Archive | Bosnia

21 Years Ago, NATO’s War on Yugoslavia: Kosovo “Freedom Fighters” Financed by Organized Crime

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Twenty-one years ago, June 10 1999, marks the end of NATO’s  aerial bombardment of Yugoslavia (March 24, 1999- June 10, 1999). The bombings which lasted for almost three months, were followed by the military invasion (under a bogus UN mandate) and illegal occupation of  the province of Kosovo.

21 years later on April 24, 2020, the leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) Hashim Thaci who subsequently became “Prime Minister” and “President” of Kosovo was indicted for crimes against humanity.

The Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor’s Office At The Hague filed an indictment against Hashim Thaci on April 24, 2020 ” for a range of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution, and torture.”  

According to prosecutor Jack Smith, Thaci and his close allies “put their personal interests ahead of the victims of their crimes, the rule of law, and all people of Kosovo”. 

Nonsense: It took them 21 years years to acknowledge the crimes committed by the KLA. Those crimes were ordered by US-NATO. Hacim Thaci was and remains a US-NATO proxy. The KLA was supported by the CIA and Germany’s BND (Bundes Nachrichten Dienst).

Thaci was an the Interpol list. The KLA was also supported by Al Qaeda.

Balkan Insight 

From the very outset those crimes against the people of Serbia and Kosovo were committed on behalf of the Atlantic Alliance. NATO’s war on Yugoslavia was based on the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P), their alleged “humanitarian” mandate was “to come to the rescue” of people of Kosovo.

The KLA had extensive links to organized crime involved in drug trafficking. In the wake of the 1999 war, 21 years ago, a Mafia State was installed in Kosovo. The bombing of Yugoslavia ceased on June 10th.

That same month of June, The US established in Kosovo its US military base Camp Bondsteel which constitutes “the largest and the most expensive foreign military base built by the US in Europe, since the Vietnam War”.

And then all of sudden 21 years later, the Hague Prosecutor says that Hashim Thaci is  a “war criminal”. His links to NATO are not mentioned.

In 1999, while the bombings of Yugoslavia were ongoing, some of America’s “Left” including  Znet were supportive of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), pointing to their so-called Marxist-Leninist roots:

At present, the only armed force capable of defending the Kosovar Albanian villages that remain is the Kosova Liberation Army (KLA). Despite political shortcomings born of the state of lawlessness into which the 90% Albanian majority has been thrown over the last 10 years, since Milosevic abolished Kosova’s autonomy, the KLA last year managed to organise an army of up to 40,000 fighters.    …

For example, Stephen Shalom, in an article on ZNet states: “I am sympathetic to the argument that says that if people want to fight for their rights, if they are not asking others to do it for them, then they ought to be provided with the weapons to help them succeed. Such an argument seemed to me persuasive with respect to Bosnia.”

In that same article, I was personally accused of having “discredited the KLA”:

“Michel Chossudovsky, a professor of economics at the University of Ottawa, has set out the most meticulous frame-up in a piece entitled “Freedom Fighters Financed by Organised Crime”, which has been doing the internet circuit. Full of half-truths, assumptions and innuendoes about the KLA’s alleged use of drug money, Chossudovsky’s article seeks to discredit the KLA as a genuine liberation movement representing the aspirations of the oppressed Albanian majority. …

Listen to the report of Democracy Now on the KLA links to the Drug Trade (June 2, 1999)

These so-called “half truths and innuendos” were the object of my article written in April 1999 at the height of the NATO bombings. entitled : Kosovo “Freedom Fighters” Financed by Organized Crime,  April 1999

A word in relation to the Indictment of Hashim Thaci. He was “a paid killer” acting on behalf of his sponsors.

The KLA was relentlessly supported by NATO and the US military.

The following article was written and published in April 1999.

Michel Chossudovsky, July 8, 2020

***

Kosovo “Freedom Fighters” Financed by Organized Crime

Michel Chossudovsky

April 15, 1999

Heralded by the global media as a humanitarian peace-keeping mission, NATO’s ruthless bombing of Belgrade and Pristina goes far beyond the breach of international law. While Slobodan Milosevic is demonised, portrayed as a remorseless dictator, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) is upheld as a self-respecting nationalist movement struggling for the rights of ethnic Albanians. The truth of the matter is that the KLA is sustained by organised crime with the tacit approval of the United States and its allies.

Following a pattern set during the War in Bosnia, public opinion has been carefully misled. The multibillion dollar Balkans narcotics trade has played a crucial role in “financing the conflict” in Kosovo in accordance with Western economic, strategic and military objectives. Amply documented by European police files, acknowledged by numerous studies, the links of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to criminal syndicates in Albania, Turkey and the European Union have been known to Western governments and intelligence agencies since the mid-1990s.

“…The financing of the Kosovo guerilla war poses critical questions and it sorely test claims of an “ethical” foreign policy. Should the West back a guerilla army that appears to partly financed by organised crime.” 1

While KLA leaders were shaking hands with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at Rambouillet, Europol (the European Police Organization based in the Hague) was “preparing a report for European interior and justice ministers on a connection between the KLA and Albanian drug gangs.”2 In the meantime, the rebel army has been skilfully heralded by the global media (in the months preceding the NATO bombings) as broadly representative of the interests of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

With KLA leader Hashim Thaci (a 29 year “freedom fighter”) appointed as chief negotiator at Rambouillet, the KLA has become the de facto helmsman of the peace process on behalf of the ethnic Albanian majority and this despite its links to the drug trade. The West was relying on its KLA puppets to rubber-stamp an agreement which would have transformed Kosovo into an occupied territory under Western Administration.

Ironically Robert Gelbard, America’s special envoy to Bosnia, had described the KLA last year as “terrorists”. Christopher Hill, America’s chief negotiator and architect of the Rambouillet agreement “has also been a strong critic of the KLA for its alleged dealings in drugs.”3 Moreover, barely a few two months before Rambouillet, the US State Department had acknowledged (based on reports from the US Observer Mission) the role of the KLA in terrorising and uprooting ethnic Albanians:

“…the KLA harass or kidnap anyone who comes to the police, … KLA representatives had threatened to kill villagers and burn their homes if they did not join the KLA [a process which has continued since the NATO bombings]… [T]he KLA harassment has reached such intensity that residents of six villages in the Stimlje region are “ready to flee.” 4

While backing a “freedom movement” with links to the drug trade, the West seems also intent in bypassing the civilian Kosovo Democratic League and its leader Ibrahim Rugova who has called for an end to the bombings and expressed his desire to negotiate a peaceful settlement with the Yugoslav authorities.5 It is worth recalling that a few days before his March 31st Press Conference, Rugova had been reported by the KLA (alongside three other leaders including Fehmi Agani) to have been killed by the Serbs.Kosovo’s “Mafia State” and Camp Bondsteel: Towards a Permanent US Military Presence in Southeast Europe

Covert Financing of “Freedom Fighters”

Remember Oliver North and the Contras? The pattern in Kosovo is similar to other CIA covert operations in Central America, Haiti and Afghanistan where “freedom fighters” were financed through the laundering of drug money. Since the onslaught of the Cold War, Western intelligence agencies have developed a complex relationship to the illegal narcotics trade. In case after case, drug money laundered in the international banking system has financed covert operations.

According to author Alfred McCoy, the pattern of covert financing was established in the Indochina war. In the 1960s, the Meo army in Laos was funded by the narcotics trade as part of Washington’s military strategy against the combined forces of the neutralist government of Prince Souvanna Phouma and the Pathet Lao.6

The pattern of drug politics set in Indochina has since been replicated in Central America and the Caribbean. “The rising curve of cocaine imports to the US”, wrote journalist John Dinges “followed almost exactly the flow of US arms and military advisers to Central America”.7

The military in Guatemala and Haiti, to which the CIA provided covert support, were known to be involved in the trade of narcotics into Southern Florida. And as revealed in the Iran-Contra and Bank of Commerce and Credit International (BCCI) scandals, there was strong evidence that covert operations were funded through the laundering of drug money. “Dirty money” recycled through the banking system–often through an anonymous shell company– became “covert money,” used to finance various rebel groups and guerilla movements including the Nicaraguan Contras and the Afghan Mujahadeen. According to a 1991 Time Magazine report:

“Because the US wanted to supply the mujehadeen rebels in Afghanistan with stinger missiles and other military hardware it needed the full cooperation of Pakistan. By the mid-1980s, the CIA operation in Islamabad was one of the largest US intelligence stations in the World. `If BCCI is such an embarrassment to the US that forthright investigations are not being pursued it has a lot to do with the blind eye the US turned to the heroin trafficking in Pakistan’, said a US intelligence officer.”8

America and Germany join Hands

Since the early 1990s, Bonn and Washington have joined hands in establishing their respective spheres of influence in the Balkans. Their intelligence agencies have also collaborated. According to intelligence analyst John Whitley, covert support to the Kosovo rebel army was established as a joint endeavour between the CIA and Germany’s Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND) (which previously played a key role in installing a right wing nationalist government under Franjo Tudjman in Croatia).9 The task to create and finance the KLA was initially given to Germany: “They used German uniforms, East German weapons and were financed, in part, with drug money”.10 According to Whitley, the CIA was, subsequently instrumental in training and equipping the KLA in Albania.11

The covert activities of Germany’s BND were consistent with Bonn’s intent to expand its “Lebensraum” into the Balkans. Prior to the onset of the civil war in Bosnia, Germany and its Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher had actively supported secession; it had “forced the pace of international diplomacy” and pressured its Western allies to recognize Slovenia and Croatia. According to the Geopolitical Drug Watch, both Germany and the US favoured (although not officially) the formation of a “Greater Albania” encompassing Albania, Kosovo and parts of Macedonia.12 According to Sean Gervasi, Germany was seeking a free hand among its allies “to pursue economic dominance in the whole of Mitteleuropa.”13

Islamic Fundamentalism in Support of the KLA

Bonn and Washington’s “hidden agenda” consisted in triggering nationalist liberation movements in Bosnia and Kosovo with the ultimate purpose of destabilising Yugoslavia. The latter objective was also carried out “by turning a blind eye” to the influx of mercenaries and financial support from Islamic fundamentalist organisations.14

Mercenaries financed by Saudi Arabia and Koweit had been fighting in Bosnia.15 And the Bosnian pattern was replicated in Kosovo: Mujahadeen mercenaries from various Islamic countries are reported to be fighting alongside the KLA in Kosovo. German, Turkish and Afghan instructors were reported to be training the KLA in guerilla and diversion tactics.16

According to a Deutsche Press-Agentur report, financial support from Islamic countries to the KLA had been channelled through the former Albanian chief of the National Information Service (NIS), Bashkim Gazidede.17 “Gazidede, reportedly a devout Moslem who fled Albania in March of last year [1997], is presently [1998] being investigated for his contacts with Islamic terrorist organizations.”18

The supply route for arming KLA “freedom fighters” are the rugged mountainous borders of Albania with Kosovo and Macedonia. Albania is also a key point of transit of the Balkans drug route which supplies Western Europe with grade four heroin. 75% of the heroin entering Western Europe is from Turkey. And a large part of drug shipments originating in Turkey transits through the Balkans. According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), “it is estimated that 4-6 metric tons of heroin leave each month from Turkey having [through the Balkans] as destination Western Europe.”19 A recent intelligence report by Germany’s Federal Criminal Agency suggests that: “Ethnic Albanians are now the most prominent group in the distribution of heroin in Western consumer countries.”20

The Laundering of Dirty Money

In order to thrive, the criminal syndicates involved in the Balkans narcotics trade need friends in high places. Smuggling rings with alleged links to the Turkish State are said to control the trafficking of heroin through the Balkans “cooperating closely with other groups with which they have political or religious ties” including criminal groups in Albanian and Kosovo.21 In this new global financial environment, powerful undercover political lobbies connected to organized crime cultivate links to prominent political figures and officials of the military and intelligence establishment.

The narcotics trade nonetheless uses respectable banks to launder large amounts of dirty money. While comfortably removed from the smuggling operations per se, powerful banking interests in Turkey but mainly those in financial centres in Western Europe discretely collect fat commissions in a multibillion dollar money laundering operation. These interests have high stakes in ensuring a safe passage of drug shipments into Western European markets.

The Albanian Connection

Arms smuggling from Albania into Kosovo and Macedonia started at the beginning of 1992, when the Democratic Party came to power, headed by President Sali Berisha. An expansive underground economy and cross border trade had unfolded. A triangular trade in oil, arms and narcotics had developed largely as a result of the embargo imposed by the international community on Serbia and Montenegro and the blockade enforced by Greece against Macedonia.

Industry and agriculture in Kosovo were spearheaded into bankruptcy following the IMF’s lethal “economic medicine” imposed on Belgrade in 1990. The embargo was imposed on Yugoslavia. Ethnic Albanians and Serbs were driven into abysmal poverty. Economic collapse created an environment which fostered the progress of illicit trade. In Kosovo, the rate of unemployment increased to a staggering 70 percent (according to Western sources).

Poverty and economic collapse served to exacerbate simmering ethnic tensions. Thousands of unemployed youths “barely out of their Teens” from an impoverished population, were drafted into the ranks of the KLA…22

In neighbouring Albania, the free market reforms adopted since 1992 had created conditions which favoured the criminalisation of State institutions. Drug money was also laundered in the Albanian pyramids (ponzi schemes) which mushroomed during the government of former President Sali Berisha (1992-1997).23 These shady investment funds were an integral part of the economic reforms inflicted by Western creditors on Albania.

Drug barons in Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia (with links to the Italian mafia) had become the new economic elites, often associated with Western business interests. In turn the financial proceeds of the trade in drugs and arms were recycled towards other illicit activities (and vice versa) including a vast prostitution racket between Albania and Italy. Albanian criminal groups operating in Milan, “have become so powerful running prostitution rackets that they have even taken over the Calabrians in strength and influence.”24

The application of “strong economic medicine” under the guidance of the Washington based Bretton Woods institutions had contributed to wrecking Albania’s banking system and precipitating the collapse of the Albanian economy. The resulting chaos enabled American and European transnationals to carefully position themselves. Several Western oil companies including Occidental, Shell and British Petroleum had their eyes rivetted on Albania’s abundant and unexplored oil-deposits. Western investors were also gawking Albania’s extensive reserves of chrome, copper, gold, nickel and platinum… The Adenauer Foundation had been lobbying in the background on behalf of German mining interests. 25

Berisha’s Minister of Defence Safet Zoulali (alleged to have been involved in the illegal oil and narcotics trade) was the architect of the agreement with Germany’s Preussag (handing over control over Albania’s chrome mines) against the competing bid of the US led consortium of Macalloy Inc. in association with Rio Tinto Zimbabwe (RTZ).26

Large amounts of narco-dollars had also been recycled into the privatisation programmes leading to the acquisition of State assets by the mafias. In Albania, the privatisation programme had led virtually overnight to the development of a property owning class firmly committed to the “free market”. In Northern Albania, this class was associated with the Guegue “families” linked to the Democratic Party.

Controlled by the Democratic Party under the presidency of Sali Berisha (1992-97), Albania’s largest financial “pyramid” VEFA Holdings had been set up by the Guegue “families” of Northern Albania with the support of Western banking interests. VEFA was under investigation in Italy in 1997 for its ties to the Mafia which allegedly used VEFA to launder large amounts of dirty money.27

According to one press report (based on intelligence sources), senior members of the Albanian government during the Presidency of Sali Berisha including cabinet members and members of the secret police SHIK were alleged to be involved in drugs trafficking and illegal arms trading into Kosovo:

(…) The allegations are very serious. Drugs, arms, contraband cigarettes all are believed to have been handled by a company run openly by Albania’s ruling Democratic Party, Shqiponja (…). In the course of 1996 Defence Minister, Safet Zhulali [was alleged] to had used his office to facilitate the transport of arms, oil and contraband cigarettes. (…) Drugs barons from Kosovo (…) operate in Albania with impunity, and much of the transportation of heroin and other drugs across Albania, from Macedonia and Greece en route to Italy, is believed to be organised by Shik, the state security police (…). Intelligence agents are convinced the chain of command in the rackets goes all the way to the top and have had no hesitation in naming ministers in their reports.28

The trade in narcotics and weapons was allowed to prosper despite the presence since 1993 of a large contingent of American troops at the Albanian-Macedonian border with a mandate to enforce the embargo. The West had turned a blind eye. The revenues from oil and narcotics were used to finance the purchase of arms (often in terms of direct barter): “Deliveries of oil to Macedonia (skirting the Greek embargo [in 1993-4] can be used to cover heroin, as do deliveries of kalachnikov rifles to Albanian `brothers’ in Kosovo”.29

The Northern tribal clans or “fares” had also developed links with Italy’s crime syndicates.30 In turn, the latter played a key role in smuggling arms across the Adriatic into the Albanian ports of Dures and Valona. At the outset in 1992, the weapons channelled into Kosovo were largely small arms including Kalashnikov AK-47 rifles, RPK and PPK machine-guns, 12.7 calibre heavy machine-guns, etc.

The proceeds of the narcotics trade has enabled the KLA to rapidly develop a force of some 30,000 men. More recently, the KLA has acquired more sophisticated weaponry including anti-aircraft and antiarmor rockets. According to Belgrade, some of the funds have come directly from the CIA “funnelled through a so-called “Government of Kosovo” based in Geneva, Switzerland. Its Washington office employs the public-relations firm of Ruder Finn–notorious for its slanders of the Belgrade government”.31

The KLA has also acquired electronic surveillance equipment which enables it to receive NATO satellite information concerning the movement of the Yugoslav Army. The KLA training camp in Albania is said to “concentrate on heavy weapons training – rocket propelled grenades, medium caliber cannons, tanks and transporter use, as well as on communications, and command and control”. (According to Yugoslav government sources.32

These extensive deliveries of weapons to the Kosovo rebel army were consistent with Western geopolitical objectives. Not surprisingly, there has been a “deafening silence” of the international media regarding the Kosovo arms-drugs trade. In the words of a 1994 Report of the Geopolitical Drug Watch:

“the trafficking [of drugs and arms] is basically being judged on its geostrategic implications (…) In Kosovo, drugs and weapons trafficking is fuelling geopolitical hopes and fears”…33

The fate of Kosovo had already been carefully laid out prior to the signing of the 1995 Dayton agreement. NATO had entered an unwholesome “marriage of convenience” with the mafia. “Freedom fighters” were put in place, the narcotics trade enabled Washington and Bonn to “finance the Kosovo conflict” with the ultimate objective of destabilising the Belgrade government and fully recolonising the Balkans. The destruction of an entire country is the outcome. Western governments which participated in the NATO operation bear a heavy burden of responsibility in the deaths of civilians, the impoverishment of both the ethnic Albanian and Serbian populations and the plight of those who were brutally uprooted from towns and villages in Kosovo as a result of the bombings.

NOTES

1. Roger Boyes and Eske Wright, Drugs Money Linked to the Kosovo Rebels The Times, London, Monday, March 24, 1999.

2. Ibid.

3. Philip Smucker and Tim Butcher, “Shifting stance over KLA has betrayed’ Albanians”, Daily Telegraph, London, 6 April 1999

4. KDOM Daily Report, released by the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs, Office of South Central European Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, December 21, 1998; Compiled by EUR/SCE (202-647-4850) from daily reports of the U.S. element of the Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission, December 21, 1998.

5. “Rugova, sous protection serbe appelle a l’arret des raides”, Le Devoir, Montreal, 1 April 1999.

6. See Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia Harper and Row, New York, 1972.

7. See John Dinges, Our Man in Panama, The Shrewd Rise and Brutal Fall of Manuel Noriega, Times Books, New York, 1991.

8. “The Dirtiest Bank of All,” Time, July 29, 1991, p. 22.

9. Truth in Media, Phoenix, 2 April, 1999; see also Michel Collon, Poker Menteur, editions EPO, Brussels, 1997.

10. Quoted in Truth in Media, Phoenix, 2 April, 1999).

11. Ibid.

12. Geopolitical Drug Watch, No 32, June 1994, p. 4

13. Sean Gervasi, “Germany, US and the Yugoslav Crisis”, Covert Action Quarterly, No. 43, Winter 1992-93).

14. See Daily Telegraph, 29 December 1993.

15. For further details see Michel Collon, Poker Menteur, editions EPO, Brussels, 1997, p. 288.

16. Truth in Media, Kosovo in Crisis, Phoenix, 2 April 1999.

17. Deutsche Presse-Agentur, March 13, 1998.

18. Ibid.

19. Daily News, Ankara, 5 March 1997.

20. Quoted in Boyes and Wright, op cit.

21. ANA, Athens, 28 January 1997, see also Turkish Daily News, 29 January 1997.

22. Brian Murphy, KLA Volunteers Lack Experience, The Associated Press, 5 April 1999.

23. See Geopolitical Drug Watch, No. 35, 1994, p. 3, see also Barry James, In Balkans, Arms for Drugs, The International Herald Tribune Paris, June 6, 1994.

24. The Guardian, 25 March 1997.

25. For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, La crisi albanese, Edizioni Gruppo Abele, Torino, 1998.

26. Ibid.

27. Andrew Gumbel, The Gangster Regime We Fund, The Independent, February 14, 1997, p. 15.

28. Ibid.

29. Geopolitical Drug Watch, No. 35, 1994, p. 3.

30. Geopolitical Drug Watch, No 66, p. 4.

31. Quoted in Workers’ World, May 7, 1998.

32. See Government of Yugoslavia at http://www.gov.yu/terrorism/terroristcamps.html.

33. Geopolitical Drug Watch, No 32, June 1994, p. 4.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2020

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Easing congestion in Sarajevo Canton with EBRD support

By: Axel  Reiserer

Easing congestion in Sarajevo Canton with EBRD support
  • EBRD loan of up to €30 million for modernisation and upgrade of road network
  • Improvements will ease congestion and provide better transport for people and goods
  • Sarajevo Canton is most densely populated area of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital city Sarajevo and the surrounding Sarajevo Canton will benefit from a loan of up to €30 million provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for the modernisation and upgrade of its strategic road network.

The EBRD financing will fund improvements of urban transport in Sarajevo, enabling better connections with other parts of the Canton. Investments will include the construction of a new twin pipe tunnel near the city centre (on the 1st Transversal road) and a dual carriage road at the end of the Sarajevo bypass (on the 9th Transversal road).

The upgrade of the road network will also improve local and regional transport connections and cut air pollution by reducing congestion due to shorter travel times. With some 450,000 inhabitants, Sarajevo Canton accounts for almost 13 per cent of the country’s total population.

The approval of the loan agreement took place before the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit the economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina hard. As the country lifts healthcare restrictions and adopts measures to support the economy, the need for modern infrastructure becomes ever more apparent.

Manuela Naessl, EBRD Head of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said: “We are very pleased to sign this loan agreement today, which has been some time in the making, but will have a long-lasting impact on the city and the Canton. Sarajevo suffers from traffic congestion and significant air pollution, particularly during the winter time. While we are also heavily investing with the Canton in improving public transport, better, faster and safer road transport connections mean less congestion and better trade and economic opportunities.”

Since it began operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1996, the EBRD has invested €2.6 billion in 177 projects there. Investing in transport infrastructure to allow the local economy to expand and supporting regional integration are two of the Bank’s priorities in the country.

During 2020 and 2021 the EBRD expects to dedicate its entire investment volume of up to €21 billion across all the economies where it invests to overcome the impact of the crisis.

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EBRD supporting real economy in Bosnia and Herzegovina

By: Axel  Reiserer

  • EBRD loan of €5 million to Mikrofin Banja Luka
  • Support for local enterprises affected by impact of coronavirus pandemic
  • Strengthening resilience of the private sector

Micro and small enterprises in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be able to draw on support from Mikrofin d.o.o. Banja Luka to overcome the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to a €5 million loan provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The financing will be used to offer short-term liquidity to micro enterprises and small-scale farmers. Bosnia and Herzegovina has been hit hard by the economic impact of the crisis. Despite progress in the lifting of public health measures many businesses face unprecedented challenges.

Helping enterprises to overcome the crisis is the goal of the EBRD’s €4 billion Resilience Framework designed to provide existing clients with liquidity support and short-term capital. It is part of the Bank’s Solidarity Package, which also includes trade finance and the restructuring of exposures. The EBRD is dedicating all of its work in 2020-21 to combating the economic impact of Covid-19 and expects to invest up to €21 billion in this period.

Mikrofin is the largest microfinance institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina and operates branches throughout the country. CEO Mladen Bosnić said: “We have a long and successful cooperation with the EBRD and we are looking forward to continuing our work towards the same goal, which is providing support to entrepreneurs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The new financing will enable Mikrofin to extend new loans to micro and small-business entrepreneurs who we consider to be the most inventive and productive segment of our economy. It is important to mention that this loan was negotiated during the Covid-19 crisis, which confirms the EBRD’s strong commitment to supporting small businesses now that they need it more than ever.”

Manuela Naessl, EBRD Head of Bosnia and Herzegovina, added: “I am very pleased with our loan to Mikrofin today, which will support micro and small companies and strengthen their resilience to the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their businesses.”

Since it began operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1996, the EBRD has invested €2.6 billion in 177 projects there.

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Balkan ‘Genocides’ Are Not to be Questioned

By Stephen Karganovic

Genocide accusations are, it would seem, the latest fashion spreading out of the Balkans. On December 5, a former minister in the “government” of NATO occupied and administered Kosovo, Ivan Todosijević, who happens to be an otherwise occupation friendly and cooperative ethnic Serb, was sentenced to a two-year prison term. The court found him guilty of making what it considered the outrageous claim that the so-called genocidal “Račak massacre,” which in 1999 triggered NATO aggression against Yugoslavia, was an imposture. Since the trial began just two days before, by Balkan standards the swiftly reached verdict was remarkably expeditious, suggesting the importance which the NATO imposed and sustained authorities, as well as their foreign backers, attach to the dubious Račak narrative.

To arrive at such a harsh judgment, the Kosovo court must surely have dug up startling new evidence about what actually happened in Račak that even ICTY failed to produce. In 1999, ICTY amended its initial indictments of Serbian military and political leaders to include the slaughter of Albanian civilians in Račak. The incident was said to be a cold-blooded, genocidal murder of forty-five helpless Albanian peasants, executed by a unit of the Yugoslav army after it had besieged and captured their village. All well and good, while the NATO attack was in progress and public support needed to be drummed up by publicizing shocking atrocity stories. Later however, when things had calmed down and prosecutors would have been obliged to present some semblance of credible evidence to support their claim, the Račak episode was quietly dropped by ICTY, due to lack of evidence to support the accusation.

The reason Račak is so important to the construction of the mythological narrative in which recent Kosovo history under NATO occupation is enveloped is precisely because it served as a conveniently arranged “humanitarian catastrophe” to justify unleashing the military campaign against Yugoslavia that had already been decided on before that.

The principal actor in that operation was a certain William Walker, officially billed as a “US diplomat,” at the time head of the Kosovo Verification Mission. His dramatic arrival in Račak and public asseveration that he was shocked by the horror of the crime scene he found there set the propaganda stage for what was to follow. Ironically, Walker had plenty of experience earlier in his career arranging genuine massacres of El Salvadorean peasants during their rebellion against the pro-Western, neo-colonial regime that had been imposed in that country.

However, he was quite sloppy and turned a dismal failure when it came to staging the phony massacre in Račak. Since the alleged victims were members of the KLA terrorist outfit killed in a legitimate police operation, they quickly had to be refurbished for public display, while covering up as much tell-tale forensic information as possible. In the process, some mix-ups occurred that gave the game away. In the gully where the victims’ bodies were laid out to be photographed by the foreign media, there curiously was no evidence of blood around the corpses (watch 00:25 – 00:41 seconds). The suspicion that the bodies were hastily dressed up in a different set of civilian clothes not their own, to mask the fact that they were soldiers, was also corroborated by the fact that holes in the victims’ clothing generally did not correspond to the entry wounds of the bullets that killed them.Judiciary as Continuation of Warfare: How the West Uses Srebrenica to Implement Thought-crime Legislation

But none of these details apparently bothered the Kosovo court when it issued its stern judgment against Todosijević for “incitement to ethnic, racial, and religious hate, disorder and intolerance,” just for pointing out some of these incongruities.

Both the court’s procedural swiftness and the categorical nature of its conclusions are understandable in light of the importance of Račak in the historical mythology earlier referred to. The ultimate objective was not to just sentence some poor chap for a thought crime, but something much larger than that. Račak is symbolically the corner-stone of the Kosovo Albanians’ own emerging “genocide” narrative. Never mind that this vacuous charge, raised during the NATO assault on Yugoslavia in 1999, was discarded shortly after peace was restored. It has recently been boldly reinstated, thus successfully questioning Račak would further undermine whatever scant credibility the protected narrative may have.

As the perennial source and model – at least in recent times – of the Balkan “genocide” epidemic, Srebrenica predictably could not long remain outside this picture. Professor Raphael Lemkin may be turning in his grave, but the Bosnia-Herzegovina High Representative Valentin Inzko seems determined not to be outdone by Kosovo Albanians. Just as in Pristina the hapless Todosijević was being court martialed for his incautious remark, in Sarajevo this month Inzko solemnly announced that he would at long last use his mythical “Bonn Powers” to impose a Srebrenica genocide denial law in that unlucky country. The reason such a measure was not enacted long ago was a quirk in the Dayton Agreement requiring consensus on vital interest issues and the Serb entity Republika Srpska’s adamant refusal to be a willing party in the suppression of scholarly research and public discussion of the dubious grounds for the “Srebrenica genocide” accusation leveled against it.

Interestingly, the “Bonn Powers” to override and impose laws and procedures in Bosnia, which Inzko invoked in order to circumvent the legal deadlock which prevents the passage of genocide denial legislation, are just as spurious as the “Srebrenica genocide” itself. The self-serving charade was utterly demolished by Dr. John Laughland several years ago. Such powers are not mentioned anywhere in the Dayton Agreement which ended the war in Bosnia and set up the current constitutional arrangements in that country. Nevertheless, these puzzling powers, whose origins remain unexplained on the website of the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia, were successfully invoked several times in the past by Inzko’s predecessors to punish and dismiss elected officials who refused to toe the line prescribed by NATO powers, greatly raising tensions and often causing havoc in the country’s political system.

The claim of genocide in July of 1995 in Srebrenica is just as vacuous as the assertion of “Bonn Powers” which may soon be used in Bosnia to prohibit questioning it. The Srebrenica narrative would have collapsed long ago but for the respectability conferred upon it by its corrupt enabler, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), whose dishonorable role in perpetuating the fraud has been conclusively unmasked by a team of international scholars. Oddly for a “genocide,” in Srebrenica there is no evidence whatsoever of dolus specialis, or prior intent to annihilate a group protected under the Genocide Convention (also here). As for the physical evidence, even the heavily manipulated ICTY autopsy reports support a finding of just under 2,000 deaths in Srebrenica, far short of 8,000, as officially claimed. But even those deaths were from a variety of causes, execution accounting for several hundred of the aggregate total.

And as if that were not enough to make Prof. Lemkin’s stomach churn, in 2012 ICTY formally ruled that in the Bosnian village of Zepa another, hitherto unnoticed “genocide” had occurred and that the grand total of just three victims (mayor, military commander, and local religious leader) was quite sufficient to prove it. The feature which, in the Chamber’s preposterous opinion, raised the matter to the coveted status of genocide was that the three individuals were key leaders without whom the local community would collapse and become unsustainable. Unsustainability equals extinction, and extinction equals – genocide. (See also Tolimir Judgment Summary, p. 7.) In a scathing dissenting opinion, Judge Prisca Nyambe, a member of the trial panel, protested vigorously against this absurdity, but to no avail.

With childlike simplicity, most Balkan contenders seemingly would love to be “genocided” by their local enemies provided, however, that they survived to tell the tale to the tabloid media. It is a pity that there appear to be no adults in the room to restrain their exuberance.

Posted in Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, YugoslaviaComments Off on Balkan ‘Genocides’ Are Not to be Questioned

NATO’s Continuing Enlargement Aims at Further Weakening of Russian Influence in the Balkans

By Paul Antonopoulos

Global Research,

Of the 29 NATO member states, 22 have already ratified the accession protocol of North Macedonia into the anti-Russian alliance. The ratification process will likely be completed before the end of NATO’s summit taking place in London this week, which will make North Macedonia the newest country in military alliance.

This now appears even more likely since U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave his endorsement, saying on Twitter:

“Pleased to announce the United States deposited its ratification of North Macedonia’s NATO Accession Protocol. One step closer to welcoming North Macedonia as NATO’s 30th Ally!”

This will make North Macedonia the fourth country out of the six successor states of Yugoslavia to become a NATO member, following Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro. With Bosnia effectively a NATO satellite, this leaves Serbia as the bulwark of anti-NATO and pro-Russia sentiment in the region, especially as the other fellow Balkan countries, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, are also NATO members.

The confusing Macedonia question was a key priority for Russia’s Balkan policy – North Macedonia is an overwhelmingly Orthodox and Slavic country that had the potential to become another pro-Russia state in the Balkans, alongside neighboring Serbia. However, North Macedonia since its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 pursued a pro-Western policy and joined the NATO program Partnership for Peace as early as 1995 and became a European Union candidate a decade later.

This had not discouraged Russian efforts to push North Macedonia out of the NATO sphere of influence. The governments in Athens and Skopje have competed over the name Macedonia since North Macedonia became independent from Yugoslavia, as Greece’s northern region is also confusingly called Macedonia. Effectively, as North Macedonia was continuously vetoed by Greece from joining NATO and the EU because of the name dispute, Russian efforts to radicalize Macedonian identity was encouraged. The strategy to radicalize Macedonian identity to be more anti-Western and pro-Russian was an effort to avoid a situation like the Prespa Agreement that brought a finalization to the Macedonian name dispute in 2018, opening the way for North Macedonia to join NATO and the EU, without a Greek veto.Is the ‘Greater Albania’ Project Aimed Against Russia in the Balkans?

The Prespa Agreement, named after a lake that traverses the borders of Greece, North Macedonia and Albania, defined exactly what was meant by “Macedonia” and “Macedonian.” For Greece, according to the agreement, these terms denote an area and people of Greece’s northern region, who continue the legacy of the Ancient Macedonian Hellenic civilization, history and culture, as well as the legacy of Alexander the Great. In reference to North Macedonia, these terms denote the modern territory of North Macedonia, Slavic language and Slavic people with their own history and culture unrelated to the Ancient Macedonians. The agreement also stipulates the removal of North Macedonian irredentist efforts against Greek territory and to align them with UNESCO and Council of Europe’s standards.

The radicalization of an independent Macedonian identity was in the hope that North Macedonians would reject the name change, despite the scholarly and historical consensus that the Ancient Macedonians were Greek. This hoped North Macedonian denunciation of the West was on the basis that resolving the name dispute goes against North Macedonian nationalist doctrine as any name change must support the historical reality that the Ancient Macedonians were Hellenes. This was a bad calculation that encouraged the North Macedonians to concentrate their efforts and resources on historical revisionism on not only Hellenic legacy, but also Bulgarian and Serbian, as  historical figures like King Samuel of Bulgaria, Ilyo Voyvoda, Aleksandar Turundzhev, Yane Sandanski, Hristo Batandzhiev and many others are claimed by both North Macedonia and Bulgaria, and the unrecognized and schismatic Macedonian Orthodox Church separated in an ugly divorce from the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1967.

This historical revisionism meant ignoring serious ambitions for a Greater Albania that expands into the western territories of North Macedonia. Ignoring efforts for Albanian expansionism, something that has been partially achieved with the Albanian control of Kosovo, has undermined North Macedonian security and opened the gates for it to become a major puppet of NATO to preserve their territorial integrity. As argued in a previous article, because the overwhelming majority of Albanians want a Greater Albania, it is unlikely to be achieved with Washington’s backing in Greece, Montenegro and North Macedonia as they do not pose a threat to U.S. hegemony in the Balkans, but rather serve it, by resisting Russian influence in the region.

As long as Skopje remains loyal to globalist agendas, the U.S. will not back Albanian expansionism in the country. However, the U.S. can certainly use the Albanian minority as a destabilizing force, as seen with Kosovo’s illegal declaration of independence and the 2001 Albanian uprising in North Macedonia. In addition to Washington having the option to use the Albanians as a destabilizing factor, the Albanians themselves may formant instability without U.S. backing as 53% of the approximately 500,000 Albanians in North Macedonia believe in a Greater Albania.

With Russian influencers failing to invigorate anti-NATO sentiment in North Macedonia, there comes the reality that the Balkan country, confident after the finalization of the name dispute, can now march into the hands of its new NATO puppet masters. It is for this reason that a senior Russian Foreign Ministry official said that:

“Russia’s position regarding the expansion of NATO is well known: it is a destructive process that undermines confidence and stability in Europe, leads to increased antagonism.”

According to the official, it is not a military threat that North Macedonia would pose to Russia but a set of risks to European security that “must be guaranteed by totally different methods, instead of involving this [Balkan] country in military planning of the Alliance and in an anti-Russian policy.”

Posted in USA, Europe, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, NATO, Russia, Serbia, YugoslaviaComments Off on NATO’s Continuing Enlargement Aims at Further Weakening of Russian Influence in the Balkans

The Baltic states are horrified of losing the Russian transit

by Ruslan Ostashko

The Balts with their typical sluggish thinking have started figuring out the consequences of losing the Russian transit. The horror of the realization forced the head of Latvia’s State Railway Administration to announce that the situation is close to critical.

In September, when I posted a video on the Russian policy of removal of the last transit from the Tribaltic Desolates, the independent russophobes were still putting up a brave front.

Only a short time has passed, and the sprat democracies started screeching in horror about what was going on and what will the consequences be for lovers of “eurointegration”.

“The volumes of cargo are low enough already and decreased by 12.5% during nine months in comparison to last year. The IV quarter is much worse. It is especially bad with coal, which was our savior. Now, coal turnover volumes are so low that they are worse than even the most pessimistic predictions we made half a year ago” – the director of Latvia’s State Railway Administration Juris Iesalnieks complained.

Suddenly the svidomiye Latvians understood that if you bully the Russians for many years by doing the Nazi salute and screaming “compensation for occupation” it can end badly. Except they understood it only when the process became irreversible.

Now the nezalezhniki (independents) can only lament the perfidy of the cursed moskals.

“Latvia confirms that the Russian government made an agreement with enterprises occupied in the transit business that specified the timetable for the removal of their cargo from the Baltic ports”. “This time the government of Russia took the matter very seriously. We are already seeing it now. As soon as this fall” – Iesalnieks noted.

Translated from the politically correct language the whining of the Latvian official means that the Russian government stopped feeding the russophobes. And the latter quickly felt the disappearance of food. And they felt if with many parts of their independent economic organism at the same time.

“Due to the fall in the turnover of goods the Latvian Railways company received a directive from the Ministry for Transport to reconsider expenses. Possible layoffs are being considered. The project for electrification of Latvian railways is up in the air. European Union funds had assigned €318 million for it but Riga must find another €100 million to realize it. And if the transit turnover is falling, there is no point in electrification”.

Woosh – it turns out that the economic plans of the proud Latvian republic were only based on retaining the cursed occupation transit. But these plans cannot be realized without it, even with significant European subventions.

’The government supports this project on the condition that it will not impact the state budget and government obligations. If Latvian Railways has to go to the government asking for subsidies, they will not receive support’ – the Minister for Transport Tālis Linkaits warns

Isn’t it lovely? Only for the first half of 2019 Latvian ports have lost 12.4% of goods turnover. For individual indicators – anthracite transit for example – the losses are even higher. The offloading of Russian coal of this category fell a whole 20%.

Svidomyie, didn’t you want independence from the cursed moskals? Well, there it is, you’re welcome.

“Russian ports in the Baltics demonstrate steady growth. The highest growth rates are in the port of Vysotsk. For the first 10 months of 2019 the cargo turnover here increased 15%. This was due to oil-products, the appearance of the terminal for production and shipment of liquefied natural gas. The cargo turnover of the very large Ust-Luga port increased 10%. The highest rate of growth concerns shipping of mineral fertilizers, ferrous metals and containers. The turnover in Primorsk, which specializes on oil and oil-products, increased 6%. The port of Saint Petersburg added 2%”.

Our only Baltic port where shipping has decreased is Vyborg. Although I believe the situation there can be corrected. Other ports are rapidly broadening their infrastructure.

“In Ust-Luga a complex for storage and transshipping of mineral fertilizers is being built. The plan is that by the middle of 2020 there will be new facilities capable of processing 5 million tons of goods per year. By 2022 transshipping will increase to 12 million tons per year. In Ust-Luga there are also plans to create artificial agricultural lands, which will allow to transfer up to 7 million tons of grain and 2 million tons of food cargo.

In Primorsk by 2022 a huge universal transshipping complex will be put into operation. Its throughput capacity will reach 70 million tons per year, which will be 20% of the total goods turnover of Russian ports in the Baltic Sea. The main types of cargo that will be processed in the port – coal, mineral fertilizers, containers, metal products and grain. Additionally, a depot logistical center will be built on a territory of over 50 hectares”.

I think is not necessary to ruminate over how this will lead to an even worse drying up of the Baltic states transit. Consequently, this will lead to multiple problems in the economy of the independent Tribaltic Desolates.

Speaking of independence. Only recently the entire Russian liberal crowd screeched in unison about secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. The chief editor of Echo of Moscow got so worked up about it pacing to and fro in the Yeltsin Center that he fell off the stage.

He alleged that cursed Stalin occupied the independent Baltic states. Although, for some reason the liberals keep silent about another agreement according to which Russia in fact bought the Balts outright.

“Why is no one condemning the pact of Peter I and Charles XII according to which we bought all these chukhontsy (prej. ‘man of Finno-Ugric origin’) from Sweden? It’s just as horrible: two tyrants decided the fate of the free Baltic peoples. If only they had decided that, in fact one of them simply sold several nations to another for cash”.

“We should present a bill to the chukhontsy. Converted to euros and with added percentage. It will be fair. Because they keep adding something up for us among themselves…”

“Sweden got rid of them and filled its treasury handsomely, while we bought ourselves some hemorrhoids out of the kindness of our hearts”.

The age of the kindness of the Russian soul towards the Balts has come to an end, and now Moscow is consistently getting rid of the ‘svidomyi sprat’ hemorrhoid. Using surgery. And the Latvians have the insolence of whining instead of rejoicing for the advent of ultimate independence.

Look here, svidomyie, you should present your grievances to the Swedes now, they are the ones who sold you to the cursed moskals. At the same time, you can take the opportunity to sue the Teutonic Order in the European Court of Human Rights, since its knights oppressed your ancestors. In case you didn’t know, this order still officially exists.

Let it and the Swedes replace the disappearing Russian transit, so that there can be a complete and final “eurointegration”, without a trace of ‘cursed moskals.’

Posted in Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, YugoslaviaComments Off on The Baltic states are horrified of losing the Russian transit

‘People Here Will Start Dying’: Dire Warnings as Stranded Refugees Freeze in Hellish Conditions Near Bosnia-Croatia Border

The conditions of the refugee camp are being decried as “not for human beings” as officials demanded immediate relief for those languishing there.

by: Jon Queally,

Migrants queue to receive aid distributed by Turkish Red Crescent at the camp 'Vucjak' near Bihac in Bosnia and Herzegovina on November 21, 2019. More than 700 irregular migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries continue their lives in makeshift tents, located 15 kilometers from the Croatian border. Turkish Red Crescent distributed sweaters, blankets, sleeping-bags, toothpastes and towels. (Photo: Kayhan Gul/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Migrants queue to receive aid distributed by Turkish Red Crescent at the camp ‘Vucjak’ near Bihac in Bosnia and Herzegovina on November 21, 2019. More than 700 irregular migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries continue their lives in makeshift tents, located 15 kilometers from the Croatian border. Turkish Red Crescent distributed sweaters, blankets, sleeping-bags, toothpastes and towels. (Photo: Kayhan Gul/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Human rights defenders and aid organizations are issuing dire warnings this week after witnessing the hellish conditions of an encampment of stranded refugees in the freezing forests of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

An envoy of officials on Tuesday visited the camp known as Vucjak—situated approximately five miles from the nearby border with Croatia in a forest that has grown atop a former landfill—where they saw hundreds of migrants huddled in leaking and drafty tents as temperatures in the region have dropped to freezing or below.

“Vucjak must be shut down today,” said Dunja Mijatovic, commissioner for human rights at the Council of Europe and a member of the delegation. “Otherwise the people here will start dying.”

Mijatovic said that as a citizen of Bosnia, she was “ashamed” of how the refugees were being treated, decried the conditions of the refugee camp as “not for human beings,” and called for immediate relief for those languishing there.

Ian Bancroft@bancroftian

It is hard to express just how harsh the winter in #Bosnia#Herzegovina can be, especially for those who’ve fled their homes with only the most meagre of possessions – “‘People are not animals’; stranded #migrants freeze in #Bosnian forest”. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-bosnia/people-are-not-animals-stranded-migrants-freeze-in-bosnian-forest-idUSKBN1Y71SM …

‘People are not animals’; stranded migrants freeze in Bosnian forestHundreds of migrants and refugees stuck in a makeshift camp in a Bosnian forest are struggling to survive in subzero temperatures as snow weighs down on their tents, spurring fears that some may die…reuters.com1311:08 AM – Dec 4, 2019

According to Reuters:

Bosnia is struggling to deal with an upsurge in migrant numbers since Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia closed their borders against undocumented immigration. The migrants hope to get to wealthy western Europe and find work there.

Some lacked warm clothes and were wrapped in blankets, some traipsed through the snow and mud in flip-flops to collect firewood. One man brushed snow from the roof of his tent to prevent it collapsing.

Al-Jazeera also reported Tuesday from the Vucjak camp:

An 24-year-old Afghan man identified as Mauloddin, who set off from his war-torn homeland more than three years ago to seek refuge in Europe, told Reuters, “You see… it’s very cold weather, (there is) no sleeping, no food.”

“People are people,” he added, “not animals.”

Rezwanullay Niazy, also a 24-year-old Afghan, said: “We spent all our money… We came close to Europe, and now they closed the Croatian and Slovenian borders. When we go there they strike us, they hit us.”

Posted in Bosnia, CroatiaComments Off on ‘People Here Will Start Dying’: Dire Warnings as Stranded Refugees Freeze in Hellish Conditions Near Bosnia-Croatia Border

Exposing Nazi role in Bosnian genocide

NOVANEWS

Supreme Court rules against exposing ”Israel” role in Bosnian genocide

Supreme Court rules against exposing Israel’s role in Bosnian genocide

Citing potential damage to Israel’s foreign relations, the Supreme Court rejects a petition calling to reveal details of the government’s arms exports to the Serbian army during the Bosnian genocide.

By John Brown

A mass grave in Bosnia. (ICTY)

A mass grave in Bosnia. (ICTY)

Israel’s Supreme Court last month rejected a petition to reveal details of Israeli defense exports to the former Yugoslavia during the genocide in Bosnia in the 1990s. The court ruled that exposing Israeli involvement in genocide would damage the country’s foreign relations to such an extent that it would outweigh the public interest in knowing that information, and the possible prosecution of those involved.

The petitioners, Attorney Itay Mack and Professor Yair Oron, presented the court with concrete evidence of Israeli defense exports to Serbian forces at the time, including training as well as ammunition and rifles. Among other things, they presented the personal journal of General Ratko Mladić, currently on trial at the International Court of Justice for committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Mladić’s journal explicitly mentions Serbia’s ample arms ties with Israel at the time.

The exports took place long after the UN Security Council placed an arms embargo on various parts of the former Yugoslavia, and after the publication of a series of testimonies exposing genocide and the creation of concentration camps.

The Israeli State Attorney’s reply and the court’s rejection of the petition are a de facto admission by Israel that it cooperated with the Bosnian genocide: if the government had nothing to hide, the documents under discussion would not pose any threat to foreign relations.

The most horrific acts of cruelty since the Holocaust

Between 1991 and 1995 the former Yugoslavia shattered, going from a multi-national republic to an assemblage of nations fighting each other in a bloody civil war that included massacres and ultimately genocide.

The Serbs waged war against Croatia from 1991-1992, and against Bosnia from 1992-1995. In both wars the Serbs committed genocide and ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the areas they occupied, leading to the deaths of 250,000 people. Tens of thousands of others were wounded and starved, a multitude of women were raped, and many people were incarcerated in concentration camps. Other parties to the conflict also committed war crimes, but the petition focuses on Israel’s collaboration with the Serbian forces. The horrendously cruel acts in Yugoslavia were the worst Europe had seen since the Holocaust.

Ratko Mladić. Evidence of Israeli arms deals was found in his journal. (Mikhail Estefayev)

Ratko Mladić. Evidence of Israeli arms deals was found in his journal. (Mikhail Estefayev)

One of the most notorious massacres was perpetrated by soldiers serving under Serbian General Ratko Mladić around the city of Srebrenica in July 1995. Serbian forces commanded by the general murdered about 8,000 Bosnians and buried them in mass graves in the course of a campaign of ethnic cleansing they were waging against Muslims in the area. Although the city was supposed to be under UN protection, when the massacre began UN troops did not intervene. Mladić was extradited to the International Court of Justice at The Hague in 2012, and is still on trial.

At the time, prominent Jewish organizations were calling for an immediate end to the genocide and shutting down the death camps. Not so the State of Israel. Outwardly it condemned the massacre, but behind the scenes was supplying weapons to the perpetrators and training their troops.

Attorney Mack and Professor Oron have gathered numerous testimonies about the Israeli arms supply to Serbia, which they presented in their petition. They provided evidence of such exports taking place long after the UN Security Council embargo went into effect in September 1991. The testimonies have been crossed-checked and are brought here as they were presented in the petition, with necessary abbreviations.

In 1992 a former senior official of the Serb Ministry of Defense published a bookThe Serbian Army, in which she wrote about the arms deal between Israel and Serbia, signed about a month after the embargo: “One of the largest deals was made in October 1991. For obvious reasons, the deal with the Jews was not made public at the time.”

An Israeli who volunteered in a humanitarian organization in Bosnia at the time testified that in 1994 a UN officer asked him to look at the remains of 120 mm shell — with Hebrew writing on it  that exploded on the landing strip of the Sarajevo airfield. He also testified that he saw Serbs moving around in Bosnia carrying Uzi guns made in Israel.

A concentration camp in Bosnia. (ITN)

A concentration camp in Bosnia. (ITN)

In 1995 it was reported that Israeli arms dealers in collaboration with the French closed a deal to supply Serbia with LAW missiles. According to reports from 1992, a delegation of the Israeli Ministry of Defense came to Belgrade and signed an agreement to supply shells.

The same General Mladić who is now being prosecuted for war crimes and genocide, wrote in his journal that “from Israel — they proposed joint struggle against Islamist extremists. They offered to train our men in Greece and a free supply of sniper rifles.” A report prepared at the request of the Dutch government on the investigation of the Srebrenica events contains the following: “Belgrade considered Israel, Russia and Greece its best friends. In autumn 1991 Serbia closed a secret arms deal with Israel.”

In 1995 it was reported that Israeli arms dealers supplied weapons to VRS — the army of Republika Srpska, the Bosnian Serb Army. This supply must have been made with the knowledge of the Israeli government.

The Serbs were not the only party in this war to which the Israeli arms dealers tried to sell weapons. According to reports, there was also an attempt to make a deal with the anti-Semitic Croatian regime, which eventually fell through. The petition also presented reports by human rights activists about Israelis training the Serb army, and that the arms deal with the Serbs enabled Jews to leave Sarajevo, which was under siege.

While all of this was taking place in relative secrecy, at the public level the government of Israel lamely expressed its misgivings about the situation, as if this were some force majeure and not a manmade slaughter. In July 1994, then-Chairman of the Israeli Knesset’s Foreign Relations and Defense Committee MK Ori Or visited Belgrade and said: “Our memory is alive. We know what it means to live with boycotts. Every UN resolution against us has been taken with a two-thirds majority.” That year, Vice President of the US at the time, Al Gore, summoned the Israeli ambassador and warned Israel to desist from this cooperation.

Incidentally, in 2013 Israel had no problem extraditing to Bosnia-Herzegovina a citizen who immigrated to Israel seven years earlier and was wanted for suspicion of involvement in a massacre in Bosnia in 1995. In other words, at some point the state itself recognized the severity of the issue.

The Supreme Court in the service of war crimes

The Supreme Court session on the state’s reply to the petition was held ex parte, i.e. the petitioners weren’t allowed to hear it. Justices Danziger, Mazouz and Fogelman rejected the petition and accepted the state’s position that revealing the details of Israeli defense exports to Serbia during the genocide would damage Israel’s foreign relations and security, and that this potential damage exceeds the public’s interest in exposing what happened.

A mass grave at Srebrenica, where Serbian forces massacred around 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in 1995. (Adam Jones)

A mass grave at Srebrenica, where Serbian forces massacred around 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in 1995. (Adam Jones)

This ruling is dangerous for several reasons. Firstly, the court’s acceptance of the state’s certainty in how much damage would be caused to Israel’s foreign relations is perplexing. Earlier this year, the same Supreme Court rejected a similar claim regarding defense exports during the Rwandan genocide, yet a month later the state itself declared that the exports were halted six days after the killing started. If even the state does not see any harm in revealing — at least partially — this information regarding Rwanda, why was a sweeping gag imposed on the subject a month prior? Why did the Supreme Court justices overlook this deception, even refusing to accept it as evidence as the petitioners requested? After all, the state has obviously exaggerated in its claim that this information would be damaging to foreign relations.

Secondly, it is very much in the public’s interest to expose the state’s involvement in genocide, including through arms dealers, particularly as a state that was founded upon the devastation of its people following the Holocaust. It was for this reason that Israel was, for example, willing to disregard Argentina’s sovereignty when it kidnapped Eichmann and brought him to trial on its own soil. It is in the interest not only of Israelis, but also of those who were victims of the Holocaust. When the court considers war crimes, it is only proper for it to consider their interest as well.

When the court rules in cases of genocide that damage to state security — which remains entirely unproven — overrides the pursuit of justice for the victims of such crimes, it is sending a clear message: that the state’s right to security, whether real or imaginary, is absolute, and takes precedence over the rights of its citizens and others.

The Supreme Court’s ruling might lead one to conclude that the greater the crime, the easier it is to conceal. The more arms sold and the more genocide perpetrators trained, the greater the damage to the state’s foreign relations and security should such crimes be exposed, and the weight of such supposed damage will necessarily override the public interest. This is unacceptable. It turns the judges — as the petitioners have put it — into accomplices. The justices thus also make an unwitting Israeli public complicit in war crimes, and deny them the democratic right to conduct the relevant discussion.

The state faces a series of similar requests regarding its collaboration with the murderers of the Argentinian Junta, Pinochet’s regime in Chile, and Sri Lanka. Attorney Mack intends to present additional cases by the end of this year. Even if it is in the state’s interest to reject these petitions, the Supreme Court must stop helping to conceal these crimes — if not for the sake of prosecuting perpetrators of past atrocities, at least in order to put a stop to them in our time.



Posted in ZIO-NAZI, BosniaComments Off on Exposing Nazi role in Bosnian genocide

Globalism’s First Victim. NATO’s War on Yugoslavia

NOVANEWS

David Orchard led the anti-war campaign across Canada relentlessly mobilizing support against NATO’s war on Yugoslavia.

March 24, 2018 commemorates the 19th anniversary of  NATO’s war on Yugoslavia.

This article was originally published by Toronto’s National Post on June 23, 1999.

David Orchard (image left)

In March [1999], the most powerful military force in history attacked tiny Yugoslavia (one fifth the size of Saskatchewan) and after seventy-nine days of flagrantly illegal bombing forced an occupation of Kosovo. Admitting its intention was to break Yugoslavia’s spirit, NATO targeted civilian structures, dropping over 23,000 bombs (500 Canadian) and cruise missiles in a campaign of terror bombing, dNATO’s War on Yugoslaviaescribed recently by Alexander Solzhenitsyn as follows: “I don’t see any difference in the behaviour of NATO and of Hitler. NATO wants to erect its own order in the world and it needs Yugoslavia simply as an example: We’ll punish Yugoslavia and the whole rest of the planet will tremble.”

The idea that NATO attacked Yugoslavia to solve a humanitarian crisis is about as credible as Germany’s claim in 1939 that it was invading Poland to prevent “Polish atrocities.” The United Nations Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported the first registered refugees out of Kosovo on March 27th — three days after the bombing began. Civilian casualties after twenty-one days of bombing exceeded all casualties on both sides in Kosovo in the three months before the war.

In an all out effort to convince public opinion that Yugoslavia deserved the onslaught, Western politicians and media are churning out endless accusations of Serb atrocities, while the proven and infinitely greater atrocities of NATO — launching an aggressive war, using internationally outlawed cluster bombs and firing depleted uranium ammunition into Yugoslavia — are buried.

Why did NATO attack Yugoslavia and why are Serbs — Canada’s staunch allies in both World Wars, with 1.5 million dead resisting Hitler’s Nazis and Italian Fascism — being demonized?

Most 19th century wars were over trade. When the U.S. invaded Canada in 1812, Andrew Jackson declared, “We are going to… vindicate our right to a free trade, and open markets… and to carry the Republican standard to the Heights of Abraham.” In 1839, Britain demanded China accept its opium and attacked when China said no. When Thailand refused British trading demands in 1849, Britain “found its presumption unbounded” and decided “a better disposed King [be] placed on the throne… and through him, we might, beyond doubt, gain all we desire.”

In 1999, NATO said it was attacking Yugoslavia to force it to sign the Rambouillet “peace agreement” (even though the Vienna Convention states that any treaty obtained by force or the threat of force is void).

Significantly, Rambouillet stipulated:

“The economy of Kosovo shall function in accordance with free market principles” and “There shall be no impediments to the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital to and from Kosovo.”

During the war, Bill Clinton elaborated:

“If we’re going to have a strong economic relationship that includes our ability to sell around the world Europe has got to be the key; that’s what this Kosovo thing is all about… It’s globalism versus tribalism.”

“Tribalism” was the word used by 19th century free trade liberals to describe nationalism. And this war was all about threatening any nation which might have ideas of independence.

Yugoslavia had a domestically controlled economy, a strong publicly owned sector, a good (and free) health care system and its own defence industry. It had many employee owned factories — its population was resisting wholesale privatization. It produced its own pharmaceuticals, aircraft and Yugo automobile. It refused to allow U.S. military bases on its soil. According to the speaker of the Russian Duma:

“Yugoslavia annoys NATO because it conducts an independent policy, does not want to join NATO and has an attractive geographic position.”

Ottawa, cutting medicare, agricultural research, social housing and shelters for battered women, spent tens of millions to bomb Yugoslavia and is spending millions more occupying Kosovo, while abandoning its own sovereignty to U.S. demands, from magazines to fish, wheat and lumber. It is expropriating part of British Columbia for the U.S. military and considering the U.S. dollar as North America’s currency. Now, the Liberals have thrown our reputation as a peace keeper into the trash can, along with the rule of international law, by smashing a small country to pieces at the behest of Washington.

In a March 28 New York Times article, Thomas Friedman wrote:

“For globalization to work, America can’t be afraid to act like the almighty superpower that it is… The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”

As NATO troops entered Kosovo, the same newspaper announced Kosovo’s new currency will be the U.S. dollar or German mark, currencies of the two countries most responsible for Yugoslavia’s break-up. And after months of being told that Slobodan Milosevic was the problem, we heard Washington Balkans expert, Daniel Serwer, explain:

“It’s not a single person that’s at issue, there’s a regime in place in Belgrade that is incompatible with the kind of economy that the World Bank… has to insist on…”

The Canadian government professes great interest in human rights. Globalization undermines both democracy and national sovereignty, the only guarantors of human rights. Unfortunately for Messrs. Clinton, Chretien et al, that message was not lost on millions around the world watching NATO bombs pulverize Yugoslavia.



Posted in Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, YugoslaviaComments Off on Globalism’s First Victim. NATO’s War on Yugoslavia

Ratko Mladic – war criminal

NOVANEWS

The suicide on 29 November 2017 of former Bosnian Croat general Slobodan Praljak after he failed to get his conviction for war crimes overturned has slightly overshadowed the conviction last week of Ratko Mladic, former general of the Bosnian Serb army, for war crimes and the life sentenced imposed on him, writes Geoff Ryan. Mladic’s conviction was just about the last act of the Hague based International  Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) before it winds up next week.

With the jailing of Mladic most of those responsible for war crimes committed by Serb forces in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina and by Croat forces in Bosnia Herzegovina are either dead or in jail. Former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, his Croatian counterpart Franjo Tudjman, leader of the Serb Autonomous Republic of Krajina (ARK) Milan Babic and Mate Boban,  his Croat counterpart in Herceg-Bosna  (the attempt by Croat forces to carve out parts of Bosnia), Serb paramilitary leader Arkan) have died while former leader of the Bosnian Serbs  Radovan Karadzic, Milan Martic who replaced Milan Babic as leader of the ARK when Babic fell  out with Milosevic and now Mladic are in prison as a result of decisions by the tribunal.

The one major player who has escaped prison is Vojislav Seselj, leader of the Serbian Radical Party whose paramilitary Cetniks were guilty of many murders in Croatia and Bosnia. Bizarrely Seselj was found not guilty of all charges in 2016.

Of course many minor players remain at large and unlikely to ever face any criminal charges. Current Serbia President Aleksandar Vucic is a former member of Seselj’s Serbian Radical Party but his pro-western leanings will almost certainly mean he is fairly safe from anyone enquiring too closely into his role in Serbian wars of aggression. Or of his allowing both Karadzic and Mladic to openly move about Serbia and Republika SrpskaRepublika Srpska is the part of Bosnia carved out by Mladic and Karadzic, with the acquiescence of western governments.  Milorad Dudik, current leader of Republika Srpska, is probably also safe despite his close ties to Karadzic and Mladic.

In fact as Jonathan Freedland pointed out in the Guardian last Saturday (25th November), Mladic would probably have avoided jail if he hadn’t been arrested when he was. Western governments no longer have an appetite for arresting war criminals. Though Freedland could also have pointed out that western governments have rarely had such an appetite: after all they collaborated with Milosevic for a long time. The Dayton accords on Bosnia, engineered by the US government, rewarded Milosevic for his wars of aggression. Milosevic was quite willing to dump Karadzic and Mladic to gain support from western governments. It was only in 1999 when Serbian forces renewed war against the Albanian majority population in Kosova that the British and US governments decided that Milosevic had to go.

And some of the worst war criminals are missing from Freedland’s arguments: Henry Kissinger and Ariel Sharon are notable absentees, though hardly surprising given Freedland’s support for Zionism. And the US boycotts international war crimes tribunals and is clear that it will never allow US soldiers to be put on trial by such bodies, however heinous the crimes.

Break up of former Yugoslavia

The jailing of Mladic is of enormous historical importance, not least because some of the issues involved also have current relevance. The most important of these is the attitude socialists should take towards the national question. Most of the left, with some exceptions, hopelessly failed to understand the importance of the national question in the wars of aggression carried out by Milosevic against Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. They simply equated Serb, Croatian and Bosniak nationalism without, at the very least, recognising that ‘Bosniak’ nationalism was about the unity of Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims, alongside all other nationalities living in Bosnia.

Some had nostalgia for the old Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a laudable enough sentiment, but then saw Milosevic as the continuer of Tito’s legacy. They failed to understand that by oppressing the Albanian majority in Kosova, by replacing party leaders in Kosova and Vojvodina (both autonomous provinces within Serbia at the time) and Montenegro with yes-men Milosevic was giving rise to the Serbian domination of Yugoslavia that Tito had deliberately tried to prevent in the 1974 Constitution.

This nostalgia was frequently mistaken in that many of those supporting ‘Yugoslavia’ appeared to be unaware that Tito had broken with Stalin and the leadership of the Soviet Union. They saw everything through the prism of the cold war and therefore saw the break-up of Yugoslavia as an imperialist plot, usually a German plot. In one of the ironies of history, the most enthusiastic supporters of Milosevic were the government of Russia, led by Vladimir Putin.

Others saw the conflict between Serbia and Croatia as a conflict between two equally bad nationalisms, with nothing to choose between Milosevic and Croatian President Franjo Tudjman. The frequent references to the pro-Nazi independent Croatian state and the brutality of the Ustase (and failure to mention the pro-Nazi regime in Belgrade, the first in Europe to declare itself to be Judenrein, free of Jews) in fact suggested a preference for Milosevic.

In fact the central conflict was that between Milosevic and the leadership of the League of Communists of Slovenia. The Slovenes wanted a loose, confederal structure to Yugoslavia while Milosevic and the leadership in Serbia wanted a more rigid, highly centralised structure with Serbia having a dominant role. When the Slovene leadership exercised their right to independence under the 1974 constitution the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) intervened militarily. While the Slovenes resisted there is no doubt that the JNA could have defeated Slovene forces and forced Slovenia to remain within Yugoslavia. The reason they didn’t was because Milosevic had no interest in Slovenia. Unlike Yugoslavia as a whole (with its 6 nations, 10 nationalities and at least another 15 national minorities) Slovenia was relatively ethnically homogenous. Most importantly for Milosevic there were very few Serbs.

However, once Slovenia left Yugoslavia it was a certainty that the Croatian leadership would follow suit, especially since the by now Croatian nationalist Franjo Tudjman was in charge. War was more or less inevitable as large numbers of Serbs lived in Croatia and Milosevic was determined to create a Greater Serbia. The Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), with its headquarters in the town of Knin in the Krajina, ensured Serbs were well armed and ready to resist all attempts by the Croatian government to impose its rule. But the SDS was essentially a creation of Milosevic – to the extent that Milosevic replaced Milan Babic with Milan Martic when Babic dared to disagree with him.

The war in Croatia was exceptionally brutal towns such as Vukovar were systematically destroyed by the JNA, Arkan’s ‘Tigers’ and Seselj’s Cetniks. The beautiful Adriatic tourist city of Dubrovnik was shelled for the duration of the war. (It has since been sensitively rebuilt and remains one of the most attractive cities on the planet, as well as providing some of the locations for ‘Game of Thrones’).

But the war of Croatian independence (as it is known in Croatia) was in many ways a dress rehearsal for the even more brutal war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Bosnian government had initially supported remaining within the rump Yugoslavia of Serbia and Montenegro but the brutality of the Serb war machine in Croatia persuaded Bosnian President Izetbegovic that independence was necessary.

While Ratko Mladic had been involved in war in Croatia, it is his role in Bosnia that has made him infamous and for which he is now serving a life sentence. Mladic was responsible for the 3 year siege of Sarajevo during which Serb artillery shelled the city on a regular basis and snipers made going about one’s daily business a serious risk of death. Mladic was also responsible for the massacre of over 7,000 Bosniak men at Srebrenica, a supposedly ‘safe area’ ‘protected’ by UN troops. The Dutch troops did nothing to prevent the massacre. Other ‘safe areas’ were overrun by Mladic’s troops.

Support for self determination

So how do wars in the 1990s in former Yugoslavia relate to current issues? The main issue is the national question and our attitude as socialists to national self-determination. The most brutal example of refusal to grant any sort of self-determination (self-determination does not necessarily imply independence) is currently in Myanmar, with the expulsion of the Rohyngas.  The Kurdish people are currently denied any right to self-determination in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey. Western governments are resolutely against any Kurdish state, not even as reward for the leading role Kurds played in the fight against Islamic State.  We support the right of the Rohynga Muslim minority to be recognised as a nation alongside the majority Burmese nation and we are fully in support of the right of the Kurdish people to their own state.

Most of the left in western Europe would probably agree with those sentiments. But other issues are thornier: in particular the attitude of socialists to independence movements in Catalonia and Scotland. The main leftist group in the Spanish state Podemos has resolutely set its face against independence for Catalonia.

Of course Catalan independence is illegal but that is because the constitution of the Spanish state essentially continues Franco’s rule and makes it illegal to secede from the Spanish state. Tito’s constitution in Yugoslavia was vastly more democratic, at least in theory. But just as Yugoslavia had different nations – each, again in theory, with their own republic within the Socialist Federation of Yugoslavia – so does the Spanish state. At the very least Catalans, Basques and Galicians do not consider themselves to be ‘Spanish’. They undoubtedly have the right to self-determination, including the right to independence.

Whether or not they exercise that right is up to the people of Catalonia, the Basque country and Galicia. That is, all the people living in those parts of the Spanish state, not just Catalans or Basques or Galicians. That is basically what the now deposed Catalan government tried to do and it is totally unacceptable for a majority ‘Spanish’ party like Podemos to impose the views of the dominant nationality on national minorities.

Similarly sections of the British left have refused to support Scottish independence on the grounds of maintaining a unified Labour movement. They denounce nationalism as divisive while failing to recognise they are also expressing nationalist views. Once again members of the dominant English nationality want to impose their views on a national minority.

Of course the situation in Catalonia and Scotland today in no way resembles Yugoslavia in the 1990s. There is no equivalent of Serb paramilitaries fuelled by Serb nationalism. There is no Slobodan Milosevic. There is no Radovan Karadzic. There is no Ratko Mladic. But nobody in 1980s Yugoslavia foresaw the rise of Serb nationalism until Milosevic began to wage war against the Albanian majority in Kosova. And many hoped it would soon pass over. After all many considered themselves Yugoslavs, just as many in the Spanish state consider themselves ‘Spanish’ and in Britain ‘British’.



Posted in Bosnia, Croatia, SerbiaComments Off on Ratko Mladic – war criminal

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