Friday, March 31, 2006

The Delights of Bulgaria

Here's my piece on the delights of Bulgaria from this week's Spectator. (www.spectator.co.uk)
It's still a Starbucks and Tescos free zone and you can smoke almost everywhere you want to. Catch it while it lasts!

Bulgaria
by Neil Clark

What are the first images which spring to your mind at the mention of the word ‘Bulgaria’? Female weightlifters? Dour, unsmiling locals? Sinister secret agents who assassinate people with poison-tipped umbrellas in busy London streets?

‘No matter how many times you say it, no matter what accent you say it in, Bulgarian ain’t never going to be cool,’ opines a columnist in one of the glossy weekend travel supplements — and it’s certainly hard to deny that the Balkan republic does suffer from a rather serious image problem. But as in so many other cases — think coach holidays and Belgium — the popular image bears little relation to reality.

My wife and I came to visit Bulgaria by accident. Plan A was a trip to New York, finally to visit a friend whom we have spent the best part of a decade promising we’d go and see. Five days before the off, though, I made the discovery that I didn’t possess the machine-readable passport which Uncle Sam now insists upon. Faced with the prospect of seven days at home clearing the backlog of Christmas videos, we quickly decided on Plan B: a frantic internet search for a couple of cheap last-minute flights to whatever destination we could find, the only proviso being that it must be somewhere cold and cosy with the guarantee of plenty of snow.

‘How about Plovdiv?’ asked my wife. With our guidebook telling us that Plovdiv, ‘population 371,000, Bulgaria’s second largest city’, was a ‘delightful place’ and the BBC weather website predicting two days of snow and sub-zero temperatures, we didn’t take long to make up our minds. We landed at Plovdiv airport — a military airport only used in the winter for charter flights — at seven o’clock on a freezing cold January evening. It was love at first sight: arrive at a Bulgarian military airport on a freezing cold January evening and you get a real sense of being in Eastern Europe — a feeling you no longer get when you arrive at the pristine terminals of so many of New Europe’s other airports.

‘This is the loveliest of all towns. It’s beauty shines from faraway,’ wrote the Greek poet Lucian of Plovdiv 19 centuries ago, and if he was guilty of over-egging it, it certainly wasn’t by much. Plovdiv, or Philippopolis, to give it its original name, is older than both Rome and Athens. Its antiquity means that whatever your architectural fix, you’re likely to find it here — whether it’s Thracian ruins from 5,000 bc, a wonderfully preserved 2nd-century Roman amphitheatre (which could seat 6,000 people at its peak and which still stages concerts and shows in the summer), or 1960s socialist functional. The crowning glory is the picturesque old town, famous for its remarkable collection of 19th-century baroque-style ‘revival’ houses, named after the cultural, political and linguistic renaissance which led to the country’s liberation from the Ottoman yoke in the 1870s. Several of these houses are open to the public. We opted for the Stepan Hindlyan House with its well-preserved Turkish bathroom, colourful murals and exquisite collection of restored period furniture. Don’t miss, too, the nearby Ethnographic Museum, whose magnificent entrance hall with its grand piano and intricately carved wooden ceiling is worth the admission fee alone. For us, the only disappointment with Plovdiv was the lack of snow — so after three days we decided to head for the mountains.

At seven hours long, the ride from Plovdiv to Bansko won’t be the quickest railway journey in your life, but it may well prove to be the most memorable. For the last five hours, after changing at Septemvri, you travel on a narrow-gauge railway, which meanders its way through some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in Europe. Halfway through the journey, at one of the numerous small village stops, a group of peasants boarded, headed by a cheery soul with a Terry-Thomas grin who proceeded to treat us — and the other inhabitants of our carriage — to two hours of accordion playing and a sing along of Bulgarian folk songs. When’s the last time you experienced that on Virgin trains?

We arrived in Bankso in sky-high spirits, yet famished Fortunately salvation was at hand in the shape of a gloriously smoky, 1940s time-warp restaurant in the main town square. Bulgarian cuisine is among the finest in Europe, but a word of warning: for the Bulgar chef ‘waste not want not’ really is taken literally, and among the delightful dishes on the menu brains, tongue and tripe lie in wait for those who, like me, get their Cyrillic alphabet mixed up. That said, if you’re ever going to cock up your order, with an average price of about 50p for a main course, Bulgaria is the place to do it. It’s also a good opportunity to let rip with the wine list: in how many other countries in Europe can you order the most expensive vintage and still receive change from £2?

Having got our fix of snow from two days in Bankso, we decided to head to Sofia, three hours away by coach. The Bulgarian capital may not be one of the most high- profile in Europe, but it is certainly one of the most likable. In no other European capital of a similar size does one get such a sense of space: Sofia really is the perfect city for people who normally hate cities. It has enough attractions to justify several visits, but with time at a premium we had to make do with tours of the ‘Holy Trinity’ — the Sveta Nedelya Cathedral, the St Nikolai Russian Church with its five golden onion domes, and the awesome Aleksander Nevski Church, built as a memorial to the 200,000 Russian soldiers who died fighting for Bulgaria’s independence. We also, thankfully, found time to visit the splendidly old-fashioned Museum of Natural History, with its fabulous collection of over a million animal, plant and mineral specimens.

One of the nicest of many nice things about Bulgaria is the custom of posting notices with the names and photographs of the deceased on walls and doors. At first I thought this morbid. But being reminded of those who once walked among us helps create a great sense of continuity and community, besides keeping us focused on what really matters. ‘There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love ...the only meaning,’ as Thornton Wilder put it. We saw hundreds of these notices and, even in the centre of Sofia, not a single one was defaced. The lack of vandalism is not the only area in which Bulgaria outscores Britain. Public transport, besides being cheap, is clean and punctual. People may not be effusive or prone to shouting in the streets but they are kind, friendly and unfailingly helpful; family ties and religious beliefs remain strong. Crime is low and there is a high general level of education.

For those keen to experience ‘backward’ Eastern Europe, Bulgaria and not Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic or Poland is the real McCoy. Do try and catch this wonderful country before the real estate sharks, the EU commissars and the other emissaries of ‘progress’ spoil it for ever.

Neil Clark/The Spectator 2006

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

From Belgrade to Baghdad and beyond

Here's my piece on the neo-conservative's long-standing strategy from today's Morning Star.

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index2.php/ex/examples

From Belgrade to Baghdad and beyond

Divide and conquer has been the classic Imperial strategy since Roman times. Today’s Empire builders are no different. The particular genius of the modern neo-conservative project has been the use of the theory of ‘humanitarian intervention’, to co-opt liberal-left support for a centuries old project of conquest. In 1990s it was the Serbs- and their “extreme nationalist” leader Slobodan Milosevic who posed the threat to peace and civilised values. In 2001 it was Mullah Omar and the Islamic hardliners of the Taliban. In 2003 it was the turn of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, with its deadly arsenal of WMD. Now its Iran’s President Ahmadenijad’s alleged attempts to develop nuclear weapons which need to be countered. Each time a sizeable section of the liberal-left has supported, not those attacked or threatened, but the aggressors. You might have thought that by now, the pattern would be clear to all. But the enduring success of the New World Order’s propaganda machine can be seen by the reaction of many on the left to Milosevic’s death.

Milosevic, a life-long socialist, was a man all true progressives should have mourned. A man steeped in partisan culture, (both his parents fought the Nazis in World War Two), he never once made a racist speech: the famous Kosovo Polje address of 1989 which his critics claimed whipped up ancient ethnic hatreds, was in fact a statement of support for multi-ethnic, socialist Yugoslavia. Far from being a rabid warmonger, the late Yugoslav leader was, in the words of Lord Owen ‘the only leader who consistently supported peace’ and ‘a man to whom any form of racism is anathema’. The dismemberment of Yugoslavia was initiated not by Milosevic, but by the German decision to prematurely recognise the breakaway republics of Slovenia and Croatia, against all the norms of international law. And war in Bosnia would have been avoided too had US Ambassador Warren Zimmerman not personally intervened at the eleventh hour to sabotage the 1992 Lisbon Agreement which provided for the peaceful division of the republic. ‘If you don’t like it, why sign it’ Zimmerman told the hard-line Bosnian separatist leader Alija Izetbegovic, thereby lighting the touch paper to a conflict which would claim over 90,000 lives. Even after the 1995 Dayton agreement which ended the war in Bosnia, the Imperial appetite was not satiated. Milosevic’s rump Yugoslavia had to be destroyed too, by providing weapons and training for a separatist terror group, the Kosovan Liberation Army. When the inevitable security clampdown from Belgrade came, the West was at hand to issue the ultimatum, producing a document at the Rambouillet Peace Conference, which as Defence Minister Lord Gilbert has conceded, was deliberately designed to be rejected by the Yugoslav delegation. Why was it all done? Milosevic’s Yugoslavia was targeted not for ‘humanitarian’ reasons as many still believe, but simply because it got in the way. ‘In post Cold War Europe, no place remained for a large, independent minded socialist state that resisted globalisation', the words not of a left-wing conspiracy theorist, but George Kenney, an official at the Yugoslav office of the US State Department.

There's no doubting who has benefited from the wars which the West is happy to pin on Milosevic. One militarily and economically strong independent nation, has been replaced by a series of weak and divided World Bank/IMF/NATO protectorates. Western capital has unhindered access to raw materials and markets throughout the region, while in Kosovo, Camp Bondsteel, the U.S.'s biggest from scratch military base since the Vietnam war, jealously guards the route of the $1.3bn Trans Balkan AMBO pipeline, guaranteeing Western control of Caspian oil supplies.

It’s worth remembering that the very same people who clamoured most loudly for action against Milosevic in the 1990s, were those who were at the forefront of the propaganda war against Iraq a few years later. And today, the very same hawks are trying to convince us of the necessity of ‘strong action’ against Iran. Among the members of the executive of the Balkan Action Committee, who lobbied for US involvement on the side of Izetbegovic in Bosnia, and then for full scale war against Milosevic’s Yugoslavia in 1999, are three names that will need no introduction: Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle. ‘It‘s either take action now, or lose the option of taking action’ was Perle’s recent comment on Iran: in addition to signing (along with Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz) a notorious letter to President Clinton in 1998 calling for a ‘comprehensive political and military strategy for bringing down Saddam and his regime’, he also acted as adviser to the Izetbegovic’s delegation at Dayton.

It’s time those who supported the military actions against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and the current 'strong' line on Iran, realised that the biggest danger to peace did not come from Slobodan Milosevic, Mullah Omar, Saddam Hussein, or, now, from President Ahmadinejad, but from the serial warmongers who threatened them. The road to Baghdad began in the Balkans. But it won’t end there, unless the liberal-left supporters of U.S. sponsored “humanitarian” interventions start to see the bigger picture.

Neil Clark/The Morning Star 2006

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Genocide That Wasn't

Here's a must-read piece from Media Lens on the genocide that wasn't. I'll be posting the email addresses of the journalists concerned in case readers would like to ask them if they are now prepared to publicly acknowledge that the genocide they wrote about did not actually happen.
tp://www.dissidentvoice.org/Mar06/MediaLens21.htm

Two Heroes- and a 'strange apologist for fascism'

Not just one Hero this week, but two.
Norman Kember returned home from Iraq to face vicious personal attacks by the people who, three years earlier had propagandised for the murderous invasion. Kember rose above it all and refused to be intimidated by the war lobby.
Hero number two is David Hockney. Did any one see Hockney's superb attack on the smoking ban in Scotland on the BBC on Sunday? The man's a class act. For mounting an eloquent and passionate defence of the right of adults to smoke in enclosed public spaces, Hockney has incurred the wrath of self-proclaimed 'liberal' David Aaronovitch. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,6-2106350,00.html
When I once challenged Aaronovitch over a claim he had made on the Balkans, he responded by labelling me 'a strange apologist for fascism'. Aaronovitch supports compulsory identity cards, illegal invasions of sovereign states and a ban on smoking in public places. The first place in the world to ban smoking in public places was Berlin in 1936. Nazi Germany also operated a compulsory identity card system and as we all know was rather fond of illegally invading sovereign states.
With respect David, just who is the 'strange apologist for fascism'?

How Lukashenko won

From someone who was actually there.
http://www.antiwar.com/orig/mcadams.php?articleid=8763

Monday, March 27, 2006

Condi is not welcome here

If you are able to, please try and attend this demonstration on Friday.
http://www.stopthewar.co.uk/
ps challenge to any Gonzocons who read this: why don't you try getting your own 'pro Condi' demonstration going?
I'm sure Andrew Roberts and Niall Ferguson would be happy to speak and that General Pinochet would send a few words of support from his 'sick' bed.

You Cannot Be Serious

Here's my piece on the Western hypocrisy towards democracy and human rights from today's Guardian.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1740445,00.html

Democracy's the last thing they want

Here is my piece on the hypocrticial Western approach towards ''democracy' and 'human rights'
from today's Guardian.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1740445,00.html

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Sad Day for Freedom

Scotland today became the first part of the UK in which a ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces has come into force.
http://newsbox.msn.co.uk/article.aspx?as=adimarticle&f=uk_-_olgbtopnews&t=4023&id=2572373&d=20060326&do=
Interfering ninnies and health fascists will no doubt be jumping for joy, but for all true liberals, lovers of freedom, camaraderie and human interraction, its a very sad day indeed.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Milosevic The Guilty?

All those who still believe the 'Butcher of Belgrade' NWO propaganda should read this.
http://dominionpaper.ca/media_analysis/2006/03/17/milosevic_.html

Our Criminal Prime Minister

Here's a brilliant posting on the Guardian's Comment Is Free site by John Pilger.
Pilger's right- it's high time for the mainstream media to report Blair for what he is- a liar and a war criminal.
We heard more than enough about 'The Butcher of Belgrade'- a man who started no wars: what about a few headlines about 'The Butcher of Downing Street'- a man who has started several.


Blair insults our intelligence
Nothing in the prime minister's speech on terrorism is to be taken seriously.
John Pilger

March 22, 2006 12:05 PM
As one who has interviewed numerous people of power, I have had my intelligence insulted more than once. The scripted inanities, the false sincerity, the deception have been presented to me in various forms: in an interview or an "important speech".
Wisely, Tony Blair does not give interviews to those who might seriously challenge him and prefers instead the "important speech", knowing that it will be amplified throughout the media, as if it is indeed important.
Blair's speech on terrorism yesterday had all the above ingredients; and nothing in it is to be taken seriously, for his singular, transparent aim now is to salvage something from his murderous disaster in Iraq, for his "place in history".
To attempt to analyse his crude justifications is merely to inhale his mendacious hot air, as familiar now as the grey pall on a March day. His use of noble words like "progressives" and "democracy" is merely profane, for he has betrayed all the peoples he refers to: the Afghans, the Palestinians, the Iraqis. It is a very long time since Britain has had such a regressive, undemocratic and criminal prime minister.
Yes, criminal. It is time, surely, that the media "mainstream" began to report Blair for what he is and what a majority of the British people believe he is: a liar who colluded in a rapacious, unprovoked attack on a defenceless country and caused unaccountable death and suffering among tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children.
That truth is proven. So why do those of us paid to keep the record straight continue to afford Blair respectability? A slick spinner in Downing Street has written this turgid, self-regarding, self-pitying, pompous speech, cluttered with the kind of thinktank jargon that Jack Straw has for breakfast. It might have worked a few years ago, but not any more.
I repeat: a majority of the British people (60% according to one poll) regard him as a liar. That's why barely a fifth of those eligible voted for him and his party at the last general election. In describing the "extremism" and terrorism" of others, Blair once more insults our intelligence, for these words describe him.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Email of the week

All of us who try to expose the lies of the war lobby face constant attack from the enemy-but when you get emails like this, it makes it all worthwhile.


Dear Mr Clark
I would just like to say that I was shocked and happy to see that there are still people like you who are speaking out against the "new world order" and the lies that built it. I recently read some of your articles on Yugoslavia and I could not understand if you were smarter or braver than the thousands of people who spout the well known lies in regards to this "topic". Even though it is a huge propaganda machine which you, Harold Pinter, Ramsey Clark et al are resisting against, it is a fight which is just and must be fought.Though it may be hard to see, there are still people who appreciate what you do by telling the truth.
Best regards,
Marko

The Law Is Not An Ass

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/695596.stm

If you're reading this in Canada......

For Canadian readers who have a few moments spare this morning, I'll be talking on Radio CKUT Montreal today at 8.30am local time about Milosevic and the Western economic take-over of the Balkans.
http://ckut.ca/index.php

Read This Book!

Abbie Hoffman's anti-capitalist classic 'Steal This Book' can now be read for free on the Internet at the following address.
http://www.eriswerks.org/steal.html
'Steal This Book' made a huge impact on me when I first read it- it really is one of the most profound, honest and hysterically funny books ever written. Fighting The Machine can be fun- in fact it has to be-if we want to bring as many people into the movement as we can. Hoffman shows us the way. Here's the introduction: Hoffman's analysis is, I believe, as valid today as when it was first written. The fact that Hoffman's country- and mine- are still sending their 'modern mechanised armed forces' thousands of miles away to commit genocide-and then blaming the other side for aggression- tells us how much work is still left to be done.
But we'll get it done- and the more people you can send the above link too, the better.

In the words of Abbie himself:
Community in our nation, CHAOS in theirs; that is the meaning of survive'!


INTRODUCTION
It's perhaps fitting that I write this introduction in jail- that graduate school of survival. Here you learn how to use toothpaste as glue, fashion a shiv out of a spoon and build intricate communication networks. Here too, you learn the only rehabilitation possible-hatred of oppression.
Steal This Book is, in a way, a manual of survival in the prison that is Amerika. It preaches jailbreak. It shows you where exactly how to place the dynamite that will destroy the walls. The first section-SURVIVE!-lays out a potential action program for our new Nation. The chapter headings spell out the demands for a free society. A community where the technology produces goods and services for whoever needs them, come who may. It calls on the Robin Hoods of Santa Barbara Forest to steal from the robber barons who own the castles of capitalism. It implies that the reader already is "ideologically set," in that he understands corporate feudalism as the only robbery worthy of being called "crime," for it is committed against the people as a whole. Whether the ways it describes to rip-off shit are legal or illegal is irrelevant. The dictionary of law is written by the bosses of order. Our moral dictionary says no heisting from each other. To steal from a brother or sister is evil. To not steal from the institutions that are the pillars of the Pig Empire is equally immoral.
Community within our Nation, chaos in theirs; that is the message of SURVIVE!
We cannot survive without learning to fight and that is the lesson in the second section. FIGHT! separates revolutionaries from outlaws. The purpose of part two is not to fuck the system, but destroy it. The weapons are carefully chosen. They are "home-made," in that they are designed for use in our unique electronic jungle. Here the uptown reviewer will find ample proof of our "violent" nature. But again, the dictionary of law fails us. Murder in a uniform is heroic, in a costume it is a crime. False advertisements win awards, forgers end up in jail. Inflated prices guarantee large profits while shoplifters are punished. Politicians conspire to create police riots and the victims are convicted in the courts. Students are gunned down and then indicted by suburban grand juries as the trouble-makers. A modern, highly mechanized army travels 9,000 miles to commit genocide against a small nation of great vision and then accuses its people of aggression. Slumlords allow rats to maim children and then complain of violence in the streets. Everything is topsy-turvy. If we internalize the language and imagery of the pigs, we will forever be fucked. Let me illustrate the point. Amerika was built on the slaughter of a people. That is its history. For years we watched movie after movie that demonstrated the white man's benevolence. Jimmy Stewart, the epitome of fairness, puts his arm around Cochise and tells how the Indians and the whites can live in peace if only both sides will be reasonable, responsible and rational (the three R's imperialists always teach the "natives"). "You will find good grazing land on the other side of the mountain," drawls the public relations man. "Take your people and go in peace." Cochise as well as millions of youngsters in the balcony of learning, were being dealt off the bottom of the deck. The Indians should have offed Jimmy Stewart in every picture and we should have cheered ourselves hoarse. Until we understand the nature of institutional violence and how it manipulates values and mores to maintain the power of the few, we will forever be imprisoned in the caves of ignorance. When we conclude that bank robbers rather than bankers should be the trustees of the universities, then we begin to think clearly. When we see the Army Mathematics Research and Development Center and the Bank of Amerika as cesspools of violence, filling the minds of our young with hatred, turning one against another, then we begin to think revolutionary.
Be clever using section two; clever as a snake. Dig the spirit of the struggle. Don't get hung up on a sacrifice trip. Revolution is not about suicide, it is about life. With your fingers probe the holiness of your body and see that it was meant to live. Your body is just one in a mass of cuddly humanity. Become an internationalist and learn to respect all life. Make war on machines, and in particular the sterile machines of corporate death and the robots that guard them. The duty of a revolutionary is to make love and that means staying alive and free. That doesn't allow for cop-outs. Smoking dope and hanging up Che's picture is no more a commitment than drinking milk and collecting postage stamps. A revolution in consciousness is an empty high without a revolution in the distribution of power. We are not interested in the greening of Amerika except for the grass that will cover its grave.
Section three - LIBERATE! - concerns itself with efforts to free stuff (or at least make it cheap) in four cities. Sort of a quick U.S. on no dollars a day. It begins to scratch the potential for a national effort in this area. Since we are a nation of gypsies, dope on how to move around and dig in anywhere is always needed. Together we can expand this section. It is far from complete, as is the entire project. Incomplete chapters on how to identify police agents, steal a car, run day-care centers, conduct your own trial, organize a G.I. coffee house, start a rock and roll band and make neat clothes, are scattered all over the floor of the cell. The book as it now stands was completed in the late summer of 1970. For three months manuscripts made the rounds of every major publisher. In all, over 30 rejections occurred before the decision to publish the book ourselves was made, or rather made for us. Perhaps no other book in modern times presented such a dilemma. Everyone agreed the book would be a commercial success. But even greed had its limits, and the IRS and FBI following the manuscript with their little jive rap had a telling effect. Thirty "yeses" become thirty "noes" after "thinking it over." Liberals, who supposedly led the fight against censorship, talked of how the book "will end free speech."
Finally the day we were bringing the proofs to the printer, Grove consented to act as distributor. To pull a total solo trip, including distribution, would have been neat, but such an effort would be doomed from the start. We had tried it before and blew it. In fact, if anyone is interested in 4,000 1969 Yippie calendars, they've got a deal. Even with a distributor joining the fight, the battle will only begin when the books come off the press. There is a saying that "Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one." In past eras, this was probably the case, but now, high speed methods of typesetting, offset printing and a host of other developments have made substantial reductions in printing costs. Literally anyone is free to print their own works. In even the most repressive society imaginable, you can get away with some form of private publishing. Because Amerika allows this, does not make it the democracy Jefferson envisioned. Repressive tolerance is a real phenomenon. To talk of true freedom of the press, we must talk of the availability of the channels of communication that are designed to reach the entire population, or at least that segment of the population that might participate in such a dialogue. Freedom of the press belongs to those that own the distribution system. Perhaps that has always been the case, but in a mass society where nearly everyone is instantaneously plugged into a variety of national communications systems, wide-spread dissemination of the information is the crux of the matter. To make the claim that the right to print your own book means freedom of the press is to completely misunderstand the nature of a mass society. It is like making the claim that anyone with a pushcart can challenge Safeway supermarkets, or that any child can grow up to be president.
State legislators, librarians, PTA members, FBI agents, church-goers, and parents: a veritable legion of decency and order already is on the march. To get the book to you might be the biggest challenge we face. The next few months should prove really exciting.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Milosevic: True or False

This piece also appears on today's Guardian's Comment Is Free site.

How much do you know about Slobodan Milosevic, the recently deceased former pPresident of Yugoslavia?
Here's 10 statements that we've all heard many times in the western media these last seven days. But which of them are true and which are false?
1 Milosevic was a dictator.2 He was a Serb nationalist.3 He was responsible for the break-up of Yugoslavia.4 His 1989 speech at Kosovo Polje was a nationalist rant that inflamed ancient ethnic hatreds.5 He started four wars.6 He was responsible for the massacre at Srebrenica7 He ordered a systematic programme of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.8 He was toppled by a "democratic revolution" in 2000.9 The trial at The Hague had produced evidence of his guilt.10 He will be mourned by "only a few".
How many do you think are true? Seven, eight- all of them?The answer is zero. Every single statement is untrue.
Milosevic the dictator? He won three democratic elections in a country where 21 political parties freely operated.
Milosevic the Serb nationalist? www.slobodan-milosevic.org has an exhaustive collection of his speeches going back to the mid 80s and, although you'll find much pro-Yugoslavia socialist sentiment in them, you won't find any Serb nationalism.
Milosevic, the man responsible for the break-up of Yugoslavia? This too is false; he was the most pro-Yugoslav of all the leaders of the republics and was not even leader of Yugoslavia when Slovenia and Croatia became the first republics to break away.
Milosevic, the inciter of ancient ethnic hatred at Kosovo Polje? All you have to do is to read the English translation of the speech. "More and more successfully citizens of different nationalities, different faiths and races are living together. Socialism, in particular, being a progressive and just democratic society, should not allow people to be divided by national or religious identity" - if that's a Serb nationalist rant then my name is Jose Mourinho.
Milosevic the warmonger? He wasn't even in charge of Yugoslavia when Slovenia and Croatia broke away, and the conflict in Bosnia was caused by the US ambassador Warren Zimmerman's last-minute intervention to persuade the Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic to renege from the 1992 Lisbon agreement, which provided for the peaceful division of the republic. As for the Kosovo conflict, we already have British defence minister Lord Gilbert's admission that at the Rambouillet peace conference the west deliberately produced a document whose terms were so onerous that they knew the Yugoslav delegation would not be able to sign it.
Milosevic and Srebrencia? An official and exhaustive Dutch government report found no evidence of political or military liaison with Belgrade concerning the killings.
Milosevic and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo? General Geza Farkas, the ethnic Hungarian former head of security in the Yugoslav army, testified at The Hague that, far from ordering ethnic cleansing, Milosevic issued all Yugoslav army commanders in Kosovo with a document explaining international humanitarian law and ordered them to disobey any orders which contradicted it in their military conflict with the western-backed terror group the Kosovan Liberation Army.
Milosevic, the leader who was toppled by a "democratic revolution" in 2000? Again, a fiction. Milosevic lost power in a coup d'├ętat, orchestrated and funded by the US, who bankrolled the anti-socialist opposition to the tune of $70m. The western-backed candidate, Kostunica, scored 48.96% in the first round of voting, but, rather than wait for the second round, his supporters, with the west's backing, decided to take the law into their own hands and storm parliament.
Milosevic, the man who The Hague tribunal had proved was a war criminal? Again, untrue. By the time of his death, over 100 prosecution witnesses had been called at the trial, not one of them testified that Milosevic had ordered war crimes. Justice was certainly denied by Milosevic's untimely death - but not in the way the New World Order would like us to believe.
Finally, Milosevic, the man whom few will mourn? There can be very few people who believe this lie after the huge turnout for Milosevic's funeral ceremony in Belgrade on Saturday. Milosevic was mourned not just in Serbia, but throughout the world: in China, Africa, Asia and South America, as a hero of the anti-imperialist, anti-globalist struggle. "I say: rest in peace my friend, Milosevic; be happy. You surpassed this cruel, corrupt, hypocritic world" - the tribute not of a Serb nationalist, but Sridhara Senarath of Colombo, Sri Lanka, as posted on the BBC Newsblog. When the BBC said: "Few will mourn Milosevic" - it should really have said, "Few will mourn Milosevic in the west's corridors of power."
If you tell a lie enough times, it becomes accepted as truth, said Joseph Goebbels. In its coverage of the death of Milosevic, the western media has done the Nazi minister of propaganda proud. In order to cover up the Nato powers' complicity in the criminal dismemberment of Yugoslavia - and the war crimes committed in the Balkans, the west's media has not been content to tell just the one lie about Slobbo, but 10.

NEIL CLARK 2006

The Reason The Empire Hates Belarus

Here's a terrific piece on why The Empire hates Belarus from today's Guardian by Mark Almond.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1735514,00.html

Remembering the Iraq War's Pollyanna pundits

Many thanks to reader Bob Taylor for sending this one in on the third anniversary of The Empire's illegal invasion of Iraq.
How can those who made such predictions still be in their jobs? It seems that being a Gonzocon means never having to say you're sorry.....
http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2842

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Empire Defeated in Belarus

http://newsbox.msn.co.uk/article.aspx?as=adimarticle&ae=windows-1252&f=uk_-olgbtopnews&t=4023&id=2545936&d=20060319&do=
http://newsbox.msn.co.uk&i=
I must admit I find the result in Belarus hard to believe.
How could as many as 2.2% vote for a man like Milinkevich, who would have handed his country and its assets on a plate to the Empire?
Surely, this can't be right. Who, in their right mind, would vote for poverty, unemployment, inequality and the sending of Belarus soldiers to the next country The Empire decides to invade?
Isn't it wonderful to see 'The National Endowment Against Democracy' and all the other Empire-financed 'NGO's lose all that money!

ps For all those who don't believe the elections were 'fair'- like the wonderful elections in the U.S. when voters have the choice between two identical pro-big business, pro-war parties- have a look at the views of independent election observers from around the globe on the link below. And please, please, please, don't write in with any clap-trap on how Milinkevich was denied media access in Belarus' state owned media. How many times do you see anti-NWO figures handed the microphone in Western media? How much opportunity, for example were defenders of President Milosevic given on CNN/Sky News or the BBC to put their view this past week?
The bias of the NWO media would make Joseph Goebbels drool with approval- so let's not go criticising others.
http://www.belarusembassy.org/

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Balkanisation of Iraq

Well, the bastards did it to Yugoslavia......
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/03/19/do1909.xml&sSheet=/opinion/2006/03/19/ixop.html

Playing the NWO numbers game

According to the Focus New Agency, more than 500,000 people attended yesterday's ceremony of mourning in Belgrade for President Milosevic. The anti-Milosevic Serbian authorities have put the figure at 100,000.
Why then do both the BBC and Teletext continue to report that only 50,000 attended?
I have written to them to ask from which source did they get their figure- I'll post any reply as soon as I get one.
ps the other standard propaganda trick in today's Imperial media is to portray the demonstrators as 'predominantly elderly'. This is a clear lie- as looking at any pictures of the march will prove. People of all ages were there- an unpalatable fact for the Empire- which likes to pretend that only a small minority of elderly 'nationalists' mourn Milosevic. In any case, isn't trying to disparage a ceremony by claiming that those present were mainly elderly, ageist? Is the NWO saying that only the voices of C.I.A. bankrolled youth movements like the notorious OTPOR count- and that elderly people's don't?


More Than 500,000 People at Milosevic’s Funeral
FOCUS News Agency - 18 March 2006 (15:04)
Belgrade. Over 500,000 people are at official ceremony of mourning for ex Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic in center of Serbian capital Belgrade, RIA Novosti informs citing Belgrade police. Up to now there have been no incidents. About 40 people have looked for medical help and one man died during the funeral procession in memory of Milosevic in Belgrade, RTS announced. According to RTS about 100,000 people gathered in front of Serbia and Montenegro Parliament where Milosevic’s remains are at the moment. Russian Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov and Vice Speaker of the Russian State Duma (Parliament) Sergey Baburin are taking part in the funeral procession which started around noon in Belgrade today, RIA Novosti informed earlier. Russian MPs were greeted by the people who shouted “Russia! Russia!”, the agency adds.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Milosevic's prison guard speaks

"I get chatting to a Dutchman who until recently guarded Milosevic in prison. He says he was good company, polite and well behaved. But he says the climax to his career as prison guard would have been to lock the door on Bush and Blair.
He says they have killed more people than Milosevic ever did. And he's deadly serious. "

Mark Mardell, www.bbc.co.uk

R.I.P. Slobodan Milosevic

SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC 1941-2006
Patriot * Socialist * Anti-fascist

'With a successful, functioning Yugoslavia there was living proof history had not ended, that more than one economic system was possible...the USA considered this a dangerous obstacle to its plans for New World Order, globalisation, new colonialism'
SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC speech from the dock

"I say - Rest in peace my friend, Milosovich, be happy. You surpassed this cruel, corrupt, hypocritic world".
Sridhara Senarath, Colombo & Sri Lanka.

'Few will mourn Slobodan Milosevic' the BBC told us last week. They forgot to finish the sentence. It should have read 'few will mourn Milosevic in the Empire's corridors of power'.

Statement of the World Peace Council

Statement of the World Peace Council
The World Peace Council expresses its sincere sorrow for the death of the former President of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic who was kept imprisoned by the so-called International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) of Hague, a completely controlled and paid “court” of the USA and NATO. The ICTY, an idea of the ex- Secretary of State of the USA, Madeline Albright and of her European allies, was installed only for one reason: to justify and legitimize the 78 days of bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Leaders and politicians who resisted to their plans had to pay for their non-compliance as now Slobodan Milosevic did, with their lives.The “conquerors” of the ex-united Yugoslavia, after splitting up the country, causing wars and destruction, bombings of civilians and protectorates, wanted to wash them clean in Hague. Humanity and the peace loving people of the world cannot forget and will not forgive the imperialist crimes in Yugoslavia.The WPC is expressing its deep respect for the brave attitude of Slobodan Milosevic, who refused to accept the blackmail both before and after the aggression in his country. Our deepest condolences to his family and to his party.The Secretariat of the WPC
13th March 2006

The Inhumanity of The Empire

What do you call an Empire which murders those who stand in their way- and then denies the family of those it has killed the right to attend their funeral? Scum of the Earth?
Yup, that's the only thing you can call them.
The Quisling Serbian government, under orders from its Imperial masters, has deliberately prevented Mira Markovic and her son Marko from attending President Milosevic's funeral.
Please, please, no more talk on 'human rights' from the biggest bunch of fascists to walk God's earth since the fall of the Third Reich. Nor too from the pathetic rag-bag of journalists who make money by parroting their inhumane, fascistic propaganda.

A Letter The Independent Would Not Publish

Dear Sir/Madam,
‘His biggest advantage was the ability to lie straight into your face’ says Paddy Ashown of the late Slobodan Milosevic (Independent, 13th March 2006). But if readers would care to read the transcript of Ashdown’s testimony to the Hague Tribunal, (url: hague.bard.edu/past_video?09-2005.html) they can come to their own conclusions as to who was doing the lying. Not long before his death, Milosevic showed a video in court in which Ashdown could be seen inspecting a Kosovan Liberation Army weapons cache. Ashdown could be heard promising he would 'do his best' to get the terrorist group assistance. 'The kind of closure’ which Milosevic’s death provides is extremely convenient for many people- not least Ashdown himself.

Yours faithfully,
Neil Clark,

Friday, March 17, 2006

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

Didn't back War of Attrition today? Don't worry- every cloud has a silver lining.
http://www.stephenpollard.net/cat_general.html
Let's make sure we keep him at his word. Twenty years without reading another article from Stephen Pollard?
Conor O'Dwyer always was my favourite jockey.........

Jose Mourinho and the U.S.

What do Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and the U.S. have in common?
Here's my piece from today's First Post.
http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/index.php?menuID=1&subID=356

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Cracking Race in Prospect

It's a shame there's no Best Mate or Kicking King, but tomorrow's Cheltenham Gold Cup still promises to be a cracker. My two against the field are Kingscliff and Royal Auclair (each-way). I know Kingscliff is a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde figure, but if the good doctor turns up, this classy dual course and distance winner must have a major shout. He 's won both his races at Cheltenham (including an impressive win in the 2003 Foxhunters) on good ground- and its likely to be that again tomorrow. Royal Auclair just got beaten a short-head in fourth in last-year's renewal and provided the ground doesn't deteriorate must have a good chance of making the frame: he too has won over course and distance. If the rain does come and the going changes to good to soft- then last year's Grand National winner Hedgehunter would come into the equation.
Plenty of the 24 runners go with chances and it should be a thriller. If you can't get to Cheltenham, make sure you're not too far away from a tv set at 3.15 tomorrow. Readers from outside the UK can listen in on www.sportinglife.com or on the BBC World Service.

UPDATE: Unfortunately Mr Hyde turned up and Kingscliff never got into the race. Royal Auclair was also disappointing, though I must say he didn't look too good in the paddock beforehand (too many hard races catchnig up with him?). Hedgehunter ran a blinder on ground that was plenty fast for him and ran a fantastic Grand National trial, but there's no knocking the winner. War of Attrition. An appropriately named winner really considering the battle we're involved in against the NWO.....

The War Is Over! Yeh, right.......

Do you remember when Dubya announced to us that the war in Iraq was over. Well, what's this then pal? An air tattoo?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1732546,00.html

Highly Recommended

I know I'm biased because I write for it, but please do take a look at The First Post (www.thefirstpost.co.uk), the world's first wholly online daily newspaper. Because there's nobody 'upstairs' at The First Post, it really can publish a wide spectrum of opinion. Don't believe me? In how many other publications would you find an article by me- and then one from this man?!
http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/index.php?menuID=1&subID=344

A Letter From New York to the Milosevic Family

To the Family of President Slobodan Milosevic:

When I heard the news that Slobodan Milosevic had died I did not want to believe it. I did not want to believe that evil had triumphed over good, or that the evil that had been done to this brave and beautiful man could have finally killed him. When I heard it again on the news, my heart sank and I was deeply sad. His spirit and brilliant mind were indomitable, but his body was destroyed by the conditions of his arrest and the willful decision by the Hague Tribunal to let him die in prison rather than receive the medical treatment they knew he needed. And why proceed with a trial in which he had already proven his innocence? So in the end this is how the Hague Tribunal has made its mark on history - with the negligent homicide of Slobodan Milosevic.

Slobodan Milosevic was not easy to destroy; Slobodan Milosevic was killed three times. The first time was when they destroyed the country he loved and lived for - Yugoslavia. The second time was with character assassination, the preferred weapon of nameless cowards, criminals and liars. The trial itself did not kill him. He vindicated himself, his country and his people. He lived and died for us. What more can you say about a man? But ultimately with no better option before it, the ICTY decided to choke the life out of him by depriving him of the essential medical care he needed to survive.

My father was also killed by negligence and so I know the bitterness one feels after such an event. But you can take solace in the fact that Slobo died a martyr's death. He fought to defend his country, his nation, and a progressive socialist vision of humanity against the onslaught of a militarist and imperialist alliance of puppets and puppeteers. He was killed not because he was a nationalist, but precisely because he believed in multinationalist unity and justice and a just economic order inimical to the interests of multinational corporations and their financial and political institutions. He is the most famous and most courageous Serb of our time. And in light of the evidence presented at his trial, history will have to acquit him of all of the monstrous allegations made against him which the ICTY would not do even though they knew he was not guilty as charged.

Finally, as you know, I had the privilege of meeting President Milosevic several times. He had great intelligence, warmth, sense of humor and wit, wisdom, kindness and charm that I will never forget as long as I live. He was so strong and energetic despite his illness. The prison nurses came frequently during my visits and reported the news - 240 over 80 or worse. How did he survive it so long? He was amazing in every way. And then there was his smile and his penetrating stare which gave you detailed messages with a single look.

As I said before, he lived and died for us and for a better world. I know you are proud of him. I feel the same way. And one day I hope the whole world will feel this way too. If there is a better future, it will.

Barry Lituchy, New York City, 11 March 2006

A Chat with Milosevic

Dr John Laughland was one of the last Western journalists to meet President Milosevic. Here are his recollections of one of the most unjustly demonised human beings in history.
http://www.spectator.co.uk/article.php?id=7485&page=1

Milosevic's last letter

Here is the last letter of President Milosevic, written by hand on 8th March.
http://www.slobodan-milosevic.org/news/sm030806.htm

Who needs facts, when your name is Johann Hari?

I sent an email yesterday to the Independent's columnist Johann Hari, asking if he could produce any factual evidence for his claim that Slobodan Milosevic was a 'racist' and planned the 'creation of an ethnically pure Greater Serbia'. Here's his reply:


Sent :
15 March 2006 23:18:49
To :
neilclark6@hotmail.com
Subject :
Re: Mail from website
Inbox
Yuck. I really have no interest in engaging with you on any level. You
believe the state should kill its own citizens in peacetime using the death
penalty, so please don't offer me any lectures on anything, ever. Your
views on Milosevic are loathesome beyond belief, and there are plenty of
Kosovars and Bosnians who live round here who have explained the situation
to me in great, great depth, and are living proof of Milosevic's racism.


In other word, Hari does not have any evidence. I wonder, incidentally if his Kosovan and Bosnian acquaintances are as reliable as the Iraqis who assured him that the invaders of their country would be greeted with flowers?
I enclose some more interesting information about Hari from the website sourcewatch.org.
Readers will be able to make their own minds up about the credibility of his reporting.


Credibility Issues
In 2003, the British magazine Private Eye questioned the credibility of some of Hari's reporting.
[edit]
Private Eye challenges Hari
In March 2003, Private Eye's Hackwatch column made three allegations about Hari’s journalistic practices:[2] (http://student.cs.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/articles/article0003736.html)
(1) In a July 2001 column in the New Statesman Hari mentioned that he had used ecstasy after finishing his final university exams. Other media outlets subsequently ran articles by Hari including one in which he wrote "I'll try to explain why so many of us use the drug weekly". Hackwatch column stated that "In fact, the young rascal had never taken Ecstasy: before writing his lyrical account he had to phone a friend and ask what it felt like".
However, Hari has also been accused by Richard Littlejohn in the Sun newspaper and by the left-wing MP George Galloway being a drug addict who appears on television under the influence of cocaine. He says both the claims of non-drug use and of drug addiction are "bollocks".
(2) In an article on the death of Carlo Giuliani at the G8 summit in Genoa, Hari wrote that "when I saw the scene, I couldn't beleive so much blood had poured from just one body." Private Eye disputed that he was on the scene. "As several witnesses can attest, Hari wasn't there, having hailed a taxi to escape the scene some time before Giuliani was killed," the Hackwatch column stated. Hari denies this.
(3) In a January 10 2003 column Hari backed the need for the invasion of Iraq. "Who, you may be asking incredulously, would want their country to be bombed? What would make people want to risk their children being blown to pieces? I thought this too until, last October, I spent a month as a journalist seeing the reality of life under Saddam Hussein," he wrote.
"... If Britain were governed by such a man, I would welcome friendly bombs - a concept I once thought absurd. I might be prepared to risk my own life to bring my country's living death to an end. Most of the Iraqi people I encountered clearly felt the same. The moment they established that I was British, people would hug me and offer coded support (they would be even more effusive towards the Americans I travelled with). They would explain how much they "admire Britain - British democracy, yes? You understand?", Hari continued.
In a February 15 2003 column, the day of the mass anti-war rally in London, Hari wrote "You don't even have to go to Iraq, as I did last year, and see the desperate look on people's faces as they tell you - in the barest of euphemisms - that they 'love British and American democracy', and ask you, 'When will you come to free us? When will we be able to live again?'".
Private Eye noted that an article by Hari in the Guardian the preceding December ommitted the plea he wrote of in his February column: "Since these pleas from Iraqis yearning for the bombers to arrive must surely have struck him as newsworthy, why didn't he mention them in his original Guardian feature?". Hari has stated that he did mention them, but they were edited from the long 2000-word article to save space, a statement that has been confirmed by the Guardian.
Private Eye also claimed that Hari was in Iraq for two weeks rather than a monthhe had written in the Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,852453,00.html). Private Eye claimed: "Actually, Hari spent two weeks in Iraq as a holidaymaker, on a package tour visiting ancient archaeological sites. He wrote about the trip in the Guardian on 3 December last year. In that article, however, he complained that it was “very difficult to get Iraqis to express their feelings… I blundered about asking fairly direct political questions, which caused people to recoil in horror…"
In a letter to the Observer later in the year, written after Richard Ingrams was the first and apparently only person to repeat these allegations in the mainstream press, Hari dismissed Private Eye's challenge to his standards of accuracy. "Even the slightest factual analysis of Private Eye 's retaliatory accusations causes them to immediately crumble into dust," he wrote. [3] (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,6903,1051198,00.html) The criticisms appeared the week after Hari attacked Ian Hislop, the editor of Private Eye, in the Independent, something Hari claimed to be a motivation behind the "slurs". Since Hari challenged the claims back in 2003, Private Eye have gone quiet about Hari.
[edit]
Hari and the "Kenneth Joseph" story
In 2003, Hari favored the US invasion of Iraq, citing his limited experiences in the country and the opinion poll findings of pressure group the International Crisis Group:
"Those who still deny all this evidence will know soon enough, once the war is over, what the Iraqi people thought all along. When it emerges – as I strongly believe, based on my experience of the Iraqi exile community and the International Crisis Group's survey of opinion within Iraq – that they wanted this war, will the anti-war movement recant? Will they apologise for appropriating the voice of the Iraqi people and using it for their own ends?—Johann Hari, "Sometimes, the only way to spread peace is at the barrel of a gun", The Independent, March 26, 2003.
At this time, Hari took at face value tale a story covered by wire service UPI and reported in newspapers like the Christian Science Monitor and the Los Angeles Times on Kenneth Joseph, who was purportedly an American anti-war "pastor of the Assyrian Church of the East" who went to Iraq as a 'human shield' but discovered that most Iraqis wanted the invasion to proceed.
Writing in Counterpunch in April 2003, Carol Lipton exposed the flaws in the neatly packaged Kenneth Joseph story. [4] (http://www.counterpunch.org/lipton04122003.html) The original source of a story was UPI and the Washington Times, both of which are owned by the Unification Church. The fact that the original UPI story was written by Arnaud de Borchgrave should also have raised some questions [5] (http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20030321-023627-5923r). In particular, she writes:
He wrote in this highly charged and dramatic piece that "Joseph was explaining that his trip had shocked him back to reality". Yet Hari never states to whom Joseph did the "explaining", or where. He recounts Joseph's story as if it were his own, clamining that Iraqis were "willing to see their own homes demolished" in order to end Hussein's tyranny, and proceeds to issue a trenchant indictment of the entire antiwar movement, accusing its members of being "the real imperialists", for ignoring the "true wishes" of the Iraqi people.Hari had already written an essay on March 26 for the Independent, a progressive British newspaper, entitled "Sometimes, the only way to spread peace is at the barrel of a gun", where he describes Joseph as an "ardent antiwar activist," whose beliefs were "as fervent as any menber of the Stop the War Coalition".[Lipton, op. cit.]
Private Eye reported that after questions began to be asked in the international media about the Joseph story, Hari said he would investigate while protesting "it's cheap and dishonest to try to skip my arguments because you think, on the basis of obviously ridiculous reports [in the Eye], that I'm 'a fraud'."
On September 25, 2003 Hari appended a small mea culpa to his original column. "It transpires that Kenneth Joseph was probably a bullshitter, and that his claimns were false. I should have checked his story out more rigorously before I used it. The full details of the Joseph affair can be found at the excellent Counterpunch website," he wrote.[7] (http://www.johannhari.com/archive/article.php?id=87)
From email exchange with Hari, it is not clear whether Hari contacted Joseph directly or utilized a tertiary source. Although he stated "I am having difficulty locating him", it is not clear from his statements if he actually contacted him before writing the article. If he didn't then the article was based entirely on the UPI "story" and the subsequent newspaper reports on him.
In response to emails querying him about this story, Hari wrote (May 6, 2003):
If it's a malicious hoax, I'll add a rider to the original article on the Indie website explaining exactly that. I'm still not able to get in touch with him to ask him about it.However, have you seen the Indian newspaper poll - by an anti-war paper - of Iraqis which found that 51% of them backed the US invasion, and only 36% opposed? This adds credence to his story. Or have you read the ICG Report?Thanks,Johann
NB: Although Hari has added a "rider" to the article on his personal website, there has been (1) no comment on this issue in the Independent, and (2) there is no "rider" in the version of the article in the Independent. (verified February 9, 2005).

Democracy in Belarus: An Amoeba speaks

Cor, the Empire is trotting out all its foot soldiers in the attempt to put the boot in on Belarus- even of the amoeba kind. 'One President but plenty of thugs'?- Isn't that a description of Dubya, Donald, Wolfie and Perle, William? You know, your pals from D.C.?
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,6-2087785,00.html

A Criminal Collusion

Here's an excellent piece by Seumas Milne in today's Guardian on the collusion between Britain, the Likud adminstration in Israel and the U.S. I'm pleased Seumas mentions the war crimes of Ariel Sharon-a man with far more blood on his hands than Milosevic, yet who got off scot-free. Instead, he even gets praised by the British Foreign Secretary!
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,,1731851,00.html

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The State Is For The People

Here's a superb speech by the President of the last independent country in Europe. The only one whose foreign policy is not decided in another country's capital.
http://president.gov.by/eng/president/speeches/speech/2006/3sobr/

The Murder of Milosevic

http://www.slobodan-milosevic.org/news/smo031506.htm
Milosevic's funeral will be in Serbia on Saturday. The Quisling NWO-installed government in Belgrade has denied him a state funeral, fearing that they will be overthrown and replaced by a truly democratic and patriotic government. Their fears are not groundless. In 1941, against all the odds, the Serbs rose up against their oppressors- and did the world huge favour by inflicting a major setback on the Nazis. On Saturday, they have the chance to do the world a favour again.

The Bloody Fangs of the New World Order

If they can't convict you- they'll still make sure you never get out alive.
http://blog.lewrockwell.com/lewrw/archives/010149.html

A British PM who said no to US pressure

Here's my tribute piece from today's First Post on Harold Wilson, a man to whom we should be ever grateful for keeping our country out of the Vietnam War. Can you imagine if Bliar had been our PM in the Sixties? It's too horrible to think about.
http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/index.php?menuID=1&subID=349

How Milosevic was done to death

Rifampicin, which was found in Milosevic's dead body is a tasteless, odourless drug which can be administered in food.
All the drugs which Milosevic took in jail were taken under supervision. There is no way he could have obtained and taken the Rifampcin himself. There is no other explanation, except that Rifampicin was administered to him without his knowledge.
We are dealing here with murder.



A cunning way to kill a man that needs no expertise
The Times (London) - March 14, 2006, Tuesday
By: Dr. Thomas Stuttaford

We have known for years that Milosevic had a bad heart, with hypertensive heart disease associated with coronary heart disease and myocardial ischemia. As a result, the blood supply to his heart was inadequate and I'm surprised that he lived as long as he did.He should have been considered for a coronary bypass or angioplasty (unblocking of the arteries). The problem here is that if someone suffers from severe heart disease, their heart may no longer be strong enough to take a better arterial blood supply. I have not heard of rifampicin being used to mask the effects of another drug, but the mechanism by which drugs can interfere with one another is known as the "grapefruit effect", because grapefruit interferes with the metabolic pathways of many drugs. Imagine the route that a drug takes into the body as a series of alleyways. When one drug is taken to interfere with another, it is like sending a lorry down a narrow highway, preventing other traffic from reaching its destination.In this case, rifampicin was apparently used to block the pathway for heart medication. This would have built up behind, like traffic building up on a congested road. With the drugs unable to reach the liver, they would go round and round in the blood supply -building up to dangerous levels and potentially causing terrific damage -but with their effects entirely negated.You don't have to be terribly skilled to establish which drugs interfere with others. They are listed in a reference book called Martindale's and any would be poisoner could have looked up the pharmacology of the drugs that Milosevic was being prescribed and discovered those that used the same pathways.The interaction of drugs is a constant worry in medicine. I never heard of anyone deliberately using this to poison a patient, but it is unquestionably a cunning way of doing it.

Invictus

We have witnessed four days of unrelenting propaganda in the 'free world's' media which Joseph Goebbels would have been proud of. An innocent man has been accused of the most horrendous crimes- even though a four year court case, bankrolled by the richest countries on earth could turn up not a scrap of evidence.
Hating Milosevic has become compulsory for the careerists who hold office in The Empire, be they politicans, or the journalists who peddle Imperial propaganda. Had I taken a different line and took the Danegeld to write 'Butcher of Balkans' style pieces ten years ago, I am sure I would be considerably better-off financially. I was told six years ago, by a highly respected figure in the British media to 'drop Milosevic- it won't do your career any good as there's just too many people with vested interests involved at demonising him. Everyone knows he's a fall-guy, but you just can't say it'. And when I first submitted a piece on Milosevic, written in situ from Yugoslavia, the then comment editor of The Times told me 'I agree with you about Milosevic, but it might be difficult to get the piece through editorial'. The comment editor's name was Michael Gove, later to be a signatory to the Principles of the Henry Jackson Society.
But although my bank balance is I'm sure, not as big as the likes of Hitchens C, Aaronovitch, Kamm, Pollard, Hari, and other propagandists for The Empire, I wouldn't change a thing. I couldn't peddle lies about an innocent man, Iraqi WMDs or a non-existent Iranian nuclear bomb programme. Not even if you paid me.


Invictus
by Nebojsa Malic
Slobodan Milosevic, 1941-2006

In the morning hours of March 11, news came from the Scheveningen prison near The Hague: Slobodan Milosevic, former president of Serbia and Yugoslavia, was found dead in his cell. It was the second death in Scheveningen in a week; on March 5, Milan Babic, once a leader of the Serb rebellion in what is today Croatia, had allegedly committed suicide while waiting to testify in another trial. Babic had plea-bargained with the Inquisition and received a sentence of "only" 13 years.
News of Milosevic's death prompted an outpour of vitriol in the mainstream Imperial media. Milosevic was the man it wasn't only politically correct to hate, it was dangerous for one's political credentials in the West not to. AP, AFP, Reuters, BBC, CNN, all the major newspapers in the UK, France, Germany, the U.S., and just about everyone else raced to see who could publish the most venomous denunciation of the man they blamed for everything that happened in the Balkans over the past 15 years.
In producing this stream of abuse, everyone was governed by the assumption that all the charges against Milosevic had been proven, if not in the court of law, then in the "court of public opinion" – in which they, of course, have been the judge, jury, and executioner all along.
"Sole Culprit"
Consider, for a moment, this editorial that appeared in the Washington Post on Tuesday:
"Ethnic and sectarian rivalry was real in a cobbled-together state, but few people expected, much less wanted, a civil war. Mr. Milosevic, a Communist Party apparatchik in Serbia, deliberately and methodically nursed this latent tension from a flicker to a conflagration and used it to consolidate a criminal regime in Belgrade. He bombarded Serbs with lies and hateful demagoguery about their supposed victimization at the hands of Croats, Bosnian Muslims, and Kosovo Albanians, and he convinced them that the only solution was a Greater Serbia created through war and ethnic cleansing. …
"More than is generally recognized, at least in his own country, he was personally responsible for the most destructive conflict, and most terrible atrocities, recorded in Europe since World War II. There were other protagonists and other criminals, some of them Croatian, Bosnian, and Albanian. But without Mr. Milosevic the Yugoslav wars wouldn't have happened."
Just about everything here is false. Milosevic never called for war – unlike, for example, Izetbegovic or Tudjman. His famous 1989 speech in Kosovo, often said to be a call for conflict, actually called for coexistence. That is why it is never actually quoted. By describing the very real atrocities of Croats, Muslims, and Albanians allied with Hitler as the fruit of Milosevic's malicious imagination, the Post simply engages in Holocaust denial. The claim that Milosevic desired and pursued a "Greater Serbia" is pure propaganda-inspired fiction. As for his "personal responsibility"… well, the Hague Inquisition spent three years trying to prove it, with thousands of investigators, paid experts, and Imperial troops at its call, and managed to produce… nothing.
Another popular claim made in the press is that Milosevic had "started four wars." Again, it's pure fiction. The only war he could have started was the one in Kosovo – and the blame for that one lies squarely on the shoulders of NATO and its allies, the terrorist UCK. Though he claimed he was defending Yugoslavia, in truth Milosevic was all too willing to yield to separatists. He was the driving force behind the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, established by Serbia and Montenegro in April 1992, implicitly recognizing the secession of everyone else. It was the United States that refused to recognize the FRY, insisting on a fiction that Belgrade was claiming other territories.
Out With the Old
Milosevic's rise to power in the late 1980s was just one of the stories in post-Tito Yugoslavia, which had functioned for decades as a Communist dictatorship where expressions of ethnic identity were approved only when they benefited the Party agenda. After the death of Tito in 1980, the Communists, unable to choose a successor, governed by committee; between economic woes caused by decades of central planning and bad debts, and political problems stemming from inter-ethnic rivalries Tito had exploited to secure his power, Yugoslavs were getting increasingly frustrated. A bad constitution (1974) complicated the already complex system of governance – especially in Serbia, the only Yugoslav republic with additional provinces (Vojvodina and Kosovo). When Milosevic emerged from the ranks of bland Communist apparatchiks to supplant the inept, dogmatic leadership in Belgrade, moved to amend the 1974 division of Serbia in line with the other republics, and declared that after decades of Communist suppression that being a Serb was not a fountainhead of "bourgeois reactionary evil," he became an overnight hero to millions.
Imperial "official history" tries to paint the triumph of nationalism among the Slovenians, Croats, Muslims, Albanians, and Macedonians as a reaction to Milosevic's rise. To do that, however, one would have to deny the historical roots of such nationalisms, or the convictions of their champions. Leaders of Slovenian and Macedonian separatists were former Communist officials, whose peoples had profited handsomely from the Yugoslav arrangement. Croatia's Tudjman, a Holocaust-denier with a soft spot for the WWII Croatian regime allied with Hitler, and the Bosnian Muslims' Alija Izetbegovic, an unrepentant Islamic revolutionary, were not responses to Milosevic – they had worked on their programs long before he ever appeared on the political scene. Separatist political parties had already been elected in Ljubljana, Zagreb, and Sarajevo before Milosevic won the first election in Serbia in the fall of 1990.
Demonized
To secure independence, Slovenia, Croatia, and later on Izetbegovic's Bosnian government claimed they were victims of "aggression" by the Federal Army and/or Serbia. Yet it was Milosevic who never disputed the Croats', Slovenes', and Muslims' right to secede from Yugoslavia; he only supported the right of 2-odd million Serbs living in Croatia and Bosnia to secede themselves. Zagreb and Sarajevo chose to resolve that dispute violently; both Tudjman and Izetbegovic made statements to that effect, and they are publicly available.
It was during the 1991 conflict in Croatia that PR agents in the West started demonizing Milosevic as the president of Serbia, which was labeled the "aggressor" in what was actually an ethnic war. As clashes started in Bosnia in 1992, flaring up into full-scale war upon Izetbegovic's declaration of independence in April, demonization of Serbs and Milosevic in particular became a staple of war reporting from the Balkans.
"Peacemaker" to "Hitler"
Throughout the conflict in Bosnia, the U.S., Europe, and the UN acted as if Milosevic was controlling the Bosnian Serbs, and blamed him every time the peace talks failed – even when the Muslims were responsible. Serbia remained under a crippling UN blockade from April 1992 to 1996, imposed as punishment for the alleged Serb massacre of a breadline in Sarajevo. Milosevic got no credit for his blockade of the Bosnian Serbs in 1994, or for standing by while U.S.-backed Croatian forces ethnically cleansed hundreds of thousands of Serbs from zones nominally under UN protection. He was maneuvered into heading the Serb delegation to the Dayton peace talks by Washington, with the "coincidentally" timed indictments of Bosnian Serb leaders by the nascent (and U.S.-sponsored) Hague Inquisition.
In Dayton, Milosevic had to deal with treachery, deceit, and bad faith on behalf of not the Muslim or Croat delegations, but the American "mediators." Richard Holbrooke proudly described in his memoir how he tried to cheat Milosevic, and only regretted getting caught. And it is Holbrooke who credits Milosevic with saving the talks, which Izetbegovic threatened to sink at the very last moment. It may have been pretentious of Milosevic to claim himself as the "key factor of peace in the Balkans," but he had at least partially earned that designation in Dayton, and from his most bitter enemy.
Three years later, however, it was the very same Holbrooke spearheading Washington's effort to force Milosevic into a war over Kosovo, where the terrorist Albanian "Kosovo Liberation Army" (with Washington's support) was fighting for secession.
Today Holbrooke claims Milosevic had broken every deal he'd signed; that's a lie. It was Holbrooke's employer who did so, from Dayton to Kumanovo, and it was Holbrooke's employer who was responsible for the 1999 Rambouillet "agreement" – a travesty of diplomacy not seen since the 1914 Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Belgrade. Washington today accuses Milosevic of starting the 1999 war over Kosovo by "negotiating in bad faith," but it is hard to imagine diplomacy in worse faith than the American "peace effort" in Rambouillet, the frame job in Racak, and the subsequent naked aggression disguised as "humanitarian intervention."
It was 1999 when Milosevic was indicted by the Hague Inquisition, again "coincidentally" with the crisis of morale in NATO headquarters as Serbia refused to surrender and more and more images of NATO's civilian victims became available to the public. Armed with the indictment, the pro-NATO media went into high gear in their demonization of Milosevic, routinely comparing him to Hitler and the Serbs to Nazis. He had become the Emmanuel Goldstein of the new world order, whom everyone bellyfelt as evil.
Captive
Milosevic stepped down as president of Yugoslavia in the evening hours of Oct. 5, 2000, after the mob organized by the "Democratic Opposition of Serbia" had demonstrated claiming election victory, sacked the federal parliament, and stormed the state TV. Ballots documenting the alleged DOS victory conveniently perished in the fires set by protesters. The DOS, funded and organized by Washington in what would later become a pattern for "revolutions" in Georgia and Ukraine, soon established a new government under the leadership of Zoran Djindjic. In April 2001, Djindjic had Milosevic arrested. In June, he broke half a dozen Serbian and Yugoslav laws and handed Milosevic to the Hague Inquisition.
There was no trace of the once-accommodating, compromising Milosevic at The Hague. That man had probably perished with the first NATO bombs in 1999. Instead, the Inquisitors faced a proud and defiant man, who threw the accusations back into their faces and insisted not only on his innocence, but on the illegitimacy of the ICTY and the culpability of NATO and Washington for the bloodshed in Yugoslavia. The prosecutors took over two years to present their "kitchen sink" indictment charging him for war crimes in Croatia and Kosovo and genocide (!) in Bosnia. Milosevic systematically demolished their witnesses in cross-examinations and successfully challenged their "evidence," despite the hostility of the judges, who would often cut him off. In September 2004, Milosevic began his defense, after defeating the efforts of the "court" to impose counsel on him without consent.
But the trial had taken a toll on his health, and he'd been complaining of high blood pressure, headaches, and heart problems for months. Prosecutors and the media derisively claimed he was "faking it." Just last week, the Inquisition refused his request for medical treatment at a Russian hospital, despite Moscow's guarantees that he would return. Three days after he wrote to the Russian government, claiming he was being poisoned, Milosevic was found dead in his cell.
Poison Plot
In the letter, sent on March 7 to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Milosevic claimed that a non-prescribed drug found in his system in January indicated that someone was poisoning him, and that he feared for his life. The Inquisition responded through one of their trusted reporters, Marlise Simons of the New York Times. Simons found a Dutch toxicologist who had formulated a "theory" – based on finding a rare drug in Milosevic's blood that could have interfered with his blood pressure medication – that Milosevic was poisoning himself so as to be transferred to Russia, where he would escape. "It's like a James Bond story," Dr. Donald Uges told Simons.
Though the Inquisition previously claimed that Milosevic was faking illness and not taking his medication, they suddenly rushed to confirm Uges' "James Bond story" – through unnamed sources, of course. But Uges himself noted that the drug was nearly impossible to obtain in the Netherlands, that it was near-impossible to smuggle things into Scheveningen, and that the dose would have to be very precisely calibrated to produce the exact symptoms Milosevic was showing – hardly something doable by an amateur. Milosevic knew nothing about medicine; his fields of expertise were banking, law, and politics.
Propaganda Court
Although the "court of world opinion," composed of "judges" such as Richard Holbrooke and the Washington Post, had already found him guilty of being Hitler Reborn, Slobodan Milosevic was never convicted of any crime, in any court, even the kangaroo "Tribunal" in The Hague. His marathon trial was formally closed on Tuesday, without reaching a verdict.
Chief Inquisitor Carla Del Ponte told the press Milosevic's death robbed her of a chance to convict him, and that she considered it a defeat. But as John Laughland observed in The Guardian,
"[T]o say that Milosevic escaped justice by dying … assumes that 'justice' means not due process but a guilty verdict. The day we start to believe that we will have abandoned the rule of law completely."
Neither the Imperial hegemony-mongers, nor the masses convinced by years of two-minute hates that Milosevic was the sole culprit for the ills that have befallen them, care a whit about the rule of law, due process, or the presumption of innocence. The majority of Croats, Muslims, and Albanians need to blame Milosevic in order to continue believing themselves to be purely innocent victims (Bosnian Muslims have gone the farthest in internalizing this sort of thinking). Even a great many Serbs find it easier to blame Milosevic for the wars, sanctions, bombing, and postwar humiliations; conditioned gut-hatred is easier than soul-searching or critical thinking.
But to blame Milosevic for everything that happened in the Balkans since 1989 is to believe a malicious, irrational fiction.
Free
A day before Milosevic passed away, the Hague Inquisition decided to allow KLA terrorist Ramush Haradinaj to return to politics, despite the indictment against him. Another KLA terrorist, Agim Ceku – whom the ICTY never investigated, much less indicted – became the "prime minister" of occupied Kosovo. The campaign to resolve the "Serbian question" by dismembering Serbia continues unabated; Milosevic's death provided a good pretext for more supporting propaganda.
At the time of his death, Milosevic was a prisoner. Unlike his country, however, he refused to accept his captivity and fought against it any way he could. Whatever one may think of the way he lived or governed, in his final four years, he stood alone against the Empire, embodied in the Inquisition: an overwhelming force seeking to dominate all of humanity, willing and able to twist history, facts, and logic into a sinister fiction. Milosevic did not have to resist it; he chose to. For years, the greatest coercive force in the world tried to break him, and failed. He died free.

The Fight Back Has Already Begun

Here's a brilliant piece by Chomsky on how the fight back against The Empire is gaining ground in Latin America and Asia. It's Eastern Europe's turn next- beginning with the people of Belarus saying an emphatic no to the New World Order's Drag Nach Ostern on Sunday.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1731009,00.html

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Who was the liar, Paddy?

Paddy Ashdown accusing someone else of being a liar is rather like Jose Mourinho accusing someone of being a bad loser. Yet incredibly, the former Imperial Consul of Bosnia did just that, in the Indie on Monday. The lies that Ashdown told when he testified at The Hague against Milosevic are on the public record- in the transcripts of the trial . He must obviously be banking, as all the other reptiles who have been queuing up to kick a dead man this week are, that no-one will ever bother to read them.

Here's my letter of response.

Dear Sir/Madam,
‘His biggest advantage was the ability to lie straight into your face’ says Paddy Ashown of the late Slobodan Milosevic (Independent, 13th March 2006). But if readers would care to read the transcript of Ashdown’s testimony to the Hague Tribunal, (url: hague.bard.edu/past_video?09-2005.html) they can come to their own conclusions as to who was doing the lying. Not long before his death, Milosevic showed a video in court in which Ashdown could be seen inspecting a Kosovan Liberation Army weapons cache. Ashdown could be heard promising he would 'do his best' to get the terrorist group assistance. 'The kind of closure’ which Milosevic’s death provides is extremely convenient for many people- not least Ashdown himself.

Yours faithfully,
Neil Clark,

One Voice We've Heard More Than Enough Of

He calls himself 'left-wing' and 'progressive'. Then what on earth is Johann Hari doing talking to a propaganda mouthpiece of an Empire which has caused more deaths on this planet than any other force since Nazi Germany?
All over the world people have heard 'The Voice of The Empire'- from Belgrade to Baghdad- from the occupied territories to Tehran. It's usually distinguished by a shrill 'if you don't do this or that, we'll bomb you' .
Then it says 'if you don't surrender your leader to us for trumped up war crimes charges, we'll devastate your economy'. And finally, when the leader in question refuses to bend down on his knees in front of The Emperor, the Voice says 'It's time to die now you upstart, but nobody will care that we've poisoned you because thanks to our control of the media every one believes you deserved to die anyway'.

The 'Voice of The Empire' is a voice we've all heard far too much of. Rather like Hari's.
http://www.johannhari.com/archive/article.php?id=825

Who Cheated Justice at The Hague?

Here's a superb piece from Alexander Cockburn on the denial of justice at The Hague.
http://www.counterpunch.com/cockburn03142006.html

A War Criminal Speaks

By their own words, they are damned. Here's Clinton's 'special envoy' to the Balkans, Richard 'von Ribbentrop' Holbrooke. If there was any justice in this world, war criminals like Holbrooke, Perle and Wolfowitz would be dying in prison cells and not those who stand up to their aggression.

'In March 1999 I made two trips to Belgrade at President Clinton's instructions. I told Milosevic that if he accepted our deal and withdrew all his security forces from Kosovo, we would not bomb him.
He refused to do that and as a result I told him, in the last time I ever saw him, I told him that the bombing would start immediately and it would be sustained and severe and he had no response. '
I flew directly to Budapest. When I got to Budapest I called Washington and said it's over and the bombing started within a few hours. That's the last time I saw him.
I knew as soon as he reached The Hague that he'd never see daylight again and I think that justice was served in a weird way because he died in his cell, and that was the right thing to do. '

A Quick Balkan Quiz

Here's three quotes from Yugoslav politicians.

1.' Socialism, in particular, being a progressive and just society, should not allow people to be divided by national or religious identity'.

2.I would never allow a Serb, Jew or gypsy to marry into my family'

3.'The first and most important lesson from the Koran is the impossibility of any connection between Islamic and non-Islamic systems'

Which one of those statements do you agree with ? Yes, I thought so. Me too. It's by Milosevic.
Which two leaders did the West side with? Yes, the ones who came out with Quotes Two and Three.

Criminal Proceedings

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1730274,00.html

Monday, March 13, 2006

Inside The Empire's Regime-Change School

Many thanks to Ian Johnson for sending in this highly revealing article from Asia Times.

Inside the US's regime-change school

From a Special Correspondent
TEHRAN - When the invitation to attend a human-rights workshop in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates came, it was a complete surprise for Nilofar, an attractive Iranian woman in her early 30s who works for an international organization in Tehran and claims to be apolitical. "I got the invite through a press officer at another international organization who clearly did not know the real nature of theworkshop," Nilofar told Asia Times Online over a series of three interviews from last September to February. "When I arrived in Dubai, the other participants were very surprised to see me and told me that these workshops are only for activists. So I don't know how I got in, really, except if their selection process is not as stringent as they would make it out to be." Once in Dubai, Nilofar was booked by one of two organizations running the program into the Holiday Inn. She recounts that the course organizers were a mixture of Los Angeles-based exiled Iranians, Americans who appeared to supervise the course and whose affiliation remained unclear throughout, and three Serbs who said they belonged to the Otpor democratic movement that overthrew the late Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic in 2000. The highly secretive nature of the workshops meant that they were misleadingly advertised in the lobby of the hotel as a conference by the "Griffin Hospital". The organizers, instructors and students identified themselves through aliases and were instructed to communicate with one another after the course was over through Hushmail accounts, an encrypted e-mail service that claims to be hack-proof. In class, the Serbian instructors organized role-playing games in which the participants would assume the personas of characters such an Iranian woman or a Shi'ite cleric. Throughout these exercises in empathy and psychology, stress was laid on the importance of ridiculing the political elite as an effective tool of demythologizing them in the eyes of the people. "They taught us what methods they used in Serbia to bring down Milosevic," Nilofar said. "They taught us some of them so we could choose the best one to bring down the regime, but they didn't mention directly bringing down the regime - they just taught us what they had done in their own country." Cyrus Safdari, an independent Iranian analyst, said: "As I gather, the idea was to fund and train activists to be agents provocateurs along the lines of the Otpor movement in Serbia. Their job was to utilize various techniques, such as anti-government graffiti etc, to embolden the student movement and provoke a general government crackdown, which could then be used as a pretext to 'spark' a mass uprising in Iran that appeared to be spontaneous and indigenous." Nilofar's invitation to attend the Dubai sessions arrived last July, several months before the administration of US President George W Bush requested an extra US$75 million of funding from Congress to accelerate its efforts to achieve regime change inside Iran. Last week, State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli announced that a newly established Office of Iranian Affairs within the department would focus on introducing democracy in Iran. The top officials behind the new policy are said to be Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, Elizabeth Cheney (Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter), Scott Carpenter and David Denehy, in addition to the secretary of state herself, Condoleezza Rice. Composed of up to 15 Farsi-speaking officers spread across US diplomatic posts neighboring Iran and in European capitals with large Iranian communities, the office would aim to develop Iran experts whose "primary language would be Farsi", Ereli said. "We need to develop a cadre of foreign-service officers who speak Farsi, who understand the region - not just Iran, but the region where Iran has influence and reach - and understand Iran," Ereli said. "The logic of putting people out in the field [is] to use the language, to develop the on-the-ground expertise so that 10, 15, 20 years from now, we've got - just like we have Arab experts ... we used to have Soviet experts - we've got a cadre of Iran experts." The Iran office representative in Frankfurt, for example, will "be working with the Farsi speakers in Frankfurt and monitoring developments in Iran from that location", Ereli added. According to Henry Precht, a former US diplomat who presided over the Iran desk during the Iran hostage crisis of 1979, the State Department intends "to beef up the training of officers in the history, language and culture of the country and put them in touch in Dubai with oppositionists". The State Department's initiative will presumably complement the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers specializing in Iran who are based out of neighboring countries, such as the UAE, Turkey and Azerbaijan. One such agent was Reuel Marc Gerecht, a CIA case officer in the 1980s who worked under diplomatic cover in the US Consulate in Istanbul. His job was to debrief would-be Iranian defectors and - as he describes in his book Know Thine Enemy - it often felt like a "chance to play God". "I'd let hundreds of desperate Iranians languish in Turkey. People who'd given me insights never found in books. I'd watched mothers with children drop to their knees and beg for my help," he wrote. "They didn't want money, just a little kindness, a visa out of their personal hell ... [they met] a sympathetic man waiting in a warm room full of food, coffee, tea, alcohol and cigarettes. A US official who'd politely strip them of all their memories and every corpuscle of information and then reopen the street-side door." Whether the State Department's new initiative proves successful or not, the huge publicity and acute suspicion that already surround it can only make its task harder. "I guess the whole program had developed some serious leaks," commented Safdari, the Iranian political analyst, "since I heard about it repeatedly from various guests at various Iranian social functions who wanted to show off about how well connected to the CIA they had become." Safdari added that the inspiration for the workshops such as the one in Dubai may find provenance in one of the right-wing Washington think-tanks that has a proven track record of providing inspiration for Bush administration policy initiatives in the Middle East. As for the funding, he believes that it may come "only indirectly from the US government ... I'm not sure if that meant the project belonged to some 'political entrepreneurs' acting independently of the US government, or if these are just standard measures intended to create plausible deniability". Nilofar is similarly unimpressed by the caliber of the trainees that she encountered in Dubai. She describes the majority as "power-hungry", mahrum - a Farsi word meaning deprived - and beset by temper tantrums. "Of the political activists now in the country, many come from lower-class families who have been deprived of everything and now they've decided to overthrow the government," Nilofar said. "But what they don't understand is that the idiot students who are being beaten up now, they will not be tomorrow's leaders, they'll be pushed aside. "The Iranians kept on drinking and drinking and drinking," Nilofar said. "And they made endless phone calls, thinking that the Americans would pay for them. But in the end, they didn't."
(Copyright 2006 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved.

Take your pick

Toxicologist Donald Uges has confirmed that rifampicin, a drug used against leprosy and tb was found in Milosevic's body.
The question now is how did it get there. There are only two possibilities.

Firstly, Milosevic took the drugs himself -to make himself ill.
Secondly, the drugs were admininstered by the Tribunal.

In 2002, sources within the Tribunal revealed that Milosevic had been given the wrong medication for his heart condition, this claim was reported in the Dutch media. Then, he very nearly died of a heart attack.

I'll leave you to make your own minds up as to whether you favour the first, or second explanation.