We are continuing to publish on our site the fragments from the book AMERICA’S PLANS FOR WORLD HEGEMON , by Romanian author Calistrat M. Atudorei which was published in English version very recently by printing house ”ePublishers” in Bucharest.
Chapter 8/2. NATO Expansion
Events in Progress
Back to NATO’s military intervention, launched on March 24, 1999, the very destructive nature of it became evident through the violence of the attack deployed for 78 consecutive days. The headquarters of the national Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) was targeted as well, having as a result the killing of 16 journalists and the wounding of many other civilians. The Western press nevertheless described the act as perfectly justified. For example, reporter Steven Erlanger quoted the Pentagon spokesman for New York Times as saying that RTS was “part of Milošević’s criminal machinery” a legitimate target of bombing. The article specified that the purpose of the attack was to “silence the voice of the Yugoslav government.”30 Similarly, US special envoy to Yugoslavia, Richard Holbrooke, expressed satisfaction (after returning to America and starting bombing) that RTS could no longer emit and characterized the attack as “of enormous importance” and as “positive development.”31
In line with Itar-Tass press agency, this military campaign carried out without UN approval, involved a total of “2,300 air strikes in which 1,150 combat aircraft were operated.” “420,000 bombs, 1,300 cruise missiles, 37,000 cluster bombs (with warhead dispersion) were launched and many of these bombs contained a radioactive material, depleted uranium.” Serbia’s industrial infrastructure was destroyed; more than 1,500 settlements, 60 bridges, 30% of schools and about 100 monuments were brought to ruin. According to Serbian experts, it is estimated that “the material losses after the bombing, according to calculation methods, totaled 60–100 billion dollars.”32
But the Yugoslav catastrophe did not stop here. Itar-Tass also reports that Slobodan Cekaric, head of the Serbian Society against Cancer, associates the very high incidence of cancer in the country with NATO bombing, which launched radioactive material bombs. In 2014, specialists estimated that every year “approximately 40,000 new cases of cancer are predicted in Serbia,” a country whose population amounts to 7.2 million people. The depleted uranium of NATO bombs causes “cancer, respiratory and allergic diseases, neurological disorders, reproductive problems and inhibits the children’s growth.”33
A report published in 2007 by Dr. Milan Jovanovic of the National Institute of Public Health warns of “a hidden malignant disease epidemic” in Serbia. Thus, “men’s prostate cancer mortality increased by 60% between 1999 and 2005.” In compliance with Radomir Kovacevic, head of Radiological Protection Department of the Dragomir Karajovic Institute, people living in uranium-contaminated areas are at risk of “lymphatic cancer, leukemia, breast cancer and lung cancer.”34
How could the brutality of the NATO alliance attack on Yugoslavia be explained? To what extent can this be called “humanitarian intervention” when, instead of saving people, the operation, on the contrary, led to a real catastrophe and to long-term suffering of the population?
Before we draw any conclusions, let us notice another dissonant element. After all heavy allegations against President Milošević—to whom the main responsibility of the crisis that led to the war in Yugoslavia was assigned—behold that 17 years after the end of the war in 2016, the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague established that… Milošević was innocent! The judges unanimously decided that “Serbian president Slobodan Milošević was not responsible for the war crimes committed during the 1992–1995 Bosnian War.”35 Moreover, the Court pointed out not only that Milošević was not responsible for the so-called “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia, but he actually even took measures against such actions. The tribunal explicitly mentioned Milošević’s “repeated criticism and disapproval”36 of any ethnic discrimination policy.
The contrast between acquittal and initial charges is striking. “The Butcher of the Balkans” also considered the “New Hitler”37, was before the noisy military campaign of NATO accused in the international media with “66 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.”38 His process was called “the process of the century.”39
Doesn’t this situation resemble the classic method of compromising a key figure in order to achieve in fact other purposes than the ones propagated in obedient media?
But facts had already became history, so the acquittal’s verdict of Milošević almost did not matter. For the former president, even less, because in 2016, when the verdict was delivered, he was already dead for 10 years. Slobodan Milošević died in prison, in March 2006, in the custody of The Hague International Tribunal, where he’d been judged for four years regarding the grave accusations attributed to him. Yet, there are many indications that actually his death occurred in dubious conditions. The Strategic Culture website, for example, brings pertinent arguments that “he was poisoned.”40
It is also worth observing the determination with which the United States acted in the last elections wherein Slobodan Milošević applied for the position of Serbian President in 2000 (so after the war). The US administration made it all possible for Milošević not to be re-elected, and it is now well known that US intelligence massively influenced the electoral process. An article by New York Times showed in February 2018 that America wanted in that period “the defeat of Serbian nationalist leader Slobodan Milošević” and for that they provided “political advice and millions of stickers with the opposition’s clenched-fist symbol” as well as flyers with the image of Milošević and the inscription “He’s finished” in Serbian, printed on 80 tons of adhesive paper and delivered by a contractor in Washington. A close collaborator of American secret services, Vince Houghton, who served in the US contingent operating in the Balkans at that time, declared he “saw American efforts everywhere.” Houghton, who is currently historian at the United States International Spy Museum, told New York Times about his experience in Yugoslavia that “We made it very clear that we have no intention of letting Milošević remain in power.”41 It should also be noted that as a result of US pressure through NATO and the UN, in 1999 Kosovo was administratively separated from Serbia, becoming an “independent state.”
For a clearer understanding of Slobodan Milošević’s position I will further present some of his points of view expressed during an interview on April 19, 1999, after the NATO offensive already began. The interview was given in Belgrade to journalist Ron Hatchett from Washington Journal. Considering the special importance of the accounts and the context in which they were made, I will describe in more specific details the elements outlined by the Yugoslav president.
When the US journalist transmitted Milošević that the US president is considering him guilty of the tensions in Yugoslavia over the past 10 years and attributed him such features as the “Butcher of the Balkans,” “The New Hitler,” or “a crazy man,” Milošević replied that the US government is actually conducting two wars against Yugoslavia and its people. One is military, and the other is a media war, based on propaganda. The media war began well ahead of the military one and had the purpose of demonizing the leadership of Yugoslavia first of all. Propaganda aimed to gain public support from the United States for the aggression NATO was about to commit to Yugoslavia. Milošević accused the American media of lying to their own citizens and artificially creating collective views based on false information.
Related to the country’s economic situation, Slobodan Milošević, who was for many years president of the Central Bank of Yugoslavia, showed that because of sanctions imposed in the last ten years by the Western coalition his country had no access to trade with traditional partners or with new partners. Nevertheless, “In 1993, when new sanctions were imposed, which completely blocked our country, we created our own plan, and we stopped inflation and started to grow.”42 The Yugoslav leader explained that from then until 1999, each year was better than the previous one, reaching an annual economic growth of 8%.
Concerning peace efforts in the area, Milošević pointed out that so-called negotiations in France and mediated by NATO allies were only apparent. The two delegations of the conflicting communities—representatives from Serbia and of Albanian minority in Kosovo—did not even interact, more precisely “they could not even exchange one word.”43 All the talks were only with American intermediaries. The delegation from Serbia was composed of representatives of all minorities living in Kosovo, seven in number, including Albanians. The other side was the protester rebel’s delegation, which asked for territorial separation and was composed only of Albanian members of the UCK group, the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army. About UCK rebels Milošević said they were actually a bunch of “killers, rapists, kidnappers, and drug dealers picked up in the suburbs of Europe” and who were not really an army. They never fought with any military force or any force of the Serbian police, but only executed terrorist actions such as “killing the population by ambushes, placing bombs under cars or in front of shops, or taking civilians as hostages.” The Yugoslav president underlined that their stated purpose was “ethnic cleansing of Kosovo (by eliminating the Serbs), which is an objective with a Nazi character.”44 Milošević also underlined that everybody can see that ethnic tensions do not exist only in his country, but the situation is similar in over 100 other countries in the world. He noted that since the method of dividing all these countries is not plausible, the question would be, “Why did NATO choose to bomb Yugoslavia?”45
He further explained that in the peace talks, the Serbian delegation, headed by him, constantly went on a line that respects the principle of multicultural equality among all citizens living in the area (account confirmed in 2016 by the International Criminal Tribunal of The Hague). On the other hand, the UCK rebel delegation, supported by the US, asked that the group they represent take over the leadership of Kosovo after its separation from the rest of the country. The Yugoslav president saw this as abnormal because Serbs lived for many generations there, long before Albanian immigrants arrived.
The US reporter brought into Slobodan Milošević’s attention that the West considers based on TV news that because of him personally and the Serbian over 30,000 Albanians were forced to flee Kosovo area. Instead, the Yugoslav president replied that they are fleeing not because of the Serbs, but because of NATO bombings: “They all run away because of bombings: Serbs, Turks, Gypsies, Muslims, Albanians, of course… Everyone is fleeing, animals and birds too…” Milošević emphasized that before NATO’s aggression began on March 24, 1999, there were absolutely no refugees in Yugoslavia. Moreover, when a group of Albanians (so from the so-called “persecuted” group) wanted to return to their homes, it was bombed the very afternoon by NATO airplanes, and so 75 people died, many other dozens being injured. In Milošević’s opinion, this action was clearly executed on purpose and wanted to give a signal to the refugees not to return. The reason? Creating as many refugees as possible. This was the very tactic applied by NATO, in order to obtain an alibi for humanitarian intervention.
Besides, American airplanes were pouring—in addition to bombs—manifests, anti-governmental propaganda sheets written in the national language. But, Milošević said, “11 million citizens of this country know very well what the truth is and we were not afraid to unmask on our television propaganda made by NATO.”46 Not accidentally, those broadcastings were to be stopped by NATO bombing of the Serbian National Television headquarters, as I mentioned earlier.
Referring to Western media, and especially to the CNN television channel, the Yugoslav president said in the interview that many Western reporters “are paid to lie” and “the media today is a weapon even more dangerous than bombs and missiles.”
As evidence that his government was open to peace talks, Slobodan Milošević highlighted the situation before NATO’s bombing. Thus, in Yugoslavia, the “largest verification and monitoring committee in the history of the OSCE, consisting of 2,000 people,” was welcomed. “Plus staff from the UN Commission on Human Rights, plus staff from the Red Cross, plus 1,000 journalists from around the world, plus the Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM). Who can say that we are not open to the international community in Kosovo, on such a small territory?”47
Milošević said very directly that in reality the “Albanian problem” was just a pretext for Americans who “want to take our territory for themselves and for NATO.”
Asked about his position on future negotiations intermediated by the international community, the Yugoslav president responded courageously that “We are ready to accept a UN civilian mission, but of course, without representatives of the states that participated in the aggression of our country.”
Finally, the president of Yugoslavia pointed out for the American journalist a series of conclusions. I present a longer quote because I consider it very relevant:
Your country practically abolished the UN. The UN Charter prohibits aggression, prohibits military intervention without the Security Council’s authorization. In fact, your bombs destroyed the UN authority, destroyed the truth and what is sad for us is that they killed civilians, ruined factories, bridges, residential areas. (…) What you did is that you bombed and lied in a small, sovereign and independent country, 5,000 miles away from the coasts of your country. And for what? Our soldiers know why they die in battle: to defend their homeland. Why do your soldiers die? They kill children as they sleep, kill women and girls and peaceful citizens and destroy what we built in the decades after World War II, a war in which we were allies. How will the world look like after the most powerful war machine bombed a small and independent country, a UN member? Every country has the right to live in freedom, not to be occupied or terrorized by superpowers to tell them how to live, what to do, what to think and how to behave. We cannot separate peace from freedom. Throughout all our very old history we often fought with big empires, but there hasn’t been a single generation which wouldn’t fight for freedom.48
Looking at things from the perspective of international regulations, one must emphasize that this was the first time when NATO’s intervention took place without the approval of the UN Security Council. It can be said that the subsequent bombing has sealed establishing the US norm for resorting to force without UN authorization. The justification for the intervention was based more on so-called legitimacy than on true legality. This view was severely criticized in 2000 by an analysis published by Cambridge University. The analysis highlighted that “before the NATO bombing campaign, the situation was not exceptional in relation to other armed conflicts around the world” and that is why “Western diplomacy in this Balkan crisis manifests an element of selectivity in respecting public international law, which will have negative consequences on the future of international relations. The result in the region is a shift in balance of power together with general destabilization.”49
In a much harsher manner, the renowned human rights activist Nelson Mandela condemned violation of international norms by the NATO alliance in its intervention in Yugoslavia and underlined that the United Kingdom and the United States “encourage international chaos, ignore the will of other nations, and they claim to be the international cop.”50
In November 2000, one year and a half after the NATO bombing, edifying pieces of information began to appear about who funded and organized the protests that led to Slobodan Milošević’s overthrow. An investigation published by New York Times, which was quite unnoticed at the time, presented statements by some US officials explaining that several governmental and non-governmental organizations, especially in the United States, invested tens of millions of dollars to support protesters. Entitled Who Really Brought Down Milošević?, the article shows with abundance of details that the funds were directed especially towards a so-called resistance movement that acquired national spread, called OTPOR, which was set up in 1998. NYT records that Paul B. McCarthy, an official with the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy, explained that “from August 1999 the dollars started to flow to OTPOR pretty significantly.” NYT also mentioned that The United States Agency for International Development funded OTPOR with $25 million in 2000 alone, according to Donald L. Pressley, the assistant administrator. From International Republican Institute, another nongovernmental Washington group, an official named Daniel Calingaert, says for New York Times that “some of the $1.8 million the institute spent in Serbia in the last year was provided directly to OTPOR.” The American daily also releases the testimony of a member of OTPOR, Slobodan Homen, who admitted that “We had a lot of financial help from Western nongovernmental organizations. And also some Western governmental organizations.”51 An e-mail released by WikiLeaks in 2013 also reveals an exchange of information between two members of the US security agency Stratfor, in which they mention, among other things, that OTPOR “have also received CIA funding and training during the 1999/2000 anti-Milošević struggle.”52 So the story of the Serb population’s spontaneous protests against Milošević is nothing but a whopper swollen with a lot of American money pumped through secret services and other networks outside the country.
The hypocritical character of the Western powers’ intervention in Yugoslavia was admitted in 2001 even by the man who was NATO’s commander for operations in Kosovo between 1997 and 2000. It’s about General Wesley Clark, who published in 2001 a memo book titled Waging Modern War. Clark wrote that “the really decisive momentum” that triggered the NATO bombing campaign of Serbia “was not based on human rights violations committed by Milošević in Kosovo before March 1999. What mattered most was the need to impose NATO’s willingness on a leader whose defiance—primarily in Bosnia and then in Kosovo—undermined the credibility of American and European diplomacy as well as the NATO’s power.”53
An essential conclusion about NATO’s intervention in Yugoslavia was expressed by Andrew Bacevich, expert in security and foreign policy studies. He appreciated that the real intention of NATO bombing in Serbia was “to offer a lesson to any European state, (…) an example of the post-Cold War rules” that Washington set and are intended to “prevent the intolerable project of slipping outside the influence of the US.”54
In 2015, a former CIA agent, Robert Baer, also shared a series of revelations from the US system about Yugoslavia being fragmented and ruined by US political command. His message was first shared by the Serbian Web-Tribune55 publication. Baer admitted that “We were given money, a few million dollars, to fund various NGOs, opposition parties and various politicians who triggered hatred and instigated the society. We bribed parties and politicians to spread hatred among nations.”56
But perhaps the most concrete aspect that is necessary to note is that after the breakup of Yugoslavia, US impozed authoritarian control in the Balkans and installed a strong military base in the former Serbian province of Kosovo proclaimed now independent state. The US base in Kosovo, named Bondsteel, includes a NATO command57 and is the largest military base in Europe. The region was not chosen by chance: it is a key strategic position in the Balkan Peninsula, being positioned at the confluence of the Adriatic Sea and the Black Sea, at the intersection of vital trade routes between Europe and Asia, and in the proximity of major oil pipelines. In addition, the location benefits from valuable natural fortifications due to the surrounding mountain peaks. In April 2018, the territory of the base was further expanded, in conformity with the Serbian FBReporter site58.
Certainly, American leaders proposed to the Serbs to become NATO member, idea that the Serbs reject with indignation. But somehow the Western alliance no longer needs Serbia to join NATO because NATO and the US already settled in Serbia.
In October 2018, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg explained to students at the University of Belgrade why NATO bombed Serbia in 1999: “I stress that we did this to protect civilians and stop the Milošević regime.”59 How cynical and hypocritical! NATO then killed nearly 3,000 civilians and injured more than 6,000. Total material losses were estimated at 100 billion dollars. Milošević was declared innocent by the International Criminal Court in The Hague (decision reconfirmed in December 2017). And yet Stoltenberg continues to repeat the same insulting lie that “we bombed you to protect you.”
(To be continued)