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Part 1 of 2

Who Wants A One World Government?
by Michael Barker
© Michael Barker 2009
(Swans - April 6, 2009)

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Throughout the past century, liberal elites organizing to build the institutional foundations for a one world government have regularly acted as whipping boys for conservative commentators who accuse them of conspiring to enmesh the global populace within the oppressive chains of communism. In the past, popular promoters of such misconceptions have been derived from far-right groups like the John Birch Society, but more recently the accusations have come from top religious and political leaders like Pat Robertson and Ron Paul. In the eyes of these conservative commentators, liberal elites stand guilty of promoting a one world government, or New World Order, designed to rein in individual freedom and enslave humanity. The most notable ringleader elites of this conspiracy include influential neo-centrics like George Soros (who founded the Open Society Institute), and members of the Rockefeller family -- most notably David Rockefeller and the liberal foundations that receive funding from his family.

Like most widely accepted analyses presented in the mainstream media this conservative interpretation of world events comprises an element of truth. Consequently, this article analyses the conservative interpretation of world events. It reviews the ongoing activities of groups that openly acknowledge their desire to promote a one world government and goes on to critique the left's approach to global government. It will demonstrate how the critical onslaught from the Right has, to date, served to prevent the progressive community from engaging in this critical debate; that is, the debate to shape the future of global politics to enable us to create a new peaceful world order. Finally, it offers a progressive theoretical framework to expose the disturbing ambitions of the liberal elite.

World Federalists, "Socialists," and Gorbachev Power

Elite aspirations for creating more efficient means of managing the world are not new. One of the most significant US-based organizations pushing this global agenda has been the American branch of the World Federalist Movement, a group that was first known as the World Federalists of America. Formed in the aftermath of World War I, the World Federalists of America "call[ed] for the formation of a world government with the power to make and enforce laws which will control pollution of the earth's atmosphere and water, curb the waste of its resources, and dismantle the war machines of all nations." Later, as Joseph Baratta recounts in his book, The Politics of World Federation: From World Federalism to Global Governance (Praeger, 2004), by 1939:

...as the League [of Nations] collapsed, bolder spirits began to call for establishment of a true world
federal government, by delegation of sovereign powers at least for the maintenance of peace and security. ... They included Clarence Streit, author of the book that practically conjured up the movement, Union Now. Another was Tom Otto Greissemer, German émigré from Hilter's Reich, who edited World Government News. Gressemer, educator Vernon Nash, and advertising executive Mildred Riorden Blake founded the World Federalists in New York in 1941. The Wall Street lawyer and "statesman incognito" behind the Wilson and Roosevelt administrations, Grenville Clark, had some influence when the times were auspicious, and later he and Harvard international lawyer Louis B. Sohn wrote one of the classics of the movement, World Peace through World Law. (p. 3)


In 1947, this group along with World Federalists of America met in Asheville, North Carolina, with representatives of three other like-minded world-federalist organizations to merge to become the United World Federalists which boasted a roster that "read like a Who's Who of academe, science, politics, the media, the legal community, business, and labor." (1) Although this newly-formed group had substantial support from the elites, Baratta observed that in its early days, "The only substantial money to come into the [World Federalist] movement -- $1 million from McCormick reaper heiress Anita McCormick Blaine -- funded the Foundation for World Government." (2) In later years United World Federalists would undergo a number of name changes before finally settling on their current name Citizens for Global Solutions (in 2004).

Following sustained attacks from radical conservatives like Pat Robertson (author of The New World Order), world federalists have become sensitive to openly declaring ambitions to create a world government. However, the former president of the World Federalist Movement, (1991-2004), the late Sir Peter Ustinov, has openly stated that a "World Government is not only possible, it is inevitable..."; similarly, in 1992, Strobe Talbott, writing for Time magazine famously quipped, "I'll bet that within the next hundred years... nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority." (3) Significantly, David Rockefeller noted in his memoirs, how some quarters considered the Rockefeller family "internationalists" who "conspire[d] with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure, one world, if you will." His response to this accusation was: "If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it." (4) On this point, Baratta observes how "Federalists want world government, like any government, not as a good in itself but as the necessary instrument to establish peace and justice. Not to talk of government is not to face squarely the issue of willing the means for the end." (p.536)

Since 2004 the work of the World Federalists of America has been presided over by the Very Rev. Lois Wilson. Just prior to becoming the acting president of the World Federalist Movement (in 2004), Rev. Wilson served as Canada's special envoy to the Sudan (1999-2002), (5) but she had also been the first Canadian to be the president of the World Council of Churches (1983-90). Around this time, Rev. Joan Brown Campbell became the first woman to be named executive director of the US office of the World Council of Churches -- a position she held from 1985 until 1991. To date Rev. Campbell is an influential member of the globalist interfaith community and is presently a board member of the World Council of Religious Leaders and The Interfaith Alliance, while she chairs the Global Women's Peace Initiative (a group whose executive director, Marianne Marstrand, is the sister-in-law of the world's leading globalists, Maurice Strong). (6)

In 1983, the World Federalist Movement formed the Institute for Global Policy, which acts as their research arm. In 2003, the Institute launched their Responsibility to Protect-Engaging Civil Society Project (R2PCS) that ostensibly "seeks to promote commitment by the international community to prevent and respond early and effectively to threats of genocide and other mass atrocities." Stephen Gowans recently exposed the selective nature of this project's concerns with human rights violations, highlighting that,

...the plight of the Palestinians is nowhere to be found on the[ir] website..., though R2PCS has much to say about "the crisis in Darfur," "the crisis in Myanmar" and "the crisis in Zimbabwe," as well as the "genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia, (and) crimes against humanity in Kosovo." That the humanitarian catastrophe visited upon the Palestinians is absent from the R2PCS's concerns hardly jibes with its professed mission to "promote concrete policies to better enable governments, regional organizations and the U.N. to protect vulnerable populations."


In late 2007, R2PCS formed a new initiative to build a Right to Protect (R2P) "global civil society coalition," which was supported by groups like "Oxfam International, Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group, and Refugees International." The last three groups mentioned on the Project's Web site are all tightly connected to "humanitarian" warrior George Soros, (7) and so it is no coincidence that Anthony Fenton writes:

In short, R2P has been defined as a situation wherein "the power of the sovereign state can be legitimately revoked if the international community decides that the state is not protecting its citizens." Importantly, the state's power is not only taken in extreme instances, via military intervention. Sovereignty can also be undermined by policies imposed under the "preventive" and "rebuilding" phases of the R2P spectrum, often in the form of economic sanctions, "coercive diplomacy," "democracy promotion," "good governance," and structural adjustment programs.


Although Fenton's work focuses on the utility of R2P doctrine to imperial interventions in Haiti, he makes the more general observation that "Following the controversial inclusion of the (albeit watered-down) R2P language in the UN's 2005 World Summit Outcome document, a veritable, well-funded 'R2P Lobby' has stealthily emerged to advance and consolidate the doctrine as a 'global norm.'" The proponents of this R2P doctrine fit within an ideological grouping that I refer to as the "Project For A New American Humanitarianism." Given the World Federalist Movement's service to imperial interests, it appears paradoxical that the same group would be amongst the leading promoters of an idea called subsidiarity.

Maurice Strong, "a great believer in the principle of subsidiarity" defines this concept as ensuring that "responsibility for decision making resides at the level closest to the people affected at which it can be exercised effectively." However, Strong and the World Federalist Movement's interpretation of this democratic ideal are vastly at odds with those of groups challenging (not creating) hierarchies, for example anarchists, who strongly support the devolution of power to the people. Consequently, as Aaron deGrassi points out:

[W]hile subsidiarity may seem to portend the desirability of decentralization, the concept also raises crucial questions of who decides what is "practicable" (and hence what are the limits of decentralization), on which criteria, with which evidence, and through which processes? Deciding where to allocate powers and resources thus inherently involves "the politics of the possible," and consequently the principle of subsidiarity can and has been used across the political spectrum equally to justify higher-level intervention or non-intervention -- a tension present in the crowning pinnacle of subsidiarity to date, the Maastricht Treaty. (8)


On this latter point Takis Fotopoulos, writing in 1994, notes how in contrast to following the genuine principle of subsidiarity, the European Economic Community's implementation of the principle works by delegating "all unimportant decisions" to local decision-taking bodies.

Returning to the World Federalist Movement, Rev. Wilson took over the reins of the Movement in 2004 when the former president, actor Sir Peter Ustinov, passed away. Ustinov had served as the president of the Movement since 1991 and was a member of Ervin Laszlo's Club of Budapest -- a group that "appear[s] to be working to attempt to promote a form of spirituality that can overcome all geographic and cultural divides," which seem "well suited to other homogenizing globalizing tendencies." In 2002, Ustinov received the Club of Budapest's Planetary Consciousness Award along with the controversial Shimon Peres (see Khaled Amayreh's recent article "Shimon Peres: Murderer, Liar, and Hypocrite") and the United Nations' Messengers of Peace, Paulo Coelho (who also serves as a board member of the Shimon Peres Institute for Peace). Here it is noteworthy that in 1978 Shimon Peres was elected as vice president of Socialist International, the "worldwide organisation of social democratic, socialist and labour parties," a group that Peres described as "probably the most important nongovernmental political organization in Europe, if not in the world." (9)

During Peres's service at Socialist International, the organization's president was the late Willy Brandt (who served in this position from 1978 until 1992). At present the secretary general of Socialist International is Luis Ayala. Ayala is a patron of One World Action, a group that was cofounded by Glenys Kinnock, the wife of the former UK Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock (who is an honorary president of Socialist International, and the vice president of the pro-European membership organisation, European Movement). (10) It is noteworthy that the vice president of One World Action, Sir Sigmund Sternberg, is a Club of Budapest member, a businessman turned into a powerful interfaith philanthropist who coordinated the religious component of the World Economic Forum. Recently he assisted Tony Blair to establish the Tony Blair Faith Foundation serving as an "informal advisor." (11) Sternberg also acts as the president of the Movement for Reform Judaism, and in 1997 helped co-found the Three Faiths Forum, a group that focuses on "improving understanding between the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities." From the Forum's founding until his death in 2008, Sidney Shipton acted as the coordinator of the Three Faiths Forum -- a strange choice given that he was a "bastion of the Zionist Establishment" who had formerly headed the UK arm of the Jewish National Fund (a Zionist colonialist agency of ethnic cleansing). In addition, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton, who serves as a patron of the Three Faiths Forum, is the cofounder of the World Faiths Development Dialogue -- a group he set up in 1998 with the aid of prominent Zionist James Wolfensohn (the then president of the World Bank) to promote "dialogue on poverty and development". (12) One has to be sceptical of the type of just and equitable outcomes that can be achieved for Muslims by engaging in this type of dialogue with Zionists.

Socialist International and assorted interfaith groups clearly fulfill an important role in World Federalists' global governance agenda. However, coming back to the World Federalists of America (now known as the World Federalist Movement), another critical individual who helped found this group in the 1940s was the late Alan Cranston, who went on to serve as their president from 1949 until 1952. In 1945 Cranston published The Killing of the Peace, which was released in the hope that it would build support for the United Nations. Cranston remained a dedicated promoter of World Federalism until the end of his life, and in 1995 he "teamed with former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev as the chairman of the Gorbachev Foundation/USA, a San Francisco based think-tank seeking nuclear disarmament." This think tank, which was founded in 1992 by Jim Garrison and John Balbach, "set the stage for the establishment," in 1995, of another San Francisco based non-profit institution, the State of the World Forum, which was formed to "gather together the creative genius on the planet in a search for solutions to critical global challenges." The following provides a brief introduction to this unique global-level forum and the personalities that drive it.

Funding for the State of the World Forum is obtained from the Canadian International Development Agency, a multitude of liberal foundations, (13) and corporate sponsors like Booz Allen Hamilton and McKinsey & Company. John Balbach ("a pioneer of the broadband wireless industry") served as co-founder of the Forum (and also acted as vice president of the Gorbachev Foundation). Balbach presently acts as senior counsel to the Seva Foundation -- a philanthropic effort that was founded by Larry Brilliant (the executive director of Google's philanthropic project Google.org) -- and is the managing partner and founder of the international strategic consultancy Global Alliances. Balbach's consultancy, Global Alliances, "served as the founders of the first State of the World Forum," while some of their other clients include free-market environmental groups (e.g., Environmental Defense Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council), and world leaders like Boris Yelstin, Margaret Thatcher, and George Bush. (14)

Another important person connected to both the Gorbachev Foundation and the Forum is James Hickman. He was vice president of the Gorbachev Foundation in 1993, and served as the director of Programs and Business Affairs for the State of the World Forum (2000-04). Hickman currently sits on the latter's board of directors and in addition sits on the board of Wisdom University (see below), and on the executive committee of Citizens Democracy Corps, "a non-profit organization that supports private sector development and economic growth in emerging and transitioning economies throughout the world" -- a group that is intimately enmeshed in the US government's global democracy-manipulating activities.

Jim Garrison is the president of the Forum; the convening chairman is Mikhail Gorbachev, and founding co-chairs of the first forum (held in 1995) included leading liberal elites like Oscar Arias, Maurice Strong, Ted Turner, and Jane Goodall (see "Jane Goodall's Elite Monkey Business"). Given Oscar Arias's connection to Deepak Chopra (see (15)), a leading proponent of "capitalist spirituality," it is critical to draw attention to a significant link between the State of the World Forum and the Wisdom University. This is because in 2005 Jim Garrison became president and chairman of Wisdom University, and both the other two board members of the State of the World Forum (James Hickman and Caroline Myss) happen to be the same three board members for Wisdom University; given this overlap the following section will throw some much needed light on this ostensibly spiritual university.

Capitalist Spirituality for the New World Order

So what type of spiritual education is provided by the Wisdom University? Well, according to their Web site:

The average student enrolled at Wisdom University is a professional, with an established career and one or more advanced degrees. They have come to the conclusion that they need deeper spiritual challenges in order to maintain momentum and meaning in their lives. Our students soon discover that they can continue to grow spiritually and professionally at Wisdom University, thus combining spiritual nourishment with enhanced professional qualifications.


It appears that Wisdom University provides spiritual guidance for corporate and political elites who have lost their way (and inner peace) in the harsh capitalist, individualistic, secular world that they promote as the panacea for the world's problems. This form of globalized corporate spirituality is an important phenomenon. Paul Heelas writes in his landmark book The New Age Movement (Blackwell Publishers, 1996) how: "A significant number of New Agers have in fact moved beyond counter-cultural antagonism to the capitalistic mainstream. Instead, they incorporate the creation of prosperity." (16) This is what Jeremy Carrette and Richard King refer to in their book Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion (Routledge, 2005) as "capitalist spirituality," which they argue is "utilised to 'smooth out' resistance to the growing power of corporate capitalism and consumerism." (17) They write:

The interiorisation of spirituality and its location within the bounds of the modern, individual self emerged with the development of psychology in the late nineteenth century. It became popularised, however, in the 1950s and 1960s with the rise of Humanistic Psychology (particularly the work of [Abraham] Maslow), professional counselling, and psychedelic culture. Having been cast as a private and psychological phenomenon, "spirituality" has gone through a second major shift in the 1980s. This is the point at which the first privatisation -- involving the creation of individual, consumer-oriented spiritualities -- begins to overlap with an increasing emphasis upon a second privatisation of religion -- that is, the tailoring of spiritual teachings to the demands of the economy and of individual self-expression to business success. This is no better illustrated than by the various self-improvement movements of the 1980s... (18)


Michael Parenti draws our attention to the activities of the arch-democracy-manipulator, Vaclav Havel, who "now promotes a sort of New Age spiritualism." Parenti points out how Havel has...

...called for a new breed of political leader, who would rely less on "rational, cognitive thinking," and show "humility in the face of the mysterious order of Being" and "trust in his own subjectivity as his principal link with the subjectivity of the world." We should have a "sense of transcendental responsibility, archetypal wisdom," and the ability "to get to the heart of reality through personal experience." Havel lists the ecological dangers facing the world but denounces the idea of rational, collective social efforts to solve them. He denounces democracy's "traditional mechanisms" for being linked to "the cult of objectivity and statistical average." He thinks he is being visionary when in fact he is putting forth an elitist subjectivism and antidemocratic obscurantism. (19)


As Steve Bruce noted in 2006, "New Age spirituality would seem to be a strong candidate for the future of religion because its individualistic consumeristic ethos fits well with the spirit of the age." (20)

Returning to Wisdom University, in order to provide spiritual comfort to their already well-educated students the University employs fourteen faculty chairs "who teach and conduct research and other programs at Wisdom University." For instance, Caroline Myss, a "pioneer in the field of energy medicine and human consciousness," is chair of Energy Medicine, while other chairs cover subjects as diverse as Sacred Dance and Interspecies Connections. Yet, the one chair that seems particularly relevant to the topic of this essay is Barbara Marx Hubbard's chair in Conscious Evolution. (21)

Marilyn Ferguson recounts some of Hubbard's achievements in the new age classic, The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s (Paladin Books, 1982):

In 1967, Barbara Marx Hubbard, a futurist moved by [Pierre] Teilhard's vision of evolving consciousness, invited a thousand people around the world, including [Abraham] Maslow's network, to form a "human front" of those who shared a belief in the possibility of transcendent consciousness. Hundreds responded, including Lewis Mumford and Thomas Merton. Out of this grew a newsletter and later a loose-knit organization, the [pro-space exploration group] Committee for the Future. (p.59)


Hubbard is well qualified to teach Conscious Evolution as she is the president of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution -- a group that has been "supported by major financial gifts from [the late] Laurance S. Rockefeller," amongst others. Furthermore, although not organized by Hubbard, Ferguson notes how in 1970 Lockheed Aircraft underwrote a meeting held at De Anza College in Cupertino, California, "that was the first group of scientists and physicians -- friends -- gathered in a public forum to assert their interest in spiritual realities and alternative approaches to health." She adds that within a few years similar meetings were taking place all over America, and the "Rockefeller, Ford, and Kellogg foundations funded programmes exploring the interface of mind and health." (22)

An important person working alongside Barbara Marx Hubbard at the Foundation for Conscious Evolution during the 1990s was Nancy Carroll, who served as the Foundation's executive director from 1993 to 1999. Like Hubbard, Carroll happens to be a founding board member of a group called Women of Vision and Action -- a group whose advisory board includes people like Maurice Strong's wife, Hanne Strong, and Alison Van Dyk (who is the chairman of the board and interim executive director at the Temple of Understanding at the United Nations).

Here it is interesting to return to the fact that one of Hubbard's most influential supporters at the Foundation for Conscious Evolution was David Rockefeller's brother, Laurance Rockefeller. This is noteworthy as Rockefeller dynasties activities have long provided fertile grounds for one world government conspiracy theorists (for example, in 1952 Emanuel Josephson published his book Rockefeller, 'Internationalist': The Man Who Misrules the World). Ironically Laurance Rockefeller is directly involved in funding research that advocates the legitimacy of some phenomena often categorised as conspiracy theories.

Writing in 2002, Leslie Kean, an investigative reporter and producer with Pacifica Radio, noted that "a study about to be published [on crop circles] by a team of scientists and funded by Laurance Rockefeller concludes 'it is possible that we are observing the effects of a new or as yet undiscovered energy source.'" This funding of what in many circles is considered to be non-academic research is not however an anomaly, as for instance Laurance Rockefeller has also supported the research of the late professor of psychiatry John Mack (formerly based at Harvard Medical School). (23) Indeed, John Mack, shortly before publishing his book, Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens (Charles Scribner, 1994), with funding provided by Laurance Rockefeller, founded the Program for Extraordinary Experience Research. Thus the very family that is considered to be at the heart of the one world government conspiracies (the Rockefellers) is involved in promoting research that encourages the public to believe in theories that more sceptical people consider to be conspiratorial. (24)

A significant observation is that Hubbard's spiritual work is complemented by her pro-space exploration activities, which saw her provide financial assistance to a group called the L5 Society, a group that was formed in 1975 and later merged (in 1987) with the National Space Institute to form the National Space Society. More recently, Hubbard provided the "inspiration" that (in 2005) helped launch the Council for the Future -- a joint project of three leading space advocacy groups: the Space Frontier Foundation, the National Space Society, and the Mars Society. According to their Web site:

The Council [for the Future] is shaping an Earth/Space/Human Development Agenda. The Council is also shaping a new social meme or world view that is consistent with that Agenda. As part of the meme, there is full agreement as to the imperative of extending human civilization into space, and that logical coherent steps must be taken in the very near term to facilitate that accomplishment.


Hubbard sits on the Council for the Future's board of directors alongside Rick Tumlinson. Tumlinson is linked to Walter Anderson, one of the world's leading capitalists who plans to colonize space and profit from an imperialist space agenda. Tumlinson is the executive director and cofounder of the ominously named Foundation for the International Nongovernmental Development of Space, a group that was launched with $5 million from Anderson. Anderson backed the Roton project that aimed to make space travel "affordable." In 1991 he funded the establishment of the Space Frontier Foundation. This foundation's advisory board includes a representative from the Center for Enterprise in Space, and a variety of popular authors including the late Arthur C. Clarke of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame. Like Hubbard, Clarke happened to be a member of the Club of Budapest, whose efforts to promote a form of spirituality that can overcome all geographic and cultural divides appears to be highly suited to the homogenizing practices of corporate-led globalization and the defeat of democracy.

Hubbard's direct affiliations to other liberal corporate globalizers are strong, and in 1966 she helped cofound the World Future Society -- current board members of this group include amongst others, Maurice Strong, and the former US secretary of defense and subsequent Ford Foundation president, Robert McNamara. In addition, until recently the well-known corporate futurists Alvin Toffler and his wife, Heidi Toffler, sat alongside the late Arthur C. Clarke on the World Future Society's global advisory council. Hubbard's ties to corporate-backed futurists does not bode well for her involvement in teaching any form of emancipatory lessons in higher consciousness at Wisdom University. As Murray Bookchin observed:

The radical thrust of utopian thinking, as exemplified by [Charles] Fourier, has been transmuted by academics, statisticians, and "game theorists" into a thoroughly technocratic, economistic, and aggressive series of futuramas that can be appropriately designated as "futurism." However widely at odds utopias were in their values, institutional conceptions, and visions (whether ascetic or hedonistic, authoritarian or libertarian, privatistic or communistic, utilitarian or ethical), they at least had come to mean a revolutionary change in the status quo and a radical critique of its abuses. Futurism, at its core, holds no such promise at all. In the writings of such people as Herman Kahn, Buckminster Fuller, Alvin Toffler, John O'Neill, and the various seers in Stanford University's "think tanks," futurism is essentially an extrapolation of the present into the century ahead, of "prophecy" denatured to mere projection. It does not challenge existing social relationships and institutions, but seeks to adapt them to seemingly new technological imperatives and possibilities -- thereby redeeming rather than critiquing them. The present does not disappear; it persists and acquires eternality at the expense of the future. Futurism, in effect, does not enlarge the future but annihilates it by absorbing it into the present. What makes this trend so insidious is that it also annihilates the imagination itself by constraining it to the present, thereby reducing our vision -- even our prophetic abilities -- to mere extrapolation.(25)


Like the aims of the Club of Budapest, Hubbard's work appears better geared towards constraining new thought to the stifling confines of capitalist prerogatives. This makes it especially ironic that Hubbard is a member of the Leadership Council of the Association for Global New Thought. The Association's executive director, Barbara Fields Berstein -- who also serves on the board of Hubbard's Foundation for Conscious Evolution -- is the former co-director of Harvard University's Global Negotiation Network's Abraham Path Initiative. This affiliation is significant because, as recounted in the article, "Alternative Dispute Resolution or Revolution," the activities promoted by the Global Negotiation Network's work are indicative of the type of strategies that the corporate and political elites zealously promote to boost global corporate equity, not human equality. Finally, it is interesting to point out that Berstein is a board member of EarthAction, another project that is linked to Harvard University's Alternative Dispute Resolution network through the head of their Global Negotiation Project, William Ury (who serves on the advisory board of EarthAction). Consequently, given its key role in attempting to catalyse the formation of a one world government, the following section will explore the background of this group.

Global Action to "Save the Earth"

The background of EarthAction returns us more concretely to the elite agenda for propagating a one world government. Formed in 1992 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development, or Earth Summit (which was presided over by Secretary General Maurice Strong), EarthAction now boasts that its work encompasses more than 2,600 civil society organizations from 165 countries, making it the "world's largest network of organizations, policymakers, citizens and journalists that work together for a more just, peaceful and sustainable world."

The president and executive director of EarthAction, Lois Barber, formerly served as the creative director of the World Future Council Initiative. (26) This initiative, which was launched in late 2004, led to the creation of the World Future Council, a group whose founder and first president, Jakob von Uexkull, also serves as a board member of EarthAction. (27) Uexkull is most famous among progressive circles as being the founder of Right Livelihood Award, but amongst his other responsibilities he serves on the Council of Governance of the democracy-manipulating group Transparency International, and is a patron of Friends of the Earth International.

Due to the integral role played by Barber in launching the World Future Council it is worth initially exploring their background before returning to EarthAction. Thus, according to their Web site the Council "considers itself the global advocate for the concerns of future generations in international politics." The World Future Council is comprised of 50 personalities from around the world, whose mission is to "inform and educate policy makers and opinion leaders about the challenges facing future generations while providing them with practical solutions." Council members include progressive activists like Vandana Shiva to one-worlders like Tony Colman, who is the chair of One World Trust (a group that was formed in 1951 as the "charitable arm" of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on World Government). (28) Beside board chair Jakob von Uexkull, the only other board members of the World Future Council are the "world market leader for private islands," Farhad Vladi, and Alexandra Wandel, who is the former European trade and sustainability programme coordinator of Friends of the Earth International. Between 1999 and 2006 Wandel had coordinated European NGO activities at the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conferences, and acted as an advisor to the then EU Commissioner Pascal Lamy (now the director general of the World Trade Organization) on behalf of the major European environmental NGOs.

Returning to EarthAction, the next member of their seven-person-strong board of directors is Anne Zill. In 1974, Zill co-founded two reformist projects, the Women's Campaign Fund (to "support pro-choice women for elected office") and the Fund for Constitutional Government (which is a philanthropic foundation that is "dedicated to the exposure and correction of corruption in the United States federal government.") Zill is currently the president of the latter Fund for Constitutional Government. (29) The group's chairperson, Russell Hemenway, is linked to four controversial organizations: he is the chair of the Center for National Security Studies, a trustee of the Fund for Peace, a board member of the National Security Archive (for further details see "Coopting Intellectual Aggressors"), and he is a board member of the Population Institute -- a group which is presided over by the influential neo-Malthusian, William Ryerson.

The Fund for Constitutional Government is based on the first floor of 122 Maryland Avenue in the home of their former board member, the late Stewart Mott. Like Hemenway, Stewart Mott formerly aided the work of the neo-Malthusian Population Institute by serving on their public advisory committee. The Stewart R. Mott Charitable Trust -- of which Stewart Mott was president -- is also based at 122 Maryland Avenue; but more significantly this philanthropic trust shares the same executive director as the Fund for Constitutional Government (his name is Conrad Martin). Given Mott's powerful influence on liberal activism it is worth highlighting that:

Stewart Mott originally bought 122 to house the various activities and projects of the Fund for Peace. Over the years, the building has been the first offices of the Center for Defense Information, In The Public Interest, the Center for International Policy, and the Center for National Security Studies. The house was the birthplace of the Women's Campaign Fund and Friends of Family Planning PACs. Other tenants of note include the Campaign Against Nuclear War, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Pax Americas, and the Military Families Support Network. The most recent tenant was the national DC office of the American Civil Liberties Union.


Liberal philanthropy runs in the Mott family, and Stewart Mott's father was Charles Steward Mott, the founder of the Charles Steward Mott Foundation -- a foundation on which his younger sister, Maryanne Mott, presently serves as a board member. Like many other liberal foundations, the Charles Steward Mott Foundation describes its role as existing to "support efforts that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society," a mission statement that belies reality. Indeed, a good case can be made that elite liberal philanthropy helps sustain capitalism rather than promote equitable alternatives to it. Ironically, this contradiction is not something that the Charles Steward Mott Foundation attempts to hide, as their Web site demonstrates that one of the many groups that they have provided funding to is the notorious democracy manipulator, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). (30) The Foundation's openness about being connected to a group that carries out the work that the CIA once undertook covertly is not surprising: this is because groups like the NED and Charles Steward Mott Foundation can rely upon the fact that the mainstream media (and even progressive alternative media) will do little to critique their ostensibly progressive credentials. This partly explains why the CIA transferred many of their formerly covert democracy-manipulating activities to the overt interventions that are now undertaken by the NED. The adoption of such transparency by all manner of democracy-manipulating groups helps explain why EarthAction board member Ellen Miller can comfortably sit alongside NED board member Esther Dyson on the five-person-strong board of the Sunlight Foundation, with no questions asked by the global media. (31)

The most interesting (and progressive) EarthAction board member is Jackie Smith, who is an associate professor at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies (an institute that, problematically, is a member of the "humanitarian" Save Darfur Coalition). For many years Smith's work has documented the importance of the World Social Forum, and one of her most recent books (co-authored with Marina Karides) is titled Global Democracy and the World Social Forums (Paradigm Publishers, 2007).

This book includes a short section that examines a report made to the Trilateral Commission in 1975 called The Crisis of Democracy -- a report suggesting, as Smith and Karides surmise, that the global "problems we face are not attributed to faulty economic reasoning and corporate profiteering but [instead] to the influence of 'nonexpert' citizens on economic and social policy decisions." In the spirit of plutocratic governance, Smith and Karides point out that the report recommends that "governments should encourage political passivity so that prevailing excessive citizen democratic participation can be reduced." (pp. 8-9) Referring to Holly Sklar's edited book Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management (South End Press, 1980), Smith and Karides acknowledge that "David Rockefeller, president of the Chase Manhattan Bank, founded the Trilateral Commission in 1973." Yet despite making this anti-democratic connection, Smith and Karides fail to draw attention to David Rockefeller's efforts to manipulate civil society through his liberal philanthropy; i.e., via the influential Rockefeller Foundation. This omission is concerning given the controversial support that the World Social Forum has obtained from some of the world's most powerful liberal foundations. (32)

Smith and Karides describe Francisco (Chico) Whitaker as "one of the prime movers of the forum from its inception," so it is fitting that he should be a council member of the aforementioned World Future Council. That said, although they fail to critique the influence of liberal philanthropy, they do write:

Particularly contentious is the claim by Chico Whitaker that the forum is simply a space, one without a pyramidal politics or power relations. In fact, however, the WSF does have its pyramids of power. April Biccum, for example, contends that it would be naïve to assume "that the open space is space without struggle, devoid of politics and power." Many of these struggles revolve around the organization of the forum in general and the role of the International Council (IC), the association of 150 nonelected organizations and intellectuals that decide where the global forums are held and how they are to be organized.

Many grassroots activists have criticized the IC, as well as local and regional organizing committees, for acting precisely as a closed space of representation and power, limited to certain prominent international organizations and networks with access to information and sufficient resources to travel. (p. 38)


Unfortunately, Smith and Karides do not delve any deeper into the issue, and are content in noting that while some groups critique the "closed and, at least at the time, nontransparent" nature of the forum, others like Immanuel Wallerstein have "argued, [that] the WSF could not function without an organization, one that is hierarchical, has power, and makes decisions." (p. 39) Here it should be noted that Wallerstein, who has long been an influential scholar of the Left, is a member of the Network Institute for Global Democratization, a group whose six-person-strong board of directors includes Jackie Smith. Moreover, problematically, the former chair of this network, Teivo Teivainen (2001-02 and 2005-06), has in the past been supported by an assortment of liberal foundations, including both the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. (33) Most recently, while working at the Network Institute for Global Democratization, Teivainen co-wrote the briefing paper (with Heikki Patomaki) for the Ford Foundation-supported project "Elements for a Dialogue on Global Political Party Formations" -- a project that was successfully launched in late 2005. (34) That said, Teivainen's previous seemingly uncritical relations with the foundation world may soon become a relic of the past, as since 2007 he has served on the international advisory board of the radical academic journal Critical Sociology (formerly the Insurgent Sociologist). This is particularly significant because in May 2007 Joan Roelofs guest edited a special issue of Critical Sociology (along with Daniel Faber and Robert Arnove) that provided one of the most up-to-date critical examinations of the problems associated with liberal philanthropy. Roelofs concludes her contribution to this issue by noting how the evidence demonstrates...

... that the pluralist model of civil society obscures the extensive collaboration among the resource-providing elites and the dependent state of most grassroots organizations. While the latter may negotiate with foundations over details, and even win some concessions, capitalist hegemony (including its imperial perquisites) cannot be questioned without severe organizational penalties. By and large, it is the funders who are calling the tune. This would be more obvious if there were sufficient publicized investigations of this vast and important domain. That the subject is "off-limits" for both academics and journalists is compelling evidence of enormous power. (35)


The final EarthAction board member to be examined here is Jan Roberts, a Florida-based psychotherapist who in 1995 helped found Michael Lerner's Foundation for Ethics and Meaning -- a group that aims to "encourage a holistic and community spirit of caring that promotes tolerance, justice, and reconciliation." (Lerner is most famous for being the editor of Tikkun magazine). Most significant is that in July 1999 Roberts became involved in the Earth Charter movement when she attended a small conference held in Italy on "Spirituality and Sustainability" (co-sponsored by St. Thomas University in Florida and the Center for Respect of Life and the Environment). Roberts then became involved with promoting the Earth Charter in the United States, and in 2000 Mikhail Gorbachev invited her to attend the June launch of the Earth Charter campaign at The Hague Peace Palace. (36) Gorbachev along with Maurice Strong had played a key role in "develop[ing]" the Earth Charter as a "civil society initiative" -- a process that had begun in 1994 working through organizations they each founded (Green Cross International and Earth Council respectively). (37) As a result of these and other elite meetings, in 2005 Roberts founded Earth Charter U.S., and she presently acts as an advisor to Earth Charter International, serving alongside environmentalists like Herbert Girardet (see footnote #27), "humanitarian" activists like Bianca Jagger (who is also a member of the Club of Budapest), and other assorted environmental capitalists like Amory Lovins. (38)

The four-person-strong advisory council of EarthAction bolsters EarthAction's one world government credentials. As mentioned above, one member is William Ury, but others include Nicholas Dunlop, Robert Johansen, and Michael Shuman. Dunlap, in addition to being a member of the World Future Council, is the co-founder and secretary general of the e-Parliament, and former secretary general of Parliamentarians for Global Action. Johansen is a council member of e-Parliament, and a fellow of the World Federalist Institute; however, Shuman, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, appears to be involved in research that runs counter to one world government trends. For instance, Shuman recently published the book The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition (Berrett-Koehler, 2006). That said, the Web site Small-Mart.org that developed as a result of the book is funded through grants from two major liberal foundations, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and the controversial Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Possible Scenarios for the Future

This article has suggested that there are many long-range projects and trends that provide the institutional basis for creating a corporate-driven one world government, or new world order. The advent of the most recent global crisis of capitalism means that the time has now come when the citizens of the world need to decide what type of alternative forms of governance will rise in the wake of the crisis. William I. Robinson, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, suggests that there are five possible responses to the current structural crisis of global capitalism. These are: (1) the advent of global neo-Keynesianism, (2) the resurgence of the Left, (3) a recoiling into national protectionism, (4) a move toward 21st century fascism, and (5) a global collapse, and the possible degeneration into global warlordism. (39) Robinson notes that he "is not predicting any one of these five happening," and he suggests that they "are not mutually exclusive." For example, he points out that you could envisage a scenario where there is "right wing neo-Keynesianism involving very authoritarian structures."

The creeping threat of fascism (on a global level) is a real and present danger, (40) but this article has been predominantly concerned with tracing a small part of the development of the structures needed to coordinate a one world government, or in Robinson's terms, "a global neo-Keynesianism...to save capitalism from itself and from potential radical challenges from below." Thus with regard to the current crisis it is fitting to cite Robinson at length on the potential of this response. He notes that:

[T]he first signs we are seeing of this are of the Obama Administration putting forward a reformist neo-Keynesianism type project. But we can also see how the transnational elites became split in the late twentieth, early 21st century, and one wing started arguing for this global neo-Keynesianism, global reformism... We see reregulation, and we see a return of state intervention to regulate and resuscitate, and organize capitalist accumulation including stimuli's and bailouts and so forth. And possibly we will see -- this is just speculation -- the states out for this option trying to ferment a shift back from financial to productive accumulation. And I would say though that if this option is to be viable, any new deal must be global. Given the extent of global integration... to talk about a new New Deal, or a neo-Keynesianism project in one country is not realistic at all... We can't talk about anything other than a global neo-Keynesianism...

This scenario faces a major contradiction, and it's that we have a globalizing economy with a nation-state based political system. I always emphasise that. So transnational state apparatus are incipient, they are unable to impose any regulation on the global economy.... Transnational elites recognize this problem. If they want to implement the global neo-Keynesianism they have to set up transnational institutions to actually regulate and organize it. So in the G-20 meeting late last year, British prime minister Gordon Brown said "We now have global financial markets, global corporations, global financial flows, but what we do not have is anything other than national and regional regulations and supervision. We need a global way of supervising our financial system. We need very large and very radical political institutional changes." (41)


However, while Gordon Brown downplays the existing mechanisms of international governance outlined in this article, it is apparent that the transnational networks and institutions needed to coordinate a global neo-Keynesianism have already been created. Such institutions represent a real and present danger to global democracy, and so it is fitting to note how Robinson ends his talk on an optimistic note as the current financial crisis "opens up space for social forces from below and collective agency to influence the course of history in ways that are not possible in times of equilibrium and stable government." He continues, this "opens up new opportunities for change and for new ideas to flourish," as "the future is never predetermined." The "future is open to us," and how we respond to this crisis will determine whether the antidemocratic forces pushing the neo-Keynesianism One World Government agenda will win out, or NOT (as I am hopeful that the case will be).
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Re: When Google Met Wikileaks (Excerpt: Google Is Not What I

Postby admin » Sun Nov 06, 2016 1:08 am

Part 2 of 2



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Notes:

1. Strobe Talbott, The Great Experiment: The Story of Ancient Empires, Modern States, and the Quest for a Global Nation (Simon & Schuster, 2008), p.200. He adds that: "Among the notables associated then or later with world federalism were, from the literary world, John Hersey, Lewis Mumford, Robert Sherwood, Edna Ferber, Sinclair Lewis, Clifford Odets, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Upton Sinclair, James Thurber, and E. B. White; from government, politics, and the military: Supreme Court Justices Owen Roberts and William O. Douglas, Thomas K. Finletter (who would serve as Truman's secretary of the air force), Chester Bowles (governor of Connecticut), John Winans (the Republican governor of New Hampshire), Senator J. William Fulbright, and two future senators (Alan Cranston and Harris Wofford); from business and finance, W. T. Holliday (president of Standard Oil of Ohio), Beardsley Ruml (chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York), Harry Bullis (president of General Mills), Grenville Clark (a prominent former Wall Street lawyer), and Robert Gaylord (chairman of the executive committee of the National Association of Manufacturers); from the media, numerous magazine and newspaper editors, most prominently Norman Cousins, the editor of Saturday Review."

In May 1947, Cord Meyer became the first president of the United World Federalists and served in this position until 1951 when he decided to leave to join the US government's Central Intelligence Agency (where he stayed until his retirement in 1977). (back)

2. The Foundation for World Government, which was founded in 1948, was managed by Stringfellow Barr, a director of Federal Union and vice president of United World Federalists, who served as the Foundation's president from its founding year until 1958. Baratta observes that: "Most of its work took place in brilliant seminars led by Scott Buchanan and in funded studies that resulted in rather unsuccessful books prepared in the early Cold War in such new fields as functional economic and social cooperation, Gandhian nonviolence, individual educational field work anticipatory of the future Peace Corps, world development corporations like the new World Bank or future U.N. Development Programme, statecraft on the models of the Fabian Society and the World Zionist Organization, world citizenship following French, not American, models, a federation of the federalists leading to the establishment of a world federalist political party, and university institutes for world federation to conduct the intellectual research and publication necessary to guide humanity through a very long struggle toward the necessary government of the whole." (p.397) Incidentally, Barr later served as a fellow at Robert Maynard Hutchins' Ford Foundation-funded Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions from 1964 until 1969 (for further critical information on this group see "Social Engineering, Progressive Media, and William Benton" (pdf)). Anita McCormick Blaine's family fortunes (which led to the creation of the Foundation for World Government) were derived from her grandfather Cyrus McCormick, and her father, Cyrus Jr.; the former headed "the boardroom when workers struck the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company -- which led to the bloody Haymarket demonstrations in 1886 -- blacklisted employees who dared have ties to labor groups." Likewise, his son Cyrus Jr., "irate over strikes and walkouts during his reign from 1902 to 1919, refused to recognize his employees' unions." Soon after the death of Anita (in 1954) a new philanthropic body called the New World Foundation was formed, and under the guidance of Ann Blaine (Nancy) Harrison (1954-77) "New World awarded grants to large numbers of labor groups -- from the United Woodcutters Services to the Fresno Organizing Project." Nancy was the wife of the "typical Cold-War, anti-communist liberal" Gilbert Harrison, who was the editor of The New Republic from the late fifties to the mid-seventies.

Regarding more contemporary theorizers of world federalism, Baratta writes: "The primary focus of the world order school of thought led by Saul Mendlovitz and Richard A. Falk, who were originally inspired by [Grenville] Clark and [Louis] Sohn, is on this transition [of incremental U.N. reform], which they realistically call the 'struggle of the oppressed.' A similar approach at time of writing is the 20-40 year program 'Global Action to Prevent War,' led by Jonathan Dean, Randall Forsberg, and Saul Mendlovitz." (p.16) Backtracking again, it is worth recognizing that in 1960 Grenville Clark founded the World Law Fund, and four years later launched a "multinational project that became known as the World Order Models Project" (whose founding director was Mendlovitz); to this day, Baratta note, the World Policy Institute has "carried on this [projects] work" (p.508). According to the Institutes most recent online annual report (2004-05), notable members of their advisory board include State of the World Forum (see later) co-chair Oscar Arias, the editor of The Nation magazine, Katrina vanden Heuvel, and Henry Arnhold (who also happens to be a board member of the controversial "environmental" group Conservation International).

Baratta states that other organizations that "were founded at least in part by former world federalists include: the Committee on a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) (Norman Cousins, 1957), Members of Congress for Peace through Law (Senator Joseph S. Clark, 1959), Institute for International Order (Harry Hollins, 1960), Coalition on National Priorities and Military Policy (Joseph Clark, 1969), the International Peace Academy (Ruth Young, 1970), the U.N. Special Committee on the Charter and on Strengthening the Role of the Organization (Carlos Romulo, 1974), and Parliamentarians for World Order (Nicholas Dunlop, 1978)." (p.511) (back)

3. Other sympathetic elites like Anne-Marie Slaughter suggest that "world government is both infeasible and undesirable." Slaughter draws our attention to what she calls "the globalization paradox. We need more government on a global and a regional scale, but we don't want the centralization of decision-making power and coercive authority so far from the people actually to be governed. It is the paradox identified in the European Union by Renaud Dehousse and by Robert Keohane in his millennial presidential address to the American Political Science Association. The European Union has pioneered 'regulation by networks,' which Dehousse describes as the response to a basic dilemma in EU governance: 'On the one hand, increased uniformity is certainly needed; on the other hand, greater centralization is politically inconceivable, and probably undesirable.' The EU alternative is the 'transnational option' -- the use of an organized network of national officials to ensure 'that the actors in charge of the implementation of Community policies behave in a similar manner.'" Anne-Marie Slaughter, A New World Order (Princeton University Press, 2004), p. 8.

For an example of a right-wing misplaced, albeit informative, critique of the World Federalists see, Cliff Kincaid, World Government PAC Promotes "Globalist" Takeover of Congress (pdf) (American Survival, 2006). (back)

4. David Rockefeller, Memoirs (Random House, 2002), p. 405. Marking a rare event for a progressive writer, Terrence Paupp in his book Exodus From Empire: The Fall of America's Empire and the Rise of the Global Community (Pluto Press, 2007) notes how "[David] Rockefeller, a banker and an oilman, represented an era and a coalition of interests that had little concern for the fact that their policies were devastating the Global Community and most of the people who were trying to survive within it." (p. 219) Moreover Paupp is well aware of the Orwellian practices of such democracy-manipulating elites: for a start he refers to William I. Robinson's book Promoting Polyarchy, noting: "While US policy is more ideologically appealing under the title of democracy promotion, it does nothing to reverse the growth of inequality and the undemocratic nature of global decision making." (p. 90) Later Paupp refers to James Petras's work on the manipulation of non-governmental organizations, observing how "neoliberal elites of the North have sought to contract nonprofit voluntary associations (NGOs) and convert them into their agents as strategic partners" to promote their agenda of "good governance" that "has nothing to do with democracy or human rights." (p.297) He continues that "these efforts are designed to demobilize social movements," because: "If social movements succeed in their radical opposition, there will not be a reform of the system, but rather a replacement of it." (p. 299) The problem then is not that Paupp does not recognise that elites systematically manipulate civil society, which he does, but that he fails to see how many of those same elites (most notably Rockefeller) are also the same people most zealously promoting the global governance agenda that Paupp identifies as a potential solution to elite manipulation. (back)

5. According to their Web site, Citizens for Global Solutions "was a leading supporter of a treaty to create an International Criminal Court, culminating in the creation of the treaty in Rome, August, 1998, where World Federalists played a key leadership role in organizing backing for the ICC by the NGO community."

For critical commentary of the ICC's imperial intervention in Sudan under Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo, see Stephen Gowans, "The Criminals are Running the Court," What's Left, February 11, 2009. For a more recent analysis concerning interventions in Sudan and ICC's role "as a tool of hegemonic U.S. foreign policy," see keith harmon snow, "Africom's Covert War in Sudan," Dissident Voice, March 6, 2009. Diane Johnstone also provides a useful critique of the ICC, "Do We Really Need an International Criminal Court?: Selective Justice for Failed States Only," Counterpunch, January 27/28, 2007. (back)

6. Elaine Dewar's book, Cloak of Green: The Links between Key Environmental Groups, Government and Big Business (Lorimer, 1995), contains a wealth of critical information on Maurice Strong (based on an interview she undertook with him over two days). For instance, Dewar writes: "Maurice Strong opened many doors for me in Geneva, doors I would never have thought to go through on my own. He seemed to want me to understand the full range of his works, to see how he managed complex and interrelated groups, how he managed the PGOs, the GOPs, the business lobbies, and all the other groups calling themselves NGOs who were coming to the Rio Summit, for example. He clearly considered them political levers he could use to exert public pressure on national governments on their own turf-without being seen to do so. It seemed to me this was a brilliant and subtle variation of Mackenzie King's gift to the Rockefellers -- the concept of a company union. One scholarly American commentator on King's work had described these unions as 'fake organizations,' but had also been forced to acknowledge that they endured and benefitted the industrial interests who used them for many years. Similarly, these GOPs and PGOs-private government organizations-endured: like weeds they pushed out true grassroots groups, since they took money, policy or both from governments and large corporate donors. It didn't matter that they had few members: they had means. Through constant publishing and promotion they set the margins for public debate. They pushed ideas out in public where governments had to acknowledge them. They promoted the Agenda Strong wanted set." (p. 296)

For a conservative review of Maurice Strong's life see Ronald Bailey's "International Man of Mystery: Who is Maurice Strong?," The National Review, September 1, 1997. For a more accurate analysis of Strong's work as an environmental democracy-manipulator (written from a left-wing perspective) see my forthcoming work. (back)

7. Among his numerous affiliations, liberal democracy-manipulator George Soros is a member of the board of sponsors of a think tank called the Center for War/Peace Studies, which has close relations with a number of world federalists -- like fellow sponsor, John Anderson (who is the former president of Citizens for Global Solutions). In addition, the Center's executive director, Lucy Law Webster, is the first vice chair of the council of the World Federalist Movement, a steering committee member of the World Federalist Institute, and is president of the New York Tri-State chapter of Citizens for Global Solutions. (back)

8. Aaron deGrassi, "Constructing Subsidiarity, Consolidating Hegemony: Political Economy and Agro-Ecological Processes in Ghanaian Forestry," (pdf) World Resources Institute, April 2003, p. 1.

"Establishment decentralization is presented as a rational choice made by central governments or strongly encouraged by international agencies -- usually the World Bank or USAID. In this conservative and bureaucratic form of decentralization, local government is transformed from being a direct provider of services to a facilitator. Much first world decentralization is also driven by conservative attempts to downsize government support for the poor and to diminish the public sector, all under the slogan of the 'post-welfare agenda'. As Joel Samoff has noted, such approaches use the language of 'service delivery,' 'efficiency,' and 'cost recovery.' The Kerala experiment [in India] by contrast promotes popular democracy as an alternative to conservative decentralization." T. M. Thomas Isaac & Richard W. Franke, Local Democracy and Development: The Kerala People's Campaign for Decentralized Planning (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), p.212. (back)

9. Shimon Peres, Battling for Peace (Random House, 1995), p.170. Peres presently serves on the advisory board of two important democracy-manipulating organizations, the Project on Justice in Times of Transition and the Forum 2000 Foundation. While I have summarized the work of the first group elsewhere, the second group, which was founded in 1996 by well established democracy-manipulators Vaclav Havel, Yohei Sasakawa, and Elie Wiesel, is currently headed by Oldrich Cerny -- an individual who also serves as the executive director of the free-market think tank the Prague Security Studies Institute. One especially notable member of the latter Institute's international advisory board is James Woolsey, the former director of the US Central Intelligence Agency. (back)

10. Serving alongside Neil Kinnock as a vice president of the European Movement is John Pinder, who is an influential Federalist who formerly served as the chair of Federal Union, and as the president of the European Union of Federalists. Moreover, Edward Rawson, a current council member of the World Federalist Movement actually participated in the initial 1939 meeting that founded Federal Union. (back)

11. The Tony Blair Faith Foundation was founded in 2008 by Tony Blair, an individual who should be "tried for war crimes" according to the Nobel prize-winning playwright (and One World Action patron) Harold Pinter. Thus in an utter act of hypocrisy Blair's foundation states that it "aims to promote respect and understanding about the world's major religions and show how faith is a powerful force for good in the modern world." Given Blair's track record it seems more likely that his foundation will be working to ensure that the world's major religions defer to the power of capitalism (that is, financial plunders like JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs International). This seems especially likely considering that soon after leaving the British government Blair became a part-time adviser to JPMorgan Chase, and started lecturing at the Yale Center for Faith & Culture (whose advisory board includes the vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International, Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach, who formerly served as Margaret Thatcher's special advisor, and is a patron of the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust -- which was founded by "humanitarian" warrior Baroness Cox). Here it is significant that the Jewish member of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation's advisory council is Rabbi David Rosen, the director of the American Jewish Committee's Department for Interreligious Affairs, and an honorary president of the International Council of Christians and Jews. The sole patron of the latter group is Sir Sigmund Sternberg; while other honorary presidents, aside Rosen, include the likes of Richard von Weizsacker (who is the former president of the Federal Republic of Germany and a member of the Club of Budapest). (back)

12. Until her death in 2006, Kamla Chowdhry -- an individual who played an influential role in the development of the Earth Charter movement (see later) -- served as a trustee of the World Faiths Development Dialogue, and as a co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women. Here it is interesting that Blu Greenberg also serves as a co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women; this is because her husband, Rabbi Irving Greenberg is connected to the two "humanitarian" Jewish front groups that organized the cynical Save Darfur Coalition (he served as chairman of the US Holocaust Memorial Council from 2000 until 2002, and is a member of the American Jewish World Service's advisory board). (back)

13. For criticism of liberal philanthropy, see Joan Roelofs, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (State University of New York Press, 2003). Also see Michael Barker, "Do Capitalists Fund Revolutions? (Part 2)," ZNet, September 9, 2007. (back)

14. Global Alliances connection to George Bush is reinforced by two members of the group's eight-person-strong advisory board, Robert Macauley and Senator Gordon Humphrey -- who are both connected to AmeriCares, as founder and advisory committee member respectively. The Big Pharma front-group, AmeriCares, has an all-star "humanitarian" advisory committee that includes the like of Barbara Bush (wife of George H.W. Bush), Prescott Sheldon Bush, Jr. (the brother of George H.W. Bush), Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Elie Wiesel. (back)

15. In addition to serving as a co-chair of the State of the World Forum, Oscar Arias (who has been the president of Costa Rica since 2006) is a member of the Club of Budapest, and is connected to many other globalist projects, the most interesting of which is perhaps the Alliance for the New Humanity. Formed in 2003, the Alliance aims to "create an alliance of people based on the awareness of humanity's interconnectedness." They go on to note that they aim to create a "sustainable world, reflecting the unity of all humanity"; and observe believe that: "If enough people shift their awareness toward social justice, human rights, and environmental sustainability, then injustice, oppression, and the destruction of the ecosystem can be stopped." To get an idea of the type of "humanitarian" activists who sat alongside Arias on the founding board of the Alliance for the New Humanity one could do well to look to Deepak Chopra: an individual who according to Jeremy Carrette and Richard King is one of the world's leading proponents of "capitalist spirituality" and "ultimate 'feel-good' spirituality for the affluent." In their detailed critique of his work Carrette and King cite the work of Susan Bridle, and here it is worth quoting her criticisms at length to get an idea of the type of activities the alliance is engaged in. "Chopra promises that we can fulfil all our worldly desires, desires that the great wisdom traditions have repeatedly reminded us are the very source of endless suffering and ignorance -- desires for immortality, unlimited wealth and unending romance, all without having to struggle or make effort in any way.... Rather than recognizing spiritual transformation as an ultimately demanding endeavor, as taught by the greatest sages, Chopra popularises the notion of an easy, feel-good spirituality, with no mention of the perennial spiritual imperatives of renunciation and one-pointed dedication. And rather than emphasizing that true spiritual life is and has always been about the death of the ego, Chopra teaches us to bend the power of the infinite to our own will.... Chopra's brand of spirituality is like fast food; while it seems to satisfy, it actually numbs the very hunger that inspires the spiritual quest in the first place."

Jeremy Carrette and Richard King, Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion (Routledge, 2005), pp.150-3. (back)

16. With regard to two of the "most famous" spiritual centers, the Esalen Institute (located at Big Sur, California, United States) and Findhorn (based in northeast Scotland -- the Findhorn Foundation), Heelas noted that since its founding, "the emphasis [at Findhorn] has tended to shift from counter-cultural Self actualization to a more harmonial relationship with prosperity. ...Turning to the United States, Esalen, founded in the same year (1962) as Findhorn, appears to have followed much the same trajectory". For example, Heelas cites a 1990 Fortune magazine article that reported how Laurance Rockefeller donated "$250,000 to convert the Big House ... into a corporate retreat". (p. 65) Later Heelas writes how "material from a variety of sources (including interviews, magazine articles and TV programmes) strongly suggests that the New Age is -- in measure -- drawn upon to restore the self of the go-getting individualist." (p. 147) In later 2008 he argues that "To overemphasize the case, I now argue that by and large commodification does not matter (much)." Adding that such commodification "does not invalidate the point that non-capitalist counter-currents are operative." (p.210)

Paul Heelas, Spiritualities of Life: New Age Romanticism and Consumptive Capitalism (Blackwell Publishing, 2008). (back)

17. In addition to the aforementioned example of Deepak Chopra, other leading proponents of "spiritual capitalism" identified by Carrette and King are Osho Rajneesh, Jesper Kunde (author of Corporate Religion), Rene Carayol and David Firth (who co-wrote Corporate Voodoo) and John Grant (the author of The New Marketing Manifesto.) (p. 20) (back)

18. "One of the key thinkers to set the agenda for the psychology of religion was undoubtedly William James (1842-1910)," however, Carrette and King acknowledge that: "While James cannot be held responsible for the later utilisation of his thinking, the approach he adopted was captured by later generations enjoying the benefits of free-market spirituality, which celebrated the individual." They continue: "After James and the spiritualists, the focus on states of consciousness came to dominate the psychology of religion and paved the way for a spirituality of inner consciousness. James, of course, did not bring about this transformation single-handedly, it was the development of his work by his followers, such as James Pratt (1875-1944) and, more specifically, a later generation of scholars including Gordon Allport (1897-1967) and Abraham Maslow (1908-70), who propagated an individualised understanding of religion within North American culture. It would be wrong to assume that these thinkers deliberately developed a psychology of religion for capitalism. It is rather the case that their psychology emerged in a context of a North American economic climate that celebrated the individual pursuit of wealth. Psychological ideologies flourished in such conditions. Maslow's psychology, for instance, did not reflect the Two-Thirds World or the land of his parents in Eastern Europe. Rather, it was the psychology of an affluent society that could separate out a hierarchy of needs where 'spirituality' could be separated from the basic needs of finding food, shelter and water to live. The cumulative effect of this was the emergence of a religious experience tailored for wealthy individuals rather than for social justice." (pp. 69-71) (back)

19. It is also interesting to note that, Oldrich Cerny, Havel's former National Security Advisor (1990-93) serves as the Executive Director of the aforementioned Prague Security Studies Institute (see footnote #9).

For further progressive critiques of New Age spirituality, see Michael Parenti, Land of Idols: Political Mythology in America (St. Martin's Press, 1994), Chapter 2.

For one of the first conservative critiques of the New Age movement, see Constance Cumbey, The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow: The New Age Movement and our Coming Age of Barbarism (Huntington House Publishers, 1983); Cumbey recently observed that Pat Robertson's book, The New World Order, included "material evidently directly copied" from her own book (without citation). For a conservative book covering much of the same material I have presented in this article, see Lee Penn, False Dawn: The United Religions Initiative, Globalism, and the Quest for a One-World Religion (Sophia Perennis, 2005). (back)

20. Steve Bruce, "Secularization and the Impotence of Individualized Religion," Hedgehog Review, 8 (1-2): 35-45, 2006, p. 45 cited in Heelas, 2008, p.81. (back)

21. Two other Wisdom University faculty chairs whose background is of relevance to this article are Jean Houston and Rupert Sheldrake. Jean Houston, "one of the principal founders of the Human Potential Movement" (a movement's which counts William James as among one of its earliest exponents) and is Chair of Social Artistry, a field in which since 2004 she has been training leaders in developing countries for the U.N. Development Program. In 1975, Houston chaired the U.N. Temple of Understanding Conference of World Religious Leaders, and she presently serves on the (pp. 61-2) Likewise, Rupert Sheldrake, the Wisdom University Chair for Holistic Science, also serves on the World Commission's Global Council on Spirituality and Deep Ecology. I have critiqued the World Commission elsewhere, and in another separate article have examined some of the problems associated with Deep Ecology. (back)

22. Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy, p. 285. (back)

23. According to his official online biography: "Dr Mack's efforts to bridge psychiatry and spirituality was compared by The New York Times to that of former Harvard professor William James. Dr. Mack advocated that Western culture requires a shift away from a purely materialist worldview -- which he believed was largely responsible for the Cold War, the global ecological crisis, ethnonationalism and regional conflict -- towards a transpersonal worldview which could embrace some elements of Eastern spiritual and philosophical traditions which hold that we are all connected to one another." In an interview carried out by Joe Eich-Bonni, Mack noted: "In the critical, scientific world I think that slowly there are clinicians coming to see these people -- and there are many types of anomalous experiences -- near death, telekinesis, hauntings; a whole realm of spooky paranormal and supernatural events that are increasingly being seen as part of the natural world -- as part of our basic reality. By avoiding [studying these anomalous events] we do endless harm to our planet. In a sense we have rid the planet of the entire spirit world and thereby have turned the whole earth into a marketplace of resources to be commandeered by the more aggressive among us."

For an unrelated albeit interesting critique of William James, see Alex Carey, "Reshaping the Truth: Pragmatists and Propagandists in America," Meanjin Quarterly, 35 (4), 1976, pp. 370-78. (back)

24. Criticism of the validity of such other-worldly research is outside the scope of this article. However, it should be noted that the promotion of these ideas by elite funders serves to distract attention from the real corporate powerbrokers. Indeed, many people who are distrustful of their government (and elites more generally) spend years of their lives engaged in extraterrestrial research (or readings) often to the neglect of the terrestrial realm and worldly geopolitics -- that is, the events they can actually influence (physically not just metaphysically). (back)

25. Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom (Cheshire Books, 1982), p.333. (back)

26. Barber is also the founder and president emeritus of 2020 Vision, "a US grassroots organization with 30,000 members that educates and mobilizes citizens on US environment and military policy issues." The chair of 2020 Vision's board of directors is Robert Musil, who is also a board member of Population Connection -- a controversial group that was formerly known as Zero Population Growth. Furthermore, another 2020 Vision board member, Deron Lovaas, formerly managed Zero Population Growth's sprawl educational outreach program. Liberal foundations that support the work of 2020 Vision include the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. (back)

27. The World Future Council's director of research, Herbert Girardet, has since 1994 been chairman of the Schumacher Society (UK), and presently also serves on the advisory board of Pro-Natura International (alongside elite conservationist Thomas Lovejoy) and the Earth Charter International (see footnote #38). Girardet's first major environmental project was undertaken with self-sufficiency guru John Seymour, and after three years they produced a BBC series and the book Far From Paradise (BBC Publications, 1986), which examined the history of human impact on the environment. The following year they both co-authored Blueprint for a Green Planet (Dorling Kindersley, 1987), which Girardet recalls was "one of the first books emphasising personal responsibility for countering environmental destruction through green consumerism." Given the natural sympathies of free-market environmentalism and the green consumerism propagated by this book, it is fitting to note that Girardet observed how the "publishers refused to include our final chapter, which linked personal decisions and the need for collective action." (back)

28. Two World Future Council personalities are members of the Club of Budapest, (Riane Eisler and Bianca Jagger), while other notable Council personalities include Olivier Giscard d'Estaing (who is the chairperson of the Committee for a World Parliament and a former president of France), Ashok Khosla (who serves on the executive committee of the Club of Rome, and is a founding board member of the Alliance for the New Humanity -- see footnote #15), David Krieger (who is the president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation), Rama Mani (who is an advisor to the Global Center for the Responsibilty to Protect), and Anders Wijkman (who is the president of GLOBE EU, and serves as the chair of E-Parliament -- a group that World Future Council board chair Jakob von Uexkull provides financial support to). (back)

29. The Web site of the Fund for Constitutional Government notes that they presently support or serve as a "fiscal sponsor" for the following four projects: 1) Electronic Privacy Information Center; 2) Open The Government; 3) Project on Government Oversight; and 4) the Government Accountability Project. Needless to say there is a large degree of overlap between the board members of these four projects and that of the Fund for Constitutional Government.

• Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), also serves as the chair of a group called Privacy International, which was founded in 1990 by EPIC Senior Fellow Simon Davies. Here it is notable that fellow free speech advocate Noam Chomsky serves on the international advisory board of Privacy International. Of course, Chomsky is entitled to support causes that promote privacy, but he might reconsider uncritically allying himself alongside such groups that have clear connections to global democracy-manipulators.

• The head of Open The Government, Patrice McDermott, came to this position after serving as the deputy director of the Office of Government Relations for the American Library Association -- an association whose former president, Nancy Kranich, is the treasurer of both the aforementioned Center for National Security Studies and the National Security Archive. However, before working in this position at the American Library Association McDermott served for eight years as the senior information policy analyst for OMB Watch. The vice chair of OMB Watch, Ellen Miller, is the co-founder and executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, and like Anne Zill is a board member of Earth Action.

• The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) has a number of interesting environmental connections as David Hunter, the chair of their board is also a board member of EarthRights International (a group whose Secretary is linked to those "humanitarian" warriors calling for an intervention in Darfur), while another POGO board member, Lisa Baumgartner Bonds, formerly served as vice president for communications for the free-market environmental group the World Wildlife Fund.

Finally, the most notable connection of the Government Accountability Project is their tie to One World Trust (which was formed in 1951 as the "charitable arm" of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on World Government) -- which lists them alongside groups like the World Federalist Movement and George Soros's Open Society Institute as one of their partner organizations. (back)

30. Given the Charles Steward Mott Foundation's tie to the National Endowment for Democracy it is noteworthy that Anne Zill is a board member of Women for Women International, a group that in 2003 obtained a single grant from the Endowment to promote (rather manipulate) democracy in Iraq. (back)

31. Ellen Miller is the co-founder and executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, a philanthropic body that aims to support groups that highlight government corruption. Miller is the vice-chair of OMB Watch -- a group that "was formed in 1983 to lift the veil of secrecy shrouding the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB)" and is funded by numerous liberal foundations including the Ford Foundation, the Stewart R. Mott Charitable Trust, and the Open Society Institute. Heather Hamilton a former manager of the Community Education Center at OMB Watch recently served as executive vice president of Citizens for Global Solutions. Ellen Miller is also a board member of another reformist Ford Foundation funded nonprofit called Center for Responsive Politics. (back)

32. Liberal foundations have quietly insinuated their way into the heart of the global social justice movement, and played a key role in founding the World Social Forum (WSF). As a result of the lack of critical inquiry in to the influence of liberal philanthropy on progressive organizations it is not surprising that, when critiques of the WSF are made, they tend to be met with a resounding silence by progressive activists and their media (most of which have been founded and funded by liberal foundations).

Writing in 2007 in a special issue of the journal Critical Sociology, the Research Unit for Political Economy astutely observes, the WSF "constitutes an important intervention by foundations in social movements internationally" because (1) many of the NGO's attending the WSF obtain state and/or foundation funding, and (2) "the WSF's material base -- the funding for its activity -- is heavily dependent on foundations." It is perhaps stating the obvious to note that more attention should be paid to such important critiques; however, if further critical investigations then determined that such claims were unsubstantiated then the WSF could only be strengthened. On the other hand, if activists collectively decided that the receipt of liberal foundation funding is problematic -- as happened at the 2004 WSF in Mumbai -- then further steps must be immediately taken to address the issue.

While Jackie Smith is loathe to personally mention the detrimental impact of liberal foundations on progressive social change, in a book she edited with Joe Bandy (in 2005), they include a chapter by Daniel Faber that explores this subject in depth. He writes: "Foundation support plays a fundamental role in sustaining the environmental movement. It is estimated that 5.4 percent, or $1.23 billion, of total foundation giving ($22.8 billion) went to the environment in 1999. The bulk of foundation funding, however, goes to a handful of the more politically moderate national environmental organizations. ... In short, the foundation community is throwing its financial weight behind a sector of the movement governed largely by white, middle- to upper-class advocacy organizations without active memberships." Faber then continues by observing that: "In contrast, the foundation community as a whole neglects environmental justice. In fact, given the high number of organizations and the large size of the constituencies being served, the environmental justice movement is currently one of the most underfunded major social movements in the country." However, rather than counsel environmental groups to remedy this problem by seeking more support from the public (rather than elite foundations), Faber maintains that: "The long-term success of the ecology movement in general, and EJM in particular, depends on the reorientation of foundation priorities to support grassroots organizing and base-building strategies that democratically incorporate people into problem solving around the social and environmental ills that plague communities." Consequently given his resignation to the need for foundation support, Faber concludes by observing how: "The recent creation of the progressive-oriented Funders Network on Trade and Globalization and other foundation entities is beginning to address the disparities and assist the EJM in developing these capacities." How progressive the Funders Network on Trade and Globalization is from regular liberal foundation is debatable considering that it is a project of the Rockefeller Family Fund's Environmental Grantmakers Association, and has a steering committee which is home to representatives from the major liberal foundations, i.e., Lisa Jordan, who is the deputy director of the Global and Civil Society Unit at the Ford Foundation.

Research Unit for Political Economy, "Foundations and Mass Movements: The Case of the World Social Forum," Critical Sociology, 33 (3), 2007, p. 506. Also see their earlier report, "The Economics and Politics of the World Social Forum: Lessons for the Struggle against 'Globalisation'," Aspects of India's Economy, September 2003; Daniel Faber, "Building a Transnational Environmental Justice Movement: Obstacles and Opportunities in the Age of Globalization," in Joe Bandy and Jackie Smith (eds.), Coalitions Across Borders: Negotiating Difference and Unity in Transnational Struggles Against Neoliberalism (Roman & Littlefield, 2005), pp. 51-2. (back)

33. Intriguingly, in 1955 Immanuel Wallerstein obtained a Ford Foundation African Fellowship to complete "a dissertation that would compare the Gold Coast (Ghana) and the Ivory Coast in terms of the role voluntary associations played in the rise of the nationalist movements in the two countries." Furthermore, it is interesting that Wallerstein's work was strongly influenced by the French historian Fernand Braudel, whose own research was well supported by the Ford Foundation funding. These connections certainly deserve closer scrutiny, especially considering the strong historic ties that exist between the Ford Foundation and US foreign policy elites. Indeed, now that more is known about the close alliances that existed between the leading liberal foundations and the CIA it would be interesting to revisit previous critiques of Wallerstein's theories. For example, in 1981 James Petras penned "Dependency and World System Theory: A Critique and New Directions," Latin American Perspectives, 8 (3-4), 1981, pp. 148-155. In recent years, Petras has subjected the work of leading Leftist academics (including Wallerstein) to criticism, see his 2003 article "The Responsibility of the Intellectuals: Cuba, the U.S. and Human Rights." (back)

34. Smith and Karides write: "Although some scholars and activists contend that global democracy requires the abolition of global governance institutions, others call for restructuring them, and possibly even forming a true world government in order to regulate the international economy so that it better responds to public needs. ... While there have been a number of criticisms made of the WSF by activists, many see the WSF as an important instrument for preparing the public to participate actively within, and influence the decisions of, such institutions. ... Heikki Patomaki and Teivo Teivainen suggest that the WSF 'forms a loosely defined party of opinion' from which global parties could emerge and wield influence on world politics. Desire to create a more democratic global political economy could lead to greater support for global party formation at the WSF, despite many activists' reservations about political parties."

Later they report that: "According to the survey of participants at the 2005 WSF, the majority of respondents (68 percent) think that a democratic world government would be a good idea, although only 29 percent of these think this is actually plausible." That said, they note how "although there is strong support for creating democratic global governance institutions among WSF participants, most activists prioritized local strategies for social change over global ones. Sixty percent of all survey respondents indicated that the best approach to solving the problems created by global capitalism was to strengthen local communities, rather than strengthening nation-states or creating democratic global institutions." Smith and Karides, Global Democracy and the World Social Forums, p. 76, 89, 125. (back)

35. Joan Roelofs, "Foundations and Collaboration," Critical Sociology, 33, 2007, p. 502. (back)

36. At this meeting John Hoyt was representing Earth Charter in the United States. (back)

37. With Mikhail Gorbachev acting as its founding president, Green Cross International was launched in April 1993. Green Cross's current president and CEO, Alexander Likhotal, had previously worked at the Gorbachev Foundation as their international and media director. Another notable member of Green Cross's five-person-strong board of directors is the former president and prime minister of Portugal, Mario Soares, who is also a former president of the European Movement, serves as an honorary president of Socialist International, and sits on the international advisory committee of the NED's Journal of Democracy. Honorary board members of Green Cross represent environment elites from across the world, but their US representatives include Diane Meyer Simon (see next), the actor Robert Redford (who is a trustee of the free-market Natural Resources Defense Council), media mogul Ted Turner, and the former CEO of PBS, Pat Mitchell (who is presently a board member of two NED-connected groups, Human Rights Watch and Internews). Mitchell also served as the founding president of Global Green USA (the American Arm of Green Cross International), while Diane Meyer Simon also helped found this group and is currently their president emerita. In addition, Global Green USA includes a highly regarded Hollywood celebrity on their board, Leonardo DiCaprio, and so it is fitting that like Redford, DiCaprio is a trustee of the elitist Natural Resources Defense Council.

Maurice Strong's Earth Council (US) was founded in 1990, and their current president is Jan Hartke, who also acts as the chair of the Earth Restoration Corps (which is run by Maurice's wife, Hanne Strong). On top of this, Hartke is the executive director of EarthVoice -- which is an affiliate of the Humane Society of the U.S. -- which was launched in 1991 by John Hoyt (who then served as president of the Human Society). Hoyt presently serves as vice-chair of Earth Restoration Corps, and is a commissioner of Earth Charter International. For further critical information on Humane Society board member David Jhirad, who also happens to be the vice president of Earth Council, see "Jane Goodall's Elite Monkey Business." (back)

38. Earth Charter International's council has three co-chairs: Steven Rockefeller (United States), Razeena Wagiet (South Africa), and Brendan Mackey (Australia). The son of the former vice president of the United States, Nelson Rockefeller, Steven Rockefeller is professor emeritus of religion at Middlebury College, and has served as a trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund for twenty-five years (chairing the Fund's board of trustees from 1998 to 2006). Steven is also a member of the World Commission on Global Consciousness and Spirituality's Global Council on Planetary Ethics and Values, which is home to notables like Ervin Laszlo and Vaclav Havel. The other two co-chairs of the Earth Charter council, like Steven, have similarly elitist backgrounds, as Wagiet has previously worked for WWF South Africa, and thereafter was "appointed as environmental adviser to the previous National Minister of Education, Professor Kader Asmal for four years (1999-2003)"; while Mackey co-chairs the World Conservation Union Ethics Specialist Group. For further critical information on such "environmental" group see "The Philanthropic Roots of Corporate Environmentalism." (back)

39. This section draws upon William I. Robinson's recent lecture, "The Crisis of Global Capitalism," January 28, 2009, The University of California, Santa Barbara. In the online lecture, the five alternative scenarios for possible responses to the current crisis are discussed from minutes 38 until 53. (back)

40. Robinson notes: "A forth response to the global crisis, and again I am not saying this is taking place, and this is not predictive, is what I call a 21st century fascism. The confusion here when I raised this in discussion with colleagues and with critics is that when I say the term fascism they imagine that it has to look like 20th century fascism... We don't go backwards in history, we are not going to see a new Nazism or Mussolinism: 21st century fascism would look very different, it is already looking very different where there are signs of this as a response as a project...The need for widespread organized systems of social control gives an impulse to the fascist response to this crisis."

For further discussion of the threat of fascism, see Bertram Gross, Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America (South End Press, 1980); Michael Parenti, Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism (City Light Books, 1997); Chris Hedges, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America (Free Press, 2007). For a conservative critique of fascism, see Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning (Doubleday, 2008). (back)

41. Here it is important to recall the critical role that liberal foundations played in formulating the initial "New Deal." Joan Roelofs writes: "A major social analysis and program for reform, Recent Social Trends in the United States, was published in 1933 (President's Research Committee), initiated by President Hoover, organized by the SSRC, and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. It advocated metropolitan government and regional planning to replace obsolete local government structures, and new governance institutions, such as quasi-governmental and mixed public-private corporations. Economic and social planning was proposed to cure the Depression, and the Social Science Research Council was deemed the appropriate planning institution. The 'New Deal' was largely created with such help, although '... Roosevelt preferred to conceal the fact that so many of his major advisers on policy and some of his major programmes [sic] in social reform were the result of support by one or more of the private foundations ...'" Joan Roelofs, "Foundations and Collaboration," Critical Sociology, 33, 2007, pp. 492-3.

Similarly, the new "New Deal" that William I. Robinson refers to is likely to be influenced by so-called "green Keynesianism." This green Keynesianism is currently being promoted by the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress and the British-based New Economics Foundation -- the group that "led the first Other Economic Summit -- a fore-runner to the World Social Forum." Noted eco-socialist, John Bellamy Foster is critical of such endeavours and he says that his "take on green Keynesianism is that it is much too limited in nature, and too technologically driven, to constitute the nucleus of a full economic recovery. In fact, we are faced with a deep, long-lasting problem of economic stagnation and the crisis of financialization, as discussed in The Great Financial Crisis, which Keynesianism by its nature can do little to address... [W]hat is currently needed is not an economic recovery plan or faster economic growth, but an ecological revolution. This would necessarily be a social revolution, on a far more massive scale than anything yet imagined." (back)

About the Author

Michael Barker has recently handed in his PhD thesis at Griffith University in Australia. His other articles can be accessed at michaeljamesbarker.wordpress.com.
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Re: When Google Met Wikileaks (Excerpt: Google Is Not What I

Postby admin » Sun Nov 06, 2016 1:29 am

The Dismantling of Yugoslavia (Part I): A Study in Inhumanitarian Intervention (and a Western Liberal-Left Intellectual and Moral Collapse)
by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson
Monthly Review: An Independent Socialist Magazine
2007, Volume 59, Issue 05 (October)

Edward S. Herman is professor emeritus of finance at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and has written extensively on economics, political economy, and the media. Among his books are Corporate Control, Corporate Power (Cambridge University Press, 1981), The Real Terror Network (South End Press, 1982), and, with Noam Chomsky, The Political Economy of Human Rights (South End Press, 1979), and Manufacturing Consent (Pantheon, 2002).

David Peterson is an independent journalist and researcher based in Chicago.


The breakup of Yugoslavia provided the fodder for what may have been the most misrepresented series of major events over the past twenty years. The journalistic and historical narratives that were imposed upon these wars have systematically distorted their nature, and were deeply prejudicial, downplaying the external factors that drove Yugoslavia’s breakup while selectively exaggerating and misrepresenting the internal factors. Perhaps no civil wars—and Yugoslavia suffered multiple civil wars across several theaters, at least two of which remain unresolved—have ever been harvested as cynically by foreign powers to establish legal precedents and new categories of international duties and norms. Nor have any other civil wars been turned into such a proving ground for the related notions of “humanitarian intervention” and the “right [or responsibility] to protect.” Yugoslavia’s conflicts were not so much mediated by foreign powers as they were inflamed and exploited by them to advance policy goals. The result was a tsunami of lies and misrepresentations in whose wake the world is still reeling.

[x]
Key to the Former Yugoslavia

From 1991 on, Yugoslavia and its successor states were exploited for ends as crass and as classically realpolitik as: (1) preserving the NATO military alliance despite the disintegration of the Soviet bloc—NATO’s putative reason for existence; (2) overthrowing the UN Charter’s historic commitments to non-interference and respect for the sovereign equality, territorial integrity, and political independence of all states in favor of the right of those more enlightened to interfere in the affairs of “failing” states, and even to wage wars against “rogue” states; (3) humiliating the European Union (EU) (formerly the European Community [EC]) over its inability to act decisively as a threat-making and militarily punitive force in its own backyard; (4) and of course dismantling the last economic and social holdout on the European continent yet to be integrated into the “Washington consensus.” The pursuit of these goals required that certain agents within Yugoslavia be cast in the role of the victims, and others as villains—the latter not just belligerents engaged in a civil war, but evil and murderous perpetrators of mass crimes which, in turn, would legitimate military intervention. At its extreme, in the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Yugoslavia has been cast as one gigantic crime scene, with the wars in their totality to be explained as a “Joint Criminal Enterprise,” the alleged purpose of which was the expulsion of non-Serbs from territories the Serbs wanted all to themselves—an utterly risible caricature, as we show below, but taken seriously in Western commentary, much as Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” were to be taken early in the next decade.

While the destruction of Yugoslavia had both internal and external causes, it is easy to overlook the external causes, despite their great importance, because Western political interests and ideology have masked them by focusing entirely on the alleged resurgence of Serb nationalism and drive for a “Greater Serbia” as the root of the collapse. In a widely read book that accompanied their BBC documentary, Laura Silber and Allan Little wrote that “under Milosevic’s stewardship” the Serbs were “the key secessionists,” as Milosevic sought the “creation of a new enlarged Serbian state, encompassing as much territory of Yugoslavia as possible,” his “politics of ethnic intolerance provok[ing] the other nations of Yugoslavia, convincing them that it was impossible to stay in the Yugoslav federation and propelling them down the road to independence.” In another widely read book, Misha Glenny wrote that “without question, it was Milosevic who had willfully allowed the genie [of violent, intolerant nationalism] out of the bottle, knowing that the consequences might be dramatic and even bloody.” Noel Malcolm found that by the late 1980s, “Two processes seemed fused into one: the gathering of power into Milosevic’s hands, and the gathering of the Serbs into a single political unit which could either dominate Yugoslavia or break it apart.” For Roy Gutman, the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina “was the third in a series of wars launched by Serbia….Serbia had harnessed the powerful military machine of the Yugoslav state to achieve the dream of its extreme nationalists: Greater Serbia.” For David Rieff, “even if [Croatia’s President Franjo] Tudjman had been an angel, Slobodan Milosevic would still have launched his war for Greater Serbia.”1

In a commentary in 2000, Tim Judah wrote that Milosevic was responsible for wars in “Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo: four wars since 1991 and [that] the result of these terrible conflicts, which began with the slogan ‘All Serbs in One State,’ is the cruelest irony.” Sometime journalist, sometime spokesperson for the ICTY at The Hague, Florence Hartmann, wrote that “Long before the war began, Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia and, following his example, Franjo Tudjman in Croatia, had turned their backs on the Yugoslav ideal of an ethnically mixed federal State and set about carving out their own ethnically homogeneous States. With Milosevic’s failure, in 1991, to take control of all of Yugoslavia, the die was cast for war.” After Milosevic’s death in 2006, the New York Times’s Marlise Simons wrote about the “incendiary nationalism” of the man who “rose and then clung to power by resurrecting old nationalist grudges and inciting dreams of a Greater Serbia…the prime engineer of wars that pitted his fellow Serbs against the Slovenes, the Croats, the Bosnians, the Albanians of Kosovo and ultimately the combined forces of the entire NATO alliance.” And at the more frenzied end of the media spectrum, Mark Danner traced the Balkan war dynamic to the Serbs’ “unquenchable blood lust,” while Ed Vulliamy asserted that “Once Milosevic had back-stabbed his way to power and had switched from communism to fascism, he and Mirjana set out to establish their dream of an ethnically pure Greater Serbia cleansed of Croats and ‘mongrel races’ such as Bosnia’s Muslims and Kosovo’s Albanians.”2

This version of history—or ideology under the guise of history—fails at multiple levels. For one, it ignores the economic and financial turbulence within which Yugoslavia’s highly indebted, unevenly developed republics and autonomous regions found themselves in the years following Tito’s death in 1980, the aptly named “great reversal” during which the “standard of living whose previous growth had muted most regional grievances and legitimized Communist rule declined by fully one-quarter.”3 It also ignores the geopolitical context marked by the decline and eventual dissolution of the Soviet bloc, just as it ignores the German, Austrian, Vatican, EU, and eventual U.S. interest in the dismantlement of the socialist as well as federal dimensions of a unitary Yugoslav state, and the actions that brought about that result. Furthermore, it underrates the importance of Albanian (Kosovo), Slovene, Croat, Macedonian, Bosnian Muslim, Montenegrin, and even Hungarian (Vojvodina) nationalisms, and the competing interests of each of these groups as they sought sovereignty within, and later independence from, Yugoslavia. Perhaps most critical of all, it overrates the Serbs’ and Milosevic’s nationalism, gives these an unwarranted causal force, and transforms their expressed interest in preserving the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) and/or allowing Serbs to remain within a single unified successor state into wars of aggression whose goal was “Greater Serbia.”

The standard narrative also fails egregiously in claiming the Western interventions humanitarian in purpose and result. In that narrative those interventions came late but did their work well. We will show on the contrary that they came early, encouraged divisions and ethnic wars, and in the end had extremely damaging effects on the freedom, independence, and welfare of the inhabitants, although they served well the ends of Croatian, Bosnian Muslim, and Kosovo Albanian nationalists, as well as those of the United States and NATO. Furthermore, NATO’s 1999 bombing war against Yugoslavia, in violation of the UN Charter, built upon precedents set by NATO’s late summer 1995 bombing attacks on the Bosnian Serbs. More important, it provided additional precedents which advanced the same law-of-the-jungle lineage under the cover of “human rights.” It thus served as a precursor and a model for the subsequent U.S. regime’s attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, and the lies that enabled them.

Another notable feature of the dismantling of Yugoslavia was the very widespread support for the Western interventions expressed by liberals and leftists. These intellectuals and journalists swallowed and helped propagate the standard narrative with remarkable gullibility, and their work made a major contribution to engineering consent to the ethnic cleansing wars, the NATO bombing attacks, the neocolonial occupations of Bosnia and Kosovo, and the wars that followed against Afghanistan and Iraq.

1. Geopolitics and Nationalism

The Yugoslav (or “South Slav”) solution to this region of Southeastern Europe’s “national question” had always been tenuous. “Failure…to maintain the [united, federal] state throughout the…country’s existence [was] an ever present possibility,” Lenard Cohen and Paul Warwick write. Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo—the three most bloodily contested areas in the 1990s—had all been “areas of high ethnic fragmentation” and “persistent hotbeds of political criminality.” Throughout Yugoslavia’s brief history, ethnic unity “was more an artifact of party pronouncements, induced personnel rotation, and institutional reorganization, than an outcome of genuine political incorporation or enhanced cohesion among the different segments of the population”4

This fragile state of affairs had been held together by the rule of Tito, along with Western support for the independent Yugoslavia in an otherwise Soviet-dominated area. Tito’s death in 1980 loosened the authoritarian cement. The collapse of the Soviet bloc a decade later deprived Yugoslavia of Western support for the unified state. As the last U.S. ambassador to Yugoslavia purportedly instructed Belgrade upon his arrival in April 1989: “Yugoslavia no longer enjoyed the geopolitical importance that the United States had given it during the Cold War.”5

Yugoslavia’s economy was deeply troubled by the 1980s. Unemployment was dangerously high and persistent. Regional inequalities remained the rule. On a per-capita basis, Slovenia’s income by the late 1980s was at least twice the average for Yugoslavia as a whole, Croatia’s more than one-fourth greater, and Serbia proper’s roughly equal to the average. But Montenegro’s was only 74 percent of Yugoslavia’s average, Bosnia-Herzegovina’s 68 percent, Macedonia’s 63 percent, and Kosovo’s 27 percent.6 What is more, Yugoslavia borrowed abroad heavily in the 1970s, and it accumulated a large external debt that stood at $19.7 billion in 1989.7 With hyperinflation spiking upward to more than 1,000 percent this same year,8 Yugoslavia was pressured by the IMF to undertake a classic “shock therapy” program that threatened the solidarity of its population.

Economic decline was accompanied by a diminished confidence in the federal system and the rise of republican challenges to it. But as Susan Woodward notes, taking the lead “were not the unemployed but the employed who feared unemployment” and property owners who feared “that they would lose value and status.” It was in the two wealthiest republics of the northwest, Slovenia and Croatia, but Slovenia in particular, that the drive toward autonomy took the most pronounced anti-federal form.9 Although less than 30 percent of Yugoslavia’s population lived in Slovenia and Croatia, they accounted for half of federal tax revenues—before they stopped paying it. They openly resented these obligations. Longing for closer ties with Western Europe, they revolted.10

In what Robert Hayden calls the “new doctrine of republican supremacy,” by midsummer 1989 Slovenia had rejected the federation. Amendments were proposed for Slovenia’s constitution that clashed with its federal counterpart. Among these was a notorious amendment that defined “Slovenia” as the “state of the sovereign Slovenian nation”—a change that the Borba newspaper (Belgrade) editorialized would “divide Yugoslavia.” In February 1990, the Constitutional Court (a federal body) ruled against Slovenia’s assertion that its laws took precedence over federal ones. This included the “question of secession,” which the court ruled “could only be decided jointly with the agreement of all the republics.” The court also ruled “that the Presidency of Yugoslavia would have both the right and the obligation to declare a state of emergency in Slovenia if some general danger threatened the existence or constitutional order of that republic, on the grounds that such a condition would also threaten the whole of the country.” Slovenia “rejected the court’s jurisdiction,” Hayden adds.

In April 1990, both Slovenia and Croatia held the first multiparty elections in Yugoslavia since the late 1930s. A coalition of six parties called DEMOS that campaigned on an independence platform received 55 percent of the Slovene vote. In Croatia, Franjo Tudjman’s blatantly nationalistic and separatist Croatian Democratic Union received 70 percent. News accounts conveyed the resurgence of nationalist politics in Slovenia and Croatia, along with a distinct flavor of ethnic chauvinism pitting these Westernized republics against the other, less advanced counterparts. Hayden notes that on July 2, 1990, the Slovene parliament declared Slovenia’s “complete sovereignty,” and that the “republic’s laws superseded those of the federation.” Then on July 25, Croatia’s parliament did likewise, making Croatia “a politically and economically sovereign state” (Tudjman). Finally in September—still three months before its own republican elections, in which Milosevic’s Socialist Party received 65 percent on a platform of preserving Yugoslavia, in explicit opposition to the separatist parties that had come to power in Slovenia and Croatia, and were to be soundly defeated in Serbia—Serbia adopted a new constitution granting its laws the same supremacy over federal institutions. “If the Slovenes can do it, so can we,” a member of the Serbian Presidency said. With these challenges to federal authority by each of the three most powerful republics, the “collapse of the Yugoslav state was inevitable,” Hayden concludes.11

In contrast to the standard narrative, it is clear that nationalist forces at this time were stronger in Slovenia and Croatia than in Serbia. The decisive, history-making difference, however, was that in Slovenia and Croatia, the nationalist parties that won the April 1990 elections also adopted separatist platforms. Not only did they challenge the federal institutions as a whole, they also sought to sever ties with them—the last real bonds left from the Tito era.

Had Western powers supported the federal state, Yugoslavia might have held together—but they did not. Instead they not only encouraged Slovenia, Croatia, and later Bosnia-Herzegovina to secede, they also insisted that the federal state not use force to prevent it. Diana Johnstone recounts a January 1991 meeting in Belgrade between the U.S. ambassador and Borisav Jovic, a Serb then serving on Yugoslavia’s collective State Presidency. “[T]he United States would not accept any use of force to disarm the paramilitaries,” Jovic was told. “Only ‘peaceful’ means were acceptable to Washington. The Yugoslav army was prohibited by the United States from using force to preserve the Federation, which meant that it could not prevent the Federation from being dismembered by force”12—a remarkable injunction against a sovereign state. Similar warnings were communicated by the EC as well. We might try to imagine what the United States would look like today, were the questions it faced in 1860 about its federal structure and the rights of states handled in as prejudicial a manner by much stronger foreign powers.

At the heart of the multiple civil wars had always been a simple question: In which state do the people of Yugoslavia want to live—the SFRY or a successor state?13 But for a great many Yugoslavs, an answer contrary to their desires and contrary to the Yugoslav constitution was imposed from the outside. One way this was accomplished was by the EC’s September 1991 appointment of an Arbitration Commission—the Badinter Commission—to assess legal aspects of the contests over Yugoslavia. This body’s work provided a “pseudo-legal gloss to the [EC’s] opportunistic consent to the destruction of Yugoslavia demanded by Germany,” Diana Johnstone writes.14 On each of the major issues contested by the Serbian republic, the commission ruled against Serbia. Yugoslavia was “in the process of dissolution,” the commission’s notorious Opinion No. 1 stated when published on December 7, 1991. Similarly, Opinion No. 2 held that “the Serbian population in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina…[does not] have the right to self-determination,” though it “is entitled to all the rights concerned to minorities and ethnic groups under international law….” And Opinion No. 3 declared that “the [former] internal boundaries between Croatia and Serbia and between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia…[have] become frontiers protected by international law.”15 Remarkably, the commission recognized the right of republics to secede from the former Yugoslavia, and thus affixed the right of self-determination to Yugoslavia’s former administrative units; but the commission detached the right of self-determination from Yugoslavia’s peoples, and thus denied comparable rights to the new minorities now stranded within the breakaway republics. The breakaway republics themselves might be blessed with foreign recognition; or, like Serbia and Montenegro for the remainder of the decade, recognition would be withheld, and its peoples rendered effectively stateless.

From the standpoint of conflict resolution, this was a disastrous set of rulings, as the republics had been administrative units within Yugoslavia, and three of them (Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Serbia) included large ethnic minorities who strongly opposed the terms of Yugoslavia’s breakup, and who had been able to live with each other in relative peace on condition that their rights were safeguarded by a powerful federal state. Once the guarantees of the federal state were removed, it was inflammatory to deny peoples the right to choose the successor state in which they wanted to live; and the more ethnically mixed a republic or even commune, the more provocative the foreign demand that the old internal republican boundaries were sacrosanct.16 But the Badinter Commission’s rulings made perfect sense from a much different standpoint: That of prescribing an outline for Yugoslavia’s dismantlement that was in accord with the demands of the secessionist forces in Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina and their Western supporters, while ignoring the rights (and wishes) of the constituent “nations” as specified in the Yugoslav constitution, and justifying foreign interference in the civil wars as a defense of the newly independent states.

Germany in particular encouraged Slovenia and Croatia to secede, which they did on June 25, 1991; formal recognition was granted on December 23, one year to the day after 94.5 percent of Slovenes had voted in a referendum in favor of independence. EC recognition followed on January 15, 1992, as did U.S. recognition in early April, when Washington recognized Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina all at once. More provocative yet, whereas the UN admitted all three breakaway republics as member states on May 22, it withheld the admission of a successor state to the dismantled Yugoslavia for another eight-and-a-half years; the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, composed of Serbia and Montenegro, often denigrated as the “rump” Yugoslavia, was not admitted until November 1, 2000, almost four weeks after Milosevic’s ouster. In other words, the two republics within the SFRY—itself a founding member of the UN—that rejected the dismantling of the federal state had been denied the right to succeed the SFRY as well as membership within the UN for close to a decade. At this highest level of the “international community,” it would be difficult to find a more extreme case of realpolitik at work, but it was a realpolitik that assured a violent outcome—and to the victor, the spoils.

A far more aggressive U.S. policy toward Yugoslavia began in 1993, with Washington anxious to redefine NATO’s mission and to expand NATO eastward; and searching for a client among the contestants, Washington settled on the Bosnian Muslims and Alija Izetbegovic. To serve these ends the Clinton administration sabotaged a series of peace efforts between 1993 and the Dayton accords of 1995;17 encouraged the Bosnian Muslims to reject any settlement until their military position had improved; helped arm and train the Muslims and Croats to shift the balance of forces on the ground;18 and finally settled at Dayton with an agreement that imposed upon the warring factions terms that could have been had as early as 1992, but for one missing link: In 1992, a Western-managed neocolonial regime, complete with NATO serving as its military enforcer, still was not achievable.19 Now into the twelfth year after Dayton, Bosnia remains a foreign occupied, severely divided, undemocratic, and in every sense of the term—failed state.20

A similar process took place in Kosovo, where an indigenous, ethnic Albanian independence movement was captured by an ultra-nationalist faction, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), whose leaders soon recognized that, like the Bosnian Muslims, they could enlist U.S. and NATO sponsorship and military intervention by provoking Yugoslav authorities to violence and getting the incidents reported the right way. Thus in the year before NATO’s seventy-eight-day bombing war in the spring of 1999, the “KLA were responsible for more deaths in Kosovo than the Yugoslav authorities had been,” British Defense Secretary George Robertson told his Parliament.21 As was true of the Bosnian Muslim and Croat forces before their major spring and summer offensives in 1995, the KLA received covert training and supplies from the Clinton administration,22 a well-guarded secret to the Western publics then being fed lines about “Milosevic’s willing executioners” marching off to perpetrate genocide in Kosovo.

On matters of principle, neither the EU nor the United States have been consistent on secession rights. In 1991–92, they encouraged the republics of Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina to break away from Yugoslavia; the federal state was denied any right to use force to prevent them from doing so; and no one living within these republics was permitted to break away from them. And yet as recently as June 2006, the EU, United States, and UN accepted Montenegro’s right to break away from its Serbian partner; and more recently, the UN’s special envoy for Kosovo Martti Ahtisaari has supported the right of the Serbian province of Kosovo to break away from Serbia once and for all—“to be supervised for an initial period by the international community.” Calling NATO-occupied Kosovo “a unique case that demands a unique solution,” Ahtisaari reassured that Kosovo would not “create a precedent for other unresolved conflicts.” With resolution 1244, Ahtisaari reports, the “Security Council responded to Milosevic’s actions in Kosovo by denying Serbia a role in its governance, placing Kosovo under temporary UN administration and envisaging a political process designed to determine Kosovo’s future. The combination of these factors makes Kosovo’s circumstances extraordinary.”23

The UN special envoy is badly deluded. Kosovo is a NATO-occupied province in southern Serbia, following NATO’s illegal war in the spring of 1999. Kosovo’s status ought to be no different than was Kuwait’s on August 3, 1990: It is a territory taken by military force in contravention of the UN Charter, and its independence should mean above all the restoration of its sovereignty to Serbia. But as with the subsequent U.S. wars and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Security Council neither condemned NATO’s 1999 aggression nor demanded that measures be taken to remedy it, for the simple reason that three of the Council’s Permanent Five members had launched it. And in 2007, the UN’s special envoy shows not the slightest interest that Serbia entered into its war-ending treaties under the duress of a conquered state. Instead of demanding that NATO return the province to the country from which it was seized, the UN not only accepts the aggression as a fait accompli, but also affirms its legitimacy on “humanitarian” grounds. The Ahtisaari solution is a case of “commissioned power politics.”24 The only “extraordinary” circumstance is to be found in which group of states launched the war. (On the fraudulence of the “humanitarian” rationale for NATO’s war, and the inhumanitarian effects of both the war and occupation, see sections 9 and 10.)

In sum, the United States and NATO entered the Yugoslav struggles quite early and were key external factors in the initiation of ethnic cleansing, in keeping it going, and in working toward a violent resolution of the conflicts that would keep the United States and NATO relevant in Europe, and secure NATO’s dominant position in the Balkans.

2. The Role of the Serbs, Milosevic, and ‘Greater Serbia’

A key element in the myth structure holds that Milosevic incited the Serbs to violence, setting loose the genie of Serb nationalism from the bottle that had contained it under Tito. During the prosecution’s opening statement at his trial, a videotape was played of Milosevic uttering the words “No one should dare beat you” at the Hall of Culture in Pristina in April 1987. “It was that phrase…and the response of others to it that gave this accused the taste or a better taste of power, maybe the first realisation of a dream,” prosecutor Geoffrey Nice told the court. With these words Milosevic “had broken the taboo of [Tito] against invoking nationalism,” Dusko Doder and Louise Branson write, “a taboo credited with submerging ethnic hatreds and holding Yugoslavia together for more than forty years….The initial impact was catastrophic: rabid ethnic nationalism swept all regions of Yugoslavia like a disease.”25

But neither these remarks by Milosevic nor his June 28, 1989, speech on the six-hundreth anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo had anything like the characteristics imputed to them. Instead Milosevic used both speeches to appeal to multi-ethnic tolerance, accompanied by a warning against the threat posed to Yugoslavia by nationalism—“hanging like a sword over their heads all the time” (1989).26

In his 1987 speech—the words “no one should dare beat you” having been uttered in response to the news that the police had roughed up some local Serbs—Milosevic said “we do not want to divide people into Serbs and Albanians, but we must draw the line that divides the honest and progressive who are struggling for brotherhood and unity and national equality from the counterrevolution and nationalists on the other side.” Similarly in his 1989 speech, he said that “Yugoslavia is a multinational community and it can survive only under the conditions of full equality for all nations that live in it,” and nothing in either of these speeches conflicted with this sentiment—nor can quotes like these be found in the speeches and writings of Tudjman or Izetbegovic. But the standard narrative steers clear of Milosevic’s actual words, understandably, as the misrepresentation that surrounds the simple phrase “no one should dare beat you” is deeply ingrained, and repeated by the ICTY’s prosecutor, Silber and Little, Glenny, Malcolm, Judah, Doder and Branson, and a cast of thousands; also by The Guardian and the New York Times, to name but two, all of whom allude to these speeches in the inciting-Serb-nationalism mode, but almost surely never bothered to read and report their actual content.

The massive trial of Milosevic, with 295 prosecution witnesses and 49,191 pages of courtroom transcripts, failed to produce a single credible piece of evidence that Milosevic had spoken disparagingly of non-Serb “nations” or ordered any killings that might fall under the category of war crimes. But the so-called Brioni Transcript of talks that Croatian President Franjo Tudjman held with his military and political leadership on July 31, 1995, reveal Tudjman instructing his generals to “inflict such a blow on the Serbs that they should virtually disappear.”27 What followed within days was Operation Storm, a massive, well-planned military blow that made the Krajina Serbs literally disappear. Imagine the windfall that a statement such as Tudjman’s would have provided Carla Del Ponte, Geoffrey Nice, Marlise Simons, and Ed Vulliamy, had it been Milosevic who uttered a statement directly linking him to criminal activity of this magnitude. But by the summer of 1995 Tudjman was a U.S. ally, and Operation Storm was approved and aided by the United States and some of its corporate mercenaries.28

Similarly, in Alija Izetbegovic’s Islamic Declaration, first circulated in 1970 but republished in 1990 for his presidential campaign, his major theme is what he called the “incompatibility of Islam with non-Islamic systems.” “There is neither peace nor coexistence between the ‘Islamic religion’ and non-Islamic social and political institutions,” Izetbegovic argued. “Having the right to govern its own world, Islam clearly excludes the right and possibility of putting a foreign ideology into practice on its territory. There is thus no principle of secular government and the State must express and support the moral principles of religion.”29 Again, nothing ever uttered by Milosevic matches this for a program of ethno-religious intolerance. But as it was the prescription of a man who became a key U.S. client, Izetbegovic’s beliefs were ignored by the same journalists and historians for whom “no one should dare beat you” was alleged to herald the breakup of an entire country. Instead, David Rieff adopted the Bosnian Muslims as his “just cause” because, in his account, theirs was “a society committed to multiculturalism…and tolerance, and of an understanding of national identity as deriving from shared citizenship rather than ethnic identity”—and this witness-bearer claims to be referring to the “values” and “ideals” that Izetbegovic’s Bosnia would uphold!30

In the series of ICTY indictments of Milosevic et al., the charge that he was striving to produce a “Greater Serbia” ranks high among the causes of the wars. This is also the standard formula that entered into the intellectual and media narrative of cause, as expressed by Judah’s statement “that it all began with the slogan ‘All Serbs in One State’” and in an obituary in the Washington Post in March 2006, where we read again that Milosevic’s “pledge to unify all Serbs in one state turned into an ironic promise.” And in a comprehensive offering of cliché lies, we find Mark Danner in the New York Review of Books stating: “As had the Yugoslav wars, the Dayton peace sprang from the forehead of Slobodan Milosevic, the architect of Greater Serbia, the man who had built his power base by inciting and exploiting Serb nationalism.”31

One serious problem with the prosecution’s theory and the premise of the establishment narrative—that Yugoslavia’s wars were the result of the “incendiary nationalism” (Marlise Simons), “blood lust” (Mark Danner), and ruthless contempt for the “mongrel races” (Ed Vulliamy) by the Serbs and Milosevic—is that Serbia proper, the alleged heartland of this “joint criminal enterprise,” was itself subject to no “ethnic cleansing” whatsoever throughout the wars, but witnessed a net inflow of refugees from other former republics. (For data on refugee flows in the former Yugoslavia, see section 9.) This dramatic fact was brought out by Milosevic in his trial, during his examination of defense witness Mihailo Markovic, a noted professor of philosophy and one of the founders of Praxis. Acknowledging the “paradox in view of all these charges” concerning “Greater Serbia” and “ethnic cleansing,” Markovic said that “Serbia still has today the same national structure that it had in the 1970s,” and that although “Serbs were expulsed from practically all the other republics, Serbia did not change.” “Why would Serbs be expelling Croatians from Croatia if they’re not expelling them from Serbia?” Markovic asked the court. “Why would Serbs be expelling Albanians from Kosovo if they’re not expelling them from Belgrade and other parts of Serbia?” Shortly thereafter, Milosevic directed much the same question back toward Markovic:

Milosevic: [I]f you have in mind that the greatest part of that Greater Serbia would be precisely the Republic of Serbia, which did not see any expulsions at all throughout the crisis, do you find it logical that Serbia should initiate expulsions from territories outside of Serbia?

Markovic: Well, I already told you it seems illogical to me.32


Obviously, these are important questions, whose answers cast doubts on a fundamental tenet of the standard narrative. If the Belgrade Serbs, as the alleged originators of the “joint criminal enterprise” to create a “Greater Serbia,” did not implement their conspiracy where they held unquestioned power, inside Serbia proper, then what is the likelihood that the prosecution’s theory for the wars has any merit? Lead prosecutor Geoffrey Nice had no solution for this “paradox.” And Marlise Simons, Mark Danner, Ed Vulliamy, David Rieff, and others have not dealt with it by any method other than yet more misleading rhetoric and strategic silence. This exchange was unreported in any Western media institution.

But in an even more devastating development in the Milosevic trial, which occurred during its defense phase, prosecutor Geoffrey Nice admitted that Milosevic’s objective of allowing Serbs to live in one state “was different from the concept of the Greater Serbia….”33 Nice was responding to questions that had been raised by amicus curiae attorney David Kay and presiding judge Patrick Robinson about the prosecution’s claim that Milosevic et al. had a plan to create a “Greater Serbia,” and what such a plan really meant—a charge that exists in each of the three indictments for Croatia, in both indictments for Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that is either asserted or implied by countless news and historical treatments of the wars. “I had the clear impression that this was an essential foundation of the Prosecution’s case,” Judge Robinson noted.34 A short while later, Judge O-Gon Kwon asked Nice to explain to the court the “difference of the Greater Serbia idea and the idea of one—all Serbs living in one state.” Nice replied:

[I]t may be that the accused’s aim was for that which could qualify as a de facto Greater Serbia….Did he find the source of his position at least overtly in [the] historical concept of Greater Serbia; no, he didn’t. His was…the pragmatic one of ensuring that all the Serbs who had lived in the former Yugoslavia should be allowed for either constitutional or other reasons to live in the same unit. That meant as we know historically from his perspective first of all that the former Yugoslavia shouldn’t be broken up….35


In this passage, Nice betrays the fact that the prosecution itself doesn’t believe its most notorious accusation against Milosevic et al., as to why Yugoslavia broke apart: That leading Serbs in Belgrade and elsewhere conspired to create a living space exclusively for Serbs, cleansed of the other ethnic groups (“Greater Serbia”); that they entered into this conspiracy by no later than August 1, 1991; and that they were willing to perpetrate any atrocity, genocide included, to execute their conspiracy. Instead, what the prosecution really believes is that the breakup of Yugoslavia was accompanied by civil wars, plain and simple; that the principal crime for which Milosevic et al. have always been held responsible among the Western powers was the crime of trying to hold Yugoslavia together, against the West’s efforts to dismantle it; and that once events beyond their control closed-off this option, they attempted to hang onto a smaller successor state established on the same principles as the larger one they had lost. That they were not striving for an “ethnically pure” Serb state was made clear by the absence of any ethnic cleansing in Serbia proper.

Of course, the prosecution would reply that once Yugoslavia had undergone the process of dismantlement—and on July 4, 1992, Opinion No. 8 of the Badinter Commission declared that as a “matter of fact,” the “process of dissolution of the SFRY referred to in Opinion No. 1…is now complete and that the SFRY no longer exists”36—any attempt by the minority Serb populations of Croatia or Bosnia to secede from the new, internationally recognized states and to join the “rump” Yugoslavia was an act of rebellion, and any aid provided by Milosevic to these rebels was interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states, aggressive, and criminal. But Badinter ran roughshod over both Yugoslavia’s constitution and fundamental principles of self-determination: The former reserved the right of secession to Yugoslavia’s constituent nations, not to its administrative units;37 and Badinter’s endorsement of the independence claims of Yugoslavia’s Slovenes, Croats, Muslims, and Macedonians, while rejecting the claims of its Serbs, ranks among the greatest and most costly exercises of the double-standard in modern times.38

Despite the allegations to the contrary, it remained the prosecution’s belief throughout the trial that the Milosevic regime’s political objective at the time of the secessions of Slovenia, Croatia, and later Bosnia-Herzegovina was to preserve the SFRY; and that if this could not be done, then as much of the old SFRY as possible should be kept within a single, unitary successor state. Indeed, this was the reason for which Milosevic’s Socialist Party had received 65 percent of the Serbian vote in December 1990, in the republic’s first multiparty elections: Not to create a “Greater Serbia,” but to preserve Yugoslavia. Until historians recognize that the ultimate crime for which the serial indictments have been brought against Milosevic et al. was the crime of trying to hold the SFRY together or a successor state on a similarly unified, federal model, they will never understand the enormity of what Nice conceded in court on August 25, 2005. As best we can tell, this startling concession to the Milosevic defense and the historical record, which amounted to the prosecution’s de facto abandonment of the main component of the ICTY’s case, has never been reported in the major English-language print media.

Furthermore, it is not even true that Milosevic fought to keep all Serbs in one state. He either supported or agreed to a series of settlements, like Brioni (July 1991), Lisbon (February 1992), Vance-Owen (January 1993), Owen-Stoltenberg (August 1993), the European Action Plan (January 1994), the Contact Group Plan (July 1994), and ultimately the Dayton Accords (November 1995)—none of which would have kept all Serbs in one state.39 He declined to defend the Croatian Serbs when they were ethnically cleansed in two related operations in May and August 1995. He agreed to an official contraction in the earlier SFRY to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (i.e., to Serbia and Montenegro—itself further shrunk with the exit of Montenegro), which in effect abandoned the Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia to their fate outside any “Greater Serbia.” His aid to Serbs in both Croatia and Bosnia was sporadic, and their leaders felt him to have been an opportunistic and unreliable ally, more concerned with getting the UN sanctions against Yugoslavia removed than making serious sacrifices for the stranded Serbs elsewhere.

In short, Milosevic struggled fitfully to defend Serbs who felt abandoned and threatened in the hostile, secessionist states of a progressively dismantled Yugoslavia; and he wanted, but did not fight very hard, to preserve a shrinking Yugoslav Federation that would have kept all the Serbs in a successor common state. For historians, journalists, and the ICTY to call this a drive for a “Greater Serbia” is Orwellian political rhetoric that transforms a weak and unsuccessful defense of a shrinking Yugoslavia into a bold and aggressive offensive to seize other peoples’ territory. It is also of interest that the clear drives of Croatian and Kosovo Albanian nationalists toward a “Greater Croatia” and “Greater Albania,” and Bosnian Muslim leader Izetbegovic’s refusal to agree to a settlement (with U.S. encouragement) in hopes that with NATO aid he could rule over all three “nations” in Bosnia, have been ignored in the standard narrative as serious causal factors in the ethnic wars of the 1990s.

It should also be clear that the assured claims of Silber and Little, Glenny, Malcolm, Judah, and Simons (and they are only a small sample from a vast universe) about who was responsible for the breakup of Yugoslavia is ideology and myth parading under the guise of history—easily confuted, but part of the standard narrative that is unchallengeable in a closed system.

_______________

Notes:

↩ Laura Silber and Allan Little, Yugoslavia, rev. ed. (New York: Penguin Books, 1997), 26; Misha Glenny, The Fall of Yugoslavia, rev. ed. (New York: Penguin Books, 1996), 33; Noel Malcolm, Bosnia, rev. ed. (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 212; Roy Gutman, introduction, A Witness to Genocide (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1993), xviii; David Rieff, “The Balkans,” Toronto Globe and Mail, July 19, 1997.
↩ Tim Judah, “Is Milosevic Planning Another Balkan War?” Scotland on Sunday, March 19, 2000; Florence Hartmann, “Bosnia,” in Roy Gutman & David Rieff, eds., Crimes of War (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1999), 50–51; Marlise Simons, “Slobodan Milosevic, 64, Former Yugoslav Leader Accused of War Crimes, Dies,” New York Times, March 12, 2006; Mark Danner, “America and the Bosnia Genocide,” New York Review of Books, December 4, 1997; Ed Vulliamy, “Profile: Mira Milosevic,” The Observer, July 8, 2001.
↩ Harold Lydall, Yugoslavia in Crisis (New York: Clarendon Press, 1989), esp. 40–71; and John R. Lampe, Yugoslavia as History, 2nd ed. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 322. In Lydall’s words, “the year 1979 was climacteric: from that year onwards, the trend of economic change [was] in almost all respects downwards” (40).
↩ Lenard Cohen and Paul Warwick, Political Cohesion in a Fragile Mosaic (Boulder: Westview Press, 1983), esp. chap. 7; here 1; 152; 157.
↩ Warren Zimmermann, “The Last Ambassador,” Foreign Affairs, March/April, 1995.
↩ Dijana Plestina, Regional Development in Communist Yugoslavia (Boulder: Westview Press, 1992), table 6.1, 180. For what these numbers represent, see n. 9, xxvii.
↩ World Development Report 1991 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), table 21, “Total external debt,” 245.
↩ Susan L. Woodward, Balkan Tragedy (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1995), esp. figure 3.3, 54.
↩ Susan L. Woodward, Socialist Unemployment (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), esp. 345–70, here 361. Also see “Unemployment Rate by Republic or Province,” 384.
↩ As Dijana Plestina sums up her study: “[E]conomic regionalism, that is, the pursuit of one’s own region’s economic interests, explains better than any other factor the Yugoslav socialist regime’s overall failure in narrowing regional economic inequalities.” Regional Development in Communist Yugoslavia, 173. She adds that by 1990, the disparity in per capita income between Slovenia and Kosovo had reached as high as 8:1.
↩ Robert M. Hayden, Blueprints for a House Divided (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999), 27–52.
↩ Diana Johnstone, Fools’ Crusade (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2002), 24.
↩ The logic of the constitutional crisis that led to Yugoslavia’s violent breakup is best exemplified by the oft-quoted, oft-misrepresented, and perhaps apocryphal quip attributed to a Macedonian political figure: “Why should I be a minority in your State, when you can be a minority in mine?”
↩ Johnstone, Fools’ Crusade, 36–40.
↩ Perhaps the most accessible copy of the Arbitration (or Badinter) Commission’s Opinions is to be found within the electronic archives of the European Journal of International Law 3, no. 1 (1992), and 4, no. 1 (1993), http:// www.ejil.org.
↩ According to Yugoslavia’s 1981 census, out of a total population of 22.4 million, Slovenia was 90.5 percent Slovene; “Serbia proper” 85.4 percent Serb; Croatia 75.1 percent Croat and 11.5 percent Serbs; Montenegro 68.5 percent Montenegrin; Macedonia 67 percent Macedonian; and Bosnia- Herzegovina 39.5 percent Muslim, 32 percent Serb, and 18.4 percent Croat. The autonomous region of Kosovo was 77.4 percent Albanian; and Vojvodina 54.4 percent Serb and 19 percent Hungarian. See Cohen and Warwick, Political Cohesion in a Fragile Mosaic, appendix A, “The Ethnic Composition of Yugoslavia,” table A.1, 164.
↩ See the invaluable memoir of David Owen, Balkan Odyssey (New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1995).
↩ On covert aid to the Croatian and Muslim forces, see the report by the House Committee on International Relations (a.k.a. the “Iranian Green Light Subcommittee”), Final Report of the Select Subcommittee to Investigate the United States Role in Iranian Arms Transfers to Croatia and Bosnia, U.S. House of Representatives (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1997); and Cees Wiebes, Intelligence and the War in Bosnia, 1992–1995 (London: Lit Verlag, 2003), esp. 157–218.
↩ NATO remained the sole military enforcer of Dayton from January 1996 through December 2005, when it was joined by a European Union force (EUFOR).
↩ See David Chandler, Bosnia (Sterling, VI: Pluto Press, 1999); David Chandler, Empire in Denial (Ann Arbor: Pluto Press, 2006).
↩ George Robertson, Testimony before the Select Committee on Defense, U.K. House of Commons, March 24, 1999, par. 391.
↩ On covert aid to the KLA, see, e.g., Ian Bruce, “Serbs used CIA phone to call in convoy raid,” The Herald (Glasgow), April 19, 1999; Tom Walker & Aidan Laverty, “CIA aided Kosovo guerrilla army,” Sunday Times, March 12, 2000; “NATO Faces Combat With KLA Forces Which the US Trained and Armed,” Defense and Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, February, 2001; Peter Beaumont et al., “‘CIA’s bastard army ran riot in Balkans,’” The Observer, March 11, 2001; James Bissett, “We created a monster,” Toronto Globe and Mail, July 31, 2001.
↩ Martti Ahtisaari, Report of the Special Envoy of the Secretary- General on Kosovo’s future status (S/2007/168), March 26, 2007, par. 5; par. 15.
↩ See Johan Galtung et al., “Ahtisaari’s Kosovo proposal,” Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, May 11, 2007.
↩ Milosevic Trial Transcript, February 12, 2002, 19; Dusko Doder & Louise Branson, Milosevic (New York: The Free Press, 1999), 3–4; also 43ff.
↩ See “Speech by Slobodan Milosevic in Kosovo Polje,” BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, April 28, 1987; and “Slobodan Milosevic addresses rally at Gazimestan,” BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, June 30, 1989.
↩ For our reference to the Brioni Transcripts of July 31, 1995, see Milosevic Trial Transcript, June 26, 2003, 23200 (lines 1–10).
↩ Ken Silverstein quotes a writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, who noted that as of early 1995, the Croatian military “consisted of criminal rabble, a bunch of fucking losers. MPRI [i.e., the Virginiabased Military Professional Resources Incorporated] turned them into something resembling an army.” Private Warriors (New York: Verso, 2000), 173.
↩ Alija Izetbegovic, Islamic De-claration, 1970, 1990, 30, as posted to the Web site of the Balkan Repository Project, http://www .balkanarchive.org.yu.
↩ David Rieff, Slaughterhouse, 2nd ed. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 10.
↩ Daniel Williams & R. Jeffrey Smith, “Crusader for Serb Honor Was Defiant Until the End,” Washington Post, March 12, 2006; Mark Danner, “Endgame in Kosovo,” New York Review of Books, April 7, 1999.
↩ Milosevic Trial Transcript, November 16, 2004, 33460–63.
↩ See Milosevic Trial Transcript, August 25, 2005, 43223ff; here 43225, lines 9–10.
↩ Milosevic Trial Transcript, August 25, 2005, 43224, lines 11–12.
↩ Milosevic Trial Transcript, August 25, 2005, 43227, line 6 through 43228, line 3, emphases added.
↩ For the Badinter sources, see note 15, above.
↩ According to the opening words of the Preamble to the 1974 Constitution of the SFRY, “The nations of Yugoslavia, preceding from the right of every nation to self-determination, including the right to secession, on the basis of their will freely expressed in the common struggle of all nations and nationalities in the National Liberation War and Socialist Revolution…” (emphases added). See Snezana Trifunovska, ed., Yugoslavia Through Documents (Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1994), 224–33, here 224. No fragment among this Constitution’s 10 principles or 406 articles contradicted what its preamble unambiguously proclaimed, and earlier constitutions (e.g., 1963 and 1971) had as well: That the “subjects” to whom the rights of self-determination and secession belonged were explicitly defined as nations—real flesh and bone people, not republican units in the federation—of which Yugoslavia recognized six equally: Croats, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Bosnian Muslims, Serbs, and Slovenes.
↩ See Peter Radan, The Break-up of Yugoslavia and International Law (New York: Routledge, 2002), 216–22. Here we add that the Slovene and Croat declarations of independence of June 25, 1991, each separately affirmed the “right of the Slovene nation to self-determination” and the “right of the Croatian nation to self-determination.” Thus, as the two triggers for Yugoslavia’s breakup, this fact underscored the belief then prevalent in Yugoslavia that the legal subject to whom the rights of self-determination and secession belonged was the nations, and not, as the Badinter Commission would later rule, the republics (i.e., mere administrative units within the SFRY). See Trifunovska, Yugoslavia Through Documents, (a) Republic of Slovenia Assembly Declaration of Independence, Ljubljana, June 25, 1991, 286; and (b) Constitutional Decision on the Sovereignty and Independence of the Republic of Croatia, Zagreb, June 25, 1991, 299.
↩ See, e.g., Owen, Balkan Odyssey; Woodward, Balkan Tragedy; Lenard J. Cohen, Broken Bonds, 2nd. ed. (Boulder: Westview Press, 1995); and Steven L. Burg & Paul S. Shoup, The War in Bosnia-Herzegovina (Armonk: M. E. Sharpe, 1999).
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The Dismantling of Yugoslavia (Part II)

3. The UN in NATO’s Service

A striking feature of U.S. policy since the collapse of the Soviet deterrent is the frequency with which it relies on the Security Council and the Secretariat for its execution—before the fact when it can (Iraq 1990–91), but after the fact when it must (as in the cases of postwar Kosovo and post-invasion Afghanistan and Iraq). Even though the Security Council never authorized these last three major U.S. aggressions, in each case the United States secured degrees of council assent and ex post facto legitimation.

No Security Council resolution has ever condemned these U.S. wars as contrary to the UN Charter or recognized the rights of the Serbs, Afghans, and Iraqis to resist alien subjugation. Instead, after each of these “supreme international crimes,” the Security Council simply revised its extant mandates to accommodate the supreme international criminal, and instructed the Secretariat to mitigate their inhumanitarian consequences.

But this process did not begin with operations Allied Force, Enduring Freedom, or Iraqi Freedom. Long in the making, one root traces back to the Security Council’s earliest responses to Iraq’s August 1990 invasion of Kuwait; the unremitting devastation of Iraq, including the genocidal sanctions regime, has borne the UN’s seal ever since.40 The other traces back to the massive UN involvement in Yugoslavia during the first-half of the 1990s, when the Council fielded the largest number of blue-helmeted troops ever (close to 40,000 at its peak in 1995) in its most costly mission to date ($5 billion).41

Neither UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s An Agenda for Peace (June 1992) nor its Supplement (January 1995) advocated “humanitarian” war, much less the right to take sides in civil wars; and yet before the end of the decade, “humanitarian” war and the related notion of a “responsibility to protect” had been placed near the top of his successor Kofi Annan’s agenda. “The logic of peace-keeping flows from political and military premises that are quite distinct from those of enforcement,” the Supplement asserted. “To blur the distinction between the two can undermine the viability of the peace-keeping operation….”42

The UN struggled to respect this distinction throughout the wars in Croatia and Bosnia. But as the United States became the dominant player in these theaters, it pushed the UN’s “peacekeeping” mandate toward “enforcement”—toward becoming a “party to the conflict,” invariably taking sides against the Serbs of Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia itself.

Even at the time of the crisis in late May 1995, when two hundred UN personnel had been taken hostage by Bosnian Serb forces following NATO air strikes against them, Boutros-Ghali insisted that “UNPROFOR is not a peace-enforcement operation,” and blamed the demands that it act on the “ambiguities” and “confusion” that followed from the frequent reference by Security Council resolutions to Chapter VII of the charter.43

But just three months later, when NATO conducted an extensive bombing campaign against the Bosnian Serbs, the distinction was obliterated. In To End A War, his memoir of the time he spent as the chief U.S. negotiator for Bosnia, Richard Holbrooke recounts an episode when Kofi Annan, then the head of UN peacekeeping, “won the job” to succeed Boutros-Ghali some fifteen months before the event. With Boutros-Ghali “unreachable on a commercial aircraft,” Annan “instructed the U.N.’s civilian officials and military commanders to relinquish for a limited period of time their authority to veto air strikes in Bosnia. For the first time in the war, the decision on the air strikes was solely in the hands of NATO.” The result was Operation Deliberate Force, the “largest military action in NATO history.”44

The United States and NATO had found a crack in the door, and rushed through it. In a very short period—maybe three months at most—the UN went from a peacekeeping to a warmaking mode in Bosnia, with NATO its enforcer. As one U.S. National Security Council officer later described Annan, he “[understood] that the U.S. military is not the enemy.”45

In contrast with Boutros-Ghali, whom Washington denied a second five-year term,46 Annan’s long tenure can only be understood as a recognition of his willing service to the United States and NATO. In what Michael Mandel calls an “emotional defense of unilateral interventionism, using Kosovo as the example of the next intervention,” Annan warned in June 1998 that “all our expressions of determination to never again permit another Bosnia…will be cruelly mocked if we allow Kosovo to become another killing field.”47

Seven months later, before the North Atlantic Council in Brussels, Annan expressed the “hope that we,” but “particularly those with the capacity to act,” in his words, “were beginning to draw the right lessons from the experience in the Bosnian war—about such critical factors as credibility, legitimacy and the morality of intervention and non-intervention.” But “there is only one way in which we can prove that we have done this: by applying those lessons practically and emphatically where horror threatens.”48

The “right lessons” were immediately applied by NATO. Within forty-eight hours, it issued its second order “authoriz[ing] air strikes against targets on [Federal Republic of Yugoslavia] territory,”49 and from March 24 through June 10, made good on it. Subsequently, when Serbia and Montenegro tried to initiate legal proceedings at the International Court of Justice against ten of the states then attacking it, the court ruled that it “manifestly lacks jurisdiction” to entertain the complaint. The court “cannot decide a dispute between States without the consent of those States to its jurisdiction.” Since the “United States observes that it ‘has not consented to jurisdiction…and will not do so,’” the court was left with no alternative but to conclude that it was powerless.50 Thus does the real culture of impunity remain unchanged.

Both Kofi Annan’s “We the peoples” (March 2000) and his In Larger Freedom (March 2005) support this shift to UN warmaking on “humanitarian” grounds. “The fact that we cannot protect people everywhere is no reason for doing nothing when we can,” “We the peoples” asserts, with NATO’s war fresh in mind. “[W]e must embrace the responsibility to protect,” the latter stresses, “and, when necessary, we must act on it.”51 Of course, when it turned out that “those with the capacity to act” were also those doing the killing, Annan adapted well, with silence and even acceptance of the new realities created by the killers, his de facto masters. Nor are we aware of any cases in which Western advocates for the “responsibility to protect” have ever turned this alleged principle back against the states they call home—even when these states invaded other countries, killing, terrorizing, and torturing their populations. As always, selectivity and double standard remain the rule.

4. The ICTY in NATO’s Service

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was established by the Security Council in May 1993.52 This was done on the basis of the claim that such an institution was needed under Chapter VII to help restore “international peace and security,” despite the absence of a single paragraph in the UN Charter granting the Security Council powers which include judicial rights. Not only was this resolution ultra vires, an excellent case can be made that the real purpose behind the ICTY’s founding was to use an alleged interest in “justice” to prevent peace, and to advance U.S. objectives in the Balkans, all of which required the use of force and breaking of the peace.

The creation of the ICTY followed by only five months a December 1992 speech by Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger that called for a “second Nuremberg” to bring to trial named villains, mainly Serb leaders, including Milosevic.53 It was organized mainly by U.S. initiative, with its staff referring to Madeleine Albright as the “mother of the Tribunal”54 it has been funded and largely staffed—and with high-level personnel vetted—by U.S. and NATO officials; and it has functioned consistently as a dispenser of faux-justice and moralistic opprobrium, while serving as a real public relations and political arm of NATO. As NATO spokesman Jamie Shea pointed out during the 1999 bombing war, NATO countries “established” and “are amongst the majority financiers” of the tribunal, and support its activities “on a daily basis.” Asked whether NATO recognizes the ICTY’s jurisdiction over its bombing activities, Shea replied that “when Justice Arbour starts her investigation, she will because we will allow her to….I am certain that when Justice Arbour goes to Kosovo and looks at the facts she will be indicting people of Yugoslav nationality and I don’t anticipate any others….” And when pressed on the same point the very next day, Shea replied: “We are the upholders, not the violators, of international law.”55 Shea’s remarks on this NATO-ICTY relationship have never been reported by the New York Times; nor were they reported by any establishment daily newspaper at the time.56

York University professor of international law Michael Mandel argues convincingly that the ICTY’s main function was to allow a claimed pursuit of justice to avoid the settlement of the armed conflicts until NATO’s objectives could be met. With the ICTY’s help, Serb targets were more fully demonized, and their leaders declared untouchables at the negotiating table. ICTY president Antonio Cassese openly bragged about how ICTY indictments had prevented the Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic and general Ratko Mladic from participating in negotiations at Dayton in 1995—“Let us see who will sit down at the negotiating table now with a man accused of genocide,” Cassese told L’Unita newspaper. Such brazenly politicized use of indictments was a prime modus operandi of the ICTY. The most spectacular was the indictment of Milosevic and four others in May 1999, in the midst of NATO’s seventy-eight-day bombing war on Yugoslavia. One thing that made it so was the openness with which chief prosecutor Louise Arbour admitted to the political objective of blocking Milosevic as a possible negotiator. At the press conference in late May 1999 to announce the initial indictments for Serb conduct in Kosovo, Arbour stated frankly that the “evidence upon which this indictment was confirmed raises serious questions about their suitability to be guarantors of any deal let alone a peace agreement.”57 But perhaps even more remarkable is the fact that this indictment was compiled hastily, on the basis of unconfirmed “evidence” supplied to her office by the United States and United Kingdom, and issued just when NATO was coming under criticism for having turned to targeting Serbia’s civilian infrastructure. Thus the ICTY was providing a public relations cover for NATO war crimes carried out within the framework of NATO’s UN Charter violation of aggression—the “supreme international crime”!

Amusingly, one of the most telling pieces of evidence of ICTY servitude to NATO is the contrast between the initial indictment for Kosovo and the prosecutor’s refusal even to investigate NATO’s conduct during the bombing war. By its statute the ICTY is obligated to indict any party operating in the former Yugoslavia if presented with plausible prima facie evidence of its participation in war crimes. Michael Mandel submitted a three volume dossier of such evidence regarding NATO to the ICTY prosecutor in May 1999; but in contrast with the next-day service on behalf of allegations of Serb crimes following the Racak massacre in January,58 it took the prosecutor some fourteen months to report back that “neither an in-depth investigation related to the bombing campaign as a whole nor investigations related to specific incidents are justified.”59 The new chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said that she was “very satisfied that there was no deliberate targeting of civilians or unlawful military targets by NATO during the bombing campaign….The prosecutor judged these to be genuine mistakes on the part of NATO.”60 How this conclusion could be reached without an investigation is problematic. It also flies in the face of open admissions by NATO officials of deliberate targeting of civilian facilities, and rapidly accumulating evidence that such targets were struck extensively. And Amnesty International had no trouble in identifying NATO war crimes.

Del Ponte had commissioned an internal study of the question that openly acknowledged reliance on NATO press releases, declared reliable. One of its more interesting features was its statement that with only 495 dead and 820 civilians wounded in “documented instances” from NATO bombings, “there is simply no evidence of the necessary crime base for charges of genocide or crimes against humanity.”61 Recall that the “crime base” for the initial indictment of Milosevic was 344 deaths, unverified by the ICTY, but nonetheless regarded as sufficient to bring the indictment.62 We are dealing with an institution that can’t even keep its propaganda straight. But then again it doesn’t have to: The establishment media never called attention to this comical double standard or recognized the service that it provides NATO, immunizing its extension of the bombing war to civilian facilities. Nor was Carla Del Ponte discredited as an authority and truth-teller. Instead we find the Nation magazine’s UN correspondent Ian Williams asserting that a speech by Del Ponte before the Security Council was itself sufficient to “put questions concerning the death toll [in Kosovo] to rest.”63

5. The UN, ICTY, and the Srebrenica Massacre

The UN and ICTY played central roles in the institutionalization of the Srebrenica massacre as the mark and proof of Serb criminality and “genocide” in Bosnia—a “terrible crime,” in Kofi Annan’s words, and “the worst on European soil since the Second World War.”64 It was clear by mid-July 1995 that several thousand of Srebrenica’s male population had escaped to Bosnian Muslim-held territory, and some even to Serbia; it was also clear that unknown numbers had died in fierce fighting. The claim that 8,000 Bosnian Muslim males had been executed there was based on a Red Cross news alert that its office in Tuzla had fielded 8,000 missing person requests: 5,000 for “individuals who apparently fled the enclave before it fell,” plus 3,000 for “persons reportedly arrested by the Bosnian Serb forces.”65 At that point in mid-September 1995 there were only a few reports of the kind of opportunistic killings that accompany war, along with allegations of mass executions. But in a remarkable propaganda coup, the thousands of escapees and the deaths from fighting were forgotten and the 8,000 quickly became victims of execution and genocide. Furthermore, unlike other cases where early inflated and speculative estimates of deaths were gradually revised downward in the light of emerging hard evidence—as with estimates of Kosovo Albanians killed during NATO’s bombing war, or the deaths at the World Trade Center on 9/1166—this initial 8,000 figure for the missing, now executed, males of Srebrenica has never been revised from its initial very problematic level. It has remained firm and unchallengeable, despite the fact that nothing close to confirming evidence has been forthcoming.

By the time of the 2001 judgment in the trial of the Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic on charges that included “genocide,” six years of forensic searches of Srebrenica-related gravesites had produced 2,028 sets of individual remains (“conservatively estimate[d],” the court noted).67 Nonetheless the court managed to conclude that the “total number” of Bosnian Muslim males executed was “likely within the range of 7,000–8,000,” and that the deaths of even 7,000–8,000 military-aged males in this particular region of far eastern Bosnia constituted “an intent to destroy in part the Bosnian Muslim group.”68 Krstic was guilty of “genocide.”

With this tortured decision, political to its core, the court ruled that “genocide” could and did occur in one small town, although the perpetrators bussed the women and children to safety, and the court confessed its uncertainty about how many of the missing really were executed, and how many were killed in battle. In effect, the court simply guessed that a majority of the missing were executed. “[T]he evidence given by witnesses, as corroborated by the forensic and demographics evidence presented by the OTP, strongly suggests that well in excess of 7,000 people went missing following the take-over of Srebrenica,” one sentence reads. “The correlation between the age and sex of the bodies exhumed from the Srebrenica graves and that of the missing persons support the proposition that the majority of missing people were, in fact, executed and buried in the mass graves.”69 As Michael Mandel writes, a “majority of a maximum of 7,000–8,000 would put the maximum executed closer to 4,000”—or roughly one-half that of the standard view.

“[S]o why the exaggerated numbers?” Mandel asks. He answers:

Because the tribunal wasn’t really interested in the murder charges. They were after the big prize of genocide, a much more difficult case to make in these circumstances, so the higher the number of dead the better. My computer tells me that the tribunal used 33 times more space in their judgment trying to establish the genocide charge than the murder charge, even though the result for Mr. Krstic would have been the same.70

The Srebrenica massacre took place in the month before Operation Storm, Croatia’s devastating attack and ethnic cleansing of some 250,000 Serbs from the Krajina, with over 1,000 civilians killed, including over 500 women and children—no women and children were bussed to safety by the perpetrators, as they were at Srebrenica—and more than 2,000 missing.71 It is likely that more civilians were killed in this campaign than following the fall of Srebrenica, but this was given cursory treatment by the Western media, and has never been regarded as a case of “genocide.” On the contrary, the immediate and unrelenting focus on the fate of Srebrenica’s male population facilitated this U.S.-approved and supported cleansing campaign. Cees Wiebes recounts an occasion in August 1995, when the “[UN Military Observers] in Zagreb organized a press conference on large-scale human rights violations by the Bosnian Croats during the recently completed Operation Storm (carried out with U.S. assistance). The room was full of journalists and things were just about to start when an official from the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb suddenly entered and announced that a press conference was about to begin at the embassy where information would be released on aerial photos of possible mass graves around Srebrenica. The room emptied immediately.”72

Madeleine Albright’s performance before the Security Council had the same diverting impact. On the afternoon when the Council met to adopt resolutions on Croatia as well as Bosnia, Albright reminded the Council not to “forget the tragedy and outrages perpetrated earlier in Bosnia against the eastern enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa…the magnitude of the suffering they caused…[as] many as 13,000 men, women and children…driven from their homes….”73 In fact, she used the phrase “we must not forget” five different times during her remarks—each time directed at Srebrenica and Zepa and the Bosnian Serbs. The “dead were not killed in the heat of battle, they were not killed in self-defence and they were not killed by accident,” Albright insisted; “they were systematically slaughtered on the instructions of the Bosnian Serb leadership.” This is at best a half truth as it is clear that unknown but large numbers were killed in battle. Furthermore, those killed in Krajina were not killed in the heat of battle, in self-defense, or by accident, and the proof of the Croat leadership’s role in these killings and the driving of many more than “13,000 men, women and children from their homes,” with U.S. support, is clear.

In August 2005, Croatia’s government declared the tenth anniversary of Operation Storm a “Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day.”74 That is, Croatia was officially celebrating the single largest ethnic cleansing in Europe since the Second World War. Srebrenica was treated rather differently: In Bosnia on the tenth anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, dignitaries from Western states and the UN gathered at the new Srebrenica Memorial at Potocari to solemnly commemorate and “pay tribute to the victims of a terrible crime—the worst on European soil since the Second World War” (Kofi Annan).75 Can you imagine the Western response if Serbia declared the tenth anniversary of Srebrenica a “Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day”? But nobody in the West noticed the Croatian declaration, just as annual celebrations of Operation Storm during previous years had been unremarked.

The asymmetry in how the Srebrenica massacre and Operation Storm have entered the Western canon is enlightening. Srebrenica is regularly described as the “worst atrocity in Europe since the Second World War”—this formula is routine. As regards Operation Storm, at an August 2005 ceremony in Belgrade to mark its tenth anniversary, Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica referred to it as the “biggest ethnic cleansing since World War Two,” and nobody has put forward a claim of a larger forced transfer during the Balkan wars. However, as the tenth anniversaries of both events came and went in 2005, the English-language print and wire services referred to Srebrenica as the worst atrocity (or greatest massacre) in Europe since the Second World War literally hundreds of times; whereas the same print and wire services carried a description of Operation Storm as the greatest expulsion or transfer or ethnic cleansing in Europe since the Second World War a grand total of fifteen times, and but twice in print, none in the United States or Britain.76 Srebrenica is almost never mentioned without defining it as Europe’s worst massacre since the Second World War, whereas Operation Storm is virtually never described as Europe’s largest ethnic cleansing since the war. Once again, political bias on the worthiness and unworthiness of the victims dictates attention and indignation.

Another point worth noting is that Operation Storm was very much a return to Second World War–style ethnic cleansing and mass murder, when the Axis-created Independent State of Croatia (1941–45), headed by Croatian fascist Ustashe leader Ante Pavelic, slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Serbs (and many Jews and Gypsies), while large numbers also died in fighting or fled. As Nebojsa Malic has noted, although it took half a century for Serb numbers to recover from this wartime decimation, the newly independent Republic of Croatia was able to carry out another series of decimation operations with critical U.S. aid in the years 1992–95, with its culmination in Operation Storm. “Tudjman made Pavelic’s dream to rid Croatia of Serbs a reality,” Malic writes. “It seems everything is in the choice of allies.”77 And dependent on the silence and de facto cooperation of the humanitarian interventionists and international community.

6. The Bosnia ‘Genocide’ Hangs on Despite Painful Revisionism from within the Establishment

Accusing critics of “denying” atrocities is a popular technique of derogation. Another tested device is to charge them with “revisionism.” Every time assertions of fact move closer to unwanted truths, the moral and emotional bona fides of the “Holocaust” are raised as if a shield to deflect them aside. When one of the present authors began writing critically about the role that Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge was playing in the “reconstruction of imperial ideology,” it became clear that to raise doubts about the uses to which widely circulated and sometimes dubious information was then put would be met with the charge of “apologetics for Pol Pot” and worse.78 Three decades ago, it was argued that “The propaganda system has been committed to eke what profit it could from the misery of Cambodia. Questions of truth are secondary.”79 The treatment of Yugoslavia since 1991 corroborates this criticism in full. After the forensic investigators who followed NATO into Kosovo unearthed dramatically fewer bodies than anticipated, Michael Ignatieff, writing in the New York Times, dismissed as “revisionist” anybody who, on the basis of this lack of evidence, concluded that NATO had lied.80 Rather than answer the critics, the critics were dismissed with a rhetorical ploy.

Charges that Bosnian Serbs or ethnic Serbs in general had perpetrated crimes against humanity and genocide were made early and often during Yugoslavia’s breakup. A critical pillar of support for these charges was the number of Bosnian Muslim civilians alleged to have been killed by Serbs, their fate regularly described in the most lurid fashion. “Genocidal Serb aggression began in Croatia in the summer of 1991…[then] moved to Bosnia in [the] spring 1992 and escalated sharply,” U.S. Representative Frank McCloskey (D.-IN) wrote on New Year’s Eve 1992. “Serb forces in Bosnia have killed between 128,000 and 200,000 persons—almost one in 10 Bosnian Muslims.” Attending talks in Geneva during the first week of 1993, Bosnian Muslim President Alija Izetbegovic repeated the 200,000 figure, and added that the Muslim women of Bosnia had been subjected to the “most massive raping in human history.’’ Speaking in Washington D.C. shortly thereafter, he repeated the 200,000 figure again; in remarks before the Carnegie Endowment, he stated that “In the last nine months, more than 200,000 people have been killed in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which means approximately almost 1,000 per day.”81 Within forty-eight hours, Izetbegovic’s claim had been reported by the Washington Post, National Public Radio, Associated Press, the London Independent, and the New York Times.

Coming just months after the previous summer’s reports of Serb-run concentration and even death camps, and deposited within a journalistic setting primed to believe the worst horrors about Serbs, the 200,000 figure soon became a floor below which estimates seldom dipped, but frequently exceeded. (Richard Holbrooke opens To End A War with the assertion that “Between 1991 and 1995, close to three hundred thousand people were killed in the former Yugoslavia,” and he continued to repeat the 300,000 figure in the days after Milosevic’s death.) The gullibility quotient was very high, despite the fact that the numbers were unverified and emanated from a biased source that regularly disinformed as it strove to gain Western interventionary support. Many journalists embraced the disinformation. “There is no attempt here to be objective towards the perpetrators of Bosnia’s ethnic carnage or those who appeased them,” Ed Vulliamy proclaimed at the outset of his book Seasons in Hell, which proceeded to find “echoes” and “political resonances” with the “Nazi project” everywhere the Serbs took up arms; by July 1993, Vulliamy added, the Serb project had produced “hundreds of thousands of Muslims dead….” “The Serbs came, they slaughtered, they conquered, while the world looked on,” David Rieff stated in 1995. “As I write, the genocide is all but complete.”82

Language and imagery derived from the Nazi’s attempt to destroy Europe’s Jews were applied on a regular basis to events in Bosnia from the summer of 1992 onward, then reprised in Kosovo beginning in early 1998 (see section 10). In both accounts the perpetrators and victims were defined according to ethno-religious categories: Serbs against “Bosniaks” and “Kosovars.” Armed conflicts were translated into strictly racist pogroms; victory lay not in the surrender of an enemy but in the cleansing or purifying of the victim-race from the Serbs’ living-space. The series of indictments of Milosevic et al. for Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo illustrate well the role that the example of the Nazis played for the ICTY, and shared by historians and journalists. Thus the two indictments for Bosnia portray the civil wars from their very inception as one gigantic, ethno-religiously motivated conspiracy carried out by Serbs against the rest of Yugoslavia’s peoples: “The purpose of this joint criminal enterprise was the forcible and permanent removal of the majority of non-Serbs, principally Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats, from large areas of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina….”83

Counts 1 and 2 of the Bosnia indictments charge Milosevic et al. with “genocide or complicity in genocide,” based on an assumed 200,000 or more deaths in the context of a series of civil wars. Lower estimates by others with intelligence access, such as that by former State Department official George Kenney, who put the total “in the tens of thousands, including civilians,”84 were ignored.

However, in conflict with the party line, researchers for the Demographic Unit of the Prosecutor at the ICTY, and with the Sarajevo-based Research and Documentation Center, independently produced estimates of total war-related deaths on the order of 100,000 on all sides. In the first study, by Ewa Tabeau and Jakub Bijak, only some 55,000 deaths out of a total of 102,622 were found to have been civilians, including over 16,000 Serbs; the remaining 47,000 deaths were members of military groups.85 In the ongoing work of the second, a group of some twenty researchers headed by the Bosnian Muslim lawyer Mirsad Tokaca, the total number of deaths caused by Bosnia’s civil wars have been estimated at 97,207 on all sides, of which 57,523 were soldiers at the time of death, and 39,684 civilians.86 These most certainly are not negligible numbers. But they are far less dramatic than 200,000 Bosnian Muslim deaths (or more), and far less satisfactory if one is eager to make a case for “genocide,” and to justify the intense focus on this theater of conflict as opposed to others, some of which have seen mortality rates running to seven digits.87 Also, though Bosnian Muslim civilian deaths were possibly twice that of Serb deaths (or approximately 31,000), some of the Muslim deaths occurred in fighting between Croat and Muslim forces as well as intra-Muslim fighting.88 Furthermore, 16,000 Serb civilian deaths are not negligible—indeed, this fact alone contradicts the party line implication that the Serbs were uniquely killers and not major victims. As we show later (section 9), the number of Serbs who remain uprooted by these conflicts exceeds that of any other ethnic group; and the number of Serbs denied the chance to return to areas from which they were driven dwarfs their rivals.

The substantial downward revision of war-related deaths in Bosnia came as a shock to the media and commentators long versed in repeating cliché lies. Only grudgingly have the inflated figures begun to give way to the more authoritative 100,000; and rare is the admission that years of erroneous reporting require a fundamental rethinking about the nature of what had been reported before.

Most incorrigible of all has been what we call the Bosnia genocide lobby—a set of institutions and individuals funded by Western governments, the partisan billionaire George Soros, and the established NGO-networks, whose members see their task as guarding the standard narrative against serious challenges. For the lobby, the ultimate authority on whether Serbs committed “genocide” in Bosnia is the ICTY, an “international court established by the United Nations”—hence regarded as an independent body, despite massive evidence to the contrary (see section 4 and section 7). The lobby’s members regularly use the charge of “denial” and “revisionism” to deride any questioning of the party line, treating skepticism as intolerable. While such techniques have worked in regards to the Srebrenica massacre, the findings of Tabeau and Bijak as well as the Research and Documentation Center are harder to dismiss as “revisionism,” much less “denial.” In this case the chosen route has been silence, a route also taken by the mainstream media.

To test this, we ran database searches of fourteen different English-language print media for mentions of the principals identified with this research (Ewa Tabeau, Jakub Bijak, and Mirsad Tokaca) in connection with their important findings.89 Through May 2007, there had been only one mention anywhere in our media universe: The February 13, 2006 London Independent reported that “Mirsad Tokaca, the head of the Centre, funded and financed by Norway, finalised a list of 100,000 citizens of Bosnia killed in the war.”90 Despite the heavy use of the earlier high numbers, and the important conclusions that they supported, these new research efforts were not found to be newsworthy. Even when the Research and Documentation Center released its updated work in a June 2007 document titled the Bosnian Book of the Dead, the same print media devoted a total of 251 words to the event, despite veteran researcher Patrick Ball’s assessment that the data are “better than any I’ve worked with so far.”91 But like all previous downward revisions, the latest told the wrong story.

Following the death of Slobodan Milosevic in March 2006, the present authors carried out a series of database searches to determine which death tolls were then being reported for the wars in Bosnia or the former Yugoslavia altogether.92 We found that the inflated figure of 200,000 or something greater was used in at least 202 different items (i.e., news reports, obituaries, editorials, and op-eds), and the more recent establishment finding of 100,000 in only 13. In at least 126 different items the death toll was reported to have been 250,000 (99 items in all) or 300,000 (27 items). For the U.S. media alone the ratio was 76 to 2 in favor of the higher numbers rendered obsolete by the new establishment studies. It is testimony to the deep-seated bias of the media that the death toll issued by relatively scholarly establishment sources was not yet able to displace the old and higher figures whose origins date back to Bosnian Muslim officials not noted for scruple. The journalists hate to abandon numbers that have fitted their biases so well.

In another egregious case, during a guest appearance on PBS’s Charlie Rose Show in June 2007, ICTY chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte stated that “more than 300,000” civilians had died as a result of the wars in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo, deaths the responsibility for which she attributed to Slobodan Milosevic. As a purveyor of the standard narrative, and herself a chief protagonist in the West’s intervention in the former Yugoslavia, Del Ponte can get away with intellectual murder here and anywhere else. (For her remarks on NATO’s innocence of any war crimes in its 1999 bombing war, see section 4.) Rather than recognizing the deeply political nature of Del Ponte’s office and calling her to account for such outlandish assertions, Rose introduced her as a “relentless pursuer of justice,” and treated her with groveling respect.93

We find it interesting that in the West, the million or more Iraqi deaths from the “sanctions of mass destruction” and the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths that have followed the 2003 U.S. invasion are never presented as “genocide” or events that “we must not forget,” and don’t merit the indignation of Ed Vulliamy, David Rieff, Samantha Power, and the mainstream media. The driving out of 250,000 Serbs from Croatia, and killing several thousand of them, doesn’t even rate the designation of “ethnic cleansing,” let alone genocide. The hundreds of thousands of Serbs killed by the Independent State of Croatia’s Ustashe regime at Jasenovac and other prison camps during the Second World War—some estimates run to 600,00094—and the 16,000 Serb civilians killed in Bosnia 1992–95 are effectively disappeared, while the 31,000 Muslim civilians killed in the latter years are elevated to world class status as victims of genocide. In short, these are words to be used only when describing the crimes of U.S. enemies, with suitable attention and indignation to be provided in parallel.

_______________

Notes:

↩ See, e.g., Hans C. von Sponeck, A Different Kind of War (New York: Berghahn Books, 2006).
↩ In the fifty-one months between the September 25, 1991, date on which Res. 713 was adopted (it initiated an arms embargo on Yugoslavia), and the December 21, 1995, date of Res. 1035 (to help enforce the Dayton Accords), the Security Council devoted 27 percent of its resolutions to the former Yugoslavia—more to this one theater of conflict than to any other during a comparable period in UN history, including Iraq.
↩ Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Supplement to An Agenda for Peace (S/1995/1), January 3, 1995, pars. 35–36.
↩ Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Report of the Secretary-General Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 982 (1995) and 987 (1995) (S/1995/444), May 30, 1995, par. 16. This important document expressed the fears then rampant inside the UN that UNPROFOR had violated its peacekeeping mandate (i.e., strict neutrality) and become a party to the conflict (i.e., against the Bosnian Serbs).
↩ Richard Holbrooke, To End A War, rev. ed. (New York: Modern Library, 1999), 99–103. See also Tim Ripley, Operation Deliberate Force: The UN and NATO Campaign in Bosnia 1995 (Lancaster: Centre for Defence and International Security Studies, 1999).
↩ Perry Anderson, “Made in USA,” The Nation, April 2, 2007.
↩ In his memoirs of the five years he spent as Secretary-General, Boutros-Ghali recounts a conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who told him, after his rejection by the United States: “You symbolize the United Nations, and the American Congress is hostile to the United Nations. You are also blamed for trying to control American military power. You used the ‘dual key’ to oppose NATO air strikes against the Serbs. Your stance was very badly perceived by military circles in Washington.” Unvanquished (New York: Random House, 1999), 332–33.
↩ Michael Mandel, How America Gets Away With Murder (Ann Arbor: Pluto Press, 2004), 106–07; Kofi Annan, “Secretary-General Reflects on ‘Intervention’ in Thirty- Fifth Annual Ditchley Foundation Lecture” (SG/SM/6613), June 26, 1998.
↩ Kofi Annan, “Secretary-General calls for unconditional respect for human rights of Kosovo citizens” (SG/SM/6878), January 28, 1999, emphasis added.
↩ “Statement by the North Atlantic Council on Kosovo,” NATO Press Release (99)12, January 30, 1999.
↩ Federal Republic of Yugoslavia v. United States of America, International Court of Justice, Order of June 2, 1999, pars. 19–31. Each of Yugoslavia’s other nine complaints eventually was dismissed according to the same reasoning: The one naming Spain on June 2, 1999, and the other eight on December 15, 2004.
↩ Kofi Annan, “We the Peoples” (A/54/2000), March, 2000, esp. 42–53, here 48; and In Larger Freedom (A/59/2005), March, 2005, par. 135.
↩ UNSC Res. 827, May 25, 1993. Par. 2 states that the Security Council’s “sole purpose” in establishing the ICTY is “prosecuting persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law in the territory of the former Yugoslavia….”
↩ Elaine Sciolino, “U.S. Names Figures It Wants Charged with War Crimes,” New York Times, December 17, 1992.
↩ Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, “Remarks at the United States Supreme Court,” Press Release, ICTY, April 5, 1999.
↩ NATO Daily Press Briefings, May 16 and 17, 1999, http://www .nato.int.
↩ Aside from the circulation that transcripts of NATO’s daily press conferences received over the M2 Presswire, the only contemporaneous report to have quoted any part of Jamie Shea’s comments on the NATO–ICTY relationship appears to have been Farhan Haq, “Milosevic Indictment Heralds New Era,” Inter Press Service, May 27, 1999. Haq also quoted Robert Hayden: “Mr. Shea clearly knows that he who pays the piper calls the tune.”
↩ See Mandel, How America Gets Away With Murder, esp. 117–46; Antonio Cassese’s interview with L’Unita was reported in “Karadzic a Pariah, Says War Crimes Tribunal Chief,” ANP English News Bulletin, July 27, 1995; “Statement by Justice Louise Arbour, Prosecutor” (JL/PIU/404-E), ICTY, May 27, 1999.
↩ On January 16, 1999, the day after FRY forces had organized an action at the KLA-dominated Kosovo town of Racak, accompanied by invited OSCE observers and AP photographers, and had fought a battle there with KLA fighters, some 40-45 bodies were found in different locations, approx. twenty of them in a single ravine. U.S. and OSCE official William Walker rushed to the scene, declared it a massacre, and got ICTY prosecutor Louise Arbour to announce on the same day that she had “launched an investigation into the most recent massacre in Kosovo” without her having seen the bodies or received any further information. There is serious doubt as to whether this was a massacre at all, as no such evidence was found there by the OSCE observers, the AP photographers, or a French reporter present on the day of the battle and the bodies were found only after the KLA had returned to Racak. For discussions of this controversy, see Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “CNN: Selling NATO’s War Globally,” in Philip Hammond and Edward S. Herman, Degraded Capability: The Media and the Kosovo Crisis (Sterling, VA: Pluto Press, 2000), 117–19; Johnstone, Fools’ Crusade, 238–44; and Mandel, How America Gets Away with Murder, 72–80; 134–36.
↩ Mandel, How America Gets Away With Murder, 176–206; Carla Del Ponte, Final Report to the Prosecutor by the Committee Established to Review the NATO Bombing Campaign Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, ICTY, June, 2000, par. 90.
↩ Barbara Crossette, “U.N. War Crimes Prosecutor Declines to Investigate NATO,” New York Times, June 3, 2000.
↩ Del Ponte, Final Report, par. 90.
↩ Louise Arbour, Prosecutor of the Tribunal Against Slobodan Milosevic et al. (IT-99-37), ICTY, May 22, 1999. See scheduled A–G, which list 344 “persons known by name” alleged to have been killed in Kosovo.
↩ Ian Williams, “Revisionism: The Numbers Game in Kosovo,” Toronto Star, November 23, 1999.
↩ Kofi A. Annan, “May we all learn and act on the lessons of Srebrenica” (SG/SM/9993), July 11, 2005.
↩ See “Former Yugoslavia: Srebrenica: help for families still awaiting news,” ICRC News, September 13, 1995, http:// www.icrc.org; “8,000 missing, presumed dead, from fallen enclave,” Agence France Presse, September 14, 1995; Maud S. Beelman, “Red Cross Says 8,000 People from Fallen Safe Area Are Missing,” Associated Press, September 14, 1995; “8,000 Muslims Missing,” the New York Times, September 15, 1995, reprinting the AP report. Also see the entry for “Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Annual Report 1995, ICRC, May 31, 1996, par. 16, http://www.icrc.org.
↩ At their peak, estimates of deaths caused at the World Trade Center in New York City reached as high as 6,886; but this was eventually reduced to 2,749. See Ula Ilnytzky, “Report drops trade center death toll by three, to 2,749,” Associated Press, January 23, 2004.
↩ Judge Almiro Rodrigues, Judgment in Prosecutor v. Radislav Krstic (IT-98-33-T), ICTY, August 2, 2001, par. 73. We add here that the 2,028 estimate was based on exhumations in whole or in part of twenty-three Srebrenica-related gravesites through 2001. We believe that there are at least twenty more “known” sites that have yet to be exhumed, although presumably less “promising.” See Dean Manning, Witness Statement, Prosecutor v. Slobodan Milosevic (IT-02-54-T), November 24, 2003, pars. 27–29.
↩ Judgment in Prosecutor v. Radislav Krstic, par. 84; par. 598.
↩ Judgment in Prosecutor v. Radislav Krstic, par. 82.
↩ Mandel, How America Gets Away With Murder, 156.
↩ See, e.g., “Notification regarding anniversary of Serbs suffering in the aggression of Croatian army on the Serb Krajina in the August 95,” as posted to the Web site of the Veritas Documentation Information Center (last accessed June 23, 2007), http://www.veritas .org.yu. Veritas reports 1,883 ethnic Serbs killed during Operation Storm through the end of August, 1995. At tenth anniversary ceremonies in Belgrade, various survivor groups that represent former Krajina Serbs estimated as many as 2,627 Serbs had gone missing in the Krajina between 1991 and 1995. See “Patriarch Pavle holds memorial service for Serb victims of operation Oluja,” August 4, 2005, http://www.srbija.sr.gov.yu.
↩ Wiebes, Intelligence and the War in Bosnia 1992–1995, 337.
↩ “The situation in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina” (S/PV.3564), UN Security Council, August 10, 1995, 6.
↩ “Serbia, Croatia mark 10th anniversary of Krajina Serb expulsion,” RIA Novosti, August 6, 2005; “‘Oluja’ 10 years on—Serbs mourn while Croats celebrate,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur, August 4, 2005; and Zoran Radosavljevic, “Croats cheer 1995 army triumph, reach out to Serbs,” Reuters, August 5, 2005.
↩ Kofi A. Annan, “May we all learn and act on the lessons of Srebrenica” (SG/SM/9993), United Nations Secretary-General, July 11, 2005.
↩ We based these findings on searches carried out with three databases: Factiva (“All Sources”), NewsBank (“North America”), and Nexis (“Major Papers,” “Magazines and Journals,” and “Wire Services”). Our search parameters were: “Srebrenica” and “world war” for the period July 1–31, 2005; and “Operation Storm” and “world war” for the period August 1–31, 2005. Note that our point is very conservative: The disparity in the media’s treatment of Srebrenica and Operation storm is actually greater than “scores of times” and “15 times” suggests.
↩ Nebojsa Malic, “Remembering the Storm,” AntiWar.com, August 4, 2005, http://www.antiwar.com.
↩ Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman, After the Cataclysm (Boston: South End Press, 1979), esp. 135–294; and Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent, 2nd Ed. (New York: Pantheon Books, 2002), esp. 260–96. Also see Edward S. Herman, “Pol Pot, Faurisson, and the Process of Derogation,” in Carlos P. Otero, ed., Noam Chomsky, Critical Assessments, vol. 3, Anthropology (New York: Routledge, 1994), 598–615.
↩ Chomsky and Herman, After the Cataclysm, 292.
↩ Michael Ignatieff, “Counting Bodies in Kosovo,” New York Times, November 21, 1999.
↩ U.S. Rep. Frank McCloskey, “The US Is Appeasing Fascism and Genocide,” Christian Science Monitor, December 31, 1992; John A. Callcott, “Bosnia-Herzegovina peace talks break for five days,” United Press International, January 4, 1993; “Remarks of Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic to the Carnegie Endowment,” Federal News Service, January 8, 1993.
↩ Ed Vulliamy, Seasons in Hell (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994), xi; 43; Rieff, Slaughterhouse, 17.
↩ Carla Del Ponte, Prosecutor of the Tribunal against Slobodan Milosevic (IT-01-51-I), ICTY, November 22, 2001, pars. 5–9.
↩ George Kenney, “The Bosnian Calculation,” New York Times Magazine, April 23, 1995.
↩ Ewa Tabeau and Jakub Bijak, “War-related Deaths in the 1992–1995 Armed Conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” European Journal of Population 21, (June 2005):187–215; here 209; and n. 12, 213. These numbers are arrived at as follows: Tabeau and Bijak give 16,700 as their best “guesstimate” for Serb civilian deaths in the Bosnian wars (see their n. 12, 213). Taking this as a reasonable estimate in a murky field, we can make a further rough estimate of Bosnian Muslim civilian deaths by taking the Tabeau- Bijak total of Bosnian civilian deaths, 55,261, subtracting out the 16,700 Serbs plus 8,294 Croat and “Other” civilian deaths, giving us a Muslim civilian total of 31,000. The Croat–Other numbers are obtained by applying Tabeau and Bijak’s ratio of Croat–Other deaths to total deaths that they use in an alternative calculation (see their table 5, 204). It should be noted that Tabeau and Bijak were working for the ICTY and testified for the prosecution during the Milosevic trial, so that their biases, if they exist, are not likely to show up in inflating Serb casualties. Last, we should also note that Milan Bogdanic, one of the co-directors of the Institute for Missing Persons of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has reported the recovery of 3,251 sets of remains from as many as sixtythree “mass graves” containing Serbs, activities that have aroused zero interest in the Western media (see “Serb officials say mass grave discovered in northwestern Bosnia,” BBC Worldwide Monitoring, February 21, 2006).
↩ See Mirsad Tokaca et al., “Status of Database by Centers,” Research and Documentation Center, http://www.idc.org. Also see Nidzara Ahmetasevic, “Bosnia’s Book of the Dead,” Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, June 21, 2007; and Christian Jennings, “Book of Dead names nearly 100,000 victims,” The Scotsman, June 22, 2007.
↩ See, e.g., B. Coghlan et al., “Mortality in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” The Lancet (367), January 7, 2006, 44–51. Already over three years old, this study concludes that “about 3.9 million people have died as a result of the conflict between August, 1998, and April, 2004.”
↩ See Brendan O’Shea, Crisis at Bihac (Gloucestershire, U.K.: Sutton Publishing, 1998).
↩ The databases used were Factiva and Nexis. The media universe consisted of the mass-circulation dailies Boston Globe, Financial Times, The Guardian/Observer, The Independent, New York Times, The Times (London), Toronto Globe and Mail, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, and the weekly magazines The Economist, Maclean’s, and Newsweek, for all regular publication dates through May 31, 2007.
↩ Vesna Peric Zimonjic, “Five years on, Milosevic is still in the dock,” The Independent, February 13, 2006.
↩ Aida Cerkez-Robinson, “Research shows many estimates of Bosnian war death toll were severely inflated,” Associated Press, June 21, 2007. The Financial Times devoted 77 words to the RDC’s downward revisions, the New York Times 102, and the Guardian Weekly 72.
↩ See Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “Milosevic’s Death in the Propaganda System,” in Peter Phillips, ed., Censored 2007 (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2006), 387–88. The databases used were Factiva and Nexis. The media universe consisted of large numbers of English-language sources deriving from wire services (including AFP, AP, DPA, Reuters, and many others), European, Canadian, and U.S. print, TV, and radio, and other regions (e.g., Australia, though by no means only), and covered the eleven day period beginning with Milosevic’s death on March 11, 2006.
↩ “A Discussion With Carla Del Ponte,” The Charlie Rose Show, June 20, 2007.
↩ According to The Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, “Some six hundred thousand people were murdered at Jasenovac, mostly Serbs, Jews, Gypsies, and opponents of the Ustasa regime” (740). Israel Gutman, ed. (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Publishing House, 1990), vol. 2, 739–40.
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The Dismantling of Yugoslavia (Part III)

7. The Milosevic Trial

The four-year trial of Slobodan Milosevic was the culmination of ICTY service to the NATO program in the Balkans. It was designed to show the world by an elaborate procedure leading ultimately to the conviction of the top Serb leader—the first head of state in modern times to be indicted, seized, and tried in this fashion—that the “judgment and opprobrium of history awaits the people in whose name their crimes were committed,” as Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger said in 1992.95 As with the ICTY overall, this trial was supposed to “help shape how current and future generations view the wars and in particular Serbia’s role in them,” as the advocates for this brand of “international justice” at Human Rights Watch clearly understand.96 This required the framing of indictments around the Serbs’ unique guilt for wars dating back to the summer of 1991, when Slovenia and Croatia declared their independence, with NATO’s 1999 violation of the UN Charter vindicated on moral grounds that allegedly preempt the Charter’s restrictions on the use of force.

But the ICTY’s assault on Milosevic started out clumsily, with the hasty indictment for Kosovo in May 1999 clearly designed to meet a PR need by providing a distraction from NATO’s bombing of Serb civilian facilities—itself a violation of international law. Another problematic justice move was the kidnapping of Milosevic and his shipment to The Hague in June 2001, in violation of Yugoslav Constitutional Court decisions. Justice was compromised further by the belated extension of the indictments during Milosevic’s incarceration, first to cover Croatia (October 8, 2001) and finally Bosnia (November 22, 2001).97 The last of these was especially important to the ICTY, as it made possible bringing the charge of “genocide” against him for the first time. It was likely that this followed from the court’s conviction of Radislav Krstic for “genocide” in the Srebrenica case three months earlier, and the prosecution’s assessment that a charge of “genocide” would be impossible to sustain on the basis of events in Kosovo alone, where the estimated toll from the seventy-eight-day bombing war had fallen from a peak NATO charge of 500,000 Albanian deaths to well under the final but still inflated estimate of 11,000.98 There was also the problem that NATO might have been responsible for as many Kosovo deaths as was the Serb army, raising questions of why Milosevic but not Clinton and Blair should be in the dock. This could be circumvented by linking Milosevic to Croatian and Bosnian casualties, even if belatedly, and with evidence still to be gathered—but in a justice system where charges often came first, with evidence hopefully to follow, this was routine.

Even before the kidnapping and revamped indictments, and throughout the trial, the proceedings were compromised by a steady barrage of ICTY prosecutor and other officials’ public charges against the man on trial, a further demonization process intended to build support for the ICTY and its operations, but incompatible with a fair trial. However, it was compatible with the political purposes of the trial, with the fact that finding Milosevic guilty was built into the ICTY by design. As John Laughland points out, the ICTY is a “prosecutorial organization” whose “whole philosophy and structure is accusatory.” This is why its judges gradually accepted a stream of rulings damaging to the defense and to the possibility of a fair trial—including allowing hearsay evidence, secret witnesses, and closed sessions (the latter two categories applicable in the case of 40 percent of the Milosevic trial witnesses). ICTY rules even allow an appeal and retrial of an acquitted defendant—“in other words, the ICTY can imprison a person whom it has just found innocent.”99

The trial moved ahead while the “evidence” was still being assembled. Most of it was provided by scores of alleged witnesses to alleged crimes, a large majority of it hearsay, and almost none of it bearing on Milosevic’s decision-making or distinguishing his actions from what could have been said against Izetbegovic, Tudjman, or Bill Clinton. Laughland shows very persuasively that the inordinate length of the trial was in no way related to Milosevic’s performance, a false claim repeated many times by the mainstream media; it was based on the fact that this was a political trial that inherently demanded massive evidence, and the prosecution, struggling to make a concocted case plausible, poured it on, trying to make up for lack of any evidence to support their charges by the sheer volume of irrelevant witnesses who could testify to suffering during the civil wars.100

A key element in the prosecution case was the belated charge that Milosevic was involved in a “joint criminal enterprise” (JCE) with Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia to rid themselves of non-Serbs by violence, looking toward that Greater Serbia. The JCE concept is not to be found in prior law or even in the ICTY Statute. It was improvised to allow the finding of guilt anywhere and anytime. You are part of a JCE if you are doing something bad along with somebody else, or are attacking the same parties with somebody who does something bad. With that common end you don’t even have to know about what somebody else is doing to be part of the JCE. Laughland has a devastating analysis of this remarkably elastic doctrine, and notes that Milosevic probably would have been convicted based on its catch-all—or catch anyone—expansiveness.101 Of course it fits much better the joint Clinton, Blair, and NATO enterprises in Yugoslavia, or the Croats’ U.S.-supported ethnic cleansing of Serbs from the Krajina in August 1995. But there is nobody to enforce the JCE against them, whereas we have the ICTY to take care of U.S. and NATO targets!

On the one hand, Milosevic won that trial in a substantive sense. In this victory, he was helped along by the fact that this was a political show trial, that the case against him was laughable and much weaker than cases that might have been brought against Clinton, Blair, Tudjman, or Izetbegovic, that it was badly mismanaged, and that despite a severe courtroom and media bias against him, Milosevic was able to expose many of its vulnerabilities, which live on in the ICTY’s massive database—even if how the current generation views the trial has not been shaped by them.

On the other hand, the ICTY not only killed Milosevic,102 but with the help of the Western media and intellectuals his substantive victory remains missing and unaccounted for, while the demonization and the claims about his drive to create a “Greater Serbia” stand tall.

8. Humanitarian Intervention, the Rise of al-Qaeda, and the Surge of Islamic Fundamentalism in the Balkans

Completely ignored until the events of 9/11, another consequence of the humanitarian wars in the Balkans was the stimulus they provided to Islamic fundamentalism and to the al-Qaeda network. Between the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in early 1989 and the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, no other theater of conflict inspired a greater commitment of Mujahedin and jihad resources than wartime Bosnia.103 As we’ve seen, Izetbegovic had long advocated an Islamic state in the Balkans; and both the Bosnian Muslim Army and later the KLA used Mujahedin volunteers along with an organizational infrastructure whose roots reached back to some of the major U.S. campaigns of the 1980s in what Richard Aldrich calls an “Iran-Contra style operation” and “one of the dirtiest wars of the new world disorder.”104 But the Clinton administration overlooked the regressive ideology of its “assets,” and supported and participated in the importation of vast quantities of arms and up to 4,000 Mujahedin to fight in Bosnia,105 just as the Carter and Reagan administrations had done in Afghanistan from 1979 on. This gave al-Qaeda a foothold in the Balkans. But more important, it provided a rallying cry and recruitment tool that was unsurpassed until the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.106

These aspects of taking the side of the Bosnian Muslims have always been awkward for the humanitarian war propagandists, but they became more so after 9/11. The U.S. government’s official 9/11 Commission Report claims that at least two of the nineteen suicide hijackers, Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar, both Saudis who perished when they crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon, “were already experienced mujahideen” who “had traveled together to fight in Bosnia in a group that journeyed to the Balkans in 1995.”107 More revealing was the itinerary of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, a Pakistani whom the 9/11 Commission called the “mastermind” and “chief manager of the ‘planes operation.’” Khalid Sheik Mohammed served at least two tours of duty in Bosnia. “In 1992, KSM [Khalid Sheik Mohammed] spent some time fighting alongside the mujahideen in Bosnia and supporting that effort with financial donations,” and again in 1995 “to join the Bosnia jihad.”108 The commission also reported that Osama bin Laden’s “network” included “a ‘services’ branch in Zagreb” as well as “an office of the Benevolence International Foundation in Sarajevo, which supported the Bosnian Muslims in their conflict with Serbia and Croatia….”109

Despite the huge focus on 9/11 and al-Qaeda, these links have seldom been featured in the mainstream media. The Serbs, of course, were complaining about the brutality of the “foreign fighters” (or “Turks”) as early as 1992, including the beheadings practiced against residents of Serb villages in eastern Bosnia, within striking distance of the Srebrenica enclave; an official attempt by the government in Belgrade to document these activities in the communes of Bratunac, Skelani, and Srebrenica during the first twelve months of the war in Bosnia was ignored when delivered to the Security Council in May 1993.110 Nor were the media and ICTY interested in them. Instead the focus of their concern was on Bosnian Muslims as a unique victim category, and Clinton’s and the West’s generous if belated service to these underdogs.

Unquestionably, had such ties been traceable to Milosevic and the other members of the “joint criminal enterprise,” Clinton, Blair, Del Ponte, Simons, Vulliamy, and others would have featured them and drawn the appropriate conclusions about the forces of evil helping to “shape a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives” and “fuel the spread of the jihadist movement.”111 But given that the linkages were to the good guys, silence has prevailed.

9. The Impact of the ‘Humanitarian’ War

While the social costs borne by the so-called “transitional” countries of Europe were great, in the balance sheet of human development Yugoslavia’s civil wars and the “humanitarian intervention” brought about the ultimate reversal. Yugoslavia went from an upper-middle-income country of 23.8 million people and a ranking of 34th in the newly minted Human Development Index (HDI),112 to a disappearance from the charts, not to be heard from since. Other European countries whose 1990 HDI rankings were very near Yugoslavia’s were Czechoslovakia and Hungary (slightly higher), and Portugal and Poland (slightly lower). We recognize the problems caused by gaps in data about the former republics/independent states for several years after 1990, and the risks inherent in drawing comparisons between them and other countries not at war. Nevertheless, it is revealing that by 2004, Slovenia’s per-capita GDP and HDI ranking were higher than for each of these four European countries (the Czech Republic taking the dissolved Czechoslovakia’s place), while the same measures for Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia lagged far below, the latter two substantially so.113

As for Serbia and Montenegro (which in 2007 no longer exists, just as Serbia itself may soon undergo the amputation of Kosovo), though some “basic indicators” began turning up for it at the UN Development Program by 2001, at no time was its HDI ranking estimated, and for years its data were consigned to the same underworld of countries that includes Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea, Liberia, and Somalia. This juxtaposition of the fates of the old Yugoslavia’s northwest and southeast reminds us of a passage in Warren Zimmermann’s Origins of a Catastrophe, about how, “in their drive to separate from Yugoslavia” in the late 1980s, the Slovenes “simply ignored the twenty-two million Yugoslavs who were not Slovenes.” In Zimmermann’s judgment, “They bear considerable responsibility for the bloodbath that followed their secession.”114 Alone among their former brothers in unity, the Slovenes plucked the fruits of secession at their ripest, largely escaping the civil wars of the 1990s. By 2006 they enjoyed per-capita GDP that had climbed to 80 percent the EU’s average,115 full EU and NATO membership (2004), and soon thereafter conversion to the euro (2007). And in a supreme irony, Slovenia now contributes troops to at least four different theaters occupied by NATO—Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, and Kosovo (i.e., inside Serbia)—and has “more troops abroad in NATO missions per capita than any other member of the alliance.”116

Although the Republic of Serbia and ethnic Serbs in general remain the designated villains in the standard narrative of Yugoslavia’s dismantling, many of the consequences of the wars contradict the role in which they’ve been cast.

Table 1: Refugees and internally displaced persons in the former Yugoslavia, as of January 1, 2005a

Column 1: Refugees by country of origin / Column 2: Refugees by country of asylum / Column 3: Internally displaced persons / Column 4: Total number of refugees and displaced persons by host country

Bosnia-Herzegovina / 229,329 / 22,215 / 309,240 / 331,455

Croatia / 215,475 / 3,663 / 7,540 / 11,203

Macedoniab / 5,106 / 1,004 / — / 1,004

Serbia-Montenegro / 236,999 / 276,683 / 248,154 / 534,837

Slovenia / 582 / 304 / — / 304

a Compiled from Nada Merheb et al., The State of the World’s Refugees 2006 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), annex 2, “Total population of concern to UNHCR, end-2004,” 211; annex 4, “Refugee population by country of asylum,” 214–16; and annex 5, “Refugee population by origin, 1995-2004,” 217–20.

b Refers to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.


What is more, Serbia-Montenegro hosted the third-highest refugee population in the entire world (as a percentage of its total population), just behind Chad, which happens to share a border with the three Darfur states in the western Sudan; Bosnia-Herzegovina ranked twenty-fifth overall, hosting only one-fifth the Serbia-Montenegrin percentage of refugees.117 Taking into account both refugees and internally displaced persons (columns 2 and 3), we see that Serbia-Montenegro was the host of 534,837 uprooted persons overall, 38 percent more than Bosnia-Herzegovina, widely regarded in Western commentary as the severest victim of the wars of “ethnic cleansing.”

A long-term pattern also appears evident: Some of the refugee and internally displaced person crises in the former Yugoslavia were reversed over time; others, however, proved more permanent. At the time of Dayton (December 1995), 769,753 refugees had fled from Bosnia, and 245,572 from Croatia;118 nine years later, the number of refugees from Bosnia stood at 229,329, a reduction of 70 percent; Croatia’s was 215,474, a reduction of only 12.3 percent. Clearly large numbers of refugees have been returning to Bosnia, but very few to Croatia. This suggests that some “ethnic cleansings” may reach much more deeply into the fabric of Balkan history than others.

In the most dramatic case, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) once boasted that the 1999 “Kosovo crisis produced possibly the fastest mass exodus and rapid return of refugees in modern history,” when some “860,000 ethnic Albanian Kosovars fled or were deported to neighbouring states within weeks [of the onset of NATO’s war] and then returned just as quickly later in the year.” But, the UNHCR added, the “first exodus-return of ethnic Albanians [was] followed by a second massive flight of 230,000 Serbs and Roma as the fortunes of war changed dramatically”119—and just like the refugees who fled Croatia through 1995, very few of these have returned to Kosovo. Once again, this suggests that some “ethnic cleansings” are more reversible than others; and that in the former Yugoslavia, the deciding factors are not only the ethnicity of the victims and perpetrators but also whether foreign powers advocate on their behalf—and if so, which foreign powers. Is it not odd that the one republic which allegedly organized the wars of ethnic cleansing has suffered the greatest long-term refugee burden, and hosts the greatest number of uprooted persons overall?

NATO’s “humanitarian” war exacted no less fearful a toll. Aside from the perhaps 1.5 million people uprooted during the three months it was waged, the material damage was considerable. Serbia-Montenegro had already been subjected to extensive sanctions dating back to May 30, 1992, along with highly theatrical condemnation and isolation around the world. The ruthless bombing campaign in 1999 not only killed and injured several thousand people (including large numbers of Kosovo Albanians120), but in a targeting pattern reminiscent of the U.S. strategy during the first Iraq war,121 it struck a severe blow to Serbia’s infrastructure (electrical plants, bridges, factories), causing yet more economic hardship, unemployment, and pollution. A postwar assessment by the UN Environment Program identified at least four “hot spots”—in or near Pancevo, Kragujevac, Novi Sad, and Bor, where oil refineries and petrochemical plants had been destroyed.122

Particularly hard hit were the provincial cities. “All our cities were bombed, especially the cities where the opposition is greatest,” the mayor of Nis told the Washington Post. “Now, how do you explain to the people who voted for democratic reforms, who rallied against Milosevic, how do you explain that, well, the Western democracies bombed and killed you, and now they don’t want to help you rebuild?” The same bewilderment was expressed by the mayor of Pancevo: “NATO had to understand what they were doing to us, because these factories were built by American and European firms. They could not have been ignorant of the environmental damage.”123 Of course NATO understood. But we are aware of no advocate for this “humanitarian” war who has ever shown the slightest understanding that NATO’s target selection bore zero correlation to the plight of the Kosovo Albanians. Or that its real purpose was progressively to disable Serbian society at large, to take over Kosovo, and to effect regime change—all missions accomplished.

The June 1999 end of the war, the Security Council resolution and treaties giving the Secretariat the power to establish a UN government in Kosovo, the rapid return of the refugees, and the ouster of Milosevic in October 2000 were all supposed to bring economic revival and democratic renewal. But none of it happened. The neoliberal rules imposed by the new, NATO-friendly government of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic led to extensive privatizations and foreign takeovers of business properties, layoffs, more severe unemployment, and negligible economic growth. As of 2006, Serbia’s GDP remained at only 60 percent its 1989 level, when it was roughly the equivalent of Yugoslavia’s average, and the republic still functioned as part of Yugoslavia’s integrated economy. Serbia’s per capita GDP in 2006 amounted to only one-fifth that of Slovenia; and its unemployment rate stood at 31 percent.124 The government remains hostage to the ICTY for failing to meet the quota of indictees that it ought to have arrested and turned over for trial, one of the obstacles to the promised land of EU membership (and possibly a further loss of independence). The largest vote-getter in this badly splintered society is Vojislav Seselj’s Serbian Radical Party; in January’s elections, his nationalist party received almost 29 percent of the vote, more than any other in a campaign where the party platforms distinguished themselves by whether they were “pro-Western” and “pro-EU” or pro-Serb.125

In the two regions that were the main supposed beneficiaries of humanitarian intervention, the result in one (Bosnia) has been a failed mini-state and NATO-power neocolony, administered by a “High Representative” appointed by the EU, with official unemployment around 45 percent and one-quarter of the population living in poverty, splintered ethnically into two statelets that are held in place by coercion only, and with much corruption and crime.126 In the other (Kosovo) the result is a failed province and further NATO-power neocolony, administered by a “Special Representative” appointed by the UN Secretary-General, with official unemployment at roughly 50 percent and massive organized crime, still seething with intense ethnic hostility, its internal ethnic cleansers (Albanians) pressing for independence, but it is still occupied by NATO, and home to perhaps the largest U.S. military base in Europe.127

In both of these regions, there has been top-down foreign rule; and in the name of their captive populations a phalanx of administrators has imposed neoliberal regimes without their subjects’ consultation. In both, moreover, privatization and foreign investment are featured, along with glowing promises and poor results. In both, the privatizations have been corrupt, contributing to clientalism, the deepening of the informal markets of the war years, and the institutionalization of organized crime, particularly in Kosovo. In the latter, we have a fear-dominated state “that is falling into the grip of Albanian organised crime gangs,” with “a burgeoning trade in illicit petrol, cigarettes and cement. Prostitution and drugs are also popular staples of the black economy.”128 The “macroeconomic reforms” imposed by the external rulers have indeed managed to “clear away the debris of the formerly socialist economy and open up the [countries] to international markets and investment,” in the words of a former High Representative for Bosnia,129 and with clear application to both experiments in neocolonial engineering. But by every decent measure of human development and liberation, these externally imposed regimes have been historic failures—except to the robbers.

The United States and Security Council, with Russia so far dissenting, are pressing for a quasi- and Bosnia-like “independence” for Kosovo, with the clear aim of eventual full independence from Serbia. This full independence will come when Kosovo finally achieves the goal of being a “multi-ethnic society, governing itself democratically and with full respect for the rule of law,” in the words of the UN’s Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement.130 But under NATO auspices, and after the impact of the NATO war, Kosovo has not only witnessed a huge ethnic cleansing of non-Albanians, but in March 2004 had an outburst of Kosovo Albanian violence reminiscent of the German Kristallsnacht. The remaining minorities in Kosovo are fear-ridden, and dissident Albanians dare not speak up.131 Even the 2005 report by Kai Edie for the UN noted that “the overall return process has virtually come to a halt,” and that “as many or more Kosovo Serbs are leaving Kosovo than are returning.”132 Yet we must have independence for the Kosovo Albanians, and no partition of territory between Serbs and Albanians. And in Bosnia we must keep the three hostile nations together under one “multi-ethnic” roof, even though this doesn’t work, and they don’t want it. The arbitrariness and irrationalities here boggle the mind. But as the under secretary of state for political affairs explained to Congress in April, “The cornerstone of [U.S.] policy in this region has long been the promise of integration of the Balkan countries with NATO and the European Union.”133 And as always, what the United States says, goes.

We should recall here President Clinton’s statement in April 1999 that what “we and our allies have been fighting for in the Balkans is the principle of multiethnic, tolerant, inclusive democracy,” and “against the idea that statehood must be based entirely on ethnicity.”134 It is understandable that neither the politicians, media pundits, nor humanitarian intervention intellectuals refer back to this claim and discuss it in evaluating the war itself, their analysis of the case for humanitarian war, and the prospects of Kosovo. In fact, they have all put the entire background into the black hole, except for snippets of misrepresented history of Serb villainy and Kosovo Albanian victimization.

_______________

Notes:

↩ Elaine Sciolino, “U.S. Names Figures It Wants Charged with War Crimes,” New York Times, December 17, 1992.
↩ Sara Dareshori, Weighing the Evidence, Human Rights Watch, December 2006, 5.
↩ At the time of Milosevic’s June 28, 2001, transfer to the Scheveningen prison at The Hague, the only indictment he faced was the initial one for Kosovo (May 22, 1999).
↩ The charge of “genocide” appears in both the initial and the amended indictments of Milosevic for Bosnia, but in none of the three indictments for Kosovo, and none of the three indictments for Croatia.
↩ John Laughland, Travesty (Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press, 2007), 97 and passim. Also see Mandel, How America Gets Away With Murder, chaps. 4–5, 117–75; Johnstone, Fools’ Crusade, 91–109; and Hans Köchler, Global Justice or Global Revenge? International Criminal Justice at the Crossroads (New York: Springer- Wien, 2003), annex 1, 353–56.
↩ Laughland, Travesty, chaps. 5–6, 88–124.
↩ Laughland, Travesty, 110–24. Also see David Chandler, The ‘Butcher of the Balkans’? (University of Westminster, UK, 2006), http://www.davidchandler.org. This paper was drafted at the request of Milosevic’s defense team. But since Milosevic predeceased its submission, it was never formally submitted.
↩ Laughland, Travesty, 203–04.
↩ We use the terms “Mujahedin” and “jihad” with a great deal of caution, and note, for example, the Western media’s frequently prejudicial usage of these terms to denigrate “their” religiously motivated foreign fighters or mercenaries in contradistinction to “our” business-like professionals.
↩ Richard J. Aldrich, “America used Islamists to arm the Bosnian Muslims,” The Guardian, April 22, 2002.
↩ Wiebes, Intelligence and the War in Bosnia, 1992–1995, 207–08.
↩ See, e.g., Jason Burke, Al-Qaeda (New York: I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd., 2003); Robert A. Pape, Dying to Win (New York: Random House, 2005); and Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank, “The Iraq Effect,” Mother Jones, March/April, 2007.
↩ Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, The 9/11 Commission Report (Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States) (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2004), 155.
↩ The 9/11 Commission Report, 147; n. 5, 488.
↩ The 9/11 Commission Report, 58.
↩ See Memorandum on War Crimes and Crimes and Genocide in Eastern Bosnia (Communes of Bratunac, Skelani and Srebrenica) Committed Against the Serb Population from April 1992 to April 1993 (A/48/177–S/25835), May 24, 1993.
↩ See “Excerpt from the National Intelligence Estimate,” Washington Post, September 27, 2006, which reproduced the “Key Judgments” section of “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States.”
↩ Mahbub ul Haq et al., Human Development Report 1991 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), table 1.1, 15. The HDI for this year combined national income per capita, longevity, and knowledge, i.e., literacy rates and years of schooling.
↩ Kevin Watkins et al., Human Development Report 2006 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), table 1, 283–86.
↩ Warren Zimmermann, Origins of a Catastrophe (New York: Times Books, 1996), 71.
↩ G. Schäfer, ed., Europe in Figures (Luxembourg: Statistical Office of the European Communities, 2007), table 6.1, 152.
↩ Christopher Condon, “A leap to international visibility,” Financial Times, December 13, 2006. Also see Richard Bernstein, “Slovenia Strides Westward and Does Not Look Back,” New York Times, July 26, 2006; and Christopher Emsden, “With Slovenia, ECB Will Add a Hawk,” Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2006.
↩ Nada Merheb et al., The State of the World’s Refugees 2006 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), annex 7, 224. These rankings are based on the number of refugees per 1,000 inhabitants living in a country of asylum as of December 31, 2004. For every 1,000 inhabitants, Chad hosted 26.7, Serbia and Montenegro 26.3, and Bosnia-Herzegovina 5.7. Although more current data are not available, the breakup of Serbia and Montenegro in 2006 likely increased Serbia’s percentage, i.e., by subtracting Montenegro’s approx. 630,000 population from the total.
↩ For the numbers dating from 1995, see Merheb et al., The State of the World’s Refugees 2006, annex 5, “Refugee population by origin, 1995–2004,” 217–20. Space limitations prevent us from including these numbers in the table.
↩ “Serbia and Montenegro: Kosovo,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees. See “The Balkans” Web site hosted by UNHCR, http://www.unhcr.org.
↩ We are referring to multiple bombing raids on Kosovo Albanian convoys in April and May 1999. In the last of these (at least that we know of), at Korisa on May 13, several dozen were killed, and several dozen more wounded. See Amnesty International, “Collateral Damage” or Unlawful Killings? Violations of the Laws of War by NATO during Operation Allied Force, June 6, 2000, esp. sections 5.2 and 5. 7. And for a detailed account of earlier bombing raids, see Robert Fisk, “Convoy of the Damned,” The Independent, November 28, 1999.
↩ As the Washington Post reported in 1991, target selection during the first Iraq war was aimed at “disabling Iraqi society at large.” “The worst civilian suffering…has resulted not from the bombs that went astray but from precision guided weapons that hit exactly where they were aimed—at electrical plants, oil refineries and transportation networks.” In the words of a confidential source who “played a central role in the air campaign,” so-called “Strategic bombing…strikes against ‘all those things that allow a nation to sustain itself.’” Barton Gellman, “Allied Air War Struck Broadly in Iraq; Officials Acknowledge Strategy Went Beyond Purely Military Targets,” Washington Post, June 23, 1991.
↩ Pekka Haavisto et al., The Kosovo Conflict (Balkans Task Force, UN Environment Program: October 1999), esp. 29–61.
↩ William Booth, “Milosevic Foes Appeal to West To Help Serbia,” Washington Post, July 6, 1999; Chris Hedges, “Serbian Town Bombed by NATO Fears Effects of Toxic Chemicals,” New York Times, July 14, 1999.
↩ See “Background Note: Serbia,” Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State, October, 2006; also see the entry for “Serbia” in the CIA’s World Factbook 2007.
↩ David Vujanovic, “Ultra-nationalist win clouds Serbia’s future,” Agence France Presse, January 22, 2007; Beth Kampschror, “Serb elections complicate Kosovo issue,” Christian Science Monitor, January 23, 2007; and Dusan Stojanovic, “Serbian Radical Party Riding High,” Associated Press, January 24, 2007.
↩ See “Background Note: Bosnia,” Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State, February, 2007; also see the entry for “Bosnia and Herzegovina” in the World Factbook 2007, Central Intelligence Agency.
↩ Michael Pugh, “Crime and Capitalism in Kosovo’s Transformation,” in Tonny Brems Knudsen and Carsten Bagge Laustsen, eds., Kosovo between War and Peace (New York: Routledge, 2006).
↩ Tom Walker, “Rampage of the mafia may delay Kosovo independence,” Sunday Times, April 9, 2006; Bojan Pancevski, “Report damns West’s record in reviving Kosovo,” Daily Telegraph, March 19, 2007; and Svante E. Cornell and Michael Jonsson, “Creating a state of denial,” International Herald Tribune, March 23, 2007.
↩ Paddy Ashdown, “BiH Open for Investments,” Office of the High Representative for Bosnia- Herzegovina, December 9, 2003. Ashdown uttered these words while attending a conference in London to promote Bosnia to foreign investors.
↩ Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement (S/2007/168/Add.1), March 26, 2007, General Principles, Article 1.1.
↩ See, e.g., Christian Brunner, “The Situation of Internally Displaced Persons in Serbia and Montenegro,” ICRC, May, 2005; “IDPs from Kosovo,” Global IDP Project, Norwegian Refugee Council, September 22, 2005; and “Position on the Continued International Protection Needs of Individuals from Kosovo,” UNHCR, June, 2006.
↩ Kai Eide, A comprehensive review of the developments in Kosovo (S/2005/635), October 7, 2005, par. 52; par. 54.
↩ R. Nicholas Burns, “The Outlook for the Independence of Kosovo,” U.S. Department of State, April 17, 2007.
↩ Bill Clinton, “Remarks by the President to the American Society of Newspaper Editors,” Federal Documents Clearing House, April 15, 1999.
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The Dismantling of Yugoslavia (Part IV)

10. The Role of the Media and Intellectuals in the Dismantlement

Media coverage of the Yugoslav wars ranks among the classic cases in which early demonization as well as an underlying strong political interest led quickly to closure, with a developing narrative of good and evil participants and a crescendo of propaganda steadily reinforcing the good-evil perspective. This was the case after the shooting of Pope John Paul II in Rome in 1981, where dubious evidence of Bulgarian-KGB involvement was quickly accepted by the New York Times and its mainstream colleagues, and only plot-supportive evidence was of interest to the media thereafter. They remained gulled for years.135

In the case of Yugoslavia, the gullibility quotient has been breathtakingly high: Only material that conformed to the reigning victim-demon dichotomy would be hunted down with tenacity and reported; material that contradicted it, or that served to weaken and disconfirm it, would be ignored, discounted, excluded, even attacked. In her Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide, Samantha Power writes that by the spring of 1992 (the period of the earliest serious fighting in Bosnia), some U.S. diplomats had become “eager to see a Western military intervention” there. But, she adds, they “needed help from American reporters, editorial boards, and advocacy groups,” and help wasn’t forthcoming. Everyone was too “even-handed” and “neutral” (in Power’s judgment), and far too few portrayed the war “as a top-down attempt by Milosevic to create an ethnically pure Greater Serbia,” reducing the likelihood of intervention.

And then in early August 1992,

the proponents of intervention within the U.S. government gained a weapon in their struggle: The Western media finally won access to Serb concentration camps. Journalists not only began challenging U.S. policy, but they supplied photographic images and refugee sagas that galvanized heretofore silent elite opinion. Crucially, the advocates of humanitarian intervention began to win the support of both liberals committed to advancing human rights as well as staunch Republican Cold Warriors, who believed the U.S. had the responsibility and the power to stop Serb aggression in Europe.136

We believe that Power’s time-frame misdates the shift by Western intellectuals and journalists into the good-versus-evil mode by 18–24 months. Nevertheless, her basic point is well-taken—and we find it amusing that she chose the claim of Milosevic’s “attempt…to create an ethnically pure Greater Serbia” to illustrate what from the standpoint of military interventionists was judged to be lacking in media coverage. Something was required that was unambiguously evil, and some power great enough to righteously smite it. Also simple storylines and committed storytellers were needed. That is to say, propaganda and willing propagandists, including politically attached journalists and intellectuals like Samantha Power.

Power herself takes it as a self-evident truth that Milosevic initiated the wars in a quest for an “ethnically pure Greater Serbia,” a finding that, as we have pointed out, is ideological history, denied even by ICTY prosecutor Geoffrey Nice (see section 7). Power also refers to the importance of Western access to Serb “concentration camps” and related “images,” “skeletal men behind barbed wire” and “Holocaust echoes.” “Journalists generally reported stories that they hoped would move Western policymakers, but pundits and advocates openly clamored for more,” she notes. “The public commentary aided [pro-intervention] dissenters within the bureaucracy. They began filtering much of what they read and saw through the prism of the Holocaust.”137

Nowhere does Power contest the use of these emotionally laden words and images for the events of 1992. She doesn’t mention that the Bosnian Muslims and Croats also had such camps, which were of no interest to Western journalists, although there is no evidence that abuses there were not at least as great as those in Serb camps.138 She also fails to mention that the key “image,” that of the emaciated Fikret Alic at Trnopolje, first circulated by the Independent Television Network on August 6, 1992, and which Power says “concentrated grassroots and elite attention and inflamed public outrage about the war like no postwar genocide,”139 was later revealed to have been staged. In fact, it was taken not at a “concentration” but a transit camp; Alic, the main subject of these images, had been suffering from a long-term illness when he was found, and was unrepresentative of the other prisoners who can be seen standing around him. Although at the moment the images were recorded, a barbed-wire fence physically was standing in between the camera and its subject, the barbed wire enclosed no one at the camp; instead, the angle from which the images were recorded conveyed the false impression that the subject was imprisoned behind barbed wire at an encampment—hence the full-page “Belsen 92” story on the cover of the August 7 Daily Mirror (London), and on the following week’s editions of Newsweek and Time (August 17), among hundreds like them. This monumental misrepresentation was a powerful propaganda instrument for the war-makers, but it was the misrepresentation of fact that concentrated attention, along with the deliberate allusions to Nazi Germany—not the circumstances at the camp.140 Years after its exposure, Samantha Power still fails to recognize that it was a fraud.

We may note also that Samantha Power justified NATO’s 1999 bombing war against Serbia on the grounds that it “likely saved hundreds of thousands of lives.” “As high as the death toll turned out,” she writes, “it was far lower than if NATO had not acted at all.” She then mentions “Serbia’s atrocities in Operation Horseshoe,” a campaign presumably preempted by NATO’s war, “ensuring the return of 1.3 million Kosovo Albanians….”141 Actually, the death toll in Kosovo turned out to be low; perhaps when Power was writing her book, she still took as truth the hugely inflated estimates of her government (i.e., “from a low of 100,000…up to nearly 500,000”142). She fails to note British Defense Secretary George Robertson’s admission that the KLA killed more people in Kosovo prior to the bombing war than had the Serbs; she overlooks the fact that so-called “Operation Horseshoe” is well established as a fraud;143 and she remains enamored with NATO’s great “humanitarian” war of 1999, even though the 1.3 million ethnic Albanians who returned to Kosovo after NATO stopped bombing were the same 1.3 million who had been uprooted during the bombing. This is Pulitzer Prize-winning work on a topic in which anything goes—as long as it supports the standard narrative.

A Pulitzer Prize for international reporting on Yugoslavia was given to John F. Burns of the New York Times in 1993 for his articles on the “destruction of Sarajevo and the barbarous killings” in Bosnia, but especially for his articles profiling the confessions of Borislav Herak, a Bosnian Serb who, after capture by the Muslim side, admitted to large numbers of killings and rapes.144 Burns took Herak’s confessions at face value, but suppressed the fact that Herak had also accused the Canadian head of UNPROFOR, General Lewis MacKenzie, of rapes and murders in a local brothel.145 Mentioning this would have made Herak’s other confessions about killing and raping Muslims seem less credible, so Burns simply avoided it. Several years later, Herak recanted and several of his alleged victims turned up alive.146 But these revelations about Burns’s work during his busy year in Bosnia never appear to have taken any shine off his Pulitzer.

Burns shared the 1993 Pulitzer for international reporting with Newsday’s Roy Gutman, acclaimed for “reporting that disclosed atrocities and other human rights violations….” Gutman was an early and energetic purveyor of the Serb “concentration camps” story;147 in Power’s “A Problem from Hell,” his work is singled out for praise as among the most forceful to draw comparisons between the Bosnian Serbs and the Nazis.148 Gutman’s reporting was lurid and emotive, as when he repeatedly used the term “death camps,” and told of prisoners “slaughtered” by the thousands. But Gutman’s 1992 work on the camps was never based on direct observation, but rather alleged witness evidence that itself was frequently second- or third-order hearsay.149 In one of his more celebrated dispatches, in the same week that the Fikret Alic photo went into circulation, Gutman recounted some truly harrowing scenes described to him by the Bosnian Muslim Alija Lujinovic of “throats slit,” “noses cut off,” and “genitals plucked out” at one of the camps. Then Gutman permitted this man he was interviewing to confirm the story for him: “I saw it with my own eyes,” Lujinovic said.150

Roy Gutman also led the charge over alleged Serb “rape camps” and rape as a massive, deliberate, and uniquely Serb instrument of state policy, although he carried out this campaign in close coordination with Bosnian Muslim and Croatian propaganda agencies.151 These charges reached a frenzied level in early 1993, with the media and women’s groups mobilized and calling for action against these horrors, and their service to the Serb demonization process rivaled that of the Fikret Ali photo at Trnopolje. The number of Bosnian Muslim women allegedly raped by the Serbs ranged from 20,000 to 60,000 or more, based entirely on a small number of claimed victims plus unverified hearsay and wild extrapolation. One of the media agents for this story (Charles Lane) belatedly mentioned that “too many reporters quoted the Bosnian government’s patently unconfirmable claim that 50,000 Muslim women were raped by the Serbs.”152 But the media didn’t insist on confirmation—they sought emotionally supercharged stories about atrocities, and only when the atrocities could be attributed to Serbs. There is not a shred of evidence for the lower-end claim of 20,000 rapes. Nor that the Serbs had established an “archipelago of sex-enslavement camps…and program of systematic mass rape,” as the Crimes of War volume maintains.153 Nor that rapes by Serb forces were more substantial than by Bosnian Muslim or Croat forces—or anything more than crimes of opportunity. In fact, the Serbs put together a larger dossier of hard evidence of rapes of Serb women in the form of affidavits and documented testimonies than did the Bosnian Muslims, but the media were not interested. As with every other major theme of these wars, the rape allegations were a propaganda coup—and media failure—of the first magnitude.154

A third Bosnian war-based Pulitzer was awarded in 1996 to David Rohde of the Christian Science Monitor for his “on-site reporting of the massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica.” Rohde’s performance was reminiscent of what we witnessed several years later in the interplay between the media and official U.S. and UK claims about Iraq’s WMD programs and ties to al-Qaeda—including Rohde’s closeness to official sources he cited but never named, and his willingness to conduit their allegations. Starting out in Zagreb, Rohde was prompted by “American officials” whom, he claims, faxed him “spy-satellite photos” of the alleged sites of atrocities near Srebrenica and Zepa. In Rohde’s first report on what he found there (August 18, 1995), he wrote that the “physical evidence was grim and convincing,” and included a “decomposing human leg protruding from the freshly turned dirt,” empty ammunition boxes, the scattered personal effects of Muslims associated with Srebrenica, and human feces and blood at a soccer stadium. For his second report one week later (August 25), the Christian Science Monitor introduced it by saying Rohde’s previous account had “confirmed U.S. charges of a massacre based on spy satellite photos.” Nothing in Rohde’s first report had confirmed anything; and in this second report, Rohde recounted the fanciful tale about how, on a trek to Banja Luka and Pale to interview “Serbian refugees who had fled Croatia,” he had gotten lost but ended up “near the area shown in the photos” that had been faxed him earlier.

Rohde’s next major reports (October 2 and 5) were built out of interviews with displaced persons in Muslim-controlled Tuzla. But now he added the authority of “senior UN officials close to The Hague-based International War Crimes Tribunal” who, he wrote, “confirmed the findings” of Rohde’s original August 18 report, and told him that an “overwhelming amount of physical evidence of what could be the single largest war crime in Europe since World War II lies along a 20-mile network of roads in eastern Bosnia” (October 5).155 But though Rohde’s single decomposing human leg, of unidentified origin, and empty ammunition boxes, “confirmed” for his editors, the ICTY, and the Pulitzer Prize committee, some 8,000 executions, mass graves near Srebrenica, and Europe’s worse massacre since the Second World War, other than repeating what official sources within the prosecutorial nexus between the United States and ICTY were alleging, and reporting that these same sources later “confirmed” what turned up under Rohde’s byline, Rohde himself found nothing.

Reporting from Bosnia alone produced three Pulitzers in the 1990s (John Burns, Roy Gutman, and David Rohde); if we add Samantha Power’s 2003 prize for “A Problem from Hell,” which devotes a larger share of its approximately 620 pages to the former Yugoslavia than any other topic, four Pulitzers have been awarded on the basis of these wars, twice as many as any other conflict during the 1990s. The work of all four winners is replete with graphic accounts of atrocities perpetrated by Serbs against Bosnian Muslims during the 1992–95 war, Power’s 2002 book includes atrocities perpetrated by Serbs against Kosovo Albanians as well. There is little or no interest in anything else; and all four violate every principle of substantive objectivity. Pulitzers for work in Yugoslavia at least show a consistency in service to U.S. policy, if not to truthfulness and integrity.

Burns and the New York Times maintained that the confessed crimes of Borislav Herak were a microcosm of the whole, and showed what the civilized world was up against in Bosnia. It is not clear how this one villain and his acts—which turned out to be fabricated—provided the basis for such generalizations, or why anyone should assume that in a civil war these kinds of horrors would be confined to one side but not the other. But where there is a strong demand for stories about the atrocities and uniquely evil and threatening nature of an official enemy, Western journalists have never been shy about supplying them.

An even more dramatic case concerns the well-publicized videotape of the execution of six Bosnian Muslim captives by the “Scorpions” unit affiliated with Bosnian Serb forces some time in the summer of 1995. This video was introduced during the defense phase of the Milosevic trial.156 Although immediately called “sensationalism” by the amicus curiae attorney Steven Kay, and never admitted as evidence at trial, its mere showing was widely taken as proof of Milosevic’s responsibility for the events depicted in it, as well as the larger Srebrenica massacre. Tim Judah and Daniel Sunter called the video the “smoking gun”—“the final, incontrovertible proof of Serbia’s part in the Srebrenica massacres in which more than 7,500 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered.” The New York Times noted that “reporting about the video has dominated mainstream news media. Analysts say the cassette is the most significant piece of evidence to shape Serbian public opinion since the end of the Balkan wars of the 1990’s.” The event “ripped away the veil of secrecy and denial of Serbian military operations in Bosnia during the 1992–95 war, particularly the massacre of as many as 8,000 Muslim men and boys in and around Srebrenica,” the Washington Post reported. “No longer was it possible to label atrocity tales as Bosnian Muslim propaganda amplified by inventive foreign correspondents, as many Serbs had done for a decade.”157 As in the Burns-Herak case, or Gutman’s use of atrocity stories told by camp survivors, the assumption that one can generalize from these six killings, which took place over a hundred miles from Srebrenica, and where the integrity of the tape has been challenged, to the alleged execution of 7,500 or 8,000 Muslim males at Srebrenica, is more than problematic.

It is also revealing that comparable videotapes showing Bosnian Muslim or Croatian perpetrators of atrocities against Serbs exist but have drawn minimal attention, led to no broad generalizations, and were of little interest to the ICTY. The most notable are the tapes of killed and beheaded Serbs proudly shown by Naser Oric, the Bosnian Muslim commander at Srebrenica, to Western reporters while his forces still had their base there. As Bill Schiller of the Toronto Star wrote:

I sat in his living room, watching a shocking video version of what might have been called Naser Oric’s Greatest Hits. There were burning houses, dead bodies, severed heads and people fleeing. Oric grinned throughout, admiring his handiwork. “We ambushed them,” he said. The next sequence of dead bodies had been done in by explosives: “We launched those guys to the moon,” he boasted. When footage of a bulletmarked ghost town appeared without any visible bodies, Oric hastened to announce. “We killed 114 Serbs there.” Later there were celebrations, with singers with wobbly voices chanting his praises.158

Visits to Naser Oric’s residence were reported once by John Pomfret in the Washington Post, and twice by Schiller in the Toronto Star,159 but the subject was quickly dropped and led to no reflections on what it implied about the nature of the Bosnian Muslims, let alone inferences about other mass killings by this proud warrior, or about his superiors back in Sarajevo. It is also of interest that despite this tape and admitted killing of 114 Serbs in just one place, Oric was not indicted until 2003, and then only on the relatively minor charges of mistreatment of prisoners and failure to restrain the soldiers serving under him.160

And there are other tapes. In early August 2006, Serbian and Croatian television began playing videotapes that allegedly depict scenes shot at various stages of Operation Storm. One shows the “Croatian army’s ‘Black Mamba’ unit and the Bosnian military’s ‘Hamze’ squad killing and abusing Serb soldiers and civilians.” A second shows the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina Fifth Corps Commander Atif Dudakovic “ordering his troops to torch Serb villages in northwestern Bosnia in September 1995. ‘I’m ordering the village to be torched….Torch everything without exception,’ Atif Dudakovic…shouted in the film that showed houses in flames.” A BBC report translated Dudakovic ordering: “urn that village….Burn, burn everything….Go on, burn everything in your wake!” But when asked during its weekly press briefing whether the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) “was conducting an investigation” into these matters, spokesman Anton Nikiforov “stated that it was regrettable that the tape had surfaced now just as the OTP had finished its investigative mandate.” Through early 2007, the ICTY had not indicted Dudakovic, although Sefik Alic, a subordinate of Dudakovic who also appears in the video, has been arrested on charges related to it.161 Is it not interesting how videotapes such as these, and Naser Oric’s impressive series, are not “important” to the ICTY or Western media and humanitarian war intellectuals, in contrast with the Scorpions tape, and allegedly come too late for action, just as the long-awaited (and perhaps nonexistent) indictments of Tudjman and Izetbegovic were never served during their lifetimes?

This all follows a broad pattern in the coverage and treatment of Yugoslavia, where only evidence fitting the accepted demon-victim design would be looked for and reported, and with the gullibility quotient exceedingly high. This is why the early claim of 200,000 or more Bosnian Muslim deaths was quickly institutionalized around the start of 1993, and why the eventual finding of only some 100,000 deaths on all sides by ICTY and NATO-government sponsored sources has only slowly, incompletely, and reluctantly crept into the media. It is why the official U.S. claims of 100,000, 225,000, and 500,000 Kosovo Albanian male deaths during the seventy-eight-day bombing war have never been ridiculed, and why the eventual finding of only some 4,000 bodies after one of the great forensic searches of all time has not been publicized and analyzed, along with the claim of “genocide” in both Bosnia and Kosovo.162 It is why George Robertson’s statement that the KLA had killed more people in Kosovo than the Yugoslav government prior to the bombing war, and the evidence of U.S. support for the KLA during the prewar struggle, has not been reported in the New York Times (etc.). Such information would undercut the institutionalized claim that the NATO war was based on unprovoked genocidal acts by the Serbs.

You won’t read in the New York Times (etc.) that the Romani and Ashkali minorities still living in Kosovo are exceedingly worried about the prospects of independence to Kosovo with full Kosovo Albanian control. They were never ethnically cleansed by the Serbs, but they have been relentlessly attacked in NATO-occupied Kosovo with the former KLA now in the police force. Under NATO authority some 12,500 Roma homes were destroyed by the returning Kosovo Albanians, and as Paul Polansky reports, “The massive ethnic cleansing and internal displacement of Roma in Kosovo…translates to a decrease of 75% of the prewar Romani population, primarily in the summer months of 1999 when the triumphant ethnic Albanian population (re)possessed Kosovo under the protection of KFOR [Kosovo Force] ‘peacekeeping’ forces. These vast numbers of frightened and desperate Roma were driven from Kosovo in spite of the fact that there were over 300 international NGOs providing humanitarian aid and assistance on the ground in Kosovo during this period.” Polansky believes that “independence” will result in the flight of most of the remaining Roma from Kosovo.163 But this doesn’t fit the narrative, so it isn’t news fit to print.

It is also worth repeating that the stunning abandonment of the crucial charge about the Milosevic-Serb drive for a “Greater Serbia” by the ICTY prosecutor during the Milosevic trial on August 25, 2005, was never reported in the New York Times or elsewhere in the mainstream media; and as we have noted, the charge remains intact as a truth in the media and among human rights intellectuals, even though never really believed by the prosecutor. They need it, just as they must stay away from the real and large-scale ethnic cleansings in Croatia and Kosovo by the good guys and the evidence that the charge of “genocide” in both Bosnia and Kosovo was based on hugely inflated and one-sided claims.

Another anomaly in the demonization process is that despite the claims of Milosevic’s ultra-nationalist and killer-manager role, during the long trial and intense search for his ugly words and orders to kill, nothing was uncovered: Not one line in which he displayed a hatred and intolerance towards members of the other “nations” in Yugoslavia or a single order to commit criminal acts. The claim of Ed Vulliamy that Milosevic and his wife spoke contemptuously of “mongrel races” is almost certainly disinformation.164 Tudjman and Izetbegovic did make explicit statements that betrayed their eagerness and intent to get rid of the Krajina Serbs (Tudjman) and unwillingness to accept any “non-Islamic political institutions” within Bosnia (Izetbegovic). But these statements were by clients of the West, hence any of their remarks about ethnically cleansable races and mongrel political institutions are not cited by Marlise Simons and Ed Vulliamy or used by the ICTY to prepare indictments for a “joint criminal enterprise.”

The ICTY was a PR and faux-judicial arm of NATO, designed to serve its diplomacy and war, as was even acknowledged by former State Department lawyer Michael Scharf: “The tribunal was widely perceived within the government as little more than a public relations device,” and a “useful policy tool” that could be used to “isolate offending leaders diplomatically…and fortify the international political will to employ economic sanctions or use force.”165 Scharf of course saw nothing wrong with creating and using this tool for U.S. political ends, and neither did the mainstream media and humanitarian war intelligentsia. The ICTY was a weapon of the good guys, therefore politicization and an abandonment of rules of decent judicial practice were ignored. It has been an absolutely uniform practice of the U.S. media to treat the ICTY as an unbiased judicial institution seeking justice. Its clear political role is so thoroughly accepted and internalized it isn’t even noticed. The way the Western establishment media treat the ICTY surely rivals the manner in which the Soviet media treated their own show trials of 1936–37. (For a case study of the New York Times’s coverage of the Milosevic trial that makes this point, see Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “Marlise Simons on the Yugoslavia Tribunal: A Study in Total Propaganda Service,” ZNet, 2004, http://www.zmag.org/simonsyugo.html.)

The left and liberal media in the United States did little better than the mainstream in reporting and analyzing the dismantlement of Yugoslavia; and they sometimes did worse. For the most part they simply avoided the difficult questions. The demonization of the Serbs had worked well, had been implanted early, and liberals and much of the left were swept along before they had thought much about these events. By the late 1990s, In These Times replaced their outstanding reporter and Balkans expert Diana Johnstone with Paul Hockenos, a man who had worked for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Bosnia and followed the mainstream narrative undeviatingly. Milosevic stood on the verge of creating “an ethnically compact Greater Serbia,” Hockenos wrote several weeks into NATO’s 1999 war. “In the course of three Balkan wars, the Serbian leader has redrawn the region’s demographic map and destabilized southeastern Europe for decades to come….Even if Serbia lies in ruin at his feet, Milosevic stands as testimony that a fascistic policy of carving ethnic nation-states from multiethnic countries is a viable project in contemporary Europe.”166

Until the summer of 1999, The Progressive largely bypassed the former Yugoslavia. Its first major article was entrusted to Mary Kaldor (September 1993), a member of the “Europe begins in Sarajevo” school and later advocate for NATO’s 1999 war against Serbia. “The international community’s failure to save Sarajevo and Bosnia-Herzegovina is a monumental betrayal of fundamental human values,” she opened. Inverting reality, Kaldor found that the “international community…has been completely unwilling…to intervene politically in this war.” She thus missed the decisive earlier interventions that supported the secessions and the perversity of the Badinter Commission’s rulings, among other matters. However, The Progressive did publish important critiques of NATO’s 1999 war as it wound down and shifted into the occupation phase, including a fine statement by Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich, one of the decent left voices in American politics; it also published an analysis of the role that private military corporations had played in arming and training “Clinton’s Contras,” better known as the KLA.167

Aside from Alexander Cockburn, whose work on this front continues to shine,168 The Nation suffered greatly from the fact that columnist Christopher Hitchens had taken a dive by the early 1990s, just in time for this major European conflict; in one memorably bad passage out of dozens, Hitchens wrote that these were wars “between all those who favor ethnic and religious partition and all those who oppose it”—good versus evil, with the columnist distinguishing himself by taking the side of the good.169

The Nation has also suffered from the fact that its UN correspondent Ian Williams not only counts himself a partisan of the humanitarian brigades but is rabidly anti-Serb; the mix has produced a toxic mess. “Nor can [the conflict in Kosovo] be treated as an internal Yugoslav affair,” Williams wrote as early as March 1998, just after the ICTY’s chief prosecutor Louise Arbour had publicized her first warning to the Serbs. “Belgrade’s behavior…is on the verge of triggering the duties of signatories to the Genocide Convention. Allowing Milosevic to get away with his suppression of human rights in Kosovo in 1989 led directly to the massacres in Bosnia by the cruel methods now employed in Kosovo.” Thirteen months later, Williams teamed-up with Bogdan Denitch to defend NATO’s war. “Those who want an immediate NATO cease-fire owe the world an explanation of how they propose to stop and reverse the massive ethnic cleansing in Kosovo in light of Milosevic’s history as a serial ethnic cleanser and promise-breaker,” they wrote. Later, while mocking the “apologists for genocide” (i.e., people who opposed NATO’s war) who had participated in a Nation Institute/Pacifica Radio “teach-in” in Los Angeles, Williams reminded his readers that “Milosevic had started and lost one war in Slovenia and another in Croatia, and had caused the deaths of a quarter of a million people in the inconclusive Bosnian war….I am more concerned about deliberate genocide in Kosovo than NATO accidents.”170 This material is breathtaking for its ignorance as well as crude apologetics for imperial aggression and violations of the UN Charter (and Williams is the Nation’s UN correspondent).

Perhaps most disappointing of all, The Nation suffered from the fact that in the late 1990s, its highly respected contributor and editorial board member Richard Falk followed the pack regarding the circumstances in Kosovo, and even went on to serve as an apologist for NATO’s 1999 war.171 Falk was a principal in the Independent International Commission on Kosovo, which was organized in the immediate aftermath of the war by the government of Prime Minister of Göran Persson of Sweden, and went on to coin the empire-friendly phrase “illegal but legitimate” to sum up its take on the aggression.172 In Bosnia, Falk writes, “diplomatic responses exhibited an unwillingness to mount a credible interventionary challenge to the Serbian operations,” as the UN “was severely limited by its mandate of impartiality, an astonishing posture in view of the genocidal behavior on display.”173 Falk appears unaware of the diplomatic responses of the Clinton administration in sabotaging the Lisbon accord and its successors, and its military responses in helping arm the Bosnian Muslims and Croatians and helping bring thousands of Mujahedin to fight in Bosnia. He swallows the claims of genocidal behavior (on one side only) in Bosnia just as he inflates it for Kosovo and ignores the facts about KLA killings in Kosovo and U.S. aid to the KLA in the run-up to the bombing war. Here he was adopting a position similar to the Kosovo Commission, which acknowledged that NATO’s war “was not legal because it contravened the Charter prohibition on the unauthorized use of force,” and expressed its concern over the “growing gap between legality and legitimacy that always arises in cases of humanitarian intervention.” Nevertheless it concluded that the illegality of NATO’s war proves that the law itself is “inadequate,” and emphasized the “need to close the gap between legality and legitimacy,” as NATO’s need to wage “humanitarian” wars will continue to arise.174

But it was just as clear on March 24, 1999 (as it was on September 11, 2001, and March 19, 2003) that—when it comes to questions of war and peace, U.S. power, and “why international law matters”175—for the left to reject a fixed, consensually attained, rule-governed system in favor of flexible, ad hoc, readily manipulable “norms” will bring about less a normative revolution than a counterrevolution. In other words, if you give the supreme international criminal an inch, it will take a mile. We need look no further than the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to see what formulas like “illegal but legitimate” mean in real-world terms: They offer neither an advance “beyond Westphalia,” to use a phrase popular among the “humanitarian” war-sect, nor an end of impunity, but provide yet another cover for the “option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security,” in the words of the September 2002 U.S. National Security Strategy.176 “Old wine, new bottles,” as Noam Chomsky put it.177

The Nation did run an important article by George Kenney in June 1999, in which he cited a U.S. official’s admission that the “bar” had been raised high enough at the Rambouillet peace conference to assure rejection by the Serbs; as the official put it, the “Serbs needed a little bombing.” But by July 2003 the magazine had regressed, devoting an issue to “humanitarian intervention” that included no important dissident voice on Yugoslavia, but several party liners such as Falk, Samantha Power, Mary Kaldor, David Rieff, and Swedish official Carl Tham, all of whom had supported NATO’s 1999 war.178

Sadly, truly left critiques of the foreign interference, military interventions, and outright war and occupation that the former Yugoslavia has endured have been scarce. One major exception was Z Magazine and the more encompassing ZNet, which ran lengthy reviews of four outstanding critical works on Yugoslavia: Diana Johnstone’s Fools’ Crusade, Michael Mandel’s How America Gets Away With Murder, Peter Brock’s Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting, and John Laughland’s Travesty.179 Z also published a series of articles that called into question the standard narrative and media coverage of Yugoslavia. Another important exception was Monthly Review and its affiliated Monthly Review Press, which published Johnstone’s book in the United States, had a strong trio of critical articles during the NATO bombing war in 1999 (“Forget humanitarian motives. This is about U.S. global hegemony.”180), and in the following year ran John Rosenthal’s rejection of the “hyperinflationary use of the term ‘genocide’” to mobilize the “humanitarian” brigades.181 Jean Bricmont’s recent Humanitarian Imperialism takes up the same torch.182 MR’s editorial comments have also been highly critical of Western policies in Yugoslavia, recognizing their place in the wider process of imperialist expansion. One more exception to this left failure was CovertAction Quarterly, which had a series of critical articles by Diana Johnstone, Sean Gervasi, several by Gregory Ehlich and by the present writers, and articles by Karen Talbot, Michel Chossudovsky, and Michael Parenti.183

Despite these exceptions, the failure of the left in the United States and elsewhere in dealing with Yugoslavia has been egregious, reflecting the power of the standard narrative, while also reinforcing it.

[b]11. Final Note


Yugoslavia’s breakup was driven by both internal and external factors. Of major importance were the economic disparities that no amount of state planning and redistribution ever countered. Over four decades, the rich regions grew richer, and the poor poorer; and these disparities tended to parallel Yugoslavia’s republican as well as its ethnic structures. The depression of the 1980s and the loss of the wartime generation of leaders left fewer defenders of socialism as well as federalism. Pressure for terminating both rose sharply in Slovenia and Croatia; the republics of the haves no longer wanted the burden of the have-nots and the federal structure that administered it. Contrary to the standard narrative, the nationalisms of the Slovenes and Croats, coupled later with the aims of the Izetbegovic faction in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Albanian nationalists within the impoverished province of Kosovo, proved more important to the whole process than did the rise of Slobodan Milosevic or Serb nationalism.

But Western interference also contributed greatly to the dismantlement of Yugoslavia. Slovenia and Croatia, then Bosnia-Herzegovina, and several years later Kosovo—all were encouraged to “dissociate” (to use a term that was popular in Slovenia), and each recognized that the West, and in particular the United States, could be mobilized to their cause. By encouraging the secession of republics, but flatly ruling out some comparable form of self-determination or secession for the Serb minorities who feared for their security in the newly independent states of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Western powers ensured that the conflicts would become open wars with all their brutality and ugliness. Worse, by blocking settlements to these armed conflicts from Lisbon in early 1992 until Dayton in late 1995, and then again by crafting proposals to ensure Belgrade’s rejection at Rambouillet in early 1999, the United States and its allies kept the first series of wars churning for four bloody years, while in the latter case establishing the pretext for NATO’s war and takeover of southern Serbia.

When NATO started bombing what was left of Yugoslavia in March 1999, foremost among the reasons Bill Clinton cited in justification of the war was “to protect thousands of innocent people in Kosovo from a mounting military offensive.” Jürgen Habermas asserted that “[T]he intervening states are attempting to vindicate the claims of those whose human rights are being trampled by their own government.” Vaclav Havel told the Canadian parliament that the “war places human rights above the rights of the state…as both conscience and international legal documents dictate.” At war’s end, Tony Blair added by way of epilogue that “We now have a chance to build a new internationalism based on values and the rule of law.” And in a commentary about the “need for timely intervention by the international community when death and suffering are being inflicted on large numbers of people,” Kofi Annan admitted that the humanitarian principle at stake here “will arouse distrust, scepticism, even hostility” in some quarters. But, he added, “on balance we should welcome it.”184

But this entire intellectual and moral construct was a fraud; and that it found as many advocates as it did tells us more about the grip of imperial ideology, ignorance, and potent propaganda in the West than anything about the new norms of the wished-for cosmopolitan order. In the very beginning were the big lies about Milosevic’s “ultra-nationalism” and quest for a “Greater Serbia.” Once established, the good-versus-evil dichotomy was reinforced by the discriminatory rulings of the Badinter Commission and scores of Security Council resolutions; by the creation of a political tribunal to punish the wicked and affirm the justness of the intervening powers; by the telling evidence of which side NATO bombed and which side it did not; and by years of news coverage and commentary that took their cues from all of the above. The good-versus-evil dichotomy—with NATO avenging the innocent, and now trying to liberate oppressed people and build states on two continents—may have suffered serious blows when Croatia expelled Serbs from the Krajina in 1995 in what was numerically the largest cleansing of the wars. And then again under the protection of NATO from 1999 on, with Serbs and Roma fleeing Kosovo in the greatest ethnic cleansing as a percentage of a population these wars have seen. But, it was reinforced by the events following the evacuation of the Srebrenica “safe area” in July 1995, a symbol of ultimate evil that is recited time and again in the work of the ICTY and the “never again” chorus.

When in late August 1995, Kofi Annan, an under secretary in charge of peacekeeping, handed the “key” to NATO to launch a bombing war against the Bosnian Serbs, the UN transferred its exclusive Chapter VII right to make war to the most powerful band of international aggressors and law-breakers the world has ever known. So brazen was this coup against the charter that three years later, as the same band of aggressors was threatening Serbia, it declared that it already possessed the Chapter VII right to enforce a Security Council resolution demanding that “all parties…cease hostilities…in Kosovo.” And when one month after the start of the bombing war, in April 1999, this band held its fiftieth anniversary summit in Washington, it told the rest of the world that from then on, if it ever turns out that they want to make war, but fail to gain the Security Council’s blessings, it won’t matter. They will still make war.185

It should come as no surprise that political leaders of all kinds welcome changes that weaken the constraints on their ability to act. Nor should anyone be surprised by the intellectual labors in the contemporary era to distinguish the justness of “our” interventions from the war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide perpetrated by others. Some endeavors are as old as Adam; and these truisms ring particularly true among the richest and most powerful states, where the interests, motives, and above all resources to use force are heavily concentrated, along with ever-growing opportunities and temptations.

We know of no instance in which advocates for “humanitarian” war and the “responsibility to protect” recognize that the principles they expect the world to embrace must apply equally to their enforcers as to the states they are to be enforced against—or that, in Hans Kelsen’s words, “Only if the victors submit themselves to the same law which they wish to impose upon the vanquished States will the idea of international justice be preserved.”186

No humanitarian interventionist has ever suggested that the U.S. and UK threat and use of force against Iraq triggered a “responsibility to protect” Iraqis from their invaders, or called for the use of force by a “coalition of the willing” to bring to a halt the destruction that ensued—“until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security,” as Article 51 prescribes. On the contrary, the only “never agains” around which we’ve observed the “humanitarian” war-sect mobilizing are the ones that advance an imperial agenda—never that run counter to it. The Bosnian Serbs, Yugoslavia in Kosovo, and the Sudan in Darfur (to name three examples). But the focus is never on the United States in Vietnam and Iraq, Indonesia in East Timor, Israel in the West Bank and Lebanon, or the NATO bloc collectively in Afghanistan.

In the International Committee of the Red Cross’s classic formulation (which the present authors fully accept), humanitarianism is “impartial, neutral and independent,” and its sole “mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance.” What humanitarianism clearly is not is war, and no truly liberal or leftist approach to the issues of war and peace would ever forget this. But when it comes to the former Yugoslavia, left and liberal voices led the way. Those on the left recognize the enormity of the lying that helped insulate U.S. and UK policymakers during their preparation to seize Iraqi territory, the depth of ideology required for educated Westerners to speak of a “war on terror” or a “clash of civilizations” without laughing, and so on. These lies and the structure of false beliefs that undergird them have not fared too well lately—at least to a point. In this respect, the contrast with the as yet far more impregnable edifice of lies that serves and protects the Western interventions in the former Yugoslavia—and which laid the ideological foundations for the U.S. role in Iraq and for future so-called humanitarian interventions—is stark indeed.

_______________

Notes:

↩ See Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent (Pantheon, 2nd Ed., 2001), xxvii-xxix, and 143–67.
↩ Samantha Power, “A Problem from Hell,” (New York: Basic Books, 2002), 268–69.
↩ Power, “A Problem from Hell,” 277–78.
↩ See, e.g., Carl Savich, “Celebici,” Serbianna, November 11, 2003, http://www.serbianna.com; “Rape and War,” Serbianna, December 1, 2006, http://serbianna .com; and Johnstone, Fools’ Crusade, 71–2.
↩ Power, “A Problem from Hell,” 276. Power adds: “In July 45 percent of Americans had disapproved of U.S. air strikes and 35 percent approved. Now, without any guidance from their leaders, 53 percent of Americans approved, whereas 33 percent disapproved. Roughly the same percentage supported contributing U.S. forces to a humanitarian or peacekeeping mission” (276).
↩ For the original debunking of this image, see Thomas Deichmann, “The Picture That Fooled The World,” LM (formerly Living Marxism), February, 1997. See also Diana Johnstone, Fools’ Crusade, 72–3; and Peter Brock, Media Cleansing (Los Angeles: GM Books, 2005), 246–56.
↩ Power, “A Problem from Hell,” 472–73.
↩ See the entry for “Detentions,” in “Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo: Fact Sheet based on information from U.S. Government sources,” U.S. Department of State, April 19, 1999, http:// www.state.gov.
↩ See Heinz Loquai, Der Kosovo- Konflikt. Wege in einen vermeidbaren Krieg (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2000). In English, Loquai’s title translates as “The Kosovo Conflict: The War That Could Have Been Avoided.” Although NATO launched its war on March 24, 1999, news of the German Defense and Foreign Ministries’ knowledge of “Operation Horseshoe,” alleged to have been a preexisting Serbian plan to ethnically cleanse Kosovo of its Albanian inhabitants, was not publicized until Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping and Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer released it on April 6—some thirteen days later. “I have come to the conclusion that no such operation ever existed,” Loquai, a retired Brigadier General in the Bundeswehr, told the London Times. “The criticism of the war [in Germany], which had grown into a fire that was almost out of control, was completely extinguished by [the news of] Operation Horseshoe.” See Franz-Josef Hutsch, “Hufeisenplan– das KriegsrätselKein Zweifel,” Hamburger Abendblatt, March 21, 2000; and John Goetz and Tom Walker, “Serbian ethnic cleansing scare was a fake, says general,” Sunday Times, April 2, 2000.
↩ See, e.g., John F. Burns, “A Killer’s Tale,” New York Times, November 27, 1992; and John F. Burns, “Bosnia War Crime Trial Hears Serb’s Confession,” New York Times, March 14, 1993.
↩ See Brock, Media Cleansing, esp. 163–76.
↩ See Kit R. Roane, “Symbol of Inhumanity in Bosnia Now Says ‘Not Me,’” New York Times, January 31, 1996; Chris Hedges, “Jailed Serb’s ‘Victims’ Found Alive, Embarrassing Bosnia,” New York Times, March 1, 1997; and Jonathan Randal, “Serb Convicted of Murders Demanding Retrial After 2 ‘Victims’ Found Alive,” Washington Post, March 15, 1997.
↩ See, e.g., Roy Gutman, “Prisoners of Serbia’s War,” Newsday, July 19, 1992; Roy Gutman, “Like Auschwitz,” Newsday, July 21, 1992; and Roy Gutman, “Bosnia’s Camps of Death,” Newsday, August 2, 1992. Also see Roy Gutman, A Witness to Genocide (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1993), which collects all of Gutman’s bylined work for Newsday from November 21, 1991 to June 22, 1993. Gutman’s twentysix- page introduction to this book ranks among the most factually inaccurate and openly prejudicial documents published in the English language.
↩ Power, “A Problem from Hell,” 269–70.
↩ See Brock, Media Cleansing, esp. 85–116.
↩ Roy Gutman, “Bosnia’s Camps of Death,” Newsday, August 2, 1992.
↩ See Johnstone, Fools’ Crusade, 78–80.
↩ Charles Lane, “War Stories,” New Republic, January 3, 1994, emphasis added.
↩ Thom Shanker, “Sexual Violence,” Crimes of War, 323.
↩ For full accounts of this remarkable case of demonization and media willingness to report outlandish falsehoods, see Brock, Media Cleansing, 59–72; and Johnstone, Fools’ Crusade, 78–90.
↩ David Rohde, “Evidence Indicates Bosnia Massacre,” Christian Science Monitor, August 18, 1995; “How a Serb Massacre Was Exposed,” Christian Science Monitor, August 25, 1995, emphasis added; “Bosnia Muslims Were Killed by The Truckload,” Christian Science Monitor, October 2, 1995; “Eyewitnesses Confirm Massacre in Bosnia,” Christian Science Monitor, October 5, 1995, emphasis added. Also see Rohde, “Serbia Held Responsible For Massacre of Bosnians,” Christian Science Monitor, October 24, 1995; “Graves Found That Confirm Bosnia Massacre,” Christian Science Monitor, November 16, 1995; “What the US Knows and Won’t Reveal,” Christian Science Monitor, November 16, 1995. Also see his Endgame (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998).
↩ See Milosevic Trial Transcript (IT-02-54), June 1, 2005, 40275ff.
↩ Tim Judah and Daniel Sunter, “How the video that put Serbia in dock was brought to light,” The Observer, June 5, 2005; Nicholas Wood and Marlise Simons, “Videotape of Serbian Police Killing 6 Muslims From Srebrenica Grips Balkans,” New York Times, June 12, 2005; Daniel Williams, “Srebrenica Video Vindicates Long Pursuit by Serb Activist,” Washington Post, June 25, 2005.
↩ Bill Schiller, “Fearsome Muslim warlord eludes Bosnian Serb forces,” Toronto Star, July 16, 1995.
↩ Bill Schiller, “Muslims’ hero vows he’ll fight to the last man,” Toronto Star, January 31, 1994; and John Pomfret, “Weapons, Cash and Chaos Lend Clout to Srebrenica’s Tough Guy,” Washington Post, February 16, 1994.
↩ See Carla Del Ponte, The Prosecutor of the Tribunal Against Naser Oric (IT-03-68-I), March 28, 2003, pars. 22–38.
↩ Tanja Subotic, “Bosnia minister urges action on war crimes videos,” Agence France Presse, August 8, 2006; “TV shows footage of ex-Bosnian army chief ordering torching of Serb villages,” BBC Worldwide Monitoring, August 7, 2005; Anton Nikiforov, “ICTY Weekly Press Briefing,” August 9, 2006; “Bosnian Muslim brigade commander arrested for war crimes,” Agence France Presse, November 2, 2006.
↩ For the 4,000 figure, see “Statement to the Press by Carla Del Ponte” (FH/P.I.S./550-e), ICTY, December 20, 2000, par. 16, http://www.un.org; and for the number of missing in Kosovo, see “Over 18,000 persons still missing in the Balkans,” ICRC, August 30, 2006, http://www.icrc.org. At the time, the ICRC listed a total of 2,284 persons as “missing” in Kosovo.
↩ Note that estimates of uprooted persons frequently fail to account for large numbers of Roma, who simply never register with any agency. See Paul Polansky, The Current Plight of the Kosovo Roma, Voice of Roma Web site, 2001, 5; 13, http://www.scn.org. Also see Tilman Zulch, Until the Very Last ‘Gipsy’ Has Fled the Country, Society for Threatened Peoples International, Human Rights Report No. 21, (Göttingen), September 6, 1999; and Andrej Grubacic, “Kosovo’s Unworthy Victims,” ZNet, April 30, 2007.
↩ As usage of the phrase “mongrel races” to denigrate an ethnic group contradicts the long-held, publicly expressed beliefs of the late Slobodan Milosevic and his wife Mirjana Markovic, we suspect that Ed Vulliamy’s attribution of this phrase to one or both of them to denigrate Bosnia’s Muslims or the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo is a fabrication. Although we have found a total of five different instances in which the phrase “mongrel races” was attributed to Milosevic and/or his wife, we have been unable to get a single confirmation from any of the three British newspapers in which the articles were published of an authentic, original source for it. Neither the three journalists under whose bylines the articles were published (i.e., Allan Hall, Vicky Spavin, and Ed Vulliamy), nor the three newspapers that published them (i.e., Scottish Daily Record, The Scotsman, and The Observer), have responded to our repeated requests for information about their sources for the alleged quote. (See Allan Hall, “The Glamorous Witch Wife and the Drug Lord Son,” Scottish Daily Record, October 6, 2000; N.A., “Saturday profile: Mirjana Markovic,” The Scotsman, October 7, 2000; Vicky Spavin, “Deadlier than the Male,” Scottish Daily Record, April 5, 2001; Allan Hall, “Power-Mad Couple Who Ruled by Terror,” The Scotsman, June 29, 2001; and Ed Vulliamy, “The Observer Profile: Mira Milosevic,” The Observer, July 8, 2001.)
↩ Michael Scharf, “Indicted For War Crimes, Then What?” Washington Post, October 3, 1999.
↩ Paul Hockenos, “Milosevic Wins Again?” In These Times, May 15, 1999.
↩ Mary Kaldor, “Sarajevo’s Reproach,” The Progressive, September, 1993; Dennis J. Kucinich, “What I learned from the War,” The Progressive, August, 1999; and Wayne Madsen, “Mercenaries in Kosovo,” The Progressive, August, 1999.
↩ See, e.g., Alexander Cockburn, “The Laptop Bombardiers,” The Nation, May 23, 1994; and Alexander Cockburn, “Where Are the Laptop Bombardiers Now?” CounterPunch, March 24/25, 2007.
↩ Christopher Hitchens, “Ethnic Cleansing in Bosnia,” The Nation, October 23, 1995. For an indication of Hitchens’ trajectory in recent years, see “A War to Be Proud Of,” Weekly Standard, September 5/12, 2005. Two sentences will suffice: “By the middle of 1990, Saddam Hussein had abolished Kuwait and Slobodan Milosevic was attempting to erase the identity and the existence of Bosnia. It turned out that we had not by any means escaped the reach of atavistic, aggressive, expansionist, and totalitarian ideology.” As is now standard for Hitchens, the four modifiers preceding “ideology” do not refer to Washington or to U.S. conduct globally, but rather to Washington’s official enemies.
↩ Ian Williams, “Kosovo Another Bosnia?,” The Nation, March 30, 1998; Ian Williams and Bogdan Denitch, “The Case Against Inaction,” The Nation, April 26, 1999; Ian Williams, “You can’t negotiate with a war criminal,” Slate, May 27, 1999.
↩ See, e.g., Richard Falk, “Reflections on the War,” The Nation, June 22, 1999; and “Kosovo Revisited,” The Nation, April 10, 2000.
↩ See the Independent International Commission on Kosovo, The Kosovo Report (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 4 and passim.
↩ Richard Falk, Human Rights Horizons (New York: Routledge, 2000), 179–80.
↩ The Kosovo Report, 290–91; 10.
↩ Cf. Richard Falk, “Why International Law Matters,” The Nation, March 10, 2003. Notice that between twenty-four and thirty-six months before this reassessment appeared, Falk had argued not only that in certain cases international law shouldn’t matter, but that the law ought to be rewritten to make everything alright.
↩ George W. Bush, The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, esp. chap. 5, eptember 17, 2002.
↩ See Noam Chomsky, Failed States (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006), esp. 79–101.
↩ George Kenney, “Rolling Thunder,” The Nation, June 14, 1999; and “Humanitarian Intervention,” The Nation, July 14, 2003.
↩ See Edward S. Herman, “Johnstone on the Balkan Wars,” Z Magazine, February, 2003; Edward S. Herman, “How America Gets Away With Murder,” Z Magazine, June, 2004; Edward S. Herman, “Media Cleansing,” Z Magazine, January, 2006; and Edward S. Herman, “Travesty,” Z Magazine, April, 2007.
↩ See Monthly Review, June, 1999; here quoting Ellen Meiksins Wood, “Kosovo and the New Imperialism.”
↩ John Rosenthal, “Kosovo and ‘the Jewish Question,’” Monthly Review, February, 2000.
↩ Jean Bricmont, Humanitarian Imperialism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2007).
↩ See, e.g., Sean Gervasi, “Germany, the U.S., and the Yugoslav Crisis,” Covert Action, Winter, 1992–93; Michel Chossudovsky, “Dismantling Yugoslavia—Colonizing Bosnia,” Covert Action, Spring, 1996; Ellen Ray and Bill Schaap, “NATO and Beyond,” Covert Action, Spring-Summer, 1999; Diana Johnstone, “NATO’s Parallel Wars,” Covert Action, Spring-Summer, 1999; and Gregory Elich, “The CIA’s Covert War,” Covert Action, April-June, 2001.
↩ Bill Clinton, “In the President’s Words,” New York Times, March 25, 1999; Jürgen Habermas, “Bestiality and Humanity,” in William Joseph Buckley, Kosovo (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2000), 314–15; Vaclav Havel, “Kosovo and the End of the Nation-State,” New York Review of Books, June 10, 1999; Tony Blair, “A New Moral Crusade,” Newsweek, June 14, 1999; Kofi Annan, “Two concepts of sovereignty,” The Economist, September 18, 1999.
↩ See Bruno Simma, “NATO, the UN and the Use of Force, European Journal of International Law 10, no. 1, 1999, http://www.ejil.org. And for NATO’s Strategic Concept, adopted in Washington D.C. on April 24, 1999, http://www.nato .int.
↩ Köchler, Global Justice or Global Revenge?, 147.
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Re: When Google Met Wikileaks (Excerpt: Google Is Not What I

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The Dismantling of Yugoslavia (Glossary)

Badinter (or Arbitration) Commission: Appointed by the European Commission in September 1991 for the purpose of arbitrating legal disputes related to the crisis in the SFRY, with representatives from France (Robert Badinter), Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Spain. But the commission’s ten opinions were deeply biased, as they defined how foreign powers wanted the dismantlement of the SFRY to take place. Rather than observing SFRY law on the rights of self-determination and secession, Badinter advocated for a particular negation of SFRY law. Its opinions were the EC’s legalistic defense of the dismantlement of the unitary state.

Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ): Nationalist Croat party founded in the Republic of Croatia by Franjo Tudjman in 1989. Won a majority of parliamentary seats in the April–May 1990 elections, and remained the ruling party throughout the ensuing wars.

Dayton Peace Accords (General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina): Negotiated at the U.S. Air Force’s Wright-Patterson base in Dayton, Ohio, in November 1995, by Richard Holbrooke, Alija Izetbe-govic, Franjo Tudjman, and Slobodan Milosevic, who then represented the Bosnian Serbs because their leaders had been indicted by the ICTY. Dayton partitioned Bosnia-Herzegovina into three separate ethnic mini-states under a federal structure to be militarily enforced by NATO and managed politically by a High Representative appointed by the European Union, with the power to overrule the decisions of the peoples of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Dayton thus instituted a neocolonial regime that sits atop an ethnically partitioned suzerainty like that foreseen by the Lisbon accords (February 1992), but without the foreign domination.

European Union (EU) (previously the European Community [EC]): Formally came into existence in November 1993 under the terms of the Treaty of Maastricht (February 1992).

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY, a.k.a., Serbia and Montenegro, “rump Yugoslavia”): The successor state to the SFRY, after four of the original six republics declared their independence from the SFRY in 1991 and 1992. The FRY dissolved in June 2006, when Montenegro declared its independence.

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY): Founded by UN Security Council Res. 827 (May 1993) for the “sole purpose” of “prosecuting persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law in the territory of the former Yugoslavia….” The ICTY has been a major instrument of foreign intervention in the former Yugoslavia. To the ICTY has fallen both the enforcement and the doctrinal tasks of “shap[ing] how current and future generations view the wars and in particular Serbia’s role in them” (Human Rights Watch).

Alija Izetbegovic (1925–2003): One of the founders of the Bosnian Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) in 1989, and the first president of the independent state of Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992–95).

JNA (Yugoslav People’s Army): The federal army of the SFRY.

“Joint Criminal Enterprise” (JCE): One of the two most basic elements of the indictments of Slobodan Milosevic et al. for the wars in the SFRY; and within the ideological construct the ICTY enforces, it is regarded as a major causal explanation for the wars. The ICTY conceives the breakup of the SFRY and the civil wars that accompanied it as the product of a JCE among the ethnic Serbs around Milosevic in Belgrade as well as in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina to create a “Greater Serbia” on territory cleansed of most, if not all, of the ethnic non-Serb peoples living there, and to use any means necessary to do it, including “genocide.”

Radovan Karadzic (1945–): Major Bosnian Serb political figure, and president of the Republic of Serbia (1992–95). Also one of the ICTY’s two most-wanted men.

Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA): From the start of its destabilization tactics in early 1996 through 1999, the primary armed guerrilla force of the separatists within Kosovo Albanian politics. Dubbed “Clinton’s Contras” during NATO’s 1999 war against the FRY; believed to have benefited immensely from covert U.S. government support.

Krajina (“borderland”): The geographic region along the borders of both Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina where the majority ethnic Serb populations were concentrated and from which they were later expelled during Operation Storm.

Radislav Krstic (1948–): General in the Bosnian Serb Army, convicted of “genocide” for his role in the deaths of the Srebrenica “safe area” population following July 11, 1995.

Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI): A U.S.-based, privately owned military contractor that traffics in arms and expertise, and that carries out operations that states themselves might prefer to keep off the books. MPRI was perhaps the major private contractor used by the U.S. government to train the armed forces of the newly independent states of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina prior to their major 1995 offensives against Serb forces in both territories.

Ratko Mladic (1942–): A general and the most important commanding officer in the Bosnian Serb Army; indicted for “genocide” for his role in the deaths of the Srebrenica “safe area” population following July 11, 1995. Also one of the ICTY’s two most-wanted men.

NATO: Founded in 1949 by twelve North American and Western European states to resist armed attack on any member and to enhance their collective capacity for self-defense. Today, NATO is comprised of twenty-six full members, and another twenty-three states with varying degrees of membership. NATO has become the largest, richest, and best equipped aggressive military alliance in history.

Geoffrey Nice: A U.S. citizen who served as the lead prosecutor at the ICTY during the trial of Slobodan Milosevic.

Operation Storm: Operation Flash and Operation Storm were the Croatian military’s offensives of May and August 1995, respectively, to drive ethnic Serb populations first out of western Slavonia, and then out of the Krajina. Both operations benefited immensely from U.S. training and support.

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE): With fifty-six full member states and eleven partners, the OSCE is the largest organization of states in the Northern Hemisphere.

Naser Oric (1967–): Bosnian Muslim fighter, and leading commander of the Srebrenica enclave from 1992 through the spring of 1995.

Party of Democratic Action (SDA): Nationalist Muslim party founded by Alija Izetbegovic and others in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1990. The most powerful Muslim party, it won a plurality of parliamentary seats in the November 1990 elections. From its base in Sarajevo, it was the ruling party of Bosnia-Herzegovina throughout the ensuing wars, and was recognized by the West as the legitimate government of the entire territory.

Carla Del Ponte (1947–): A Swiss national, the longest-serving chief prosecutor at the ICTY (1999-2007).

“Racak Massacre”: The January 15, 1999, killing in the Kosovo town of Racak of some 40–45 Kosovo Albanian males by the Yugoslav army, either in a fire fight with the KLA (which we believe) or a cold-blooded execution (as the standard narrative has it). (For a brief discussion and references, see n. 58.)

Rambouillet Conference: Held at Chateau Rambouillet near Paris from February 6 to 23, 1999, and later renewed in Paris from March 15 to 19. The participants included the Contact Group, the FRY, and Kosovo Albanians. Because the conference took place under the threat of a NATO bombing war against the FRY, Rambouillet has been dubbed a “unique attempt at enforced negotiations” (Marc Weller). We believe the conference in fact was a set-up to help legitimize the NATO bombing war that followed.

Republika Srpska (or the Republic of the Serbs): On April 7, 1992, the Bosnian Serbs declared an independent state, with its capital in Banja Luka.

“Safe areas”: Created by UN Security Council Res. 819 (April 16, 1993) to cover Srebrenica, then extended by Res. 824 (May 6, 1993) to Sarajevo, Bihac, Goradze, Tuzla, and Zepa, the six “safe areas” were to be Bosnian Muslim population centers free of armed attack. Separate agreements mediated by UNPROFOR between the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Serb military command called for the “safe areas” to be demilitarized, and their inhabitants to turn over their weapons to UNPROFOR.

Sarajevo: The capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Serb Democratic Party (SDS): Nationalist Serb party founded by Radovan Karadzic and others in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1990. Received a plurality in the November 1990 elections, and became the dominant Bosnian Serb political party during the wars and since.

Serbian Radical Party (SRS): Nationalist Serb party formed by Vojislav Seselj and others in the Republic of Serbia in 1991.

Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS): Renamed League of Communists of Serbia in the Republic of Serbia, formed in July 1990 and led by Slobodan Milosevic.

Vojislav Seselj (1954–): Nationalist leader of the Serbian Radical Party in the Republic of Serbia. Currently in prison in The Hague, where he has been awaiting trial ever since surrendering to the

ICTY’s custody in February, 2003.

Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY): The former Yugoslavia, which at the time of its dismantlement included the six republics of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia, and two “autonomous” provinces inside the Republic of Serbia, Kosovo, and Vojvodina.

Srebrenica: The name of both a city and a municipality in far eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the original “safe area.” Following the evacuation and transfer of this “safe area” population in July 1995, several thousand Bosnian Muslim men went unaccounted for because they had been either killed in fighting, escaped to safe refuge, or were executed (i.e., the “Srebrenica Massacre” of the standard narrative). (See sec. 5.)

Franjo Tudjman (1922–99): Nationalist Croat leader of the Croatian Democratic Union, and president of Croatia from 1990 to 1999.

United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK): Created by UN Security Council Res. 1044 in June 1999, UNMIK affected the separation of Kosovo from Serbia, to be militarily enforced by NATO (i.e., KFOR) and managed politically by a Special Representative appointed by the UN Secretary-General with the power to overrule the decisions of the peoples of Kosovo and Serbia. Like the High Representative under Dayton, UNMIK sits atop a neocolonial regime, but within an ethnically cleansed territory that the occupying powers are pushing towards a form of independence from Serbia, if not from the occupying powers.

United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR): Created by UN Security Council Res. 783 in February 1992 to provide peacekeeping observers and troops to separate the ethnic Croat and Serb regions of Croatia. The largest peacekeeping contingent in UN history, UNPROFOR (under various name changes) was later extended to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia.

“Washington Consensus”: A set of policies agreed upon by the U.S. Treasury, the IMF, and World Bank that requires necessitous third-world borrowers to open their economies to foreign investment, curb inflation, cut back public expenditures, deregulate, and privatize. Imposed on third-world countries as in their alleged interest, they close out alternative development options like giving first priority to serving human needs at home and, by a remarkable coincidence, seem to lavish benefits on foreign transnational corporations in the United States and elsewhere.
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Re: When Google Met Wikileaks (Excerpt: Google Is Not What I

Postby admin » Sun Nov 06, 2016 1:39 am

The Dismantling of Yugoslavia (Timeline)

August 1945–91: Partisan government assumes power in Belgrade, the capital of the prewar Kingdom of Yugoslavia (December 1918–April 1941). What eventually became the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is formed.

May 1980: Death of President-for-Life Josip Broz Tito (1892–1980).

1988–89: “Great reversal” in economic conditions, which began in 1979, accelerates. Hyperinflation exceeds 1,000 percent; unemployment reaches 15 percent (though with far more severe impact on the three southern republics and Kosovo); and per-capita income falls by some 25 percent from its late 1970s high. As many as 4 million Yugoslavs (18 percent) are reported to have participated in public protests during 1988 alone.

September 1989: Slovenia adopts new constitution asserting the primacy of its republican laws over federal laws.

November–December 1989: Berlin Wall toppled. Dissolution of the Soviet bloc and Warsaw Pact (formally on July 1, 1991).

January 1990: League of Communists of Yugoslavia cedes postwar role as sole legitimate party; accepts demands for multiparty elections among the six republics; and basically dissolves due to the withdrawal of republican members.

January 1990: IMF “shock therapy” adopted. Convertibility and large devaluations of Yugoslav dinar begin against hard currencies such as the deutschemark. Before the end of 1990, the privatization of social enterprises begins.

July 1990: First Slovenia and then Croatia declare the “sovereignty” of their republican laws over federal laws.

December 21, 1990: Croatia adopts a new constitution granting itself the right to secede from Yugoslavia.

December 23, 1990: Slovene independence referendum shows 95 percent support for independence.

January 1991 onward: Yugoslavia repeatedly instructed by United States and EC that the use of force by the federal army (JNA) internally for any purpose was unacceptable.

May 12, 1991: Krajina Serbs hold referendum on whether to “remain part of Yugoslavia with…others who want to preserve Yugoslavia.” Ninety percent vote to “remain part of Yugoslavia….”

June 25, 1991: The republics of Slovenia and Croatia declare their independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Armed clashes begin in both republics.

June 27, 1991: Krajina Serbs declare the existence of an independent Republic of Serb Krajina.

August 27, 1991: While meeting in Brussels, the EC strongly denounced “Serb militants” and “elements of the federal army” for their alleged attempt “to solve problems by military means,” and placed the blame for the civil wars on Serb shoulders.

September 1991: EC Conference on Yugoslavia names an Arbitration Commission to examine legal claims related to the Yugoslav civil wars. It will be chaired by France’s Robert Badinter.

September 8, 1991: Macedonia holds referendum on independence. 95 percent of the ballots cast said Yes.

September 25, 1991: UN Security Council Res. 713 adopted, imposing an arms embargo on all six of Yugoslavia’s republics.

November 29, 1991 (though not published until December 9): EC Arbitration Commission Opinion No. 1 rules that Yugoslavia is not experiencing the secession of republics from the federation but rather is “in the process of dissolution.”

December 23, 1991: Germany formally recognizes both Slovenia and Croatia.

January 15, 1992: EC formally recognizes Slovenia and Croatia.

February 22–23, 1992: Lisbon Agreement(s) reached between EC mediators and Bosnian Muslim, Croat, and Serb representatives. Their principal features were the division of a newly independent but unified Bosnia-Herzegovina into three ethno-religious territorial units. The agreement quickly came undone when the Bosnian Muslim President withdrew his signature with U.S. encouragement and in anticipation of U.S. military support.

February 28–March 1, 1992: Bosnia-Herzegovina holds a two-day referendum on independence. Although boycotted by ethnic Serbs, 99 percent of the ballots cast said Yes.

March 1992: Peacekeeping troops of UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) begin deployment to Croatia.

March 3, 1992: The Sarajevo Muslim government of Alija Izetbegovic declares the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina from the SFRY.

April 6–7, 1992: The EC grants diplomatic recognition to Bosnia-Herzegovina; the United States grants it to Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. These same powers refuse to recognize a successor to the SFRY.

April 7, 1992: The Bosnian Serbs declared the independence of a Republic of Serbia from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

April 21, 1992: The siege of Sarajevo begins with Bosnian Serb artillery shelling of the city.

April 28, 1992: Security Council agrees to extend UNPROFOR from Croatia to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Later, the force is extended to Macedonia as well.

May 30, 1992: UN Security Council Res. 757 adopted, imposing a sweeping embargo against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (i.e., Serbia and Montenegro).

January 2, 1993: Vance-Owen Peace Plan unveiled in Geneva. Retains the major principles of the Lisbon Agreement of February 1992, but more nuanced, outlining ten ethno-religious cantons rather than three large territorial units. Although supported by Milosevic, Vance-Owen fails to win support of the three Bosnian nations.

May 25, 1993: UN Security Council Res. 827 establishes the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

March 31, 1995: After publicizing its intentions, Croatia rejects the renewal of UNPROFOR on its territory. The Security Council creates three new UN peacekeeping forces, one for Croatia (UNCRO), one for Bosnia-Herzegovina (UNPROFOR), and one for Macedonia (UNPREDEP ).

May 25–26, 1995: UN authorizes NATO airstrikes against Bosnia Serb artillery positions and depots near Sarajevo and Pale. Bosnian Serbs capture 200 or more UNPROFOR personnel in response.

July 11, 1995: The Srebrenica “safe area” surrendered to Bosnian Serb forces. In the ensuing flight, evacuation, and forced transfer of Muslim troops and civilians, several thousand Muslim males go missing. (See discussion in sec. 5.)

August 4, 1995: Croatia launches Operation Storm, in which some 250,000 ethnic Serbs are driven from the Krajina region.

August 30, 1995: NATO launches Operation Deliberate Force, a substantial bombing campaign against Bosnian Serb targets.

November 21, 1995: Dayton Peace Accords (General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina) between representatives of Croatia, Sarajevo’s Muslim government, and Serbia are finalized at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Later signed at Versailles on December 14. NATO’s Implementation Force (IFOR) begins deployment. Later renamed the Stabilization Force (SFOR) and eventually joined in late 2004 by forces of the European Union (EUFOR).

January 1996: Office of the High Representative (OHR) for Bosnia-Herzegovina established in Sarajevo. Through the present day, the OHR runs Bosnia-Herzegovina as a suzerainty.

February 1996: A series of bombings occur against Serb refugee camps in as many as six cities in Serbia’s province of Kosovo. For the first time, the attacks are attributed to the Kosovo Liberation Army (Ushtria Clirimtare e Kosoves), the sudden emergence of which no one then could explain. Armed attacks on Serbian police and military installations follow, as do kidnappings and assassinations of Kosovo Albanians deemed too friendly with Serb authorities.

May 7, 1996: ICTY’s first case, brought against the Bosnian Serb Dusko Tadic, begins at The Hague. Among the critical facts contested during trial was whether the wars that accompanied Yugoslavia’s breakup were civil wars (i.e., internal to the SFRY) or international conflicts (i.e., between the sovereign states of Serbia and Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina).

January 1998 on: Sharp escalation of KLA tactics in Kosovo.

March 10, 1998: Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY announces that her office exercises jurisdiction over “violations of international humanitarian law” committed in Kosovo, and is “currently gathering information and evidence” for possible prosecution.

March 31, 1998: UN Security Council Res. 1160 adopted, urging the ICTY “to begin gathering information related to the violence in Kosovo….”

October 13, 1998: NATO issues “activation orders…for both limited air strikes and a phased air campaign in Yugoslavia….”

October 13, 1998: Holbrooke-Milosevic accord reached in Belgrade. Terms include the deployment of a 2,000 member mission to verify compliance with the accord and monitor a ceasefire.

January 1999: Fighting resumes.

January 15, 1999: A massacre of as many as forty-five ethnic Albanians is reported in the Kosovo village of Racak. Within twenty-four hours, the U.S. chief of the observer mission William Walker visits the site and calls it “a massacre and very much a crime against humanity.’’ “Spring has come early to Kosovo,” U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is alleged to have said, the incident adding to the excuses NATO will use to launch its bombing war. (See n. 58.)

January 30, 1999: NATO issues second “activation order.” NATO “rules out no option” and “is ready to take whatever measures are necessary,” specifically “air strikes against targets on FRY territory.”

February–March 1999: Rambouillet Peace Conference held near Paris between representatives of the Contact Group (United States, Russia, France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom), the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and the Kosovo Albanians. In the context of NATO’s readiness to bomb the FRY, the logic behind the conference was that if the Contact Group’s five NATO members could gain the acceptance of terms by the Kosovo Albanians and their rejection by the FRY, NATO would have the ultimate excuse to launch its bombing war against the FRY.

March 24–June 10, 1999: Operation Allied Force, U.S.-led NATO-bloc war against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

April 1999: NATO’s 50th Anniversary, Washington, D.C. Mission redefined to include non-self-defensive, “out of area” operations. Membership enlarged to nineteen states.

May 27, 1999: ICTY publishes first indictment of Slobodan Milosevic and four others “based exclusively on crimes committed since the beginning of 1999 in Kosovo” (Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour). Seven more indictments follow: A total of three for Kosovo, three for Croatia, and two for Bosnia-Herzegovina.

June 10, 1999: UN Security Council Res. 1244 adopted, giving NATO the right to occupy the FRY, creating the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to manage its affairs and the Kosovo Force (KFOR) under NATO’s auspices to enforce its will.

September 24–October 5, 2000: FRY holds presidential elections in which the two largest vote-getters were Vojislav Kostunica and Slobodan Milosevic. After the Federal Election Commission awarded a majority of the votes to Milosevic, Kostunica’s coalition challenged the outcome. The Constitutional Court annulled this round of voting, and called for a new ballot. On October 5, facing mounting protests, Milosevic resigned his office.

June 28, 2001: Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic signed a decree ordering Milosevic’s surrender to NATO forces and his transfer to ICTY custody at The Hague. According to news accounts, $1.28 billion in Western credits had been promised to Belgrade on condition that it surrender Milosevic.

February 12, 2002–March 14, 2006: The trial was held in the case of Prosecutor against Slobodan Milosevic. As Milosevic died in his prison cell of cardiac arrest in the early morning hours of March 11, his death terminated the proceedings without verdict.

March 2004: NATO enlarged to twenty-six member states. Slovenia admitted.

February–March 2007: Citing “extraordinary” circumstances, the UN Special Envoy for Kosovo advocates the independence of the province from Serbia.
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Re: When Google Met Wikileaks (Excerpt: Google Is Not What I

Postby admin » Sun Nov 06, 2016 2:01 am

Who Funds the Progressive Media?
Michael Barker
July 24, 2008

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Critiques of liberal philanthropy are nothing new: indeed such criticisms have regularly surfaced ever since liberal foundations were created in the early twentieth century. In the past few years, however, the number of critical scholars and activists writing about practices of liberal foundations has grown rapidly, and there is now a blossoming literature showing the funding strategies of these highly influential philanthropists are antidemocratic and manipulative. The antidemocratic nature of liberal foundations is epitomized by the long history of collaboration (that formerly existed) between the largest major liberal foundations (like the Ford Foundation) and the US Central Intelligence Agency. Moreover, recent research has demonstrated the key leadership role that liberal foundations played in developing the means by which powerful elites could manufacture public (and elite) consent.

By focusing on a variety of progressive media-related groups in North America (including most notably the Benton Foundation and the newly launched The Real News Network), this article will discuss the limits of current funding strategies, and reflect upon alternative, arguably more sustainable (and democratic) methods by which civil society media groups may be created and sustained. It will be argued that the integral hegemonic function of liberal philanthropy has already deradicalised all manner of progressive social movements, and that civil society media groups need to cut their institutional ties with such financing sources. Admittedly solutions cannot be implemented immediately, but considering the increasing ascendancy of neoliberal media regimes worldwide it is vital that progressive concerned citizens call attention to this significant issue.

Liberal philanthropy plays a critical role in promoting and sustaining progressive media outlets within civil society, which are also referred to as 'alternative’ or 'autonomous’ media. Historically, the 'big three’ US-based liberal foundations – the Carnegie Corporation, the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation – have nurtured progressive causes on both the national and international scale, dealing with issues ranging from health care and civil rights to environmentalism. [1] In recent years increasing attention has been paid to the influence of conservative philanthropy, [2] however, the same has not been true for liberal philanthropy: two notable exceptions to this trend are Professor Joan Roelofs seminal book, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism, and INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence’s recent addition, The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex. This omission is problematic on a number of levels. Despite being ostensibly progressive, the major liberal foundations have at one time or another vigorously promoted all manner of not so progressive issues like eugenics, elite planning, and free trade; while they also worked hand-in-hand with the US Government’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In this context, the big three liberal foundations have also funded the research of many of the 'founding fathers’ of mass communications research, arguably helping them to develop the capabilities for 'manufacturing consent’ for elite interests. [3]

Although the importance of money to progressive social movements and their associated media outlets is obvious to most people, surprisingly few academics have addressed this subject. It is widely acknowledged that conservative funding has, over the past few decades, driven the ideological orientation of mainstream media outlets rightwards. Research also suggests that liberal funders have had a detrimental and antidemocratic influence on processes of social change in general. [4] Such research also questions the role that 'charitable’ donations arguably play in sustaining capitalist hegemony. However, what is the effect specifically on the development of progressive media? To date only Bob Feldman (2007) has provided a critical examination of the nexus between liberal philanthropy and alternative media operations. [5] The lack of critical enquiry into the influence of liberal philanthropy on the media of progressive social movements is problematic, as media are integral to the function of social movements. This article will try to address this blind spot.

Compared to today, in the late 1960s and 1970s critical awareness among media activists was relatively high, thanks in part to a series of articles in the influential Ramparts magazine which asked: [6]

"Can anyone honestly believe that the foundations, which are based on the great American fortunes and administered by the present-day captains of American industry and finance, will systematically underwrite research which tends to undermine the pillars of the status quo, in particular the illusion that the corporate rich who benefit most from the system do not run it – at whatever cost to society – precisely to ensure their continued blessings?"


More recently, building upon this commonsensical interpretation of the role of liberal philanthropy within capitalist societies, Andrea Smith points out that: "From their inception, [liberal] foundations focused on research and dissemination of information designed ostensibly to ameliorate social issues-in a manner, how­ever, that did not challenge capitalism". [7] Using this interpretation of the role of liberal philanthropy as a starting point and drawing upon Antonio Gramsci’s theory of hegemony this article will expand upon Feldman’s ground-breaking study. It will document how liberal foundations have (and continue to) actively shape the evolution of progressive media groups in North America.

Initially, this article will introduce the work of the Benton Foundation, a liberal foundation that has played a pioneering and catalysing role in supporting progressive media ventures. It will then provide a detailed analysis of a globally significant media project, The Real News Network, which has been supported by liberal philanthropy. Drawing upon power structure research it will critically examine some of the key people and funders. [8] Finally, the article will discuss the limits of current funding strategies, and suggest an alternative, arguably more sustainable (and democratic) method by which civil society media groups may be created and sustained in the future.

Putting Progressive Communications on the Philanthropic Agenda

Upon the initiative of the late William Benton (1900-1973), the William Benton Foundation was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) private foundation in 1948, although in 1981 it was renamed the Benton Foundation. This foundation is now recognised as one of the leading sponsors of non-profit progressive media projects in the United States, alongside the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Its founder, William Benton is today credited as having "pushed the envelope… within the foundation world, urging them to take communications seriously and to use it to build democracy". [9] However, like most of the big liberal foundations in the US, the Benton Foundation has elitist roots: William Benton had strong links to the Rockefellers’ and other assorted corporate and political elites. Given this history, we must ask: "What type of democracy was William Benton trying to build?" This question will be addressed in the following.

The Benton Foundation is currently chaired by William Benton’s son, Charles Benton, who like his father maintains close ties to a number of less than progressive individuals, not least through his position on the Board of Trustees of The American Assembly. [10] Furthermore, he is a member of the international founding committee of The Real News (discussed later), and a trustee of the Education Development Center. The latter is a non-profit that describes its work as being "dedicated to enhancing learning, promoting health, and fostering a deeper understanding of the world." It was created in 1958, and from the beginning the Ford Foundation has been involved with its work. From 1958-68 the Ford Foundation helped the Center create a "complete high school physics curriculum" for US schools. [11] Another notable early supporter of the Education Development Center’s activities was the US Agency for International Development (AID), which between 1961 and 1976 funded their African Mathematics Programs. [12] Today the Center has a staff of over 500 people and a budget in excess of $90 million. Its funding comes from USAID and liberal philanthropic organizations such as the Ford Foundation, the Gates Foundation, and George Soros’ Open Society Institute. [13]

Sitting with Charles Benton on the Board of Trustees of the Education Development Center is Larry Irving, the former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Irving is "widely credited with coining the term 'the digital divide’" and with being "a point person" in ensuring the successful passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Jim Kohlenberger, the Benton Foundation’s current senior fellow also "worked to help pass the Telecommunications Act of 1996". [14] This Act was strongly opposed by all progressive media groups.

Nonewithstanding these links to people who worked against progressive media groups in the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the Benton Foundation has, and continues to be, an important supporter of progressive media initiatives within the United States. In a recent interview, Charles Benton explained that the Benton Foundation began funding of communication projects in the early 1980s, a time they were not on the agenda of other foundations. In 1981, the Benton Foundation "decided to work in support of philanthropy, and particularly the Council on Foundations, to try to beat the drum and raise the cry about the importance of communications to both foundations and their grantees". Since these early days the Benton Foundation’s annual budget for media reform has increased considerably and they now give away around $1 million a year to help "educat[e] the media reform community – policymakers, funders, and activists—about the crucial debates that help shape our media future". [15] The following section of this article will discuss the backgrounds of some key Foundation staff and directors.

The Benton Foundation: People and Projects

The president of the Benton Foundation from October 2001 to August 2004, Andrea L. Taylor, is a co-founder of Davis Creek Capital, LLC, a private equity fund created to invest in Internet and new media businesses led by women and people of color. Taylor was also involved in setting up the Media Fund at the Ford Foundation in the late 1980s, where she worked for nearly a decade to distribute some $50 million to independent media projects. Taylor presently serves as a trustee of the Ms. Foundation for Women, is a former director of the Cleveland Foundation, and the Council on Foundations: the latter group is an umbrella association of more than 2,100 grant making foundations and corporations that describes itself as "the voice of philanthropy".

After her work at the Benton Foundation, Taylor became vice president of the aforementioned Education Development Center, where she helped create, and was the founding president of, their Center for Media and Community. The Benton Foundation supported the launch of this center with a three year $668,000 grant, which has been described as the "largest single commitment in the foundation’s history". Other funders of the Center for Media and Community at the Education Development Center include the Annie E. Casey Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In June 2006, Taylor became Director for U.S. Community Affairs at Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft chief executive officer (CEO) Bill Gates is also the founder of the largest liberal foundation in the world, the Gates Foundation, a foundation that distributed some $2 billion of grants in 2007 alone. [16] Since 2002, the Gates Foundation has also worked closely with the Benton Foundation, for example on their WebJunction project – a project which aims to facilitate public access to computing facilities in public libraries within the United States.

The current president of the Benton Foundation (since 2006) is Gloria Tristani, the former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) member. Trisani presently also serves on the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee alongside Charles Benton, is a member of The Real News international founding committee, and sits on the Board of Directors of Children Now. Other Children Now directors with a media background include Geoffrey Cowan (former head of Voice of America, currently a director of the Public Diplomacy Council), Donald Kennedy (editor-in-chief of Science magazine, a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation), and Lenny Mendonca (a director of the New America Foundation).

The Benton Foundation’s administrative manager, Cecilia Garcia first joined the Foundation in 1997. She has also helped produce the CD-ROM version of "Chicano: History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement," a major PBS documentary that was produced by the National Latino Communication Center with the help of a $0.7 million grant from the Ford Foundation. [17] Recently Garcia took some time out from her duties at the Benton Foundation to serve as the executive director of Connect for Kids – a childrens’ advocacy group that is managed by the Ford Foundation-funded non-profit, Forum for Youth Investment. Two of the five directors of Connect for Kids’ have links to the Benton Foundation: Joseph Getch, former Chief Financial Officer for the Benton Foundation and member of the Council on Foundations' research committee, and Charles Benton’s wife, Marjorie Craig Benton, board chair of the Council on Foundations from 1994 to 1996. Marjorie Craig Benton also serves as a director of the Microsoft-linked non-profit group, Room to Read.

Like their staff, Benton Foundation board members are well linked to political elites and the broader world of liberal philanthropy. Alongside Charles Benton, the other eight directors are: Adrianne Benton Furniss, former president and CEO of the Chicago-based publisher/distributor Home Vision Entertainment (acquired by Image Entertainment in 2005); Michael Smith (Benton Foundation Treasurer), former Australian Chairman of public relations firm Weber Shandwick, and CEO of his own firm, Inside PR; Elizabeth Daley, Founding Executive Director of the University of Southern California Annenberg Center for Communication from 1994 to 2005; Terry Goddard, former Mayor of Phoenix, and trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation from 1992 to 2001; [18] Lee Lynch, former CEO of the Carmichael-Lynch Advertising Agency, and spouse of Terry Saario (a former director of the Benton Foundation and former program officer at the Ford Foundation); Henry Rivera, former FCC commissioner, and a partner of the law firm Wiley Rein and Fielding (controversial for defending the use of fake news); Leonard J. Schrager, former president of the Chicago Bar Foundation and the Chicago Bar Association; and Woodward Wickham, former vice president of the MacArthur Foundation, and a director of OneWorld United States.

Wickham’s links to the latter group are worth reviewing as OneWorld United States was created in 2000, as a joint project between the Benton Foundation and OneWorld International. OneWorld International is a Ford Foundation supported group that describes itself as the "world’s favourite and fastest-growing civil society network online, supporting people’s media to help build a more just global society". OneWorld also has links to the Benton Foundation: Larry Kirkman, currently a director of OneWorld United States, and chair of OneWorld International was president of the Benton Foundation from 1989 to 2001.

Charles Benton’s media connections are also of relevance to the topic of this article: In addition to presiding over the day to day activities of the Benton Foundation, Charles Benton is also chairman of Public Media, Inc. (a film and video publisher and distributor) and served as a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters (known as 'the Gore Commission’). Charles Benton is also a member of the international founding committee of the recently launched alternative media network The Real News. The final section of this article will examine the philanthropic background of The Real News in some detail.

The Real News Network

Founded in 2007, The Real News describes itself as a "non-profit news and documentary network focused on providing independent and uncompromising journalism". The Real News website proudly claims that they are "member supported and do not accept advertising, government or corporate funding" (emphasis in the original). [19] The site adds, "the Real News will be financed by the economic power of thousands of viewers like you around the world. Just 250,000 people paying $10 a month will make it happen", and claims there is "NO government funding; NO corporate funding; NO advertising; NO STRINGS".

The Real News’ mission statement suggests that Real News promotes independent and investigative journalism and is a grassroots effort. It fails to mention, however, that the project was launched with millions of dollars provided by leading US American liberal foundations. There may well have been no strings attached to the seed money, but there is little doubt that the foundations chose to support their project – as opposed to any alternative ones – because the Real News formula suited the foundations’ own philanthropic interests. How much influence the liberal foundations had in determining the makeup of The Real News advisory boards and founding committees will remain unknown until the issue becomes the focus of an in-depth investigative report. An investigation that is unlikely to be forthcoming from The Real News itself.

That said, this article does not aim to cast doubt on the progressive nature of the journalistic output of The Real News. The quality of the content is indisputably high and offers a real alternative to mainstream media. This article does try to draw attention, however, to the fact that The Real News has relied heavily on liberal philanthropists. It also tries to raise the question as to what this reliance means for the future of genuine grassroots initiatives attempting to promote comparable progressive media projects. In order to open the discussion the following sections of this article will briefly chart the launch of The Real News network, and the backgrounds of the people who are associated with the project.

The Real News can be considered the flagship project of a non-profit group that is known as Independent World Television (IWT). From Toronto (Canada), and formed in 2003, IWT was co-founded by Paul Jay and Sharmini Peries. Paul Jay, who is presently the CEO and chair of The Real News is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who was formerly the creator and executive producer of Canadian Broadcasting Centre Newsworld’s debate program counterSpin. On the other hand, Sharmini Peries, who until recently served as the director of policy and development for IWT, is an executive director of the International Freedom of Expression eXchange and the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. These two groups are have close connections to the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for Democracy. [20] The National Endowment for Democracy plays a big role in promoting United States’ foreign interests – which most notably saw them support the 2002 coup that temporarily removed President Hugo Chavez from power. [21] Ironically, Peries presently serves as a foreign policy advisor to President Chavez.

In 2005, Independent World Television received a $100,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to conduct a "feasibility and planning study on an innovative idea to create a news and current affairs TV network funded primarily by viewers". Two other liberal foundations, the MacArthur Foundation and the Haas Foundation also contributed to this planning study. IWT set out to create what would become The Real News using the services of EchoDitto – a consulting group that has done much work on projects connected to the United States’ Democratic Party. A website was launched on June 15, 2005 (http://www.IWTnews.com) to build an online community of supporters and donors. The goal of this first phase of IWT’s project was to raise a $7 million start-up budget from individual donors and foundations. By January 2007 IWT had "raised $5 million from several foundations, charitable trusts, individuals and unions, including the Canadian Auto Workers Union, the Ford Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation". [22] Having achieved this level of philanthropic support, IWT was then able to create The Real News website, at first with a limited news service to help get the full journalism project off the ground.

In an interview in early 2007, IWT co-founder Paul Jay said that during their first year of operations The Real News only required a further $4 million in funding from the public, but thereafter, with a full service provided, estimates their annual budget will require around $30 million a year. Obtaining such high levels of funding from the public within such a short space of time will undoubtedly be difficult. Camilo Wilson, one of IWT’s Internet strategy consultants suggested that this goal is too optimistic, noting that IWT will probably have to depend on greater support from liberal foundations in order to reach its long-term goal. [23]

In the following, this article will introduce some of the individuals who have given their support to launching this new media network.

Founded in 2003, the founding committee of the Independent World Television/The Real News consisted of 84 individuals, including Paul Jay as chair. The committee includes well-known progressives such as British member of parliament Tony Benn (UK), host of the popular "Democracy Now!" program Amy Goodman (USA), media scholar Robert McChesney (USA), media critic Danny Schechter (USA), literary author Gore Vidal (USA), historian Howard Zinn (USA) and journalist/author Naomi Klein (Canada).

Incidentally, Klein has provided a rare critical overview of the Ford Foundations history. In her book, The Shock Doctrine, she observes that the Ford Foundation was the "leading source of funding for the dissemination of the Chicago School ideology throughout Latin America". She adds,

"[Ford-funded institutions played a] …central role in the overthrow of Chile’s democracy, and its former students… appl[ied] their US education in a context of shocking brutality. Making matters more complicated for the foundation, this was the second time in just a few years that its protégés had chosen a violent route to power, the first case being the Berkeley Mafia’s meteoric rise to power in Indonesia after Suharto’s bloody [1965-66] coup." [24]


The Benton Foundation is also well represented on the IWT founding committee, with Gloria Tristani, Charles Benton and Mark Lloyd (former general counsel to the Benton Foundation now a senior fellow at the George Soros-linked Center for American Progress).

However, the IWT’s founding committee also includes some people with less progressive backgrounds such as Salih Booker, current executive director of NED-funded group Global Rights, and former head of the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies Program, and former program officer for the Ford Foundation in Eastern and Southern Africa; Kenneth Roth, executive director of the NED-linked Human Rights Watch; Kim Spencer, President of Link TV, and co-founder of the NED-funded Internews; Shauna Sylvester, founder and executive director of the Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society (IMPACS); and Jenny Toomey who until recently was the executive director of the Future of Music Coalition, and now serves as the program officer for Media and Cultural Policy at the Ford Foundation.

Indeed, even radical media critics, like Robert McChesney, work closely with these foundations, as his media reform group, Free Press, has also obtained Ford Foundation monies; while as early as March 1996, McChesney was a panel participant at the "Symposium of The Future of Public Service Media" – an event that was sponsored by both the Benton Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Given that Ford and Benton Foundations have extensive funding and personal ties in so many projects of progressive social change it is hardly surprising that most of the representatives of IWT’s founding committee also work for non-profit groups and projects that are funded by the Ford Foundation. However, this almost 'natural’ state of affairs should give us pause.

Conclusions

This article has focused on a small part of the philanthropic work undertaken by two foundations, the Ford Foundation and the Benton Foundation. Many other foundations are now engaged in ostensibly progressive media work: for example, in 2005 the Carnegie Corporation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation launched the Carnegie Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education. It is no exaggeration to say such foundations wield enormous influence over which organizations grow and flourish, and which do not.

Those of us who take it as granted that the United States is a plutocracy not a democracy, find in this state of affairs their belief confirmed that the richest have access to society’s financial and political resources, and that they can engage in large-scale social engineering to make sure civil society is shaped in a manner compatible with their own elite interests. However, even activists, researchers and theorists who believe the United States is (or at least should be) a country of pluralism and representative democracy should be concerned about the amount of money flowing from these liberal foundations and begin documenting its effects on the development of the American progressive mediascape.

The first step towards short-circuiting philanthropic colonization of independent media systems, and civil society more generally, is for progressive groups to collectively act to delegitimize 'charitable’ manipulations. Yet if this process only occurs within the most radical parts of civil society – i.e. by groups that are already largely excluded from foundation funding – then overall very little will change. Even if some less radical groups presently supported by liberal foundations cut their ties to liberal foundation funding, the outcomes will be limited. Though this would swell the ranks of those operating outside of the liberal foundation-civil society nexus, other groups and individuals who are unaware (or unconcerned by) the problems associated with liberal philanthropy will quickly move into their place. A critical part of any campaign to encourage disassociation from elite funders needs to see the undertaking a large-scale education campaign directed towards the multitude of employees presently working within the non-profit industrial complex. [25]

Furthermore, a broad coalition of progressive groups need to work to problematize the current structure of civil society, and encourage the creation of civil society groups that embody and promote democratic principles rather than those that adopt corporate organizational structures designed to maximize revenue streams. Contrary to some progressive commentators’ advice it is important to remember that the non-profit sector does not have to be run like the business sector: [26] The public already gives a vast amount of money to charity each year. The problem is how this money is distributed, by whom and to whom. Currently, unaccountable and elite-run foundations distribute the public’s money to a select group of organizations who write proposals to fit the funder’s philosophy and who put their personnel on their boards. Diverting just a small proportion of this substantial and growing flow of financial resources toward truly progressive media projects – that is those that embody democratic structures that are founded without support of liberal philanthropists or foundations – will enable concerned citizens and media activists to move more confidently toward building a society with democratic structures.

Michael Barker is a British citizen based in Australia. Most of his other articles can be found here.

_______________

Notes:

[1] Brown, E. R. (1979), Rockefeller Medicine Men: Medicine and Capitalism in America. Berkeley: University of California Press; Gottlieb, R. (1993), Forcing the Spring: The Transformation of the American Environmental Movement. Washington, D.C.: Island Press; Jenkins, C. J. & Eckert, C. M. (1986), 'Channeling Black Insurgency: Elite Patronage and Professional Social Movement Organizations in the Development of the Black Movement,’ American Sociological Review, 51, pp. 812-829.

[2] Covington, S. (2005), 'Moving Public Policy to the Right: The Strategic Philanthropy of Conservative Foundations,’ in D. Faber & D. McCarthy (Eds.), Foundations for Social Change: Critical Perspectives on Philanthropy and Popular Movements (pp. 89-114). Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

[3] Barker, M. J. (2008), 'The Liberal Foundations of Media Reform? Creating Sustainable Funding Opportunities for Radical Media Reform,’ Global Media Journal, 1 (2), June 2, 2008.

[4] Arnove, R. F. (1980), Philanthropy and Cultural Imperialism: The Foundations at Home and Abroad. Boston, Mass.: G.K. Hall; Barker, M. J. (2008) The Liberal Foundations of Environmentalism: Revisiting the Rockefeller-Ford Connection,’ Capitalism Nature Socialism, 19 (2), pp.15-42.; Lundberg, F. (1975), The Rockefeller Syndrome. Secaucus, N.J.: L. Stuart; Roelofs, J. (2003), Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism. Albany: State University of New York Press.

[5] Feldman, B. (2007), 'Report from the Field: Left Media and Left Think Tanks – Foundation-Managed Protest?’ Critical Sociology, 33:3, pp. 427-446.

[6] Horowitz, D. (1969a), ' The Foundations: Charity Begins at Home,’ Ramparts, 7 (11), pp.38-48.; (1969b), ' Billion Dollar Brains: How Wealth Puts Knowledge in its Pocket ,’ Ramparts, 7 (12), pp.36-44.; (1969c), ' Sinews of Empire,’ Ramparts, 8 (4), pp.32-42.

[7] Smith, A. (2007), 'Introduction: The Revolution Will Not Be Funded,’ in INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence. (Eds.), The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (pp. 1-18). Cambridge, Mass.: South End Press, p.4.

[8] Domhoff, G. W. (1970), The Higher Circles: The Governing Class in America. New York: Random House; Mills, C. W. (1956), The Power Elite. New York: Oxford University Press.

[9] Benton Foundation (2008), 'Frequently Asked Questions,’ Benton Foundation.

[10] Barker, M. J. (2008), 'Social Engineering, Progressive Media, and the Benton Foundation,’ A refereed paper presented to the Australian & New Zealand Communication Association International Conference, 2008: Power and Place, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand, July 9-11, 2008.

[11] EDC (2008), 'Flagship Projects in EDC's History,’ Education Development Center.

[12] For a broad critique of USAID, see Weissman, S. (1974), The Trojan Horse: A Radical Look at Foreign Aid. San Francisco: Ramparts Press.

[13] Kelly, P. J. (2004), 'A Conversation with Charles and Marjorie Benton,’ Foundation News and Commentary, March/April 2004.

[14] Benton Foundation (2008), 'Who We Are,’ Benton Foundation.

[15] Benton Foundation (2005), '2005 Annual Report ,’ Benton Foundation. Available at http://www.benton.org/benton_files/ar05_spreads.pdf Accessed on 28 April 2008.

[16] Barker, M. J. (2008), 'Bill Gates as Social Engineer: Introducing the World’s Largest Liberal Philanthropist,’ A refereed paper presented to the Australasian Political Science Association conference, University of Queensland, July 6-9, 2008.

[17] For a critique see Barker, M. J. (2008) The Liberal Foundations of Media Reform?

[18] The National Trust for Historic Preservation is currently headed by Ford Foundation trustee, Richard Moe.

[19] Citations obtained from The Real News website in May 2008.

[20] Barker, M. J. (2008) '"Independent" Journalism Organizations and a Polyarchal Public Sphere,’ Center for Research on Globalization. ??

[21] Barker, M. J. (2006). 'Taking the Risk out of Civil Society: HarnessingSocial Movements and Regulating Revolutions,’ Refereed paper presented tothe Australasian Political Studies Association Conference, University of Newcastle 25-27 September 2006.

[22] Dindar, S. (2007), 'Heard the Independent News?’ Ryerson Review of Journalism.

[23] Dindar, S. (2007), 'Heard the Independent News?’ Ryerson Review of Journalism.

[24] Klein, N. (2007), The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. New York: Random House, pp.145-6.

[25] INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence. (2007), The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex. Cambridge, Mass.: South End Press.

[26] C.f. Shuman, M. H. & Fuller, M. (2005), 'The Revolution Will Not Be Grant Funded,’ Shelterforce, The Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Building, Issue 143.
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Re: When Google Met Wikileaks (Excerpt: Google Is Not What I

Postby admin » Sun Nov 06, 2016 2:19 am

Facts and myths in the WikiLeaks/Guardian saga: A series of accidental events led to the publication of 251,000 diplomatic cables in unredacted form
by Glenn Greenwald
September 2, 2011

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Image
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange talks to members of the media during a news conference in central London, Thursday, July 14, 2011. DataCell ltd of Iceland, who was processing paymentd for Wikileaks, filed a complaint against international caed companies, Visa Europe and MasterCard Europe for infringement rules of the EU. DataCell claims that the closure by the credit card companies of DataCell's access to the payment card networks remains in order to stop donations to Wikileaks. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)(Credit: Associated Press)

A series of unintentional though negligent acts by multiple parties — WikiLeaks, The Guardian‘s investigative reporter David Leigh, and Open Leaks’ Daniel Domscheit-Berg — has resulted in the publication of all 251,287 diplomatic cables, in unredacted form, leaked last year to WikiLeaks (allegedly by Bradley Manning). Der Spiegel (in English) has the best and most comprehensive step-by-step account of how this occurred.

Leak at WikiLeaks: A Dispatch Disaster in Six Acts
by Christian Stöcker
09/01/2011

Some 250,000 diplomatic dispatches from the US State Department have accidentally been made completely public. The files include the names of informants who now must fear for their lives. It is the result of a series of blunders by WikiLeaks and its supporters.

In the end, all the efforts at confidentiality came to naught. Everyone who knows a bit about computers can now have a look into the 250,000 US diplomatic dispatches that WikiLeaks made available to select news outlets late last year. All of them. What's more, they are the unedited, unredacted versions complete with the names of US diplomats' informants -- sensitive names from Iran, China, Afghanistan, the Arab world and elsewhere.

SPIEGEL reported on the secrecy slip-up last weekend, but declined to go into detail. Now, however, the story has blown up. And is one that comes as a result of a series of mistakes made by several different people. Together, they add up to a catastrophe. And the series of events reads like the script for a B movie.

Act One: The Whistleblower and the Journalist

The story began with a secret deal. When David Leigh of the Guardian finally found himself sitting across from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, as the British journalist recounts in his book "Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy", the two agreed that Assange would provide Leigh with a file including all of the diplomatic dispatches received by WikiLeaks.

Assange placed the file on a server and wrote down the password on a slip of paper -- but not the entire password. To make it work, one had to complete the list of characters with a certain word. Can you remember it? Assange asked. Of course, responded Leigh.

It was the first step in a disclosure that became a worldwide sensation. As a result of Leigh's meeting with Assange, not only the Guardian, but also the New York Times, SPIEGEL and other media outlets published carefully chosen -- and redacted -- dispatches. Editors were at pains to black out the names of informants who could be endangered by the publication of the documents.

Act Two: The German Spokesman Takes the Dispatch File when Leaving WikiLeaks

At the time, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who later founded the site OpenLeaks, was the German spokesman for WikiLeaks. When he and others undertook repairs on the WikiLeaks server, he took a dataset off the server which contained all manner of files and information that had been provided to WikiLeaks. What he apparently didn't know at the time, however, was that the dataset included the complete collection of diplomatic dispatches hidden in a difficult-to-find sub-folder.

After making the data in this hidden sub-folder available to Leigh, Assange apparently simply left it there. After all, it seemed unlikely that anyone would ever find it.

But now, the dataset was in the hands of Domscheit-Berg. And the password was easy to find if one knew where to look. In his book Leigh didn't just describe his meeting with Assange, but he also printed the password Assange wrote down on the slip of paper complete with the portion he had to remember.

Act Three: Well-Meaning Helpers Accidentally Put the Cables into Circulation

Immediately after the first diplomatic dispatches were made public, WikiLeaks became the target of several denial-of-service attacks and several US companies, including Mastercard, PayPal and Amazon, withdrew their support. Quickly, several mirror servers were set up to prevent WikiLeaks from disappearing completely from the Internet. Well-meaning WikiLeaks supporters also put online a compressed version of all data that had been published by WikiLeaks until that time via the filesharing protocol BitTorrent.

BitTorrent is decentralized. Data which ends up on several other computers via the site can essentially no longer be recalled. As a result, WikiLeaks supporters had in their possession the entire dataset that Domscheit-Berg took off the WikiLeaks server, including the hidden data file. Presumably thousands of WikiLeaks sympathizers -- and, one supposes, numerous secret service agents -- now had copies of all previous WikiLeaks publications on their hard drives.

And, what they didn't know, a password-protected copy of all the diplomatic dispatches from the US State Department.

Act Four: Mudslinging between Assange and Domscheit-Berg

To make matters worse, Julian Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg then had a falling out. The German spokesman wrote a vengeful book after being thrown out of WikiLeaks in which he portrayed the WikiLeaks founder as an unreliable egomaniac who tended toward latent megalomania.

Predictably, Assange was furious and made several statements that were intended to besmirch Domscheit-Berg. But when he repaired the WikiLeaks server, Domscheit-Berg apparently didn't just take all of the collected WikiLeaks documents, but he also took the secure submission system designed to allow whistleblowers to anonymously submit data. As a result, WikiLeaks was temporarily out of action.

Domscheit-Berg also repeatedly accused Assange of not being sufficiently vigilant about protecting his sources. And he launched a competing platform called OpenLeaks which he is now developing with other former WikiLeaks employees and other supporters.

Act Five : Exposed Disclosures

The conflict between Domscheit-Berg and Assange has become increasingly aggressive. Germany's Chaos Computer Club recently made the surprising decision to revoke Domscheit-Berg's membership because he allegedly misused their name to hype his OpenLeaks project. While that was their official reason, unofficially the tension stems from the data that Domscheit-Berg took with him from Wikileaks.

In an effort to prove that Assange couldn't be trusted, people associated with the OpenLeaks project recently began talking about the hidden diplomatic cables -- and the dataset which has been coursing through the Internet for months, though no one knew about it.

Then someone betrayed the location of the password -- Leigh's book -- to a journalist for German weekly Der Freitag, which is also an OpenLeaks partner. The weekly published a cautiously formulated version of the story, that without naming the exact location of the password, still revealed it was "out in the open and identifiable to those familiar with the material." Speculation on Twitter and elsewhere ran wild, and hobby investigators began to edge closer to which password it could be.

Meanwhile the mudslinging continued unabated between Assange and Domscheit-Berg.

Act Six: Cablegate-Gate

An account of the story of Leigh, the hidden data and the password then cropped up on a platform normally used by open-source developers to exchange programming codes. A link to the entry spread quickly through Twitter. Suddenly, anyone could access the entire "Cablegate" file with a bit of effort.

On Wednesday afternoon the Wikileaks Twitter account announced "important news," and a few hours later character sequences and links were distributed to download an encoded, 550-megabyte file via a BitTorrent client. The password was to be delivered later.

The distribution apparently didn't work at first, and complaints appeared on Twitter. But later the problem was fixed, and the data began to circulate.

It remains unclear whether this was the Cablegate data set. Meanwhile Wikileaks' Twitter account has called on users to vote on whether they agree with the publication of the unredacted cables. They can register their vote with the hashtag "WLVoteYes" or "WLVoteNo" on Twitter.

A Wikileaks statement on Twitter blames the Guardian and Leigh for the fact that the cables are now freely available online. "We have already spoken to the (US) State Department and commenced pre-litigation action," it said, adding that their targets were the Guardian and a person in Germany who gave out the paper's password. Leigh breached a confidentiality agreement between Wikileaks and the Guardian, it added. The US Embassy in London and the US State Department had been notified of the possible publication already on August 25 so that officials could warn informants.

In a statement the Guardian rejected the accusations from Wikileaks, explaining that the paper had been told the password was temporary and would be deleted within hours. "No concerns were expressed when the book was published and if anyone at WikiLeaks had thought this compromised security they have had seven months to remove the files," the statement said. "That they didn't do so clearly shows the problem was not caused by the Guardian's book."

Finale: In the Open

It is possible that intelligence agencies in a number of countries have already gained access to the data. "Any autocratic security service worth its salt" would have already done so, former US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley told news agency AP on Wednesday. Intelligence agencies that haven't already gotten their hands on the data "will have it in short order," he added.

By Wednesday evening Crowley's prediction was confirmed. The "Cablegate" cables are now completely public. For many people in totalitarian states this could prove life-threatening. For Wikileaks, OpenLeaks, Julian Assange, Daniel Domscheit-Berg and many others, it is nothing short of a catastrophe.

A chain of careless mistakes, coincidences, indiscretions and confusion now means that no potential whistleblower would feel comfortable turning to a leaking platform right now. They appear to be out of control.


This incident is unfortunate in the extreme for multiple reasons: it’s possible that diplomatic sources identified in the cables (including whistleblowers and human rights activists) will be harmed; this will be used by enemies of transparency and WikiLeaks to disparage both and even fuel efforts to prosecute the group; it implicates a newspaper, The Guardian, that generally produces very good and responsible journalism; it likely increases political pressure to impose more severe punishment on Bradley Manning if he’s found guilty of having leaked these cables; and it will completely obscure the already-ignored, important revelations of serious wrongdoing from these documents. It’s a disaster from every angle. But as usual with any controversy involving WikiLeaks, there are numerous important points being willfully distorted that need clarification.
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