INTERVIEW WITH LIZ MILANOVICH about Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Balkans
Lee Jay Walker - THE MODERN TOKYO TIMES
Liz: Lee Jay, thank you for agreeing to this interview. No doubt you have a very busy schedule, so it’s doubly appreciated.
Lee Jay: Hello Liz, you are more than welcome. In truth, the honor is mine because I know you care deeply about important issues and the role of the mass media. So thank you for your invite.
Liz: I believe you’re a freelance journalist based in Tokyo, and that you’re a correspondent for Seoul Times. Is that correct?
Lee Jay: Yes, I am a freelance journalist and I have been based in Tokyo for several years. I was a correspondent for The Seoul Times but now I send my articles to other agencies and recently my articles have been put on www.serbianna.com, www.aina.org, www.pakistanchristianpost.com, www.faithfreedom.org, and many others. I also get quoted on important think tanks and help other journalists when possible.
Liz: Perhaps tell us a bit about your background and when you became interested in happenings in the Balkans, specifically ex-Yugoslavia?
Lee Jay: You have many factors to this question because this applies to my visits to the former Yugoslavia, the rich history of Serbia, and sadly the recent conflicts in the former Yugoslavia meant that this nation was often in the news.
I would like to add that my interests began prior to the convulsions that erupted throughout the former Yugoslavia. However, during the numerous conflicts that engulfed the former Yugoslavia, it was abundantly clear that the media on a whole distorted the real facts.
I also would like to add that the current situation in Kosovo is also being hidden by many news agencies and this also applies to the role of Albanian nationalism and radical Sunni Islam in Bosnia.
Liz: Seems to me that very few Westerners have cared enough to get an accurate read on events there. Obviously you’re not in that category. What set off your radar in the direction of the Balkans?
Lee Jay: I remember people like Paddy Ashdown on television in the United Kingdom and he, and countless others, were clearly distorting the reality of Bosnia. Yet no lessons were learned because the same media machine manipulated the reality of Kosovo.
The New York Times, for instance, tells us all about the numbers game because the article states that The State Department also gave the highest estimate of dead Albanians. The New York Times reported, “On April 19, 1999, the State Department said that up to 500,000 Kosovar Albanians were missing and feared dead” Erlanger, Steven (November 11, 1999). “Early Count Hints at Fewer Kosovo Deaths”. The New York Times, p. A6…”
Also, ex-President Bill Clinton used very emotional words and clearly he was manipulating the crisis for other reasons and he openly distorted the truth on May 13, 1999. For on this day Clinton stated that “there are 100,000 people [in Kosovo] who are still missing” — clearly implying that Serbian armed forces were slaughtering Kosovo Albanians. Clinton further used more emotional language by stating that 600,000 ethnic Albanians could be “trapped within Kosovo itself, lacking shelter, short of food, afraid to go home, or buried in mass graves dug by their executioners.”
These are just some reasons because you have so many other factors, but clearly the lies that were being told were not only “big” but they were “a clear fabrication.”
Again, the same lies are still going on and clearly Clinton and NATO, and many others, should be held accountable for what they did. At the same time other questions should be asked, for example why did America and others support radical Islam in Bosnia and just how did the KLA grow from zero into a trained terrorist unit?
Also, which side destroyed a possible agreement at Rambouillet? If you read the article by David N. Gibbs called Was Kosovo A Good War? Then just like past actions in Bosnia and Croatia, you get a complete different picture.
David N. Gibbs, the author of First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia (Vanderbilt University Press, June 2009), states that “The available information suggests that a full settlement of the Kosovo conflict was within reach and could have been achieved at Rambouillet. What caused the agreement to break down was a new development that occurred late in the negotiation process. Specifically, the Western mediators now proposed that a “Military Annex” be added to the final agreement. The proposed addition affirmed that NATO peacekeeping forces would be deployed, and that these forces would have “free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY [Federal Republic of Yugoslavia].” This section was highly significant; it meant that not only would Kosovo be occupied by a NATO peacekeeping force, but potentially all of Serbia and all that remained of Yugoslavia would be occupied as well. After the Military Annex appeared, the Serb delegation appeared to lose all confidence in the negotiation process, and the peace talks broke down.”
“The suspicious wording of the Military Annex was originally noted by British journalist John Pilger in 1999, during the course of the NATO bombing campaign. In response, U.S. officials have insisted that the Annex was a harmless detail, and deny that there was any effort to sabotage the peace talks.”
“The truth telling was left to the British. In a post-war parliamentary hearing, former Defense Minister of State John Gilbert affirmed that key negotiators were in fact seeking to sabotage the conference. Gilbert was the number two figure in the British Defense Ministry, with a specific responsibility for intelligence gathering, and he supported the war. He is surely a credible source. With regard to the motives of the negotiators, he offered this observation: “I think certain people were spoiling for a fight in NATO at that time … we were at a point when some people felt that something had to be done [against Serbia], so you just provoked a fight.” With regard to the peace terms themselves, he said, “I think the terms put to Milosevic at Rambouillet were absolutely intolerable: How could he possibly accept them? It was quite deliberate” (emphasis added).”
I apologize for my long reply to this question but you have so many factors that it is impossible to answer quickly. Yet these facts, and others, have led to innocents being killed and even today radical Islam is still a threat in Bosnia and in modern day Kosovo the de-Christianization of this land is ongoing. Therefore, the past is responsible for many misdeeds and sadly the consequences are still being felt by Serbians and other minorities in Kosovo.
Liz: What are your views about the close friendship USA and allies continue to pursue with the extremist Muslims of Bosnia and Kosovo, while at the same time supposedly waging a war against Muslim terrorism elsewhere in the world? What is your opinion on this apparent dichotomy? What is really behind all of the political maneuvering?
Lee Jay: This is a very challenging question and it is not easy to find a start or an ending because America’s foreign policy keeps on changing, however, certain linkages can be found.
For example, in the Balkans you have had three flashpoints involving mainly Orthodox Christians and Muslims since World War Two and this applies to Bosnia, Cyprus, and Kosovo, respectively. Yet America supported the side of Islam every time and some people could argue that it was just a coincidence but for myself, and others who dig deeply, you must have a bigger issue and it can’t just come down to self interests or geopolitics?
After all, India is a democratic nation but once more America was closer to Pakistan and Islamists have used Pakistan in order to destabilize both Afghanistan and Kashmir. So why did America support a military general called Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in the late 1970s and 1980s over democratic leaders in India?
If we add this question to the reality of Afghanistan and Iraq then it becomes even more confusing, after all, both Afghanistan and Iraq were ruled by secular leaders. However, the USA supported the implementation of Islamic Sharia law in both nations, and for non-Muslims in Iraq this is unbelievable because Christians, Shabaks, Mandaeans, and Yazidis, are all suffering from Islamization.
Therefore, America had been supporting radical Islam and Islamic terrorism prior to the crisis which engulfed Yugoslavia. Yet the fact that America had supported radical Islam in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and other parts of the world, meant that it was easy for Clinton’s administration to do a deal with radical Islamists in Bosnia.
For the same networks which funded Osama Bin Laden and other Islamic terrorists were easy to use because it was second nature for the security forces of America and others, for example the British.
People should read the book by Richard J Aldrich called ‘The Hidden Hand: Britain, America and Cold War Secret Intelligence.’ This book highlights the reality of radical Islam throughout the wider world and what role America and others have played in using Islamists and allowing this ideology to expand.
Therefore, this question is very complex but it is clear that Clinton played the “Islamic terrorist card” in order to further his foreign policy objectives. However, you have divisions within the security services in America and Clinton merely overruled everybody and took an independent decision.
Also, America will claim that they supported radical Islam against Najibullah in Afghanistan because they were fighting communism. Yet events in Yugoslavia had nothing to do with the Cold War and they happened after the demise of the Soviet Union and America continued to have good relations with The Taliban well after the ending of the Cold War.
Added to this is September 11th and since this event many directions have changed in some parts of the world. For example past Islamists who were allies of America in Afghanistan then became enemies and this complicates everything because the new changes were not consistent.
After all, America is still a staunch ally of Saudi Arabia and this nation or individuals or organizations within this nation, are spreading radical Islam within many parts of the former Yugoslavia. Therefore, the situation remains cloudy to say the least and the Bosnian Islamic card is still a potent force for Saudi Arabia in order to spread radical Islam throughout Bosnia and other parts of Europe.
Liz: Former ‘Clintonites’ are now President Obama’s key advisers. Therefore, do you foresee the Obama administration exerting its influence further in the region?
Lee Jay: I think that President Obama is in appeasement mode towards Islam and despotic nations, therefore, deals are “on the table” for all and sundry at the moment. Yet when it comes to the Balkans then I believe that he will follow a similar policy and it must be remembered that America is already overstretched in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
America will also turn “a blind eye” to the de-Christianization of Kosovo and the same applies to other nations who supported the disintegration of Yugoslavia. However, events in Bosnia and Macedonia are more complex because the so-called allies of America have internal divisions. This applies to Croat and Bosnian Muslim tensions and ongoing ethnic and religious tensions in Macedonian between Macedonians and Albanians. Added to this, it is clear that radical Islam is also growing in both Bosnia and Macedonia and the political nature of Islam means that forced alliances may collapse and new dimensions may errupt?
Given this, America will want to shore up her allies and maintain peace within the region. Yet America will also be open to Serbia if this nation bows down to more pressure but clearly it will be on the terms of America.
In saying that, the current political leaders in Serbia are very different and times have moved on. Also, if Islamists continue to destabilize the region then they may just push America into a different direction or being neutral?
I don’t believe that the current leader of America is intent on being anti-Serbian but when it comes to Kosovo then America’s policy will remain the same.
In that sense, Obama is tied to past administrations and the future remains bleak for Serbians and all minorities in Kosovo. Yet the clear divisions of the past are not so striking in modern times when it comes to possible courses of action? Despite this, divisions will remain between both nations over the status of Kosovo and America will continue to favor the Muslim/Croat side in Bosnia and given this reality, America is still anti-Serbian but now in a political sense and not military because it is difficult to see both nations clashing on the battlefield.
However, twenty four hours is a long time in politics and it is difficult to predict such a delicate region because many convulsions could still happen in the near future.
Liz: In your pursuit of going after the facts, you must have encountered criticisms from those to whom the truth about ex-Yugoslavia is not palatable. Can you recall vividly any negative reactions you have received to what you’ve written in the past?
Lee Jay: I have had many people who have thanked me for writing about the former Yugoslavia, therefore, I have been very lucky.
However, I have had some very strong emails the other way, including death threats but when this happens then it merely proves to me that I must be challenging people.
I do know that an official from the Embassy of Kosovo in London tried to put pressure on The Seoul Times and he refused to speak to me directly. However, I told him that my article, KOSOVO & Systematic Persecution by KLA, was based on my findings and my editor, Mr. Joseph Joh, supported me and my article and The Seoul Times refused to debate the issue openly.
Liz: Is there anything further you’d like to tell us?
Lee Jay: I apologize for the long wording of my replies but the questions were difficult to answer because of the complex nature of events.
I would like to add that people should do their best to tell the world about the ongoing crisis in Kosovo and support people like Ninoslav Randjelovic and check his work at
. He and others need to be supported because the “voiceless” have been ignored and marginalized and people like Ninoslav Randjelovic are trying to inform the world about the current reality and the ongoing crisis in Kosovo.
At the same time, it is up to individuals to inform people about past events and to re-educate people about the other point of view.
Liz: Lee Jay, thanks for taking time to do this interview.
Lee Jay: You are most welcome and thank you for giving me your time.
I hope people have not switched off by my long replies and I wish everyone well and I would like to thank you once more for inviting me to share my thinking and opinions.
LEE JAY WALKER