[Yesterday, on 5 October 2010, I was in Belgrade before a Conference called by П О К Р Е Т З А С Р Б И Ј У [Movement for Serbia] to discuss the importance of this date, 10 years ago, on the present and the future of Serbia. As I tried to listen to all these speakers, almost all of them speaking Serb, but from the full spectrum of national politics, I realized that when your country is under attack from foreign invaders (i.e., being bombed and infilitrated and having the government subverted by the sworn enemies of your country) , there are really only two political positions you can hold: You're either a Nationalist (a patriot committed to the defense of your home and family and friends, at any cost) or you're a Collaborationist (willing to make a deal to save as much of your own ass as you can, and damn the 'cost of collateral damage' to the rest of your countrymen . . . and women and children--kind of a 'Pull up the ladder, Jack, I'm aboard!'-thing).

During the 1990s wars in Yugoslavia, I can remember the US media, especially CNN, dissing certain Serbian leaders, like Presidents Karadzic and Milosevic and the Radical Party leader, Dr Seselj, for being ‘Nationalists.’ Others, the ‘Collaborationists,’ were called 'moderates,' 'Liberals,' or even ‘Democrats.’ Now, say, you're watching a movie about WWII France: whom do you sympathize with? The Resistance (the partisan maquis)? Or the Petainists (the Nazi agents who executed orders from Berlin) in Vichy? The latter group, strangely enough, included future Socialist President François Mitterand, a small-time functionary in the Vichy government, who turned on his German colleague from back in the day, Klaus Barbie, when trying in the 1980s to distance himself and his Socialist Party from their ‘Collaborationist’ past.

So, anyway, it didn't take me long to know which side in the Balkan wars I was for—I should mention that I've never considered History a spectator sport, a big game you can impartially watch from some corporate-sponsored Olympian Skybox, but the sort of contest where you're either on one side or the other. And if you pretend to be neutral, it means you're betting the aggressors will win and give you a fat job in their new comprador administration. I always felt for the side being bombed, the side being betrayed in all the negotiations, the side finally being militarily occupied: and since the name 'Yugoslavia' had been stricken from the record at the onset of the illegal secessions of Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, that meant I was for the Serbs.

I learned all I could and wrote in defense of Yugoslavia and Serbia; I militated against the bombing of the Serbs (and not just the 78-day NATO terror-bombing of Serbia over Kosovo, but also the thousands of NATO sorties flown over the Bosnian Serb territories, and the NATO and MPRI-led onslaught against Serbs in the Krajina, that greatest of all ‘ethnic cleansings’ known as Operation Storm (all of which were fuzzed out in the media by all the chest pounding over the potted 'Genocide at Srebrenica’); and I got in on the founding of the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic back in October 2001.

Again, on 5 October 2010, I found myself before an audience of Serbs to defend the paper I am posting below—to tell these people the significance of what happened to THEM and the effects it would surely have on THEIR futures. Well, I've been an actor all my professional life, and I can't remember ever turning down a script. But this thing that I wrote—well, I just couldn't play it before this particular audience.

So, I apologized for my presumption (another thing, as an actor, I’ve learned never to do) in trying to present what I thought war very esoteric yet cogent information to people for whom it certainly was 'daily bread.' I told them how all the times I have come to Serbia in the past, I have been met by very kind and decent people who did everything they could to tell me about what happened to them. So, I would not presume to read them what, I imagined, in the West, would be very elucidating information about the coup that marked the beginning of the end of Serbian democracy.

I had asked my ten-year old son, Max, who accompanied me to Belgrade, to write a few words, as he'd also accompanied me, in March 2009, to the 10-year anniversary of the NATO bombing over Kosovo. When he read me what he’d written, in his little boy's voice, I was deeply moved, and my role in all that had gone on these last 10 years vis a vis the Serbs was brightly illuminated.

He read to me off this little piece of paper: ‘I want to thank all the people in this room for teaching me about Serbia and all that happened to it. About the terrible suffering of the people. And I want to wish all the people a very happy future.’

Well, when Max took the mike, the general feeling of militancy in the room changed the tenor of his words—but the sentiment of gratitude—of Max's gratitude for getting to know real heroes, like Duci Simonovic and Vlada Krjsljnen and Chris Black and so many others—was exactly what I felt, and I let him close out my presentation.

The Movement for Serbia will publish this article in Serb, I imagine, but I wanted all you non-Serbs (and especially you anti-Serbs) to read this so you might see that the real possibility for classical tragedy, for tragic heroism, still exists. And the Resistance in Serbia will continue until Serbia is free of its current economic, financial and military occupation; until all the UN and NATO political prisoners (in The Hague, in Arusha, and throughout the world) are freed; and until Truth brings about International Justice and Peace for all good men. –mc]


5 October 2000: The Beginning of the End

The events of 5 October 2000, wherein the duly-elected government of Yugoslavia was violently overthrown, and its principal media outlet, RTS, and its Parliament building ransacked, looted and burned, have come, in the West (as I will refer to the domain of Globalized Waste Capital, e.g., the countries of Western Europe and North America), to be known and shamelessly promoted by the UN, the US, the EU, as well as by government sponsored NGOs, like the Campaign for Peace and Democracy or Freedom House or the National Endowment for Democracy or that den of spooks over at the OSCE[1], as one of the first successful examples of ‘a meta-electoral forced regime change.’ The same hustle was pulled later in Ukraine and Georgia, and has been attempted more recently, but with less success, in Zimbabwe and Iran.

The Yugoslav presidential elections of 25 September 2000, which were to choose, for the first time since Tito’s death in 1980, by popular vote, what was an appointed position, had gone pretty much as expected, with the leader of the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), Slobodan Milosevic, receiving about 33% of the vote, while the other parties of the badly misnamed Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) divvied up the rest, the lion’s share, around 48%, going to its putative leader, Maitre Vojislav Kostunica. Since no candidate polled 50%+1 vote, a constitutionally mandated second round was scheduled for the 8th of October 2000. But Yugoslav or Serbian democracy did not survive the violence of that 5th day of October 2000, and under threat of yet more bloody NATO aggression, as Belgrade was surrounded by armed gunmen, the presidency was illegally ceded to the DOS.

As, in May 1999, I watched a huge projection-TV image—live from Belgrade TV—of the 78-day (and night) NATO ‘terror bombing of Yugoslavia[2]’ on the wall of a little restaurant in the east of Paris, in Montreuil, called the Café Yougoslavie[3], I thought, ‘This is it. This is the end of civilization as I’ve known it. This is the moral nadir of Western militarism. How could NATO and the US and France go any lower than wantonly to attack an old friend like Yugoslavia, like Serbia, an ally who had stood with them victoriously in the two great wars of the 20th Century?’ Certainly, after destroying a significant part of its industrial and communications infrastructures and poisoning its environment with dioxin in the water and depleted uranium dust in the air, there was no more damage that NATO could inflict on Yugoslavia—or on Serbia and Montenegro, which was all that remained of it.

Of course, I was being fat headed. Those anti-democratic forces who had previously dropped the only two atomic bombs ever used in anger on a strictly defeated Japanese civilian population in 1945—who had even echoed the 1941 Nazi bombardment of Serbia with its own three-day aerial siege of Belgrade around Orthodox Easter in April 1944—and who had torpedoed every Balkan peace agreement, either by convincing its clients (Croatia and Bosnia) to renege or hold out for a fatter deal, or by arranging to have some terrorist attack splatter blood all over a Sarajevo marketplace or breadline, and have their media blame it on the Serbs: as old as I am, I should have known such inhuman forces would know no bounds.

After moving from Southern California to Paris in 1995, I was more and more amazed at how the lexicon used to describe events in the Balkans was being changed and how quickly its Western enemies (and even many of its putative friends) had abandoned the very name of this founding member of the UN, Yugoslavia[4]. This name for the ‘nation of Southern Slavs’ had, immediately on the outbreak of the illegal secessionist ‘civil wars,’ universally become ‘the ex-Yugoslavia’ or ‘the former-Yugoslavia’ or ‘l’ancienne Yougoslavie,’ and was often being conflated or confused with its principal Republic, Serbia. As they both shared the same capital, Belgrade, these two distinct political entities, with separate political powers and military responsibilities, became synonymous. Which greatly streamlined the process of demonizing all things Yugoslav or Serb: there was no distinction made between the presidency of Serbia and that of Yugoslavia—especially where it concerned President Milosevic. Since Yugoslavia came to be considered as the equivalent of the ancient nationalist dream of a ‘Greater Serbia,’ while president of ‘the lesser’ Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic was assumed to be in charge of the ‘aggression’—which became the Western code of ‘National Self-Defense’—by the Yugoslav Army (Susan Woodward called the JNA ‘the 7th Republic’ in her ‘Balkan Tragedy’) against the other secessionist territories. This expedient conceit, which allowed Yugoslavia to commit aggression and wage war against itself, would have much more dangerous and damaging consequences than just stirring up my petty confusion.

And the more I read: besides Susan Woodward, there were Lord Dr. David Owen’s ‘Balkan Odyssey’; Misha Glenny’s ‘The Fall of Yugoslavia’; Brian Hall’s ‘The Impossible Country: A Journey Through the Last Days of Yugoslavia’; then in French, Alexander Del Valle’s ‘Guerre contre l’Europe: Bosnie, Kosovo et Tchéchénie’; Dr. Gilles Troude’s first small book on Yugoslavia, ‘Un pari impossible?’; Michel Collon’s ‘Poker Menteur’ and ‘Monopoly’; then back to English for Diana Johnstone’s wonderful ‘Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions’; and, finally, when I joined the editorial committee of ‘Balkans Infos,’ a little monthly sheet put out by Jean Paul Sartre’s former-secretary, and, at one time, my close friend and mentor, Louis Dalmas—in fact, it was comrade Dalmas who introduced me to two real French heroes and two of Serbia and Yugoslavia greatest friends, Me Jacque Vergès and General Pierre Marie Gallois (it is with the greatest sadness that I report the loss, in August of this year, of General Gallois, whose statement on the NATO bombing I had the honor of translating and presenting here in Belgrade in March 2009): the more I learned about the history of Yugoslavia, the more the fog of lies, manipulations and disinformation began to clear and the more apparent it became that the UN and military humanist NGOs everywhere had been covering for the West’s initial aggression against the last socialist federation in Europe, and were blaming the villainy that drove the dismemberment of Yugoslavia on its victims, the Yugoslavs/Serbs, themselves.

But Serbia remained at peace and became a refuge for all those, from every nationality and ethnic group, who sought to escape the wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. Serbian President Milosevic had negotiated the Dayton Peace Agreement, which guaranteed that Serbia would have the primary authority in settling any and all problems within its southern province of Kosovo. And it was hard to see through the sheep’s clothing the US and EU had donned to hide their lupine venality and guarantee the profitable spread of misery throughout the Balkans.

However, the 1999 NATO terror bombing, which doubled as close air support for the invasion and faux insurgency by Western proxies, the Kosovo Liberation Army [KLA or UCK, in Albanian], racked focus on many aspects of this, by then, decade-long war. NATO’s bombing was a confession that this had not been a ‘civil war’ as it was so popularly billed, but that the initial foreign aggression that ignited the war, the crime against Peace, the mother of all war crimes and crimes against humanity, according to the Nuremberg principles, was NATO’s own. It also made clear that the ultimate goal in breaking up the Yugoslav Socialist Federation was to impose Western commercial and financial interests as intermediaries in the relations—one could rightfully say ‘privileged relations’—between Serbia and Russia. Just as Enron had interceded in the deregulated Croatian energy market, severely spiking the cost of living in Tudjman’s new ‘Free State’, and Richard Holbrook, from his broker’s chair at Credit-Suisse/First Boston, had interceded to reopen lines of Russian gaz between Hungary and Bosnia after they had been closed for non-payment: so now is Serbia to become the privatized domain of Western Waste Capital and its people the slaves of US and EU Business interests and the inordinate increases in cost of living brought about by Western-brokerage of formerly privileged Russian energy supplies.

NATO’s occupation of another former-Russian sphere of influence, foreshadowing the political-hijackings of Ukraine and Georgia and other former-Soviet territories, was further confirmed as the reason for the Balkan war(s) with the US’s establishment of strategic military bases in Bosnia (Eagle Air Base in Tuzla, the former Muslim hideout, from whence have been launched aerial raids against Iraq and Afghanistan and soon, perhaps, Iran), and in Kosovo (Camp Bondsteel, the largest foreign US military base build since Vietnam).

So, loss of sovereignty, loss of financial and commercial autonomy, degradation unto total elimination of essential public services like education and healthcare—is it yet another irony that NATO would inflict higher rates of fatal illness like cancer with its use of nuclear weapons on the Serbian people, and then privatize the healthcare system right out of reach of most Serbs?—and the mutilation, the disfigurement of Yugoslav/Serbian History beyond recognition: This is what lies down the Yellow Brick Road to Europe. And you don’t have to take my word for it; ask the Greeks or the Spanish or the Poles.

After the 1999 bombing greatly clarified the war for me, it also became clear that I had to get involved—that I had to do whatever I could to start to make things right. Street demonstrations (Paris allowed only one), Balkan Infos editorial pieces, and finally my blog, CirqueMinime/Paris, were the only ways I had to express solidarity with Serbia. This renewed involved in the struggle for Truth and Justice did, however, get me my only son, Maximilien.

Until 5 October and the arrest and imprisonment of President Milosevic in Belgrade’s central jail (where no charges were ever brought against him) and his eventual kidnapping for ransom by PM Zoran Djindjic—for what else can you call an illegal extradition for the promise of $17 million in ‘aid’ money?—to the illegitimate UN ad hoc Tribunal at The Hague.

After 5 October, I became chillingly aware that NATO and the West had not fully exhausted their capacity for evil. And that their anti-democratic urges, their neo-feudal longings—which for want of a better word I will call Fascist—had much more misery in store for Slobodan Milosevic and his people.

During the bombing, the visibly demented NATO commander, General Wesley Clark, clearly stated that the end purpose of bombing Yugoslavia over Kosovo was the removal of President Milosevic from political life—much as Richard Holbrook had removed Dr. Radovan Karadzic from the political life of the Republika Srpska with a bogus promise of immunity from prosecution by the UN court. But there were certain Americans who were much more concise in their explanations for this kind of murderous criminal aggression: Liberal LA Times syndicated columnist Willaim Pfaff wrote that the Serbian people had ‘asked for it,’ and needed to be bombed and bombed very hard to make them aware of their mistake in electing Slobodan Milosevic to three terms as their President.

So, if the bombing was about forcing regime change in Serbia, about ‘imposing democracy’ by removing a ‘Stalinist dictator,’ then the bombing failed. But NATO was not out of aggressions. Sufficient political pressure was brought to bear so that the regular legislative and municipal elections of 27 September 2000 would also, for the first time, bring the presidency of Yugoslavia to a vote of all the people. In July 1997, after serving two terms as president of Serbia, Milovevic was appointed to a four-year mandate as Yugoslav president by the National Parliament—while Serbia had a Western-style presidential system, Yugoslavia’s was more like the German system of an appointed Chancellor. Much to the chagrin of his associates and advisers, President Milosevic proposed cutting his presidential mandate short and standing for early election in 2000. This was very much an expression of his confidence in Yugoslav democratic principles, as well as a solid belief that the people approved of the stunning rehabilitation of the country his administration had brought about since the end of the bombing.

But the nearly $77 million the USAID invested in OTPOR & other such hired hooligans’ indoctrination in and equipping (not to say ‘arming’) for the hijacking of Yugoslavia’s first popular presidential election in the name of Democracy has paid significant dividends. The forces working against Independence, National Sovereignty and Democracy in Europe (including Russia), as embodied by the OSCE, which aided and abetted Wm Walker in his staging of the potted massacre at Raçak that begat the Rambouillet conference, which, with its Annex B, made the bombing a foregone catastrophe, have not rested in their efforts to militarily surround Russia and the CIS and leverage large commissions on all sales of their vast natural—especially energy—resources.

My favorite example of anti-democracy (i.e., Fascism) at work in Yugoslavia post 5 October, is, when the EU/NATO cabal just could not seem to get their compradors elected—even after neutralizing the two most powerful national parties, the SPS and SRS, by imprisoning their leaders as war criminals unto genocidaires—because in a sophisticated democracy like Serbia’s, any election that does not turn out 50%+1 of its eligible voters is considered null. So Javier Solano worked double shifts to have this principle, essential to the democratic ideal of majority rule, stricken from the rulebook. Sic transit the power of the None-of-the-Above vote.

And while Europe was plying Serbia with its commercial charms, that judicial arm of NATO’s military domination, the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, continued or prolonged the Western aggression that dismembered that once proud country. And when, in 2001, President Milosevic was illegally transferred (if ‘kidnapped’ is just too strong for you) to the old Nazi lock-up in The Hague, Scheveningen, and his trial was being billed by CNN and their ilk as the Political Trial of the Century: it was then that I had a premonition of a tragedy in the making.

Just as the goal of the Western powers was not to see a free and fair election in Yugoslavia in 2000—for even if President Milosevic had lost in the first and second rounds, he still would have been a part of the Opposition and, needless to say, would have posed a major impediment to the NATO/EU plans for his country—it became quickly apparent that a fair trial (on what ever charges the Prosecution could finally agree upon) was not what awaited Slobodan Milosevic at The Hague, either.

As arguments for and against his defending himself were entertained, I was naïve enough—or creeped out enough by the theatrics of the ICTY—to advise him not to present a defense at all. I thought he should file a motion for dismissal on the grounds that the Prosecution had not proved its case—and that is only if one is charitable enough to credit the Prosecution with ever having a case.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy.” But even a lifetime in the Theatre had not prepared, me to be a spectator at—even, perhaps, a participant in, as I was present at the founding of the ICDSM, right here in the Sava Center in October 2001, such a classic tragedy. President Milosevic could no more have stood mute than Timon of Athens or King Lear could have accepted their banishment from their lands and their people. It was Milosevic’s tragic heroism that drove him to rescue the History of the Serbian nation and all its varied peoples. The ICTY certainly did not deserve—nor seem very much to appreciate—the History class he held before them for four years. And today’s Serbian comprador government has even bowed a patient knee to the idolatries of false humanitarianism by attending the commemoration of that other UN cash-cow, the so-called genocide at Srebrenica, and even paid a polite call on its former executioners at the Atlantic Alliance’s home office in Brussels, seemingly in hopes of pledging that sadistic fraternity.

And it was the feckless incompetence and cynical irrationality of this grotesque Star Chamber, the ICTY—they had neither the evidence nor the skills to railroad President Milosevic into a conviction; and their institutional instinct for self-preservation made it impossible for them to acquit him without implicating themselves in the primal crime against the Peace that had been committed by the Western powers against Yugoslavia—and covered up by their UN godfathers.

They did the only thing they could do to eliminate this existential threat—an unspeakable and cowardly thing—they took the life of Slobodan Milosevic. By violently suppressing Serbia’s popular political tradition on 5 October 2000, they delivered his people into political servitude at the hands of their once and future tormentors. And they gave an important historical boost to the anti-democratic and immoral forces—the Forces of False Consciousness—that will exploit—then waste—the very last breath of powerless people everywhere.

Mick Collins.

Meulan, France
1 October 2010

End Notes:

[1] While serving as an independent monitor of the 2007 Dumas elections in Moscow, I tried to convince I tried to convince the election chairman, Mr. Cherov, that the OSCE, which had pulled all its monitors from this election, was no friend of Russia or any Slavic country. He got very angry with me.

[2] ‘Terror bombing’ was the term used by Newsweek magazine to describe this NATO aggression.

[3] Today it’s called ‘Il y a une fois la Yougoslavie’ [Once upon a time there was Yugoslavia]

[4] Though in 2000 the country was no longer referred to as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia [SFRY] and Yugoslavia’s UN seat was being withheld, it was still being called the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia [FRY]. With its anti-democratic enemies having succeeded in effectively removing all references to Socialism [not to mention burying its former, more communist monikers, like ‘Democratic Federal Yugoslavia’ {1943} or ‘The Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia’ {1963}] and busily at work trying to make the same excision of Slavic references by prefixing Yugoslavia [meaning the nation of the Southern Slavs] with ‘ex-‘ or ‘Former-’ (some even stooped to underhandedly and ex-officiously changing the ‘F’-word from ‘Federal’ to ‘Former’), it was not until 2003 that the nation was officially renamed ‘Serbia and Montenegro.’