Seeking Africa Military Bases, Kosovo Albaninan Criminality, and Capitalist Price Gouging

The Empire — A Status Report

There are a number of expressions and slogans associated with the Nazi regime in Germany which have become commonly known in English.
“Sieg Heil!” — Victory Hail!
“Arbeit macht frei” — Work will make you free.
“Denn heute gehört uns Deutschland und morgen die ganze Welt” — Today Germany, tomorrow the world.
But none perhaps is better known than “Deutschland über alles” — Germany above all.

Thus I was taken aback when I happened to come across the website of the United States Air Force and saw on its first page a heading “Above all”. Lest you think that this refers simply and innocently to planes high up in the air, this page links to another page where “Above all” is repeated even more prominently, with links to sites for “Air Dominance”, “Space Dominance”, and “Cyber Dominance”, each of which in turn repeats “Above all”. These guys don’t kid around. They’re not your father’s imperialist war mongers. If they’re planning on a new “thousand-year Reich”, let’s hope that their fate is no better than the original, which lasted 12 years.

The events of recent years indicate that the world is wising up to and becoming less intimidated by Washington’s overarching ambition for world dominance. Latin America is increasingly attempting to escape the empire’s clutches. Leaders keenly aware of how US imperialism works and determined to keep it out of their own country are in power in Venezuela, Uruguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, and perhaps the latest addition, Paraguay.

And now Africa has turned down Washington’s offer to be part of the imperial family. African governments have refused to host Africom, the US Africa Command. The Washington Post reported that “worry swept the continent that the United States planned major new military installations in Africa”, and despite the promise of new development and security partnerships, many Africans concluded that Africom was primarily an extension of US counterterrorism policy, intended to keep an eye on Africa’s large Muslim population. The United States “equates terrorism with Islam,” said a senior Kenyan diplomat, and few African governments wanted to be seen as inviting US surveillance on their own people. [note: It would be more instructive to equate anti-American terrorism with American foreign policy, including building military bases in other people’s countries.]

When Bush visited Africa in February, he was told by the Ghanaian president: “You’re not going to build any bases in Ghana.” US-funded aid groups protested plans to expand the American military’s role in economic development in Africa, sharply objecting to working alongside US troops. Said an Africom officer: “[Africom] was seen as a massive infusion of military might onto a continent that was quite proud of having removed foreign powers from its soil.”1

There’s also the oil factor. The US imports more oil from African nations than from Saudi Arabia, and the continent has huge unexplored areas. This undoubtedly is a major motivation behind Washington’s desire for an expanded military presence in the region. The United States is not about to take Africa’s rejection of Africom as the last word; indeed, some of the tough rhetoric by African officials may be for public consumption, for the US already has somewhat of a military presence on the continent. It will be interesting to observe the ongoing tug of war between Washington and African nationalists/anti-imperialists over expansion of the American presence.

Democracy American Style. You gotta problem wit dat?

Here’s White House spokeswoman Dana Perino at a recent press briefing:

Reporter: The American people are being asked to die and pay for this, and you’re saying that they have no say in this war?
Perino: I didn’t say that … this President was elected —
Reporter: Well, what it amounts to is you saying we have no input at all.
Perino: You had input. The American people have input every four years, and that’s the way our system is set up.2

In 1941, Edward Dowling, editor and priest, commented: “The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.”

Can we look forward to Perino’s memoir after she leaves the White House in which, like her predecessor Scott McClellan recently, she confesses that she was part of a “permanent campaign” mode to deceive the American public? I’m prepared to welcome her into the fold as I have McClellan. I have a soft spot in my heart for political late bloomers. I used to work for the State Department when I was a good, loyal anti-communist.

Washington’s grand and noble new ally in the Free World

Scott McClellan has been criticized for not expressing his reservations about Bush administration policies while still at the White House. This would have indeed taken a measure of courage few people have, and likely meant his job and career committing suicide. I’m reminded of Carla Del Ponte, the Swiss diplomat who in 1999 became Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, located in The Hague, Netherlands. In accordance with her official duties, she looked into possible war crimes of all the participants in the conflicts of the 1990s surrounding the breakup of Yugoslavia and the NATO (read the United States) 78-day bombing of Serbia and its province of Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians were trying to secede. In late December 1999, in an interview with The Observer of London, Del Ponte was asked if she was prepared to press criminal charges against NATO personnel (and not just against the former Yugoslav republics). She replied: “If I am not willing to do that, I am not in the right place. I must give up my mission.”

The Tribunal then announced that it had completed a study of possible NATO crimes, declaring: “It is very important for this tribunal to assert its authority over any and all authorities to the armed conflict within the former Yugoslavia.”

Was this a sign from heaven that the new millennium (2000 was but a week away) was going to be one of more equal international justice? Could this really be?

No, it couldn’t. From official quarters, military and civilian, of the United States and Canada, came disbelief, shock, anger, denials … “appalling” … “unjustified”. Del Ponte got the message. Her office quickly issued a statement: “NATO is not under investigation by the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. There is no formal inquiry into the actions of NATO during the conflict in Kosovo.”3

Del Ponte remained in her position until the end of 2007, leaving to become the Swiss ambassador to Argentina; at the same time writing a book about her time with the Tribunal — The Hunt: Me and War Criminals, published two months ago but available at the moment only in Italian. It hasn’t been much reported yet what del Ponte has said about NATO, but the book has already created a scandal in Europe, for in it she reveals how the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) abducted hundreds of Serbs in 1999, and took them to Kosovo’s fellow Muslims in Albania where they were killed, their kidneys and other body parts then removed and sold for transplant in other countries.

The KLA for years has been engaging in other equally charming activities, such as heavy trafficking in drugs, trafficking in women, various acts of terrorism, and carrying out ethnic cleansing of Serbs who have had the bad fortune to be in Kosovo because it’s long been their home. Between 1998 and 2002, the KLA appeared at times on the State Department terrorism list; at first because of its tactic of targeting innocent Serb civilians in order to provoke retaliation from Serbian troops; later because Mujahadeen mercenaries from various Islamic countries, including some tied to al Qaeda, were fighting alongside the KLA, as they were in Bosnia with the Bosnian Muslims during the 1990s Yugoslav civil wars.4 The KLA remained on the terrorist list until the US decided to make them an ally, in some measure due to the existence of a major American military base in Kosovo, Camp Bondsteel. (It’s remarkable, is it not, how these bases pop up all around the world?) In November 2005, following a visit there, Alvaro Gil-Robles, the human rights envoy of the Council of Europe, described the camp as a “smaller version of Guantanamo”, referring to the detainees there at the time from Washington’s various wars, including the so-called War on Terror.5

On February 17 of this year, in a move of highly questionable international legality, the KLA declared the independence of Kosovo from Serbia. The next day the United States recognized this new “nation”, thus affirming the unilateral declaration of independence of a part of another country’s territory. The new country has as its prime minister a gentleman named Hashim Thaci, described in Del Ponte’s book as the brain behind the abductions of Serbs and the sale of their organs. The new gangster state of Kosovo is supported by Washington and other Western powers who can’t forgive Serbia-Yugoslavia-Milosevic — “the last communists of Europe” — for not wanting to wholeheartedly embrace the NATO/US/European Union triumvirate, which recognizes no higher power, United Nations or other. The independent state of Kosovo is regarded as reliably pro-west, a state that will serve as a militarized outpost for the triumvirate, which is intent on further encircling Russia and pushing it out of Europe.

In her book, Del Ponte asserts that there was sufficient evidence for prosecution of Kosovo Albanians involved in war crimes, but the investigation “was nipped in the bud”, focusing instead on “the crimes committed by Serbia.” She claims that she could do nothing because it was next to impossible to collect evidence in Kosovo, which was swarming with criminals, in and out of the government. Witnesses were intimidated, and even judges in The Hague were afraid of the Kosovo Albanians.

In April, the Swiss Foreign Department issued a statement that Del Ponte’s book “contains statements which are impermissible for a representative of the government of Switzerland”, ordered her to return to her ambassadorial post in Argentina, and prohibited any further appearances promoting her book. The Swiss have officially recognized the independence of Kosovo and established an embassy in the country. Kosovo appears likely to remain a highly controversial issue in Europe and Washington for some time to come.6

Reason number 3,468 to yearn for the lifting of the capitalist weight from our souls

My phone company, Verizon, recently raised the monthly charge for my international call plan by 30 percent. I phoned them to find out the reason for this and was told that their competitors had raised their charge for the international plan and so Verizon was doing the same. “To stay competitive”, the earnest young man told me. I thought I must be misunderstanding him. We’ve all been raised to believe that one of the beauties of capitalism is that it provides a competitive environment which induces businesses to lower their rates so as to lure away customers from their competitors. In the end, the consumer benefits from lower prices. And this makes sense, at least within the capitalist framework. (Although there have of course been numerous cases of large companies lowering prices to force a small company — which initiated the price cuts — out of business, after which the large companies raise their prices back up.) But now? Now we’re told that competition leads to price increases. What, pray tell, is there left of the system for us to believe in?

Supply and demand? Like in Burma, following the recent devastating cyclone? Prices for food and other essentials have risen significantly since the disaster. As they should, according to the revered and beloved law of supply and demand, inasmuch as things are obviously in short supply in Burma and people’s needs are plainly much greater than usual. What could make more sense under circumstances of human desperation than to raise prices?

Yet, though questioning the law of supply and demand is normally regarded in the same light as being skeptical of the law of gravity, I have to do so, and refer to things I’ve expressed before: The price of gasoline in the United States has been increasing on a regular basis for a rather long time now, but there’s no shortage of supply. There are no lines of cars waiting hours at gas stations trying to fill up before the pumps run dry. And there’s been a considerable fall in demand as less-than-rich drivers cut back on car use. It does not require total cynicism to wonder whether the law of supply and demand has been repealed. Or can it be that what is known as “supply and demand” is not really any kind of immutable “law”, but rather (choke, gasp) “corporate policies”?

The oil companies are currently spending big bucks to convince the American public that the super-high gasoline prices are not the companies’ fault. “The industry,” reported the Washington Post, “is trying to convince voters — who, in turn, will make the case to their members of Congress — that rising energy prices are not the producers’ fault and that government efforts to punish the industry, especially with higher taxes, would only make pricing problems worse.”7

Do the oil companies think they’re being misunderstood? The next time you run into a friendly oil company executive ask him this: “If you lowered prices to what they were two years ago, would consumers stage protests outside your headquarters? Would the FBI raid your offices? Would your breathtakingly obscenely high profits drop into the red? Could you still maintain your decadent millionaire lifestyle? The oil companies are perfectly free to very significantly lower prices without anything that you or I would call financial suffering. But they don’t do it. So what’s being misunderstood by the public which obliges the companies to spend millions on advertisements? Money which could go toward price reductions.

Oil company executives at least produce a useful product compared to people in the hedge funds business. What are hedge funds, you ask? They’re private, largely unregulated pools of capital whose managers can buy or sell any kind of assets. The income of the fund’s executives — often in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, sometimes even a billion — is taxed as capital gains, a much lower tax rate than if it were taxed as regular earnings. One can say that hedge funds are simply pure speculation carried to absurdity; typical of the new American Dream: getting rich through speculation and inheritance instead of through skill, enterprise, and filling a human social need.

Here is Daniel Strachman, a former hedge fund consultant and author of The Fundamentals of Hedge Fund Management. He’s skeptical of raising taxes on hedge fund managers, saying they should be rewarded for taking huge risks. [So do firefighters, police officers, and bank robbers of course.] Most managers have their own money in their funds, he declares, and suffer massive losses when their investments go bad. “It’s clear somebody has to win and somebody has to lose”, says Strachman. “It’s not pretty at all because people say, ‘Oh my God. Look how much money these guys are making while people are losing their homes and are complaining about the cost of eggs and sugar.’ But so what? We don’t live in a society that is pretty all the time. That’s why it’s capitalism.”8

  1. Washington Post, June 1, 2008, p.18. []
  2. White House press briefing, March 20, 2008. []
  3. The Observer (London), December 26, 1999; Washington Times, December 30 and 31, 1999; New York Times, December 30, 1999. []
  4. There are numerous articles in the world press of the past 20 years about the KLA’s inordinate thuggery; Google “KLA” and one or more of the key words, such as drugs, prostitution, ethnic cleansing, transplants, etc. []
  5. Camp BondsteelWikipedia. []
  6. Del Ponte’s book and the turmoil it’s produced have been largely ignored in the US media, but if one does a Google on her name and the book, one will find many reports from Europe. []
  7. Washington Post, May 9, 2008, p.D1. []
  8. Washington Post, April 17, 2008, p.D1. []
William Blum is the author of: Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2, Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir, Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire. He can be reached at: bblum6@aol.com. Read other articles by William, or visit William's website.

14 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozhidar balkas said on June 7th, 2008 at 7:18am #

    those people who oppose independence for kosovo base their objection on several premises:
    1. kosovars or a number of kosovars have committed crimes; thus a people who had criminals among them, have no right to selfgovernace.
    by this test, latvia, france, norway, croatia, serbia, slovakia and et al have no right to govern selves.
    2. no new nations can rise; kosovo is not a new ethnos; ergo, claim to independence is invalid.
    however nations do rise all the time. just 5-6 td yrs ago germans and anglos may have been one people. croats and serbs were one people but not since at least 1700 yrs.
    3. seniority rights. serbs were in kosovo before albanians. even if this be true, it is irrelevant. actually albanians as descendants of illyrians may have continuously inhabited also kosovo and much of the balkans until slave arrival.
    it is an ancient ruse and quite racist to negate some peoples their right to independence because the powers say that these people have no right to self-determination because of their traits and on basis of conclusions, dysphemism, belittlement, halftruths. lies, etc.
    some people omit the fact that serbia has abrogated kosovan autonomy. it may or may not represent a casus bellicus.
    serbia has also attacked slovenia, croatia, and bosnia.
    but serb quest to obtain a larger serbia for serbs only or manily has failed; hopefuly for all time. thank u

  2. hp said on June 7th, 2008 at 11:31am #

    That the acting Prime minister of Kosovo(a), psychopathic murderer Hashim Thaci, has been accused by none other than the chief prosecutor of war crimes at the Hague, Carla Del Ponte, for harvesting of organs on demand from kidnapped Serb civilians says it all.
    I did notice one small error in this report. The Serb prisoners weren’t always killed and then harvested. At times, they would remove the desired organ, sew up the prisoner and keep him alive for further harvesting. Isn’t that special? And cost effective. Truly an up and coming capitalist, that Thaci.
    Want to bet this story gets buried.
    Along with the non mass graves, non acid mines, non rape camps, non Racak massacre and many other non truths in which the media went lock step.
    This was, after all, the precursor to Iraq, the dawning of the new NATO and its altruistic mission(s) of “humanitarian intervention.” Beautiful.
    Thanks big Bill Clinton, and let’s not forget Bill’s partner, “environmental Al Gore.” What a legacy of four billion years of DU contamination. Good job Al! A person might imply that is one of the most un-environmental acts in the history of the human race.
    Oh well, lets give “environmental Al” a Nobel “Peace” prize and 300 million dollars and not fuss so much.
    While we’re at it let’s give Hashim Thaci a Nobel “Peace” prize as well.
    They go cheap these days.

  3. Michael Kenny said on June 7th, 2008 at 1:09pm #

    An aside about Carlita la Pesta, as she’s known in Switzerland, where she has always been regarded as a pain in the neck. She was the chief public prosecutor of Switzerland and was dumped on the Hague tribunal to get rid of her out of that job. Hence her current exile in Argentina. Being from strongly anti-EU Ticino, I’ve always suspected her of wanting to hamstring the EU by suddenly discovering that some nefarious war criminal is hiding out in Serbia just at the moment that Serbia and the EU started seriously talking. She did that several times.

    Personally, I think that the tribunal should be wound up an a general amnesty granted on all sides. The European integration process is about turning the page and moving on, not about raking over old coals. The only real advantage of the tribunal is that it discredits the US! It reminds Europeans of the monumental American screw-up ex-Yugoslavia is and serves as a dire warning to those who might be tempted to follow the US into other disasterous adventures. Designed as a warm up for Afghanistan/Iraq/Iran etc., it blew up in the faces of its progenitors. It’s an ill wind …

    A small, essentially linguistic point. “Deutschland über alles” has nothing to do with the Nazis. It dates from the liberal uprisings of 1848 and the failed attempt to unite Germany at that time. “Deutschland” refers to the intellectual concept of a united Germany, not to the country, which didn’t even exist at the time, and “über alles” can best be rendered as “above all else”. It was meant to express the committment of the 1848 revolutionaries to a united, democratic, German republic, not a desire to dominate non-Germans. The idea of German domination of others is propaganda which dates from WWI, I think, and would probably be better rendered in German as “Deutschland über allen”.

  4. hp said on June 7th, 2008 at 1:42pm #

    Michael, it’s hard to close the book when we’ve got the largest military base since Viet Nam up and running, in Kosovo. The, as Mr. Blum points out, “smaller version of Guantanamo.”
    Not to mention the still elusive Mladic and Karadzic, supposedly the most vicious war criminals since Himmler and Goering, still free and basically rubbing it in the faces of the vaunted SAS as well as other (USA) special forces seeking them. Thirteen years now?
    If I’m not in error, the last time the SAS caught up with Mladic, all fourteen SAS were killed and that was that. The SAS do still periodically terrorize their families, but to no avail.
    I think they won’t fully close anything until they have their revenge on Mladic simply for reasons of pride and rubbing out, as it were, the last vestiges of the truth possibly being told. Milosevic made fools out of them and their “eye witnesses” as far as they allowed him to go. Until his timely death, that is.
    None of this mentions the Krajina and the illegal mercenary for hire ethnic cleansing there either. (Blackwater before Blackwater was cool) A quarter million Serbs cleansed doesn’t even hardly merit more than an offhand “they deserved it.” After all, they’re only Serbs.
    It seems they prosecuted all minor and trumped up crimes and hid the real ones by the now common practice of omission.
    With the Russians still backing Serbia, it certainly ain’t over yet.

  5. Etienne said on June 8th, 2008 at 6:09am #

    The safest thing to do now for the minorities like The Roma People and the Kosovo Serbia is to leave Kosovo as soon as possible.

    Just take a look at The Kosovo Constition, Article 22, which indicates that the Albanians in Kosovo intends to ignore the International Humanitarian Law.
    Here is the letter from The Roma People regarding this issue:

    In the light of the planned forced repatriation of up to 100,000 people, of whom many Roma, to Kosovo, we are very much concerned about the fact that the draft foresees the possibility of detaining a person for the mere reason that this person has been expelled from a country (art. 29.6), and believe that this is contrary to international law.

    We are very much concerned about the exclusion of Roma from the whole process starting with the status negotiations themselves. Especially, the Diaspora, which constitutes by many times the multiple of those who have remained in Kosovo, has been never consulted.

    If Kosovo wants to become a multi-ethnic and democratic society and guarantee the return of the refugees it needs to reach out to its Roma population and not just seek their silent acquiescence.

    The letter in full text:

    http://kosovoroma.wordpress.com/2008/03/05/comments-on-kosovo-draft-constitution/

  6. Etienne said on June 8th, 2008 at 6:41am #

    By the way:

    Are there anyone out there who sees the pararel, the similarities The Greater Albania’s Ethnonationialism and Israel’s Zionism, from 1946 till the eighties where Albanians used a mixture of ethnic cleansing and migration, to increase their population in Kosovo from 50 % in 1946 til 91 % in these days.

    That pretty much like Zionism, ain’t it?

    When you think about it, it’s no wonder that the Milosevic-regime came to power in the 90’s?

    Now, there are 37 ethnical groups in what is left of Serbia, and almost no-one left in Kosovo. 65,4% ethnical Serbs in the North of Serbia, Vojvodina, and 82 % ethnical Serbs in the central part of Serbia.
    When all these says Kosovo is Serbia, that includes also all the minorities.

    The conflict regarding this, will go on and on for many decades to come………….and the people will sadly vote for nationalist parties, like the Radical and the SPS again, , because some think that is the part of a solution.

    So, on the The Greater Albanian side, you have Ethnonationalism and the war criminal Hashim Thaci in charge, whilst on the Rest-Serbian people will support nationalist parties like Milosevic old party, SPS.

    It’ s a long since I’ve been talking and used the English langue, so excuse me if my English was not correct here.

    Yours Sincerely

  7. bozhidar balkas said on June 8th, 2008 at 7:55am #

    hp,
    as a croatian-canadian, who’s been in canada for 57 yrs, i , too, conclude that probably ab 150t serbs have been expelled from n. dalmatia; ie, knin area. at least 3 croat generals r being prosecuted now for their alleged crimes.
    however, i point out that an aggression is by far more serious crime than the crime of any individual.
    it must be pointed out that more than half of 700t croatian serbs have lived and still live in croatian cities and towns.
    in add”n, according war time reports, serbs, in order to obtain touching serb territory in croatia, have expelled at gun point all croats tha were in the way in e.slavonia and knin area.
    in bosnia serb aggression was an astounding success. within months, serb possessed ab 70% of e. bosnia.
    i recall reading Baker’s statement ’91 to serbs; and i paraphrase, Go ahead but take it easy.
    for some reasons that were never divulged, Clinton changed amer course. nato and he turned against serbia ’94.
    the reasons why nato and US had turned against serbia in ’94 may be that they saw independence for sloveina, croatia, bosnia, monte negro, and kosovo as propitious for nato/US.
    russian ally, serbia, is isolated. its quest for greater serbia for serbs only or mainly probably gone the way of the dodo. thank u.

  8. hp said on June 8th, 2008 at 10:08am #

    Bozhidar, don’r forget that Russia is on the way up and the US is on the way down. The Serbs will never give up their Holy land and you know this.
    Also, as far as individual crimes being not as serious as aggression, there is a more powerful weapon and that is symbolism. Mladic is a symbol (Hitler) and as such needs to be exorcised by the NATO saints to show the world that truth and justice wins. Or else..

    Etienne, I understood perfectly what you said. Not only the Roma, but also Turks, Jews and Serbs were cleansed from Kosovo.
    I do indeed see a similiarity between Israel and Albania. not only the expansionist plans but also the totally one sided propaganda.
    Don’t forget Macedonia, either.
    I remember when the Macedonian “Tigers” had the criminal KLA surrounded and NATO came in and evacuated the KLA on buses.
    The KLA had even spread their terrorism to Macedonia, the same country which took in thousands of Albanian refugees.

  9. bozhidar balkas said on June 8th, 2008 at 1:15pm #

    etienne,
    anything is possible; however, kosovo can be joined to albania by war or if US/nato allows it.
    albania would be foolish to attack serbia. serbs are much stronger; while m.negro, parts of bosnia, and macedonia would most likely also enter the war.
    communist yugoslavia and communist albania have cooperated in the war against germans/italians.
    after the war, yugoslavia led by tito, cut all ties w. the albanians. so, it’s unlikely tito would have allowed immigration into kosovo.
    in add’n, kosovo may have been inhabited by 1llyrians/albs for at least 3,5oo yrs.
    serbs have either settled in among albs or have defeated them in kosovo.
    there r hardly any same or similar traits in zionsim (one of the most odious ideologies) and kosovars’ claim for kosovo.
    it should be noted that rugova (alb leader) had for at least a decade
    tried peaceful resistance to whatever serbs wanted.
    zionists; ie, ashkenazim have never been in canaan or palestine until 1850 when a few begun entering palestine from russia, rumania, poland.
    ottoman empire was very tolerant of religions; it also allowed immigration of people within its borders.
    ashkenazic people r an euro-asian people who latched onto zionism in order to use christians to help them steal another people’s land.
    also US does not arm or help financially albs as it does IOF.
    while all ashkenazim, mizrahim, and sephardim call selves “jews”, few of them r of any relig’n other than judaism.
    kosovars r catholics and muslim.
    so, when it comes to salient traits, there is only disimilarities betwn zionism and kosovan quest for independence. thank u

    hp,
    serbs had their churhes in ex-yugolsavia; they had their churhes also on kosovo. so, if churches mean “holy land”, then parts of croatia, bosnia, macedonia, kosovo, and monte negro would also be “holy”
    let’s face, there is no holy land anywhere. it’s priestly madness calling anyone or anything “holy”
    u’r right, serbs may not for long time (decades or centuries) gladhand loss of kosovo even tho it may have never been theirs.
    once again, i affirm that the war is the greatest hell by far than what mladic maybe responsible for.
    russia may be getting stronger. but both china and russia face world’s plutocrats and not just the ones in US. even nato lands may be at least 20 times stronger than russia
    thank u

  10. Lloyd Rowsey said on June 9th, 2008 at 4:44am #

    Thanks for this exchange, folks, and thanks to William B. for inspiring it. If Americans had one one-hundreth the interest in “foreign affairs” that Europeans do, there never would have been an Iraq War. But we have been conditioned by, among other things, doctrinal (and pervasive) secrecy in foreign affairs since World War II, and in fact and subconsciously accept an essentially non-existent role in decision-making in this country’s foreign affairs. Of course, there’s also the fact that we’re not exactly stupid — despite the radical deschooling that has occurred here in the last 50 years — and we understand, viscerally, that fucking the rest of the world is in our material interests.

  11. John Wilkinson said on June 9th, 2008 at 4:37pm #

    “And now Africa has turned down Washington’s offer to be part of the imperial family. African governments have refused to host Africom, the US Africa Command.”

    Boy, don’t you always look only on the surface, Bill. You don’t think they would find a way to gain a foothold there? You’re apparently not aware of the widespread corruption of many, many African governments. Yes, they are proud people, but they are governed by crooks, by and large, and any crook can be BOUGHT. It’s only a question who’ll buy them first (or, actually, last), since these are no minor-leaguers, to them embezzling billions is nothing (while their people starve — and you praise such leaders). Why do you think the continent is still in the pits, after so many tries, so many civil wars, so many changes — because they are incapable? So, more useless fluff from you.

    “Can we look forward to Perino’s memoir after she leaves the White House in which, like her predecessor Scott McClellan recently, she confesses that she was part of a “permanent campaign” mode to deceive the American public? I’m prepared to welcome her into the fold as I have McClellan. I have a soft spot in my heart for political late bloomers.”

    Is it possible you’re really that naive? These people served in the White House when it was convenient. They established connections and material for their books. Their salary was good, so they lived good lives then, conscience didn’t bother them, but nothing compared to the KILLING they’re going to make off of their books. No conversion has really taken place, it’s all about MONEY, just like with you. Or maybe before they were not sincere, it was all convenience, but you’re prepared to consort with prostitutes?

    “I used to work for the State Department when I was a good, loyal anti-communist.”

    No, Bill, what happened is, you figured it’s more profitable to be a big fish in a small pond, rather than a small fish in a big one. Pure and simple, and you were right. Actually, something like the “conversions” with these people.

    Or maybe, just maybe, Bill, at that time you may have also thought that the Soviet Union might actually win, it certainly looked that way for a while, so you positioned yourself for that eventuality?

    “1990s surrounding the breakup of Yugoslavia and the NATO (read the United States) 78-day bombing of Serbia and its province of Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians were trying to secede.”

    The first Serbian pilot shot down, was hit by a missile from a Dutch fighter plane. But facts don’t matter to Bill. Yes, it’s true, the majority of hardware was supplied by the US, simply due to the math involved. The US acted on repeated requests from NATO countries (British, Germany, France, etc). Bases from which the planes flew were located in Italy, Germany and other NATO countries. The NATO secretary general at the time was a Spaniard. But, the facts don’t matter to Bill, and the US gets ALL the blame.

    Ethnic Albanians were, first and foremost, trying to survive, after being subjected to terror and oppression. They tried to secede only after years of this went by. They were not en-masse deported from Kosovo (about 1.5 million of them), their homes and mosques were not scorched? Those pics we saw from a variety of news sources worldwide were just made up, a world-wide conspiracy (for what exact end?)?

    “From official quarters, military and civilian, of the United States and Canada,…”

    So, it’s not only the US who are solely the great Satan? Now the truth is slowly emerging. And what about the European members of NATO, they didn’t have anything to say?

    “…created a scandal in Europe, for in it she reveals how the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) abducted hundreds of Serbs in 1999, and took them to Kosovo’s fellow Muslims in Albania where they were killed, their kidneys and other body parts then removed and sold for transplant in other countries.”

    First of all, some of Kosovo Albanians are Christian (e.g., mother Teresa). Secondly, now you’re engaging in vilification and demonization of Muslims, when it suits your purpose (stealthy fear mongering with your leftist “intellectual” friends who pretend they’re above this), while in other parts you blast the US for doing exactly that. What does the fact that they’re mostly Muslim have to do with anything, other than hidden propaganda and brainwashing?

    I am sure that atrocities were committed by all sides in these wars. But one side had access to the vast majority of weaponry of the Yugoslav army, and they had the most opportunity to commit mayhem. And that is precisely the side that you on the left choose to EXONERATE of ALL responsibility for these crimes, simply because the US went after them. Simple order of magnitude reasoning tells you that the side that has 90% of the weaponry, esp. heavy weaponry (how useful is a machine gun against a platoon of tanks?), is going to do about 90% of the damage, including war crimes. Even if the military itself don’t do these crimes, by clearing the territory of the enemy forces, they make it possible for the shady elements to operate and do their dirty deeds. These wars in former Yugoslavia were only on the surface about protecting people and nationalism. They were about profit – the chief protagonists made themselves fabulously rich, on all sides. And in the process, horrendous crimes were committed.

    So, yes, maybe KLA was a terrorist organization, I don’t know (so are the Palestinian organizations, according to the same sources, but they’re OK according to you, as they’re opposed to the US and Israel). I am sure they did their share of dastardly things (for which some of them are in the Hague, more on that later, contrary to reader’s and your comments). But I am a little incredulous about this particular assertion. It reminds me of the stories circulating a few years back, (maybe early 2000s or late 90s) how some visitors to Las Vegas went with some seductive girls to hotel rooms for what they thought were one-night stands, and woke up in bathtubs filled with ice, their one kidney missing. And supposedly, this was an epidemic, this was happening all the time. I never saw any proof of this, or any follow-up, the story just fizzled; it was put there just to generate traffic. Probably the same sources are behind both stories, they bear striking similarities. And the complexities involved make me doubt such stories. (And how convenient that the book is only available in Italian, and only in Europe, so quotes can be posted out of context, and cannot be checked at all; and how strange that now del Ponte is your savior (or so you claim), but before she was the face of the devil, because she chose to prosecute those responsible, regardless of the fact that that wasn’t politically correct according to you on the left).

    Do you know what would be involved in such an operation? First of all, Albania was, and is, a dirt-poor country, with no infrastructure of any kind (private autos and private ownership outlawed until 1991, no roads, not even rail except for a short spur). Does del Ponte name the institutions where these organs went to, for that would also be a huge scandal? Imagine you’re a doctor in such an institution in the west and you need a donor organ, say a liver. First off, all such transplant organs are extremely sensitive, they must be removed in precisely controlled conditions, and kept in precisely controlled conditions and in specially designed machinery (and I doubt that the expertise and the equipment existed in a backward country like Albania), and transported in precisely controlled conditions (in a jet) and in a very short time after removal (within a few hours), or they die, they’re no good after that. So, if you’re such a transplant doctor, you need to be assured of all these things. You need a clear chain of custody of the organ, multiple forms signed as to how these precise and demanding conditions were met, recognized doctors being involved on all sides. So, if you’re such a doctor, or a hospital administrator, you’re going to accept a call from some character you’ve never heard of in your life, offering you this liver for half price, not knowing how this liver was removed, how it was kept, how long it’s been since it’s been removed? That stretches credulity. Or is this some hack doctor, doing this transplant operation in a bathtub for poor people? I mean it gets stranger and stranger the more you think about this. OK, corruption is possible in all places, I suppose, well, does she name those on the receiving end? Clearly, life-preserving protocols were violated in such cases, and those doctors and hospitals should lose their licenses, be prosecuted, etc. Well, which doctors/hospitals were involved, which patients have those organs, or did those organs/patients all disappear into thin air? They didn’t want to pursue this very important lead and uncover corruption in their (publicly subsidized) medical system(s), because they were afraid of insulting the Albanians and the Kosovars? They were not afraid of prosecuting the Kosovo prime minister, but they were afraid of opening this can of worms in their own front yard, uncovering the rot in their own system? Del Ponte sat on this for years, so she could write a book, when lives were put at risk on a daily basis in the middle of Europe? How effing strange, and how neatly it fits into your neat theories. No proof of anything, only allegations, only sound bites, that’s how you operate, and the stranger the story – the better, the more shock value – the better, the peanut gallery won’t know the diff.

    “The KLA for years has been engaging in other equally charming activities, such as heavy trafficking in drugs, trafficking in women, various acts of terrorism, and carrying out ethnic cleansing of Serbs who have had the bad fortune to be in Kosovo because it’s long been their home.”

    Don’t worry, the Serbs did plenty of ethnic cleansing of their own. And the two populations were out of balance not because of this but because the Albanian birth rate (10 children is common) is many times the Serb birth rate. Yes, now, after several decades of oppression and crimes committed by both sides, now they can’t live together or trust each other. But in your little world, only one side is to blame for everything – the side that you oppose. Before it’s been the Serbs’ home, it was the Albanians’ home, see the Illyrian tribes. And don’t forget the Serb massacres of about 100,000 Albanians in one of the Balkan wars at the turn of the 20th century.

    ” Between 1998 and 2002, the KLA appeared at times on the State Department terrorism list; at first because of its tactic of targeting innocent Serb civilians in order to provoke retaliation from Serbian troops;”

    Yes, KLA was founded in the late 90s, so what took them so long (were they provoked?) if they wanted secession from the get go?

    ” later because Mujahadeen mercenaries from various Islamic countries, including some tied to al Qaeda, were fighting alongside the KLA, as they were in Bosnia with the Bosnian Muslims during the 1990s Yugoslav civil wars.”

    Yes, right, another bugaboo, bring in the Al-Qaeda, bring in the Mujahadeen, yes scare your “open minded” left-intellectual peanut-gallery. They were only a small presence, while the Bosnian Muslims were fighting for their very survival.

    “The KLA remained on the terrorist list until the US decided to make them an ally, in some measure due to the existence of a major American military base in Kosovo, Camp Bondsteel.”

    Can this be true, is your reasoning so off-kilter? First they were made an ally, first there was the war with Serbia over Kosovo, THEN camp Bondsteel was built to try to preserve some semblance of stability in the volatile province, after the peace deal was signed. First comes the cause, then comes the effect.

    ” In November 2005, following a visit there, Alvaro Gil-Robles, the human rights envoy of the Council of Europe, described the camp as a “smaller version of Guantanamo”, referring to the detainees there at the time from Washington’s various wars, including the so-called War on Terror.”

    Which you should applaud with your muslim fear-mongering and your mujahadeen and your al-Qaeda.

    “On February 17 of this year, in a move of highly questionable international legality, the KLA declared the independence of Kosovo from Serbia. ”

    Questionable by what international law? Are you an expert on this?

    “The next day the United States recognized this new “nation”, thus affirming the unilateral declaration of independence of a part of another country’s territory.”

    The US was created with unilateral declaration of independence of a part of the territory of the Great Britain. Various African countries were similarly created. Republic of Ireland, too. Ukraine, ditto.

    “The new country has as its prime minister a gentleman named Hashim Thaci, described in Del Ponte’s book as the brain behind the abductions of Serbs and the sale of their organs.”

    Please name the western hospitals that accepted those organs.

    “The new gangster state of Kosovo is supported by Washington and other Western powers who can’t forgive Serbia-Yugoslavia-Milosevic — “the last communists of Europe” — for not wanting to wholeheartedly embrace the NATO/US/European Union triumvirate, which recognizes no higher power, United Nations or other.”

    Yes, everyone you don’t approve of – anyone in good graces of the US, is a gangster state. Serbia under Milosevic wasn’t a gangster state (he had several of his political opponents assassinated, including writers, journalists, etc., as well as other criminals). So, all these Yugoslav wars were instigated by the US (not by the criminals that did instigate them), because they couldn’t, in their little grudge-bearing hearts, forgive an insignificant player for not wanting to join them? And you agree that he was a “communist”, that’s how communist countries are supposed to operate?

    “The independent state of Kosovo is regarded as reliably pro-west, a state that will serve as a militarized outpost for the triumvirate, which is intent on further encircling Russia and pushing it out of Europe.”

    How does having Kosovo – more than a thousand miles from the closest border with Russia, encircle Russia, don’t you know any geography? And why would they want to push Russia out of Europe, isn’t it a huge market and a huge supplier of natural gas and oil that Europe (and the US) desperately needs? Did they push Germany out of Europe after WW2? Didn’t they just nix Ukraine’s and Georgia’s bid to join NATO, precisely so as not to encircle Russia?

    “In her book, Del Ponte asserts that there was sufficient evidence for prosecution of Kosovo Albanians involved in war crimes, but the investigation “was nipped in the bud”, focusing instead on “the crimes committed by Serbia.” She claims that she could do nothing because it was next to impossible to collect evidence in Kosovo, which was swarming with criminals, in and out of the government. Witnesses were intimidated, and even judges in The Hague were afraid of the Kosovo Albanians.”

    According to a list on Wikipedia, at least 8 Kosovo Albanians have been indicted by the ICTY in the Hague. (Of these, one was an officer in the Croat Army, accused of crimes in Croatia, so that leaves 7 Kosovo Albanians connected to the Kosovo part of the war; that includes a former Kosovo prime minister). According to the same site, roughly 7 Serbs were indicted in connection with Kosovo (incl. Milosevic who was never sentenced). (Most of the roughly 160 indictees at the Hague were for crimes committed in Bosnia and Croatia; of this total of 160 in all, between 58% and 68% are Serbs (for some, no nationality is specified, so the range accounts for that uncertainty), while Serbs committed a vast majority of the crimes, due to possession of weaponry and the Army; so this is biased against the Serbs?).

    So, as far as Kosovo is concerned (7 Serbs, 7 Albanians), that seems pretty even, doesn’t it, except I would have expected many more Serbs as they had all the heavy weaponry (and years of oppression before the conflict), but OK, you say only the KLA were terrorists (and they were only founded in the mid-late nineties in response to repression), only they engaged in heinous acts against the population. One of the Albanians was sentenced for interfering with the witnesses. So far, the Albanians have received sentences of up to 13 years, but 4 of them (including the prime minister, after a 4-year trial) were either acquitted or the charges were withdrawn. Of the Kosovo-related Serbs, most are currently on trial or have evaded capture. Of the roughly 90-100 Serb indictees from all over the former Yugoslavia, roughly 15 have been acquitted or had the charges withdrawn, and one has been deemed unfit of standing trial. So, I don’t see any anti-Serb bias considering what happened; if there were real justice, there would have been many, many more indictees of all nationalities, and they wouldn’t have been receiving such ridiculously mild sentences.

    It’s quite possible that there was witness intimidation, that local Mafia rules Kosovo, etc. Are you claiming there was no witness intimidation on any of the other sides? As for the “Mafia” it’s well and active and running most of the other ex-Yugoslav countries, too. (Many revolutionary Americans were slave owners or slave traders, incl. the Presidents, not that that excuses anything; what about your dear Stalin, should we have annulled USSR’s sovereignty when he was running things over there?). But the major Serb figures – Karadzic and Mladic, as well as several others, are still at large.

    “My phone company, Verizon, recently raised the monthly charge for my international call plan by 30 percent.”

    Gosh, you’re really careless with your money. But it’s coming in rivers from your peanut gallery, so who cares, right? You have an international plan with Verizon, and you use it regularly for international calling? Obviously, no effort has been made by you to research this, an issue that is of some importance to you. This laziness to do proper research does not surprise me, because it shows up in your articles, too. Just bombastic venting to make you feel better (actually to get points for the article on your resume and your name out there, that’s all you care) without any info which supports it or makes a practical difference.

    Back to Verizon international calling. Their plan is super expensive (although not nearly as expensive as the obscene prices you pay if you call without a plan, $10/min is the norm) – even before this increase, and is to be used only in emergencies, when other plans fail, as Verizon connections are pretty reliable (that’s why they’re expensive, it takes money to produce reliability). Anyway, both for international and US calling, it’s far cheaper to use internet-based calling companies (if you have broadband). If you want to stick with a landline (or a cell phone), use Verizon for US/Canada calling, and use another company for international calling. I’ve had good luck with such a company, dedicated primarily to international calling (I call Serbia/Croatia a lot and this company’s prices and connections are reasonable in those areas); my Chinese friends swear by those prepaid calling cards, which don’t work well for my areas.

    So, for the time you wasted talking to Verizon on the phone about their prices (what does an underling know about the real reasons for the pricing, it’s downright STUPID to try to infer company policies from them), you could have gotten yourself a much cheaper plan. Such is the power of information, but you on the left specialize in DISINFORMATION, instead. Because of you, we’ve just had 8 years of a destructive, child-in-a-china-shop, retarded, cretin-in-chief and the malignant alien creature who controls him. People recoiled and rebelled from all your left crackpot theories and politically correct brainwashing. And, by the way, they (B-C from B.C.) copied fear-mongering from you, you had it down to art before they came to power.

    What did you expect, that they would roll back their prices simply because you asked stupid questions? Oh, you needed raw material for your article, I get it. And the peanut gallery applauds, without any questioning.

    Another thing about pricing international calls. It goes by the telephone switches you have to go through and the pricing on that switching that the foreign governments and companies demand. Not by verizon, etc. So, verizon can go in, and request that certain quality switching be used on its calls, and also offer the foreign entity a certain volume of customers (those are the ones on the plan), for a discount. Another company goes in and says, we want to save some money, we’ll accept older switches, less reliable connections, so we pay half what verizon pays. A third company has a bigger customer base, so they get a discount. A fourth company just pays the going price and then rips its customers off obscenely on top of that, because those customers don’t know enough to ask any pertinent questions (asking “why did you raise your prices” or “why are your prices so high” just doesn’t cut it Bill, why are you treating us like idiots?). Yes, there are a lot of ripoffs in the phone biz, the breakup of AT&T was done just so a few could make a killing. The prepaid phone cards are generally used by organized crime to launder money. But did you explore the FACTS, and supply us with INFORMATION, DETAILS and NUMBERS? No, that’s too much work. And the peanut gallery doesn’t like NUMBERS (that’s why they are in these movements, because they just can’t hack anything to do with NUMBERS, or LOGIC for that matter, or MORALITY, just look at the comments), they are just looking for cheap entertainment.

    As for them raising prices when their competitors do, yes that’s part of free markets, too (with competition) and also oligopoly markets (with no competition). Look at the airline biz, they used to lower prices when their competitors did, and now they are doing the reverse. Why? A moment’s reflection, Bill, a MOMENT’s reflection, instead of shooting off your lip, will show you that if a bunch of companies are losing money (for example, foreign entities start charging drastically more for switching phone traffic, as the traffic is up, the switches wear out and they have to be replaced and additional lines put in), then they can hardly wait when one of them relents and raises its prices. Then the others follow suit – to recoup the losses or up the meager profits, because up to now no-one dared raise the prices, if there was competition, they swallowed their lumps and took some short-term hits. Now, in oligopoly, yes, then they raise the prices in unison and screw the customer. But you didn’t expend the effort to tell us which of the two biz models is followed by the phone companies. No, shooting from the hip, surface bombastics for effect and oohing and aahing from your base, that’s what you’re after not the truth. (And yes, keep your name out front, so the speaker’s fees keep rolling in, Bill, right?) That’s how much effort you’re prepared to expend for the “truth”. It’s all about MONEY, isn’t it?

    And you see now why the others rebelled and elected the cretin in chief? I’ve just spent a ton of my time and written a PhD thesis on the f**ing phone companies (and the rest of your bullshit), just to correct something that you conjured up in two seconds, the politics of the sound bite, you invented that (and the media, who love sensationalism help you out, please don’t complain now that the other side is using your techniques). Very few people, if any, will read my lengthy screed (especially your peanut gallery who hate facts and numbers — well I have my own reasons for this, it’s not a complete waste), while many have read your impressive-sounding easily digestible sound bites, which are all wrong. Well screw you. If you want to have destruction, we’ll have destruction. If you want to make it impossible for me to live in this country, then I’ll make it impossible for you, I’ll vote for the next destructive cretin.

    “Like in Burma, following the recent devastating cyclone? Prices for food and other essentials have risen significantly since the disaster.”

    You know this for a fact, Bill, or are you, per usual inventing the “facts”? First of all, Burma is NOT a capitalist country, it’s a military dictatorship that runs everything (kinda like your favorite — communism), so out the window goes your argument about capitalism. People are either without – and perishing because of that (did you mention, Bill, that they FORBADE American govt help from entering the country, or is that too much of truth for your neat theories?). Or, they are supplied – very imperfectly, by the various organizations that are allowed to operate there. I very much doubt that there is any extra food to be hoarded and sold to the highest bidder in a desperately poor country. In the rest of the country (the part unaffected by the hurricane), and if allowed by the junta, the prices may have risen in the markets as a response to the rice fields being flooded and crops destroyed. There is less food now. But that is a logical response – it minimizes waste, so people think twice about buying too much food and then throwing 1/4 of it out when it spoils, if there are shortages; it conserves resources and compensates farmers for the losses and the rebuilding they have to do so that the shortages do not persist. Now, yes, in capitalism, what you’re describing can and probably does happen, the price gouging of desperate people – there are unscrupulous people everywhere, but there is also charity, and yes, I know you don’t believe it, yes, there are a ton of DECENT people who would see to it that such things are minimized. But I forgot, only YOU and your peanut gallery think of yourselves as decent and moral (even when you obviously don’t care about human life).

    “The price of gasoline in the United States has been increasing on a regular basis for a rather long time now, but there’s no shortage of supply. There are no lines of cars waiting hours at gas stations trying to fill up before the pumps run dry. And there’s been a considerable fall in demand as less-than-rich drivers cut back on car use.”

    Really, Bill, did you stop to think that maybe the last sentence explains the first two? Or the rules of logic evade you in your old age? The law of demand and supply states that the demand and supply will come to an equilibrium point, where demand = supply, at that price. So, no long lines, no shortages.

    “It does not require total cynicism to wonder whether the law of supply and demand has been repealed. Or can it be that what is known as “supply and demand” is not really any kind of immutable “law”, but rather (choke, gasp) “corporate policies”?”

    In the previous sentence referred to in the comment above, you state the demand has fallen off sharply due to higher prices, and now you’re wondering if the law of supply and demand has been some kind of corporate conspiracy? And the peanut gallery applauds and explodes, per usual, no critical thinking is possible for them. Do you see now why you aren’t getting traction with the American people, because they see plain as day a bunch of crackpots running around saying that 2+2=37, and even they, ignorant as they are, sense that something is not on the up and up? But of course, you don’t care about that, this is simply about MONEY and your self promotion. Actually righting this ship, instead of generating a lot of froth, would mean you’d be out of regular, easy paychecks.

    The law of supply and demand operates in every economy, even in communism – it just describes human nature. In communism you do get shortages, precisely because the supply is limited (by the “great” planning of the economy) and the prices are kept artificially low (again, determined by the planners and not the market). Ergo, demand at that low price exceeds supply at that low price, especially when you don’t have competition to lower the prices at which goods are supplied.

    So, yes, something could be wrong with the oil companies and gas, and the law of supply and demand still perfectly operates as it should. But you never bother to put your finger on what is wrong – too much effort. What is wrong is their profits are obscenely high – around 40% of gross earnings, that’s staggering, yet in most industries you’re lucky to get 5%. You never go below the surface to explore why this is so, etc. Don’t want to be bothered with the facts, with the NUMBERS, with LOGIC. Again, you seek the easiest buck for the bang, not the truth.

    “If you lowered prices to what they were two years ago, would consumers stage protests outside your headquarters?”

    This is pure demagoguery. And in other postings, you lament our dependence on the automobile, the pollution, the global warming, the lack of public transportation here in the US, the sprawl, etc. So, now you want to go back to cheap oil, pollute the planet, screw the poor countries with the oil, have the US consume 25% with the population of 5%, etc. And the peanut gallery applauds. Don’t get me wrong, I’m against these windfall profits. But you’re not railing against the profits, you’re railing against the prices.

    “One can say that hedge funds are simply pure speculation carried to absurdity; typical of the new American Dream: getting rich through speculation and inheritance instead of through skill, enterprise, and filling a human social need.”

    But then, when someone does use enterprise, skill, etc. to supply a human need, then you blast them as bloody capitalists out for profit, etc. So, is it OK to get rich through enterprise, skill, etc. or not? And, aren’t you yourself getting rich on pure speculation (of which this article is a prime example)? What exact public good are you fulfilling, what useful information (apart from that which is clearly erroneous and made up) have you disclosed in this article?

    You could have used this space to provide us some INFORMATION on the exorbitant salaries, not only of the hedge managers, but many companies’ execs. Salaries for nothing. You could have provided lists of such companies, so we wouldn’t buy from them. Why do we care about rich people speculating in hedge funds (minimum investment, about a million)? Are we affected, and how? Are our banks in that? What are the risks, what is the damage to the economy? You could have written about that. But no, all we get is this recycled bullshit, useless information, actually no information at all, no practical, actionable facts. Everyone knew they were making hundreds of mills a year. Outrageous, yes, but nothing new in your article. Yes, about the same ratio of pay to the greater good as your articles and your speeches.

    You get an F-, professor, on this article. And please tell us which college you teach at, so we wouldn’t go there, if their standards are so lax.

    “Reason number 3,468 to yearn for the lifting of the capitalist weight from our souls”

    …And replace it with? Slave ownership? Feudal system? Oh, yes, your socialism, that was a panacea, that worked out really well. Yes, you too can spend each and every second of your waking hours waiting in lines for BREAD to feed your family (when you’re not slaving away in some factory for nothing). From 4 o’clock in the morning until late afternoon. And then stand in line for something else, if there’s anything left. EVERY DAY, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If you’re sick and can’t wait in line, too bad, your family will starve. While the elites have everything they could possibly wish for. And why not, that would work for Bill. He’s obviously fixin’ to be part of THAT elite.

  12. DavidG. said on June 9th, 2008 at 6:42pm #

    The American Empire? What a shabby, immoral undertaking. It will bring us all down unless global warming gets in first.

    Will you, in the near future, die from radiation, starvation or preventable disease? My blog puts your options on the table. Decide now, while you can!

  13. John Wilkinson said on June 11th, 2008 at 6:49am #

    “Thanks big Bill Clinton, and let’s not forget Bill’s partner, “environmental Al Gore.” What a legacy of four billion years of DU contamination. Good job Al! A person might imply that is one of the most un-environmental acts in the history of the human race.
    Oh well, lets give “environmental Al” a Nobel “Peace” prize and 300 million dollars and not fuss so much.”

    First off, a small question, what does the Nobel Prize have to do with 300 million dollars? As far as I know, the NP may be up to about 1 million, these days, and he had to share it. So, you’re off by only a factor of 600. And another small detail, he didn’t get it for DU work.

    How did you get the figure of “four billion years of DU contamination”? What criterion was used? It’s already less radioactive than many natural places on Earth. So, here are the numbers. If you wanted to get down to 1% of its present puny activity (i.e., quantity of DU), you’d have to wait another 27 billion years. If 10% is your goal, then about 14 billion years. If you wanted to get it down to zero, then you have to wait an eternity. So, how did you come up with your four billion years?

    Because it has such a long half life it’s virtually harmless, esp. in the form considered here. It’s only weakly radioactive and almost stable (you can hold it in your bare hands), and the main effect is from its chemical properties. It’s only a concern if a significant quantity is ingested or inhaled, and in the purview of these weapons that will only happen at the time of explosion and only if you’re right next to it, in which case you’d be blown to bits anyway. If DU were a concern, then we’d all be dead from the tons of plutonium thrown up into the atmosphere during nuclear testing (plutonium is much more potent as its half life is only 20,000 years, i.e., it’s 225,000 more radioactive per given weight). We’d all be dead from the much higher quantities of naturally occurring radioactive potassium-40 (just slightly shorter half life, 1.3 billion years vs. 4.5 billion years), which we consume daily (any banana has it) and store in our bodies, than the minuscule quantities of DU dust from long-expended weapons, which dust has settled, been blown away, etc. If this were such a health hazard, why aren’t all the generals over there wearing masks, why aren’t Bush, Cheney, Rice, wearing masks when they visit over there?

    It’s simple, what you’re doing. Quite transparent. In this case, and in the case of Yugoslavia/Kosovo happenings, and in countless other cases, the left is using the Nazi technique of the Big Lie: repeat the outrageous lie (the one that aligns with your purposes, while morality, facts, etc., be damned) often enough and it becomes the truth. (And, of course, B-C from B.C. copied that left-perfected technique as well). So, you’re incessantly repeating that DU is a nuclear weapon, that there are gazillion cancer and other cases, that it contaminates for billions of years, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam. All of it lies. Should they have used lead instead? Guess what, lead also has naturally occurring radioactive isotopes (one of which has a half life 100 million times longer than DU, which according to you is a problem (not according to me), others are much more radioactive than DU), and not to mention the health effects of ingesting lead which are similar to those of uranium or any other heavy metal). So we should worry about all that lead contamination that happened in Europe in WW2 and WW1. How crackpot can you get, and yet you’re totally unaware how childish and stupid you sound, because you’re totally ignorant of that which you’re talking about with such confidence. You just mindlessly repeat and chant whatever your Nader or your Blum serve you, like a robot without a brain. They are your shamans and you’re their little dancing, chanting subject who’ll do anything they ask. And you don’t have enough sense to ask questions and to see that they are just using you for their ends (MONEY, fame, power) and that they’re LYING through their teeth.

    And I am sure as hell glad that American people see through you and don’t trust you with anything. If people like you were in power, it would be re-education camps, labor camps, concentration camps, etc., etc., for the rest of us.

    “Along with the non mass graves, non acid mines, non rape camps, non Racak massacre and many other non truths in which the media went lock step.”

    Non mass graves. No mass graves in Iraq, either, so we didn’t do anything wrong. Plenty of mass graves in Bosnia. As for Kosovo, maybe there were no mass graves, I don’t know, but on Belgrade (Serbian) TV they showed pictures of discovered refrigerator trucks, filled with Albanian corpses, and there may have been trials of perpetrators.

    Non acid mines. I’ve never heard of this, why do you need acid mines, when the regular ones will kill and maim perfectly? In any case, the last time I checked – which was about 4 years ago, 500 people in Croatia had been killed (and countless maimed) by leftover (Serbian) mines since the end of the war. Great stretches of Croatia are still pockmarked with hidden mines and you’re advised to stay on the road. I am sure similar situation exists in Bosnia and Kosovo.

    Non rape camps. At least 6 Serbs have been indicted at the Hague for mass rapes (sometimes in combination with other things), and some have drawn long sentences. I am sure this was all based on trumped up charges, right? A particular “camp” at Foca keeps coming up in these indictments, unclear what kind of camp it was, but apparently rapes did occur there. A few Croats and others have also been indicted for rapes.

    Non Racak massacre. Don’t know much about it, but I heard that “only” about 40 Albanians were killed there, so it doesn’t rate as a massacre. Would the writer of this callous comment feel the same if he were one of the 40?

    Are these below part of your non-truths and minor incidents and trumped up charges, or are these maybe parts of YOUR omissions:

    Naval bombardment of Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik, the jewel of the Adriatic, a World Heritage site, a precious historical treasure, was shelled by the navy, which at that time was under the Serb command (several officers have been indicted for this crime), just like all the armed forces. For several days this medieval walled city (many museums, art, sculptures, monuments) was shelled from the ships, even though there were no military objects there, it was strictly for symbolic value, to break the spirit of those who’d dared declare independence from Serb-dominated Yugoslavia. Not only was the old city shelled, but also the new city where majority of the people lived, several of whom were killed.

    Leveling of Vukovar. This Croatian city near the Serbia border was totally obliterated. Over 2,000 Croats, mostly civilians, were killed. The rest were ethnically cleansed, i.e., removed. A hospital in the Croatian district was emptied of all the doctors, staff and PATIENTS, and all were SHOT and killed, about 200 of them.

    Shelling of Sarajevo. For 3 long, shameful years (in our Serb history), this city of about 350,000, the capital of Bosnia, was surrounded by 2,000 pieces of Serb (read Yugoslav Army) heavy artillery and mercilessly shelled, day in and day out. Not to mention no power, no water, food shortages, etc. Tens of thousands died, many more were maimed.

    Sniping of Sarajevo. For 3 long, shameful years (in our Serb history), in this city of about 350,000, Serb snipers were let loose and shot at anything that moved in the Muslim areas. Men, women, children, didn’t matter.

    Other cities. Various other cities were also shelled and rocketed, in Croatia (including Zagreb, the capital, including a city in which I have relatives) and Bosnia.

    Wanton destruction of cultural monuments. Mosques, catholic churches, etc., anything of value to the other population was destroyed; though the others then responded in kind to the Serb churches in their areas.

    Or how about this:

    Vojislav Seselj, a Serb indictee at the Hague, whose paramilitary organization was involved in heinous crimes, and who was the head of a major political party in Serbia, had this to say at a public gathering in Belgrade in 1991, at which 2,000 people were present, and which was also shown on TV (this was BEFORE the breakup of Yugoslavia): “Croats should not have their throats slit by knives. No, they should have their throats slit by rusty old shoehorns.” Not a peep of protest from anyone present, from anyone watching the TV program. Clinton did this?

    “None of this mentions the Krajina and the illegal mercenary for hire ethnic cleansing there either. (Blackwater before Blackwater was cool) A quarter million Serbs cleansed doesn’t even hardly merit more than an offhand “they deserved it.” After all, they’re only Serbs.
    It seems they prosecuted all minor and trumped up crimes and hid the real ones by the now common practice of omission.”

    Krajina (Croatia’s Krajina) started with several ambushes and killings of scores of Croatian policemen (by Serbian extremists), while Croatia was still part of Yugoslavia. (And other things like mining of railroads). I happened to be there at the time – it was on Belgrade (Serbia’s) TV, so nothing trumped up here. Then, when Krajina declared independence from Croatia, a reign of terror ensued. Over 80,000 Croatian residents were ethnically cleansed, several hundred were murdered. Their churches, businesses, some homes, etc. burned to the ground. (Other homes were taken over when the residents were run out or murdered). When the war turned, the quarter million Serbs you mentioned fled in front of the advancing Croatian army, which did engage in sporadic violence against those who hadn’t fled. So, among the Serbs that fled, yes, there were many innocents, who hadn’t done anything wrong (but were afraid to stay back, knowing what had been done in their name), then there were many who while not having done anything wrong generally approved of the murders and the cleansing, and yes, there were some who were the perpetrators and the masterminds. You don’t mention these latter ones as bearing any responsibility for why those innocent ones lost everything. The Serbian prime minister of the Krajina region (Milan Babic), before committing suicide, did write a note of apology to his erstwhile Croatian neighbors for all the terror they had been put through (in which he also stated that this was fomented and organized by Belgrade).

    As for any real crimes not being prosecuted, for the various Krajina crimes there were, according to the Wikipedia list already mentioned, at least 3 Serb indictees (including the above named prime minister), 3 Croat indictees (for example general Ante Gotovina) and 1 Albanian Kosovar indictee (he was serving in the Croat Army at the time). These are just the ones that are specifically called out in the table as being connected to the Krajina region in Croatia (there was also the Bosnia’s Krajina region, which was separate, and which, war-crime-wise, makes Croatia’s Krajina look like a Sunday picnic). There are many entries in the table for which it’s not immediately clear which geographic region the indictment is for, so it’s possible there were many more Croatian-Krajina related. But, who cares, right? You have determined — from your armchair, no less, that this was all a joke and that the poor Serbs are being persecuted, that they (who had appropriated all the heavy weaponry of the Yugoslav Army and had the Army actually fight on their side) never committed any crimes, while all the crimes were committed against them for which no-one has been prosecuted.

    And it’s funny you look at it this way. To me, it’s not the Serbs that are being prosecuted (or the Croats, etc.). It’s the horrible monsters who have committed unspeakable crimes (and thought there would be impunity), some of whom happened to be Serbs. That’s the way I look at it. As a Serb. (And a Croat). But you look at it the other way. So, the important thing, to you, is that they are Serbs, not that they are criminals. So, you’re saying, crime doesn’t matter if committed by “protected” (by your conscience) people. Or maybe you’re saying, it’s impossible that there are any criminals among the 10 million (or so) Serbs. I say nationality doesn’t matter if crime has been committed. And, additionally, I say, I reject this, I reject these heinous acts having been done in my name (as a Serb). I reject them besmirching my nationality thus. And I freak out when I see what my people have become, how they, by and large, actually approve of this (no, not in those words, but it’s obvious). And I say the same thing as a Croat, except that from Croats I have experienced CONTRITION for what was done in their name.

    This is all great evidence when some misguided soul starts arguing with me about how you guys fight for justice, fairness, morality, against the big, bad American empire, etc., etc. I want to throw up. I mean the chutzpah for someone to be sitting in his armchair and to be telling others about morality and to be telling others what happened 7,000 miles away and to be telling others that those who were slaughtered DO NOT MATTER (trumped up charges, minor crimes, who cares about those people). Let me repeat what I said above: I am sure glad as hell that American people see through the likes of you and don’t trust you with anything. If people like you were in power, it would be re-education camps, labor camps, concentration camps, etc., etc., for the rest of us. Can you imagine a person like this, making callous pronouncements about human lives from his armchair, being in charge of things here, everything we have going on now would PALE in comparison with what would happen then, well just look at Stalin. Precisely like some people I know in Serbia, they use those same exact words, and I get the feeling they would be perfectly capable of doing those blood-drenched deeds that they so heartily try to justify or ignore.

    “Personally, I think that the tribunal should be wound up an a general amnesty granted on all sides. The European integration process is about turning the page and moving on, not about raking over old coals. The only real advantage of the tribunal is that it discredits the US! It reminds Europeans of the monumental American screw-up ex-Yugoslavia is and serves as a dire warning to those who might be tempted to follow the US into other disasterous adventures. Designed as a warm up for Afghanistan/Iraq/Iran etc., it blew up in the faces of its progenitors. It’s an ill wind …”

    Oh, that is so BIG of you. Yes, you too would want to forget and move forward, if your son had his throat slit in front of you, if your mother was gunned down. How magnanimous of you, sitting in your armchair. And how prescient and omniscient, you know exactly what the Europeans are after and what the European integration is all about – you’re Europe after all. Yes, let’s let all the criminals loose, too much trouble, all is forgiven, you can go now and do it all over again. Why can’t all those irrational Slavic people forget and be friends again with the killers of their families, with the robbers of their property. That was the way it was done after WW2, right, why Hitler and Goering are still with us. And let’s do that for Iraq, too, or Vietnam, let’s not remember or draw any lessons from those disasters. In every civilized country that’s the way it’s done, we don’t rake over the cold coals, we don’t bother with the killers and criminals, all is forgiven, let’s move forward.

    Boy, am I glad you’re not in charge here. And that’s why you post here like this, because you’re not in charge ANYWHERE, apparently.

    And Yugoslavia was somehow America’s screw-up? Have you just awoken from a coma or are you smoking something? America was somehow responsible for these murders and wanton destruction? Not the ones who did it? Not the ones who wanted to keep the old unfair setup in Yugoslavia at the point of a gun? Not the ones who got rich off all this? And this blew up in America’s face? And they planned it as a warmup for Iraq, etc.?

    What the f… is he talking about? Has he just landed from Mars (or maybe on Mars)? Total disconnect from reality. Total mushroom cloud. Total cuckoo’s nest. Not only are many of you people dangerous and morally challenged, you’re weird and totally deluded to boot.

    A short note on Roma: Yes, poor Roma, I feel for them. I don’t know how they’re treated in Kosovo, but can’t be much worse than in Serbia or any other Slavic country. In Serbia, people protest when some proposal comes up to get them some decent housing instead of them living in cardboard slums you can see from the train as you enter Belgrade. In Serbia, some of them are gratuitously killed, just for the fun of it. And they are generally thought to be thieves and generally no good (I am just transferring what most people think there, what the attitude is), and are treated accordingly. How funny that now, all of a sudden, the Serbs (and their apologists) are all bent out of shape over how the poor Roma are treated in Kosovo. (I am willing to bet better than in Serbia, as the Albanians and the Roma people pretty much had to deal with the same thing from the Serb side).

    Now, another Slavic country, the Czech republic. There, a few years back, they built a WALL running down the middle of a street of some city, so the Slavic people on one side of the street wouldn’t have to see the Roma children playing on the other side. (This wall had to be torn down when they joined the EU).

    So, no, I don’t believe that Roma could fare much worse than when Serbia ruled Kosovo.

    Just as shown above, racism and other forms of “higher race” mentality are doing well in all Slavic countries. It’s dangerous to be black while visiting a Slavic country, you may be set upon by hooligans, you may even be killed – this has happened in several Slavic countries. Of course, not all people are like that, but there is a sufficient number. And I have experience with some Serbian acquaintances (not all, but disturbingly many, and these people are with PhDs), when they come to this country they tend to exclaim how there are too many n…s and Puerto Ricans (their words, not mine).

    People who think they are so much better than others may not shy away from committing horrible deeds against the others, especially when whipped up in some mob-induced nationalist/religious bullshit.

  14. hp said on June 11th, 2008 at 3:03pm #

    -My reference to Al Gore was intended to point out that Al won a Nobel PEACE prize for a theoretical SCIENCE project. That seems odd! The prize should have been a Guinness award for PROPAGANDA, after which Al was awarded 300 million dollars for a media blitz advertising (more propaganda) his particular version of global warming. Whoops, I mean climate change. got to cover all the bases, don’t you know.
    As for the rest, I can’t hold my breath as long as you, so here you go…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/31/algore.uselections08.climate
    http://www.xs4all.nl/~stgvisie/VISIE/du-diagnosis.html

    http://emperors-clothes.com/yugo.htm

    http://emperors-clothes.com/sreb/branco-1.htm

    http://emperors-clothes.com/croatia/tears.htm