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U.S. blackmails Yugoslavia into turning over Milosevic
The war criminals who got away

July 6, 2001 | Page 3

THE TRANSFER of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague stinks of hypocrisy.

Western countries aren't interested in justice, but in demonstrating that might makes right in the Balkans. But only their might, not Milosevic's.

During the 1999 war over Kosovo, U.S. and NATO forces fired shells filled with deadly depleted uranium; bombed power stations, cutting off electricity to hospitals; blasted a bridge full of Serb peasants; bombed a bus full of Albanian refugees; blew up factories, flooding the Danube River with toxic waste; and used deadly cluster bombs, some of which litter the countryside unexploded.

Are there any words to describe this savagery but "war crimes?"

But former President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other NATO leaders have nothing to worry about. Washington and its allies are the most powerful governments on earth, so they'll never be judged--even as they strong-arm Yugoslavia into handing over Milosevic.

"In the end, Western money sealed Slobodan Milosevic's fate," Time magazine admitted. "The power of economic sanctions was underlined by the fact that Milosevic was first arrested to meet a deadline set by the U.S. Congress, and was then extradited to coincide with a donor conference at which Western assistance was to be conditional on Belgrade's cooperation with the Hague tribunal."

The U.S. would like us to forget that it looked to Milosevic to keep the old Yugoslavia together under Serbian domination when the country fell apart in 1991. When that failed, it backed Croats and Muslims in the Bosnian civil war against Serbs--including Croatia's ethnic cleansing of 200,000 Serbs.

Next, Washington hailed Milosevic as a "peacemaker" in the 1995 Dayton Accords that ended the fighting in Bosnia--ignoring Serbia's repression of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

But an uprising by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and Serbia's mass expulsion of Albanians threatened to start a new war in 1999--one that could have brought in Greece on the side of Serbia and Turkey on the side of the Albanians.

Washington couldn't afford such a split between two NATO allies. So it organized the entire NATO alliance in a war against Serbia, a country of just 12 million people.

After the war, NATO troops allowed the KLA to carry out ethnic cleansing in reverse--driving Serbs out of Kosovo.

Then a mass workers' revolt toppled Milosevic last October--so the U.S. and NATO war criminals changed their tune yet again. They allowed Yugoslav army forces to move in against a KLA offshoot that was trying to annex Albanian villages on the border region with Serbia. And they helped the Slav-dominated Macedonian government attack another KLA splinter group there.

Albanians make up nearly a third of the population of Macedonia, but face widespread discrimination in employment and education. Yet NATO officials now denounce the Albanian guerrillas as "terrorists"--even though these were the same people that they hailed as freedom fighters in neighboring Kosovo!

Now Washington and NATO are in a balancing act in Macedonia to try to prevent another full-scale civil war.

But they don't care whether ordinary people suffer injustice or die--as long as they achieve "stability."

That's why the prosecution of Milosevic is so important to the U.S. and its allies. They want to show who calls the shots in the Balkans. And they want the world to forget that it was a revolutionary uprising--not NATO's war--which finally drove Milosevic from power.

It's that kind of mass action from below--not Washington's bombs, bribes and bullying--that will bring genuine peace and justice to the Balkans.

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