The Guardian July 4, 2001


Yugoslavia: Treason, blackmail, gangsterism

Treason, blackmail, kidnapping and gangsterism are the only fitting 
words to describe the actions of the Federal Government of Yugoslavia in 
the kidnapping of Milosevic which involved a British military plane and 
bribery by the European Union and the US.

The operation was marked by the disregard of a ruling by the High Court of 
Yugoslavia that suspended the Government's decree authorising the 
extradition of Milosevic and others.

The Government in effect tore up the Yugoslav Constitution which 
specifically rules out the extradition of Yugoslav citizens to other 
countries.

It then, together with British and American authorities, organised the 
spiriting away of Slobadan Milosevic from his Belgrade prison in a bread 
delivery van. He was delivered to an American base from where he was flown 
to The Hague in a British military plane.

All this was associated with the billion dollar bribe of the Yugoslav 
Government by the European Union and the US.

Milosevic is now to be arraigned before NATO's kangaroo court in The Hague.

Belgrade is in turmoil following the illegal extradition of Milosevic.

Even before Mr Milosevic was secretly taken from his prison, huge Belgrade 
crowds reacted angrily to the news that the Yugoslav Government cabinet had 
issued a decree "authorising" the extradition of Milosevic and other 
Yugoslav citizens to NATO's so-called War Crimes Tribunal.

Between 100,000 to 200,000 people rallied and marched in Republic Square in 
Belgrade.

"Speakers were saying this is treason to the Serbian nation. The 
Constitution is the highest legal obligation of any state and by breaking 
the Constitution one betrays the nation. They are saying that all Serbian 
people and others loyal to Yugoslavia must unite and take back their 
government and throw out those who have betrayed the nation to Washington, 
which dangles false bribes to humiliate the Serbian people", says an urgent 
message from Jared Israel (journalist of ("Emperor's Clothes") who was on 
the phone to Belgrade as the rally went on.

"At the rally people were speaking with one voice. They said: Abolish the 
decree! Serbian and Yugoslav governments should resign! Nobody should be 
extradited to The Hague!

Those who adopted this illegal decree should be criminally charged! There 
must be general elections on all levels because the government has 
committed treason and lied and therefore nobody any longer supports them."

The President of Yugoslavia, Vojislav Kostunica claimed that he had found 
out about the transportation of Mr Milosevic from the media and that his 
deportation was "illegal".

International reaction

International reaction to the events in Belgrade was swift and furious. 
Despite attempts of western media outlets to present the case as a just and 
well-deserved outcome, alternative voices hit the Internet to express their 
views.

Demonstrations were organised and petitions and protests sent to Yugoslav 
authorities.

Momir Bulatovic, President of the Socialist People's Party (SNP) of 
Montenegro, a major party in the ruling coalition, announced that the Prime 
Minister and six Ministers would quit the federal government in protest.

The SNP Vice President, Mr Jovanovic, told the media that the Serbian 
Government's decision to hand over Milosevic in defiance of the Federal 
Constitutional Court's ruling amounted to a coup.

"What happened is that Djindjic suspended the constitutional system of 
Yugoslavia. Djindjic introduced dictatorship, and the responsibility for 
that lies on him and all others who did nothing to prevent this."

As another official of the Yugoslav Socialist Party said at the Belgrade 
rally: "The masks have fallen from the Serbian traitors, especially 
[Serbian Prime Minister] Djindjic".

Fidel Castro declared that "the sending of Milosevic over there (to The 
Hague) is illegal, it does not correspond with international laws". He said 
that it was "madness to concede the right of extra-territorial action for 
their penal laws and judicial authorities to NATO and the powerful 
nations".

Eighty Greek parliamentary deputies from all political parties signed a 
protest to be delivered to the embassy of the Federal Republic of 
Yugoslavia in Athens expressing their opposition to the extradition.

The Portuguese Communist Party points out in their protest that "such an 
action, which on all counts is illegal and illegitimate, can only 
contribute to worsen the situation in Yugoslavia and dangerously 
destabilise the whole Balkan region. The offensive of the KLA bands in 
Macedonia, under the cover and support of US and KFOR forces, can lead to a 
tragedy of huge proportions."

Christians Against NATO Aggression, a UK ecumenical group comprising 
Orthodox, Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Unitarians, Quakers, Roman Catholics, 
Baptists, Brethren, Anglicans, etc, sharing a common view on the 
responsibility of NATO leaders for war crimes, is planning to visit the 
British Ministry of Defence to ask for the names of the pilots and air crew 
of the aircraft involved in transporting Mr Milosevic so that their names 
can be included in an indictment which will be lodged at the Crown Court on 
the charge of kidnapping.

Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russia's International Affairs Committee of the 
Duma said: "Transferring Milosevic to The Hague in fact means that NATO has 
at last received a cover for its aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999. 
They got what they wanted. The blackmail worked in full. This will 
inevitably lead to a crisis in Yugoslavia."

Sara Flounders, National Co-Director of the US International Action Centre 
condemned the US-forced deportation as "illegal".

"The objective of this step is not just, or even primarily, Milosevic 
himself. The deportation of Milosevic is another element aimed at 
terminating Yugoslavia's sovereignty once and for all.

"For more than a decade the US and NATO used war, blockades, sanctions and 
other means to re-balkanize the Balkans. Today, as a result, US military 
bases dominate the region  in Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, Hungary, 
Macedonia, Kosovo (Serbia)  where there were none 10 years ago. 
Yugoslavia's real crime was that it resisted this re-colonisation process."

The deportation was "An enormous tragedy for Yugoslavia and the rule of 
law", said former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark.

The Cambridge Campaign for Peace (CamPeace) stated in their letter to 
President Kostunica: "We are not supporters of Milosevic, but we are 
supporters of a better world in which the law will be adhered to, instead 
of a world dominated by international gangsters."

CPA protest

A message sent by CPA General Secretary Peter Symon to the Ambassador of 
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in Canberra before the kidnapping of 
Slobadan Milosevic said: "It is outrageous that the same people who 
directed the bombing of your country and brought so much suffering and 
destruction are now trying to buy your government with the promise of loans 
if you obey their orders.

"No sovereign country ever tried to sell their former leaders in such a 
servile way ... It is a course that will bring disgust and condemnation for 
decades into the future, just as the names of Judas and Quisling, having 
passed into the language, represent the ultimate in servility and betrayal.

Dissolve Hague Court

The newspaper of the German Communist Party, "Neue Einheit" calls for the 
abolition of the so-called, War Crimes Tribunal. The paper says that "by 
its whole practice it covers NATO's war against Yugoslavia, a war by 
several large nations against a small nation, using massive force of arms 
and bombings...

"This tribunal does not prosecute all the war criminals of the Bosnian war, 
but very purposefully, only certain persons are picked out to fit into the 
political concept of justifying NATO's aggression against Yugoslavia. The 
NATO tribunal of The Hague which is actually a fraud, must be dissolved."

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