Yves here. This recap of a sordid bit of history, of the US, and specifically, CIA support of the brutal Kosovo Liberation Army during the civil war in what had been Yugoslavia, may seem wide of our usual beats. However, this detailed account is important not simply because it describes US sponsorship of an accused war criminal, former Prime Minister Hashim Thaci of Kosovo. It is also a media critique, of how the press initially accepted the US spin, but even US officials and journalists who witnessed key events started challenging these claims. It is an unfortunate reminder of what NC readers likely know all too well: that when US geopolitical interests are at stake, getting at the truth of what happens in contested areas is extremely difficult. And as Lambert points out, organ trade is about as neoliberal as it gets.
By Nicolas J. S. Davies, an independent journalist, a researcher for CODEPINK and the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq
When President Clinton dropped 23,000 bombs on what was left of Yugoslavia in 1999 and NATO invaded and occupied the Yugoslav province of Kosovo, U.S. officials presented the war to the American public as a “humanitarian intervention” to protect Kosovo’s majority ethnic Albanian population from genocide at the hands of Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic. That narrative has been unraveling piece by piece ever since
In 2008 an international prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, accused U.S.-backed Prime Minister Hashim Thaci of Kosovo of using the U.S. bombing campaign as cover to murder hundreds of people to sell their internal organs on the international transplant market. Del Ponte’s charges seemed almost too ghoulish to be true. But on June 24th, Thaci, now President of Kosovo, and nine other former leaders of the CIA-backed Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA,) were finally indicted for these 20-year-old crimes by a special war crimes court at The Hague.
From 1996 on, the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies covertly worked with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to instigate and fuel violence and chaos in Kosovo. The CIA spurned mainstream Kosovar nationalist leaders in favor of gangsters and heroin smugglers like Thaci and his cronies, recruiting them as terrorists and death squads to assassinate Yugoslav police and anyone who opposed them, ethnic Serbs and Albanians alike.
As it has done in country after country since the 1950s, the CIA unleashed a dirty civil war that Western politicians and media dutifully blamed on Yugoslav authorities. But by early 1998, even U.S. envoy Robert Gelbard called the KLA a “terrorist group” and the UN Security Council condemned “acts of terrorism” by the KLA and “all external support for terrorist activity in Kosovo, including finance, arms and training.” Once the war was over and Kosovo was successfully occupied by U.S. and NATO forces, CIA sources openly touted the agency’s role in manufacturing the civil war to set the stage for NATO intervention.>By September 1998, the UN reported that 230,000 civilians had fled the civil war, mostly across the border to Albania, and the UN Security Council passed resolution 1199, calling for a ceasefire, an international monitoring mission, the return of refugees and a political resolution. A new U.S. envoy, Richard Holbrooke, convinced Yugoslav President Milosevic to agree to a unilateral ceasefire and the introduction of a 2,000 member “verification” mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). But the U.S. and NATO immediately started drawing up plans for a bombing campaign to “enforce” the UN resolution and Yugoslavia’s unilateral ceasefire.
Holbrooke persuaded the chair of the OSCE, Polish foreign minister Bronislaw Geremek, to appoint William Walker, the former U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador during its civil war, to lead the Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM). The U.S. quickly hired 150 Dyncorp mercenaries to form the nucleus of Walker’s team, whose 1,380 members used GPS equipment to map Yugoslav military and civilian infrastructure for the planned NATO bombing campaign. Walker’s deputy, Gabriel Keller, France’s former Ambassador to Yugoslavia, accused Walker of sabotaging the KVM, and CIA sources later admitted that the KVM was a “CIA front” to coordinate with the KLA and spy on Yugoslavia.
The climactic incident of CIA-provoked violence that set the political stage for the NATO bombing and invasion was a firefight at a village called Racak, which the KLA had fortified as a base from which to ambush police patrols and dispatch death squads to kill local “collaborators.” In January 1999, Yugoslav police attacked the KLA base in Racak, leaving 43 men, a woman and a teenage boy dead
After the firefight, Yugoslav police withdrew from the village, and the KLA reoccupied it and staged the scene to make the firefight look like a massacre of civilians. When William Walker and a KVM team visited Racak the next day, they accepted the KLA’s massacre story and broadcast it to the world, and it became a standard part of the narrative to justify the bombing of Yugoslavia and military occupation of Kosovo.
Autopsies by an international team of medical examiners found traces of gunpowder on the hands of nearly all the bodies, showing that they had fired weapons. They were nearly all killed by multiple gunshots as in a firefight, not by precise shots as in a summary execution, and only one victim was shot at close range. But the full autopsy results were only published much later, and the Finnish chief medical examiner accused Walker of pressuring her to alter them.
Two experienced French journalists and an AP camera crew at the scene challenged the KLA and Walker’s version of what happened in Racak. Christophe Chatelet’s article in Le Monde was headlined, “Were the dead in Racak really massacred in cold blood?” and veteran Yugoslavia correspondent Renaud Girard concluded his story in Le Figaro with another critical question, “Did the KLA seek to transform a military defeat into a political victory?”
NATO immediately threatened to bomb Yugoslavia, and France agreed to host high-level talks. But instead of inviting Kosovo’s mainstream nationalist leaders to the talks in Rambouillet, Secretary Albright flew in a delegation led by KLA commander Hashim Thaci, until then known to Yugoslav authorities only as a gangster and a terrorist.
Albright presented both sides with a draft agreement in two parts, civilian and military. The civilian part granted Kosovo unprecedented autonomy from Yugoslavia, and the Yugoslav delegation accepted that. But the military agreement would have forced Yugoslavia to accept a NATO military occupation, not just of Kosovo but with no geographical limits, in effect placing all of Yugoslavia under NATO occupation.
When Milosevich refused Albright’s terms for unconditional surrender, the U.S. and NATO claimed he had rejected peace, and war was the only answer, the “last resort.” They did not return to the UN Security Council to try to legitimize their plan, knowing full well that Russia, China and other countries would reject it. When UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told Albright the British government was “having trouble with our lawyers” over NATO’s plan for an illegal war of aggression against Yugoslavia, she told him to “get new lawyers.”
In March 1999, the KVM teams were withdrawn and the bombing began. Pascal Neuffer, a Swiss KVM observer reported, “The situation on the ground on the eve of the bombing did not justify a military intervention. We could certainly have continued our work. And the explanations given in the press, saying the mission was compromised by Serb threats, did not correspond to what I saw. Let’s say rather that we were evacuated because NATO had decided to bomb.”
NATO killed thousands of civilians in Kosovo and the rest of Yugoslavia, as it bombed 19 hospitals, 20 health centers, 69 schools, 25,000 homes, power stations, a national TV station, the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade and other diplomatic missions. After it invaded Kosovo, the U.S. military set up the 955-acre Camp Bondsteel, one of its largest bases in Europe, on its newest occupied territory. Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner, Alvaro Gil-Robles, visited Camp Bondsteel in 2002 and called it “a smaller version of Guantanamo,” exposing it as a secret CIA black site for illegal, unaccountable detention and torture.
But for the people of Kosovo, the ordeal was not over when the bombing stopped. Far more people had fled the bombing than the so-called “ethnic cleansing” the CIA had provoked to set the stage for it. A reported 900,000 refugees, nearly half the population, returned to a shattered, occupied province, now ruled by gangsters and foreign overlords.
Serbs and other minorities became second-class citizens, clinging precariously to homes and communities where many of their families had lived for centuries. More than 200,000 Serbs, Roma and other minorities fled, as the NATO occupation and KLA rule replaced the CIA’s manufactured illusion of ethnic cleansing with the real thing. Camp Bondsteel was the province’s largest employer, and U.S. military contractors also sent Kosovars to work in occupied Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2019, Kosovo’s per capita GDP was only $4,458, less than any country in Europe except Moldova and war-torn, post-coup Ukraine.
In 2007, a German military intelligence report described Kosovo as a “Mafia society,” based on the “capture of the state” by criminals. The report named Hashim Thaci, then the leader of the Democratic Party, as an example of “the closest ties between leading political decision makers and the dominant criminal class.” In 2000, 80% of the heroin trade in Europe was controlled by Kosovar gangs, and the presence of thousands of U.S. and NATO troops fueled an explosion of prostitution and sex trafficking, also controlled by Kosovo’s new criminal ruling class.
In 2008, Thaci was elected Prime Minister, and Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia. (The final dissolution of Yugoslavia in 2006 had left Serbia and Montenegro as separate countries.) The U.S. and 14 allies immediately recognized Kosovo’s independence, and ninety-seven countries, about half the countries in the world, have now done so. But neither Serbia nor the UN have recognized it, leaving Kosovo in long-term diplomatic limbo.
When the court in the Hague unveiled the charges against Thaci on June 24th, he was on his way to Washington for a White House meeting with Trump and President Vucic of Serbia to try to resolve Kosovo’s diplomatic impasse. But when the charges were announced, Thaci’s plane made a U-turn over the Atlantic, he returned to Kosovo and the meeting was canceled.
The accusation of murder and organ trafficking against Thaci was first made in 2008 by Carla Del Ponte, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTFY), in a book she wrote after stepping down from that position. Del Ponte later explained that the ICTFY was prevented from charging Thaci and his co-defendants by the non-cooperation of NATO and the UN Mission in Kosovo. In an interview for the 2014 documentary, The Weight of Chains 2, she explained, “NATO and the KLA, as allies in the war, couldn’t act against each other.”
Human Rights Watch and the BBC followed up on Del Ponte’s allegations, and found evidence that Thaci and his cronies murdered up to 400 mostly Sebian prisoners during the NATO bombing in 1999. Survivors described prison camps in Albania where prisoners were tortured and killed, a yellow house where people’s organs were removed and an unmarked mass grave nearby.
Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty interviewed witnesses, gathered evidence and published a report, which the Council of Europe endorsed in January 2011, but the Kosovo parliament did not approve the plan for a special court in the Hague until 2015. The Kosovo Specialist Chambers and independent prosecutor’s office finally began work in 2017. Now the judges have six months to review the prosecutor’s charges and decide whether the trial should proceed.
A central part of the Western narrative on Yugoslavia was the demonization of President Milosevich of Yugoslavia, who resisted his country’s Western-backed dismemberment throughout the 1990s. Western leaders smeared Milosevich as a “New Hitler” and the “Butcher of the Balkans,” but he was still arguing his innocence when he died in a cell at The Hague in 2006.
Ten years later, at the trial of the Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, the judges accepted the prosecution’s evidence that Milosevich strongly opposed Karadzic’s plan to carve out a Serb Republic in Bosnia. They convicted Karadzic of being fully responsible for the resulting civil war, in effect posthumously exonerating Milosevich of responsibility for the actions of the Bosnian Serbs, the most serious of the charges against him.
But the U.S.’s endless campaign to paint all its enemies as “violent dictators” and “New Hitlers” rolls on like a demonization machine on autopilot, against Putin, Xi, Maduro, Khamenei, the late Fidel Castro and any foreign leader who stands up to the imperial dictates of the U.S. government. These smear campaigns serve as pretexts for brutal sanctions and catastrophic wars against our international neighbors, but also as political weapons to attack and diminish any U.S. politician who stands up for peace, diplomacy and disarmament.
As the web of lies spun by Clinton and Albright has unraveled, and the truth behind their lies has spilled out piece by bloody piece, the war on Yugoslavia has emerged as a case study in how U.S. leaders mislead us into war. In many ways, Kosovo established the template that U.S. leaders have used to plunge our country and the world into endless war ever since. What U.S. leaders took away from their “success” in Kosovo was that legality, humanity and truth are no match for CIA-manufactured chaos and lies, and they doubled down on that strategy to plunge the U.S. and the world into endless war.
As it did in Kosovo, the CIA is still running wild, fabricating pretexts for new wars and unlimited military spending, based on sourceless accusations, covert operations and flawed, politicized intelligence. We have allowed American politicians to pat themselves on the back for being tough on “dictators” and “thugs,” letting them settle for the cheap shot instead of tackling the much harder job of reining in the real instigators of war and chaos: the U.S. military and the CIA.
But if the people of Kosovo can hold the CIA-backed gangsters who murdered their people, sold their body parts and hijacked their country accountable for their crimes, is it too much to hope that Americans can do the same and hold our leaders accountable for their far more widespread and systematic war crimes?
Iran recently indicted Donald Trump for the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, and asked Interpol to issue an international arrest warrant for him. Trump is probably not losing sleep over that, but the indictment of such a key U.S. ally as Thaci is a sign that the U.S. “accountabilty-free zone” of impunity for war crimes is finally starting to shrink, at least in the protection it provides to U.S. allies. Should Netanyahu, Bin Salman and Tony Blair start looking over their shoulders?
I can heartily recommend ‘Fools’ Crusade’ by Diana Johnstone as to what really happened in Yugoslavia.
Diana Johnstone has done some amazing investigative journalism on how Yugoslavia was destroyed under the cloak of humanitarian intervention by the CIA and NATO.
The Guardian and other main stream media simply advanced CIA propaganda about Yugoslavia.
Thank goodness for independent media, social media and citizens everywhere questioning establishment narrative via the internet.
I deeply appreciate Naked Capitalism and it’s vital role in disseminating independent and critical investigative journalism.
Also recommend, George Szamuely. Bombs for Peace: NATO’s Humanitarian War on Yugoslavia.
And Michael Parenti’s To Kill a Nation should not be omitted.
I am going to look for it. How about Boris Malagursky ‘s documentary “The Weight Of Chains”? That was my first real look at the break up of Yugoslavia and it profoundly changed my view of American post-soviet foreign policy, his premise is that Germany and the Nato set out to destroy a pretty successful socialist system on the continent. If you have seen it are there any points that disagree with Diana Johnstone’s book?
I have tried to explain the events over there to friends and they look at me like I have two heads. It is a complex history and there are a lot of moving parts to wrap your head around, The above article by Davies is the tightest summation I’ve seen. The details are heartbreaking. At the time it was going down I thought Bill Clinton was a cool guy and that there would be a cold war peace dividend.
Joe Biden was one of the leading attack dogs.
You are not incorrect. For more background… http://www.michaelparenti.org/yugoslavia.html
The destruction of Yugoslavia was an organised event – Germany, USA, NATO, and the rest of the west were all involved.
Thank you , I have listened to this talk and a lot of others by him including the one about soviet communism which really sparked an interest in me for Russian history and political economics; I love his sense of humanity and anger. Im currently reading Stalingrad and Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman and recently read Montefiores books on Stalin. It is not easy finding honest histories of Soviet Russia without ending up in Anne Applebaum land so I am always looking for recomendations. For current affairs and commentary on modern Russia I have been liking Mark Chapman at The New Kremlin Stooge, his take down of Victoria Nuland’s latest piece (in Foreign Affairs I think) is priceless.
Good to see a slight light thrown on the organ harvesting biz that can only be for the benefit of rich countries. Where are all these eyes and kidneys coming from?
There may be a few organs coming from China. It’s possible that they are harvesting organs from the Uighurs.
Thank you for publishing this piece. As Davies says, Yugoslavia was the template for future CIA-led “humanitarian” interventions. It was also the prototype for later manipulations of the “liberal” media in supporting the most vicious anti-humanitarian destruction based on a supposed “responsibility to protect” (R2P). An important element in the “hidden history” of our post-Soviet foreign policy.
thanks for this
Yes, ditto, thanks for publishing this. “Humanitarian intervention” and “spreading democracy” are cover for “bombing, invading, occupying, destroying sovereign nations” whose leaders refuse to genuflect to the U.S.’ imperialist demands (or demands of its close allies / co-conspirators) and its quest for full spectrum dominance. The demonization of Assad is another example.
Kosovo is and was always a rogue and illegitimate state. Its only function is to serve as a fig leaf over Camp Bondsteel, the largest US base on european soil. Pretty convenient to have a fully-owned puppet state, aka satrapy, to host it, isn’t it?
Some relentless foreign policy we have going; seems like the EU wants out – by the revelations of this info the EU has probably had enough – and has set the political stage for us to move troops out of Germany and into Poland. Poland was always so anti Russian it was visible. So Bondsteel now flanks Poland as the southern post along with the remnants of Ukraine. This essay makes Thaci sound as evil as Alan Dulles – but it leaves me wondering just who’s bidding Thaci was doing. Illegal trafficking in organs has been with us since before Kosovo – I don’t think some two-bit Balkan thug set up a big smuggling operation by his own murderous wits. So the story is certainly far worse than even this rendition.
Richard Holbrooke cited Kosovo as precedent for attacking Iraq without U.N. Security Council approval, as discussed here: http://www.antiwar.com/malic/m030603.html
The Davies article discusses the role of CIA officers in the Racak incident which was used to justify the war on Serbia. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International rushed to to validate the claims, at a time when it was obvious this would lead to war. As in the Kuwaiti incubator incident in 1990, I blame human rights groups for fomenting war.
It was an apocalypse in the true sense when the USSR fell because all their satellite states did not come rushing to the golden West. And we were left with no convincing rationale to take over eastern European governments. So we picked up where we left off in Central America – we played both sides of the chessboard because everyone knows it’s the only way to win. Play with yourself America. So to speak.
Thanks for this. So, Albright–time to “lock her up”? Her statement that the deaths of the Iraqi children were “worth it” should alone be enough.
More likely of course the 83 year old Albright is packing her bags for service in upcoming Biden administration. So many regimes to overthrow, so little time….
Singer James Blunt on Kosovo. He was there as a captain. Claims Wesley Clark wanted to confront the Russians.
The Kosovo crisis (I was there) was a sordid and unattractive affair, but what actually happened is much more interesting, and in many ways disturbing, than this account, which unfortunately just replaces one set of clichés with another. The answer to misrepresentations and exaggerations in one direction is not misrepresentations and exaggerations in the other.
The Kosovo crisis was all about getting rid of Slobodan Milosevic, and replacing him with a “pro-western moderate” believed to be plentifully available – these were the great days of Fukayamaism and the End of History. Milosevic was considered a dangerous force, someone who was obstructing the resolution of the Balkan conflict, as well as making NATO look silly, in the approach to its fiftieth anniversary. The first idea was to support opposition political parties in Belgrade, but those parties were too divided and incompetent, and Milosevic kept winning elections. NATO stumbled into the Kosovo crisis more or less by accident.
The KLA had its origins in radical student groups who had studied in Germany in the 1970s, and absorbed Marxist, and particularly Maoist, ideas. There was little support in the early 90s either for independence or for an armed struggle, so, seeing what had happened in Bosnia, the KLA leadership, as good Maoists, set out to radicalise the population by provoking overreaction from the Serb police, with the ultimate goal of getting NATO to intervene.
Some western leaders (notably Clinton and Blair) saw a chance here. If a crisis could be created, and Milosevic forced into a humiliating climbdown, this would cost him the 2000 elections. From the winter of 1998, wild stories began to appear in the news media (which this author appears to take seriously) claiming that tens or even hundreds of thousands of refugees were fleeing the conflict. In fact, there was very little actual fighting and casualties were small. But it suited NATO to ramp up the rhetoric, and to make vague but threatening noises about intervention. Eventually, the KVM was deployed (it did a lot of accurate reporting, and I knew a number of people from different countries who participated) but Milosevic would still not back down, and with the 50th Anniversary NATO summit approaching, the rhetoric was ramped up further. Eventually, after the (expected) failure of the Rambouillet Conference, NATO issued final threats of military intervention. These were not expected to be carried out, not least because the weather at that period made air operations almost impossible. The assumption was that threats, and perhaps a demonstrative bomb or two would force Belgrade to back down. But that didn’t happen, and NATO found itself at war, to its great surprise and the consternation of many of its members. The Alliance almost came part as a result. (The CIA was a very minor player in all of this).
The bombing campaign, as such, was a failure: NATO destroyed lots of plastic tanks and aircraft. NATO propaganda talked of tens of thousands of dead and hundreds of thousands displaced , but this was largely for domestic consumption , as public opinion became increasingly sceptical. Eventually, it was Russian pressure that forced Milosevic to sign an agreement for the Serb forces to be replaced by an international force. At the time, there was no long-term thinking about Kosovo: independence was ruled out, but the only real policy was to use the episode as a lever to get Milosevic to fall from power in the 2000 elections. This happened, but he was replaced not by a pro-western moderate, but by an extreme nationalist, Kostunica.
Western leaders knew, or at least had been told, that the KLA were an unsavoury lot, as bad if not worse than other political movements in the region. But western governments were so obsessed with getting rid of Milosevic that they waved such problems away. (“We’ll worry about that after the war”, as one senior western decision-maker said in my presence). The assumption was that the KLA would be grateful and do the bidding of NATO, especially the US. Albright, in particular, was almost criminally naive. It was assumed that a lot of what was said about the KLA was Serb propaganda.
Kosovo is a ghastly case-study in many things, notably the belief that western powers could intervene and manipulate locals to get what they want: the locals turned out, as usual in the Balkans, to be much wilier and more ruthless than their western interlocutors. It’s also, in my view at least, an indictment of the influence of the Human Rights Industrial Complex, to which both Clinton and Blair were heavily indebted, and which fielded any number of international lawyers to explain that international law didn’t matter, and human rights activists to explain that human rights were not important. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch probably bear rather more responsibility for the mess than the CIA does.
I’m personally pleased that Thaci is being charged, but don’t get too excited. Previous attempts to bring such charges failed because of the inherent difficulty of proving who’s in charge in a secretive clan-based society, and, not last, because witnesses were intimidated or simply disappeared.
Could you please be more specific about “misrepresentations and exaggerations”? You don’t address the author’s argument that the CIA used the KVM to misrepresent the Racak incident. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International should be condemned for immediately parroting the massacre claims at a time when it was clear that this would be used as an excuse for war. These groups should know better than to participate in information warfare. However, if the CIA corrupted the KVM and gave human rights groups a corrupted story to parrot, then the CIA has ultimate responsibility. Are you saying the CIA did not corrupt the KVM investigation of Racak?
You need to get away from seeing the CIA behind every rock: more important actors were involved. NATO was looking for an excuse, and Racak was the excuse, whoever did it or however it was done. (I doubt we’ll ever know for sure). The truth didn’t matter that much, if at all.
Yes, the CIA is a terrible source of literal evil, but there plenty of other sources and people as well. It is the hidden, continued obfuscations, and suppression of attempts to expose and explain it that makes conspiracy theories so attractive; after all, sometimes they are true, and people are desperately looking for explanations that they can count on.
Now, if only there were something like a system where the evidence, the “news” could be reported…
Yes, NATO was looking for an excuse, and William Walker gave it to them. I understand he was CIA with a dirty history in El Salvador, but who cares. If not him, some other information warrior.
The point is that the KVM was corrupted to give NATO the excuse, and the human rights groups and media either naively or corruptly parroted that excuse and gave it credibility. The truth did and does matter, and we need honest fact finding.
This problem of corrupted fact-finding continues with the OPCW. Maybe the problem is unsolvable, but it at least needs to be identified.
Not sure the argument is not just about semantics. Also not sure that the point about “cliches” makes much sense.
The one thing missing in the article is the larger context of a decade-long (by 1999) effort to destroy Yugoslavia, in which the west (specifically, Germany and the US) was the main culprit/instigator. At least one reason for the need to destroy was the fear of Russia/Serbia historical link.
A relative remembers well the bombers taking off from a base in Hungary for the 2.5 month-long bombing campaign. He said it was horrendous – daily rumblings signifying death and destruction – and complete helplessness to stop them.
As bad as Kosovo seems today (and yes, another reason was an opportunity to set up a NATO base in the heart of southern Europe (not unlike the plans for a base in Crimea that, lucky for the world, were thwarted)) – once one studies the entire sordid affair, it gets even worse.
Another aspect not mentioned is the recycling of jihadi mercenaries in the area (Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia/Hercegovina).
More at http://www.michaelparenti.org/yugoslavia.html
” In the late 1960s and 1970s, Belgrade’s leaders, not unlike the Communist leadership in Poland, sought simultaneously to expand the country’s industrial base and increase consumer goods, a feat they intended to accomplish by borrowing heavily from the West. But with an enormous IMF debt came the inevitable demand for “restructuring,” a harsh austerity program that brought wage freezes, cutbacks in public spending, increased unemployment, and the abolition of worker-managed enterprises. Still, much of the economy remained in the not-for-profit public sector, including the Trepca mining complex in Kosovo, described in the New York Times as “war’s glittering prize . . . the most valuable piece of real estate in the Balkans . . . worth at least $5 billion” in rich deposits of coal, lead, zinc, cadmium, gold, and silver.1
That U.S. leaders have consciously sought to dismember Yugoslavia is not a matter of speculation but of public record. In November 1990, the Bush administration pressured Congress into passing the 1991 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, which provided that any part of Yugoslavia failing to declare independence within six months would lose U.S. financial support. The law demanded separate elections in each of the six Yugoslav republics, and mandated U.S. State Department approval of both election procedures and results as a condition for any future aid. Aid would go only to the separate republics, not to the Yugoslav government, and only to those forces whom Washington defined as “democratic,” meaning right-wing, free-market, separatist parties.”
Last, but not least, the horror of NATO bombing a country within Europe that was not a threat to its neighbours. The terrible precedent… And the PM Primakov turning his plane around to return to Moscow, when he heard of the bombing (he was on the way to DC).
Any wonder there is not a smidgen of trust from Russia to the west?
Also see: https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/07/01/the-return-of-the-anti-antiwar-left/
I have watched the first 30 minutes of a 90 minute episode of the PBS Series Independent Lens entitled “Shadow World.” The following is the url
I had to stop as I simply couldn’t take any more. I doubt that I have ever felt such a sense of despair. I will finish the program after resting.
The history of the CIA, the Defense department, other governments, defense industries, etc. in corruption exercises, power leading to wealth, and the whole sordid mess is summed up in this program.
If the url doesn’t come through, just Google “pbs Independent Lens Shadow World”
I’ve seen speculation that Jeffrey Epstein trafficked women and possibly children out of Kosovo at that time as well, as part of his sick pedo/occult world…more truth you will not see from MSM.