Your invitation for me to present Serbian views before this distinguished
organization represents a milestone in the democratic process in Southern
California. On behalf of the Serbian community in the Los Angeles Metropolitan
area, I express our gratitude. I come here tonight knowing full well that I
cannot undo more than 7 years of partisan journalism. I am not asking this
audience to accept the Serbian claims or positions, only that you apply the
traditional American demand for proof before reaching conclusions as you do on
most other issues.
In the past 7 years some 8,000 articles have been published on Bosnia and
Kosovo in the Los Angeles Times. Not a single article was published that was
written by a Serbian journalist, author, scholar or political leader. This same
ugly record has been achieved in almost every major newspaper in this nation,
with few exceptions. Dr. Alex Dragnich, a Serbian scholar, was a former cultural
attaché and public affairs officer in the American Embassy in Belgrade. He is
the author of 8 books on Balkan history and politics. He headed the history
department at Vanderbilt University where he was the recipient of the Thomas
Jefferson Award for Outstanding Scholarship. Since 1992, Dr. Dragnich has
submitted 42 articles to the New York Times on Bosnia. Not a single one was
Serbs have also been personas non grata at the Foreign Relations Committee,
the Helsinki Commission and the Human Rights Caucus-where Serbian views have
been barred since 1992. The hallmark of a great society is the guarantees and
protections it offers dissenting views. The muzzling tactics against the Serbs
have even permeated the colleges and universities in our nation where Serbs were
systematically excluded from hundreds of Bosnian forums over the last 7 years.
Sir Eldon Griffiths is to be congratulated for having the courage to distance
himself and this organization from this unattractive abuse of power.
Former board member of Milosevich's Communist bank of Yugoslavia, Secretary
of State Lawrence Eagleberger said, "Serbs are not too bright." Richard
Holbrooke said Serbs are "Murderous assholes," and in his new book says, "Serbs
are evil." Senator Biden said Serbs are "Illiterates and degenerates."
Congressman Obey said Serbs are "Pigs," and political cartoonists drew Serbs as
pigs turning over outhouses. This is not just shocking racial stereotyping, this
is unbridled hatred based on assigning collective guilt to 10 million Serbian
Therefore, before I venture into the Kosovo quagmire, I would like to take a
few moments to put a human face on an otherwise dehumanized Serbian race.
Americans of Serbian heritage are most proud of the 8 Congressional Medal of
Honor recipients representing one award for every 100,000 Serbs in the United
States. No other group in America can boast of this per capita achievement.
Serbs proudly served in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. A building at the
Air Force Academy is named in honor of Captain Lance Sijan, a Serbian hero of
Vietnam and the first Congressional Medal recipient at the Academy. These Serbs
did not distinguish themselves in the service of our country so that their
families could be denied equal access to the government.
Serbs are neither interlopers nor carpetbaggers in California-the original
Serb settlers came here in 1887 and built their first church in the gold country
of Jackson, California in 1894. The first female elected to the California State
Senate was Rose Ann Vuich in 1973. After the Apollo disaster, Danilo Bojic of
Downey, CA redesigned the new escape hatch. There were 13 Serbian scientists in
the initial Apollo program. Mike Vucelic, the project manager, received the
Freedom Award from President Johnson.
Over 100 years ago a Serbian immigrant by the name of Nikola Tesla, the son
of a Serbian priest, filed the patent on his invention of radio-guided vehicles
that make our space exploration possible today. Tesla, the father of the radio,
filed a patent suit against Marconi in the 1940s that was upheld in the United
States Supreme Court. Tesla was also the inventor of AC electrical current, the
fluorescent light bulb and the Tesla Coil which makes motors, air conditioners
and refrigerators possible.
As you read about Bosnia and Kosovo in your daily newspapers, I remind you of
the words of Socrates, spoken at his trial in his own defense: "I do not know
what effect my accusers have had upon you, gentlemen, but for my own part I was
almost carried away by them; their arguments were so convincing. On the other
hand, scarcely a word of what they said was true."
Now on to Kosovo
The alleged "unilateral" revocation of Kosovo's autonomy by Milosevic in 1989
simply didn't happen as advertised. This claim reminds us of the obnoxious
statement made by Goebbels in 1939, "Tell a lie a hundred times and it become
the truth." In 1988 the Yugoslav constitution was amended to eliminate the
political paralysis in Serbia because autonomous provinces such as Kosovo and
Vojvodina were able to veto acts of the Serbian parliament. This would be like
the Senate approving legislation and allowing two of our largest states veto
power. The constitutional change gave these provinces the right to give their
opinions, and if they are rejected, a six-month waiting period ensues. If at the
end of that time their opinions are still rejected, the provincial assemblies
may force a referendum. Vojvodina gave her consent for this constitutional
change in February 1989 and Kosovo gave its consent in March. Therefore, this
pretext that something was unilaterally taken away from Kosovo Albanians is pure
Albright and Clinton double-speak.
According to the British press, in the weeks that preceded the bombing of
American embassies, the CIA broke into the KLA office in Tirana and drove off
with a truck load of documents. Three days later the CIA arrested 3 of Osama bin
Laden's men being trained for mercenary activities in Kosovo. Bin Laden
threatened there would be a price to pay if his men were not released. The price
was our embassies. In a September 14th, 1998 article in the Jerusalem Post,
Israeli intelligence revealed that Iranian mercenaries or Mujahideen were
filtered into the KLA and that these men were trained in Osama bin Laden's
terrorist camps in Afghanistan.
Congressman Eliot Engle stood in the square in Pristina last year and told
his Albanian audience that he would one day return as the Ambassador to an
independent Kosovo. Such shocking statements incited more violence. After
Congressman DiGuordi lost his bid for reelection he became a foreign agent
representing Kosovo Albanian interests. When Congressman Frank McCloskey lost
his bid for reelection, he, too, became a foreign agent and now represents the
Bosnian Muslims. When Larry Presslor lost his bid for reelection last year, the
senator became a representative of the shadow government of Kosovo. In what is
being promoted as the best economy in 3 decades it is most compelling that
officials are having a difficult time finding gainful employment in their own
country. I suspect the scent of money has a hypnotic influence over such
'outdated' values as patriotism.
Last August in Kosovo, 22 Serbian victims were massacred by the Kosovo
Liberation Army who dismembered their victims and burned them in ovens-a hideous
duplication of the horrors of the Holocaust. There was no American outcry, nor
was there an Israeli voice, reminding the world of their "Never Again" theory.
Following the killing of 5 Serbian policemen last month in Racak, the Serbian
police invited the Associated Press to film their advance into Racak to arrest
the perpetrators. The AP footage reveals that 15 KLA were killed in a pitched
The stage-managed crime scene had a dozen spent shells that could not have
possibly killed 45 victims. The brains blown from the skulls of a number of
victims shot in the head at point blank range are nowhere to be found. Remember
Sarajevo 1995? Muslims blew up their own people in a marketplace to provoke NATO
to bomb the Serbs. It worked. The London Sunday Times headline on October 1,
1995, read: "Serbs not guilty of massacre, experts warned the US, mortar was
Bosnian." The UN confirmed the report.
Remember Srebrenica? Madeleine Albright showed the world satellite
photographs of the mass grave of 7,000 victims that turned out to be a hoax.
Mike Wallace and dozens of international journalists went to investigate, all
coming away empty handed. Is it true that Naser Oric, the Muslim commander of
the so-called safe haven of Srebrenica escaped with 5,000 of his troops before
Srebrenica fell to the Serbs according to ICRC document #13 in September of
1995? That Oric showed visiting journalists videotapes of his torture and
decapitation of dozens of Serb victims?
Is it true that he has not been indicted and now runs a discotheque in Tuzla?
Remember the Hill & Knowlton public relations stunt about incubator babies
in the Gulf War that turned out to be a hoax? Remember the Gulf of Tonkin hoax?
Remember the Maine? William Walker said the Racak massacre was the worst he has
seen. I think not. This is convenient amnesia with overtones of duplicity.
During Walker's diplomatic tenure in El Salvador, death squads, trained in the
US, decapitated thousands of victims. Their heads placed on pikes were used to
dot the countryside, according to Father Daniel Santiago and former Attorney
General, Ramsey Clark. In 1989 the Serbian bishop of Kosovo was nearly beaten to
death by a gang of Albanian teenagers. He spent 3 months in the hospital nearly
dying of his wounds. This was not just any priest, this bishop is the current
Patriarch, the Holy Father of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The mutilated bodies at Racak were appalling, however, the near beating to
death of an 85 pound, 5 foot frail 80-year-old Serbian bishop was also
appalling. This holy man refused to press charges against those who tried to
Kosovo is the Serbian Jerusalem, the cradle of Serbian Christianity for over
a thousand years. I don't base that remark on personal emotion or religious
conviction. Archeological evidence as late as 1912, revealed 1,300 monasteries,
churches and other Serbian monuments existing in Kosovo. Sadly, today, only 110
churches and 60 church ruins remain-an example of the spiritual and cultural
genocide the Serbs have had to endure in this past 86 years as Croatians,
Muslims and Albanians tried to liquidate them. During WWI, hundreds of Serbian
churches were destroyed throughout Serbia. In WWII over 400 Serbian churches
were destroyed in Croatia and Bosnia along with 438 Serbian priests who were
brutally murdered, many at the hands of Roman Catholic priests who fled to
Argentina at the end of the war to escape justice.
In the current conflict, 98 Serbian churches were destroyed in Croatia and
114 in Bosnia. Half were plundered of their priceless icons and artifacts before
being burned to the ground, perpetrating the largest art theft since WWII. Some
of these Serbian artifacts have already shown up in antique stores in central
Europe. The remaining churches are so badly damaged they are beyond use or
repair. Serbs have lost all hope of receiving any compensation from European
banks for stolen gold and property from the 1.5 million Serbs who lost their
lives. Serbia was not included in the recent State Department talks held in
Washington on this subject of Nazi gold. However, Croatia, Bosnia, Germany and
Argentina were invited and they were the worst looters during the Holocaust.
Cleansing Serbs from Kosovo is nothing new. Seventy-seven thousand Serbs were
killed in one day at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, 185,000 Serbs were forced out
in 1690 and conditions in 1737 forced an exodus of 170,000 Serbs to migrate
north. At the Congress of Berlin in 1878, Serbia's international recognition was
predicated on 150,000 Serbs leaving Kosovo. Nineteen years later in 1897, 10,000
Serbs were killed in Kosovo and 70,000 were ethnically cleansed by Albanian
Muslims. This is where Kosovo becomes personal for me, as my grandparents were
They resettled in the Krajina region where my father was born. Before he
could reach his 12th birthday his family was once again ethnically cleansed-this
time by Croatians in WWI. My father and his family then came to the United
States as "displaced persons." This was not the end of violence against my
relatives. During WWII, 47 Serbs were locked in a Serbian church in the village
of Vojnic and burned to death by Croatian Nazis, because they refused to convert
to Roman Catholicism. Seventeen of those victims were my relatives, and I was at
an impressionable age to integrate this war crime into memory.
Serbia and her allies were victorious in WWI. Serbs marched from the Salonika
Front to the Austrian border liberating the Balkans, but it cost Serbia 52% of
her adult male population. The cemetery at Salonika tells the real story of
valor in WWI-7,000 American tombstones, 11,000 French, 4,000 Italian, 3,000
Russian and 40,000 Serbian graves. The Allied Powers' Entente Plan to compensate
Serbia with a much larger territory as the spoils of the war was refused by
Serbia in 1915 when she rejected the secret Treaty of London that offered the
Serbs all of Bosnia-Herzegovina and large parts of the Croatian Krajina if the
Serbs would give up their idea of forming Yugoslavia. This is never mentioned by
ignorant journalists who babble on about "A Greater Serbia."
Partisan journalists are hiding one major issue with a shroud, the 17
trillion dollars in physical and mineral assets of Yugoslavia being picked over
by vultures from the outside world. Kosovo has one of the largest coal reserves
in Europe and a large deposit of lignite from which petroleum can be extracted.
Remember, 34 corporate executives were killed in the Ron Brown plane crash. This
reveals just how many multi-nationals are whetting their appetites on the spoils
of Yugoslavia. Serbs fought these current wars so they would not be dominated by
Croatians, Muslims and Albanians who tried to exterminate them just 50 years
ago. Now Serbs will need to defend themselves against a new enemy, the
multi-national occupiers and the economic slavery of the International Monetary
Fund, whose reputation for giving with the left hand while robbing a nation of
her assets with the right, is all too familiar.
In a recent interview on 60 Minutes, Leslie Stahl asked Madeleine Albright:
"I understand that 500,000 Iraqi children have died due to our sanctions ... was
it worth it?" Albright replied, "It was worth it." Our government insists that
we have an aversion for assassinating foreign tyrants. Apparently we have no
aversion for starving a half million Arab children to death. The Serbian people
are now asking how many of their children must die in this bizarre foreign
policy of US- imposed genocide by sanctions.
Madeleine Albright omits from her biography that the late Pavle Jankovic, a
Serbian journalist, saved her life in WWII. Yesterday in the New York Times she
tried to cover 7 years of horrific insults against the Serbian people by saying
that her father, the Czech Ambassador to Belgrade said "if he hadn't been a
Czech first, he would want to be a Serb." She stooped to defamation and
demoralizing an entire Serbian nation, now she professes her "fond memories as a
child in Belgrade." Her ability to remember Serbian lullabies didn't wash in
Belgrade. This is the same woman who said "Serbs are awful."
In 1991, journalists insisted that "Albanians represented 1.2 million in
Kosovo." In 1994 they said 1.4 million. In 1996 they insisted it was 1.6
million. Today we are told Albanians are "90% of 2 million"-as though we are
unable to calculate this means 1.8 million, another mysterious 200,000 increase.
Borrowing from Socrates, "scarcely a word of what they said is true." The media
continues to omit that more than 400,000 Albanians are illegal aliens who
crossed the border into Kosovo as easily as illegals cross our border into San
Diego each night as we sleep. How compelling that American troops are defending
borders in 100 countries, we just can't seem to defend our own. Today, the State
Department says the Serbs are 10% of Kosovo, with no explanation that they
claimed Serbs were 14% in 1991. Were 4% killed, cleansed, or just made
invisible? They also tell us the Gypsies are 7%, the Greeks 2.3%, the Turks
1.5%, the Montenegrins 2%, and others 1%. By my calculations that means the
Albanians can't possibly represent more than 50% of Kosovo, after subtracting
the 400,000 illegals and the 300,000 who fled to Switzerland, Italy and Germany,
most of whom have no desire to return to the povety of Kosovo.
After any peace settlement in Paris, NATO and the OSCE are planning to hold
elections in Kosovo without first having a census to determine the legal
citizenship of the people in Kosovo. This is just another ruse in this shabby
land grab. I remind this audience that 630,000 Serb refugees were in Belgrade
prior to the first election in Bosnia. The OSCE sent 16 people and 2 supervisors
to Belgrade to register 630,000 Serbs in 4 weeks-they knew it was an impossible
task. Only 210,000 Serbs were able to register in time to vote. Izetbegovic won
his presidency by 44,000 votes while 420,000 Serbian citizens of Bosnia were
denied their legal rights. How immoral that the OSCE congratulated itself for a
successful election. Carlos Westendorp, the NATO overlord of Bosnia, now shuts
down Serbian radio and television, bans the work of historic Serbian authors and
picks the candidates for office, then disqualifies them after being duly elected
because he does not like their views on Dayton. This is not democracy in action.
Let's call it what it is, occupation!
If NATO's reputation means far more than the sovereignty of Serbia, then
Californians had better take notice. By the year 2020 Hispanics will be the
majority in California and may wish to seek independence or secede from this
state to Mexico. A large number of Hispanics are already calling southern
California Azatlan. Political groups have already created an insignia ready for
uniforms. And won't we all be surprised when they use Kosovo as their legal
precedent? If the KLA accomplishes Kosovo independence, Dayton will disintegrate
as the Serb half of Bosnia will attach to Serbia and Croatia will finally demand
her slice of Bosnia, too.
Last week, Robin Cook said the "British government has always supported
Kosovo independence." Then why have Robin Cook and his government forbade the
reunification of Ireland? Why isn't Robin Cook promoting an independent Basque
land, a free Wales, a free Scotland, and for that matter, a free Kurdistan?
There will never be peace in the Balkans by prosecuting socially unacceptable
camp guards, common criminals, and Serbian generals while President Milosevic,
President Tudjman and President Izetbegovic, the 'Commanders and Chiefs' of the
armies responsible for this carnage, go free. This free pass reeks of our lack
of real commitment to the words written over the doorway of the United States
Supreme Court, "Equal Justice Under the Law."
Last month in Cambodia two war criminals responsible for killing over two
million Cambodian victims went free. President Clinton was too consumed with his
impeachment to notice. Congressman Eliot Engle and Richard Holbrooke, who scream
the loudest about human rights violations in Kosovo, suddenly lost their voices.
This "see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil" when it betrays our position
on human rights is immoral. Holbrooke has just paid a $5,000 fine for ethics
violations, why would any Senator in his right mind make that man a UN
Ambassador? The plot sickens!
The United States could have stopped this violence in Kosovo months ago if we
were honest peace brokers. This could have been accomplished by bombing Tarana
and destroying the Albanian government's terrorist training camps and by
stopping the illegal flow of mercenaries and weapons into Kosovo. But Washington
sees this as a precedent for a new NATO, it goes beyond the Balkans, to
authorizing actions anywhere in the world. NATO is acting in the Balkans under
US initiative without a UN mandate and in violation of their own 'defensive'
treaty. Perhaps in the next Watts riot NATO tanks will be at the corner of
Wilshire and Rodeo in Beverly Hills instead of our National Guard.
Let's revisit Albanian autonomy from 1974 to 1989, when a quarter of a
million Serbs were forced out of Kosovo. The tactics included firing Serbs from
their jobs, the burning of hundreds of Serbian farms, the rape of Serbian girls
and Serbian nuns, and the desecration of Serbian churches and the previously
mentioned beating of a Serbian bishop. During this autonomy the Cyrillic
alphabet of the Serbs was banned by Albanian authorities. Books on Serbian
history and religion were removed from Kosovo schools and libraries and burned.
The work of one of Serbia's most respected authors, Ivo Andric, the only
Yugoslav Nobel prize winner was removed from the curriculum at Pristina
University because he considered himself to be a Serb.
During the Kosovo police action that captured the headlines last summer,
Turkey was simultaneously slaughtering thousands of Kurds, and NATO pretended
not to notice. Turkey killed 34,000 Kurdish citizens in the last 6 years. The
Turkish aggression against the Greek island of Cyprus has gone unresolved for 25
years, but Serbs must agree to a peace settlement and the loss of their
country's sovereignty in 10 days or be bombed. Why was this policy never applied
in Northern Ireland, Palestine, Algeria Afghanistan, Chechnya or Somalia? Last
week Senator Frank Wolf of Virginia held a news conference on the subject of the
Sudan where one million non-Muslims, mostly Christians, were slaughtered in the
past 10 years. Thousands of Christian Sudanese were sold into slavery and
thousands of young Christian boys were sold to pedophiles for the sexual
appetite of men in that culture.
Senator Wolf said "the Clinton administration has done zip." In other words,
President Clinton turned his infamous blind eye to one million Sudanese victims,
to slavery and to sexual child abuse, but when 250 Albanian terrorists are
killed, suddenly President Clinton knows the solution-laser-guided diplomacy.
Even more outrageous, of the 200,000 Serbs cleansed from Croatian in 1995,
who fled to Belgrade, 22,000 resettled in Kosovo with no hope of ever returning
to their former homes. Mrs. Ogata of the UN announced in December that these
22,000 Serbs have once again been victims of ethnic cleansing, this time from
Kosovo. And your newspapers never printed a word about it.
I was born in the State of West Virginia. At the height of our own civil war,
it was the loyal citizens of Virginia who refused to secede from the Union and
formed the State of West Virginia in 1863. But Bosnian Serbs who wanted to
remain in their 73-year-old union with Yugoslavia were called aggressors.
The beginning of the Balkan quagmire started in 1990 in Foreign
Appropriations Bill #101-513, in which Senator Robert Dole buried 23 lines that
denied financial aid to Yugoslavia when that nation was 31 billion in debt. The
Balkan quagmire began in 1990 in Foreign Appropriations Bill #101-513, in which
Senator Robert Dole slipped in 23 sentences that denied financial aid to
Yugoslavia when that nation was 31 billion dollars in debt. This bill was a
direct violation of the Helsinki Act which forbids "any act of economic or other
coercion." In 1990, prior to these wars, the Yugoslav exchange rate was about
165 dinars to one American dollar. I hold in my hand a 500 billion dinar note.
Yes-500 billion dinar. The week it was printed its value was 10 cents. A week
later it was not worth the paper it was printed on. That is what Senator Dole,
Presidents Bush and Clinton did to the people of Yugoslavia and her neighbors,
Romania, Bulgaria and Greece whose economies have each suffered over 10 billion
dollars in losses from the punishing sanctions on Serbia, their former trading
During the Bosnian Civil War, Libby Dole, president of the American Red
Cross, joined the American government in withholding food, medicine, clothing
and blood from 10 million Serbs including 1 million refugees. That ugly inhuman
process is still in place, it's called by a prettified phrase, "The Outer Wall."
Over one million Serbs with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease
have gone without medicine and treatment for the past six years. Those who die
suffered hideous deaths without the availability of pain-killing drugs. Each
year dozens of Serbian babies die from a simple lack of antibiotics and dozens
of senior citizens simply gave up and committed suicide. I wonder if Libby Dole
will be running for president on her humanitarian record in Bosnia?
I close with the eloquent words of British Historian William Harold Temperley
in 1918: "There is no race which has shown a more heroic desire for freedom than
the Serbs or achieved it with less aid from others or at more sacrifice to
Note: The speaker is the author of numerous books on Balkan subjects. He is a
correspondent for The American Srbobran, the oldest Serbian newspaper in the
United States, published in Pittsburgh since 1912. He is the recipient of the
Order of St. Sava, the highest award given to a lay person by the Holy Synod of
Serbian Bishops and an Award of Merit from the Serbian Bar Association of
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