International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic (ICDSM)

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Part 2 - What Is My Offense?
Interview With Slobodan Milosevic

Interviewers, Jared Israel and Nico Varkevisser
(The authors are vice-chairmen of the ICDSM
Reprinted from www.pravda.ru
[Posted 15 August 2002]
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MILOSEVIC'S GOLD

I have been attacked for everything. The U.S. envoy, Richard Holbrooke, once told me, the Swiss government is going to freeze your accounts. I said, "Why stop there? Here, wait a moment." I wrote a few words and gave him the paper. "Here. I've signed all my foreign bank account assets over to you. You may keep every penny."

He was taken aback. "I may?"

I said, "Yes! Unfortunately, there are no accounts."

Generally in banking you cannot have presidents of countries hiding vast amounts of money. It's simply nonsense. The goal of all the news reports about how they haven't yet found my money is to give people the false impression that there's something to look for.

THE MEDIA AND BLAMING THE VICTIM

The other night I was watching TVBK, a private Serbian TV station. Someone was criticizing the media, and right in the middle, the station cut the power. Just like that. The screen went black. It shows how worried this DOS regime [installed in a coup d'etat in October 2000] is when faced with the least critical thought.

They accuse me of having been a dictator. That's ridiculous. Before the DOS coup d'etat we had democracy. 95% of the media was privately owned and the opposition controlled most of it. In Kosovo the Albanians had more than 20 different media. In any neighborhood you could buy a newspaper attacking the government.

We didn't have one political prisoner. But this new regime has issued so-called 'amnesty' laws, freeing members of the KLA convicted for murdering children and the like. They call this 'the new political freedom.' I call it legalizing terror.

How did my supposed dictatorship manifest itself? Ibrahim Rugova, the Albanian secessionist leader, could have a press conference in Belgrade. He could walk around freely, have lunch, and criticize everything. And he did. Nobody bothered him.

They've accused me of being behind a rash of killings that occurred before the coup d'etat. The Defense Minister was killed. The Prime Minister of the province of Vojvodina was killed. The Secretary General of the Yugoslav Left. The Deputy Interior Minister of Serbia. The Managing Director of Yugoslav Airlines, a friend of mine since Gymnasium, he was killed. These were people I worked with, friends. No opposition leader was killed. So, I was killing my friends and sparing my enemies. A unique strategy.

When a crime occurs, shouldn't one ask: Qui bono? [Who gains?] Isn't it obvious that these killings were carried out to benefit our foreign opponents? That they were an attempt to intimidate men and women in our government? But the Western-controlled media says I was responsible.

The opposition media demonized our government and me and my family in every possible way. They accused my son of being a criminal.

The TV mixed these slanders with programs imported from America; flashy images, seductive especially to young people. They are doing this all over the world. It is a cultural attack.

Of course it had some effect. People in our country aren't used to advertising techniques based on the repetition of false images. The opposition learned these techniques from their US and other NATO handlers.

I've been using the term 'opposition', but in fact we had no opposition. We had a Fifth Column. It was paid huge sums by the people who bombed us. This was openly admitted.

And this Fifth Column, who now occupy government positions, has gone so far as to agree to cooperate with the Hague Tribunal, a false Tribunal created as another part of the genocide against the Serbs. Once in awhile they arrest an Islamic Fundamentalist or a Croatian fascist, to imply balance. But the goal is to destroy those who uphold Yugoslavia, who defend Serbia, to leave ordinary people vulnerable to attack and to make the world think resistance is impossible.

This past week the current authorities in Belgrade shipped their first victim to The Hague. He is a Serb from Bosnia, active in refugee work.

And we are seeing Hague-type justice in Belgrade as well. The present authorities have arrested Dragoljub Milanovic the director of RTS [the State TV station].

This is how it went. In January, Hague Prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, came to Belgrade. She accused me and Dragoljub Milanovic of murder. Why? Because on April 23, 1999 NATO bombed RTS, killing 16 people in one of their cruelest bombing raids. And, she said, NATO had made it clear they would bomb; so by her mad logic, we were responsible.

On April 8th French officials did threaten to bomb RTS. On the 9th we surrounded the TV station with a human shield, journalists, managers, officials, all together, arms linked. Serbian citizens were doing the same on bridges and in factories, everywhere. Then Wesley Clark seemed to withdraw the threat, but in any case what were we to do? Not go to work? Employees occupied our biggest auto plant and wrote a letter appealing to NATO not to bomb. NATO bombed anyway, killing and wounding scores of people. Were the victims guilty? Mr. Milanovic was working at RTS all month and could have been killed as well. Would that have made him responsible for 17 deaths, instead of 16?

Of course, Carla del Ponte works for NATO, for the bombers. And the new Belgrade authorities who have now actually arrested Dragoljub Milanovic on this crazy charge, these people work for NATO too.

WAR CRIMES - WHO IS GUILTY?

There were war crimes in Kosovo. But by whom? By the terrorists, who committed atrocities as a matter of course. By NATO which never hurt our military. They bombed our homes. They dropped cluster bombs on our green markets. Bombs encased in uranium.

These are war crimes. And they are guilty of the greatest crime of all: they launched an illegal, aggressive war.

All their actions now, everything they do, is intended to hide the criminal responsibility of Clinton, Albright, Blair, Schroeder, Solana, all the others. The worst war criminals.

But they accuse me. They say I ordered the slaughter of Albanians in Kosovo. And to prove it they sent forensic experts all over Kosovo, looking for atrocities. This was a propaganda effort, not a scientific investigation. It was theater - for the media. Every step these experts took was reported: they are looking for the bodies; they will soon unearth the bodies; they have found a shoe; and so on. With all that, people had to assume: there must be some serious crimes here.

The news that they were looking was big news but the news that they had found nothing - that was very small news. It is my opinion that many people in your countries still believe we committed genocide against Albanians in Kosovo.

THE JUNE 1999 PEACE ACCORDS

At the end of May 1999 the Russians proposed to us the so-called Yeltsin peace plan. It was good. Then it appears the Russians met with the Americans in Finland, and when the Russian envoy, Victor Chernomyrdin arrived in Belgrade the plan was entirely different. Kosovo was said to remain a part of Yugoslavia but the plan also called for full withdrawal of Yugoslav forces and for UN occupation. We said, how do we know this will not turn into NATO occupation and UCK [KLA] terror? Chernomyrdin swore to us that our Russian brothers would not permit this.

What were we to do? On the one hand, the Russian administration promised not to let NATO take over. On the other hand, there was a clear threat. NATO had begun carpet bombing of Kosovo. If we did not accept, the Russians made it clear they would withdraw their support and we would be condemned in the international media as warmongers who wouldn't even accept a peace plan from our Russian brothers. So we agreed to sign. Our government leadership discussed it, and then it was discussed in parliament, which voted to sign the agreement.

THE OCT. 5TH COUP IN BELGRADE

After the October 5th coup d'etat I resigned the presidency.
I didn't have to do that. We could have mounted a counter attack. But our government discussed the situation. It was our opinion that the foreign powers wanted to provoke a bloodbath. Their idea was, we would strongly resist; their Fifth Column would stage violent provocations; we would act to preserve order; and then their agents would stage murderous incidents for the camera, blaming us to create the impression of ruthless repression. Then under cover of defending themselves they could carry out a Chilean solution, supported by outside forces.

Also, many ordinary people were at that time deceived by the DOS media, by the demonization of our government and by many false promises, seemingly backed-up by images from Western TV, seductive images of wealth.

It was our opinion that NATO wanted to provoke civil war, have a blood bath and let the Serbs kill each other. Create a pretext for intervention.

We have direct experience with war. The losses cannot be replaced. So if possible, it is better to make a struggle in the political sphere.

So I resigned. This took the Americans by surprise. I am told that [US Secretary of State Madeleine] Albright called Steven Erlanger from the NY Times on the sixth of October, very upset. "Is it possible he resigned?" She couldn't believe it. It spoiled their plans.

ON THE ECONOMY

* NICO VARKEVISSER ASKED *

Do you think current economic problems stem from the incompetence of the new authorities, or have they been deliberately created?

* PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC ANSWERED *

Definitely deliberate. The economy has been ruined. Competent managers have been driven out using violence or threats. They've been replaced with people who are incompetent but do what the authorities tell them. And what do they tell them? To paralyze the economy, to bankrupt entire industries so they can be sold for peanuts to their patrons in the West. This isn't like old-fashioned colonialism. The foreigners put their proxies in power and simply strip the country, destroy local productive capacity and then dump their junk.

Here's an example: Before the coup d'etat we were producing 400,000 to 500,000 tons of fertilizer per year. We were exporting fertilizer. But I read in the newspaper that this year we already had to import 90,000 tons. And it is inferior quality.

In our Constitution [of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia] we put an article stating that all kinds of property would have equal protection. Our intention was that privatization would be linked to the development of the economy, that it would be carried out insofar as it aided the economy. Our goal was optimal development of all forms of property. We were saying we would not ban any approach based on ideological disapproval of some form of property.

You must understand what we had before. Consider the question of land. In the past, under the old Yugoslavia, the Socialist Republic, more than 90% of the land was private. We never had cooperatives.

We had had a 10-hectare limit on the size of a farm. But new technologies meant that 10 hectares was too small. A single family, if properly organized, could handle much more land. A child might be able to operate irrigation technologies, where before they required immense labor. We're not talking about latifundia here - why limit property to 10 hectares and have farmers living in poverty? Our aim was not to get into total privatization, just to have optional structures.

Those tough sanctions that were imposed on us in 1993 completely blocked the economy. For several months we had 350 million percent inflation. We responded by developing a plan that cut inflation to zero in 1994. The main element was the decision to finance the budget with real wealth. Before that we always simply set a budget to finance education, health, state administrative functions and so on. Then we paid salaries this month by printing money, expecting that we'd bring in the money next month. When inflation started there was no way to cover costs based on income from taxes, so we took strong measures: the printing of money was cut. We said, you will get salaries as soon as the state gets money from taxes

But with all our problems, consider the difference between the neighboring countries and us. We had one million refugees, war, sanctions, a total blockade. Not only didn't Bulgaria and Rumania have sanctions and war, but they were associate members of the European union so they should have had some gains from that position. Yet there were thousands of Bulgarians and Romanians coming here, looking for work. Why? Because our neighbors were devastated by the policies enforced by their Western friends.

In the first winter after the NATO bombing [i.e., the winter of 1999-2000] we had no restrictions on heating. That was a fierce winter. The next winter was mild, but the new so-called Democrats [Mr. Milosevic is referring to the 'Democratic' Opposition of Serbia, which seized power in a coup d'etat Oct. 5, 2000] with all their promises that the West would do this and do that - what did they achieve? Constant electrical shortages. And remember, we heat mostly with electricity.

How can I help but be proud of what we achieved?

* JARED ISRAEL *

Speaking of that, I think you should be proud of your courage, staying in Yugoslavia after the coup d'etat last October, despite the threats against you.

* SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC *

Thank you. I imagine they hoped I would run away.

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FURTHER READING:
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* Slobodan Milosevic's famous speech at Kosovo Field, 1989, official US
government translation: http://emperors-clothes.com/milo/milosaid.html
BBC translation: http://emperors-clothes.com/milo/versions.htm

* Prof. Francisco Gil-White's analysis of the avalanche of what can only be described as lies about the 1989 Milsoevic speech at Kosovo Field, "Media Misrepresentation of Milosevic's Words: A Review of the Evidence,"
at http://emperors-clothes.com/milo/gw.htm

* Streaming video, "Take Your Suitcases of Cash, Mr. Djindjic!" - Jared Israel
interviewed for Serbian TV http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/jared/tv.htm

* Streaming video of Serbian rally March 24, 2001 including speech by Mr. Israel
http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/jared/rally.htm

Article: "KLA Attacks Everyone; Media Attacks...Miloshevich?" by Jared Israel at http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/jared/expan.htm

***

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