"One Land to rule them all, One Land to grind them, One Land to bring them all, and in Democracy bind them… in the land of Balkans, where the Shadows lie." – (with apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien) In the aftermath of September 11, many commentators said that nothing would ever be the same. They were obviously not thinking about the Balkans – though many desperate denizens of the Peninsula hoped otherwise for a while – or the Empire's continuing efforts in that particular corner of the globe. But while the Empire's assault on Afghanistan can be watched on Fox News and CNN, its persistent malfeasance in the Balkans happens almost entirely in the shadows. RICHARD III MAKES HIS MOVE In Belgrade, the long-standing animosity between the power-hungry opportunists loyal to Zoran Djindjic and the confused conservatives who support Vojislav Kostunica is bubbling up again. The newest confrontation seems tame in comparison to past showdowns, but even something as prosaic as a voting dispute could be the last straw. Last week, Djindjic's party (DS) sponsored a Labor Bill in the Serbian parliament and saw it just barely pass. Soon, however, parliament chairman Dragan Marsicanin (from Kostunica's DSS) claimed that one MP voted though he was officially out of the country. Djindjic then called for the chairman's resignation. The following day, Marsicanin indeed resigned, claiming Djindjic was trying to seize absolute power. He was quickly replaced by Natasa Micic, member of a small party loyal to Djindjic. Kostunica demanded the return of Marsicanin, or at the very least that the post be filled with another representative of his party, thus honoring the power-sharing agreement inside the DOS alliance. Enthusiasts of political correctness cheered the fact that Ms. Micic was the first woman chair of the Serbian Parliament. The DOS Politburo postponed the decision on Kostunica's demands until after the visit of French President Chirac, who was delivering the latest Imperial instructions. Then they gave full support to Djindjic and Micic. WINTER OF DISCONTENT Djindjic has thus seized complete control of DOS, and is just a step away from stripping the DSS MPs of their seats (arguing that they really belonged to DOS – i.e. him). He has also succeeded in replacing the Parliament chair with someone loyal to him – someone who would become the provisional President of Serbia if the current President is, say, "extradited" to the Hague Inquisition. With Chief Inquisitor DelPonte braying for more heads every day, this is just what Djindjic might have in mind. It would also ensure that the President does not call a new election – something Djindjic fears most of all, as he is not strong enough to win a popular vote. He is much more comfortable as absolute ruler of the state apparatus, completed two weeks ago with a purge in the elite police forces. Every time he violates the rules and gets away with it – be it the Constitution, laws of the land, coalition agreements or parliamentary procedure – Djindjic's power grows. So does misery among the people of Serbia, for whom "democracy" has come to mean abuse of power, high taxes and government lies. On his side, Djindjic has the Empire, the state apparatus, and the media. Yet if this winter, marked so far with freezing temperatures and an abundance of snow, turns into the winter of discontent, Djindjic's glorious summer might never come to pass. DRAFTS OF DESTRUCTION On the contrary, Serbia might end up somewhat like its southern neighbor, Macedonia: semi-occupied, semi-independent, and semi-viable. Already gravely injured by the treacherous groveling of its rulers before the imposed Treaty of Ohrid, Macedonia is about to face a new set of humiliations. Last week's debate on the Devolution Bill, proposed by the Albanians as part of the Ohrid settlement, ended with many Albanian MPs boycotting the legislative session. Apparently, the bill was written in such a fashion that would enable virtual secession of Albanian "self-government" areas, and Macedonian MPs made amendments to that extent. As Albanians boycotted the debate, the EU threatened to withhold aid unless the law was passed right away (as is, perhaps?). President Trajkovski tried to deflect the threat by inviting "experts" from the World Bank, Council of Europe and US Agency for International Development (USAID) to redraft the bill, in effect surrendering Macedonian legislative powers to foreigners. Then again, those same foreigners are chiefly responsible for the Treaty of Ohrid. The peace it brought is best illustrated by Saturday's destruction of an Orthodox monastery by the officially nonexistent Albanian bandits. It is worth mentioning that Skopje has also agreed to allow the IMF to monitor its budget in the first half of 2002. Lacking recognition, control over territory, fiscal independence, legislative powers and even defense, what sort of government – what sort of country – is Macedonia anymore? Recent sanctions against the amorphous Albanian National Army and the proposed ICG initiative to recognize Macedonia's name, are nothing but empty gestures intended to placate the Macedonian people, cheated of their birthright by their own leaders, Albanian bandits and the Empire. CAVORTING THROUGH KOSOVO If the Empire cared so much about threats to peace and potential terrorists, why did it allow three blacklisted Kosovo Albanian leaders to become MPs in the new Kosovo Assembly? Emrush Xhemaili, Gafurr Elshani and Sabit Gashi were all blacklisted in June by the Executive Order of Bush the Younger, for their role in Macedonia and as potential threats to US troops. This is further borne out by the news that the US "diplomatic office" in Pristina (led by a full Ambassador!) attempted to broker an alliance between the three major Albanian parties. Former KLA warlord Hashim Taqi felt he was not offered enough, so his delegation walked out of the meeting – and out of the Assembly session on Monday. Knowing the Empire needs the Albanians united, Taqi throws tantrums in order to get what he wants: more scraps from the table. He is not the first pawn of the Empire to do so, nor will he be the last. The US troops occupying Kosovo are apparently not alarmed. After all, they've just been visited by Mariah Carey, who cavorted with residents of Camp Bondsteel in a zip-down, bra-revealing jumpsuit, and even sang a bit. GENOCIDE GAMES, PART 1 The Empire is hard at work in the west of the beleaguered peninsula as well. Just last week, the collection of artifacts from Croatia's most notorious death camp, Jasenovac, was "returned" to the Croatian government by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. The museum, established by the Clinton regime and funded entirely by taxpayer funds, took the artifacts from the Bosnian Serbs last year. Then-PM Milorad Dodik, faithfully obedient to the Empire, either did not know or did not care that the Museum already had a contract with the Croatian government to deliver the artifacts. Almost immediately, the Croats started spinning their own version of Jasenovac horrors, alleging – as their late dictator Franjo Tudjman claimed – that few Serbs died in Jasenovac, mostly of disease and not murder. Despite reports by Nazis themselves attesting to Jasenovac's brutality compared to their own death factories, the recent publicity blitz has all but erased the fact that Jasenovac remains a symbol of a brutal genocide, perpetrated by the Nazi Croatia against the Serbs, Jews and Gypsies. Not only is the number of dead at issue, but the very essence of the claim that the "Independent State of Croatia" was both a willing Nazi ally and an independent perpetrator of genocide against a specific ethnic group. Yet the fittingness of modern Croatia to safeguard the evidence of its Nazi past is perhaps best assessed by Canadian soldiers who witnessed Croat crimes in the 1991-95 war, and its own rulers who plotted the new "final solution." GENOCIDE GAMES, PART 2 As it works to minimize a genocide that was, the Empire also strives to play up the one that wasn't. The Washington-based Holocaust Museum's bookstore prominently features literature about the "genocide" in Bosnia, during the 1992-95 war. The most recent indictment of the Hague Inquisition accused Slobodan Milosevic of masterminding a "joint criminal enterprise" to commit genocide against the non-Serbs in Bosnia. Enthusiastic Serbophobes actually dubbed it the "mother of all indictments," perhaps rightfully so: it contains every single category of crime in the Inquisition's book. If Milosevic is convicted – and he has to be, for his acquittal would destroy the very purpose and essence of the Inquisition – then the Bosnian war will be criminalized and branded as genocidal Serbian aggression. Whoever believes this would not have dire consequences for Serbia, the Bosnian Serbs and the future of Bosnia in general is at best sadly mistaken, at worst an idiot. IRONIES AND BLOVIATIONS The story of "genocide" in Bosnia is so out of sync with reality that it needs to be reaffirmed by bits of propagandistic pap from Hollywood. It also plays right into the hands of former Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic and his henchmen. While in power, they gave Osama bin Laden's organization men, refuge and money-laundering opportunities, and the Empire knows it all too well. Izetbegovic has plenty of his own victims buried in the hillside somewhere, which is perhaps why the records of Bosnia's wartime presidency (a committee Izetbegovic used to fake legitimacy) have recently been reported missing. Unconfirmed reports also have Izetbegovic permanently staying in Dubai, where he went last week to receive a "Muslim of the Year" award. ONE LAND Having used the Yugoslav conflagration of the 1990s to further its agenda of power, the Empire now has different targets in its sights. Nonetheless, the self-appointed heirs of Rome, continue to manipulate and meddle in Balkans affairs. Both its Eye and its Hand are ceaselessly at work – twisting, forcing, lying and bribing its way across the Balkans mountains in the quest for absolute power. Facing virtually no meaningful resistance, it is determined to be the One Land to rule them all. And there is no one with courage or vision to stop it.