virus: Resend of Yugoslavian History and a 1st reply to Andrijana

TheHermit (
Thu, 8 Apr 1999 03:48:01 -0500

I have sent this three times before and it had not seemed to have reached the list. If you get more than one copy please accept my apologies. This is slightly updated version of yesterday's letter with the history section updated to cover WWII in a great deal more detail in order to expand on the part played by Yugoslavia during WWII. This is to respond to some comments made by people who did not know enough about that dark period and who claimed that "Croatians were fascists during WWII while the Serbs were pro-allied." Yet another myth. It was a great deal more complicated than that - as it usually is in the Balkans. I have also replied to suggestions that the Serbian policy is not "genocide", and corrected the article to reflect "racial cleansing". Finally I have added a second article which suggests that Russia is beginning to see news reports covering Serb attrocities. This may change opinion there. I hope that my Russian friends will continue to keep me updated and I will attempt to respond to disagreements and post them in the form of updates.

The young lady probably means well, but the facts are that she is caught in a mesh of lies. I forget who first said that, "The first victim of war is truth" but the reporting on the Serbian situation is a snarly mess. While I find myself agreeing her somewhat about the USA, and even more about CNN, the "facts" she presents are more biased than anything I have seen presented on CNN.

I would reply to her as follows:

Forget the American angle on this issue for a moment. It is not irrelevant, and I will address it more fully later, but it is far less important than a global trend respecting the rights of the individual over the rights of the state. And it is opposition to this historical tendency that is largely to blame for the situation in Yugoslavia. NATO has acted in order to prevent further damage (under the accepted principle of Lex Talionis) to neighboring countries and economies, and in reaction to the horror felt by civilized people everywhere where genocide is practiced. It would appear as if her government has perpetuated crimes against humanity and other serious breaches of international humanitarian law. While formal crimes against humanity are a relatively new addition to International law, they cry out for correction because we are all human. And given her leaders reluctance to stop the practice or to stand trial, it seemed that war was the only effective recourse that was available.

The situation in Kosovo is, as you know, not a new one. I recommend you to read: . This is from last year.

This report documents serious breaches of international humanitarian law, the rules of war, committed in Kosovo from February to early September 1998. Future Human Rights Watch reports will provide evidence about atrocities in villages such as Donja Obrinja, Golubovac, and Vranic, the details of which were just emerging as this report went to press. (See appendices A,B and C). The vast majority of these abuses were committed by Yugoslav government forces of the Serbian special police (MUP) and the Yugoslav Army (VJ). Under the command of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, government troops have committed extra judicial executions and other unlawful killings, systematically destroyed civilian property, and attacked humanitarian aid workers, all of which are violations of the rules of war.

The Albanian insurgency, known as the Kosova Liberation Army (KLA, or UCK in Albanian), has also violated the laws of war by such actions as the taking of civilian hostages and by summary executions. Although on a lesser scale than the government abuses, these too are violations of international standards, and should be condemned.

Human Rights Watch is pretty impartial. For example they have repeatedly condemned US and NATO involvement in Turkey, see for example: . Their home page is . It carries breaking news on the situation in Yugoslavia and is well worth a visit.

To make the claims that she does flies in the face of every history book I have ever seen. While I know that Soviet schooling spoke largely of "Yugoslavia" and it is only recently that discussion about Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Herzegovina have come to the fore, I am sure that she is confusing them. Just as most of the rest of the world seems to be. One should never confuse Serbia for Yugoslavia. Lets attempt a sweeping pocket history a la CNN but hopefully of a somewhat higher calibre in an attempt to understand why.

The Albanians, once known as the Illyrians, are a people of Germanic origins, akin to the ancient Greeks, whose ancestors settled the Balkan Peninsula during the Bronze Age. Albanian and Basque are Europe's oldest spoken language. Serbs, part of the extended family of Slav peoples, first migrated to the Balkans in the 6th century AD.

In 526CE, 50 years after the collapse of the Western Empire, Serbia and the rest of the Balkans were a part of the Eastern Roman Empire under Justinian. The Balkans were dominated by the Slavs, Bulgars and the remnant of the Empire, but by 1202 Croatia and Serbia were identifiable and separate countries with populations descended from the Slavs. The independent Serbian Archbishopric with its seat in the monastery of Zica was founded in 1219. Its first head, St. Sava, Nemanja's youngest son, established bishoprics whose network relied on the tradition of the Byzantine ecclesiastical administration with the centers in ancient Ulpiana and Prizren. By 1250, Hungary had dominated the area, having beaten and taken over Croatia. Also the Bulgar's had expanded their country (Bulgaria) at the expense of the Eastern Empire and Serbs. The Eastern Empire had fragmented, and the kingdoms of Epirus (Albania), Salonica (Macedonia) and Achia (Greece) had been carved out of it. By the 1300's, Serbs had established a powerful empire under their great monarch, Stevan Dusan, that dominated most of the Balkans, and had its heartland in Kosovo. By then, waves of Slav migrations had forced non-Slav Albanians into the Balkan uplands that are today Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Montenegro. By 1380, the Serbs had overun Epirus, Salonica and Achia incorporating them into their territory, and had also beaten the Bulgars and taken over a significant portion of Bulgaria. In turn, the Ottomans had defeated the Serbian princes at Chirmen (in Macedonia in 1371) and established suzerainty over them. In 1389, the advancing Ottoman Turks at the epic battle of Kosovo Polje crushed the Serb empire. On the 15th of June 1389 the Serbians gathered around Prince Lazar and the Turkish army under the command of Sultan Murad I himself. At the end of the battle, both rulers had lost their lives and Serbia was utterly defeated, despite the fact that the first news to reach the West reported a great success for the Christian warriors. Serb lands, including Kosovo, were absorbed into the Ottoman Empire. Serb kings became vassals of the Sultan, often fighting alongside the Turks against the anti-Ottoman alliance of Hungary and Albania. Albania, under the renowned Skenderbeg, held off the Turks until the late 1400's, then, too fell to Ottoman rule. Many Albanians and south Slavs converted to Islam.

In the same period, the Hungarian influence waned and Croatia briefly regained its independence. In the autumn of 1448, the Turks crushed Hungarian military leader John Hunyadi in command of an anti-Turkish alliance in a battle again in the Kosovo area. Then in 1453, Constantinople fell to the Turks (assisted by Hungarian artillery) and the Eastern Roman Empire was no more. The Ottoman Empire (Turks) took over the Southern Balkans in a steady procession of conquest, Croatia (1455), Serbia (1459), Bosnia (1463), Morea (in Greece 1464) and Albania (1478). In 1499 a successful war with Venice gained the Ottomans Lepanto and Modon, while Bosnian forces ravaged the land between Trieste and Laybach and on to Vicenza. After a truce of 18 years, Suleiman the Magnificent captured Belgrade in 1521, Rhodes in 1522 and Budapest in 1526. He destroyed the Hungarian nobility and killed Louis II at Mohacs in 1526. He went as far as Vienna, which he besieged intermittently, from 1529 to 1532 when he scourged Styria and Slavonica. Despite severe losses in 1571 at the Naval battle of Lepanto, the Ottomans were still a force to contend with, and in 1683 they again were besieging Vienna. A sequence of strategic errors lost them Hungary and in 1687 a mutinous army deposed the Sultan and Turkey was never again a threat to Europe. Nothing much of interest happened un Asia-minor until 1821 when the Greeks held a nationalist rising against the Turks. This lead to the Naval Battle of Navarino when English, French and Russian vessels defeated the Turkish fleet, which then weakened Turkey enough to begin the slow breakdown of Turkish control and more immediately the independence of Greece. After 400 years of often-brutal Ottoman rule, Serbs revolted in 1804, heroically battling the hated Turks until 1828, when they won independence. Kosovo, however, remained under Ottoman rule. So here we had three great empires, the Russians who wished the Balkans to be free, so that she could control them and achieve her dream of a port on the Mediterranean. The Austria-Hungary Empire who knew that any further breakup of the Ottoman would probably cause her own subject people to revolt and who especially hated Serbia because its independent state encouraged her own Serbs to be discontented. Then there was the Ottoman Empire, who wanted to hold onto their remain "Christian" (European) territories. They found it increasingly difficult to do so because a free Serbia and Greece caused her own Greek and Serbian subjects to be restless.

The Austrian Empire in a series of "little wars" and annexations, won back the west coast of the Balkans from the Ottomans and in 1878, had taken over the administration of Bosnia (which at the time included Croatia) from the Ottomans although it remained officially Turkish. Austria-Hungary determined to create a privileged group of Serbs within her borders as a counter-attraction to the independent Serbia outside. She determined that the territory of Bosnia-Herzogovina might provide the opportunity. In 1908 Austria-Hungary made her move. After a six hour long meeting at Buchlau between Aehrenthal (Austrian) and Izvolsky (Russian Foreign Minister), Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria declared himself independent of the Turks, and Austria annexed Bosnia-Herzogovina down to Montenegro. No warning was given in either case. The Russian, Turkish, French and Serbian governments were furious at what seemed to be a conspiracy between Bulgaria and Austria-Hungary and a European war threatened. Fortunately only Serbia and Russia were angry enough to fight and international efforts finally settled the matter with compensation.

These crises ultimately lead to the Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913. Normally the Balkan nations, though united in hatred of the Turk, disliked or despised each other so much that cooperation between them was impossible. Unfortunately in 1912, two Russian diplomats, who thought that all Slavs should work together under the benevolent supervision of Mother Russia (or anyway, not Austria), persuaded Serbia and Bulgaria to forget their differences and partition, rather than fight over, neighboring Macedonia, where the Turkish rule (under the progressive "Young Turks") seemed to be in its final stages. This miracle was followed by another, achieved largely by The Times' correspondent in Athens, who persuaded Bulgaria and Greece to come to an agreement, despite the fact that both intended to take the port of Salonica as soon as the Turks could be ousted. In October 1912 these three, with Montenegro attacked Turkey and won several victories. At a conference in London, a settlement was attempted in which Turkey was required to abandon most of her European territory, and a new state of Albania was to be created on the Adriatic. The Albanian idea was bitterly resented by Serbia and King Mikita (of Montenegro). Moreover, the Bulgarians realized that Greece and Serbia were conspiring to split Macedonia between themselves, leaving out Bulgaria, which had suffered most of the casualties in the war. So, before the peace settlement was made, a new war started, with the Bulgarians attacking Greece and Serbia. The Turks and Rumanians joined in against Bulgaria, which was thoroughly defeated. A resurgent Serbia defeated the Turks, seized some of Macedonia from the Bulgars, and was given Kosovo as a fruit of victory by the Great Powers. During that period, Serbs staged the first ethnic cleansing of Albanians and other Muslims, killing or expelling some 100,000, including the family of Mother Theresa. Kosovo - or Kosova, in Albanian - was also the cradle of modern Albanian nationalism. The Kosovo-based League of Prizren led post-Ottoman Albania to independence and national rebirth. The resulting Treaty of Bucharest maintained Albania, gave most of Macedonia to Greece, Northern Macedonia to Serbia, and part of Bulgaria's southern Dobruja to Rumania.

Greece was now the dominant Balkan state, having acquired the key port of Salonica. The region had been fragmented into many tiny countries, all of them unstable, and with their competing ambitions being fanned by the great powers Austria-Hungary and Russia. And the world had a new word, balkanization. A map in 1914 would have reflected (more or less geographically):
Austria-Hungary, Rumania, Russian Empire Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria
Albania, Greece

Serbia was an unhappy nation. After conquering a portion of the Adriatic coastline, she had seen it snatched from her grasp by the Hapsburg government partly because they did not want Serbia to have access to Albania's valuable Adriatic coast which would, they felt, make Serbia to powerful, and secondly, because the population of Albania was comprised of Albanians and Bulgars, not having any significant Serb population. Another reason for the Serbs unhappiness was that the Austrians had established their Serbian province, adding the more than 1 million Serbs in the Bosnia-Herzegovina territory to leave the Hapsburgs ruling over more than six million Serbs and Croats. After the fighting was over, Pasic, the Serbian Prime Minister said, "The first round is won, and now for the second round-against Austria!" This was not a way to make friends and influence people - even in the Balkans. General Conrad von Hotzendorf suggested the destruction of Serbia. The Emperor, Franz Joseph, was not convinced and kept his military under control.

This takes us to the start of WW I, but in order to understand why WW I occurred, it is necessary to understand a political process which had been started by Bismark in 1879, after the Prussian-French wars of 1870-71, by generating a series of protective alliances to isolate France and prevent Germany from having to fight a war on two fronts. His 1879 protective alliance with Austria pledged the two powers to come to each other's aid in the event of an attack by Russia, which was supplemented in 1882 by the "Triple Alliance", in which Germany, Austria and Italy pledged mutual support in the event of an attack by France. These alliances were still in force in 1914.

During the 1890s, to counter these agreements, France and Russia drew closer in an open alliance with secret provisions. Germany could only assume that France and Russia would come to each other's assistance in the event of either being attacked by Germany or Austria. In fact, the secret military cooperation between France and Russia meant that military cooperation between France and Russia was well developed by 1914.

Britain had traditionally steered clear of continental entanglements in peacetime, but she no longer had the confidence to continue her policy of 'splendid isolation.' In 1902 came the Anglo-Japanese agreement, which offered some protection to British interests in the Far East. Then in 1904, the "Entente Cordiale" between France and Britain settled longstanding disputes between the two countries. This was not a formal alliance, and was not directed against Germany, but in the following decade, it provided the right atmosphere for Anglo-French collaboration. Such collaboration included secret military and Naval understandings about which parliament and most of the British government knew little or nothing. One such understanding was Britain's agreement to send an expeditionary force to France in the event of a German attack. This meant that in 1914 crisis, Britain could no longer follow her old and often advantageous strategy of holding back, in order to enter the conflict at a time and a place and with a strength of her own choosing. It was an understanding therefore, which was to cost Britain dear. Meanwhile, since Russia had an alliance with France, it was only natural that Britain and Russia should patch up their differences, which mainly centered around colonial rivalry in the east. Then Britain and Germany had guaranteed the neutrality of Belgium. Oh, and lest we forget, Serbia had its own understanding with Russia whereby Russia agreed to come to Serbia's aid if she were to be attacked by Austria.

On the 28 June 1914 the heir to the Austrian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophia Chotek went to Sarajevo, Bosnia. There, a group of young nationalist hotheads, who had decided that Bosnia-Herzegovina should belong to Serbia, murdered Sophia and the Archduke in the belief that this would help their cause. Nothing much happened for a while after that as the investigation in Serbia pursued a leisurely course. Too leisurely a course as it turned out. Eventually the military in Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia on 23 July. Serbia agreed with all of them but one. Austria-Hungary took this as a complete refusal and declared war on 26 July. Russia's reply was immediate. Tied in terms of her treaty she began to mobilize her troops. This of course meant that a conflict between Austria-Hungary and Russia had become inevitable. Their alliances meant that Germany and France were dragged to the table. Germany to support its ally Austria and France to assist Russia. Britain and Italy still had the ability to say that they were not formally required to step in. Unfortunately, due to a longstanding German plan (the Schlieffen Plan) Germany had to attack France via Belgium. This inexorably drew Britain to the table, even though, as in 1939, the Germans were astounded that Britain would "go to war over a scrap of paper."

Like all wars, the First World War was messy. After World War I, Woodrow Wilson proposed the partitioning of the countries that had been the Central Powers based on race. And the only test for race that was considered fair was the languages spoken. It was of course a typical American solution, simplified to a point where it was difficult to make sense of it. Yugoslavia was supposed to consist of Serbs and Croats. It actually contained Slovenes, Bosnian Muslims, Magyars, Germans, Albanians, Rumanians and Macedonians. So the idea and state of Yugoslavia was a creation of the allies at the end of WW I, an unstable, bitterly divided kingdom in which the Serb majority constantly feuded with Croats, Slovenes, and Albanians. At the time, a coterie of Serb nazi academics advocated the total "ethnic purification" of "inferior" Muslims Magyars and Albanians.

Due to a major extent to the refusal by the USA to ratify and support the Woodrow plan, Theodore Roosevelt having come into office before it was adopted, the peace terms established at the treaty of Versailles and the organization suggested by Woodrow Wilson, the League of Nations were both stillborn and powerless. In any case, the plan as suffered the worst faults a plan can suffer from, it was not only unworkable, it was also unenforceable. Poincare, President of France said before the conference, "We are here to repair the evil that it [the war] has done, and to prevent a recurrence of it. You hold in your hands the future of the world." They dropped it.

Let us gloss over those brief but frequently miserable years waiting for the next war by saying that the racially based evils perpetuated in Yugoslavia were not unique to Yugoslavia, but were not attractive either.

The largest opposition party in pre-war Yugoslavia was Hrvatska Seljacka Stranka (HSS) - the Croatian Peasant's Party (HSS). The Serbian nationalist Punisa Racic killed the leader of the HSS, Stjepan Radic, and some of his colleagues in the Belgrade Parliament in 1928.

Both Croatia and Serbia had pro-Axis governments during World War II. All of the nations of Yugoslavia had elements which supported the Axis and all had elements that were anti-Axis during the War. However, it was the Croatian dominated Partisans, led by the Croatian Josip Broz Tito which formed the only true anti-Fascist fighting force in Yugoslavia and the most formidable Allied force in occupied Europe during World War II.

World War II came to Yugoslavia as a direct result of the pro-Axis sentiments of the Serbian controlled Yugoslav government. Under Prince Paul Yugoslavia moved steadily away from France and toward Germany after the death of King Alexander. As early as February of 1936 Hitler promised to support the government of Premier Milan Stojadinovic.

By 1937 Stojadinovic had visited Mussolini, developed his own squad of "Green Shirts" and adopted the Nazi salute. It was perhaps taking the title Vodja (Fuhrer) that finally sent Prince Paul into action, replacing Stojadinovic with Dragisa Cvetkovic who maintained the same pro-Axis foreign policy but with fewer Fascist trappings.

Prince Paul saw the Third Reich as the only power able to maintain the artificial state of Yugoslavia and he began secret negotiations with top Nazi officials in December 1939. He hoped that he could become King under the New Order, denying the young Crown Prince Peter his title. Yugoslavia joined the Axis on March 24, 1941. The only member of the government who refused to sign the "Pact of Steel" joining the Axis was the Croatian minister, Vladko Macek of the Croatian Peasant Party. After the signing Cvetkovic assured Hitler that Yugoslavia "...would be ready to cooperate with Germany in every way." In fact, Paul had been cooperating since 1939 with mass arrests of Jews, strict racial laws, and the prohibition of trade unions. By 1940, legislation had been passed limiting the types of businesses which Jews could own, direct, or work in and severely limiting educational access for Jews. A secret protocol was attached to the Axis pact which promised Yugoslavia access to the Aegean Sea at the expense of Greece in the New Order.

On March 26, 1941 two Serbian generals, Bora Mirkovic and Dusan Simovic, led a British-assisted coup against the Cvetkovic government. The Anglo-American press went wild with stories about the Serbs' stand against the Axis. In fact, the coup had its roots in both foreign and domestic policy. Lost in the mythology is the fact that the generals did not think Germany would invade and wanted to maintain cordial relations with the Axis. On March 30 the Yugoslav Foreign Minister made a formal statement to the German envoy that the new government respected the Axis pact and that Simovic was "devoted to the maintenance of good and friendly relations with its neighbors the German Reich and the Kingdom of Italy." Simovic believed that his close personal friendship with several top Nazis, especially Reichmarschall Goring, would save the day. His error led to a German invasion on April 6.

Before seeing a single German soldier, the Serbian-led army withdrew from Slovenia and Croatia to defend Serbia, leaving the Croatians and Slovenes without supplies or ammunition. Most Croatian soldiers simply went home. The Yugoslav military disintegrated at first sight of the Germans as 100 of 135 generals in the top-heavy Serbian officer corps surrendered during the first week. Belgrad was taken by a single platoon of Waffen-SS shock troops led by a second lieutenant on April 12. As General Simovic and his government fled the country with millions in gold, only the Croatian Peasant Party minister Vladko Macek stayed to share the fate of his people.

Once a safe distance from the fighting, Simovic immediately announced that Yugoslavia had fallen because of the Croatians, all of whom were traitors and Fascists. Ignoring the military abandonment of Croatia and Slovenia, the mass surrender of the Serbian officer corps, and the obvious fact that the entire government had fled, Simovic announced that Serbia had been stabbed in the back.

The Yugoslav ambassador to the United States, Konstatin Fotic, worked overtime spreading the tale that Yugoslavia had been defeated only because of Croatian disloyalty, despite the fact that his cousin headed the new pro-Nazi government in Serbia and that another cousin was leader of the Serbian Nazi Party.

Croatia was occupied by Germany and Italy and divided into German and Italian occupation zones. The Independent State of Croatia was established with the consent of Germany and against the expressed wishes of Italy which wanted to make it an Italian Kingdom. Italy went so far as to name a "King of Croatia" who never set foot in his erstwhile kingdom. The Croatian govemment was led by Ante Pavelic and his Ustase movement. Pavelic had been an elected Deputy in Parliament and vice-president of the Croatian Bar Association when Alexander declared the dictatorship and dissolved Parliament. Pavelic founded the Ustase in exile with the aim of liberating Croatia by force. When war broke out, underground Ustase throughout Croatia took control of the government well before the Germans arrived. As in the Soviet Union, when the Germans did arrive, they were at first welcomed as liberators. The new Croatian government adopted German racial and economic laws and persecuted Jews, Serbs, Communists, Peasant Party leaders and others. While fighting primarily for its own survival against Serbian Cetniks who wanted to restore the Serbian monarchy and the Communist-led Partisans, the Croatian State joined the Axis and later sent troops to the Russian front.

While the majority of the Croatian people favored an independent Croatian state, many did not support the Ustase regime. 'When the war broke out there were fewer than twelve thousand members of the movement representing less than one per cent of the Croatian population. At its height in 1942, there were only sixty thousand Ustase. Over sixty per cent were from impoverished Westerm Herzegovina with a strong anti-Serbian sentiment from the dictatorship of Alexander. Some twenty per cent were Muslims who joined in direct response to Serbian massacres in Bosnia. The leader of Croatia's popular Peasant Party was jailed by the regime during the War.

Many members of the Croatian officer corps were pro-Allied and supported the Croatian Peasant Party. In September 1944 pro-Allied officers attempted a coup against Pavelic. The plotters had been promised an Anglo-American landing in Dalmatia and would have turned the Croatian Army against Germany to support the Allied invasion. The landing never took place. Dr. Ivan Subasic of the Yugoslav Government-in-Exile learned of the plot and informed the Soviets. Stalin immediately contacted Roosevelt and informed him that any such, action would be a violation of the Tehran agreement dividing Europe into spheres of influence. Roosevelt cancelled all plans for the landing but British secret channels withheld the information from the Croatians on the premise that any revolt, even one doomed to failure, was better for the Allied cause than nothing.

In Serbia, a new pro-Nazi government was first established under the leadership of Milan Asimovic and later under former Minister of War General Milan Nedic which governed until 1945. Nedic supported Hitler and met with him in 1943. This new government established even harsher racial laws than Prince Paul had enacted and immediately established three concentration camps for Jews, Gypsies and others. Nedic formed his own paramilitary storm troops known as the State Guard. The Guard was comprised of former members of lhe Cetniks which had existed as an all-Serbian para-military police force under Alexander and Paul to enforce loyally from non-Serbian members of the armed forces.

When Yugoslavia disintegrated, one faction of cetniks swore allegiance to the new Serbian Nazi government. Another group remained under the pre-war leader Kosta Pecanac who openly collaborated wilh the Germans. A third Cetnik faction followed the Serbian Fascist Dimitrije Ljotic. Ljotic's units were primarily responsible for tracking down Jews, Gypsies and Partisans for execution or deportation to concentration camps. By August 1942 the Serbian govemment would proudly announce that Belgrade was the first city in the New Order to be Judenfrei or "free of Jews." Only 1,115 of Belgrade's twelve thousand Jews would survive. Ninty-five per cent of the Jewish population of Serbia was exterminated.

Still other Cetniks rallied behind Draza Mihailovic, a 48 year-old Army officer who had been court-martialed by Nedic and was known to have close ties to Britain. Early in the War Mihailovic offered some resistance to the German forces while collaborating with the Italians. By July 22, 1944 the Yugoslav Government-in-Exile announced that continued resistance was impossible.

Although Mihailovic and his exiled government would maintain a fierce propaganda campaign to convince the Allies that his Cetniks were inflicting great damage on the Axis, the Cetniks did little for the war effort and openly collaborated with the Germans and Italians while fighting Ustase and Partizans. At its peak, Mihailovic's Cetniks claimed to have three hundred thousand troops. In fact they never numbered over thirty-one thousand.

Mihailovic was executed in 1946 for treason. The extent of Cetnik collaboration with the German and Italian armies as well as their vicious war against the pro-Allied Partisans is well documented in dozens of books, including Professor J. Tomasevich's scholarly and definitive work The Chetniks.

The Partisans, founded by Josip Broz Tito, a Croatian Communist, represented the only true resistance to the Axis in Yugoslavia during World War II. Hundreds of thousands of Croatians joined the Partisans and thirty-nine of the Partisan's eighty brigades were Croatian. On June 22, 1941 Croatian Partisans began what would come to be known as the War of Liberation in Yugoslavia.

On July 13, 1943 a Democratic Republic of Croatia under the leadership of Andrija Hebrang was declared in those areas occupied by the Croatian Partisan forces. As the war progressed more and more Croatians, especially from Dalmatia, joined the Partisans. Serbs joined in great numbers late in the War as entire Cetnik units changed their allegiance. By 1943 Allied support shifted to Tito and by 1944 the Partisans were the only recognized Allied force fighting in Yugoslavia.

The complexities of World War II saw Croatian fighting Croatian, Serb fighting Serb, and both fighting each other as well as German, Italian, Hungarian and Bulgarian forces. Both Serbia and Croatia, like Finland, Hungary, France and virtually every other nation in Europe, were occupied by the Axis and had governments which collaborated with the Axis. Both Croatia and Serbia also had Partisan govemments fighting for the Allies. A half century later Germany and Japan were again great world powers and Italy was a full partner in the European community while Croatia, having been occupied by Germany and Italy, continued to be tarred with the brush of Fascism by Belgrade's mythology.

As you may know, while the concentration camps in Yugoslavia were not the largest in Europe, they were amongst the nastiest. Run by the Serbs on behalf of the Germans, they focused as much on ethnic cleansing of Croats as of Jews and Magyars. Particularly in the Jasenovac concentration camp. Even after the war, 1945-1947, over 100,000 Albanians were killed or expelled from Kosovo. Serbs were by then vastly in the majority.

The Yugoslav leader Tito, sought to diminish Serb power in Yugoslavia by creating federal republics. Over bitter Serb objections, he made Kosovo into an autonomous republic that guaranteed nominal Albanian cultural and political rights. Yugoslavia started to unravel after Tito's death in 1980. Serbs began leaving Kosovo, the nation's poorest region, for economic reasons, and to escape growing animosity and violence between Slavs and Albanians.

Milosevic rose to power in the late 1980's by inflaming religious and racial hatred, vowing to "crush the Albanians" of Kosovo, restore a Serb majority, and expel "the Turks," as Serbs called all Muslims and even Catholics. By then, Kosovo was well over 80% Albanian, due to Serb emigration, and the high birth rate of Albanians. Milosevic promised to evict Albanians, and repopulate "Serbia's heartland" with Slavs.

Over the next decade, Milosevic launched three wars against Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia, in an effort to create an ethnically and religiously pure greater Serbia. Milosevic, a communist and former banker, surrounded himself with the vilest elements of Serb society: fascists, gangsters, brutish warlords, and rabidly anti-Muslim, anti-Catholic leaders of the Orthodox Church. Though his wars destroyed the Yugoslav state, killed over 250,000, and created more than 2.5 million refugees, including 100,000 Serbs of Krajina, Milosevic consolidated his personal power, using his secret police and gangs of nazi thugs to crush all internal opposition.

The brilliant, wily Milosevic knew exactly how to enflame the passionate patriotism of Serbs, a people who combine a deep belief they have been victimized by history, with outburst of nationalistic aggression. Like Hitler in Germany, Milosevic took a cultivated, highly capable European people and infected them, with racist hatred and a bogus historical mythology. Like Weimar Germany, Serbia's foundering economy, rampant inflation, and national demoralization, fuelled the rise of nazi power. And as in Nazi Germany, a demagogic tyrant focused hatred on a scapegoat people: Albanians and Muslims.

Unless NATO improbably makes a major ground assault on Yugoslavia - for which troops are not yet available - Kosovo, and Sanjak, just to the north, will be "cleansed" of most or all their 2.3 million Albanians and Muslims. Kosovo will then be 'Muslimfrei.' Hitler would have beamed approval. The Milosevic regime is certainly not Hitler's equal in numbers of victims, but it intimately shares the same nazi philosophy of historical victimization, ethnic crusading, and racial purity.

Like Hitler in the Rheinland and at Munich, a determined Milosevic has brilliantly out-bluffed and out-maneuvered a militarily superior coalition arrayed against him. Last week, while NATO dithered and debated, Milosevic attempted to call for negotiations, with the intent of allowing a token few refugees to return, expecting to revel in the adulation of his people now that Kosovo is largely rid of Albanian "untermensch." He seems to be counting on the fact that NATO, like the European democracies of the 193O's, does not have the stomach to launch a ground war against him. From NATO's response to the ongoing reports of the atrocities in Kosovo, I suspect that he may be wrong.

Hitler remarked, as he prepared the Holocaust, "who remembers the Armenians." Milosevic is maybe hoping to be able to boast, "who remembers the Kosovars."

So now we have reached today. This last weekend was the Jewish Passover, an ancient ritual commemorating the (almost certainly mythical) flight of their ancestors from the wrath of a cruel pharaoh. Meanwhile another non-mythical flight took place. A definitely persecuted people, the Albanian Kosovars, fled their burning homes by the hundreds of thousands before the merciless fury of Serbia's campaign of racial cleansing.

The surging flood of terrorized Kosovar women and children, herded by gloating Serb security forces, recalls another, more modern horror: pitiful columns of Jewish survivors being herded by sneering SS troops from the burning ruins of the Warsaw ghetto. Nazism has truly been triumphantly reborn in the Balkans.

NATOs attempt to halt Serbia's industrialized atrocities came too late, and with insufficient force. Petrified of incurring casualties on either side, NATO delayed, then delivered pinpricks, rather than the massive air assault necessary to shock the brutal regime of Slobodan Milosevic to stop ethnic genocide. The genocide that NATO vowed would never happen again, has happened before our eyes. NATO is busy bombing empty buildings while Europe's neo-Nazis commit ethnic murder on a vast scale.

Once again, the West had badly miscalculated. Far from giving in, the wily Serb leader called NATO's bluff, and accelerated ethnic cleansing. It is widely reported in Europe that he is releasing the most brutal criminals from his prisons, arming them, and pointing them in the direction of Kosovo. So far, nearly half of Kosovo's 2 million Albanians have been expelled at gunpoint to Macedonia, Albania, and Montenegro. All records proving their identity, property ownership, or bank accounts, are being destroyed in a process of ethnic/cultural eradication.

As NATO wrings its hands in anguish, and mobs of angry Serbs demonstrate in western capitals, some pundits are still warning against intervention in Kosovo, although this chorus is diminishing as evidence mounts about the extent of Serbians attacks on Albanians living in their territories. Your young ladies letter reminds me of prophetic lines in Yates' poem, "The Second Coming:" "The blood-dimmed tide is loosed and everywhere the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." He could have been writing of Kosovo. Nazism has made a second coming in Serbia. Those who today ask "Why didn't the democratic nations stop Hitler in 1937 or 1938?" need only listen to the chorus timorous voices who warn against sending ground troops to save the Kosovars. A thousand voices call for inaction, citing myriad reasons why Serbia's fin-du-siecle Nazis cannot be stopped: logistical difficulties, lack of UN approval, the wrongness of NATO attacking a sovereign state. These are the voices of Munich, 1938. To claim as some do, that the lack of an "extermination program" implies that Milosovic should not be compared to Hitler and that Serbian policy is not equivalent to Nazi policy means that the people have no idea of the progression in the Weimar Republic from beatings and rhetoric in 1933 to job reservation in 1935 to "ethnic cleansing" in 1939/40 to the instigation of concentration camps in 1941/1943. For the purposes of historical comparison, Serbia is equivalent to the "glorious" Third Reich in the early 1940's prior to the "death camps" but subsequent to the "sanitation" of the Reich. Refer to for more information on the Holocaust.

The growing body of proof of the horror of Serbian action against the Kosovars is leading inexorably to demands that Slobodan Milosevic be stopped. I hope that the world will unite to say "No more!", that we will say with one voice "You will not get away with this!". Even in Russia this is starting to trickle through - see the last news item appended here. Those who fail to will need to answer to history.

Now that we have a background, lets take a look at her letter. Feel free to forward my response to it.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: {Address Supressed}
> Sent: Monday, April 05, 1999 3:30 PM
> To:
> Subject: virus: another viewpoint...
> >Forwarded - without comment. This e-mail was received today
> from a young
> >lady
> >who lives in Slovenia who was an exchange student who lived with us.
> >
> >Who knows where the truth lies?
> >
"Truth is the first causualty of war."
> >
> > Dear Myra and Bob,
> >
> > I feel a deep need to write to you as my friends and as
> members of the
> > Nation who has suffered the most during the centuries.

This is very arguable. Serbia has been independent more frequently than many of the other nations of the Balkans, and certainly has not been persecuted to the extent suffered by the Gypsies or Jews. In addition, indisputable court-tested evidence of atrocities perpetuated by Serbia exists and a vast body of testimony and evidence exists that Serbia is today indulging in genocide.

Did you study history at school? Did you read about Adolf Hitler and the Nazi movement? Did you read about concentration camps? Did you ever wonder why nobody stopped him before he set Europe ablaze in a war that cost tens of millions their lives? Can you understand that the world is looking at your leader, Milosevic and seeing the same Nazi face, the same racially charged words, the same clarion calls to a mythical historical past.

> While I am writing
> > this letter, the NATO planes are flying over my head
> heading towards my
> > homeland and my people to give their love with the bombs.

It is called "tough love". Waiting would be far worse as more people would suffer first. Read the first appended article (it is from the British Times) to see what is happening. This kind of evil is best stopped now before it spreads. The bombs are currently aimed at soldiers, not civilians. And NATO troops are not taught rape or execution in their military lessons.

> My heart and my
> > soul are deeply hurt and I can not believe that American
> people send their
> > sons to kill my parents, my friends and my people.

It is not only the "evil" Americans doing this. It is also the Europeans, NATO is primarily a European organization, not American although they are currently bearing the brunt of the cost of this police action. Have you thought how nice these people usually seemed to you while you were here? America has historically been isolationist. Yet they are concerned enough to be bombing your country. Think about the evil and danger that they must have perceived for Americans to feel they have to be involved. Even to the extent where they are discussing the possibility of sending in ground troops. Are you sure that they are wrong. Yes, I know that it is possible that they may kill not only your parents and friends and certainly some of your people, they may even kill you! I know it is not much consolation knowing that the people killing you do not mean you ill and don't even really want to be involved, but that is truly the case. Unlike the situation in Kosova.

Until the NATO action, the Americans did not shown very well in this conflict, but not for the reasons you mention. Former Secretary of State James Baker's statement in 1991 in Belgrade: "The U.S. will not interfere in the internal policing" was interpreted by the Serbs as carte blanche to attack Slovenia, Croatia and the Albanians of Kosovo. Lawrence Eagleburger, who succeeded Baker, sabotaged every recommendation to settle the conflict if it disadvantaged Serbia. Warren Christopher's sharpest rebuke to the Serbs, while they were committing war crimes, was that they were "naughty."

> > Serbs , in their history, never atacked any country or
> nation. It has been
> > the oposite. From the fifth century when the first Serbs
> came here on this
> > ground, we were fighting for our existence against those
> who wanted us for
> > slaves. For four hunderd years we were fighting the Turks
> and finaly we
> > threw them out of our country in ninetheenth century.

See above. You have had your share of spreading war and attacking other nations. Remember that without England, France and Russia, (and even Austria-Hungary) the Turks would not have been weakened enough for the Greeks to obtain their independence. And if the Greeks had not gained their independence, the Serbs definitely would not have. Or at least, not in the late 1800s.

> No
> one who read World
> > history, musn`t forget that World War 1 started here in
> Serbia when the
> > Serbs said "NO" to the bigest power in Europe - Austria to
> it`s ultimatum.

I do not disagree that the bad guys were the Hapsburgs, but they were "triggered" by a bunch of nationalist Serbs who believed that Bosnia-Herzogovina should belong to Serbia. Reread your history. Serbia did not say "NO" they quite reasonably said "no" to one untenable condition and called for mediation, and Austria-Hungary used that as an excuse to declare war, never dreaming how rapidly it would involve all the powers. I strongly suspect that any excuse would have sufficed.

> > Serbia had lost 2 million citizens in that war.
> > In the World War II Serbia was the first and only country
> that stood up
> > against
> > Hitler and was very cruely punished for that.

I think that most of Europe would disagree with you. A lot of countries "stood up to Hitler", Serbia was not one of them - at least not until 1944 when the writing was on the wall anyway. See above.

> Belgrade was
> bombed. Nazi
> > killed a 100 Serbs for one
> > dead German. In only two days they executed 15.000 men,
> women and children
> > only in two cities. Over a million of people were killed
> for four years of
> > the war.
> > At the end of the war , the whole Serbia was bombed by
> the Allies. The
> > excuse was that they wanted the Germans to get out of
> Serbia, and that`s
> >why
> > thousands of people had to die by their bombs.

See the history lesson above. Serbia has more than had its share of aggression. Your view is undoubtedly horribly skewed.

> The sadest
> thing is that the
> > Serbs were the only nation who tried to save the Jews
> > as much as possible.

Not at all. Denmark and Holland did much more than any other countries. And Serbia had its own Nazis who not only agreed with Hitler, they proudly helped the Nazis to get rid of Jews and other races - see above - just as they are doing to the Albanians today! How many Jews are living in Serbia today? How many synagogues are there in Belgrade? How many Albanians were living in Kosovo in 1989? How many are living there today? Do the arithmetic.

> One of those Jews was Mrs. Albright
> and her family.

No. Try to get a copy of Ann Blackman's biography of Madeleine Albright, "Seasons of her Life". Madeleine Albright was born in Prague and lived in London during WW II. Her father seems to have had some major selective memory lapses about his relationship with Judaism and the Communist Czechoslovakian Government. But no mention of Serbia. Or did you mean some other Albright?

> >The
> > War
> > caught them in Serbia on holiday. They stayed hidden by several Serb
> > families
> > for the whole war. And today, she sends them bombs with love and
> >gratitude.

See above.

> > And what is the guilt of the Serbs today?
> > They have luck to have 26 other nations (minorities) to
> live with them
> > together.

Actually, Serbia is one of the least racially confused nations in the Balkans. See the history lesson. Is it bad to live with others? I think that Serbia's guilt stems from other sources. Notably their treatment of some of the non-Serbian minorities.

> > They have all the rights one can imagine. I`ll mention
> some: education in
> > their own
> > language (primary and secondary school and University),
> newapapers and
> > television, all their documents are written in both
> languages, and so on.

Really? The non-Serb population has lived since 1989 under martial law. All human rights were denied them, including hospital admissions and schools. Following the deaths of four Serbs policemen last February, the Serb military killed 80 Muslim villagers, including women and children, burying them in a mass grave-Nazi style. Read the article I have appended following your letter. This does not sound like "all the rights one can imagine" unless the right to be raped or murdered is included on your list.

> > Only a small number of etnic Albanians
> > abused these rights for the purpose of their nacionalist
> mentors from
> > Albania who wanted
> > Kosovo and part of Macedonia to enlarge Albania.

I don't disagree that the Kosova Liberation Army (KLA, or UCK in Albanian) has also committed atrocities, and condemn them just as I condemn the Serbian genocide. Of course, the Albanians are not as effective as the Serbs appear to be, due no doubt to the fact that there are a lot fewer of them and that they are not as well armed. Where did this start, I don't think anybody can say for sure, but I don't think that anyone would deny a people the right to defend themselves against aggression from their own government. Or do you believe that when a person representing the government with all of a government's power asks you to kneel to be shot, or to spread your legs to be raped that you should submit peacefully?

But Kosovo
> belongs to
> >Serbs
> > for 15 hunderd
> > years.

If you look at history for guidance, and I believe we should, don't the arguments you are trying to make indicate that Serbia should be returned to Turkish control? After all it was a part of the Ottoman Empire for most of the last 500 years? Of course, nobody imagines that this is a solution. In the same way, your arguments for historical reasons for ruling Kosovo fail for the same reasons. If we go back far enough, all of the Balkans should be handed to the Albanians. They were there for many centuries before the Serbs! I don't believe that anybody is arguing that this is a solution either. We need to be guided by history, not dictated to by it. Given the immense hatred from both sides, it seems that partition is the only viable solution. Most of the world considers genocide an unacceptable way of ridding an area of troublesome people. The question is whether the world will permit Serbia to profit from the slaughter and torture employed to clear Kosovo of Albanians. I suspect that it will not. Through its actions, Serbia has made itself a hated outcast nation, placing itself outside of civilized behavior. Ultimately Serbia will be treated more justly and with much more care than it has shown to its subjects, if only because the world is largely aware that punishing a nation for the crimes of its past is counterproductive. Serbia will need to spend years behaving well before the evils it has perpetuated will be forgotten. What the Ottomans, the Bulgars and the Hapsburgs did in the past is now forgotten. It is Serbian atrocities that will stain the pages of history. Not a nice legacy to pass to your children.

> The first Serbs State was established 1000 years
> ago. Over 800
> > Monasteries, churches
> > and other holly buildings built centuries ago, some of them
> protected by
> >the
> > UNESCO are there
> > in Kosovo. The Kosovo is Holly land for the Serbs as
> Israel for the Jews.
> > Albania wants to take
> > that from us.

Read the history above. While I recognize that it is far from complete (that would take several volumes), it indicates that your characterization is wrong. The idea that Kosovo is a "Holy land", or even that it somehow "belongs" to Serbia, is an idea that has only been created in the last 20 years. So while you may believe it because the idea has been there for all of your life, it certainly is not "true" as in having historical support.

> > That wouldn´t be such an unsolved problem , if the
> Americans didnt`t see
> > that as big oportunity for realisation of their own strategic plans.
> > Yugoslavia is the only country in that region that has no NATO
> > troops in it. The other reason is that we are orthodox and
> very close to
> >the
> > Russian. If they invade
> > and occupate us , they will have an open road through
> Balkan to the Middle
> > Asia and new Wells of Oil, and off course , they will be
> behind the back
> >of
> > Russia.

The United States wanted to stay out of the conflict in the Balkans. They wanted to stay out so much that they turned their backs on the atrocities occurring there even when there was indisputable evidence of them. The agreements that NATO tried to broker would have even let known war criminals walk free in order to create an acceptable peace. Film that the American's have of the atrocities committed by the Serbs have not even been shown on American television, because the American government is scared that they would be forced by the public to become involved. Even now, with all the horror that is undeniably happening, the US government has tried to stay out of committing troops to stabilize the situation.

NATO has no interest in allowing Serbia to become its Afghanistan. The US has more than ample oil sources, at lower prices than they have ever had before. I do not think that the US has any strategic interest in the Balkans. Why on earth would NATO want to pay for troops stationed in Yugoslavia? They might well be forced into that in order to enforce a demilitarized zone. But I am certain that they do not want it. It gains them nothing they do not already have. In addition, while the CIS still has its pride and its people, it has very little else.

To imagine that NATO countries, including the US have any interest in attacking the CIS is ludicrous. The CIS has nothing that the US or any other NATO country would want, and a lot of financial, infrastructural and management problems that no "western" country would want to face or could afford. I assure you that every NATO country is very aware of the impact that the absorption of just East Germany into what was NATO's strongest economy, West Germany, has had. The cost of bringing East Germany up to "western" standards has cost more than West Germany could afford, and they continue to find new areas where investment is required. And East Germany was probably one of the most advanced and industrialized nations of the "eastern block".

In any case, I cannot imagine a situation where NATO would ever want to invade the CIS. The lessons of European history are very clear. Invading Russia is a good way to waste effort and lives. And if you look at the floods of people emigrating from the CIS and other Eastern Block nations to the West, the people of the CIS know it.

> > Everything that is going on now is a big construct and a
> big lie made by
> > American government helped
> > by the media. CNN is the bigest and the most horrid factory
> of lies in the
> > World today. On my television I can watch all the TV
> stations from Europe
> > and some from America. CNN is the worst.

While I agree that CNN is a lousy news service, they actually are more a made up entertainment channel than a news outfit. They also know that their long term economic interest is best served by staying close to the American government, so they propagate an American view of the world, necessarily simplified because more than half of all Americans do not know that the world is round. Despite all this, not all the lies emanate from CNN or America. In fact, reading what you have written, I would say that the lies you have been fed are far more harmful than those put about by Americans. They lie to themselves in order to avoid getting involved. You have been lied to so that your government can rely on your support, as they take what they want, irrespective of the cost in lives or honor. That is your honor too.
> >
> > The talks in Paris were a big fraud. The "so called" ageement that
> >Albanians
> > signed was prepared
> > by the Americans long before the talks started and we were
> able to read it
> > in one of 58 newspapers, printed in Albanian language, 10
> days before the
> > talks. In that agreement Kosovo will be turn over to
> Albania in 3 years
> > time. No Serb will sign such agreement which is giving
> their Holly Land to
> > some other country.
> >
Of course it was prewritten. That is how third-party negotiation works. The mediator discusses the situation with both sides, and draws up a discussion document that tries to be fair to everyone, and then all the parties get together to negotiate the exact format the agreement should take. Otherwise how can anyone know what is being asked of them or state what they will sacrifice to or not sacrifice to achieve what is important to them. An agreement, which leaves everyone dissatisfied, is probably a pretty fair agreement. The meetings were to discuss it and modify it until everyone involved could accept it. Seeing as how the Kosova Liberation Army had to be forced to the point where they would discuss it, I think that your characterization of it is grossly illogical. You are suggesting that the KLA would not accept an agreement that gave them exactly what you are saying they wanted? Does that sound sensible?

> > Because of our "NO" to the America , my people are being
> bombed for the
> >last
> > 5 days. But the American people should know that the Serbs
> will never
> > surrender. They will fight to the last Serb.

I would have said that surrender was not the right expression. Nobody was asking the Serbs to give up anything that they were entitled to, only to treat their population fairly and respect human rights. Unfortunately this now seems hardly possible. You cannot be entitled to profit from a campaign where you have destroyed a country and a people.

The Serbs have surrendered before when they saw it was sensible. Maybe you are correct. Maybe they will "never surrender" this time. But what a tragedy that will then be. You will need to count the terrible cost. Your military destroyed, leaving you open to any other nation that would like to occupy you. The ongoing terrorism you will need to face as a result of the terror you have inflicted. Your country's infrastructure obliterated. Your ancient buildings, monuments and "sacred places" destroyed. Your people brutalized. The lies your government will tell you in order to accept this. The hardening that will occur to you and your children in order to believe that revenge is worth this price or your anguish when you realize that it was not. The damage to your economy and standard of living as every educated person, doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, even mechanics leave as fast as they can find other countries that will welcome their skills. The knowledge that you are hated and despised by the entire world. The horrible effects of long-term economic sanctions. At that time you will need to ask yourself, before your children ask you, are the hills of Kosovo worth it. Is the cost I have described, and this is only a part of it, worth the few fleeting moments of pleasure that your resistance provided to your more brutal troops as they murdered, tortured and raped the Albanians in Kosovo?

> > They are not afraid of Adolf Clinton (a new name in Europe
> for the American
> > president). He is worse than Hitler and his New Oder is
> new fashisem. All
> > that is written on the transparents on the demonstrations
> all over the
> > Europe against America and a new Hitler. He can't sell
> demokracy with
> >bombs.

Clinton is no saint. Many people will tell you how much most intelligent Americans despise him. And yes, there are some intelligent Americans. Most Europeans don't even bother to despise him, they laugh at him. My problems with some of America's actions in history are legion. They make mistakes, they have problems, and they can be brutally nasty. Their hypocrisy and arrogance can be overwhelming. But you say you lived with them. So you should know that as a whole, they are warm and kind and caring and unusually generous. They forgive other people more easily than most. They are not the "evil empire" you are attempting to turn them into.

Much as I dislike Clinton, I have to acknowledge huge differences between Hitler and Clinton. Even if there were no others, Clinton will be out of office in less than two years from now, no matter if he were to start 100 wars. Also, Clinton might be a nasty piece of work, with ethics which make sharks look good, but he is a lawyer, and his nastiness is typically accomplished by "legal maneuvering" and telling lies- so far he has not been accused of a "night of the long knives". Even if he were to order one, his legislative and judicial branches would oppose him and the military would probably refuse to obey his orders.

The demonstrations in Europe are demonstrations against the horror of war. Please do not interpret it as a statement of support for Serbia or its policies. Most Europeans have had enough history lessons to know how terrible genocide is. And how complicated the situation in the Balkans really is. While they are saying that genocide is being perpetrated in Europe today, as if the Nazis are on the march again, they are not talking about the Americans. They are talking about the Serbs. Are you proud of that?

> >
> >
> > I shall finish now. I would like you to tell your friends
> that the truth
> > about Serbs has a diferent face.
> > I only hope that those monsters will come to their sences
> and stop killing
> > inocent people. Over 30 schools were bombed until yesterday
> and many, many
> > civilian houses. There are many dead and injured.

Compare what you are saying with the article I have appended. It is tragic that civilians are being killed and injured. By either side. The differences between what NATO is doing and what Serbia is doing are that the NATO is targeting military targets and the Serbian forces are targeting civilians, need I say it again? NATO does not use rape and murder to achieve military objectives!

> > And at the end , the Yugoslav defense shot down over 12
> planes , including
> > the F117A stealth bomber. You have been lied about that all
> the time like
> > about some many other things.
> >

This is quite possible. NATO is expending huge sums of money and putting lives at risk in order to prevent the human tragedy that is happening in Kosova. NATO is acting quite insanely from a military perspective, preannouncing what they will be doing in order to minimize loss of life. The attacks on Serbia are still very carefully planned to do maximum damage to the military and minimize collateral damage. As the conflict escalates, and it will, conflicts always do, the targeting will swing to inflicting damage to infrastructure and if Serbia does not return to the debating table, the bombing will probably move to inflicting such high levels of damage that it encourages overthrow of your present government. This does not sound nice, war never is. But it does appear to be the only way that Serbia can be prevented from spreading further instability in the entire region.

> > I wish that what happend to my country, never happens to anybody.

Don't we all. We know that not all Serbs are bad and evil. We believe that most of them are friendly, gracious and kind. So were most Germans in 1938. We cannot stand by and allow Serbia to benefit from the horror they are perpetuating in Kosovo today. Genocide is evil and even if I didn't care for the Albanians, I would hate to have to one day explain to my grand-children why we sat back and did nothing while a nation was destroyed.
> >
> > My love and best regards to you.
> >
> > Andrijana
> > >>

<I have cut out a second copy of this letter which appeared to have been pasted in error>

> tinkerer <balance of address suppressed>

TheHermit (on DALnet)
The number you have reached is imaginary. Please rotate your phone 90 degrees and try again.

Appended from The Times (of London)

Serbs make rape a weapon of war

NOT satisfied with using young men as human shields against Nato and Kosovo Liberation Army attacks, nor with shooting dead children and the burning of homes to accelerate the exodus of Kosovo Albanians, Serbian border guards have taken to adding one more atrocity - rape. Their victims are reluctant to talk about what happens in the border post at Monice, through which more than 200,000 people have been herded over the last few weeks. But the faraway stares in their tearful eyes, their torn clothing and the despair of the families of the victims speak volumes.

Just as the extremists of Bosnia's Serb Republic pursued a campaign against Muslims which included the forced impregnation of many Bosnian women, so the border guards of Monice clearly hope to father scores of Muslim children carrying Serb blood.

According to human rights groups and investigators from the War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague, and the victims themselves, Kosovo Albanian women are being picked out at the border as they wait with their families to cross into Albania, taken to a building not far away and violated.

"There have been so many credible reports of this sort of thing that we are convinced it is part of a systematic campaign of sexual abuse. The whole level of atrocities being committed in Kosovo has overwhelmed us. We are going to have to bring in extra investigators," said a member of the tribunal team in Kukes, the nearest town to the border crossing.

The Serbs' method is simple. They select the women they fancy tormenting as they approach the final crossing point with their families, who are ordered to keep travelling into Albania.

They are then taken away, weeping and begging for their lives. Hours, perhaps a day passes for the families, and then those who survive the ordeal are sent on their way with a casual wave.

At Monice their families keep a vigil standing in silent huddles by the metal barrier. Reluctant to admit what is happening to their daughters, these members of a society who view rape as the ultimate shame for a woman, say: "We were separated, and praying that the Serbs will let them live."

When the young women are reunited with their families, there is no celebration that they have survived. They fall in silence into their parents' arms. Hiding their faces they rejoin the huge throng of miserable humanity - again in silence.

Overwhelmed by the logistics of coping with an influx of refugees which is expected to reach 250,000 in the next day or so, and climb to half a million or more, the Albanian authorities and the few aid agencies which have reacted to the Kosovo catastrophe have been unable to offer any kind of help to the rape victims.

"There is simply nothing we can do but hope that the families of the victims are strong enough and supportive enough of these young women. But if any are pregnant as a result, they face a miserable future of possible rejection by their families, or of raising a child conceived in hatred. That must be the worst thing anyone can inflict upon a woman," said a British aid worker in Kukes. There have been reports of rape and the use of Kosovo Albanian women as sex slaves since the beginning of the forced exodus which came close on the heels of the start of Nato's air bombardments of Yugoslavia. But the latest revelations appear to carry more weight with human rights groups who stand alongside the families of abducted women and teenage girls, helpless to do anything about what they are certain is going on behind the bulletproof glass of the Monice crossing.

Young men have been spared rape, but their life expectancy behind Serb lines can be calculated in minutes. Hague investigators are looking into a number of credible reports that up to 500 men were marched into a field close to where the KLA has been fighting a rearguard action against the Serbs on the Albanian border.

Once in the field their resistance was allegedly broken down by being forced to stand in freezing rain for several hours. They were then driven like cattle back into a barn and ordered to dress in rags provided for them.

Then, at gunpoint, they were ordered to stand in front of Serb trenches while the Serb artillery fired mortars and heavier weapons at KLA positions, confident that they would not be the first victims if fire was returned.

So far, The Hague said, there had been only a handful of survivors from this latest alleged atrocity.

In Kukes, the refugees said that they were now pinning their hopes on Nato and the dim expectation of ground forces to save those still left in Kosovo.

Risolta Unico, a student from Dajkovica who crossed into Albania in her slippers, had been spared the rapists because at Qafae Prushit the border is manned by professional Yugoslav soldiers who maintain a keen-eyed watch on their Albanian counterparts.

"They are burning our houses and killing the men. In the town there have been many rapes, but no one will speak of it. We need to be saved before there is nothing left for Nato to worry about. Please tell the world that we are worth it, we are human beings not animals to be slaughtered," she cried.

When told that the US had ordered 24 Apache attack helicopters to Albania she broke into a broad smile. "First there will be helicopters, then there will be soldiers. Nato will not let us down. If they do not send troops, then what was the point of the bombing?"

Appended from The LA Times

A much more hopeful report is this one, although with the caveat that it is an LA Times staff writer and with a name like Dixon might be getting it wrong.

Televised Images of Serbs Resonate With Russians Media: Coverage of civilians in Belgrade extolling Slavic selfhood fuels anti-NATO feelings. By ROBYN DIXON, Times Staff Writer

MOSCOW--From the heart of a war zone come jarring pictures of people dancing, swaying, cheering, smiling--civilians whose country is being bombed intensively by the most powerful nations on Earth--triggering the question: What can these people have to celebrate?

Like a football crowd, they are chanting, "Russ-i-a! Russ-i-a!" They are Yugoslav Serbs, and they are cheering a Russian TV crew in their capital, Belgrade. But the images sent home to Moscow of rock concerts in the city, blasting out the traditional Russian folk song "Kalinka," and of joyful civilians in a basement are as much about the people behind the unblinking camera eye as they are about those in its field of vision.

Since it cannot be victory they are honoring, why are they so jubilant? They are celebrating who they are, extolling an ideal of Slavic selfhood. And bouncing, distorted, through the prism of Russian TV coverage, that ideal strikes a profound chord among Russian viewers that helps explain the startling depth of anti-NATO and anti-U.S. feelings here, sentiments that cross all political and generational boundaries.

Part of the reason for the strength of feeling is the us-versus-them nature of most Russian media coverage, which leaves viewers no doubt about who are the good guys and who are the thugs in this war. The message would not strike its target, however, if the imagery did not resonate so deeply in the Russian consciousness.

The view of civilians joyful in the face of bombs feeds into Russia's own World War II mythology and its own sense of Slavic selfhood. It resonates with the idea of stoic, cheerful Soviet people who died by the millions resisting the Nazis--but were always ready with a patriotic song.

Russians relate to the Slavic underdog, vastly outgunned by a superior West, in a way that parallels their own sense of military and economic loss compared with the West. They see an injustice that somehow applies to themselves as well. How much more glorious to go down in flames, like Yugoslavia, than to have to come cap in hand to the West for International Monetary Fund loans, as Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny M. Primakov did March 29.

Breathless coverage from state-owned RTR's program "Vesti" that was televised Thursday focused on NATO bombing of a civilian target in Yugoslavia--a bridge near the town of Novi Sad. But it was not a strategic bridge, "because a few kilometers from it a new high-speed bridge has been built, and it, thank God, is still intact," RIA-Novosti correspondent Nikolai Paskhin reported for the program. Since that report, the second bridge has been destroyed.

Meanwhile, Alexei Pobortsev of the independently owned station NTV, whose Serbian driver was shot dead as the NTV crew filmed in Kosovo, reported that the NATO strikes had achieved little.

"NATO is bombing empty barracks," Pobortsev said, adding that the alliance's missiles and bombs targeted an airfield, a radar station and a third military site--all grouped together near Kosovo's capital, Pristina--for three nights running, yet missed completely. But, he said, they did flatten a hair salon and the house of an elderly Serbian woman, who survived.

It took the Russian media a long time to find the ethnic Albanian refugees from Kosovo who have been filling Western TV screens. When Russian TV crews did find refugees, they at first sent home pictures of Serbs fleeing. And several days later, when Russian television did cover the ethnic Albanians fleeing Kosovo, there were no witness accounts to explain what and whom they were fleeing from. The party line, apart from a passing reference by NTV to "ethnic cleansing," was that they were running from NATO's bombs.

It wasn't until Sunday, when NTV showed video footage of slain ethnic Albanians aired earlier by the BBC, that the Russian station turned to the "ethnic cleansing" issue in more detail.

A strong thread running through the Russian coverage is the theme of Slavic Orthodox brotherhood. Footage of a smashed Serbian war museum scanned broken pictures of Serbian allied soldiers in World War II. Another report showed some Russian priests bearing a holy icon of the mother of God to protect Yugoslavia and making a pilgrimage to every holy site in that country--regardless of the bombs.

"Mythology here is working miracles. Simple answers abound," said Leonid A. Sedov, an analyst at the All-Russia Center for the Study of Public Opinion, which reported Wednesday that 90% of Russians in a recent survey were opposed to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization strikes.

"One of the big myths is that Serbs are our Slavic brothers," Sedov said. "An ordinary angry man, who spends hours on end at the U.S. Embassy throwing eggs at its walls, may have very little affection for his father, perhaps only calls his mother once every six months and might have little or no love for his own brother or sister. All of a sudden, he undergoes a complete psychological change and is ready to go and die for his newly acquired mythological Serb brothers and sisters. He never knew they existed before, and now it is all he is talking about and thinking about."

Despite the freedom the media now enjoy in Russia, Sedov said, the public remains ignorant about the cause and history of the conflict in Yugoslavia. "They don't know what [Yugoslav President Slobodan] Milosevic's regime did in Bosnia and in Kosovo, and they don't really want to know."

The deputy chairman of state-owned RTR, Lev S. Koshlyakov, said his station's task is to represent the views of the president and government. In contrast, the general director of the independently owned NTV, Oleg B. Dobrodeyev, said the station tries to be objective. He said TV pictures of the bombing of Belgrade are simply more dramatic to Russian viewers than pictures of refugees.

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