Sunday, 7 August 2016

Milosevic Exonerated, as the NATO War Machine Moves on


The ICTY’s exoneration of the late Slobodan Milosevic, the former President of Yugoslavia, for alleged war crimes committed in the Bosnia war, proves again we should take NATO claims regarding its ’official enemies’ not with a pinch of salt, but a huge lorry load.
 
For the past twenty odd years, neocon commentators and ‘liberal interventionist’ pundits have been telling us at every possible opportunity, that Milosevic (a democratically elected leader in a country where over 20 political parties freely operated)  was an evil genocidal dictator who was to blame for ALL the deaths in the Balkans in the 1990s. Repeat after me in a robotic voice (while making robotic arm movements): ‘Milosevic’s genocidal aggression’ ‘Milosevic’s genocidal aggression’.

But the official narrative, just like the one that told us that in 2003, Iraq had WMDs which could be launched within 45 minutes, was a deceitful one, designed to justify a regime change-op which the Western elites had long desired.

The ICTY’s conclusion, that one of the most demonized figures of the modern era was innocent of the most heinous crimes he was accused of, really should have made headlines across the world. But it hasn‘t. Even the ICTY buried it, deep in its 2,590 page verdict in the trial of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic who was convicted in March of genocide (at Srebrenica), war crimes and crimes against humanity.

There was no official announcement or press conference regarding Milosevic‘s exoneration. We’ve got journalist and researcher Andy Wilcoxson to thank for flagging it up for us.

How very different it all was when the trial of the so-called ‘Butcher of the Balkans’, began in February 2002! Then, you‘d have to have been locked in a wardrobe not to be aware of what was going on.

CNN provided blanket coverage of what was described as “the most important trial since Nuremberg.” Of course, Milosevic’s guilt was taken as a given. “When the sentence comes and he disappears into that cell, no one is going to hear from him again,” declared US lawyer Judith Armatta from the Coalition for International Justice, an organization which had the former US Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Warren Zimmerman, as an advisory board member.

Anyone who dared to challenge the NATO line was labeled a “Milosevic apologist”, or worse still, a “genocide denier”, by ‘Imperial Truth Enforcers’.

But amid all the blather and the hype surrounding the ’trial of the century’ it soon became apparent the prosecution was in deep, deep trouble. The Sunday Times quoted a legal expert who claimed that “Eighty percent of the prosecution’s opening statements would have been dismissed by a British court as hearsay.” That, I believe, was a generous assessment.

The problem was that this was a show trial, one in which geopolitics came before hard evidence. It’s important to remember that the original indictment against Milosevic in relation to alleged Kosovo war crimes/genocide was issued in May 1999, at the height of the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia and at a time when war was not going to plan for the US and its allies.

The indictment was clearly designed to exert pressure on Milosevic to cave into NATO’s demands.

The trouble for NATO was that by the time Milosevic’s trial was due to start, the Kosovo narrative had already unraveled. The lurid claims made by the US and its allies about genocide and hundreds of thousands being killed, catalogued by the great John Pilger here, had been shown to be false. In September 2001, a UN court officially held that there had been no genocide in Kosovo.

So in an attempt to beef up their weakening case against Milosevic the prosecutors at The Hague had to bring in new charges relating to the war in  Bosnia, accusing ‘Slobo’ of being part of a ‘joint criminal conspiracy’ to kill/ethnically cleanse Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims in pursuance of a ’Greater Serbia’ project.

In normal criminal prosecutions evidence is collected and then, if it’s deemed sufficient, charges are brought. But the opposite happened in the case of Milosevic: he was charged for political reasons and the hunt for evidence then followed.

The irony is that the former Yugoslav President had already been praised by President Clinton for his role in brokering a peace deal in Bosnia in 1995, which was signed in Dayton, Ohio.

The truth is that Milosevic was no hardcore Serb nationalist but a lifelong socialist, whose commitment was always to a multi-racial, multi-ethnic Yugoslavia.

His aim throughout his time in power was not to build a ’Greater Serbia‘, but to try and keep Federal Yugoslavia together, as the ICTY now belatedly acknowledges.

Not only was Milosevic not responsible for ethnic cleansing which took place in Bosnia, he actually spoke out against it. The ICTY noted Milosevic’s “repeated criticism and disapproval of the policies made by the Accused (Karadzic) and the Bosnian Serb leadership.” Milosevic, a man for whom all forms of racism were anathema, insisted that all ethnicities must be protected.
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You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to see a pattern here.

Before a US-led war or ‘humanitarian intervention’ against a targeted state, a number of lurid claims are made about the country‘s leader and its government. These claims receive maximum media coverage and are repeated ad nauseam on the basis that people will bound to think they’re true.

Later it transpires that the claims were either entirely false (like the Iraq WMD ones), unproven, or greatly exaggerated. But the news cycle has moved on focusing not on the exposure of the fraudulent claims made earlier but on the next aggressive/genocidal ‘New Hitler’ who needs to be dealt with.  In 1999 it was Milosevic; now it’s Assad and Putin.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/milosevic-exonerated-as-the-nato-war-machine-moves-on/5539411

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, August 7th, 2016.]

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