The Birkenstock Bomber: When Bernie Did Serbia



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The most useful parable about progressives is that offered by Bernard Sanders, self-styled “socialist-progressive-independent” rep from Vermont. Sanders owes his political career to rage against the Vietnam War among radicals, many of whom moved into the state in the early 1970s. They forthwith planned a long-term, carefully organized, assault on Vermont’s two-party structure. Sanders linked his political ambitions to this effort to organize a third force, the Progressive Alliance. He became mayor of Burlington and, later, congressman.

SandersAt a rapid clip the emphasis moved from party-building to Sanders-building. By 1994, it was apparent that the only movement B. Sanders was interested in was that of liberal money into his political campaign trough. One political piece of opportunism followed another, always forgiven by Vermont pwogressives who are frightened of Sanders and fear to speak out against the loudmouth fraud, even though, in 1998, Sanders spoke vehemently in Congress in favor of sending his state’s nuclear waste into a poor, largely Hispanic, township in Texas called Sierra Blanca.

Sanders supported sanctions against Iraq. Then he voted in favor of the war on Serbia. He did it once, he did it twice and on April 28, 1999, he did it again. This was the astounding imp-cr213-213 tie vote, which meant that the House of Representatives repudiated the war on Serbia launched by Clinton in violation of Article One of the US Constitution., which reserves war-making powers to Congress. So if the “socialist progressive” Sanders, who owes his entire career to antiwar sentiment, had not voted for NATO’s bombers, the result would have been even more dramatic, a straight majority for the coalition of Republicans and radical Democrats, such as Dennis Kucinich, Cynthia McKinney, Barbara Lee, Pete Stark and a handful of others.

On April 26, 1999, even before his most recent vote of shame, Sanders’s office was occupied by fifteen radical Vermonters sickened by his stance. The last time any political rep from Vermont had an office occupied was when a group later known as the Winooski 44 sat in (Republican) Jim Jeffords’s office in 1984, protesting Reagan’s war in Central America. Jeffords waited three days before asking the police to remove the protesters. Sanders waited six hours.

On Monday May 3, Sanders held a town hall meeting in Monteplier attended by the fifteen protesters, wearing chains. The man in Sanders’s Burlington office who told the protesters that Sanders wouldn’t speak to them was Philip Fiermonte, ironically one of the Winooski 44.

Readers of the Washington Post’s first edition can be forgiven if they missed the historic House vote refusing to approve the bombings. At first the Post reported the vote coyly on page A27. In the late edition, the Post still played down the vote. The New York Times had a better sense of news and history and put the vote on its front page, above the fold: “Deadlocked House Denies Support for Air Campaign.” The Washington Times did better too, with a front-page banner headline: “House Refuses to Back Air War on Serbs: Separate Vote Denise Funds for Deploying Ground Forces.” In the Vietnam era it took years for resistance in the House to even approach that level. Too bad Sanders was on the side of the laptop bombers.


This article is excerpted from Imperial Crusades: Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia (Verso) by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair.

15-06-2016

About the author:

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net. Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

Source: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/06/15/the-birkenstock-bomber-when-bernie-did-serbia/

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Investment opportunities in Kosovo, America’s “Mafia State” in the Balkans



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True, the majority of investors are Americans who bore a relation to the “democratization” of Yugoslavia that was carried out at the end of the 90s of the last century. Among them is the former commander of NATO forces in Kosovo retired general Wesley Clark, who is determined to invest more than 5.5 billion dollars in the former Yugoslav republic. Experts say that Washington’s strategy could be characterized by the following slogan: “Conquer and plunder”.

His closest supporters say that Wesley Clark is a great strategist. He wrote the book “Winning Modern Wars” that was published in 2001. In his fundamental survey the author mentions the Pentagon’s list of countries that can be regarded as candidates for a quick change of leadership. On that list are Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, and Somalia. Yugoslavia was not mentioned there because by that time the undesirable regime of Slobodan Milosevic had been overthrown with the help of precision and carpet bombings.

By the way, shortly after the Kosovo operation the tired general – Wesley Clark – retired and immediately got involved in the banking business. As it appears, he invested all his savings that he had accumulated as general, receiving from 150 to 200,000 dollars annually, in the banking business. Because of that he had to earn additional money, working as a military analyst on U.S. TV channels. However, he did not lose his contacts with Kosovo, where, following the previously mentioned democratization, entrepreneurship, especially, in the field of medicine, was on the rise. And now the Envidity Company that is in Clark’s ownership has filed a request for coal mining to the Kosovo authorities. Serbia that does not recognize Kosovo’s independence says that it is determined to demand protection for the natural resources belonging to it. Nobody wants to ask for Belgrade’s permission though as was the case many times before.

Wesley Clark always had good contacts with the Kosovo “government” and its “prime minister” – the former militant Hashim Thaci. There is even a street in Pristina named after Wesley Clark. By the way, a Russian political analyst and retired colonel-general Leonid Ivashov at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic mentioned the allied character of relations between the NATO troops and the militants of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). As we can see, this cooperation has borne fruit, including both political and economic benefits, a Serbian journalist, Nikola Vrzic, says.

“It is clear that during their “cooperation” that started in 1998, they concluded business agreements. Now it is absolutely clear that the bombings of Kosovo pursued both political and economic objectives: they were aimed not only at annexing Kosovo from Serbia, but also at depriving Kosovo of its extensive natural resources. As it appears, coal is Kosovo’s main resource. Geologists say that there are other minerals there too. More prospecting for natural resources is needed there.”

Against the background of instability on the oil market, experts talk more and more often about good prospects for the development of synthetic fuel, including obtaining synthetic fuel from coal. Clark’s firm believes that it is possible to produce up to 100,000 barrels of the new source of energy daily.

The economic motives of NATO’s military games are actually not a secret. Of interest here is the fact that in the middle of the 1990s, at the very height of the fratricidal war in Yugoslavia, the NATO countries’ citizens bought property in the Balkan republic. Buyers were making preparations for a new “post-Yugoslav” reality. And Kosovo was a good training ground, an expert with the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Pavel Kandel, said in an interview with the Voice of Russia.

“Kosovo created a precedent. It was the first link in the strategy of the “humanitarian” interventions of the NATO countries led by the USA. Shortly before the Kosovo operation, at the urgent request of Washington, NATO adopted a new doctrine, which set a number of tasks beyond defence limits before the member-states of the formerly defensive bloc. To be more exact, the possibility of interference in other regions of the world under this or that pretext became possible.”

The strategy that was used earlier can be used again. Coal mining is very good but oil still has a good price. So everything continued, following the former format: Iraq, Somalia, and Libya. Something has gone wrong with Syria though. Damascus wants to develop democracy without humanitarian aid from the West. There are problems with Iran too. But economic strategists have enough patience: investor-generals are ready for investing at any time.


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Why US sees Kosovo as its 52nd state?



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BELGRADE – Amnesty of crimes during NATO aggression, bilateral legalization of Camp Bondsteel in a friendly milieu, settling the Islamic world with support to their communities in the Balkans and forcing Russia out of that same Balkans, are four reasons the US supports the independence of Kosovo, writes “Sputnik”.

Illustration - Photo: RFE/RL

Illustration – Photo: RFE/RL

On Christmas (according to Gregorian calendar) Michael Kirby shows up. Outgoing US Ambassador congratulates Serbia upcoming New Year. “The normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina implies Kosovo’s membership in the UN,” was the content of the “greeting card”.

Apart from some kind of formalization, Kirby’s statement is not new for the local public because it was earlier said that the West will do, and it does, everything to round independence of the so-called “Republika e Kosovës”. American ambassador said that his state only assists the European Union in the accession process of Serbia, and stressed that at this stage they are not insisting on anything.

But why does the US insist so much on Kosovo? Why does it treat this quasi-state as if it is its 52nd state? Why spend so many resources on the whole project?

Single shot – four birds

“America is doing it because with single shot it would shoot down more birds. Maybe four,” said for Sputnik veteran diplomat Vladislav Jovanovic.

Photo: Nikola Dimitrijevic / Tanjug

Photo: Nikola Dimitrijevic / Tanjug

By forcing Serbia to recognize Kosovo’s independence, directly or indirectly via the so-called Ischinger formula of two German states, the US and NATO would receive amnesty for the crime of aggression, ethnic cleansing of the Serbs in the province and depriving Serbia of all rights and property in this area of its territory, Jovanovic stated as the first reason.

The second reason is America’s obligation to keep its large military base Bondsteel for the needs of KFOR, said Jovanovic. With the recognition of Kosovo by Serbia, or Kosovo’s membership in the UN, KFOR would be gone and military base would be at the level of bilateral agreement with the so-called Kosovo government.

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“That base is important to them because of the ambitions the US, and NATO, have towards the Middle East and eastern area in general. Constant NATO-isation of Europe, NATO’s expansion across Europe deeper, even in the direction of the Caucasus, is not done without a major objective. The objective is in the air, it only needs to be said. The base, one of the largest they have in the world and which is very important to them, is located in a friendly milieu,” explained Jovanovic for Sputnik.

The wrath of the Islamic world

The third reason stated by diplomat Jovanovic is a very bad image of America in the Islamic world and very few arguments this state has to calm angered Islamic world. So, Jovanovic said, US decided to do so by supporting Islamic communities in the Balkans, and against the Christian Orthodox Serbia.

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“They also saw the war in BiH through that lens and to this day they give unconditional support to Islamic or Bosniak element in BiH. Aggression in Kosovo is the second goal. The third is putting Albania fully under their palm, incorporating it in the NATO and closing their eyes to its ambition to one day annex Kosovo and harbor illusions about a ‘Greater Albania’” said Jovanovic categorically.

Fourth reason is, through strengthening of the Islamic-Catholic arc in the Balkans, US disables the return of the Russian presence and influence in the Balkans, Jovanovic said.

“They know that this influence is one of the historical routes of Russian foreign policy in the Balkans. Russia is helping the Orthodox countries, first of all Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece,” explained Jovanovic.

By strengthening the Islamic – Catholic arc, as the diplomat calls it, which practically surrounds Serbia and does not allow it to play a more significant role of Piedmont for all the Orthodox elements in former Yugoslavia, Americans – with other actions they take – influence to displace the influence and presence of Russia in the Balkans.

Behind this small territory called Kosovo there are numerous large and long-term strategic and geo-strategic objectives that America has, Vladislav Jovanovic said.

No Russia in the Balkans

“It wants the Balkans to definitely become a zone of influence of the West by forcing all the Balkan countries to enter the so-called Euro-Atlantic organizations. And if they achieve it and when they achieve it, with the help of the ‘arc’, they can say that they achieved their main geopolitical goal in the Balkans, and that is to completely displace Russia,” Jovanovic is clear.

As for the Islamic world, he explains, it is very important for America to emphasize to Islamic countries the fact that America is instrumental for strengthening the Islamic element in the Balkans and strengthening that element through strengthening of their statehood.

“Let’s not forget that Western ambassadors in Belgrade have only one group of friends from Sandzak, and Sandzak is just one of the areas in Serbia. They have no other, which has to prove that they have a special interest in that area, probably within the broader picture of support to the Islamic element in the Balkans,” said Jovanovic.

All these are the reasons to expedite Serbia’s to, in talks with Albanians, through the EU, speed up the process in order to conclude a comprehensive binding legal agreement on (Belgrade and Pristina) normalization of relations. So-called recognition of Kosovo by Serbia is of no importance. The UN’s recognition of the so-called state is important. Nobody will dare to touch the member, because it is under the protection of the UN Charter, Jovanovic said.


Original source of the article: Sputnik

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