Sunday, April 03, 2005

Even More Dogs of War @ The Hague--by Mick Collins

[This is a re-issue of an article written just before the Wesley Clark testimony at The Hague last year. It is re-issued out of more than pure ego (though not much more!)--because there is an even greater need today to address the battle over terminology in this NATO terrorist court. Since President Milosevic had his defense taken from him and placed in the hands of NATO collaborators (his imposed counsel, Stubby 'si'down, Slo, you're rockin' the boat' Kay, was an amicus curae, Latin for 'pulling friendly kangaroos from Jayne Mansfield's bum'), he has also been befriended by a trio (though probably a quartet) of illiterate, ill-tempered and irrelevant bounders who have somehow managed to gain the President's permission to collect money in his name--for something called The Slobodan Milosevic Freedom hustle they were pursuing quite desperately as board members of the ICDSM until their campaign to consolidate their fund-raising by cleansing the committee of 'Fascists and Anti-Semites' (see Prof Finkelstein's link at right for the instrumental uses of 'anti-Semitism') got them expelled therefrom. So now that a Dutch hippie who couldn't spell 'lawyer' if you spotted him all six letters is declaring himself 'Milosevic's lawyer', and his partners are flogging the new line that the Serbs are the new Israelites, Arabs the new Nazis, and Brown the new Red; now, more than ever, seems it rich to reconfigure the working language of the debate. But above all else, one must ask: What could have made the Man turn to these diseased bottom-feeders for aid and comfort? The workings of Terror are always strange and ugly. --mc]

ICDSM France: More Dogs of War in The Hague

This is not a trial—it’s a hostage situation. To discuss the proceedings of The Hague Tribunal in terms of legality, human rights, or peace, democracy and reconciliation in Yugoslavia/ Serbia, is like discussing a Hell’s Angels gang rape in terms of the conceit of seduction in Late Restoration Sentimental Comedy. Such rhetoric as has been mustered to counter recent events at the ICTY, though perhaps quite valuable in other venues, is here insufficient to any understanding—or even a clear description of the phenomenon that has often been referred to as the most important war crimes trial of the last 50 years—that nobody ‘out there’ gives a shit about!

Two events seem to be driving the current discussions of the ICTY: the impending (15-16 December) testimony of self-proclaimed war criminal Wesley Clark, who, despite a conviction for war crimes in a Belgrade court, is standing for election as President of the US as a Democratic peace candidate; and the parliamentary elections in Serbia, in which both Slobodan Milosevic and his fellow Scheveningen detainee, Dr Vojslav Seselj, are candidates. Yet to note at this late date that the Tribunal is a political beast is really heralding the obvious.

Prof Valkanov, co-president of the ICDSM, calls Clark’s appearance at The Hague ‘cynical’. Yet the former Commander of NATO, whose testimony can only be that the the defendant, whom he targeted—on several occasions and along with millions of his fellow Yugoslavs—for death by Cruise missile, cluster bomb, environmental debasement and eventual DU-induced cancer, brought it all on himself, is just another in a long line of flatulent twisted sisters, spooks, ghouls and war-freaks, including Wm. Walker of Raçak fame, German nazi general Naumann, Paddy’s pig Ashdown, and Dr David ‘death’ Owen. Cynical, sure. But hardly unusual for this lot.

What seems even more cynical and unusual is how we in the opposition to this ‘false Tribunal’ (from President Milosevic’s opening remarks and never more apropos!) have adopted and come to be dominated by the lexicon of the enemy. The first battle in any war of information is always over terms and their definitions. The West, NATO, the forces of globalized waste capitalism, whatever, with their spin-meisters barfing out ‘ethnic cleansings’, ‘rape and death camps’, ‘genocidal dictators’, ‘Stalinist strongmen’, ‘nationalists v multiculturalists’, and their overtime efforts at the criminalization of victims and victimization of the real villains, all to the end of sustaining divisive cultural (and religio-nationalist) distinctions while snuffing out all laic ecumenism—these forces in control of the means of destruction and who dictate the rules of (military) engagement also control and dictate the terms of debate.

Now, some have said that we must continue within the ideational structures the enemy has set down for us because there are some innocents out there who know no other language and are still to be convinced—some dare call them ‘liberals’. And others see no harm in referring to the late PM Zoran Djindjic’s strong-arm bagging of Slobodan Milosevic out of Belgrade Central Jail and on to an unscheduled RAF flight for The Hague as ‘extradition’ or even ‘prisoner transfer’; or referring to the draconian conditions of the Yugoslav POWs’ incarceration as a ‘denial of certain human rights including the all-important presumption of innocence’. But what this sort of diction does, far from convincing anyone of the Tribunal’s invalidity, is to undermine President Milosevic’s considered moral position against dignifying The Hague process with his participation, and lend judicial or ethical legitimacy to the Tribunal by joining the discussion of this a-legal monstrosity of instrumental un-reason using the very terminology it has so debased.

We certainly should take every opportunity to engage the NATO enemy with all its drooling and diseased curs like Clark. But we must retake the initiative by refitting our arguments with a more suitable lexicon: Not a lexicon customized for criticizing an illegal judicial organ, but one sufficient to strike down the entire body of institutionalized terror that has come to be used as an extension of the perpetual war against popular and secular society.

13 December 2003

Mick Collins


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