Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Interesting Times

It has been a year since the self-proclaimed "Kosovian" authorities tried to take over the Serb-inhabited north of the occupied province. When they failed, NATO and EULEX were called in - only to be thwarted by non-violent protests of the local population. Tanks and live gunfire could clear the road temporarily, though it soon became clear that they could kill the Serbs - and face the consequences once the footage hit YouTube (which it would have within minutes) - but they could not compel them to obedience. Harassment has continued ever since - just this morning, Polish troops had sealed off one road, while "Kosovian" Very Special Police robbed a Serb bank last week - but it looks like both the "Kosovarians" and their Imperial sponsors are waiting for the new/old regime in Belgrade to find a way of surrendering the occupied territory and the Serbs therein.

(Yes, those were links from B92, because they were the only links in English I could find. There's definitely a gaping hole ready to be filled with English-language news coverage that would not be in service of Serbia's enemies.)

Saturday was also the anniversary of Austria-Hungary's 1914 ultimatum to Serbia, the true start of the Great War; a century hence, some still blame Serbia and Russia for upsetting the old Imperial order. Times change, but the argument remains the same; the invader always wonders why we refuse to just die already. Can't say I have much sympathy for either the argument, or the invaders making it.

When I say that "all of this has happened before, and is happening again", I'm not just using a catchphrase from Battlestar Galactica; the scenario developed for Balkans interventions (first in Bosnia, then in "Kosovia") is actually being applied to Syria. The trouble with imagining oneself as a knight-errant is that the rest of the world is then divided into two categories only: dragons and damsels in distress. Delusional much?

The other problem with interventionism is that it just doesn't work. Sure, it can force things temporarily - kind of like what KFOR does with the barricades in Thacistan - but that just creates more problems down the line. The 1878 Congress of Berlin, for example, "solved" the Balkans crisis in a way that made WW1 almost inevitable. Yet now some people want to do it again.

While I haven't done much writing here lately - most of my attention has been devoted to the other blog, Antiwar.com columns and some translation and editing work - I did manage to add some blog links. If you are interested in news from and about Syria (actual news, not the propaganda), the Moon of Alabama blog is the place to go. I've also added the blog of a sometime commenter and very astute writer, "Hero of Crappy Town" (fans of Firefly will get the reference). I should have done so much sooner.

I'll see July off with something I've said before, but may as well say again. The Empire is constantly harping on about how the people it has "helped" need to "come to terms with reality" - but by that it means the virtual reality, established and maintained through lies and coercion. Meanwhile, the Empire itself refuses to accept actual reality, and the gap between the two is widening by the day.

These are interesting times, indeed. In a very Chinese sense of the word.

Monday, July 23, 2012

RIP Alexander Cockburn

Alexander Cockburn, 1941-2012
Late yesterday I heard that Alexander Cockburn had passed away, at the age of 71. He had cancer that ended up being terminal, but chose not to make it into a public spectacle (unlike, say, Christopher Hitchens). A prolific writer and outstanding editor, he kept writing till the very end, and his pen remained as sharp as ever.

It was just a month ago that I caught one of his pieces in CounterPunch, and commented on it. The magazine had been one of the few voices consistently opposing Imperial meddling under the guise of "humanitarianism", whether in the Balkans or elsewhere.

The fact that Cockburn and his associates self-identified as leftists, yet as an avowed libertarian with a monarchist streak I found myself agreeing with them more often than not, just goes to show how pointless these labels are for understanding the business of humanity.

There is a line in the great Serb epic, The Mountain Wreath, that goes something like this: "Blessed are those who live forever, for their births had purpose." I can't think of a more fitting epitaph for this great man. I hope his soul finds peace, and his words continue to inspire others to fight the darkness, madness and despair that ever seek to drown the world.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Succor From an Unlikely Source

Lord of the Rings (from Wikipedia)
As a big fan of J.R.R. Tolkien's work, and Peter Jackson's screen adaptations thereof, I was amused by something a friend mentioned this morning. The amusing part is not that Jackson's movie trilogy is currently being shown in Serbia, but by whom: none other than a TV network originally established and funded by the Empire to spread pro-Imperial and anti-Serb (or am I repeating myself here?) propaganda. How ironic is it that they are now showing - most likely in a bid to improve their ratings - an epic that stands for everything they fight against, from liberty, tradition, honor and decency, to resisting the seemingly unstoppable military and propaganda might of Mordor?

That led me to contemplate how the "Lord of the Rings" would look if amended and adapted to fit the Imperial vision of the world, promoted by this particular network and the quisling cult it serves. Perhaps it would involve a panel of "expert analysts", explaining to the public what the story really means:

  • Bilbo Baggins is a thief and a rogue, who stole the Ring from its rightful owner, Gollum;
  • Gollum is an exemplar for progressive citizenry, putting above all the search for his personal pleasure, the "Preciouss";
  • Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin are dangerous terrorists who got a hold of a Weapon of Mass Destruction;
  • Aragorn represents the anachronistic and outdated institution of hereditary monarchy;
  • Legolas and Gimli are closeted LGBTQ persons;
  • Elrond and Galadriel are selfish Elves who refuse to share their bountiful wealth with the underprivileged Orcs of Misty Mountains. Moreover, they aided the Fellowship's invasion and destruction of Moria, which the peaceful Orcs barely managed to liberate from their Dwarvish oppressors, with Sauron's selfless aid;
  • Gandalf is the instrument of the Wizard-Elvish conspiracy against peace and welfare of all the peoples of Middle Earth, offered by the legitimate overlord Sauron;
  • Sauron is the misunderstood, well-intentioned peacemaker, who only wishes to integrate all of Middle Earth and usher in an end to history of warfare and strife;
  • Saruman is a realist, who understands the value of Mordor's politics of peace. He promotes industrial development and biological research, for which he is targeted by fanatical eco-terrorists;
  • The Nazgul only wanted to retrieve the WMD from the Hobbit terrorists, but the evil Gandalf murdered their poor innocent horses at Bruinen, and later interfered in their humanitarian air patrols over the bandit Rohirrim and rebels of Gondor;
  • Theoden is a crazed dictator, leading his people to ruin by choosing to fight Sauron and Saruman instead of reaching a peaceful settlement with them, abolishing the anachronistic monarchy and living in peace under the progressive, pragmatic democrat Grima Wormtongue;
  • Denethor is a wise leader of Gondor, usurped by evil wizard-conspirator Gandalf, who also turned his sons to treason. Boromir is the misunderstood hero, while Faramir an incompetent fool holding outdated ideals;
  • The siege of Minas Tirith was Mordor's legitimate response to the aggression of Elven "Axis of Evil" (Rivendell-Lothlorien), led by Gandalf, and the terrorist activities of the Fellowship...
And so on.

You may laugh at the obvious twisting of the story, but this is precisely the kind of poisonous drivel being poured into the eyes and ears of Serbs for years now, via this particular TV network and many others, by various servants of Empire: NATO lobbyists, self-proclaimed reformers, promoters of regional autonomy, "cultural decontamination," liberal and other Democrats, etc. The entire ideology of Serbia's quisling cult is servitude - to the Empire and its coercive might - expressed through contempt for liberty, justice, tradition and natural values.

There is a great quote from Gandalf, midway through The Two Towers: "Oft evil will shall evil mar." True enough, for in a bid to improve its ability to tell lies, the cult's TV is actually giving succor to those who oppose the present-day Sauron and his servants. Irony is not dead, and there is yet hope for the world.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Purported Proof

Regular reader jack brought to my attention this bit of news:

NATO tied to Muslim Slaughter at Srebrenica

BELGRADE – A French major, serving with their intelligence services, fled to Belarus with the evidence that war crimes committed in Srebrenica in 1995.

The documents he presented shows that the "genocide" blamed on Serbians was organized by the American, British and French secret intelligence service, and carried out by a paramilitary group known as the "Scorpions" in order for the alleged genocide to be blamed on the military and civilian officials of the Republic of Serbian (RS) – learned Pravda.

According to our source, the major French military intelligence DRM has evidence that the wartime commander of the VRS Main [sic] Staff, Ratko Mladic was not aware of these activities. From these documents, which are in the possession of Belarus, the French officer requested and received political asylum on the June 29, 2012 in Minsk.

The documents clearly show that Naser Oric and all the commanders of the Army of Bosnia/Herzegovina (Muslim) in this part of eastern Bosnia were under constant control of the western intelligence services.

Oric was the Bosnian Muslim commander in Srebrenica and was convicted by the ICC of war crimes against Serbs but found "not guilty" of broader crimes of ethnic cleansing.

What do I make of this? I take it with a chunk of salt. For one thing, there seems to be a bit of confusion about the militia that is supposed to have been operating on foreign orders: this report has it as the “Scorpions”, but where does the 10th Sabotage Detachment (which includes "star witness" Erdemovic) fit in, then? The Milosevic assassination plot that men from the 10th were previously associated with ("Operation Spider") has somehow morphed into a plot to kill Mladic. In other words, I'd like to see some of the purported evidence before I come to any sort of conclusion.

I understand why some Serbs might jump on to this as proof of Serb innocence in the Srebrenica case. But it's worth remembering what they say about things too good to be true. For all I know, this could be a "Hitler diaries" type plot, aiming to discredit the legitimate criticism of the official Srebrenica narrative - based on cold, hard facts and forensic criticism of "evidence" produced by the ICTY - through association with crackpot theories.

That said, there is still a mystery of why Oric was put through a show trial - first convicted and sentenced to two years for the laughable charge of "knowing that prisoners were mistreated", then acquitted altogether. Unlike other warlords who served Izetbegovic, only to learn that one of his few principles was that "dead men tell no tales", Oric is still alive - and a prosperous "businessman" at that. I'm honestly curious as to how. But I can't riddle whether him being an Imperial asset, and not just Izetbegovic's, would have made his survival more or less likely. After all, Empire's Serbian assets have been given lengthy sentences (Perisic, Plavsic) or may die before their verdict (Stanisic).

We'll have to wait and see.

Friday, July 06, 2012

The Stench of Puppetry

Imperial envoy P. T. Reeker (Wikipedia)
Asked why he was visiting Serbia this week, Imperial envoy Philip Reeker responded that Belgrade was a "beautiful city." True, but entirely beside the point. Only a complete naif would believe that the real motive of this Foggy Bottom operative (with lengthy prior experience in the Balkans, no less) was sightseeing the indisputable natural beauties of the Serbian capital during the unprecedented midsummer heatwave - rather than, say, the delicate talks concerning the new government of Serbia.

Two months after the general election, reasonably believed to have been rigged, Serbia has a President and a parliament, but no cabinet yet. At first it appeared that the previous alliance of coalitions around the Democrats and the Socialists would be in charge again, until the Socialists switched partners and began talking to the Progressives.

(If you need a cheat sheet to keep track who's who, look here.)

All of a sudden the Empire noticed that the Socialists' leader used to be an aide to Slobodan Milošević; this bothered them not a bit four years ago, when his "pragmatism" enabled the Democrats' total takeover of state and institutions of society. Even though the new, Progressive president pledged to be a good and loyal client, the Empire doesn't know whether he can be trusted. So to preclude any possibility of Serbia wiggling out of its chains, Reeker was sent to Belgrade. And after he leaves, another Foggy Bottom official, Philip Gordon, will visit to reinforce the message.

The notoriously unreliable mainstream media in Serbia - largely controlled by the ousted Democrats - are churning out the wildest rumors, so it's difficult to figure out what that message might be. But not impossible.

One possibility is that Reeker and Gordon are trying to put together a "Grand Coalition", between the Progressives and the freshly ousted Democrats, in which the former president and Imperial sycophant Boris Tadić would have a role. Unlikely as this may sound, the Empire did manage to force just such a coalition on Vojislav Koštunica, back in 2007. Granted, the Democrats backstabbed that cabinet at every opportunity, and were directly responsible for toppling that government just as the Empire declared the occupied province of Kosovo "independent" - so that experience alone ought to serve as a cautionary tale.

Another option is that the envoys are not trying to dictate the cabinet's composition as such; Washington doesn't really give a damn who runs Serbia, so long as they remain aware they only rule at Imperial sufferance, and that any power they have is there solely in service of orders from Foggy Bottom. That means not just selling the Serbs of Kosovo down the Ibar River and acquiescing in the occupied province becoming Albania II, but continuing the policies of their predecessor in destroying the rest of Serbia from within. Remember: any size Serbia is too big for Empire's liking, and the only good Serb is an ex-Serb.

By far the most optimistic scenario is that Reeker and Gordon are merely trying to secure the new government's submission on the question of "Kosovia." So long as Belgrade leaves the "independent republic of Thacistan" alone, and delivers the defiant Serb remnant into its "loving" embrace, Washington couldn't care less what else they do. However, that would mean the Empire abandoning the notion of dominating Serbia itself, for both fun and profit. Given that having a puppet Serbia is pretty much the linchpin of Empire's "responsibility to protect" and "atrocity prevention" narrative, how likely is that?

All of the leaders and parties involved in the cabinet dance have pledged to obey the Empire, to greater or lesser extent. Tadić may have been the most flamboyant quisling, but Mlađan Dinkić has been steadily ravaging Serbia's economy for 12 years now. Ivica Dačić hopped on the Imperial bandwagon four years ago. And let's not forget that Tomislav Nikolić "rebooted" himself to be more to Empire's liking when he stopped being a Radical and became Progressive.

Will any of them have the intestinal fortitude to tell Reeker that Empire's vision for Serbia stinks? I doubt it.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Spoiled Wards of Nanny State

The past several days I've had to deal with power, phone and internet outages due to a freak storm that swept through the Imperial capital on Friday. Much as I'm tempted to rail against such poorly set-up infrastructure that tends to collapse under any sort of inclement weather, I'll save it for another time.

What I missed in the ensuing chaos was the storm of vitriol directed at my friend and colleague Ilana Mercer, over the column wherein she criticized the emotional response to the story of the bullied bus monitor. Being as I focus on Imperial shenanigans in my ancestral lands, I had not seen the video of Karen Klein being cruelly mocked by teenage boys. Once I watched it, I found Ilana's conclusion entirely reasonable. Why did Klein just sit there and take it? What has this society come to, when children can bully adults, and the adults are too craven to talk - let alone fight - back?

I hear the same thing is happening in the lands of my birth now. Elementary and high school students bringing weapons, abusing teachers, even threatening and physically assaulting them. But we had wars and societal collapse (a.k.a. "transition"); what's America's excuse?

Even worse than the outrageous behavior of boys on the bus - which would've been unthinkable even a generation ago, as their fathers would have seen to it they couldn't sit down for a while thereafter - was the vitriolic response to Ilana's article. I won't quote any of it, for it is far too foul; see for yourself. Nothing better than displaying one's "compassion" by being contemptuous of someone else, right? What the hell has happened to this country, when people react like this to a reasoned argument, just because their precious feelings are hurt?

And then it struck me: the bus monitor, her tormentors, and those trolls - they were all children. Children of the Nanny State, who's always coddled them from any criticism and taught them they were entitled to everything they could beg, borrow and steal, without any responsibility, ever.

Worse, I know children who have actually exhibited a grasp of logic and the ability to use it. These spoiled brats, real and metaphorical, don't bother. They operate purely on emotion, getting offended, "feeling" this and that (never "thinking" - that'd be presumptuous and might offend Nanny), and ever crying at the top of their lungs when something isn't to their liking. So calling them children is an insult to honest children everywhere - but I'm at a loss for metaphors here.

A semi-literate farmer in the era of Jefferson, Washington and Franklin possessed more reason than most "educated" Americans today (and I daresay many in other countries, also afflicted with nanny-statism). People back then took up arms against what they saw as excessive taxation and meddling - what their descendants today would deride as "not enough government", sadly - and even accepted the challenge to explain why, using the philosophical language of Locke and Hume, talking about liberty, equality before the law and natural rights. Most of their descendants today wouldn't recognize a natural right if it socked them on the jaw. Or identify tyranny, even if it's been systematically pilfering their pockets and their minds for years.

It's a sad state of affairs - pun very much intended. And while I'm sorry Ilana had to deal with the tantrums of spoiled brats, at least her experience offers a lesson to us all about the stunted minds of postmodern "citizens" and their complete disrespect for actual adults.