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by Gary Sudborough
Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 7:22 AM
The hidden and ignored recent history of Yugoslavia and its relevance to the presidential candidacy of Wesley Clark.
General Wesley Clark is being portrayed by the corporate media as a liberal, who is deserving of support by progressives. The fact that he was NATO commander during the bombing of Yugoslavia is pointed out with pride as indicating he is a patriotic American willing to defend his country and end human rights abuses in other countries. This is all propaganda and derives from a basic misunderstanding about how and why the breakup of Yugoslavia occurred.
Yugoslavia did not disintegrate because of old ethnic hatreds as the corporate media would like the whole world to believe. It was deliberately broken up by the United States and Germany using methods designed to instigate and foster ethnic hatreds. This is conclusively proven by a law passed by the US Congress a year prior to the start of Yugoslavia's breakup. This law is called Foreign Operations Appropriations Law 101-513. The law cut off all aid, credits and loans from the United States to Yugoslavia. Also, it cut off loans from international institutions heavily influenced by the US like the IMF and the World Bank. This law was very hard on Yugoslavia because it had borrowed heavily from foreign banks to finance the growth of its economy and was deeply in debt. The law further stipulated that for aid and loans to be resumed, separate elections had to be held in each of the six Yugoslavian republics, and the US State Department had to approve the election procedures and results in each republic. Only so-called democratic parties were allowed to participate in these elections. In actuality, this meant that the US financed fascist and nationalist parties in each republic, which would collaborate in the breakup of Yugoslavia. Fascist exiles from the old Ustasha party, which ruled the former Nazi puppet state of Croatia, flowed back into that republic from the United States, Canada, Germany, Austria and other countries. The old fascist symbols and flag returned to prominence. Croatian president Tudjman was a fascist and a Holocaust denier. Thousands of communists, Jews, Roma and Serbs had been killed at the Jasenovac concentration camp run by the Ustashi in Croatia during World War 2. Now, these fascists were returning to power. Muslim fascists returned to Bosnia and seized power. Bosnian president Izetbegovic was a Nazi collaborator in the Second World War.
There are many other indications of the careful planning of Yugoslavia's disintegration. The CIA trained both the Croatian and Bosnian Muslim militaries. There were numerous reports in European newspapers about this fact, but, naturally, the US corporate media kept silent about it. The US provided air support when the Croatian military drove over 200,000 Serbs from their homes in Krajina- a gigantic ethnic cleansing that dwarfed any atrocities the Serbs were alleged to have committed, including Srebrenica and Sarajevo. In fact, the explosion at the market place in Sarajevo, attributed to a Serb mortar or artillery shell, was later found to be a bomb planted by Bosnian Muslims to draw sympathy to their cause and demonize the Serbs. The Croatian and Bosnian governments hired the US public relations firm Ruder Finn to help demonize the Serbs. Ruder Finn was actually proud of its success in demonizing the Serbs, saying that they had overcome the natural sympathy Jews had with Serbs because both had been targeted by the Nazis and turned Jewish public opinion against the Serbs. Finally, the so-called Rambouillet agreement, the rejection of which by Yugoslavia was used as a pretext for the massive and continuous bombing of Serbia and Kosovo for nearly three months, was not an agreement, but an ultimatum. It gave NATO forces the right to occupy Serbia-an effective loss of sovereignty and Serbia had every right to reject it.
Why would the United States deliberately cause the disintegration of Yugoslavia? The Soviet Union and all of Eastern Europe, except for Yugoslavia, had been pressured to adopt a capitalist system (shock therapy), and these countries sold many state-owned industries at fire sale prices to foreign investors. Yugoslavia held out against the privatization and deregulation demands of the IMF and World Bank, and therefore, its people had to pay the price of having cluster bombs and depleted uranium dropped on them. Actually, if state-owned industries can't be privatized, the other option is to bomb them out of existence, move in American corporations and utilize very cheap Slavic labor, all the cheaper because of the chaos and destruction of war. Bombing and the spread of American corporate power go hand in hand.
The bombing of Yugoslavia was not a humanitarian intervention to end ethnic cleansing because at the very same time the US was supporting militarily a far greater ethnic cleansing by Turkey against the Kurds. General Wesley Clark is not a war hero. He is a war criminal, who time after time on CNN defended the bombing of Yugoslavia and choice of targets in an immoral, imperialist war designed to further enrich the ruling elites in the United States. He told lie after lie as all apologists for imperialist wars do and was very truculent in justifying the bombing. No leftist who truly understands the meaning of imperialism could possibly vote for this candidate for president. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing. I have the greatest admiration for the work of Michael Moore, but he needs to investigate the recent history of Yugoslavia more closely before endorsing Wesley Clark. I recommend NATO in the Balkans from the International Action Center and To Kill a Nation-The Attack on Yugoslavia by Michael Parenti.
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