And per usual....only Putin cares
That strange country no one would touch when I was a kid. That country I was ashamed to have my family be from when I was a kid
When my grandmother came to live with us for six months, I was mortified when she spoke to me in Slovenian in a clothing store, and this was witnessed by a classmate
It was this weird embarrassing place with weird languages and weird mannerisms and ideas, a European country that wasn't "cool" like France, or Spain, or Italy
This strange place with weird Emir Kustirica gypsies that always seemed to exist on this plane where it simultaneously did and didn't actually register in people's ignorant minds
You know....the land of the southern slavs?
Slavs? Slavs are just Russians
When I was a kid, growing up in the eighties, you never heard about it on the TV news or on TV shows, heralded in movies
It was almost like the place didn't exist
But when you did hear about it, in those rare moments, it was always in a disparaging manner, like a joke I recall some blonde actress recited once (Heather Locklear?) on some TV show, ridiculing the looks of Yugoslav women, saying they all looked like men
It was a "socialist" country, and presumably had all the problems attending all "socialist" countries, like a curtailment of the freedoms of its citizens
Yugoslavs couldn't travel outside of the country for instance
Oh wait; that's not true
(Because I remember one lone article from that time period debunking that myth)
The "smartest boy" in my class in elementary school was asked to recite the capitals of the world, and he could tell us a great majority of them, especially the European ones, OF COURSE the European ones, but he gave me the blankest of stares when I asked him what the capital of Yugoslavia was
And what about good 'ol Nikola Tesla? The greatest scientist of the twentieth century? When I was growing up, the Smithsonian refused to erect a bust to him, and I had a sweatshirt proclaiming that everyone should "Bust the Smithsonian" because my dad was a member of the Tesla Memorial Society of New York, and they were working to increase the public's awareness of his achievements. I thought the sweatshirt was silly and embarrassing, and I don't remember wearing it much as a kid. In my twenties I appreciated it more, but unfortunately eventually gave it away to a thrift store.
Do you know how many bloody reports I did about Nikola Tesla? To go along with all the times I had to do a project about a foreign country for school, and I consistently chose the homeland of my parents, Yugoslavia?
I also spent many summers there as a little girl, and I remember feeling how the atmosphere was different
How I could walk through the streets of Ljubljana, and Varazdin, Pula, and Zagreb ( and wherever else we went, I have a poor memory) and feel the history of the ages wafting through the air and through my soul (especially in Ljubljana)
There were no billboards or advertisements in the streets. There was no ghastly commercial television, and definitely no television stations inundated with gaudy American TV shows
The soul of the country was alive and well, and I felt like I was really and actually alive. Like blood could flow unimpeded, like life could happen, and it could go full speed ahead like it was supposed to, instead of it always being at a muffled standstill like in the States. People fell in love, and got married, and died, and had fights, and it felt real, and there was real flesh and blood interaction with other human beings, and not the desolate, lonely, static, insular existence back home in Ohio
After I got over my silly pre-teen pretensions about not being American enough for my classmates and my family not being American enough for everyone-on-Earth, I fell in love with the place and wished and dreamed that I had been born there, and that my family there accepted me (which they didn't, but that's another story)
Then the nineties came, and Yugoslavia was destroyed by the powers of the West, who didn't like socialism, who no longer needed any states defiant to any Soviet Union (because it was no longer around), who didn't like defiant states to the West, and who wanted new markets for their goods and cultural products
My parents' homeland, simultaneously mocked and ignored by Western mainstream society for so long, was ironically finally accepted into the fold after being torn apart criminally and brutally by the bullies of the West, and made into a TV show set for "Game of Thrones" and a cool new hip place for American hipsters to visit; Nikola Tesla started becoming "cool" too
A place nobody from here ever fucking cared about before
Recently, in response to claims of Russian interference in well, hell, lets just say it, everything the United States does, like our elections, (and apparently the elections of others too, apparently Mexico is up to bat LOL) , critics have responded that why should the 17 intelligence agencies of the US be trusted when they say that "it seems" that the Russians interfered. They couldn't be trusted when it came to the claims about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, so why here?
Yes, those WMD's that really weren't
And while that is a really good argument when questioning the accuracy and motives of US intelligence agencies, why is it the only example given?
There are plenty of other examples of the nefariousness of US intelligence agencies, examples like COINTELPRO where the FBI spied on political dissidents in our own country, and the CIA's nefarious doings in South America
But there is one really good example, on a par with Iraq, that happened more recently, that people on the left, I'm sorry, I mean anyone critical of the official narrative, either left or right, could be using in their defense
What about the lies surrounding the so-called "humanitarian intervention" of Yugoslavia?
Milosevic not only was never found guilty of war crimes, he actually worked to bring peace back to the region and prevent more bloodshed and end sanctions against his country with the concessions he made at the Dayton Accords. People like Richard Holbrooke, former US ambassador to the UN, more richly deserved to sit in judgement at a war crimes tribunal due to his participation in the slaughters that took place in Vietnam, Afghanistan, East Timor, Iraq, and yes, Yugoslavia, where he helped the Bosnian Muslims prolong the war and played a minimal role in the Dayton Accords but was given all the credit and slandered Milosevic when he died; he's dead now too / photo taken from the-american-interest.com and source for this info from Diana Johnstone's article "Holbrooke or Milosevic: Who was the greater murderer?" December 15, 2010 published the week Holbrooke died and god damn she was so prescient when she writes that nobody had proven that he was guilty of war crimes and this was back in freaking 2010!!!
In March of 2016, several months before the Presidential election, it was announced by the ICTY ( International Criminal Tribunal on Yugoslavia) that Slobodan Milosevic, the "Butcher of the Balkans", had been exonerated of his supposed war crimes
It was found that he actually WASN'T on board with ethnically cleansing Bosnia of Muslims and Croats
One of the major reasons the US went into its "humanitarian intervention" in Yugoslavia in the first place, was because of what this monster was supposedly doing, and it turns out, he wasn't doing it all
Now don't you think our intelligence agencies would have picked up on that?
I would think that this is a MAJOR BOMBSHELL, but the only news outlets who reported on it didn't do so until the summer of that year, and complained how this decision had been buried under the ICTY's conviction of Ratko Mladic
But when it was reported, it wasn't picked up in the mainstream press; I can recall only seeing it on RT and Counterpunch, and hardly anyone mentioned it on Twitter (Neil Clark is another really good journalist on Yugoslavia by the way, he reported on this for RT; along with Diana Johnstone)
So okay fine, mainstream political pundits and fake news are not going to pursue this, but you would think more critical types, some anti-establishment types, would be jumping on this?
To this day, the new year of our lord 2018, hardly anyone talks about it
"Just like you believe that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?" Here, 60 Minutes' attack dog Leslie Stahl attacks RT's editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, on the issue of Russian interference, and Ms. Simonyan responds with that same 'ol Iraq line. Again, no offense to RT, I love them, but to be honest, they're not bringing up Yugoslavia, although to be honest, their website has done fabulous reporting on it but is it too complicated to bring up in an interview? By the way, reporting more than the US mainstream press does is NOT controversial or even special, if you were normal
Is it the curse of Yugoslavia?
The weird country that no one understands and no one cares about? Even when it could be useful to them?
Is it just too icky weird to be comprehended? Was I right, all those years ago, my pre-teen intuition in overdrive, my radar going off that my family simply came from a country SO FRICKING CRAAAAZZZY, that it instantly obliterated itself from people's minds? That it just really doesn't matter?
Is it the spell of the Clintons, and anything done by the Democrats, that makes people not want to be critical? If it's done during a Democratic administration, is it automatically OKAY, just like all those deportations and foreign interventions were okay under Obama? Because apparently cutting welfare under the Clinton administration was A-okay
There are so many lies and manipulations that took place during those heady Clinton days in the late nineties that culminated in the deconstruction of Yugoslavia: the demonization of its leaders, the manipulation and exaggeration of ethnic tensions, hoaxes of massacres and demonizations of whole ethnic groups, the manipulation of Western leftists who supported the US's new role as a "humanitarian interventionist'; lust for mineral mines (Trepca) and the violation of sovereign nations; suspicious dealings and "erroneous maps" resulting in mysterious bombings of Chinese embassies and 78-day bombings of innocent civilians with depleted uranium and people walking around today scot-free who also deserved a place at a War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague
That will be for another article (or read one of the excellent books on the subject "Fool's Crusade" by Diana Johnstone)
But back to soundbites
"There were no WMD's in Iraq" can be joined by "Milosevic was not a war criminal, and he was not guilty of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia" and therefore in either case, you had no cause to bomb anyone US of A
Another notch in your belt, US intelligence agencies!
Mikhaila Martinovic is a pseudonym for Kate Meyers, who has always wished she could either be a witch or a Yugoslav