ANATOMY OF DECEIT, by Jerry Blaskovich, M.D.
Copyright© 1997 by Jerry Blaskovich. Electronic edition by Studia Croatica, by permission of the author
Chapter 11: Conflicts of Interest
Between the time Lawrence Eagleburger left the State Department in 1982 after having served as Ambassador to Yugoslavia, and his 1988 appointment as Deputy Secretary of State, he worked for several Yugoslav government institutions and banks. Another veteran Yugoslav hand, Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft, who previously had served as military attaché in Belgrade and later at the Pentagon, joined his colleague Eagleburger in the private sector.
According to The New York Times (February 10, 1982), while serving as U.S. Ambassador, Eagleburger had pressured U.S. banks to advance credits to bail out Communist Yugoslavia despite the practice being contrary to American policy. He personally summoned executives from nine major banks to Washington, D.C. and coerced them to keep lending money to Yugoslavia. Despite objections by Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger and Treasury Secretary Donald T. Regan, Eagleburger's campaign was successful. Weinberger and Regan felt the U.S. government had no business intervening in the deteriorating financial situation in Yugoslavia and that this sort of aid was the responsibility of the Treasury, not the State Department. The only time the government openly questioned the ethics of Eagleburger's close affiliation with Yugoslav financial interests was during his confirmation hearings before the Committee on Foreign Relations in the U.S. Senate.
When Eagleburger retired from the State Department in 1982, Yugoslavia rewarded him with an appointment as president of the Ljubljanska Banka (LBS), in New York. LBS and Yugoslavia had benefited from the loans he orchestrated. Scowcroft was named vice-chairman of LBS.
On August 25, 1982, The Wall Street Journal announced that former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had opened a consulting firm, Kissinger and Associates (K&A), "to help make strategic decisions at the highest level." One of his associates was former British Foreign Secretary Lord Peter Carrington, who later played a nefarious role during the conflict in former Yugoslavia. Eagleburger, Scowcroft, and Carrington became principals and directors of K&A. K&A epitomized influence peddling by exploiting its directors' governmental connections.
According to an article by columnist Eric Margolis, K&A "channeled hundreds of millions of dollars in private investments into Yugoslavia. By sheer coincidence, most of it was invested after Eagleburger served as American Ambassador to Belgrade."
While conducting an investigation of the Bank Nazionale di Lavoro (BNL), House Banking Committee chairman Henry Gonzalez uncovered a link between BNL and LBS. Congressman Gonzalez revealed that Eagleburger played a major role in setting up the LBS, a subsidiary of Global Motors/Yugo of America. BNL allegedly channeled billions of dollars in illegal loans to Iraq. The investigation also revealed that Eagleburger and Scowcroft's protégé, Slobodan Milosevic, whom they had nurtured while stationed in Belgrade, had been appointed president of a related bank in Belgrade.
Apparently old diplomats from Belgrade don't retire and fade away, they end up working for Yugoslav owned companies. Former Ambassador to Yugoslavia John Scanlon is now on the Board at ICN Pharmaceuticals, a company whose president is Milan Panich. When Panich served as Prime Minister of Yugoslavia, Scanlon was Panich's security advisor in Belgrade.
The graduates of the Kissinger school did well for themselves. The only fly in the ointment was "Operation Flying Kite," a U.S. Customs sting operation directed against LBS. The bank was apparently involved in an organized crime money laundering operation. LBS intended to use the funds to export highly restricted technology and implements of war. Eagleburger didn't resign from his position at the bank until five weeks after indictment, when his nomination as Deputy Secretary of State was assured. Among the others indicted was a Yugoslav Consul General in Chicago. Although Eagleburger was exonerated, the taint persisted. Eagleburger eventually became Secretary of State, and Scowcroft, National Security Advisor to President Bush. Carrington eventually became U.N. peace negotiator for Yugoslavia.
Although Eagleburger, Scowcroft, and Carrington may be honorable men, their financial interests cast doubt on their ability to give objective and unbiased advice about Yugoslavia.
When I learned about the Yugoslav cabal in the Bush administration I notified California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. Although Rohrabacher felt there was "no reason to believe that any government official committed a crime, [he would] have preferred if the officials had left policy to others who had not had Yugoslav business dealings."
Eagleburger was also president of Global Motors, a subsidiary of Yugoslav arms producer Zavodi Crvena Zastava whose clients have included Iraq and Libya. The Bush administration supplied a great deal of financial aid to the Iraqi regime prior to the Persian Gulf War. Most of that aid was spent in Yugoslavia on arms.
These same arms were eventually used against American soldiers and increased the profits of K&A. The role played by Kissinger and his ex-associates in the Bush administration is analogous to how United Fruit Company manipulated our Central American policy to enhance its commercial position during the 1950s.
Eagleburger's federally required financial statement showed that he received pay from his directorship of LBS. Although he wasn't directly compensated by Global Motors, Global Motors was a client of K&A and Kent Associates--firms for which Eagleburger worked. Notwithstanding Warren Zimmermann’s, Eagleburger’s apologist, statement that Eagleburger’s “remuneration was next to nothing”, when he returned to the State Department Eagleburger received $1.1 million in bonuses and severance pay from K&A. Kent Associates paid him $453,872. Additionally, Zimmermann trivialized Eagleburger’s connections with Yugoslav firms as merely wanting to help modernize Yugoslavia’s economy and introduce Western business practices.
In the February 24,1992, issue of The New Republic, Patrick Glynn reported that questions of conflict of interest and ethics had been raised about Eagleburger and his financial dealings with Yugoslavia, but were dropped after Eagleburger took advantage of a loophole in the law. Ethics regulations apply only to dealings with firms, not (as in the Yugoslav case) to governments that may own those firms.
The 1991 Dun's Consultant Directory listed Eagleburger and Scowcroft as principals of K&A. Yet when Scowcroft disclosed his financial statement, he didn't list his affiliation with K&A. An April 30, 1989 New York Times article noted that only after a reporter inquired about the connection did Scowcroft acknowledge that he served as vice-chairman. The next day Scowcroft filed an amendment to his statement.
Exploiting his position as Under Secretary for Policy early in the Reagan administration, Eagleburger frequently overrode objections from the Pentagon and other executive branch agencies when he promoted expanded trade and the advancement of credits to Yugoslavia. He also clashed with Secretary of Defense Casper Weinburger on the same issues. As a man who was never soft on communism, Weinburger objected to Yugoslavia's record of technological espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union.
When Eagleburger was elevated to Deputy Secretary of State, he became the principal policy-maker and public spokesman regarding Yugoslavia. He pontificated on television talk shows and to legislators that nothing could be done in Yugoslavia to prevent a civil war based on deep ethnic hatreds. The war would end only when all the sides got tired of killing one another. Parroting the Serbian position, he claimed that the only key to peace and stability in the area was an indivisible Yugoslavia.
The pro-Belgrade cabal in Bush's administration consistently blocked any action directed against Yugoslavia. They maintained that the non-Serbs were only getting the treatment they deserved. The cabal managed to delay recognition of the breakaway republics and sidelined congressional demands for action against Serbian human rights violations. Yugoslavia's break up imperiled Kissinger-directed investments. So the longer the delay, the more likely K&A investments could be salvaged.
Eagleburger's tentacles extended into the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade as well. Ambassador Zimmermann toed Eagleburger's line in toto even though Eagleburger's positions contradicted intelligence sources and the arguments of the embassy's political analysts.
From their positions of public trust, the cabal effectively sabotaged any suggestions and measures that could have undermined Serbian authority in Yugoslavia. A May 20, 1995, article in The Guardian detailed U.S. intelligence reports and their suppression by the Bush administration. In May of 1992, the CIA and the National Security Agency briefed the State Department on Serbian artillery, and only one diplomat attended. During the briefing, intelligence experts produced aerial photos showing unprotected guns sitting in fields and parked beside roads around Sarajevo. The experts predicted that 95% of the Serbian artillery could be eliminated in a single day. The sole diplomat who attended the briefing wrote a memo to the Assistant Secretary for European affairs, an Eagleburger protégé, who later reproached the diplomat for having written without clearance. Weeks later, the CIA erroneously told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that air strikes against the Serbs would be impossible because Serbian artillery was hidden by dense forest.
In the fall of 1990, the CIA predicted the imminent and violent break-up of Yugoslavia. In January 1991 the State Department received intelligence that the JNA was about to attack the republics. Soon after, a representative of Milosevic told Eagleburger, "There's going to be war in Bosnia." By December of 1991, four months before the war, the CIA informed the State Department that the JNA was digging trenches around Sarajevo.
"We wanted to hold Yugoslavia together. The analysis was that there would be war if it broke up, so, wrongly, we clung on," Zimmermann has explained. "The Serbs were reading us well. They were prepared to push as far as they could, until someone pushed them back."
In the final weeks of the Bush presidency, interventionists from the State Department came up with a counter-policy for defeating and containing the Serbs. But Eagleburger's office greeted the memo with the usual run-around and comparisons to the Vietnam quagmire.
A fact finding group of senators that included Bob Dole, Alfonse D'Amato, and Don Nickles visited Yugoslavia in August, 1990. They witnessed Serbian police brutality on ethnic Albanians while touring Kosovo.
Because they didn't have the power to rein in Serbian abuses, they introduced legislation upon their return that would withhold aid to the Yugoslav federal government and redirect the funds to republics that held free elections and maintained clean human rights records.
To head off the so called Nickles Amendment, Eagleburger called on Helen Delich Bentley, a Maryland representative with Serbian roots. Although she wasn't on the appropriate committee, Bentley vigorously campaigned to block the measure. Her efforts caused a six month delay that bought time for Serbia and Eagleburger. She unabashedly admitted receiving a great deal of money from the Serbian lobby. When Bentley next ran for reelection she lost. Some political thinkers believe she lost because of the Serbian money issue.
Although the Amendment ultimately passed, Eagleburger had more ace up his sleeve. He had his hatchet man, Secretary of State Baker, invoke the State Department’s discretionary authority to prevent the Amendment from taking effect.
When credible reports surfaced regarding genocide in Bosnia, Eagleburger publicly raised doubts about their authenticity. Although long aware of the existence and conditions of Serbian-run concentration camps in Bosnia, Western governments remained silent until Roy Gutman broke the story in an August, 1992, Newsday article. The State Department knew about the camps as early as April, 1992. But the day after Gutman's story broke; Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Niles testified on Capitol Hill, under oath, that evidence concerning the camps was inconclusive.
Another Glynn article in The New Republic pointed to Eagleburger's continued policy sabotage. Glynn wrote that George E. Kenney, acting head of the Yugoslav desk at the State Department, said a "night note" he composed on Serbian concentration camps for President Bush's reading was altered by Eagleburger's office to make the note incorrectly appear to say that all three sides were equally engaged in operating camps. Other former officials cited a similar pattern of evasion and distortion.
After pictures of the inmates from concentration camps appeared in the media, the shocked public urged their government to react. Despite Eagleburger and others of his ilk downplaying the issue, the public outcry couldn't be denied. But Western leaders responded with just some hand wringing. The only world leader with the intestinal fortitude to speak out was Margaret Thatcher. "Ethnic cleansing," she proclaimed, “combines the barbarities of Hitler's and Stalin's policy toward other nations."
Prime Minister John Major staged a bizarre international peace conference in London that only resulted in further fighting. The conference passed a no fly zone resolution without the slightest intention of enforcing it and imposed sanctions nobody believed in. Eagleburger continued to seed disinformation at the conference. In his keynote address, Eagleburger attempted to dilute Serbian responsibility in the conflict. He stressed that Serbia and the United States had a special historical relationship and that the conflict was irresolvable because of ancient and complicated roots. The "special relationship" between the U.S. and Serbia remained nebulous.
Eagleburger's pronouncements passed for indisputable truths to an uninformed public. His speech never mentioned Bosnia.
As a result of the conference, Cyrus Vance and Lord David Owen were appointed peace negotiators.
Vance, the United Nations special envoy to the Balkans, had been Secretary of State during the Carter administration. According to the Wall Street Journal (January 13, 1993), he had been the central player in some of the most demoralizing episodes in recent American history--whenever he had a direct role in foreign policy the result had been lost influence and moral authority for the U.S. During his tenure at the State Department there was an enormous expansion in Russia's nuclear and conventional warfare capabilities and adventurism--which culminated in the invasion of Afghanistan. If his statement, "Leonid Brezhnev (the Soviet leader at the time) is a man that shares our dreams and aspirations," expresses his true feelings, it's no wonder that Russia was so successful during Vance's mandate. He resigned in the midst of the Iran hostage crisis, which was resolved only one minute before Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as president. This "walking embodiment of the Vietnam syndrome" was expected to resolve the first European war since World War II.
Behaving typically hypocritical, Vance and Owen attempted to placate the rebel Serbs by arbitrarily dividing Bosnia-Herzegovina into ten semiautonomous cantons without input from the Bosnian government.
Although the Serbs didn't accept the plan, Vance and Owen believed drawing crazy quilt patterns on a map could herd the non-Serbs--most of whom had been robbed of their families and property, and wounded or raped by rampaging soldiers--into widely separated ghettos. The Vance-Owen plan destroyed all illusions that the West considered Bosnia a sovereign state.
Despite attempts by the English, French, and American governments to divert attention away from Serbian atrocities, NGOs and human rights organizations helped keep the public aware. Armed intervention wasn't an option, so governments with a conscience pressured the great powers to at least impose economic sanctions on Yugoslavia, hoping that sanctions might convince the Serbs to more amicably negotiate a peaceful resolution.
But Carrington persistently sabotaged efforts to impose sanction deadlines. He seemed to have borrowed his negotiating strategies from the theater of the absurd. Carrington reworded ultimatums to accommodate Milosevic's wishes, but Milosevic always returned with counter-proposals. The Serbs reneged on every Carrington-brokered cease-fire.
The American Enterprise Institute's resident scholar, Patrick Glynn, interviewed a number of current and former officials involved in the Bosnian situation. Many suggested that both the Bush and Clinton administrations made conscious decisions to deliberately distort the picture of events in order to defuse and reduce public pressure for decisive American involvement. Their collective statements aren't surprising because this sort of duplicity occurred at the international level. According to C. Michael McAdams, in the June, 1995 issue of the American Croatian Review: "U. N. Officials have been ordered to find or manufacture crimes by Croatians and Muslims to balance the thousands of charges against Serbs."
By imposing sanctions on Yugoslavia, the United States tried to show the American public that its government was finally doing something constructive. But of the three sanction levels the U.S. might have imposed on Yugoslavia, the U.S. chose to impose the least severe, level one. The Office of Asset Control prevented Serbian products from entering the United States and banned direct money flow from the U.S. to Yugoslavia. The sanctions neither blocked money flowing from Cyprus or Switzerland to Belgrade, nor froze Yugoslav property in the U.S. In a similar vein, the Bush administration turned a blind eye and never attempted to stop the oil flow from Russia, Rumania, or Greece. After all, politics is politics, but business is business.
Due to the State Department's fondness for Serbia, a naturalized American citizen, Milan Panich, was granted dispensation to serve as Prime Minister of Yugoslavia despite stipulations for naturalization that include the swearing of allegiance only to America and the forfeiture of the right to serve a foreign state.
In regard to the government's special treatment of Panich, the U.S. may be guilty of harboring a war criminal. According to the Hague tribunal's charter on war crimes, a superior officer or government official is responsible for war crimes if he "knew or had reason to know the subordinate was about to commit such acts or had done so, and the superior failed to take the necessary and reasonable measures to prevent such acts."
Clearly, when Steve Coll quoted the tribunal’s chief prosecutor Richard Goldstone in a September 25, 1994, Washington Post Magazine article: "It does seem to imply that any political leader who possessed power during the course of a series of atrocities and who failed reasonably to intervene and prevent (them) is criminally responsible," he had Panich in mind. During Panich's tenure the ethnic cleansing and concentration camp operations continued without abatement. He now lives comfortably in the U.S.
Despite the State Department's sad record in the Balkans, the department did employ some honorable men. More career Foreign Service officers resigned because of conscience over our policy in former Yugoslavia than resigned over the war in Vietnam. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Peter Tarnoff was one of eleven (including the entire Yugoslav desk) that formally protested U.S. Bosnian policy to Secretary of State Warren Christopher. At the time the Serbs were committing their worse atrocities, the greatest censure Christopher could come up with to label their actions was to say that they were "misbehaving" and "mischievous."
In December, 1992, preceding the Foggy Bottom palace upheaval, German cabinet minister Christian Schwarz-Schilling resigned because he felt ashamed to belong to a government whose indecisiveness kept it from participating in keeping the peace in Bosnia. He was soon followed by George E. Kenney, the first career diplomat to resign from the U.S. State Department, who departed for similar reasons. Kenney said credible CIA and INR (the State Department intelligence bureau) reports placed the blame squarely on the Serbs. Yet Eagleburger's State Department contradicted the reports and suppressed the appalling information on Serbian atrocities. The State Department was in the middle of a moral struggle between working-level officials and the higher echelons. The former tried to make public the evidence of Serbian atrocities, while the latter thwarted their attempts.
Bosnia desk officer Marshall Freeman Harris (another official who resigned in protest) said Eagleburger's assessment of blame was calculatedly ambiguous and clearly at variance with what the State Department and intelligence agencies knew at the time. "It was cynical, disingenuous, whatever you want to call it."
When I studied in Zagreb in the 1960s, the Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts to Yugoslavia were the most widely listened to radio program in Croatia (and probably in all the Eastern bloc nations). The Croats, including Communist Party members, considered the VOA their best source of information. The short-lived Croatian Spring of 1971 was encouraged by VOA news. But during Eagleburger's tenure, the VOA became infiltrated by Serbs or those sympathetic to Serbian ideals. VOA South European division deputy chief Veljko Rasevic hired Zlatica Hoke as the Croatian services supervisor with the full knowledge that she was married to Srdjan Trifkovic, advisor to and spokesman for Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. Despite the conflict of interest, she also served as translator for President Clinton, Vice President Gore, and other administration officials in delicate negotiations with the Croatian president. If this wasn't a classic case of having the proverbial fox in the henhouse, I don't know what is.
After Bush lost the election and had nothing more to lose, he made a sudden departure from his previous policy and sent Eagleburger to Europe to argue for lifting the arms embargo. But Eagleburger knew the Europeans would be unmoved if he delivered the message unenthusiastically. He was right.
The U.N. has proven to be even more devious than the United States. Every U.N. action since the onset of hostilities has abetted the Serbian agenda. When the JNA was supposed withdraw from Bosnia in May, 1992, it left most of its equipment and 85% of its troops behind. JNA soldiers simply changed uniforms and became the Bosnian paramilitary force. The U.N. smugly accepted this gesture as proof of adherence to their negotiated terms.
The British government has done the most to help further Serbian goals. Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd used all methods at his disposal to sabotage efforts to recognize Croatia and Slovenia despite the fact that Yugoslavia had died without hope of resuscitation. But Hurd thought Serbia to be the natural successor to Yugoslavia and a counterweight to Germany's influence in the area. So as to prevent the upstart republics from seceding, he penalized their self-determination efforts. The British government encouraged the Security Council to impose an arms embargo that perversely penalized the non-Serbs.
The arms embargo was one of the most perverse policies perpetrated. Before the conflict erupted, Yugoslavia had the third largest standing army in Europe and was among the leading arms producers of the world. The Serbs had insured that key Bosnia-based arms manufacturing plants were under their control. Two years before the war started, the Bosnians naively allowed themselves to be disarmed by the Serbian-controlled JNA. The JNA held all the military weapons in Croatia, after they had seized the armories. With former Yugoslavia's military power in Serbian hands, the arms embargo hardly inconvenienced them, but markedly penalized the Croats and Muslims. In a British initiated debate before the U.N. Security Council considering an arms embargo on Serbia, Yugoslav Representative to the U.N. Budimir Loncar made a compelling appeal that was subsequently implemented: "a general and complete embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to all [my emphasis added] parties in Yugoslavia." U.N. Resolution 713 placed the victims at a distinct disadvantage. The international media largely ignored the resolution's passage despite its tremendous ramifications. In the summer of 1991, when the effort still could have been meaningful, Hurd vehemently opposed the European Community initiative to send a peacekeeping force to Croatia. A few days after Hurd's protest, the Serbs unleashed their juggernaut on Croatia's towns and cities.
All Croatians’ and Bosnians’ pleas to lift the arms embargo were never given serious consideration.
Bush and Clinton all but ignored the issue (except for Clinton raising a hullabaloo during his campaign). The lifting of the arms embargo on the Bosnian-Muslims and Croats would've enabled them to defend themselves against the aggressor without requiring the help of any outside ground troops.
The West consistently responded to the Serbian carnage in ways acceptable to the Serbs. The U.N. ignored Resolution 836 that reaffirms full sovereignty, recognizes territorial integrity within recognized, preexisting borders, and mandates that those displaced be returned to their homes in peace.
Russia openly flaunted U.N. sanctions imposed on Yugoslavia. James Defence Weekly reported that Russia exported four billion dollars worth of military ordnance to Yugoslavia in 1992. In January, 1993, Russia agreed to sell Serbia T55 tanks, anti-aircraft missiles, and anti-missile missiles that have the capability of destroying targets 375 miles away. After the Russians forced themselves into a peace-keeping role in Croatia, they shamelessly armed those they were supposed to disarm.
Russia's peacekeeping role in Croatia has been particularly scandalous. On January 12, 1993, some media accounts reported that the Serbs had taken to wearing Russian U.N. uniforms in some of their attacks.
From privates to generals, the main function of Russian troops was smuggling and black marketing. Trafficking of U.N. gasoline was their number one priority. Fearful of alienating Russia, the U.N. turned a blind eye to the indiscretions. But the U.N. couldn't cover up complaints from the Belgian forces.
The Russian commander in Eastern Croatia, Major General Aleksandr Perelyakin, countermanded Belgian orders and permitted Serbian soldiers and military ordnance to enter Serbian-held Croatia. On April 13, 1995, The New York Times reported that the U.N. dismissed Perelyakin for this incident as well as a series of smuggling activities. Unfortunately, corruption wasn't limited to the Russians. Many of the U.N. forces exploited their assignments in the Balkans as an opportunity for personal enrichment.
A March 20, 1993, article in The Guardian accused Denmark, the holder of the EC presidency at the time, of clearly violating the economic sanctions. The Danish Statistics Service published an official report that revealed that Danish exports to Yugoslavia had risen to almost half of the pre-U.N. blockade level. Exports from Yugoslavia to Denmark, predominantly agricultural products, came from the fertile areas that the Serbs had conquered in Bosnia. The U.S. government confirmed that a number of Greek vessels delivered enormous quantities of oil to Yugoslavia. None of these blatant breaches of sanctions was protested.
As the master of flexibly in interpreting deadlines, the U.N. always gave the benefit of the doubt to the Serbs who in turn showed nothing but contempt for U.N. Security Council resolutions, NATO intervention, and world opinion. The Serbs ignored every accord because negligible Western responses indicated that the Serbs would suffer no consequences.
In the last days of Bush's administration, U.N. envoy and peace negotiator Vance personally called Secretary of State Eagleburger and members of the Clinton transition team and secured a promise from them not to let Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic meet with the Bush administration to present his case. Only after their gentlemen's agreement became known publicly did Eagleburger allow the meeting to take place. So much for men of honor.
General MacKenzie, while serving as the highest ranking U.N. officer in Bosnia, vehemently opposed flying humanitarian aid into Sarajevo and opposed President Francois Mitterand's visit to the Bosnian capital.
His favorite thesis was that all sides were morally equal. But his assessment contradicted a U.N. investigative commission report which concluded: "There is no factual basis for arguing that there is a 'moral equivalence' between the warring factions." MacKenzie consistently berated the Muslims for defending themselves and for wanting to take back their homes. He was later accused by the Bosnian government of sexually exploiting Muslim women prisoners brought to his quarters.
Although MacKenzie is a general, he's no historian. To perpetuate the mythology about Serbian fighting prowess and make the Serbs appear larger than life, MacKenzie pointed out that 37 German divisions couldn't defeat the Serbs during World War II. Either he purposely lied or didn't know that the Germans had only a few divisions in Yugoslavia during the war. The Serbs had hardly dented Germany's war machine.
MacKenzie accused the Muslims of shelling their own people to get media attention. Even the most naive had a hard time believing his often repeated remark: "The vast majority of cease-fire violations were committed by Muslims." He perversely refused to acknowledge the malignant nature of ethnic cleansing, labeling the genocide a benign "population redistribution" instead.
A June 22, 1993 Newsday article pointed out that while MacKenzie espoused opinions to the U.S. Congress, international media, and think tanks, he disingenuously failed to mention that he was on the payroll of SerbNet, a Serbian lobbying firm. His duplicity caused great harm because many senior level American officers based later policy decisions on information received from MacKenzie's briefings. His colleagues didn't challenge his credibility because of his distinguished military background. Former Bosnian Ambassador to the U.N. and present Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey wondered whether MacKenzie "was bought and paid from the beginning."
The U.N. has consistently downplayed the plight of Muslim civilians even when faced with the most glaring evidence of atrocities. The U.N.'s response to the Serbian siege on the town Zepa is a striking example.
In the spring of 1993, the Bosnian government sent numerous communiqués to the U.N. voicing the government's concern for Zepa's inhabitants. But the complaints were summarily dismissed by U.N. military commanders. The U.N. steadfastly characterized the town as free of imminent danger and decided that the communiqués were merely part of a Bosnian disinformation campaign to provoke Western intervention. A few days after the U.N. received the communiqués, troops who secured the town reported finding only 50 survivors from a pre-siege population of 10,000.
As reported in The Times (May 11, 1993), U.N. spokesman John McMillan reacted to the slaughter by saying: "It is obvious from the report that there was something to the Bosnian government's statements." His casual indifference reflected a larger U.N. pattern. Other examples of the U.N. suppression of Serbian violations occurred in 1994 when the safe areas of Gorazde and Bihac were devastated.
When the initial French contingency of troops arrived in Sarajevo they were fired upon. The French commander immediately blamed the Muslims for the attack without a scintilla of evidence. Later investigation revealed that the Serbs were the real culprits. But the French never retracted the accusation.
Bosnian Deputy Premier Hakija Turajlic was brutally murdered by the Serbs while sitting in a clearly marked U.N. vehicle in a U.N. protected zone. The French commander responsible for protecting Turajlic subsequently received the Legion of Honor. The list of U.N.-Serbian agenda cooperation is endless. During the height of ethnic cleansing, Head Liaison Officer for U.N. Refugees Jean-Claude Concoloto said, "The U.N. were not only creating refugees but becoming a partner in Serbia's ethnic cleansing."
The contents of Henry Wynaents book, L’Engrenage (The Wringer), most likely haunt those diplomats with consciences who were involved in the Yugoslav fiasco. He explicitly indicts the Serbian expansion program that was abetted by feckless European policies. He chastises the U.N.'s colossal ineptitude and Vance’s smug folly. And Wynaents specifically holds the European governments, the U.N., and Vance responsible for the bloodshed that has taken place. Wynaents is a Dutch diplomat who knows the subject intimately. He spent a year working with Carrington as a mediator in Croatia.
Owen and Vance fueled the Bosnian conflict when they introduced the concept of the three warring factions. The negotiators thereby elevated and equated rebel Serbian and Croatian forces with the legitimate Bosnian government. Then Owen and Vance provoked the rift between the Croats and Muslims with a Machiavellian stroke by bypassing Stjepan Kljuic, an elected Bosnian Croat who espoused an indivisible Bosnia, and dealing instead with Mate Boban, an illegitimate politician who advocated a Bosnian-Croat merger with Croatia.
Following the slaughter of 69 civilians in a Sarajevo marketplace, the U.N. placed a great deal of credence in Serbian allegations that the Muslims had planted the explosives themselves to gain sympathy and show the Serbs in a bad light.
Nevertheless, the U.N. imposed a no weapons zone around Sarajevo. In one of many similar instances, Canadian U.N. troops found Serbian tanks and military ordnance within the 20 kilometer zone. According to the New York Herald Tribune (March 22, 1994), the U.N. would not condemn the Serbs. Lieutenant General Michael Rose must have given great comfort to the Sarajevans when he explained the reason: "The guns were not aimed at Sarajevo." The U.N. went on a self aggrandizement binge in the media while the Serbs redeployed their ordnance to other besieged areas of Bosnia.
The Serbs shelled the U.N. designated safe haven of Gorazde with tanks and artillery for 10 days preceding their massive assault on the city. Lieutenant General Rose labeled the Serbian attack "tactical" and "not serious." The U.N. showed no reluctance to sacrifice the 65,000 Muslims of Gorazde in order to insure the safety of fewer than 200 U.N. peacekeepers held hostage by the Serbs. In the eyes of the U.N. the trade was more than equitable. Rose had the audacity to accuse the Muslims of abandoning their defensive positions and criticized them for not fighting the Serbian onslaught. "They think we should be fighting their war for them. One bloke with a crowbar would have stopped [the Serb tank assault]." Bosnian resistance would've been suicidal because most of the Muslim weapons were, in fact, no better than crowbars. B. Djurdjevic reported in The Arizona Republic that Rose claimed only a broom was required to restore the ruined Gorazde hospital's operational capacities. After having blocked every attempt to stop the inhumane carnage, Rose felt disappointed that Gorazde didn't fall. He accused the Bosnians of exaggerating their own casualty figures and chasing 12,500 Serbs from the town. Gorazde's pre-war Serbian population was about 5,000. The Serbian population was negligible at the time of the assault because most had been safely evacuated prior to the shelling. Apparently every U.N. official had the task of propagating disinformation about the status of Bosnia and Croatia.
The U.N. was reluctant to use NATO to help carry out its mandates. When the U.N. did authorize NATO air strikes, most of bombs were duds. Prior to September, 1995, the only purpose of the air strikes was to provide practice for NATO pilots because the bombing didn't intimidate the Serbs. In an act of obvious collusion, Yasuski Akashi, the highest ranking U.N. official in Bosnia, tried to alert the Serbs to move their guns prior to one such strike.
Akashi persistently trumpeted unsubstantiated allegations of Bosnian atrocities committed against Serbian civilians, yet he remained mute about verified Serbian massacres of Muslims near Srebrenica and Zepa.
The West's attitude was tantamount to complicity in the mass murders that took place. For the sake of political expediency and in order not to jeopardize the peace discussions at Dayton, the U.S. chose to ignore the evidence their intelligence services had gathered that indicated that the Serbs had indeed been guilty of atrocities. The collective inaction of Western leaders makes them as morally culpable as those officials in World War II who saw lines of Jews outside of gas chambers and did nothing.
The scenario played at Srebrenica epitomizes the U.N.'s inept handling of the Balkan crisis. The Muslims of Srebrenica were subjected to increasingly intensive Serbian shelling while living under intolerable conditions and without adequate food supplies. As the town was on the verge of collapse, the U.N. could no longer stomach the mayhem and promptly declared Srebrenica a safe area. The Serbs accepted the concept out of political expediency, but only under the condition that the Muslims would avail themselves of their few weapons.
The citizens of Srebrenica were living as if in a concentration camp. All human needs were supplied from the outside by either legitimate agencies or the black market. More often than not, the latter source commingled with the former. The Ukrainian U.N. troops were especially involved in guarding the legitimate food source convoys and selling whatever they got their hands on to the black market.
In 1995, the Bosnian-Croatian allied counter-offensives resoundingly smashed the Serbian military and retook captured territory. So rather than re-deploy forces from the Eastern front, the Serbs went for easy pickings in the so-called safe areas. Although U.N. forces from the Netherlands had replaced the ever cooperative and pliable Canadian force at Srebrenica, the Dutch were just as ineffective, and the city soon became history. At least the Dutch, unlike the Canadians, didn't hesitate to bear witness against the Serbs. But all requests for air support by Dutch commanders on the ground were stonewalled at headquarters despite a Security Council resolution to use all means to protect the safe areas. Usually Akashi called off the air strikes.
The Keystone Kops couldn't have protected Srebrenica any less competently.
On July 21, 1995, the Los Angeles Times reported that the U.N. had supplied the Serbs with U.N. uniforms, blue helmets, and white jeeps that the Serbs then used to lure 91 Muslims, including women and children, from a forest where they had hidden after escaping from Srebrenica. All 91 were summarily murdered.
Kris Janowski, an official with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, learned the details of this incident from survivors of the Srebrenica evacuation.
Fleeing refugees who didn't make it to Tuzla, another safe area, fell into Serbian hands. According to eyewitnesses, at least 5,200 Muslims were confined in a football stadium in Bratunac and executed. Several weeks after the Serbian takeover of Muslim Srebrenica, United States satellite photographs clearly indicated evidence of approximately half-a-dozen fresh mass grave sites. The photographs supported credible eyewitness accounts that described large-scale brutal and inhumane treatment by the Serbs after they captured Srebrenica on July 11. The United States government inexplicably withheld announcing the findings for four weeks. The Clinton administration had been in delicate negotiations with Milosevic and was in the process of rehabilitating his image, so it didn't wish to confront him about the atrocities. The U.S. also withheld intelligence reports from the International Criminal Tribunal investigating the atrocities for national "security reasons"--Nixon's catchall phrase during the Watergate investigation.
Akashi made no comment and ignored credible witnesses, including his own U.N. troops, and CIA reconnaissance photos showing the mass graves. Instead, he inveighed against unsubstantiated Croatian misdeeds directed against the Serbs during Croatia's successful counteroffensive in Western Slavonia and the Krajina.
Akashi and other high ranking U.N. officials chose to ignore numerous reports, including their own military intelligence that confirmed the appearance throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina of Serbian supplied SA-2, SA-3 and SA-6 surface-to-air missile batteries. Serbia clearly violated the terms of sanctions by supplying aid to rebel Serbs in Croatia who had in turn overtly collaborated with the Bosnian-Serbs' siege on Bihac. Milosevic's borders were sealed like a sieve. Fuel tankers and military supplies regularly crossed borders monitored by U.N. observers. Yet the hierarchy of the U.N. refused to chastise Serbia. Contact Group member Russia even had the temerity to demand that the U.N. Security Council lift all sanctions on Yugoslavia, arguing that Milosevic was doing everything possible to bring about peace. How did the U.N. respond? It eased the sanctions and criticized Croats and Muslims for their efforts to regain their own territory.
Whenever NATO decided to use its air power Akashi countermanded the orders. So when Clinton finally acquiesced and allowed NATO to bomb Serbian positions in September, 1995, Akashi was taken out of the loop.
With its patience regarding Clinton's inertia wearing thin, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution to unilaterally lift the arms embargo. But Secretary of State Warren Christopher, thumbing his nose at Congress, reassured and promised the allies that the U.S. wouldn't break the arms embargo. In November, 1994, the Associated Press reported that the Clinton administration withdrew its three ships from the international maritime blockade charged with enforcing the arms embargo in the Adriatic in order to placate Congress.
Clinton's gesture was mostly symbolic because our presence there had little effect anyway. During the 17 months the blockade was in force, 19 NATO ships found only three vessels carrying arms among 42,000 challenged.
In late 1994, the Contact Group gave up all pretense of honoring the legal and moral obligations that arose from recognizing the sovereignty of Bosnia-Herzegovina. So the group gave the Vance-Owen plan a new twist. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe clearly articulated the Contact Group's agenda in Le Figaro (October 17, 1994). The Contact Group wanted to merge the territory seized by the Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia into a contiguous entity with Serbia and place Sarajevo and Mostar under U.N. control. Aside from rewarding Serbia, the Contact Group was pressing Croatia to give Serbia access to the Adriatic through territory the Serbs were unable to conquer. Once realized, the new plan would have fulfilled all provisions enunciated in the SANU Memorandum. Three of the countries in the group, France, Britain, and Russia, had asked the fourth one, the United States, for the tools to stop the fascist juggernaut during World War II, but failed to make the same request for Bosnia. Instead, the Contact Group eased sanctions on Serbia at a time when the Serbs were escalating their ethnic cleansing operations.
In late 1994, the Contact Group grew angry when the Muslims went on their counter-offensive and took back territory held by the Serbs. Aggression was acceptable as long as the causalities and refugees were limited to non-Serbs. But once the Serbs became part of the statistics, Lieutenant General Michael Rose threatened real air strikes against the Muslims.
In keeping with the disinformation campaign and his personal financial interests, Kissinger glibly spouted half-truths and historical revisions in a televised interview with Charley Rose in September, 1995. He echoed the quagmire theory that would necessitate putting 100,000 American troops in harm's way. He falsely glorified Serbian might by claiming that Yugoslav forces had tied up 17 German divisions during World War II.
And Kissinger didn't forget to say that all sides were equally guilty. He claimed that the Muslims and Serbs had committed an equal number of atrocities. Whereas the Serbs did their acts under the media's noses, the Muslims had hidden their nefarious deeds in the countryside away from the media's notice. The Croatian ethnic cleansing, the expulsion of 150,000 Serbs in the Krajina area, was just as immoral as what the Serbs had done in Croatia.
When I heard Kissinger's statements I wasn't sure where he was coming from. He must have been trying to protect his K&A investments in Yugoslavia; as a historian he would have known that he was twisting the facts.
All objective evidence indicates that the Serbs committed their atrocities as a matter of state policy. Whenever the Muslims or the Croats were involved in inhumane acts, those acts were spontaneous events.
Members of the hierarchy of the so-called Knin government led by Rajko Lezajic, who found refuge in Serbia after the Croatian military success, said in a press conference in Belgrade on August 23, 1995, that the exodus of ethnic Serbs from the Krajina area of Croatia had been ordered and signed on August 4, 1995, by the President of the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina, Milan Martic. That entire weekend radio announcements cried, "Run away. Escape. The Ustashe will kill you." Those Serbs that desired to stay were coerced and pressured into leaving by their neighbors. But the exodus was orderly. In contrast to the Croatian and Muslim refugees who were haggard, beaten, and unable to carry anything more than the shirts on their backs, the Serbs left with their vehicles loaded with goods.
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