Thursday, November 7, 2013

Democratic Boycott of the Colonial Serbia

It took Serbia’s top leadership three days to voice its opinion on the debacle of its pressure campaign against the North Kosovo Serbs, related to the local elections in the rogue Albanian state of Kosovo, the first in which the community was forced to participate. Not only that, but Serbia’s leadership apparently had to get its own opinion in Brussels.

Between Aleksandar Vučić’s Sunday threat, directed at the Serb community, in which he asked the occupying force of NATO and EULEX to allow him 45 minutes to take care of business in North Mitrovica, and Wednesday’s statement by Ivica Dačić, following consultations with Catherine Ashton, the official Belgrade’s silence on Kosovo was interrupted only by Aleksandar Vulin’s unfounded accusations against leaders of the election boycott. 
The trigger-happy Vulin first charged local Serb leaders of the boycott with smashing the voting booths in a Mitrovica polling location. 
Then the charges died down after the anti-election activists presented what they claimed to be video and eyewitness testimonies to the contrary and accused the Belgrade authorities of orchestrating the violence after they realized the boycott calls were heeded by the majority of Mitrovica Serbs and the turnout was abysmal. 
When the swirling rumors involved the presence of Police General Bratislav Dikić, now-deputy to Serbia’s Director of Police Milorad Veljovic, in the area, the purported relation between Serbia’s authorities and the polling site violence became more believable. 

Hashim Thaci ridiculed Vučić’s request to intervene against the Kosovo Serbs, stating that Kosovo had its own institutions. Not that Thaci’s statement was anything new or surprising, but Vučić, or anyone else, did not respond to this apparent challenge to Serbian government’s claim of sovereignty over Kosovo.   
But his minions did launch a media and parliament-floor offensive against Vojislav Koštunica’s Democratic Party of Serbia and its key representative in North Kosovo, Marko Jakšić, blaming this 7-percent-strong opposition party of swaying the election outcome against the wishes of Serbia government. 
Never mind that the attested war criminal Thaci dared to call the North Kosovo activists "criminals."

Amid this indeed disgusting exchange of accusations and name-calling, no mainstream media have reported the actual turnout numbers in North Kosovo, while the Kosovo Albanian authorities did brag about the turnout among Serbs south of Ibar exceeding 50 percent in some municipalities. The Serb Anti-election Staff reported Priština’s Central Election Commission’s numbers, according to which the turnout in Mitrovica was as low as 2.5 percent a couple of hours before the polling site attack. The Leposavić municipality, according to the same report, saw a 16 percent turnout. 

Kosovo Police and EULEX arrested one man in relation to the violence, and quickly let him go; Jakšić said the man was connected to Serbia’s Gendarmerie.  

Going back to the most striking evidence that Serbia is indeed as much a colony as is its occupied province, we find a new level of subordination being reached here. 
Who would have expected that between Dačić and Vučić, the two men most directly involved in all aspects of implementation of the Microsoft Word document popularly called the Brussels Agreement, including the aggressive on-the-ground campaigning against those local Serbs who refused to participate in the election organized under the legal framework of the Albanian Republic of Kosovo, no public statement was made on such a crucial juncture in the implementation process? 

The election was the pinnacle of the subjugation process Dačić and Vučić have been steamrolling over the Kosovo Serbs. And Serbia’s top dogs had nothing to say about it for three days. 
Nothing to say until a Brussels bureaucrat told them what exactly they were allowed to say.

After another blow was dealt to the Imperial occupying force by the Kosovo Serb community, Ashton decided the election will be repeated in three sites in North Mitrovica on November 17. 

Thaci bragged about how the “successful” election added legitimacy to the Brussels Agreement. 
If we know that the sole goal of the Brussels Agreement was to subjugate the North, and if the North Kosovo Serbs overwhelmingly and in a democratic way rejected the Dačić-Thaci deal again on November 3rd, Thaci’s demagoguery would be dismissed if it was not for the intent to repeat the push as many times as necessary to claim the Albanian and NATO victory over the Serbs. 

And with the help of colonial Belgrade, unfortunately, regardless of the election outcomes, the subjugation process seems to be at an advanced stage. Belgrade not only turned its back on the Kosovo Serbs, but has been actively pushing them into the fold of the rogue Albanian state, which, Serbia, declaratively, refuses to recognize. 

Dačić, in his Ashton-endorsed comments, threatened the Kosovo Serbs with complete abandonment if they did not obey the Brussels Agreement and subjugate themselves to the will of Albanians by voting on November 17. Activist Goran Petrović, arrested on Wednesday by Kosovo Police, has reportedly been the first victim of the expected crackdown against the local Serb opposition to the Dačić-Thaci deal.

As Belgrade political analyst Željko Cvijanović picturesquely described in his most recent piece, Serbia’s leadership first lit the Kosovo Serbs’ house on fire, and then blamed them for not putting the fire out by adhering to Belgrade’s instructions. 

Following the Ashton meeting, Serbian media did not report any comments Vučić made about this most pressing issue in the recent history of the country. Serbia’s President Tomislav Nikolić, whom I almost forgot in this report because he has been AWOL and a non-factor when he was present in public, expectedly had no opinion on the most pressing issue in his country’s recent history. 

The Belgrade media have been doing a great job of not asking questions, period, let alone demanding answers from the people paid a lot of money to provide them. Not only that, but other issues, such as soccer hooliganism, have been quickly launched into the spotlight of national attention to avert the focus on Kosovo. The most recent violent clashes between organized fan groups, long-known to be under the control of political parties and secret police, have apparently been orchestrated to divert the nation from the issues of occupation and sovereignty.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Between Belgrade, Thaci and Liberty

The all-out offensive against the Serbian communities in Kosovo is intensifying in the days running up to the rogue state's parliamentary election on November 3, in which the official Serbia has agreed to force the Kosovo Serbs to take part. This final step in Serbia's not-so-implicit recognition of the secession of its occupied province is a direct consequence of the "initialed" Microsoft Word document officially called "the Belgrade-Priština Agreement" or, colloquially, "the Brussels Agreement." 

I won't discuss the legality or the legitimacy of this paper and its adoption process, because there is none outside that overarching principle hiding behind any political demagoguery: "might makes right."

What is important to talk about at the time when all sides to the story but one have accepted that the piece of paper initialed by Serbia's prime minister is the law of the land, however illegal and illegitimate, are the methods of coercion the resilient community of North Kosovo is being subjected to by their own government, its Kosovan counterpart and the Albanian population.

The Serbian participation in the November 3 election legitimizes Kosovo's existence as an "independent" country. (Kosovo, in reality, is a territory occupied by NATO and the EU, and the formal independence from Serbia does not make it any more truly independent than Guam.) 
Thaci and his imperial overlords need this; without the recognition/capitulation of Serbia and the local Serbs, their imperial conquest can only live a life of a bastard.

Serbs in the North are the only Serbian community that had rejected Boris Tadic's calls to recognize the institutions of the Albanian Kosovo. The Dačić-Vučić-Nikolić trinity, however, has overridden Kosovo Serbs' political will and made a pact with Hashim Thaci's regime to coerce the community into subordination via back door, after Thaci's and NATO's frontal attacks failed numerous times.

The general feeling among the North Kosovo population is that if they succumb to the pressure and turn out in large numbers, they would be accepting the legitimacy of the Albanian rule. A recent Priština poll puts the expected turnout in the North at 16 percent.
Feeling the resistance and anticipating failure, both Belgrade and Priština have intensified pressure through subtle and not-so-subtle acts of coercion. 

Explosions have been rocking North Mitrovica for weeks. Serbs continue being attacked by Albanian mobs - not only in the North - on a regular basis. 

Most seriously, a conflict is being stirred between the minority of the Serbian population who is willing to go along with Belgrade's mandate and the majority who rejects the Albanian rule despite Belgrade's orders. It is unclear which incident fall into what category, but the very intensification is a clear sign that the pressure and tensions are rising and that they are related to Serbian community's unwillingness to sign its death sentence, i.e. to agree to a predicament that threatens its very existence on its ancestral land. 
Lines of the conflict are now drawn not only between local Serbs on one side and Albanians, their government and their imperial occupiers on the other, but between pro-integration and pro-liberty Serbs. 
The new puppet regime in Belgrade has achieved what neither the old regime nor the occupying military force could: it divided the North Kosovo Serbs to expedite their subordination into the rogue Albanian state of Kosovo.

On October 23, arson was reported in a North Mitrovica cafe. An explosion was reported in the same street on October 18.

On October 19, two Albanians attacked a nineteen years old Serb in an ethnically mixed area of North Mitrovica. 
Earlier that day, a bomb exploded on the balcony of a house belonging to an election candidate of the Civic Initiative "Srpska," the Belgrade-formed faction running for seats in the Kosovo legislature.

On October 14, Nebojša Marić, a local Serb leader who called for boycott of the elections, was reportedly injured when an explosive device blew up his bedroom window while he was sleeping.

On October 8, it was reported that Albanian mob burned the home of Slavomir Grubanović, a Serb returnee to the village of Belo Polje, near Peć. On the same day, another group crossed the bridge into North Mitrovica and stoned the former town hall building.

Of course, the response to these incidents from the occupying force of NATO and EULEX has been the usual one: a condemnation, if that, and the casual purported inability to find perpetrators.

Parallel and intertwined with the acts of violence against the Kosovo Serbs is the political charade ran by the official Belgrade. 

Amidst the dog-and-pony show involving Dačić and Aleksandar Vulin, the special envoy, reportedly being banned from entering Kosovo, Aleksandar Vučić becoming an honorary citizen of the town of Leposavić, Thaci interchangeably thanking Belgrade for encouraging Serbs to vote and warning it not to get involved, the repeated warnings and threats issued by Belgrade officials, most specifically Vulin, to Serbs who called for boycott or decided to not adhere to the Belgrade-Priština agenda  have been the most worthy of attention.
Vulin, a controversial personality with flip-flopping political character, like most of the key leaders of Serbia's puppet regime, has been campaigning intensively and enforcing the message that Kosovo Serbs must obey the Brussels Agreement or else. 

Two juxtaposed instances show that Vulin is not kidding either.

Radica Maksimović, the school administrator in Serbian enclave of Šilovo, near Gnjilane, ordered her staff to attend the Dačić rally in the central Kosovo enclave Gracanica on October 19, declaring that Saturday a work day. Maksimović and her staff are Serbian government employees and Dačić was to call on central Kosovo Serbs to get out and vote on November 3. The administrator is a member of Dačić's Socialist Party of Serbia.

On the other end, public sector employees of North Mitrovica, also on the payroll of Serbia, were expressly forbidden to walk in the anti-participation rally, organized by the Serb National Council of North Mitrovica on October 22.

The locally organized Interim Assembly of Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija formed its Anti-election Staff in response to the intensified pressure from Belgrade. 
Their position of non-compliance is based on the very reasonable forecast that Serbs will have to assimilate or be driven out by the Albanian if they integrate their communities into the rogue state and recognize Kosovo's legal system in any shape or form. They find the proposed "union of Serb municipalities," with its vague jurisdiction, not an adequate protection at all, considering the experience of most of other Serb communities in Kosovo that fell under Priština's rule. 
The Anti-election Staff has recently accused official Belgrade of stirring conflict among the North Kosovo Serbs and artificially creating the atmosphere of distrust and fear among neighbors.

Patriotic commentators, both within and outside of Kosovo, have felt especially betrayed by the calls for compliance coming from key leaders of the Serbian Orthodox Church, including Patriarch Irinej himself. Based on reports and public statements of individuals and groups on patriotic portals, a lot of Kosovo Serbs feel that church leaders sided with Thaci and Dačić and against them in this ongoing conflict. 
The Church, next to the people, has been the main pillar of Serbian presence in Kosovo and Metohija for centuries, but its current Kosovo agenda seem to be stuck between the philosophies of "addition by subtraction" and "go along to get along." 

An increasing number of not only Kosovo Serbs is vocal about the support for the disgraced and removed Bishop Artemije, who they saw as the most genuine advocate for Serbian interests and rights in the occupied territory.

All in all, the November 3 election threatens to seal the fate of the semi-free Serb communities in Kosovo. However low the turnout gets to be, Belgrade, Priština and Brussels are likely to ignore it and declare victory and legitimacy of the outcome, thus shutting the door on any presence of the Republic of Serbia in its occupied province and basically throwing the local Serbs to the wolves. Rumors of loads of ballots with fake voter identities being shipped into Kosovo are rampant. Having direct experience with how easily and regularly democratic process is manipulated, I'm significantly more inclined to believe the rumors than to disregard them. 
Whatever the way, the outcome will legitimize the secession and occupation of the Serbian province and it will veil Serbian regime's unconstitutional and unpatriotic acts, which many a Serb considers a treason, in the readily touted ''consent'' of the people.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Kosovo Serbs: Presumed Guilty

Five days have passed and the killer of the EULEX officer is still unknown. 
On September 19, attackers killed one and wounded three EULEX members of the Customs Component in an ambush near the village of Balaban in Zvečan municipality. In the run-up to the controversial parliamentary election in Kosovo, scheduled for November 3 and projected to involve the North Kosovo Serbs for the first time, the murder of Audrius Šenavičius, while initially provoking a whirlwind of reactions, especially from Belgrade, has been quietly pushed under the carpet as no news of it have come out after September 19.
Not in the mainstream media, at least. 

This story is not unusual in itself; attacks on the Western forces occupying Kosovo have happened before and they all came from the Albanian side (now, this may sound surprising to the not-so-well-informed observers). What was unusual is the rapid reaction by the official Belgrade. Both Prime Minister Ivica Dačić and his First Deputy Aleksandar Vučić immediately sharply condemned the attacks. Dačić blurted out that this was a "bullet fired into Serbia's future," and Vučić threatened a "fierce response" by the Serbian government. Both statements strongly implied that it was Serbs who killed Audrius Šenavičius. News portal InSerbia quoted Dačić as saying that this was "an extremist and not a patriotic act." 
"This is an attempt to ruin everything Serbia has achieved in the past period. Serbia has no right to remain silent and allow terrorists and extremists to believe that they are the ones who can manage Serbia,” said Vučić. (

 Both men apparently assumed that the act was perpetrated by disgruntled Serbs who felt an attack on EULEX would constitute an act of revenge, a patriotic act of sorts. They assumed this despite the fact that Serbs in Kosovo do not have a history of ambush attacks against the occupying forces. They know well that Serbs in Kosovo only resisted being integrated into the Albanian state, and always used non-violent methods against heavily armed KFOR and EULEX. But, for whatever reason, Dačić and Vučić went out on a limb to assume Serbs killed the EULEX officer.

Why would they assume this?

Well, I would call it projecting rather than assuming. Dačić and Vučić have experienced problems forcing the North Kosovo Serbs into the Albanian state of Kosovo. The agreement that Dačić signed with Catherine Ashton and Hashim Thaci on April 19, 2013, naturally was not well received in North Kosovo. After all, the local Serbs to which the terms of the agreement most directly apply were never consulted. The Brussels Agreement literally abolished the remaining institutions of the Republic of Serbia in its occupied province of Kosovo and Metohija and removed all the protections of the rights of Kosovo Serbs. The upcoming election is the final step in completely subordinating the Kosovo Serbs to the legal system of the Albanian "Republic of Kosovo," occupied and ran by NATO and EU.
So, naturally, there is a lot of animosity between the Kosovo Serbs and Belgrade leadership. The North Kosovo Serbs had their democratic referendum in which they overwhelmingly decided against their integration into the Albanian state. They issued declarations voicing their opposition to and fear from the subordination. They formed their interim people's assembly to assert their political unity in opposition to the occupation. The official Belgrade, led by Dačić, Vučić and president Tomislav Nikolić, ignored their wishes and bribed and threatened many into subordination. Others they simply removed. 
The opposition, however, is still swelling and its calls for a boycott of the Brussels-imposed elections still alarms Belgrade, whose representatives have specific orders from Brussels to see this through or risk falling out of favor with their imperial overlords. 

So, now, Dačić and Vučić could hardly wait for a false flag attack, or a real attack, to accuse the disobedient Kosovo Serbs of extremism and of undermining Serbia's future, and, in the best fashion of Western political students, use the events as pretext to swoop in, make arrests of key political opponents, scare the rest and clear the path towards the subordination of all the Kosovo Serbs to the Albanian government in Priština. 
How else would anyone explain the reaction from Belgrade?

Belgrade has relinquished all its authority in its occupied province and to matter-of-factly state it will respond in a fierce way is plain ridiculous. Of course, NATO and the EU forces in Kosovo can let the Serbia's investigators to come in and help rummage around Serb areas, but only because it suits them, not because it empowers Belgrade in any way. 

The natural, professional and diplomatic reaction would be to take it easy, condemn the attack in a neutral way while the investigation is ongoing, and shut up. But no, without even asking what happened, Serbia's leaders rush in to show fierce loyalty to their colonial overlords. A "Hail!" from Belgrade would be in order here.

I'm only making sensible points here, trying to observe this abnormal reaction opposite a normal one we are used in situations that are less politicized. Which professional politician, in his right mind, rushes to conclusions and goes on a limb like that, without following any rational or procedural logic? A puppet with orders, of course.

Say, an Albanian did this. This is a more likely scenario not because I wish Serbs are not at fault here, but for the obvious reason of this particular crime scene location being notorious for Albanian extremist activity and because it is the Albanians who wish to clear the obstacles for subordination of North Kosovo. They are the onesAnd what is more like them than to commit a crime and blame Serbs for it? To outright wave off false flags and false pretexts amidst the global political turmoil in which they abound would be stupid. 

Serbian media under the corporate or state control did not go in depth reporting about the investigation. The EULEX website had no updates after the original press release, which is not unusual. But the one looking for more background information on the attack can find in Serbian independent news sources. Thus, the news portal New Serb Political Thought (NSPM) lined up reasons to believe this attack was committed by local Albanians.

Namely, NSPM cites other, well-documented attacks by Albanians in this narrow area where the Mitrovica-Leposavić main road leans on the Albanian-inhabited villages of Žaže, Boljetin and Lipa, in Zvečan municipality.
In 2003, local Albanians attempted to tear down a nearby railroad bridge. The Albanian National Army (ANA) took responsibility for this murder after the UNMIK spokesperson denied the possibility of ANA's involvement.
Later that year, an Indian member of UNMIK was killed at the exact same location. The Albanian National Army (ANA) took responsibility for this murder as well. 
In 2006, a Ukrainian member of KFOR was shot when Albanians fired on KFOR convoy in the same area. 
The notorious video footage of Albanian snipers menacingly observing the main road was shot by a Tirana Albanian channel in this location on April of 2012. Serbian pleas to disarm the former members of KLA roaming the area went unheeded. According to Belgrade newspaper Novosti, KFOR spokesman Mark Stimmler said for the occasion that the local Albanians were armed neither more nor less than it was customary!
Adding to these instances of attacks against NATO, Albanian civilians stoned Serbian buses on the same road on numerous occasions. 

All in all, judging by the past experience, if one is going to make any assumptions, it's safe to assume that local Albanians killed the Lithuanian. Whatever the investigation produces, Belgrade leadership's assumption that Serbs have done this is malicious and extremely short-sighted and amateurish. This is not to say that it should be taken lightly, quite the opposite. 

According to reports from mainstream media, denied by Aleksandar Vulin, Serbia’s special envoy for Kosovo, Belgrade sent about 150 plain-clothed policemen into North Kosovo to ostensibly help in the investigation, but in effect to further enforce the already forceful message Serbia's official envoys have been spreading to the Kosovo Serbs: Don't you dare oppose us! Under what other circumstances would NATO, EULEX and the Albanian authorities have agreed to let the official Serbia back into the conquered land?

As Enver Hoxhaj, the rogue state's foreign minister, hinted at in yesterday's interview to the Wall Street Journal, Belgrade did get the green light to storm in under the investigation pretext and repress the opposition to the subordination process. It's not surprising that an Albanian official accuses local Serbs of killing the EULEX official in the area where only his Albanians conduct attacks and kill foreigners, but the fact that the official Belgrade does so builds an entirely new, although not-so-unexpected, political dimension.

Five days after the initial assumption and the accusatory reaction, though, whatever investigation is going on is not producing any results. But, the Serbs must have done it, right? Such is the presumption of guilt on the Imperial frontier. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Postcard from the Colonial Serbia

The Republic of Serbia is sliding deeper into the neo-colonial state with every decision and every public statement its leaders make. The North Atlantic Empire and its collaborators have been tightening the noose around the neck of the Serbian people for decades through physical destruction and takeover of assets, and increasingly, by literally appointing its leaders and their advisers. It is important to separate Serbia's leadership from its people and emphasize that the ostensibly inefficient leadership has been put in place to be inefficient in advancing the interest of the society, but very efficient at executing the imperialist agenda by not fighting against it and allowing its operatives to freely roam. They are not the best Serbia has; they are merely the ones best serving the agenda of the Empire and one important part of that agenda is to prevent the truly best and truly patriotic from rearing their head.
Where to start delving into such an expansive subject?

While in the years of Boris Tadić Serbia relinquished any political leverage for defending its occupied province of Kosovo and Metohija, the events made a hopeful turn with the surprising victory of Tomislav Nikolić in the presidential election in May of 2012. While the deeply corrupt administration of Tadić simply had to go for the sake of - so was hoped - Serbia's salvation, the pre-mature announcement of Nikolić's victory, coming from Brussels of all places, signaled that the post-Tadić era may not bring the substantial changes Nikolić's voters had hoped for. And outside of changing the cast, the decades-long scenario for Serbia's destruction kept being adhered to. Nikolić's politics is a continuation of Tadić's, with a lot of acceleration and a lot more deception.

Only a year later, the Serbian political leadership de facto recognized the secession of Kosovo. Although they deny it in a very amateurish and sloppy way, Serbia's leaders did agree to recognize Kosovo's Albanian government as it sees itself, as well as the borders, customs, tax jurisdiction, symbols, and the legal systems. Anyone who can read the documents they signed with Hashim Thaci can see nothing but a not-so-implicit recognition. On top of that, the Ivica Dačić-Aleksandar Vučić axis of power has been forcing the insofar resilient Serbs of Kosovo to abolish their self-rule and subject themselves to the rule of Hashim Thaci's administration. And they have been doing this while feigning great difficulties in preserving Serbia's integrity and emphasizing the imperative of Serbia continuing on its path towards the European Union. Meanwhile, the statements from Brussels and Berlin have been clear: without the explicit recognition of the Republic of Kosovo, Serbia cannot hope to ever join the Union, regardless of what else it concedes along the way and what dangled carrot it bites into from now to then. When you willingly concede a trench to the advancing enemy (and the leading EU countries have been the foremost promoters and sponsors of Kosovo's secession from Serbia, even fighting a war against Serbia to that end), and you justify the deed by the desire to please the enemy and get taken over by it, your allegiances are clear beyond questioning: you are the agency of your people's enemy.

The amount of deception involved in the process of giving up Kosovo at the orders of Brussels has been mind-boggling and defeating. The levels and the nature of deception are not characteristic only to the Kosovo narrative; it is omnipresent, but it is most obvious here, because the Kosovo issue is more straightforward than, say, the broad and vague subject of corruption. 

In the process of blocking any form of patriotic discourse out of the mainstream, the Serbian public space has become completely dominated and polluted by the basest kind of public relations maneuvering, the most distasteful content and the lowest scum journalism and politics could produce. The media organizations, void of ownership and financing transparency or, in other cases, owned by Western European media conglomerates, cleansed journalists of integrity and true servants of the public from its ranks. Honorable exceptions are rare, subdued and trying to survive and feed their families.

The tabloids, ever-ready to serve any regime, came to dominate Serbia's news arena by appealing to the lowest instincts of the average readers, in the dirtiest fashion of Hollywood's and CNN's "dumb-it-down" methods.

Vučić's omnipresent "war on corruption" has been the best example of this. 
Vučić, in slapping together the cabinet after the election last year, took for himself several unrelated posts and carved up the cabinet so that he gradually became identified as the increasingly dominant force within it, despite the fact that he was not the prime minister. The image of a dictator has been in the making by the public relations architects for some time and the Serbian public has been carpet-bombed by it through the ubiquitous tabloids. Although he hasn't been formally in charge of any aspect of any state mechanism that could be reasonably expected to lead and execute the fight against corruption, the ostensible victories have been associated with his name. The strongest effect of the so-called "war on corruption" has been the raising of the profile of Vučić. In all actuality, and this is becoming more painfully obvious, this "war" was nothing but a decoy needed to protect the true baron robbers of Serbia from punishment. After a year of bombastic arrests, well-publicized by the tabloids well ahead of time, all we could see was a selective justice, or no justice at all, for the sake of removing the politically inexpedient out of the way of advancement of others who wanted to take their place and their loot. We could also see no attempt to reform the judicial system as a force in reducing corruption. We saw a man being put up on a pedestal; this man, armed with self- and regime-serving tabloids, deceived the public that there was a fight against those that robbed it and that he was the one to be praised for it. More than a year later, some of the arrested have been let go, some have been kept in detention, some have been indicted but not tried, and most of those who the Serbian public equates in guilt with those targeted are still walking the streets, more powerful than before. Meanwhile, it's never been easier to buy a master degree, to perform a surgery without any expertise, to run an energy conglomerate without any qualifications, to procure a favor, to fix a public bid... How do you imagine fighting corruption with the same Minister of Interior, the same state police chief and the same special prosecutor for organized crime in place? If Dačić, Milorad Veljović and Miljko Radisavljević wanted to fight and not to protect the corrupt, they would've started years ago. Or are we saying they were prevented by their boss, Tadić, from fighting corruption? Why hasn't Tadić been brought to justice then?

The most recent example has been the so-called "reconstruction" of the cabinet. The one-year old cabinet was "reconstructed," 11 new ministers were named into 22 departments, all of this without the parliamentary election and without naming specific reasons and specific performance deficiencies of the replaced ministers. Simply, the cake needed to be cut anew, but outside of democratic procedures. If half the cabinet ministers did a bad job, what exact bad job did they do? How does such a huge number of under-performers reflect on the cabinet overall, i.e. if half the cabinet warrants replacement, should not the entire cabinet fall? Doesn't the entire cabinet warrant the examination of its work possible only via parliamentary election? But no one in the mainstream media demanded answers to these questions. Dačić and Vučić decided they wanted to stay in power despite the horrendous performance of their selected teams, and the people had no say in it. The deception succeeded to the degree of people not thinking they should have a say in it.

To sum up, the Serbian public was deceived to think that the regime change brought relief and that the new regime is "fixing problems," as Serbs like to word it, while, in effect, there has been no interruption in the process of subordinating and plundering Serbia. In hindsight, the only reason the regime change was necessary was the continued deception: Tadić and his cohorts were bringing the dissatisfaction to the boiling point, so the fresh faces and fresh impressions were needed. The process could only continue uninterrupted if the critical mass of people does not get enraged by the installed puppets' actions to the point where it'd rise up and drag them into the streets, or, God forbid, do something more serious, like pull its savings out of the banks and commit mass credit default.

To make the deception even graver, the economic side of things doesn't look any brighter. While the NATO aggression on Serbia left its infrastructure and industrial production in shambles, as was the war's objective, the violent regime change colloquially referred to as the Fifth of October (of 2000), opened the already trembling floodgates for marauding Western imperial shock therapists and economic hit men. For the past 13 years, the economic narrative of Serbia has been one of corrupt privatization processes, artificially induced defaults, forceful acquisitions, rising unemployment, decline in production, a loan upon a loan from the IMF and other imperial loan-sharks, the ever-expanding political power of economic tycoons and the fire sale of all of Serbia's valuable economic assets that anyone was interested in. And, most tellingly, the siphoning of live cash out of the county in alarming amounts. In other words, a re-colonization. A war on corruption is an impetus, but unless the indictments start with the likes of Mlađan Dinkić and other corrupt government officials, it remains a hoax. After all, only those elected and appointed to serve the public can be corrupt. But the Empire would never install a regime that would work in the interest of the Serbian public and against its own.

Under Nikolić, Ivica Dačić and Aleksandar Vučić, the colonization not only intensified, but became more blatant and flagrant. While Slobodan Milosevic used to bring in accomplished Serbs from the Diaspora to raise the legitimacy of his regime, and while during the years of Zoran Đinđić and Vojislav Koštunica - and Tadić, for that matter - a number of Serbian expatriates that returned to participate in Serbia's politics and economy were at least well-qualified, if not well-intentioned, the new Serbian regime made it a trend to employ unqualified Serbs, from within and from abroad, and to make the travesty more heinous, to hire such mercenaries as Alfred Gusenbauer, the much-maligned and much-investigated former prime minister of Austria, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the IMF who, for well-publicized reasons unrelated to his economic expertise, needs no special introduction. Not to mention the fact that the pre-eminent "killer" of Serbia's economy, Dinkić, the man who for 13 years presided over Serbia's ever-nosediving economy, most recently heading the Ministry of Finance, remained in government even after his party was kicked out of the coalition. He's now the vice-something in Vučić's committee for cooperation with United Arab Emirates. 

That's another change the new regime introduced. In the spirit of Nikolić's campaign promise, the only one he kept, Serbia's new regime has turned to all four sides of the world in looking for buyers and colonial masters, as opposed to Tadić's customary sycophantic gaze into the West. UAE's crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan is leading the way in buying off Serbia's remaining defunded and defunct assets. Apparently, the colonization seed-and-bait money is coming from the Persian Gulf now, so Dinkić, who always had his ear to the tracks, is in charge of filtering it through, and siphoning the profits out and around. The Islamic influence in general is gaining ground in Serbia, through investments and culture, and the regime is doing nothing to slow it down. Remember, one of Belgrade's premier parks still boasts a statue of former Azerbaijani dictator Heydar Aliyev, erected in his honor by Tadić and Dragan Đilas, the mayor of Belgrade, because Aliyev's son, the current dictator, spent some money beautifying the park. Mind-boggling, I say.

Serbia hoped for a change when Nikolić beat Tadić on the third attempt. After all, Nikolić was a radical nationalist, who, for 17 years prior to his split with the Serbian Radical Party, had been ranting against the practices that brought Serbia to its knees. It was clear Nikolić and his sidekick Vučić weren't the same politicians before and after the summer of 2008, but understanding what any Serbian nationalist would be up against in trying to come to power, and figuring that the old Radical notions of the united Serbdom weren't feasible anymore, and imagining the rift within the party starring Vojislav Šešelj on one and Nikolić and Vučić on the side, a lot of Serbian moderate and progressive nationalists secretly hoped Nikolić and Vučić were trying to deceive the Empire.

The most damaging, but potentially the most cathartic effect, however, was the cooptation of the traditional nationalist political current into the imperial agenda. It is damaging for an obvious reason: the patriotic ideology has no more significant outlets or outfits as Nikolić and Vučić didn't just crossed to the dark side, but brought along a lot of moderate nationalists as well, depriving them of the opportunity to align with their true ideology. An entire range on the political spectrum has been occupied by the followers of Nikolić and Vučić for years, because of who they were and what they said. Even those nationalists who didn't like the two, flocked to their support in opposition to the colonial regime of Tadić's Democratic Party. Now, while some have awakened and others are beginning to, the Nikolić-Vučić range still occupies a significant voting bloc. Some people vote for Nikolić's and Vučić's Serbian Progressive Party by instinct, some have conveniently flown over from losing parties, but more importantly, a lot of nationalists will abstain from the process completely, thus giving up their power as citizens and contributing to the imperial agenda remaining dominant. 

Of course, Serbia won't get better for it and that brings out the cathartic aspect of the otherwise damaging effect of cooptation. Ideologically, the Progressives have become indistinguishable from their opponents and predecessors in power, and the trend shows that while they still occupy a large chunk of the nationalist range of the ideological spectrum, they will be sliding into the realm formerly held by the Democratic Party and squeeze it out or get enmeshed with it. Tabloids, propaganda and deception can't put bread on people's tables, and as a colonial regime, the Progressives and their Socialist allies, together with their esteemed advisers, cannot do anything to help Serbia's economy and living standards, if they cared to, just like the Democrats couldn't and won't. 

The question is how long can the Empire continue stringing up and recycling puppets before the disenfranchised Serbian people draw the line, and how long will the nationalists who flocked to the Progressives keep making up excuses for Nikolić and Vučić, before realizing they have been deceived, humiliated and betrayed. Fortunately for the Empire, while the polyarchical socio-political system it has built in Serbia doesn't stop people from distancing themselves and opposing the colonial regime, it does prevent them from grouping together under a single banner. The opposing ideological realm is cut up into very small groupings that are generally disappointed offshoots of dominant currents and that have no common ground to stand on. The Empire is not safe from having its colonial regime overthrown, as the popular energy can be built up to that end, but it seems safe from facing an alternative system, opposed to it, being set up. 

What concerns me the most is that the Empire, once its puppet masters feel their interests have been satisfied as much as the current regime was capable of, or once they see a real threat to the puppet regime in the form of accumulated popular opposition, would usurp the energy built up around the opposition, activate trained activist cells dormant within the NGOs the Western funds and institutes have set up and financed, stage another violent coup and concoct a new political narrative that will extend its domination over Serbia.