FROM PHOENIX, ARIZONA BALKANS AFFAIRS
1. Yugoslavia: R.I.P. and Good Riddance!
Belgrade 2. General Perisic: An American Spy?
Belgrade 2a. American Spy Scandal Heats UpMar. 20, 2002
2b. The “Balkan Spy” EpilogueMar.
3. Retaliation! Washington Responds to "Balkan Spy"
Embarrassment with Financial BlackmailMar. 20, 2002
Nis 4. Prisoners for DollarsMar. 26, 2002
Serb Quislings Snubbed by WashingtonApr.
Prison of Nations and Graveyard of Empires Dies a Quiet Death
Yugoslavia: R.I.P. and Good Riddance!
and Montenegro:" Fresh Start or Continued Dismemberment of Serbia?
PHOENIX, Mar. 19 - An 82-year old lady died in Belgrade in her sleep on Thursday, Mar. 14. Yugoslavia was born in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, near Paris, on June 28, 1919, St. Vitus Day - the 530th anniversary of the famed Battle of Kosovo. No funeral services are planned for this 20th century prison of nations and graveyard of empires.
Many people, especially the “Yugo-nostalgics” who grew up in her lap, will probably miss the old lady. Not this writer who was also born as one of her sons, only to give her up when she was being run by communists (see "Communist Media - Then and Now," June 1999 and the bio). So “Yugoslavia: R.I.P. and good riddance!” - sums up the TiM editor’s sentiments about her.
Why? Because Yugoslavia was a whore; a mistress of both kings and communists and loyal to neither. And because this unfortunate 20th century brainchild was also the bane of her most populous founding nation, the ethnic group that paid the highest price in achieving the Great War victory.
Here’s what the U.S. Secretary of State (1915-1920),
Robert Lansing, said about that:
the history of this war is written, its most glorious chapter will be
called - Serbia. The Serbian army has displayed incredible heroism; the
Serbian nation has suffered untold hardships... Such sacrifices and
determination must be rewarded."
Love to War in 50 Years,”
Special TiM Bulletin, Apr.8, 1999)
By the time WW I ended, over one million Serbs had perished, a quarter of the country's prewar population, we also noted in the above wartime report. Some 55% of the nation's male population died. That's as if about 77 million American males were to lose their lives defending our country. No wonder Secretary Lansing paid Serbia such a tribute.
Nor was he alone. Even the Serb enemies paid them a
grudging tribute. Having been
informed that Bulgaria had capitulated and signed an armistice agreement
in September 1918, German Kaiser Wilhelm II, sent a telegram full of
bitterness to his ally in World War I, the Austro-Hungarian Emperor, Karl:
have decided the outcome of this war. Shame on us!"
Actually, Serbia was liberated by an army of about 80,000 - all that was left from some 450,000 soldiers she had at the start of WW I. But that was evidently enough to achieve the final victory and liberty. Here’s an excerpt from the TiM Bulletin 93-11, Nov. 1993:
being practically decimated by the advancing German and Austrian forces in
the early years of the war, the Serbs retreated via Albania to recuperate
and regroup on the island of Corfu, Greece.
When they returned to the battlefield on the Thessalonika front, on
September 15, 1918, they launched a counterattack against the Central
Powers' forces with such a ferocity that neither their own rear guard, nor
the French or the British units in reserve, could keep up. In just 46 days, relentlessly pursuing the retreating enemy
over the rugged mountainous terrain, they were in Belgrade, some 400 miles
to the north. The day was
November 1, 1918. Two days
later, the Austro-Hungarian Empire capitulated.
On November 11, Germany surrendered.
World War I was over.”
The grateful Serb WW I allies rewarded the Kingdom of Serbia at Versailles by giving her the lead role, including the throne, of the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The day of birth was probably Yugoslavia’s crowning moment. From there on, Yugoslavia traveled a rocky road and often bloody road.
King Alexander I, a Serb, was assassinated in 1934 by Croat secessionists during a state visit in Marseilles, France. His was only one of many prominent Serb lives violently snuffed out.
During WW II, some 750,000 Serbs perished at the hands of the pro-Nazi Croats who Hitler had rewarded with their own puppet state (the actual number of Serb victims is subject of dispute among historians, but their victimhood is not).
And then, just as WW II ended in Europe with allied victory, another pogrom of the Serbs was only beginning. This time, it was carried out by bloodthirsty communists to whom Winston Churchill had turned over his allies, the Yugoslavia loyalists, who surrendered to the British in Austria (see “Kocevje: Tito’s Bloodiest Crime,” Feb. 1991).
How many POWs were turned back by the British? Karapandzic (the
book’s author - TiM Ed.) writes that there
were 12,000 Slovenian "home guards," 3,000 Serbian volunteer
troops, 1,000 Montenegrin "chetniks," and 2,500 Croatian
Why did the British do that? Karapandzic says that there were
about 600,000 soldiers and other refugees of various nationalities who
converged on Austria. They were a great burden on the British army in
terms of food and accommodation. "It seems that the British weren't
able to look after them all, and were happy to get rid of some of
them," Karapandzic told NIN.
Karapandzic claims that Tito personally gave a verbal order
to execute the POWs: "Liquidate all members of the Yugoslav army
which the British return!"
Josip Broz Tito, a communist leader, continued his murderous work all through the rest of 1945 and into 1946. Tens of thousands of middle-class citizens were rounded up and summarily executed just because they were “bourgeois” - the communists’ class enemies. Executions became a banality that no longer frightened people. Tired of killing and ever a pragmatic, Tito ordered a halt to them.
This writer knows from
firsthand accounts of one repentant communist henchman that some
15,000 people were killed in cold blood in Belgrade and Zemun (a suburb)
alone in 1944-1945. Should the current “Yugoslav” authorities ever decide to
exorcise these demons from the past, and erect a proper memorial for the
innocent victims of Yugoslav communism, this writer will be happy to lead
them to some unmarked mass gravesites.
No wonder that the late
Serb Patriarch German, who himself lost his firstborn son to a brutal
communist execution, said that the Serbs are “always
winning in war time, and losing in peace time.” He also noted that Yugoslavia was “a prison of nations”
and “too big a meadow for the Serbs” (see "A
Prison of Nations: Yugoslavia Is Too Big a Meadow for the Serbs"
- a 1985 Interview with
the Late Serb Patriarch German):
“Yugoslavia is too big a meadow for the Serbs. Since we don't have the time to work all of it, some of it is covered
with weeds. Every day our neighbors who walk by these weedy fields, they
scheme of grabbing them and taking them over from us; and of working them
themselves. A farmer must know what his strength is, so as to match the
size of the meadow to it. It is equally bad having too much land as not
It is the same with nations and states. A small nation is
happy in a small state; it is unhappy in a big one. In a big one, a small
nation feels diluted, worried about preserving its national being. But, it
is the same type of a sin grabbing and destroying other peoples' national
beings. Perhaps I am sinning myself talking like this, but I would say
that the Serbs today have not chosen the meadow which matches their
On Patriarch German’s
personal tragedy, we wrote back in 1991:
“Patriarch German’s firstborn son, Mihailo (Michael), was
a member of the Serbian Voluntary Corps, the second battalion, which was
officially dissolved at the end of WW II on May 9, 1945. At Kocevje,
however, along with the hundreds of the Serbian youth (who were betrayed
by the British -- see APPENDIX B), he was taken out of the lines destined
for execution. But, all of that was only a temporary reprieve. He
disappeared only days after that in Zagreb, Croatia. Hranislav Djoric (the Patriarch’s civilian name - TiM Ed.),
who had for years been expecting his son to return home, was to find out
later on, that his son Michael, along with a group of some other youth,
was shot to death by the Communists in Zagreb, Croatia, on June 16, 1945.
He was not even 20 years old...
Much later, after he had apparently accepted the loss of his
firstborn son, Patriarch German held a liturgy in the honor of the
Nazi/"ustashe" WW II victims (at Jasenovac, where the Croatians'
murdered hundreds of thousands of Serbs), during which he spoke the now
"The Serbian children were doomed then... I do not know
if I can forgive them (the mass murderers), but I will not forget;
His speech was subsequently attacked by the Vatican as well
as by the many other anti-Serbian spokespersons in Yugoslavia.”
Unperturbed by the
criticism, the then 83-year old Patriarch philosophized about the future of his
nation in his 1985 interview:
“In the end, everything, I believe, will find its proper
place. It won't happen by itself, but I think that the Serbs will quite
quickly find the strength and the wisdom to choose their real meadow, one
whose size God had intended for them. And so, every wandering, including
our own, will come to an end.
The Serbian question (within Yugoslavia) can only be solved
in a Serbian sovereign state. We must build a state which is oriented
toward the world, and not one which is constantly consumed with internal
For that reason alone, a temporary reprieve to intra-Serb bickering
will be welcome.
Montenegro” to Replace “Yugoslavia”
The death of Yugoslavia
and the emergence of Serbia and Montenegro, the new name which replaces
the Milosevic-created “rump Yugoslavia,” promises at least three years
of relative stability, as Montenegro
shelved its independence plans on to form a new union with Serbia.
heavy EU (European Union) pressure, Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic
agreed to a three-year moratorium on a breakaway referendum for his small
coastal republic (see the charts). Both
sides were motivated by ambitions shared across the Balkans to forge
closer ties with the affluent European Union, which said they had taken a
step in the right direction.
is good news for Europe and for the future of the Western Balkans on their
road to the EU,” EU Commission Foreign Relations Spokesman Gunnar
Wiegand said in Brussels, according to a Mar.
14 Reuters report.
whose painful breakup spawned four of Europe's bloodiest conflicts since
WW II, would finally cease to exist but without disintegrating into more
a part of Serbia now occupied by NATO and administered by the United
Nations, remains part of the Serbia and Montenegro.
But even the latest compromise deal raised hopes of independence
for Kosovo among some Albanian politicians.
agreement will accelerate the process of independence for Kosovo, because
from today Yugoslavia no longer exists,” Ruxhdi Sefa, a senior official
from the province's third largest party the Alliance for the Future of
Kosovo, told Reuters on Mar. 14.
and Montenegro, the only two of Yugoslavia's six republics not to break
away since the old federation started to unravel along ethnic lines in
1991, will now draft a new constitution, along with federal leaders. Parliaments will need to agree to the document which will
replace the current Federal institutions with a new “Union”
parliament, president, cabinet and army.
President Vojislav Kostunica and Djukanovic were feted at a summit of EU
leaders in Barcelona on Friday (Mar. 15), a further step in calming the
Balkans. Kostunica's job will
be replaced by a less powerful position in the new union, which analysts
said may hasten a showdown with his ruling coalition rival, Serbian
Premier Zoran Djindjic.
when Kostunica returned to Belgrade, he landed smack in the middle of
another spy crisis. For more
on that, stand by for our next report, “General Perisic: An American
Red-handed in Espionage Case, Perisic Confesses But Pleads Innocent,
Citing Primacy of International over National Law
General Perisic: An American Spy?
Apologizes to Washington! For What?
For Doing Too Good Job of Counterespionage?
BELGRADE, Mar. 19 - Imagine a former top American military official, now a high-ranking government minister, being arrested with two of his former military aides while meeting a foreign power’s spook at a restaurant. The charge? Espionage. Some secret U.S. military materials, found in the foreign spy’s briefcase, serve as evidence.
All hell would break loose in Washington, right? The State Department and the White House would send messages of outrage to that foreign power, demanding explanations and apologies. In fact, in the “good old days” of the Cold War, such domestic traitors could be summarily court-marshaled and probably executed, maybe along with the foreign spy.
After all, that’s exactly what happened to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, for example. The couple were tried, convicted and sentenced to death by Judge Irving Kaufman. They were executed on June 19, 1953 for wartime espionage (see “Cold War Spies and Espionage”). And Rosenbergs were “mere” civilians who betrayed their country!
Well, that was in the “good old days.” What happened on Thursday night (Mar. 14) in Belgrade, Serbia, was just the reverse. A foreign power (America), which engaged in a failed spying endeavor, and which got caught red-handed in its espionage activities, professed outrage and demanded apology. And amazingly - got it, from the vassal Serb authorities who rushed to defend the accused traitors.
Furthermore, the three domestic defendants were released by Serb authorities on Saturday (Mar. 16), solely on the basis of the “enormous pressure by the international community, specifically the U.S. government,” according to a Mar. 18 report by the Serbian language daily “Glas Javnosti.”
So much for respect of the law and for sovereignty of Serbia and Montenegro and its judicial system. O tempora, o mores…
Here’s what happened…
Agents of the Serb military security service, known as KOS, entered on Thursday night the restaurant “Saric,” south of Belgrade, and arrested General Momcilo Perisic, former chief of the general staff of the Yugoslav army, along with Colonel Miodrag Sekulic and Vladimir Vlajkovic. Perisic is currently serving as Serbia’s deputy prime minister.
An American diplomat, (General) John David Neighbor, the U.S. Embassy’s first secretary, with whom the three Serbs were meeting, was also detained for questioning. Neighbor reportedly heads up the CIA’s Balkans desk, according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur (Mar. 18) and Agence France Press (Mar. 19) reports,
military sources told the Associated Press that Perisic was apprehended
while allegedly handing over secret army documents that “could link (the
former Serb president) Milosevic with war crimes.” Milosevic
is currently on trial by the U.N. war crimes tribunal at the Hague for his
alleged role in atrocities committed by troops loyal to him in Kosovo,
Bosnia and Croatia.
secret documents, which reportedly included tape recordings of some top
Serb military leaders’ meetings, were reportedly found in the
American’s briefcase. Neighbor
later claimed they were planted there by the Serb army.
But Belgrade’s “Vecernje Novosti” (“Evening News”) said that Perisic admitted to the military investigative judge that he had turned over confidential documents to the American diplomat (see www.beograd.com, Mar. 18, 17:05-news in Serbian). Perisic defended his action by saying he was innocent of the charge of espionage, since he was obligated to do so by international law (the Hague Tribunal), which (in his opinion) ranks higher than the domestic law.
Col. Sekulic, who allegedly secured the secret documents for his former army boss, is in charge of Yugoslav Army’s electronic surveillance, Belgrade sources said.
Belgrade’s Apology to Washington: For What?
For Doing Too Good Job of Counterespionage?
"From the outset of his interrogation, John David Neighbor presented himself as the head of the CIA in the Balkans," Belgrade’s “Vecernje Novosti” reported on Mar 18, quoting Serb military sources (see AFP, Mar. 19). He was released by the army after 15 hours of interrogation, during which Neighbor claimed he was roughed up (a hood was allegedly placed over his head after he was apprehended).
"I expressed my personal apology and that of the Yugoslav
government (to U.S. ambassador William Montgomery) over the procedure
against the American diplomat," foreign minister, Goran Svilanovic,
told Belgrade’s Radio B-92.
After a crisis meeting with the Serb prime minister, Zoran
Djindjic, upon his return from Barcelona late on Friday, Yugoslav
president, Vojislav Kostunica, did not condemn the arrests, saying only
that the charges leveled against Perisic were serious. "According
to everything I have learned so far, and I repeat so far, the legality of
the procedure itself, from the standpoint of domestic procedure, is not
disputable," he said.
But Djindjic, a leading American stooge in Belgrade, described the
arrest as "a first-rate scandal with international
State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher, said on Mar. 18 that Washington considered the case closed as a "bilateral issue," but denied reports that the detained diplomat had been involved in any kind of espionage.
"We have received a formal apology from (Svilanovic)," Boucher told reporters. "We've accepted that apology.... we view it as a public acknowledgment of the military's inappropriate and excessive actions and we now consider this closed as a bilateral issue".
Wait a minute... What’s the rush to have the case “closed” without completing the due process of law?
Clash of Generals?
Perisic served as Yugoslavia's chief of the general staff during the wars
in Croatia and Bosnia (1993-1998), but was fired by Milosevic in November
1998, on the eve of NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia, allegedly for
criticizing the Kosovo campaign against ethnic Albanian militants ordered
by Milosevic (see “You
Are Wrong about Gen. Perisic,” this writer’s letter to the New
York Times, Nov. 30, 1998, and (see "Senators
Urge Ouster of Milosevic", TiM GW Bulletin 98/12-8, 12/26/98).
NATO attack was intended, among other things, to punish Milosevic for his
crackdown against Kosovo's ethnic Albanians. During
the period before the strikes, Perisic had met top NATO commanders,
including U.S. Gen. Wesley Clark, NATO’s Supreme Commander during the
his ouster, Perisic formed the opposition Movement for Democratic Serbia,
which played a role in Milosevic's ouster in October 2000. After Milosevic
was forced to resign and cede power to the Washington-financed and led “Ostrich
Revolution,” Perisic became Serbia's deputy prime minister,
responsible for security and defense issues.
commanded the old Yugoslav Army (JNA) troops during the opening stages of
wars in Croatia and Bosnia. He was sentenced in a Croat court in absentia
to 20 years in prison for ordering the shelling of Adriatic towns of
Sibenik and Zadar (for a firsthand account of what really happened in
Zadar, see “Don’t
Mess with Serb Generals,” TiM Bulletin 93-11, Nov. 1993).
One Belgrade source said a local TV report Perisic had been “a CIA man” since 1999, possibly in the hopes of avoiding an indictment by the Hague war crimes tribunal. Others, such as unnamed Serb military sources cited in a Mar. 18 “Glas Javnosti” story, say that “some information had been flowing from Perisic to American intelligence services” even at the time when the general was in charge of the Yugoslav Army.
General Nebojsa Pavkovic, the Serb army’s current chief
of the general staff, who had held the same position in Milosevic’s
regime (see “Serb
General Warns the West Plans to Provoke Violence,” Sep. 22, 2000
), has already been indicted by the Hague tribunal for his role in Kosovo as commander of the Third Army (see TiM Editor's "Tour de Serbia" - Stage 2 (Nis), Sep. 1999). Pavkovic and Perisic have frequently clashed in public, through the media (see S99-142, KFOR "Peacefarce" 36 - Special TiM GW Bulletins, Aug. 29, 1999), which led some sources to speculate that Pavkovic had ordered the arrests.
Officially, Pavkovic was not involved in the arrest, according to sources close to Yugoslav president Kostunica. The order to apprehend the suspects came from General Aco Tomic, who is in charge of the army’s security service. But since the arrests were made by members of the special anti-terrorist unit “Kobra,” which reports directly to Gen. Pavkovic, “it is logical that the chief of the general staff knew about the whole operation,” concluded Belgrade’s “Glas Javnosti” on Mar. 18.
Whoever led this counter-espionage operation, evidently did a good job of it. For, at a marathon weekend meeting at the offices of president Kostunica, attended by the DOS (Serb ruling coalition) and the Serb military leaders, the army had reportedly presented an unequivocal proof of guilt of the accused.
“After that, some DOS leaders left the meeting looking
rather nervous,” the “Glas” said.
And for a good reason. For,
their cozy and subservient if not treasonous arrangement with Washington
had been evidently exposed.
At the end of the long meeting, it was decided that a new Council for National Security be formed, which will oversea the work of both civilian and military intelligence agencies.
Good idea. If Washington and its Belgrade government stooges agree. Which they probably won’t. Already, Secretary of State Colin Powell and his EU cronies are back to their old financial blackmail tactics (see Item 3 of this Bulletin).
2a. American Spy Scandal Heating Up in BelgradeMar. 20, 2002
Videotaped Handing Secret Disks to CIA Man
BELGRADE, Mar. 20 - The American spy scandal in Belgrade is heating up just as Washington is trying to cool it down. And the scenario is starting to look as if it were taken straight out of a Cold War spy film.
“Blic,” a Belgrade newspaper, published Wednesday (Mar. 20) a front page story that provides additional details about the superb job the Yugoslav Army ‘s military intelligence unit had done. The Serb counter-espionage service obtained unequivocal proof before arresting General Momcilo Perisic and his two former aides on espionage charges. Perisic was caught red-handed in the act of espionage, according to the “Blic.” The videotaped footage shows the former Serb army chief taking the disks from under his track suit, and handing them over to John David Neighbor, ostensibly the first secretary of the U.S. embassy, but allegedly chief of the CIA Balkans desk.
Yes, that’s the very same Neighbor who then did an unneighborly thing. He lied and denied everything. As you saw in our initial report, Neighbor reportedly claimed that the evidence found in his briefcase had been planted by the Serb army. But that was before the army produced the videotape that showed this Neighbor and the State Department as afflicted by a hoof-in-mouth disease.
The large egg planted on Washington’s face by the Belgrade spy scandal even earned the Serb army security service a reluctant compliment by the American ambassador in Belgrade. William Montgomery, initially also expressed an outrage over the incident. But a much humbler Montgomery reportedly just said “Congratulations!” - upon viewing the evidence against Neighbor gathered by the Serb army’s counterespionage unit, according to the “Blic.”
No wonder the State Department was in such a rush to call the matter closed (see Item 2 above).
The professionalism of the Serb military intelligence unit made its former boss (Perisic) and the local CIA chief look like amateurish fools. But the Serb quisling politicians, such as Zoran Djindjic and Goran Svilanovic, for example, made even greater fools of themselves. Not only were the Serb prime minister and Yugoslav foreign minister clueless about what was going on in their backyard; they rushed to condemn the real heroes of the operation - the Serb military intelligence service. Acting like two good Washington lapdogs, they wagged their tails and barked on cue, hoping the master would give them a pat on the head.
Instead, they may get a boot in the butt. For, the omnipotent “master of the world” (America) does not like being made to look foolish by its vassals.
The “Blic” also reported today (Mar. 20) that Perisic has resigned as deputy prime minister of Serbia. "Nedeljni Telegraf," a Belgrade weekly, said in its latest edition that the surveillance videotape also shows him as accepting $1,000 as payment for services rendered to his American handlers.
The Telegraf story provides many "gory details" about the late night meeting of Serb political and military leaders at the Federation Palace (Kostunica's office), at which the damning Perisic tape was screened. The article suggests that Kostunica and Gen. Aco Tomic, the head of the Serb military intelligence service, were behind the brilliant counter-espionage play that embarrassed Washington and all its Belgrade vassals.
Even Gen. Pavkovic, for whose resignation or firing Djindjic has been lobbying for 18 months now, is shown to be in the quisling camp, or was at least unaware of the trap being set for Perisic and the CIA. So "Djindjic and friends" have now changed the tune, calling for the resignation or firing of Gen. Tomic. And speaking in Brussels, the Yugoslav foreign minister Svilanovic said that Serbia's integration into EU is now conditioned by the removal of Pavkovic and Tomic from their positions.
So far, however, Kostunica isn't budging. Which is fueling speculation that the Yugoslav a.k.a. Serbia and Montenegro president may finally fire Pavkovic himself, and replace him with Tomic (to read the Telegraf story in Serbian, click here).
Meanwhile, The Scotsman, a Glasgow newspaper, reports today (Mar. 20) that "Mr Neighbor has been spirited back to Washington." A friendlier neighborhood, we suppose?
The Scotsman story (mis)titled "Serbian PM resigns over spy claims," also notes that Perisic "reportedly gave the documents to Mr Neighbor for cash" (to read the article, click here).
Here is an excerpt from the “Blic” story:
OF TAPE HANDOVER WAS RECORDED BY THE YU ARMY
by Bojan Vojvodic
Mar. 20 – The Yugoslav Army (VJ) military intelligence service’s
arrest of Momcilo Perisic, and the discovery of illegal activities of John
David Neighbor, the first secretary of the US Embassy in Belgrade, was
also praised by the American ambassador in Belgrade William Montgomery –
says “Blic” source close to the military judiciary.
Montgomery was presented the evidence about the role of his diplomat in
this incident, the American ambassador allegedly spontaneously said:
“That is what I was afraid of.” Our source claims that, after he had
learned the facts about Neighbor’s activities in Yugoslavia over an
extended period of time, Montgomery just said: “Congratulations!”
to the “Blic sources, Neighbor did not have his diplomatic passport at
the moment when the members of the special “Cobra” Army unit arrested
him with Momcilo Perisic in the “Saric” motel on March 14. The
same source claims that the briefcase in which the first embassy secretary
put the floppy disks he had received from Perisic did not have a
diplomatic label. The source adds that the opening of Neighbor's case and
the inspection of its content was recorded on a videotape.
source says that the Serb military intelligence service also recorded the
moment when Perisic produced the disks under his track suit and handed
them over to Neighbor.
For the full original Serb language version of the above story, click on http://blic.gates96.com/danas/broj/strane/politika.htm#3 .
3. Washington Responds to "Balkan Spy" Embarrassment with Financial BlackmailMar. 20, 2002
Powell Again Links Financial Aid with Hague Collaboration
WASHINGTON, Mar. 18 - Washington’s response to the embarrassing “Balkan Spy” affair was swift and predictable. Blackmail, threats, sanctions… and then more sanctions.
What else is new? That’s the way Washington has treated Serbia for the last 10 years. It evidently makes no difference whether Slobodan Milosevic or now its own vassals run the country.
Only now Washington’s retaliation for the tiny Serb military intelligence service’s exposing a large egg on the faces of the mighty State Department and the CIA is indirect. It is linked to Serbia’s “cooperation” UN war crimes tribunal.
“Yugoslavia could lose $40m in vital financial aid if it does not start to co-operate with the international war crimes tribunal, US Secretary of State Colin Powell has warned,” according to a BBC Word News Mar. 18 report. Powell spoke after meeting with the world’s kangaroo-in-chief, Carla Del Ponte, the chief prosecutor at the Hague.
A deadline looms at
the end of this month for the United States Congress to on whether
Yugoslavia has met the conditions for a new tranche of cash.
they are not deserving they won't get it. If they are, they will, and they
know what they have to do and we'll keep the pressure on," Powell
speculated that the March 31 deadline could provoke the last minute arrests
of wanted war crimes suspects similar to that of Slobodan Milosevic this
time last year, the BBC speculated. The
dramatic arrest of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in April of
last year was linked to similar international aid, which was subsequently
told [Ms Del Ponte] we would redouble our efforts to get the kind of
co-operation we need," said Mr Powell.
Del Ponte is a long standing critic of what she considers to be Belgrade's
obstruction of the tribunal's work. Co-operation with the tribunal is a
divisive issue in Yugoslavia. It is opposed by President Vojislav Kostunica
but supported by Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.
For the full BBC report, click here.
TiM Ed.: It is a sad day for Serbia when its former military leader is willing to betray his country for $1,000, and the current prime minister is ready to sell it out for a mere $40 million.
Of course, no surprise there. Both Perisic and Djindjic were among the leaders of the "Ostrich Revolution" that millions of Serbs cheered while TiM jeered (see "Fifth Column," Not Street "Revolutionaries" Toppled Milosevic, Oct 25, 2000), “Serb "Ostrich Revolution" Was Anything But Spontaneous,” Oct. 11, 2000, “How Washington Bought the Yugoslav Presidency”, Dec. 12, 2000).
Now the voters are having to harvest what they sowed - both in Serbia and in America.
Prisoners for DollarsMar.
Vassals in Serbia Prostrate Themselves Anew, Release Albanian Prisoners to
Get U.S. Aid; Albanians Refuse to Reciprocate
NIS, Mar. 26 - Serbian
authorities have begun transferring the last of the ethnic-Albanian
prisoners jailed during the Kosovo crisis back to the province, the BBC
World News reported today. More
than 100 Kosovo Albanians had been imprisoned for various terrorist offences
committed prior to the NATO occupation of that Serbian province.
The Albanian prisoners' cases will now be reviewed in Kosovo, where
some may be required to serve out their sentences.
Prime minister of Kosovo, Bajram Redzepi, said that the Albanian prisoners who arrive to Kosovo will first be placed in the "Dubrava" prison near Istok, until it is established who is guilty and who's not. Those who are proven not guilty will be released, said Redzepi. He did not elaborate about how this extra-judicial process will be carried out.
The prisoners-for-dollars trade was one of the insulting conditions outlined by the U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, in order for Serbia to receive the next tranche of U.S. financing, due March 31 (the other being its cooperation with the UN kangaroo court at the Hague - see Item 3 of this Bulletin - “Washington Responds to "Balkan Spy" Embarrassment with Financial Blackmail,” Mar. 18).
Can the Washington vassals in Serbia prostrate themselves any more? Yes, they can, it would appear. Get this…
The prisoner exchange agreement reached between Serbia and
the NATO/UN authorities in Kosovo also covered the transfer to Serbia of the
Serb prisoners held in Kosovo. But
President of Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova, said today that, while he is grateful
for Belgrade’s transfer of Albanian prisoners from the prisons in central
Serbia, there will be no exchange; none of the Serbs in (its Kosovo)
province's prisons would be released, the Serb national TV
network RTS reported today (Mar. 26) (translation by Bojan Vojvodic).
No comment is necessary.
Serb Quislings Snubbed by WashingtonApr.
Postpones Decision on Yugoslav Aid, U.S. Money Stays Frozen
BELGRADE, Apr. 3 - What
did the Belgrade quislings get for prostrating themselves so low before
their Washington masters that to be any lower, they’d have to dig in? A kick in the teeth! Which
is what they deserved, of course.
But wait… No,
Zoran Djindjic (Serbia’s prime minister) et. al. did not get their
well-earned rebuke from the Serb people.
No, Sir. It was their
Washington bosses who kicked them away like annoying lapdogs.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell indefinitely postponed
a decision to certify Yugoslavia's cooperation with a U.N. war crimes
tribunal, a move that will keep $40 million in much-needed assistance to
Powell “has decided to defer a decision on whether the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has met the criteria,” deputy State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said.
As you saw in Item 3 of this TiM Bulletin (Washington
Responds to "Balkan Spy" Embarrassment with Financial Blackmail,
Mar. 20), besides the $40 million, Washington's support for multilateral
loans to Belgrade from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank
were also at stake.
“Although Yugoslavia has made significant progress with
respect to the certification criteria, the secretary has determined that it
would be premature to certify at this point,” the State Department said in
Powell's move came despite an announcement from the Yugoslav
government earlier Monday (Apr. 1) that it would “cooperate fully” with
the UN court and hand over indicted suspects wanted by the tribunal.
“The federal government decided unanimously during an extraordinary meeting to cooperate fully with the tribunal and to demand all state organs to also cooperate fully,” Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic told reporters. “This means allowing access to archives in a way that does not harm national dignity and the arrest and transfer to The Hague of those charged with war crimes.”
Opening national military archives to foreign powers “does
not harm national dignity?” Hm…
Wonder what kind of a “nation” Svilanovic is talking about?
To us, it seems more like a nation of slaves, not of once proud Serbs
(see Item 1 of this Bulletin, Yugoslavia: R.I.P. and Good Riddance!, Mar.
Powell had praised some steps Belgrade has taken in meeting the U.S. requirements - such as releasing 145 Kosovo Albanian prisoners that had been held in Serbian jails (see Item 4 of this TiM Bulletin - Prisoners for Dollars, Mar. 26). Yet the Serb vassals have received neither the dollars, nor the Serb prisoners from Kosovo, in return for their subservience.
Powell also came down hard on Belgrade's reluctance to hand
over war crimes indictees to the Hague tribunal.
Although four more war crimes suspects have been transferred there
since former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic was kidnapped and shipped
to the Hague on June 28, 2001, there has been no attempt to arrest
high-profile indictees believed to be in Serbia..
These include senior allies of Milosevic such as Serbian
President Milan Milutinovic and Yugoslav army chief Dragoljub Ojdanic, and
former Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic, whom the Hague court has
insisted that he has been in hiding in Serbia.
Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica reacted Monday (Apr. 1) to the Powell decision by urgently calling for the adoption of a Yugoslav law that stipulates cooperation with the tribunal, the AFP said. Kostunica’s hurry to pass apparently an unconstitutional law is rather curious given the oft-stated legalistic approach that this lawyer has adopted in the past, according to the western media anyway.
“As far as I am aware, there is no similar example in the
history of constitutional law when a government made such a mockery of
constitutionality and law,” writes Milan Tepavac, a Belgrade
constitutional lawyer, whose comments longtime TiM readers may recall from
our past reports (see Kostunica
Likens Himself to Lenin! Other Balkans Stories, Nov 7, 2000), and How
Washington Bought Yugoslav Presidency (Dec 12, 2000).
So add another former Serb nationalist (Kostunica) to the list of Washington doormats in Belgrade.
reason Washington’s Belgrade stooges have not arrested some Hague
indictees is that they would get their teeth kicked in if they tried.
Former top associates of Slobodan Milosevic vowed today (Apr. 3) to
resist arrest and extradition to the U.N. war crimes tribunal - defying the
Serb leadership and its attempts to avoid U.S. sanctions, the Associated
Press reported from Belgrade.
Serbia has said it
would arrest and extradite (Ret.) Gen. Dragoljub Ojdanic, who commanded the
army under the former Yugoslav president during 1999 NATO bombing; Milan
Milutinovic, the current Serb president; Nikola Sainovic, Milosevic's top
security adviser; and Vlajko Stojiljkovic, a former Serbian interior
The most direct
challenge to the arrest warrants, issued by the Serb government earlier this
week, came from Gen. Ojdanic. He
said in a statement relayed to the Associated Press by his family that he is
"not afraid of an arrest" and would resist any detention attempt.
resist” - being the key phrase here.
Ojdanic has left the
Yugoslav capital for an undisclosed location. Sainovic and Stojiljkovic are
also somewhere in Serbia, and do not intend to surrender voluntarily, Dusan
Bajatovic, spokesman for Milosevic's Socialist party, told the AP (click
here at our web site to read the full story).
immunity from prosecution in his post, which is largely ceremonial.
Ojdanic said he
would surrender only if the Yugoslav Parliament passes a law on cooperation
with war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Serb
leaders have said that because of the U.S. step (to continue the aid freeze)
there is no time to pass an extradition law before the arrests are made.
The Serb prime
minister Djindjic warned Wednesday of the “catastrophic economic
consequences” of the U.S. aid freeze.
That a mere $40
million can be “catastrophic” for an entire country’s economy is, of
course, a ludicrous assertion. But
it could be catastrophic for the Belgrade quislings’ personal bank
“The $40 million
is a drop in the bucket,” a Belgrade businessman told TiM.
“Besides, the Serb people at large would have never seen that
money. It would have all gone
to Djindjic and his cronies.”
If true, Washington has for once made the right move, albeit for the wrong reasons. Djindjic et. al. have already shown that they are ready to sell themselves and their country for pittance. So why waste money bribing beggars?
Powell should do the right thing for the right reasons - pay to Serbia $30 billion+ as unconditional, interest free, war reparations. That would be a small compensation for the destruction of the country's CIVILIAN infrastructure that the American bombs have caused. No amount of money, of course, can compensate the families of innocent civilians killed by American bombs. But a small amount of compassion might be a good start.
See TiM Readers' Forum some reactions and comments about these and other articles.
Also see… "From Apparatchik to Bogeyman to Martyr," “Milosevic at the Hague: A Mockery of Justice” (June 2001), “Hail to the Yugo Chief, Followed by Turn-about-Face” (Jan. 16, 2001), “How Washington Bought the Yugoslav Presidency” (Dec. 12, 2000), “Kostunica Snubs Albright; Serbia Is in Love, Again...,” (Nov. 28, 2000), "Fifth Column," Not Street "Revolutionaries" Toppled Milosevic (Oct 25, 2000), “Serb "Ostrich Revolution" Was Anything But Spontaneous,” (Oct. 11, 2000), “How Milosevic Sold Out Kosovo,” Sep. 1, 1999, "Milosevic: 'A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery'..." - TiM GW Bulletin 98/6-6 (6/22/98), “Toward Another ‘Red October,’” (Sep. 8, 2000), "Biting the Hand That Feeds You" (November 1998), "A Balkan Affairs Potpourri" (October 1998), "Put the U.N. Justice on Trial" (August 1998), "International Justice 'Progresses' from Kidnapping to Murder" (July 1998), "Jimmy Carter Is a Trojan Horse" (TiM Dec/94+The News, 1/05/95), and other stories in the The Balkans Affairs section of the TiM web site.
Also, check out... Djurdjevic's WASHINGTON TIMES columns: "Christianity Under Siege," "Silence Over Persecuted Christians", "Chinese Dragon Wagging Macedonian Tail," "An Ugly Double Standard in Kosovo Conflict?", "NATO's Bullyboys", "Kosovo: Why Are We Involved?", and "Ginning Up Another Crisis"
Or Djurdjevic's NEW DAWN (Australia) magazine columns: "Macedonia: Another Farcical American Oil War," "Anti-Christian Crusades," "Blood for Oil, Drugs for Arms", "Washington's Crisis Factory," and "New Iron Curtain Over Europe"