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Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the July 24, 1997
issue of Workers World newspaper
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Who are the real war criminals in Bosnia?

By Gary Wilson

When NATO forces killed one Serb and arrested three others July 10, President Bill Clinton made proud speeches in Eastern Europe and Denmark hailing this as a great victory.

British SAS troopers, backed by U.S. special forces, carried out an operation that, according to the July 11 Washington Post, had been four months in the planning.

Can anyone have failed to notice that it came while Clinton was touring Europe? And it was just two days after his triumphant declaration of NATO's expansion into the Eastern European countries of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

Clinton's trip was clearly meant to assert U.S. imperialism's intent to dominate Europe through NATO. The expansion into Eastern Europe is aimed ultimately at controlling the huge Russian market.

The European capitalist powers may have chafed at the July 8-9 NATO summit in Madrid, Spain. They are, after all, rivals of the United States for control of the new markets that have emerged in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

A clear majority of the European powers had declared that they supported a different plan than Washington's. But in the end, any challenge to the United States' plan to expand NATO fizzled.

At a NATO meeting last Dec. 16, U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry--his position used to be more bluntly called war secretary--had announced that Washington was setting up a military police force to go into Serbian areas of Bosnia and seize political and military officials.

Now, just before Clinton left for Madrid, the July 6 Los Angeles Times reported that U.S. special forces and the Central Intelligence Agency had been planning since last year to begin seizing prominent Serbs in Bosnia. The Times indicated that the operation was about to begin.

WASHINGTON'S 'WAR-CRIMES TRIBUNAL'

This gestapo-style operation is based on secret indictments by a Star Chamber court that is dominated by the U.S. government.

Most news accounts wrongly identify the tribunal that sits in the Hague as an international tribunal. In fact, it is staffed mostly by appointees from Washington who are there to carry out U.S. political policy in Europe.

The U.S. media have convinced many that the nearly 70 Serbs indicted by the Hague tribunal--and the untold numbers secretly indicted--are guilty. But there is little evidence of this that could stand up in a real court of law.

The U.S. media have already convicted Serb leaders like Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. They are being told they must prove they are not guilty. So much for innocent until proven guilty.

The charge of genocide in Bosnia has been made so many times that many believe it has already been proven.

But George Kenney, one of the framers of U.S. policy in the Balkans under the Bush administration, wrote in the Jan. 8/15 issue of the Nation: "The U.S. government doesn't have proof of any genocide. And anyone reading the press critically can see that paucity of evidence, despite interminably repeated claims and bloodcurdling speculation."

Kenney is now an opponent of the very Balkans policy he helped to build.

On June 18, 1996, in the first "war crimes" trial in the Hague, charges were quietly dropped--because the man charged had been living in Germany the whole time.

The next trial, of Dusko Tadic, ended May 7. He was sentenced July 14. By the court's own admission, Tadic was not a major military figure. The court was unable to pin any specific murders on him.

The widely publicized charge against him--genocide for purposes of "ethnic cleansing"--was dropped for lack of evidence. In the end, he was convicted of beating prisoners, certainly a criminal act. The tribunal called it a "crime against humanity."

No U.S. prison official has ever been indicted for the crimes against humanity perpetrated in the U.S. prison system, where beatings are all too common.

The Hague tribunal is obviously pursuing only a political agenda defined by U.S. interests.

BEHIND BREAK-UP OF YUGOSLAVIA

Who is really responsible for what is going on in Bosnia?

The imperialist powers of Europe and the United States. They instigated the war in the first place.

Germany and France each played a big role. Germany openly encouraged the breakup of socialist Yugoslavia and aided the separation of Croatia and Slovenia from Yugoslavia. France moved its troops into Bosnia soon after.

This was followed by a U.S.-imposed NATO occupation force that is meant to enforce the break-up of Yugoslavia.

The Croatian army that massacred thousands in the Krajina was set up, trained and run by U.S. military officers. This has been repeatedly reported in the European media. It has rarely been mentioned in the U.S. media, except Workers World.

The Nation magazine--which has mostly supported the U.S. State Department's views on the Balkans and the war crimes tribunal--carried a report in its July 28-Aug. 4 issue titled "Privatizing War." The story gives some details of the U.S. military's involvement in the Krajina massacre.

None of the U.S. officers has been indicted by the Hague tribunal.

And there has been almost no coverage in the U.S. media of the July 6 revelation of a videotape of German soldiers staging mock executions and rapes of civilians during a break in training for their military mission into the former Yugoslavia.

The Bild am Sonntag newspaper printed pictures from the videotape showing German soldiers in battle fatigues pretending to rape Yugoslav women, a uniformed soldier putting his gun into the mouth of another soldier. "Other photos show enactments of `civilians' being tortured and hanging from trees," the Reuter news agency reported July 7.

Imperialism is the real source of war crimes. That has been shown over and over during the 20th century. Nothing has changed it.

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