[AAARGH in English ] [AAARGH en francais ] [Thion]


By Serge Thion

For those who, like ourselves, have been watching closely, sometimes in
situ, the replacement, ever since Biafra, of the traditional humanitarians --
the good nuns and the Red Cross - by media-oriented personages, by doctors
in search of political careers and other illiterate pen-pushers, the word
"humanitarian" sets off a constipation-inducing movement that is difficult
to control. In May 1991, we titled editorial no. 4 in the "Gazette of the
Gulf and of the Suburbs": "The Humanitarian War" (see annex).

The idea that we were going to pound Serbia for "humanitarian" reasons was
of course monumental hogwash to begin with. During the past month, the
following question has arisen: Is this NATO-war executed by imbeciles who
were unable to imagine that bombs falling on Yugoslavia would have a
virtually automatic effect on Kosovo; or, if the military leaders did
actually foresee this, does this mean that this war has hidden objectives,
unspoken because they are better left unsaid?

One can reply frankly: both answers are true, mon general. I had occasion to
observe up close, on the ground, and sometimes under the bombs and the
machine-guns of the helicopters, the behaviour of the higher ranks of the
American forces, those who in military jargon are known as the "top brass",
the senior clique. I can confirm that their extent of stupidity and
narrowness of mind is just as high, and perhaps even higher, than among
those of other nations. To try and explain anything whatsoever to an
American general is a real labour of Sisyphus. (1)

Their discussions about the choice of targets must be unreal, as the
military have bizarre euphemisms to speak of the destruction and mass murder
that they carry out on a professional basis. One does not speak of a house
but of an "enemy structure", and so on ...

A paradox manifests itself right from the start: in an area as small as the
existing Yugoslavia, the NATOists seem incapable of deciding exactly what
targets to hit. In any case, they remain very discreet as to the real
targets and the actual damage. And yet they have, overlooking this zone,
twenty or thirty satellites that take photos or radar images which ought to
make it possible for them even to read the newspaper headline that some Serb
idiot might be in the process of reading over breakfast at a sidewalk cafe.


This process worked as follows: arriving at a place where the inhabitants
did not have industrial strength (steamboats, modern cannon), the colonial
powers would send a boat so equipped. It stationed itself in front of the
royal palace and threatened directly the local sovereign. The means the
locals had at their disposal were insufficient to repel the gunboat. A
single boat sufficed. This is how many African and Asian possessions came to
be conquered by the happy wielders of a little bit of superior technology,
available at the start of the 19th Century. This little superiority that
was purely material allowed, as well, enormous "ethnic cleansings" -- to use
a currently popular term -- that history has recorded: the
near-disappearance of Amerindians in North America, and of the Australian
aborigines. That which Milosevic is doing in Kosovo, on a local scale, was
done on a larger scale by the precursors of the people who enjoy today these
huge open spaces, these enormous natural resources, that they stole from the
legitimate owners by obliging the latter, guns at their backs, to quit their
homes and putting these to the torch. No one came to bombard Washington or
Sydney to prevent such colossal crimes against humanity -- to cite, as
before, a currently popular expression. That which NATO is doing is thus
within the capabilities of power politics, a Machtpolitik, which has never
concerned itself with such scruples as the funeral processions of those it
kills and the destruction it leaves behind. There is no need to go very far
in history: suffice it to recall the attack upon Panama (1989). The capture
of Noriega and the one or two thousand dead that it cost, never shown on TV.
Let us recall that Noriega, a notorious drug trafficker, was an employee of
the American CIA, therefore not even a real "enemy".


At the start of the century, a group of humorists made farce by inventing a country named Poldevia, a vague Balkan country that falls victim to a lamentable fate, and invited officials to a reception of Poldevian envoys. If this hoax
had a certain success in journalistic and political circles, this was
because knowledge of this region in the Balkans was always limited. Since
the 19th century, it has been the principal point of conflict between a
Western Europe which was undergoing industrial growth, and a sleeping giant,
the Ottoman Empire. While Greece gained independence, within rather narrow
borders, Serbia became autonomous. But the entire 19th century saw bloody
confrontations between the two southern dynasties, the Karageorgevich and the
Obrenovich. Placed on either side of the fracture line between West and
East, Catholicism and Orthodoxy, Habsburgs and Ottomans, the Croats and the
Serbs, those who, by all imaginable norms are one and the same people,
inherited an identity entirely based on confrontation with one another. The
Europeans, at that time called "The Powers", whipped into life the embryos
of nationalism. With intrigues and money, they created client states in the
Balkans that they then set one against the other. It is from this period
that derives the so-called "traditional friendship" between the Serbs and
the French. Manipulation, civil wars. For, while the Europeans were united
in their desire to see the Ottoman Empire disappear, they by no means agreed
as to what to do with the pieces that they gradually tore away from the
Sublime Porte. Thus, Poldevia could perfectly well have existed in the
imaginations of those who saw the Balkans as an anthill where swarthy types
were always very busily slitting each other's throats. Already at this time
(before the 1914 war) the Balkans and the Black Sea were a frequent venue
for closed-shop conflicts: the English, the French, the Austro-Hungarians,
the Turks, the Russians could each play their part, play at war games and
partake of long and furious international conferences. It's a role that
Lebanon has played these past 15 years, which now returns, as before, to the
Balkans. One may well ask why.

Indeed, one may well ask what the United States is doing there, a Power
that has never played any role there in the past. It goes without saying
that, insofar as American public opinion is concerned, Yugoslavia, the
Balkans and Kosovo are no more real than Poldevia or the penguins at the
South Pole. All the fashionable gadflies tell us insistently, as if to
justify their intervention: the Americans have no interests in Kosovo. This
is true. And it is all the more disturbing for that reason. In Iraq, they
had, in a manner of speaking, oil as an excuse. We know that the decision
to attack Iraq was taken during a meeting of the American National Security
Council where the participants were scolded by President Bush on the subject
of oil about which, according to witnesses, they had understood nothing, not
having had the advantage, like Bush, to have made their fortunes in oil
before embarking upon a career in intelligence or in politics. Now here, in
Kosovo, there is an interesting mining industry, but its importance seems to
be minimal. In actual fact, the Americans care not a fig about what is
happening in Kosovo, whose inhabitants were certainly oppressed by the
Milosevich regime, especially over the last ten years, but one must also
admit that they were oppressed to a much lesser degree than are the Kurds in
Turkey, the Tibetans in China, the Indians in Guatemala, and many other
minorities that are mistreated by governments that are allies of the
Americans. The suggestion that humanitarian sentiment would play even the
tiniest role in this, that there would be the least concern about respect of
the rights of man in the foreign (and domestic) policy of the USA, is
immediately demolished by a cursory review of their past history, their
current practices and their power structure. Ask of American Blacks what
they think of it, today. One may thus safely dismiss all the laudable
motivations that the US puts forth today, as being so much PR, for
consumption by its own public opinion as well as that of the Europeans. In
fact, the real reason for US intervention, through the intervention of NATO
at that, remains deeply hidden.


And yet, it is clear that the inspiration is American. Well-meaning spirits
would have us believe that it was Europe that wished to intervene. Since the
beginning of the Yugoslavian crisis, we can well see that Europe intervenes
only with the arms and the concepts of the 19th century, via
locally-controlled clients. The Germans have armed the Croatians and set
fire to the powder keg. An old technique. In the case of Kosovo, under the
iron boot of Belgrade for nearly ten years now, the situation was relatively
stable. Over the space of the last 20 or 30 years, Kosovo's standard of
living improved along with that in the rest of Yugoslavia. The rare
participation of Albanians in local political life had become an unfortunate
but established fact decades ago. The detonator was the growth of a sort of
militia, the UCK. The politics of non-violence of Rugova, which had garnered
hardly any sympathy amongst Europeans, were threatened since their very
beginnings by such an eruption. But the origins of the UCK are obscured in a
thick fog of mystery. We are told that the gorgeous uniforms and the arms
were paid for by mysterious "drug traffickers". This is a convenient joke
designed to be swallowed by the nincompoops of journalism. There are no
drugs in Kosovo, and drug traffickers wouldn't do such things on their own.
They therefore provided the cover for an operation that has to be purely

We know that the American military has a long-standing, unbroken history of
collaboration with drug traffickers, starting with the Mafia in Sicily in
1944-45, through Laos and the "secret war", in Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
The creation of an armed militia, in a region where the Serbs have been for
a very long time only a small minority, was obviously perceived by Belgrade
as the start of a project for demolishing a Yugoslavia reduced to the level
of acquets, as the creation of Croat militias had been with respect to the
destruction of the old Yugoslavia, that of Peter the First and of Tito.

What followed is a logical chain of events: under pressure, the Serb
military create for themselves security zones by chasing out the Albanian
residents and burning villages that might have given food and shelter to the
UCK. The Americans force negotiations to start at Rambouillet and table
conditions totally unacceptable for any kind of government located in
Belgrade. One of the clauses of the Rambouillet "Agreement" provides, for
instance, that American troops will have free access via road, sea, and the
skies to all locations in Yugoslavian territory, as needed, and that said
American troops will not be required to respect local laws (see annex 2). In
summary, those good old colonial extra-territorial rights all over again.
(The Italians have just tasted some of that, with the fighter plane that
caused the collapse of a ski lift in the Alps). Whoever it was that noticed
that the name of Rambo appears in Rambouillet will have been right on

At Rambouillet, the threat was simple and clear, with the hypocritical
acquiescence of the Europeans who performed at centre stage (the act
performed by the clowns Fox and Vedrine was particularly painful): either
you accept or you will be bombed. It will be done Iraqi style. This kind of
process has nothing in common with diplomacy, but rather with Mafia methods
that American politicians know so well. Blackmail, pure and simple. The
Iraqi example shows that the hyenas on the Potomac invent new conditions
that must be met whenever the enemy, beaten and humiliated, tries to fulfill
those that have already been imposed upon him in order to end the war.

The bombs fell on people who had been warned and who consequently took the
necessary military actions: they dispersed men and heavy equipment and, in
view of an attempt to conquer Kosovo, they cleared the border zones of their
populations that were ready to collaborate with the invader, through the use
of force and terror. All of this was perfectly predictable. To claim that
the military could not predict this suggests that they are paid to think,
something which they are not likely to be accused of. Thus the Americans
were all the better prepared to enter into the conflict, which they
initiated themselves and which they manage with perseverance, and not
without success. We are therefore confronted by this extraordinarily bizarre
situation, of seeing a war in Europe carried out by the USA, a war
reminiscent of the wars they launched in Asia, Korea, Viet Nam, and in Latin
America. In the Middle East and in Africa, on the other hand, they have
only staged brief and grotesque interventions.

Insofar as jurisprudence is concerned, this war lacks the most minimal
legal foundation. NATO, which is a defence pact, goes into attack mode
against a country which has not threatened it in any manner whatsoever. We
discover therefore that NATO is not what it was made out to be. NATO is
simply a useless boondoggle. We have already noted that the [UN] Charter
had been totally and irrevocably abrogated during the Somalia intervention:
there, the task of intervening was assigned not to the United Nations or to
a group of nations acting in the name of this community, but solely to the
USA, with a mandate recommending the "reconstitution" of a political entity.
We know that no Somalian authority requested this intervention. The UN died
legally during the ridiculous landing by the Marines on the beaches of
Mogadiscio. Alain Joxe drew attention at the time to the American game of
alternating between "blue helmets" and "khaki helmets".

Having gotten rid of the UN and of NATO as an organisation for defence, one
may now attack and bomb a sovereign country: there is now no longer any
international law based upon the sovereignty of States. One may lament this
change or applaud it, as one wishes, for this law was hypocritical anyway,
but, at least it served as the basis for order in the world since the end of
WWII. We therefore see a powerful country acting arbitrarily, creating for
itself enemies as well as allies as it goes along. When Hitler did this at
the expense of his neighbours, although without doubt with more
justification than is evident in the present case, he was condemned for it.
His regime is, today, justifiably execrated. Is it probable that the future
holds the same treatment for American expansionists?

It seems that the first objective of this war is this: setting aside all
legal considerations (no longer any legal basis) and political implications
(such as Poldevia), the World Power requires those who desire to be its
allies to get in line, stand to attention, do as they are told, and only
speak when spoken to. Washington wants to test the slave-like natures of
ourselves, the Europeans. Europe, with all the evil implications that we can
-- and should -- attribute to it, has just taken an action that could lead
to consequences: monetary union. But Europe has not addressed the problem
of political union. This was, therefore, the opportune moment for the
Americans to convince each of the European governments that they are nothing
but pigeon droppings and can be crushed with ease. That they should march in
lockstep to the tune called by American politicians.

The 50th anniversary of NATO represents Caesar's triumph and his ascent to
the Capitol. All of this imagery is there to see. But we no longer know
where is the Tarpeian Rock (2) With Poldevia for a territory of
operations, the Poldevians as cannon fodder, and Albanian idiots as
lamentable tele-refugees, NATO as a military instrument 90% made in USA,
flunkies such as Chirac, the poor Blair, the lamentable Schroeder, Israel
sitting in the revolver holster, America is assembling the elements of its
hegemony. Certain people, who seem motivated by a primal anti-Americanism
that is very badly viewed in the servile press that assaults us daily, might
believe that America desires hegemony for the love of hegemony, for the
narcissistic pleasure of affirming itself the biggest, the strongest, etc.
Certainly, there must be some of this sentiment in the cowboy culture of
those who sit in the padded armchairs in Washington.

But the real truth lies hidden behind an illusion that we may formulate as
follows: the Cold War is over. But, in fact, it is not quite over.

Certainly communism, or that which passed for such, disintegrated 10 years
ago. Certainly the Soviet Empire has fallen apart. Certainly the Red Army
is only a shadow of its former self. Certainly the alcoholic joker that the
West has put in the Kremlin still wallows there, as before. Certainly all
Russian financial wealth is still being transferred into Swiss bank
accounts. All this is true, and even truer than true. But there persists an
extraordinary threat. There remain 10 or 20 thousand nuclear missiles,
equipped with functional warheads, controlled by fragmented
military-industrial groups, preoccupied with internecine quarrels about
which we know very little. Barons in the Middle Ages made use of transients,
mercenaries who eventually ended up fighting their own causes. The split-up
of the USSR could create similar situations. The Russian state is growing
steadily weaker. It is not a threat politically, but it conceals a potential
nuclear military menace. The Cold War will not be over, until this danger is
physically eliminated. Political manoeuverings will not suffice. For
candidates aspiring to global hegemony, there is still the recent memory of
the jitters they suffered during 40 years of Soviet saber-rattling. The
future of these thousands of nuclear arms, more or less abandoned, is

The aspiring hegemonist wants to destroy them to be done with his nightmares
once and for all. It is logical. One may negotiate, buy back, one by one,
these monstrous weapons. It would cost dearly, but it would inject great
quantities of money into the Russian army and it could turn out to be a
double-edged sword. Therefore, from the point of view of US hegemonists, it
is necessary to proceed differently: continue to destroy the guts of the
Soviet system, the financial resources, the raw materials, the industrial
base, the political centralization, the central-European plains, the areas
of central Asia, the Siberian backwoods, etc. All must be hurled to the
ground, dissolved, deconstructed, sold, exported.

With Operation Kosovo, the Americans take a big step in this direction:
while integrating Poland and Hungary into NATO against the promise to these
new lapdogs of a golden future bound up in solid chains of steel, they
proceed to crush one of the two remaining unconditional allies of Moscow in
the Balkans (the other being the insignificant Bulgaria).

They've lined up all their European slaves in their order of battle, thus
showing the banana republics of Central and Eastern Europe, including,
without doubt, Ukraine, that they have to crawl at the feet of the master to
avoid being crushed by his bombs.


All this pressure has only one target: the Russian military. There is
entirely fraudulent activity taking place, cantered on the "role" that
Russia might play in a "settlement". But there will be no settlement, there
will only be various stages of destruction of the designated enemies. All
this agitation about an eventual "role" for Russia is just a way of poking
the sinister stooges in the Kremlin into the faces of the Russian military,
sitting there on their rusting missiles, their troops snoring, their ships
lacking fuel, their aircraft sold to clients better financed than they...
These military leaders cannot be unaffected by the enormous provocation
that the bombing of Belgrade under their very noses represents.

The second objective of this war, hidden behind the first, is therefore to
demonstrate to the Russian military their utter helplessness, to show them
that the American army can operate with impunity inside the perimeter of
their defences and massacre their friends and allies at will because,
betrayed in any case by the entire hierarchy, they cannot hit the red
nuclear button. They have to be made to understand that, very soon, the
Americans will be in their very homes, installed in their barracks with all
their caboodle, come to take delivery of the so called "arms of mass
destruction". Thus will the destruction of Russia be completed. For the
Russians, deprived of their industries, of their natural wealth sold to the
West, of their money accumulated under the collectivist regime, of their
intellectuals gone to work elsewhere, of their womenfolk transformed into
whores on the Cote d'Azur, there will remain nothing more to do but to eat
the grass of the steppes and the bark on the birch trees.

Thus shall the vengeance of the rich against the grimy poor who once put a
scare into them be achieved. Then it will be the turn of the Chinese to feel
themselves the heat of this new totalitarian hegemony. And we, heads bent to
our mess tins, in any case probably half-empty, attached to a hitching-post,
will weep over our lost freedom. It is already too late.


1) The reader will find additional information in Joseph Heller's Catch 22 or,
better but less funny, in the book by Neil Sheehan, A Bright Shining Lie,
Random House, 1988.

2) [Translator's Note: the Tarpeian Rock was an ancient rock or peak -- no longer in existence -- of the Capitoline Hill in Rome; so called from Tarpeia, the faithless daughter of the governor of the citadel, who was flung from this rock by the Sabines after they conquered the city thanks to her treachery. It became the traditional place from which
traitors were hurled to their deaths].

Point of information: All the ignoramuses of this world, and particularly
those who are reporters, speak of Kosovo. This is the name of a plain where
a battle of the identical name took place. The region also includes another
zone of plains called Metohija. Traditionally, in Yugoslavia, one speaks of
the Kosovo-Metohija territory, or Kosmet. As to the Albanese majority, it
owes a great deal to Mussolini who expelled hundreds of thousands of Serbs
from Kosmet. There are some who still remember this, perhaps.


The Humanitarian War

For once, Liberation had the right term: "The Humanitarian War". We have known
this all along. We saw it in situ, in the mud and the horrors of the camps
set up along the borders. Some of us saw the same thing in Cambodia and in
Ethiopia; it was the same in Afghanistan. A powerful nation comes to play
marbles in the backyard of a small one: she gets angry, breaks everything,
the house caves in; the survivors fight each other and some run away. Then
the powerful nation returns to the scene of its crime. She takes pity, its
TV reports show the usual procession of horrors. There, one does not
hesitate to show the dead. It is normal, these are civilians. Funds are
canvassed for, piggy banks are cracked open; everyone has to be a witness
and be made to feel guilty so that everyone forgets the primary cause of
this enormous mess, that the great power has destroyed everything the little
country had.

But, wait, what follows is even more delicious. They send doctors, cute
nurses with pink cheeks and blonde tresses, they off-load, they parachute,
they throw out packages of medecines, blankets, food, water. They save
people. How marvellous, no? Then they build camps, with shelters, nylon
tents, sanitary installations, field hospitals, administrators. It is all
very nice. It is the ultimate degree of the precarious. Then, time passes,
the television cameras go elsewhere. Then, the guerillas return. Those who
had fled, that had lost the "just" war they had been fighting against a
regime that displeased the powerful nation. They come back to life in the
camps, they start the fighting all over again, they take with them the young
-- there are plenty of those in the camps -- and off we go, lads. And the
long sterile battle begins again, financed discreetly by the powerful nation
which has played its great humanitarian act and now washes its hands of all
that is going to happen for the next ten, fifteen, twenty years and the
useless deaths, the mines, the insecurity, the stagnation, the local famines
that are ignored.

This is exactly what happened in Cambodia where the humanitarian aspect was
used to hide the fact that the Americans had taken up again with the Khmer
Rouge, what happened in Afghanistan where the humanitarian aspect openly
served to multiply the atrocious little bands of mujaheddin who massacre
each other for the sake of controlling a stretch of valley and some traffic,
what happened in Ethiopia where the humanitarian aspect discreetly veiled
American aid for military expansion, from the borders, by the Erithrean
secessionists and the ultra-maoists of the Tigre. What do you think will
happen to the Kurds? The expression "to have been screwed" will, in Kurdish,
be "Kurded".

("The Gazette of the Gulf and the Suburbs", [in French], editorial, May 4, 1999.

 Rambouillet: the Diktat


 The text of Article 8 of this Appendix reads: "NATO personnel shall
 enjoy, together with their vehicles, vessels, aircraft, and equipment,
 free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY
 [Federal Republic of Yugoslavia] including associated airspace and
 territorial waters. This shall include, but not be limited to, the
 right of bivouac, manoeuvre, billet, and utilization of any areas or
 facilities as required for support, training, and operations."
 Article 6 guarantees the occupying forces absolute immunity: "NATO
 personnel, under all circumstances and at all times, shall be immune
 from the Parties' jurisdiction in respect of any civil,
 administrative, criminal, or disciplinary offenses which may be
 committed by them in the FRY."
 Article 10 secures NATO the cost-free use of all Yugoslavian streets,
Le Temps irreparable, Paris, 27 April 1999, <[email protected]>

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