Yugoslavia – Milosevic’s arrest


Step by step, the imperialists appear to be very close to realising their goal of breaking up the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and dominating, militarily and economically, its constituent parts. As Nato’s criminal war, with its 78 days of ceaseless bombardment and 36,000 sorties, had not been able to dislodge the Milosevic regime, which had become a symbol of Yugoslav national resistance to the diktat of war-mongering NATO imperialism, led by US imperialism, the most urgent task facing the latter was to somehow get rid of that regime. Without the accomplishment of this task, without the replacement of Milosevic regime by a regime of outright traitors prepared to sell their country in return for paltry sums of dollars and act as servile lackeys to the imperialist powers, NATO would have nothing to show for its genocidal war.

Ousting of the Milosevic regime

The first hurdle in the attainment of NATO’s goal was crossed when on October 5, 2000, imperialism succeeded, through a mixture of ballot-rigging and bribery, thuggery and intimidation, media blitz and vast infusion of dollars, in replacing Milosevic with Kostunica as the president of the FRY (see

LALKAR

, Nov-Dec 2000). The US authorities have admitted to bankrolling the then Yugoslav opposition to the tune of $120 million, in addition to the £6 million given by Germany, not to speak of the unaccounted suitcases full of dollars handed over at the border. To realise the scale of these sums, one must remember that George W. Bush and Al Gore raised $177 million and $126 million respectively for their presidential campaigns. Considering that Yugoslavia’s population is a mere 4% of that of the US, and taking into account the difference in per capita income in these two countries, the sums handed over by the US are, according to one well-informed source,

“comparable … to a $30 billion donation from a foreign enemy to a US presidential candidate”

(Sara Flounders,

Workers World,

12 Oct. 2000). Even that colossal sum was not enough by itself; it had to be supplemented with intimidation, threats and a ceaseless media campaign – and finally the storming of the institutions of the regime, including parliament and the television, by the most rabidly-reactionary goons hired by imperialism.

Why arrest and indict Milosevic?

The removal of Milosevic as President was, however, not sufficient, as long as Milosevic’s Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) continued to have a majority in the Serbian Parliament, for that is where the real power lay, for it is the Serbian Government which controls the police, judiciary, media and taxation. It was only after the victory of DOS – the 18-party reactionary alliance of the puppets of imperialism – in the elections to the Serbian Parliament on 23 Dec 2000 that Yugoslav agents of US imperialism, led by Zoran Djindjic, truly succeeded in getting their hands on the levers of power and got on with the job of purging the judiciary, the police, the armed forces, industrial enterprises and the civil service, of the members of the old regime or anyone harbouring sympathy with that regime or hostility to the NATO warmongers.

The aim of imperialism for quite some time has been not only to oust the Milosevic regime, but to bring the leading representatives of that regime for trial before the so-called International Criminal Tribunal (ICT) – a Kangaroo Court set up, and paid for, by NATO. The purpose of this trial is two-fold. First, to serve as a warning to leaders of other small nations as to the dire consequences of their resistance to imperialist demands, however outrageous and unreasonable such demands be. Second, to legitimise NATO’s criminal war against the people of Yugoslavia by putting on trial the leaders of the very country which was the victim of NATO’s aggression. Nothing less will do. And the contemptible leaders of DOS are willing to oblige.

Not surprisingly, then, no sooner had the DOS won the Serbian parliamentary election (with the help of imperialist funds, media intervention on a massive scale and threats of continued sanctions unless the SPS were voted out), than its leaders announced plans to launch an investigation with the purpose of forcing Milosevic and his close associates to stand trial. Milosevic must answer

“for all the terrible things he has done – starting from corruption, crime, election fraud and ordering murders

“, said Zoran Djindjic as he and his reactionary cohorts toasted their electoral triumph.

Arresting Milosevic and putting him on trial was a somewhat tricky affair, for not only does he command strong support among significant sections of the Yugoslav population but, in addition, such a course of action on the part of the new government would be seen by the Yugoslavs at large for what it really is, namely, a dirty hangman’s job by DOS at the behest of US imperialism – a job to appease the very blood-thirsty criminals who waged a genocidal war of aggression against the innocent Yugoslav people and subjected Yugoslavia to the worst bombardment in Europe since the end of the Second World War. To get over this difficulty the imperialist, as well as the Yugoslav media (the latter now controlled by DOS ) went into overdrive, spewing out day in and day out, material about the alleged corruption and crimes of the ousted Milosevic regime. In addition, to put further pressure (not that they needed any) on the Yugoslav authorities, the US Congress set 31st March as the deadline by which the US administration was required to judge whether Belgrade was co-operating or not with the War Crimes Tribunal.

Surprise, surprise. Just by pure coincidence, hours before this deadline expired on the midnight of 31st March, Milosevic was arrested by a posse of gun-toting gangsters wearing masks. The following Monday morning, the

Financial Times

, one of the most important organs of British finance capital, reported with shameless satisfaction that by arresting and putting behind bars Mr Milosevic,

“Serbia’s new rulers have taken a big new step towards their country’s political and economic rehabilitation”.

(1st April 2001).

Imperialism welcomes Milosevic’s arrest

The

Financial Times

went on to say that although the US and the EU still insist on Milosevic being handed over to Nato’s Kangaroo Court (

Lalkar

‘s description – not the

FT

‘s), they were likely

“… to accept that in detaining Mr Milosevic, albeit on charges of abuse of power and financial wrongdoing, Belgrade has done enough to secure further support”.

The same issue of the

Financial Times

reported Javier Solana, that disgusting Spanish Social Democrat and war criminal, as greeting the news of Milosevic’s arrest thus:

“Serbia and Yugoslavia have taken today another step towards the consolidation of democracy and the rule of law”.

The execrable Tony Blairs, Robin Cooks and other war criminals too have greeted Milosevic’s arrest with similar glee. So as not to lag behind, Kofi Annan, nominally the UN Secretary General, commented on Milosevic’s arrest in these unctuous terms:

“The arrest of Slobodan Milosevic is an important step in the process of healing after the tragic events in the Balkans since 1991″

(reported in the

Financial Times

, 2/4/01). Considering that his job as the Secretary General is to safeguard the UN Charter, knowing as he must do that NATO activities aimed at the break-up of Yugoslavia throughout the 1990s, and culminating in Nato’s criminal war against Yugoslavia, were in violation of international law in general and the UN Charter in particular, Kofi Annan’s above statement, which blames the victim for Nato’s crimes, is truly breathtaking in it shamelessness and audacity. No wonder the UN these days is rightly held in contempt and regarded as the colonial office of imperialism, with the Annans of this world doing imperialism’s dirty work in return for large salaries and prancing about on the international arena. Their wallets stuffed with dollars, they dare not defend the truth.

Corruption charges

The present Belgrade regime has charged Milosevic with corruption, when in fact the money diverted from federal customs was spent on supporting the Bosnian Serb Republic Army and the Croatian Serb Republic Army, at a time when both these armies were under attack from imperialism

. “Those expenditures”

, as Milosevic has correctly stated,

“could not, for reasons of state secrecy, be presented in the budget”.

Further, as Yugoslavia was subjected to draconian UN sanctions from May 1992 (at the start of the war in Bosnia) until the Dayton accords in mid-1996, money was spent on oil imports and other sanctions busting transactions. The UN, EU and NATO members then imposed a second round of sanctions in 1998, in connection with the Kosovo conflict, which lasted until after the removal of Mr Milosevic from the presidency on 5th October last year. Lastly, money was spent on funding state pensions, medicines, hospital equipment and subsidising state industries and enterprises. Undoubtedly some unscrupulous individuals may have made small fortunes out of the troubles through which the Yugoslav republic had to negotiate its way, but it hardly points to corruption on the part of Milosevic – especially considering that the regime had one or two rather urgent problems to attend to, namely, how to deal with the US-led aggression against its country, which imperialism was determined to break up and, sadly, succeeded in breaking up. In view of this, it is not unreasonable of Milosevic to say:

“I don’t mind any investigation of any aspect of my life, but it bothers me to be treated as a criminal for what I have done for my state”

(quoted in

Financial Times

, 5/4/1).

Colossal economic problems

The new rulers of Yugoslavia confront devastating economic problems. Thanks to imperialist sanctions over the past decade, the per capita income in Serbia has fallen from $3,000 (£2,140) annually to about $1,300. The cumulative loss of production of the same period and destruction wrought by NATO bombing runs into more than $100 billion. The country has a huge debt of $1,218 billion, owed mostly to the creditors belonging to the Paris and London clubs, which needs to be re-negotiated. Production needs to be organised in earnest for the population, persuaded as it has been to have high expectations, will not brook delay. The regime is under extreme pressure from imperialism to press ahead with market-oriented reforms – a massive programme of privatisation, price and labour deregulation and closure of unprofitable plants. To undertake this risky programme, which is sure to provoke widespread strikes and social unrest, the new regime needs imperialist financial help, which it will not get without first subjecting Mr Milosevic to a show trial in Belgrade, but only as a prelude to handing him over to Nato’s Kangaroo Court at the Hague – the ICTY. Not without reason, the

Financial Times

of 2nd April observed that

“… Belgrade’s negotiating path will probably be easier in each case now that the former President is in jail”

(

FT

, 2/4/1,

Serb rules hope arrest will secure support

).

Since the removal of Milosevic, Yugoslavia has received $250 million from imperialist quarters. The new regime estimates that it needs a further $600 million to get through 2001. Its hope is that the arrest of Mr Milosevic will speed up the disbursement of these funds. In view of the fact that a tiny group of imperialist countries, led by US imperialism, have inflicted upwards of $100 billion of damage on Yugoslavia, what despicable flunkeys must the new regime be composed of that they are prepared to cringe before, and sell their country to, imperialism for paltry sums of money!

Criminals trying their victims

If Mr Milosevic and his close associates are handed over to Nato’s Court, as appears increasingly likely at the moment, it will be a case of the criminal trying the victim of his crime and a total travesty of justice as understood by any reasonable person. It is the leaders of NATO who should be tried by a Nuremberg-style tribunal for war crimes, for it is they who broke up the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, helped the Croatian regime in the latter’s successful ethnic cleansing and massacre of Serbs. It is they who, during the 1999 war against Yugoslavia, killed 2,000 civilians and wounded another 7,000. It is they who devastated the Yugoslav economy with the destruction of 82 bridges and 422 educational establishments, including schools and universities; 48 health institutions, including hospitals; power stations, oil facilities and other infrastructure facilities. It is they who bombed 74 television transmission and relay facilities, including the television station in Belgrade, which caused such an uproar even in the imperialist countries, and which the thoroughly unscrupulous (don’t laugh) Development Secretary (should be called the secretary for death and destruction), among others of this corrupt government, had the temerity to describe as a

“legitimate target”.

Serbian television’s only sin was that it broadcast a film of the NATO massacre of refugees the week prior to being itself bombed by the same ‘humanitarian’ outfit. It is they – the leaders of NATO, both civilian and military – who, when the bombardment ended, left behind 2.5 million people in Yugoslavia without the barest means of subsistence. Instead, those who led the resistance to Nato’s barbarism will be hauled before a tribunal (which is neither international, nor tries criminals nor dispenses justice) in which NATO acts as prosecutor, judge and jury.

The nature of the Hague Tribunal

There is no international treaty establishing this tribunal, which substitutes private justice in place of public justice. It was set up by a resolution of the Security Council of the UN – in complete violation of the UN Charter, one of whose fundamental principles is the sovereignty of nations. Former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright – the same who in answer to a question as to whether it was correct to maintain sanctions against Iraq even if they had killed 1.5 million innocent Iraqis, replies:

“It was well worth it”

- was the mother of this tribunal and Bill Clinton (another ‘humanitarian’ of Yugoslav, Iraq and Sudan notoriety) was the father. Its funding comes from the US government, US monopolist corporations, NGOs linked with the Soros Foundation of American billionaire financier George Soros, the Carnegie Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation. The tribunal also receives assistance from the Coalition For International Justice (CIJ), funded and founded by George Soros’ Open Society Institute, and from CEELI (Central and East European Law Institute) formed by the American Bar Association and lawyers with close connections to the US administration. CEELI was formed to further the cause of the replacement of socialist legal systems with capitalist legal systems. There is no scope for taking real war criminals – the Clintons, Albrights, Wesley Clarkes, Blairs, Cooks, Robertsons

, Schroėders, Chiracs, D’Alenias and Solanas – to this tribunal. In fact the governments of the imperialist countries (sorry, the international community) vehemently oppose the establishment of a real permanent International War Crimes Tribunal with juri

sdiction to try war criminals, not only from small and weak nations, but also to try the leaders of the blood-sucking imperialist fraternity (beg your pardon, leaders of Western democracies).

At the Hague, the NATO Kangaroo Court judges play an active part in laying charges; there is no provision for bail; the accused is denied the presumption of innocence until proved guilty, denied trial by jury, denied a counsel of his/her choice; further, under its rules witnesses are allowed to maintain their anonymity; the accused can be kept in detention for up to 90 days, and all confessions by the accused – made even during such a prolonged period of incarceration – are presumed to have been made freely and voluntarily.

In the words of Christopher Black, from whose article the information in the preceding two paragraphs is drawn,

“No citizen of any country in the world would consider themselves fairly tried before a court that was paid for, staffed and assisted by private citizens or corporations which had a direct stake in the outcome of the trial and who were, themselves, in practical terms, immune from that court. It is a well established principle of law that a party in a legal action, whether civil or criminal, is entitled to ask for the removal of any judge sitting on the case when there exists a reasonable apprehension of bias. In this instance, a compelling argument can be made that the bias is not only apprehended, it is real, that it is not of one judge but of the entire tribunal, that this is not a judicial body worthy of international respect but a kangaroo court, a bogus court, with a political purpose serving very powerful and identifiable masters. To be consistent with my thesis I will go further and say that as a political instrument designed to violate, to destroy, the integrity and sovereignty of a country, its creation is a crime against peace under the Nuremberg Principles. Instead of resolving conflict as it claims, it is used to justify conflict, instead of creating peace, it is used to justify war and therefore is an instrument of war”

(‘An Impartial Tribunal? Really?’ from www.Swans. com, and reproduced in

Yugoslavia and the Politics of Intervention

, a pamphlet published by the NW region of the Socialist Labour Party).

No evidence of Genocide

In any case, what will this tribunal find, which has not already been discovered by a number of bodies, none of which can be suspected of harbouring an iota of sympathy for the erstwhile Milosevic regime. All the horror stories spread by NATO governments in the period leading up to, and during, the war against Yugoslavia about the alleged genocide committed by the Yugoslav forces have been proved to be what they always were – lies pure and simple, and the creation of the fertile imagination of the NATO lying machine, doled out to the servile journalist fraternity employed by the imperialist media monopolies, who obediently spread these lies far and wide. The ICTY’s own investigators, eager to discover any evidence that could be the basis of an indictment against Milosevic, found nothing, with all their special excavation equipment and forensic experts, when they dug up the Trebca lead and zinc mine near Mitrovica, which was supposed to have been the site of a mass grave of 700 ethnic Albanians murdered by the Yugoslav forces. The FBI’s investigations in June and August, 1999, found no mass graves; nor did a team of Spanish investigators. During the war, Nato’s propaganda machine splashed satellite images around the world of what it claimed were mass graves in Pusto Selo – a place where the Serb forces were alleged to have killed 106 men. Not a single body was discovered at that site. No bodies, or traces of removal, were discovered at Izbica, where 150 ethnic Albanians were supposed to have been killed in Mach 1999.

What was the war about?

In the end we must conclude that this war was not fought for reasons of humanitarianism. It was fought for oil and to extend imperialist hegemony into the former Soviet republics. Yugoslavia was not only important in itself but, also for the access that it gave to the oil-rich Black Sea and Caspian Sea territories and states. Nato’s war against Yugoslavia was an opening shot in its new strategy of intervening in the internal affairs of other countries on the pretext of defending

“human rights

” and “

democratic values

“, that is, in the affairs of any country that resists imperialist attempts at exploitation and domination, for there is only one truly

“human

” and “

democratic

” value in the lexicon of capitalist imperialism – the exploitation of one human being by another and one nation by another nation. Imperialism, emboldened by the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the East European socialist countries, its appetite whetted by the dazzling prospect of gaining control of the vast territory of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC), with its more than a billion people, and constantly driven by its incurable economic crisis to find new markets, sources of raw materials and avenues of export of capital, is limbering up for new and unprecedentedly dangerous ventures. It wants to subjugate Russia – hence the extension of NATO right up to the Russian borders and the Nuclear Missile Defence programme, in violation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty (ABM) of 1972 between the US and the former Soviet Union. It wants to overwhelm the PRC – hence its enhanced military alliance with Japan and Taiwan (see the article on the US EP-3 spy plane incident elsewhere in this issue). US imperialism wants to use NATO as an instrument of aggression both in Europe and in Asia in order to gain world domination by trampling under foot the fundamental rules governing conduct among independent and sovereign nations.

US imperialists will end up as the Nazis did

But US imperialism will never be able to achieve this aim anymore than was the Hitlerite regime able to in the 30s and 40s of the last century. By its aggression, oppression and exploitation, Nazi Germany aroused the anger and hostilities of peoples throughout the world, especially in Europe. Its conduct even forced other imperialist countries, who had built up Nazi Germany not only for the suppression of the German proletariat, but also as a battering ram for destroying the Soviet Union and Soviet socialism, to join the very state that they most hated – the USSR – in defeating and smashing fascist Germany. What guarantee is there that the US will fare any better? On the contrary, there is every indication that the same fate awaits US imperialism as was met by Nazi Germany. If the vanishing of the Soviet Union has emboldened US imperialism, it also brought into the open all the inter-imperialist contradictions that lay under the surface prior to the demise of the Soviet Union. No longer is European imperialism, or Japanese for that matter, as compliant to the US as during earlier times when the Soviet Union existed and was a force to be reckoned with, and against which could be united all the imperialist gangsters. Gone are the days when the other imperialist powers accepted unquestioningly US imperialism’s

ukase

. By riding roughshod everywhere, US imperialism is helping to intensify to an unprecedented degree all the contradictions in the world – between labour and capital, between imperialism and the oppressed peoples and countries (Middle East, Latin-America), between imperialism and the socialist countries (China, DPRK, Cuba, etc.), between it and other imperialist countries.

Sure as the Nazis of yore, US imperialism is travelling at breakneck speed towards the buffers. The people in the world will give it and other imperialisms a joyous burial. The proletariat in the imperialist countries has a bounden duty to give fraternal support to the peoples in the oppressed countries in the latter’s struggle for liberation from imperialist oppression and exploitation. It has a duty to fight for the disbandment of NATO, to fight against foreign military bases and against all war-mongering and war preparations. It has, above all, a duty to fight for the overthrow of imperialism, which has for too long drenched humanity in blood.