: 2/18/05 at 9:15AM

Playing: War, by Edwin Starr

During the 1999 war against Yugoslavia, US and other NATO forces used depleted uranium, which causes cancer.

Tanjug (Serbia and Montenegro) reported:

February 16, 2005

Italian professor dies from depleted uranium effects

ROME – Italian government envoy and Florence University professor Giovanni Caselli, in Kosovo following the NATO bombing in 1999 within a mission of Operation Rainbow, has died from the effects of depleted uranium, the president of the national association of war veterans Falko Acame has announced.

According to the Ansa news agency, Acame established a direct link between Prof. Caselli’s illness and the negative effects of depleted uranium, because the professor’s activities in Kosovo included “monitoring the state of houses hit by the bombs.”

See also here.

And here.

Kosovo Roma poisoned by DU: here.

DU and The Netherlands: here.

Contamination from depleted uranium found in urine 20 years later: here.

Kosovo: dead bodies of victims found.

Kosovo: privatization.

China remembers Kosovo war: here.

1990 wars in Yugoslavia: here.

History of bombing: here.

Neo-nazism in Kosovo now: here.

Cleaning up depleted uranium with fungi: here.

From Z magazine in the USA:



Review of John Laughland, Travesty: The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic and the Corruption of International Justice (London/Ann Arbor: Pluto Press, 2007).

[Z Magazine, forthcoming, April 2007]

John Laughland’s superb new book, Travesty: The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic and the Corruption of International Justice, is the fourth important critical study of the issues pertaining to the Balkans wars that I have reviewed in Z Magazine. The earlier three were Diana Johnstone’s Fools’ Crusade (2002), Michael Mandel’s How America Gets Away With Murder (2004), and Peter Brock’s Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting (2005). It is an interesting and distressing fact that none of the three earlier books has been reviewed in any major U.S. paper or journal, nor, with the exception of Z Magazine (and Swans and Monthly Review, which later ran a fuller version of the Johnstone review), in any liberal or left journal in this country (including The Nation, In These Times, The Progressive, or Mother Jones). This is testimony to the power of the established narrative on the recent history of the Balkans, according to which Clinton, Blair and NATO fought the good fight, though coming in late and reluctantly, to halt Serb ethnic cleansing and genocide managed by Milosevic, with the bad man properly brought before a legitimate court to be tried in the interest of justice.

This narrative was quickly institutionalized, with the help of an intense propaganda campaign carried out by the Croatian and Bosnian Muslim governments (assisted by U.S. PR firms), the U.S. and other NATO governments, the NATO-organized and NATO-servicing International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia’s (ICTY, or Tribunal), and the Western media, which quickly became co-belligerents in this struggle. This informal collective focused on numerous stories and pictures of suffering victims, on one side only and devoid of context. In commenting on the parade of witness victims, Laughland notes that “Indictments [by the ICTY] are drawn up with little or no reference to the fact that the acts in question were committed in battle: one often has the surreal sensation one would have reading a description of one man beating another man unconscious which omitted to mention that the violence was being inflicted in the course of a boxing match.” But this stream of witnesses, that the defense could duplicate in its turn if given the opportunity–and Milosevic did with a video presentation of badly abused Serbs for several hours toward the beginning of his trial–is effective in demonization and helped mass-produce true believers who viewed any contesting argument or evidence as “apologetics for Milosevic.”

This consolidation of a party line has been reinforced by a virtual lobby of institutions and dedicated individuals ready to pounce on both the deviants who challenge the new orthodoxy as well as the media institutions that on rare occasion allow a questioning of the “truth.” The refusal to review these dissenting books and to deal with the issues they raise is also testimony to the cowardice and self-imposed ignorance of the media, and especially the liberal-left media, unwilling to challenge a narrative that is false at every level, as is spelled out convincingly in the three books reviewed earlier and once again in Travesty.

Laughland’s Travesty focuses on “The Corruption of International Justice” displayed in the ICTY’s performance in the seizure and trial of Milosevic, but in the process the book covers most of the issues central to evaluating the Balkan wars and the role of the various participants. The institutionalized lies are dismantled one after the next. On the matter of “international justice,” Laughland stresses the fact that the ICTY is a political court with explicit political objectives that run counter to the requirements of any lawful justice.

This political court was organized mainly by the United States and Britain, countries that now freely attack others, but seek the fiction that will give their aggressions a de jure as well as quasi-moral cover. For this reason the rules of the ICTY stood Nuremberg on its head. The Nuremberg Tribunal tried the Nazi leaders for their planning and carrying out the “supreme international crime” of aggression. But the ICTY Statute doesn’t even mention crimes against peace (although with Kafkaesque hypocrisy it claims to be aiming at protecting the peace). Thus, Laughland notes, “instead of applying existing international law, the ICTY has effectively overturned it.” The dominant powers now wanting to be able to intervene anywhere, the new principles to be applied were a throwback to the Nazis in disrespect for international borders. Laughland says that “the commitment to non-interference in the internal affairs of states, reaffirmed as part of the Nuremberg Principles in the United Nations Charter, is an attempt to institutionalize an anti-fascist theory of international relations. It is this theory which the allies destroyed in attacking Yugoslavia in 1999.” And it is this anti-fascist theory that the ICTY and humanitarian interventionists have abandoned, opening the door to a more aggressive imperialism.

The ICTY was established not by passage of any law or signing of an international agreement (as in the case of the International Court of Justice) but by the decision of a few governments dominating the Security Council, and Laughland shows that this was beyond the authority of the Security Council (also shown in another outstanding but politically incorrect and neglected work, Hans Kochler’s Global Justice or Global Revenge? [Springer-Verlag Wien, 2003]). It was also established with the open objective of using it to pursue one party in a conflict, presumed guilty in advance of any trial. The political objectives were allegedly to bring peace by punishing villains and thus serving as a deterrent, but also to serve the victims by what Laughland calls “the therapeutic power of obtaining convictions.” But how can you deter without a bias against acquittal? Laughland also notes that “The heavy emphasis on the rights of victims implies that ‘justice’ is equivalent to a guilty verdict, and it comes perilously close to justifying precisely the vengeance which supporters of criminal law say they reject.” “Meanwhile, the notion that such trials have a politically educational function is itself reminiscent of the ‘agitation trials’ conducted for the edification of the proletariat in early Soviet Russia.”

Laughland features the many-leveled lawlessness of the ICTY. It was not created by law and there is no higher body that reviews its decisions and to whom appeals can be made. The judges, often political appointees and without judicial experience, judge themselves. Laughland points out that the judges have changed their rules scores of times, but none of these changes have ever been challenged by any higher authority. And their rules are made “flexible,” to give efficient results; the judges proudly noting that the ICTY “disregards legal formalities” and that it does not need “to shackle itself to restrictive rules which have developed out of the ancient trial-by-jury system.” The rule changes have steadily reduced defendants’ rights, but from the beginning those rights were shriveled: Laughland quotes a U.S. lawyer who helped draft the rules of evidence of the ICTY, who acknowledges that they were “to minimize the possibility of a charge being dismissed for lack of evidence.”

Laughland notes that the ICTY is a “prosecutorial organization” whose “whole philosophy and structure is accusatory.” This is why its judges gradually accepted a stream of rulings damaging to the defense and to the possibility of a fair trial–including the acceptance of hearsay evidence, secret witnesses, and closed sessions (the latter two categories applicable in the case of 40 percent of the witnesses in the Milosevic trial). ICTY rules even allow an appeal and retrial of an acquitted defendant–”in other words, the ICTY can imprison a person whom it has just found innocent.”

Laughland’s devastating analysis of the Milosevic indictment and trial is a study in abuse of power in a politically-motivated show trial, incompetence, and faux-judiciary malpractice. The first indictment, issued in the midst of the NATO bombing war, on May 27, 1999, was put up in close coordination between the ICTY and U.S. and British officials, and its immediate political role was crystal clear–to eliminate the possibility of a negotiated settlement of the war and to deflect attention from NATO’s turn to bombing civilian infrastructure (a legal war crime, adding to the “supreme international crime,” both here protected by this body supposedly connected to “law” and protecting the peace!). The later kidnapping and transfer of Milosevic to the Hague was a violation of Yugoslav law and rulings of its courts. The ICTY’s NATO service and contempt for the rule of law was manifest.

The original indictment of Milosevic dealt only with his responsibility for alleged war crimes in Kosovo. But as Laughland points out, the wild claims of mass killing and genocide in Kosovo were not sustainable by evidence, and NATO bombing may have killed as many Kosovo civilians as the Yugoslav army. This accentuated the problem that if the Milosevic indictment was limited to Kosovo it would be hard to justify trying him for Kosovo crimes but not NATO leaders, a point even acknowledged by the ICTY prosecutor. So two years after the first indictment, but after Milosevic’s kidnapping and transfer to The Hague, the indictment was extended to cover Bosnia and Croatia. A bit awkward, given that back in 1995 when Mladic and Karadzic were indicted for crimes in Bosnia, Milosevic was exempted. There was also the problem that the Bosnian and Croatian Serbs were not under Serb and Milosevic authority after the declared independence of Bosnia and Croatia, and Milosevic fought with them continuously in an effort to get them to accept various peace plans 1992-1995 (documented in Sir David Owen’s Balkan Odyssey, another important book neglected perhaps because of its contra-party line evidence).

So the prosecution sought to make the case for “genocide” by belatedly making Milosevic the boss in a “joint criminal enterprise” (JCE) to get rid of Croats and Muslims in a “Greater Serbia.” The initial indictments that confined his alleged crimes to Kosovo never mentioned any participation in a JCE or drive for a “Greater Serbia.” So the prosecution had to start over in collecting evidence for the crimes, JCE, and Greater Serbia aims in Bosnia and Croatia and tying them to Milosevic. Guilt decision first, then go for the evidence, was the rule for this political court. The trial moved ahead while the “evidence” was still being assembled. Most of it was the testimony of scores of alleged witnesses to alleged crimes, a large majority with hearsay evidence, and almost none of it bearing on Milosevic’s decision-making or differentiating it from what could have been brought against Izetbegovic, Tudjman or Bill Clinton. Laughland shows very persuasively that the inordinate length of the trial was in no way related to Milosevic’s performance–a lie beloved by Marlise Simons and the mainstream media in general–it was based on the fact that this was a political trial that inherently demanded massive evidence, and the prosecution, unprepared and struggling to make a concocted charge plausible, poured it on, trying to make up for lack of any documentation of their charges of a Milosevic-based plan and orders with sheer volume of irrelevant witnesses to civil warfare and Kosovo-war crimes and pain.

A key element in the prosecution case was the belated charge that Milosevic was involved in a “joint criminal enterprise” with Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia to get rid of non-Serbs by violence, looking toward that Greater Serbia. The concept of a JCE is not to be found in prior law or even in the ICTY Statute. It was improvised to allow the finding of guilt anywhere and anytime. You are part of a JCE if you are doing something bad along with somebody else, or are attacking the same parties with somebody who does something bad. With that common end you don’t even have to know about what that somebody else is doing to be part of a JCE. Laughland has a devastating analysis of this wonderfully expansive and opportunistic doctrine, and his chapter dealing with it is entitled “Just convict everyone,” based on a quote from a lawyer-supporter of the ICTY who finds the JCE a bit much. Milosevic probably would have been convicted based on this catch-all, or catch anyone, doctrine. Of course it fits much better the joint and purposeful Clinton, Blair, NATO attack on Yugoslavia, or the Croats U.S.-supported ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Croatian Krajina in August 1995, but there is nobody to enforce the JCE against them, whereas we have the ICTY to take care of U.S. and NATO targets!

Laughland has a fine chapter on Greater Serbia, which shows that Milosevic didn’t start the breakup wars (even quoting prosecutor Nice admitting this), that he was no extreme nationalist and that accusations about his speeches of 1987 and 1989 are false, that his support of the Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia was fitful and largely defensive, and that he was not working toward a Greater Serbia but at most trying to enable Serbs in a disintegrating Yugoslavia to stay together. During Milosevic’s trial defense, Serb Nationalist Party leader Vojislav Seselj claimed that only his party sought a “Greater Serbia,” as the Croats and Bosnian Muslims were really Serbs with a different religion and his party fought to bring them all within Serbia–Milosevic only wanted the Serbs stranded in the breakaway states to be able to join Serbia. At that point the prosecutor Geoffrey Nice acknowledged that Milosevic was not aiming for a Greater Serbia, but, in Nice’s words, only had the “pragmatic” goal of “ensuring that all the Serbs who had lived in the former Yugoslavia should be allowed…to live in the same unit.” This caused some consternation among the trial judges, as Milosevic’s aggressive drive for a Greater Serbia was at the heart of the ICTY case. You never heard about this? Understandably, as the New York Times and mainstream media never reported it, just as they never tried to reconcile Milosevic’s support of serial peace moves with his alleged role as the aggressor seeking that Greater Serbia.

There is much more of value in Travesty and I can’t do it justice even on the issues discussed here. This is a wonderful book that should be on the reading list of everyone looking for enlightenment on the confused and confusing issues involving the Balkan wars and “humanitarian intervention.” It helps shred the notion that the NATO attacks were based on a morality that justified over-riding sovereignty and international law, and it shows decisively that the ICTY is a completely politicized rogue court that is a “corruption of international justice.”

As Laughland emphasizes (and Johnstone and Mandel do as well), the NATO war and the work of the ICTY in running interference for that war, were very helpful in setting the stage for George Bush’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and possibly also, Iran. It was treated then, and remains treated today, as a “good war,” a “humanitarian intervention.” So those who swallowed the standard narrative, built on lies, at best failed to see the continuity between Clinton and Bush, and the service of the former and the publicists of the “good war” in removing the protection of the “anti-fascist theory of international relations” that protected small countries from Great Power aggression and unleashing the rule of the jungle.