The Weight of Chains
Boris Malagurski (2010)
The deliberate demonization of the Serbian people by the Clinton administration has been a special interest ever since I cared for Serbian PTSD victims in the mid-nineties. At the time there were rumors the US was after oil in the Caspian basin. Until I saw this documentary, I was unaware of the bloodthirsty ruthlessness of US policy in Yugoslavia. Nor that Clinton, like his successors George W Bush and Barack Obama, was guilty of war crimes. The film also sheds important light on current US policy in Ukraine.
The Weight of Chains is about the deliberate break-up of Yugoslavia in the 80s and 90s to enable its transformation into a US colony, like Iraq and Afghanistan. The cover story blaming Serbian barbarism for the conflagration in Bosnia and Kosovo was pure fabrication by the Clinton administration and US media.
Under Marshall Tito (1943-1980), Yugoslavia enjoyed an ethnically diverse society in which Muslim Turks, Croatians, Serbians, Hungarians, Albanians and other ethnic minorities lived side by side and intermarried. It was a very prosperous nation, thanks to a mixed economy that combined central economic planning with private enterprise, worker cooperatives and a generous welfare state. Tito, who stubbornly resisted Russian pressure to join the Soviet bloc, was one of the founders of the non-aligned movement.*
Enter the NED
Shortly after Tito’s death in 1980, President Reagan signed a secret memorandum declaring his intention to transform Yugoslavia into a “market economy” (translation: US colony for Wall Street investors). The first salvo in this campaign was to send in the CIA-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED), to finance pro-US opposition groups, journalists, trade unionists and the G17. The latter was a group of World Bank economists who seized control of the Yugoslavian economy by inducing corrupt officials to enter into unpayable loans. By the late 1980s, the G17 had imposed deep cuts on all social services and forced 1,100 industries into bankruptcy. Those that weren’t totally wiped out were sold to foreign investors at rock bottom prices.
Thanks to these austerity cuts, by 1990 Yugoslavia’s unemployment rate had soared to 20%. When the government appealed to the US for debt relief, Bush senior cut off all aid to Yugoslavia. Under US pressure, the IMF only agreed to fund right wing ultranationalist groups in six autonomous regions (Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bosnia) – provided they declared independence from Yugoslavia. The Bush senior administration also illegally supplied arms to Croatian fascists who would seize control of Croatia and the Muslim Bosniaks who controlled Bosnia.
Accordingly Slovenia and Croatia declared independence in 1992 and Bosnia in 1992.
US-Inspired Ethnic Cleansing
Despite constant denunciation of the Serbian people (as fascist thugs) by the Clinton administration and Senator Joe Biden, the real culprits were fascist American thugs. In 1995, the Clinton administration financed and armed the Croatian government to carry out the largest act of ethnic cleansing in history in the Serbian enclave of Krajinia. Thanks to the American-inspired Operation Storm, 2,000 Serbs were killed and 250,000 were driven from their homes over a period of 84 hours. One of my patients, whose sister was massacred during Operation Storm, only survived because his Muslim neighbors hid him and his children from the Croatian army.
The Weight of Chains also deconstructs the alleged Serb atrocities committed at Srebrenica (where equal numbers of Serbs and Muslims died), which the US would use to justify NATO intervention.
Enter Osama bin Laden
Following Serbian independence, Clinton armed and trained the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army,** with the assistance of Osama bin Laden and heroin-trafficking Mujahideen from Afghanistan. The President’s chief motivation was to further destabilize Serbia to open it up to US investment.
When Slobodan Milosevic refused to sign a peace agreement accepting US occupation of Serbia, Clinton committed further violations of international law by using NATO aircraft to bomb Serbian civilians and deliberately target civilian infrastructure that included power grids, schools, hospitals and water filtration plants.
Enter George Soros
Following Milosevic’s surrender in June 1999, the World Bank immediately sent in an army of World Bank lawyers to privatize Serbia’s most valuable state-owned assets. Soros and his cronies were particularly keen on getting the Trercha mining interest into western hands, with its rich coal, copper, zinc, cadmium, gold and silver resources.
The film concludes by examining the dire economic consequences (ie massive debt, industry closure and joblessness) for Eastern European countries whose business elites opt to join the EU and NATO. For example, the EU forced the Czech Republic to close their sugar industry because it was more profitable to import Cuban sugar. While the French destroyed the Hungarian vineyards by dumping cheap wine into their market, forcing Hungarian wine growers to sell their vineyards to English investors at bargain basement prices. After Slovenia joined the EU in 2004, they experienced massive layoffs after most of their factories were privatized and moved overseas. In 2009, Croatia (like Greece) was forced to start selling their islands to pay off their debt.
*The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states which aren’t formally aligned with or against any specific power bloc.
**Kosovo is a disputed territory within Serbia in which ethnic Albanians make up 80-90% of the population.
As I’ve said before, this government, as well as most European governments, is a curse on the world and always has been.
The eastern nations need to band together and take down the US/NATO demon before it destroys most of humanity and the planet!
I can’t put into words how much I loathe having been born in this country!
I definitely echo your sentiments that predatory monopoly capitalism is a curse on humanity – to the point it threatens to destroy the human species and possibly life on earth.
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Reblogged this on An Outsider's Sojourn II and commented:
Here is yet another reason why I loathe this government. It is a curse, as is every other NATO nation!
A short essay by Parenti, corroborating the substance of your review and “The Weight of Chains:”
The Rational Destruction of Yugoslavia (http://www.michaelparenti.org/yugoslavia.html)
All of it, in its disgusting villainy, simply beyond words.
Greece is next.
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You betcha. It’s amazing how studying the historical context of past US foreign policy helps us make sense of the current insanity. In a few cases it also helps activists resisting this policy. Two years ago, it resulted in Congressional action that prevented Obama from going to war against Syria.
It’s already happening, public infrastructure is being used for collateral, starting with the Harbor.
Reblogged this on robert11011's Blog.
This fits nicely in to whats going on in Greece now and Lybia before, Clinton and all the Presidence since Trueman have been in acord with Millitary/industrial complex ‘
Kennedy was elected as Hawk but soon saw where it was leading and died beccause of it.
Absolutely. I think this is the most important take home message of this film. None of this stuff is new. It’s been going on a long time. Thanks to the Internet, we’re simply more aware of it.
Perkins: “The situation that we’re in today is ‘predatory capitalism.”
As if there ever was any other kind. ‘Yup, I was an economic hit man. Our job was privatization by stealth. But not that ‘private property’ has anything to do with that other capitalism that isn’t predatory, the good kind of capitalism. OOoo, and didn’t I have my share of beautiful women! Those were the days! Err . . . ahem . . . I mean . . .those were the days of dissolution and dissipation . . . on which I’ve completely turned my back and for which I’m now hell bent on atoning. Something I can afford to do fulltime, now, as independently wealthy as I’ve since become.’
I read his book.
The punchline: ‘. . . see, the problem isn’t the system qua system. It’s the criminals. Get rid of the bad guys. Keep the corporate/bureaucratic machinery. That there is the true genius of capitalism, the part really worth keeping.’
Why is it so hard for me to take this fucker seriously?
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I have the same feelings about Perkins. I think his role is what the CIA refers to is a “limited hang-out.” The thinking behind the strategy is they release just a tiny bit of the truth in the hope of leading you down the garden path.
Reblogged this on Taking Sides.
Reblogged this on Finding Truth In an Illusory World.
It’ll be interesting to see what my Serbian acquaintances have to say about this. Never really discussed the matter with them as they had relatives on both sides of the conflict, and I didn’t want to rock the boat over something about which I knew very little.
Everyone had relatives on both sides of the conflict – everyone intermarried – for centuries. The secret to Yugoslavia’s success was the great economic prosperity resulting from an extremely high level of multi-ethnic unity.
And Reagan, Bush senior and Clinton (with the help of Zbigniew Brzezinski) deliberately set out to stir up ethnic tensions that would destroy the existing economy and turn an advanced economy into a US sweatshop.
They attempted to work the same scheme on Russia, but Putin put a halt to it by imprisoning and exiling corrupt oligarchs that were collaborating with the US State Dept and CIA. This is why he’s being demonized now as Milosevic was in the 1990s.
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And at the time they claimed that soviet repression had kept the old tensions under control. The oligarchs that Putin nailed were robbing industries like Lada (cars) and essentially given away mineral rights (oil). Some of those Guys are now living in London. It’s getting tough knowing who is telling the truth, OK they’re all lying 🙂 Safe Bet!
QUOTE: “US-Inspired Ethnic Cleansing
Despite constant denunciation of the Serbian people (as fascist thugs) by the Clinton administration and Senator Joe Biden, the real culprits were fascist American thugs. In 1995, the Clinton administration financed and armed the Croatian government to carry out the largest act of ethnic cleansing in history in the Serbian enclave of Krajina. Thanks to the American-inspired Operation Storm, 2,000 Serbs were killed and 250,000 were driven from their homes over a period of 84 hours. One of my patients, whose sister was massacred during Operation Storm, only survived because his Muslim neighbors hid him and his children from the Croatian army.
The Weight of Chains also deconstructs the alleged Serb atrocities committed at Srebrenica (where equal numbers of Serbs and Muslims died), which the US would use to justify NATO intervention.”
I am quite shocked at the fact that no attentionseems to have been paid as to whom and for what reason this documentary the Weight of Chains has been made. For you information Clinton and US DID NOT ARM OR FINANCE THE CROATIAN GOVERNMENT to carry out … Operation storm of which you write with such falsehood was a legitimate military operation to liberate Serb-occupied Croatian territory and there was no ethnic cleansing (READ ICTY Appeal Court finding in Gotovina/Makac case) in this operation but indeed there was before it and that was when Serbs cleansed more than 1 million non-Serbs from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. YOU FORGET THE FACT THAT SERBS HAD ETHNICALLY CLEANSED THE KRAJINA ENCLAVE YOU SPEAK OF PRIOR TO OPERATION STORM. ACCORDING TO YOUR WRITING HERE ONE IS NOT JUSTIFIED IN LIBERATING ONES OWN OCCUPIED TERRITORY.
You might not like Bill Clinton but please keep your accusations in perspective. Do not judge a complex history on basis of a biased propaganda documentary produced by a biased lot.
Croatian military operatives were trained in the US prior to Operation Storm – how best and most effectively liberate occupied territory. And such great training it proved to be.
Thanks for your comment, inavukic. I’m very aware this is a an extremely controversial topic with claims and counterclaims on both sides – every military exchange was either a legitimate battle or a military change depending on a person’s ethnic background. I’m in the unenviable position of having worked with Serbian civilians who were clearly the victim of Croatian war crimes at Krajinia. I was really concerned when they told me about incidents of Croat soldiers parading up and down in Nazi uniforms. This was definitely something we weren’t be told by the US media. Which led to to seek out all the information I could from reliable historians.
What I’m trying to say is that my information isn’t based on a single documentary. It’s based mainly on the careful research conducted on Yugoslavia by US academic Michael Parenti and French Canadian economist Michel Chossudovsky (among others).
I think the really important point made in the film is that the Reagan, Bush senior and Clinton administration all made a conscious decision to destroy Yugoslavia politically and economically, via the specific tactic of creating ethnic tensions among ethnic and religious groups that had lived together peaceably (and intermarried) for centuries.
I can understand how you might not want to watch the film, if you consider it to be propaganda, but I highly recommend you check out some of the careful research of Parenti and Chossudovsky:
http://www.michaelparenti.org/yugoslavia.html (the link shared by Norman Pilon above)
I especially recommend a lecture on Yugoslavia by Michael Parenti recorded in 1999:
Thanks Stuartbramhall but I do happen to think that even the most “reliable historians” can be found to be unreliable. Ethnic background only interferes with those who choose not to see the actual facts. The facts in Croatia were that 94% of voters of Croatia’s citizens voted to seceded from communist Yugoslavia and have an independent Croatia within it sovereign and internationally recognized borders. Immediately Serbia and Blegrade led Yugoslav army and Serb rebels in Croatia mounted aggression that started with ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs from Croatian areas where Serbs were in large numbers (having settled there after given land centuries ago for various reasons and by occupiers of Croatia anyway (Austro-Hungarian Empire etc/ Don’t forget Croatia was once a Kingdom of Croatia) etc. No “specific tactic to create ethnic tensions” affected the vote of multitudes of individuals. If individuals on Croatian sides committed war crimes they need to answer for that but war crimes were not Croatia’s policy while it was Serbia’s and again, sorry, but in US most people consider the right to self defense and self-preservation to be an absolute right. Different nationalities in former Yugoslavia did not live peacefully for centuries, just examine the history better and examine the emigration mass…the only “ethnic” tension within Yugoslavia were brutally corrupt inequalities between different ethnic groups the culture of which imposed from the very tops in Belgrade. As to the links you suggest I must say that Michael Parenti is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the Serbian cause, helping to minimise the gravity of its crimes. And they were crimes. Serbia attacked others and not vice versa. Parenti in this appears very biased indeed when it comes to the break up of Yugoslavia, disregards the sanctity of sovereign borders that existed, disregards the history beyond certain dates/times i.e. when Serbs moved in…Serbs in the case of Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina are very quick to claim for Serbia historic rights to lands their individual citizens were given in history to migrate to and settle and do not recognise the “original owners” of that land. I choose other sources than Michael Parenti when it comes to breakup of Yugoslavia. Chossudovsky writes about the war in Yugoslavia made up of Serbia and Montenegro in 1999 – not the same Yugoslavia Parenti writes about. NATO bombing of 1999 was in relation to Kosovo, a part of Serbia at the time that wanted independence from Serbia not former Yugoslavia.
To all conflicts there are many dimensions (cultural and historical) and many different parties with conflicting interests. Unless this was the case, the American establishment, ruled by the empowered oligarchs of America, could not fracture and destroy entrenched systems of government.
At issue is the following: what was and is the primary interest of the American elites in the Blakans?
Setting aside for the moment its geopolitical rivalry with Russia, it’s purpose is, in the simplest possible terms, to expropriate the peoples of the Balkans, whomever they may be, whether Serbs, Croats, Slovenians, Bosnians, etc. . .
Clearly, if the public and private assets of the regions are being ‘bought up’ for fractions of their true worth and by coteries of foreign elites, if the people are sundering in their exponentially increasing numbers into poverty, if national assemblies are not in control of both their fiscal and monetary policies, robbery and neo-colonialism are the words that best describe the situation and that characterize the primary interest of the West’s involvement in Balkans.
It’s about creating “free markets,” a euphemism for creating conditions permitting the unrestrained seizure of all possible assets by the supremely rich, whether of a public or small scale private nature.
The documentary and people like Parenti and Chossudovsky more than adequately make the case. And this is the same thing happening in Greece, in Ukraine, in the Middle East, and even in the heartland(s) of the empire itself.
People need to see and recognize the pattern ‘en mass,’ across all ethnic divides. Otherwise, they will never be able to counter this pillaging process and their miseries can only multiply and intensify.
This is what ‘free market’ capitalism is. It’s not democracy and feedom. It’s totalitarianism and enslavement as well as unrestrained plunder.
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All that stands as regrettable fact, Norman, I was referring to actual aggression of was, the assaults on measures for democracy away from communism. As to buying and privatisations and control it’s the same everywhere even within the US – poverty is rife, unemployment is rife…pillaging in various forms occurs and that is a tragedy and US is not the only culprit. I do not defend it, nor condone it. I believe Croatia itself did look for political allies to help it get out of the hell that communist Yugoslavia was… to recognise its independence and sovereignty etc and many processes sneak into that …
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Thank you Inavukic and Stuart for your perspectives. I’ve read that the bombing of the embassy in Belgrade was a turning point for US/Russian relations, but everything else about this conflict is muddy to me, and I suspect to most of us westerners. Reading your two versions, it’s even more clear to outsiders like me that what we know, and what we think we know, is akin to the blind men and the elephant.
Very insightful. Thanks for stopping by.
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FYI: I just read your comment on the drug post I reblogged. And I decided to delete the post.
I trust you, and I don’t want my other posts on vaccines, etc, to lose validity because of one reblog.
Thanks for the info!
No worries, sojourner.
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