Well, the weak get weaker;
The strong stay strong.
The train keeps rollin’
All night long….

— Bob Dylan, “Marching to the City”

Do you want to know how the world works? This is how the world works. From Scotland’s Sunday Herald:

The late President Milosevic’s secret police chief and organiser of Serb death squads during the genocidal ethnic cleansing of disintegrating Yugoslavia was the United States’ top CIA agent in Belgrade, according to the independent Belgrade Radio B92.

The claim that from 1992 until the end of the decade, Jovica Stanisic, head of Serbia’s murderous DB Secret Police, was regularly informing his CIA handlers of the thinking in Milosevic’s inner circle has shocked the region. Stanisic is [now] is facing war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court at The Hague…

Dermot Groome, The Hague’s chief prosecutor, has specifically accused him of sending in the Serb Scorpion and Red Beret death squads into the states seeking independence from Belgrade. Stanisic has pleaded not guilty.

Like in a Cold War spy thriller, Serbia’s secret police chief met his CIA handlers in safe houses, parks and boats on the river Sava to betray his master’s action plans. He provided, it is claimed, information on the whereabouts of Nato hostages, aided CIA operatives in their search for Muslim mass graves and helped the US set up secret bases in Bosnia to monitor the implementation of the 1995 Dayton peace accord….

In an unusual move, the CIA has submitted classified documents to the court that confirm Stanisic’s “undercover operative role in helping to bring peace to the region and aiding the agency’s work. He helped defuse some of the most explosive actions of the Bosnian war.”

Stansic’s former CIA handlers also avow his invaluable service to the agency, but they say he was never a paid agent, just a patriot trying mitigate the worst of his boss’s depradations. (You know, like Albert Speer or Colin Powell and other noble souls of that ilk.) But the details of Stansic’s relation to the CIA are unimportant.What matters is the relevation — or rather, confirmation — that, once again, America’s leaders were hard-wired into the power structure of yet another of the “evil forces” they are forever puffing up to Hitlerian size in order to keep the War Machine gravy train going. As the Herald notes:

This has raised awkward questions for Washington. With Stanisic providing chapter and verse of the genocidal slaughter of Croats, Bosnians and Albanians from the early 1990s, should President Clinton have cut a deal with Milosevic at Dayton, Ohio, ending the Bosnian war on such equitable terms for the Serbs? Or, using Stanisic’s evidence, should the Americans not have unmasked Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic, the then head of Republika Srpska, as genocidal war criminals and demanded their surrender?

Of course, this leads to many more questions, such as the American involvement in arming and training Croatia’s genocidal strongman, the American role in infiltrating violent Islamic extremists into the Balkan conflict, the American alliance with the known druglords and terrorists of Kosovo’s KLA, the various falsely hyped atrocities that stoked profitable war fever in the region, or the Americans’ deliberate provocation of the Serbian war by demanding the right to impose a full-scale military occupation of the whole of Serbia as a condition of pre-war “peace negotiations” over Kosovo, and on and on and on and bloody on.

(And perhaps we could ask Clinton’s point man in the Balkans, Richard Holbrooke, a couple of questions about the matter — as soon as he gets through installing yet another imperial satrap in Kabul for Barack Obama to undermine the imperial satrap installed earlier by George Bush, as the Guardian reports: US will appoint Afghan ‘prime minister’ to bypass Hamid Karzai.)

Just like Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, et al, the conflicts in the Balkans were a seething mass of ruthless, violent state and non-state actors entwined in a fifteen-sided, hydra-headed, ever-shifting scrum of blood, money, lies and power. That’s how the great game works. Factions change sides, penetrate each other, work together today and make war tomorrow — sometimes at their genuine behest of their leaders, sometimes according to the agenda of their penetrators.

And yes, there are conspiracies galore in these raucous, cloudy shadowlands; but no, they are not all guided by a single sinister hand or over-arching intelligence.The big players — including the biggest kahuna of all, the Beltway Gang on the Potomac (itself an ever-shifting scrum of ruthless factions) — are often able to push this writhing ball in the general direction of their agenda of the moment; but just as often it spirals out their control, out of anyone’s control. But of course, the resulting chaos and violence are also profitable for the merchants of death and the profiteers of fear. So it’s usually a win-win situation all around — except for the cannon fodder and “collateral damage” that gets chewed up along the way. But nobody who is anybody gives a damn about them.

These brawling factions, big and small, state and non-state, are driven more by the lust for loot, and the power and prestige that loot buys — and by the psycho-emotional jazzmo they get from killing, robbing, raping, dominating and torturing (or ordering these to be done) — than from ideology, ethnicity, nationality or religion, although these do play a part, especially in giving a faction some measure of internal coherence.

And if nothing else, the saga of Jovica Stanisic shows what happens to “valued CIA assets” once they have served their purpose in advancing the Beltway kahunas’ agenda of the day. You can suddenly go from “trusted friend” to “war criminal” or even “new Hitler” at the drop of a hat. Just ask Saddam Hussein or Manuel Noriega, among many, many others.

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