Multiple Connections By Michael Sells
June 14, 1999
Michael Sells is the author of The Bridge Betrayed: Religion and Genocide in Bosnia, second edition, 1998. He is professor of comparative religions at Haverford College in Pennsylvania.
Since March 24, the GOP congressional leadership and especially a group of extreme right-wingers has been calling the NATO operation "Clinton's War" and was openly hoping it would fail and end up in disaster. The House refused to endorse the operation by a 213-213 vote. Reps. Dan Burton, Tom Campbell, and Bob Barr filed a lawsuit attempting to stop U.S. participation cold, a suit that, had it won, would have destroyed the NATO effort and led to a complete victory by Milosevic and a final bloodbath against Kosovars. And despite the principled and knowledgeable position of some GOP senators, including John McCain, John Warner, and Richard Lugar, the Senate leadership was continually sniping at the effort and openly chagrined when it succeeded.
Much of this behavior has been attributed to the personalized hatred of Clinton. But there are also ideological affinities between the GOP right and the Belgrade lobby, as well as strong financial and political connections. Much of the opposition has been focused in Texas and Oklahoma. There are now clear links between this opposition and neo-Confederate groups angry at Hispanic immigration in Texas who see the Yugoslav army and police action against alleged Albanian immigrants as eminently understandable and, they imply, perhaps a model.
Below are a few examples. To trace the web, follow the names:
The U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee
The Serbian Unity Congress (SUC)
James George Jatras
Senator Larry Craig (R-ID)
The Rockford Institute and its journal, Chronicles
Serge Trifkovic (foreign policy editor of Chronicles)
Thomas Fleming and David Hartman, leaders of the Rockford Institute and members of the League of the South
Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)
Representative Helen Chenoweth (R-ID)
The New American, the journal of the John Birch Society
The Lord Byron Institute
Policy Group of the Republican Party of Texas
The U.S.-based Serbian nationalist Web site Srpska-Mreza
Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN)
Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA)
The House GOP Task Force on Terrorism
Southern Patriot, the magazine of the League of the South
Please note, this is not a conspiracy. It is just a multiply overlapping set of people and groups with common values and common sensitivities.
For documentation on campaign contributions to Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) from the Belgrade lobby in the U.S. and for the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee's ties to sympathizers with the criminal regime in Belgrade, see the war-crimes reports page.U.S. Senate The Senate Republican Policy Committee has taken as its chief advisors for Balkan policy Yossef Bodansky and James George Jatras. The Web site of the policy committee proudly proclaims Bodansky as an expert and cites his long association with the House Task Force on Terrorism. The key person in the link is Senator Larry Craig, third in the GOP Senate leadership. James George Jatras was the keynote speaker at the 1998 SUC convention. He has written a number of anti-Muslim hate articles, with medieval stereotypes about Islam as a barbarian product of "heathen Araby" that has nothing to do with Abrahamic religions, the alleged worthlessness and vileness of the Qur'an, and the ever present threat of Muslims and Islam as a "Gigantic Christian-Killing Machine." These comments were published in The Christian Activist, but were originally given in a speech to the Rockford Institute. Some of this information was given in the following Washington Post article, but the Post missed the SUC connection and other important connections to White-Supremacist and Neo-Confederate groups in Texas.
"GOP Aide's Islam Remarks Assailed; Sen. Craig Rejects Call to Fire Foreign Policy Staff Analyst," by Caryle Murphy, The Washington Post, June 11, 1999 [For more on Jatras, see the profile included here.]
Jatras is an aide to Senator Larry Craig of Idaho. After Jatras's bigoted statements on Islam were uncovered and publicized in the Washington Post article, Craig refused to fire him. Craig is another who has sniped at the NATO operation and belittled the importance of helping the Kosovars save themselves from extermination.
Jatras has spoken and written for the Rockford Institute, a Christian Right foundation. The Rockford Institute's agenda includes an attack on immigration from non-white and non-Christian countries, and includes articles by Rockford Institute member Tom Fleming on the parallel between Texas as inundated with Hispanics and Kosovo as inundated with alleged illegal Albanian immigrants.
Ed Sebesta, who helped break the story of GOP Rep. Bob Barr's links to the White Supremacist group the Coalition of Conservative Christians (to which Senator Lott gave a keynote address as well), has shown that the Rockford Institute is tied into the League of the South, an organization committed to Confederate causes, with a host of Confederate flags and paraphernalia for sale. Click here.
The Foreign Policy Editor of Chronicles, the journal of the Rockford Institute, is Serge (Srdja) Trifkovic, who recently appeared on CNN as an expert on the Balkans. Trifkovic was a long-time spokesman for ultranationalist Serbian causes and an advisor to the government of the Republika Srpska, whose president, Radovan Karadzic, was indicted for genocide by the International Tribunal in the Hague.
The Chronicles Web page on Kosovo includes every possible Belgrade position, from the claim that the horrific atrocities at Racak were a hoax, to the claim that Albanians in Kosovo were fleeing NATO bombs, that the Bosnian Muslims slaughtered themselves, etc.
Key leaders of the Rockford Institute are its chairman, David Hartman, who is also Chairman and CEO of Hartland Bank in Austin; and Dr. Thomas Fleming, who is president of the Institute and editor of Chronicles. Fleming is also a member and writer for the League of the South. Here is a recent statement from the League:
League of the South Political Commentators condemn NATO Intervention in Yugoslavia
Find out why your tax dollars are being squandered in an immoral and ill-advised act of aggression against Yugoslavia in a must-read op-ed piece in Chronicles magazine by Dr. Fleming and Dr. Srdja Trifkovic. Dr. Tom Fleming is a national board member of the League of the South and Editor-in-Chief of Chronicles, while Dr. Triokovic is a frequent contributor to Chronicles.
The League of the South can be found through its web site, DixieNet. In the same page cited just above, Thomas Fleming gives a long harangue against the NATO operation for "attacking a sovereign, Christian, European nation that we are not at war with."
Both Senator James Inhofe and Rep. Helen Chenoweth are featured in the June 14, 1999 issue of The New American, the journal of the John Birch Society. Chenoweth claims that helping the Muslim Kosovars will lead to Islamic terrorism in Europe - almost as if her words had been given to her by Slobodan Milosevic himself. Of course, if Chenoweth and the GOP Right had their way, and a million Kosovar refugees were left to rot in refugee camps without being allowed to return to Kosovo, then in two or three generations they certainly would become militant. That is the geopolitical reason they need to go home. It is abandoning them that would lead to radicalization, not helping them. The vast majority of Kosovars, like the Bosnian Muslims, are tolerant, open people who wish to be part of Europe, the continent on which they and their families have lived for centuries, and who wish to be integrated into Europe.
For the John Birch Society's journal and its Inhofe and Chenoweth articles, see http://www.thenewamerican.com/
In her John Birch Society journal article, Chenoweth also boasts of having made another anti-Kosovar hate article from the New American available to her colleagues in Congress.
Back to the energetic Thomas Fleming. Fleming is also on the staff of the Lord Byron Institute (along with Trifkovic, Alfred Sherman, and Ronald Hatchet). The institute, which was set up to counter "anti-Serb propaganda," has supported the genocidal regimes in Pale (the Bosnian Serb Republic of Radovan Karadzic) and Belgrade through all the atrocities. The Byron Institute "is named after the British poet who gave his life in the endeavour to free Balkan Christians from Mohammedan rule."
To find more about the Rockford Institute and its long-running anti-Muslim and anti-Hispanic themes, check out the Web site at http://www.rockfordinstitute.org/?page_id=2.
David Hartman, the chairman of the Rockford Institute, was an unsuccessful Republican Candidate for Texas Treasurer in 1994.
He is also director of the Policy Group of the Republican Party of Texas and he is a major figure in The League of the South and DixieNet. See his website.In the January, 1999 Chronicles, on page 45ff, there is an article by David Hartman entitled "Reflections on a Texan's Visit to Bosnia." The article reflects the pro-Belgrade bias of Chronicles and links it to the fears of a Texan about Hispanics. On page 46, for example, Hartman writes:
Specifically instructive are the circumstances in Kosovo and Muslim Bosnia. Kosovo is the heartland of Orthodox Serbia. Today the region is predominately peopled by Albanian Muslims, the result of immigration from Albania and victory in a war of reproduction. The Albanians have retained the language, customs, and religion of their mother country, and most observers agree that Kosovo will eventually be annexed by Albania. At the rate that the Muslims are reproducing, Bosnia will soon find that Muslims have replaced the Orthodox Serbs as the majority. Not surprisingly, the Muslims want a strong central government for the confederation they soon will dominate.
There is a lesson here that those of us who live close to our national border should heed. Texas was effectively annexed by Americans whose language and culture were alien to Mexicans. Today, Texas has a reverse demographic shift due to immigration and reproduction, and our politicians are pandering to the Hispanic constituency by encouraging the preservation of a foreign language and culture.
Meanwhile, back at the Serbian Unity Congress annual convention, before James George Jatras, senior policy analyst for Senator Larry Craig, gave an "electrifying" speech to the group, the SUC honored his parents, Stella L. Jatras and George Jatras, for their contributions. Stella Jatras has posted messages on the Srpska-Mreza Web site (www.srpska-mreza.com). Among her messages was a long attack on U.S. Air Force Captain Scott O'Brady, who was shot down and rescued in Bosnia, as a buffoon, with implications that the entire incident was phony. She also stated that if O'Brady had been caught by the Bosnian Muslims, they would have killed him.
U.S. House of Representatives
On the House side, Rep. Dan Burton is the all-time champion in Congress in taking contributions from the Serbian Unity Congress, a group that openly demanded the expulsion of Kosovar Albanians in its 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994 resolutions. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, another vitriolic critic of the NATO operation and Kosovar Albanians as well, also received SUC contributions. After 1994, the SUC began channeling its contributions through individuals so that they would be more difficult to trace.
Yossef Bodansky has been a major influence with the Serbian Unity Congress (SUC), which has long advocated the expulsion of Kosovars and supported the Karadzic regime during its worst genocidal policies. Bodansky has spoken at their meetings. He has portrayed all Muslims as a terrorist threat and has supported the Belgrade regime's policy in Bosnia and in Kosovo with complete zealousness, and attacked Bosnians and Kosovars with the kind of stereotypes emanating directly from Tanjug.
The House GOP Task Force on Terrorism has put out much of the Yossef Bodansky anti-Muslim Belgrade propaganda. The problem is that none of the GOP members of the task force will either acknowledge Bodansky or deny the connection. He was originally connected to Rep. Bill McCollum (R-FL), one of the House Impeachment managers, but other information connects him to the late Rep. Sonny Bono, who may have financed his theories about the world-wide Islamic terrorist threat and how Bosnians and Kosovars are its instruments.
For information on the SUC contributions, see the Balkans war-crimes reports page. I will be updating the page with complete documentation for the information above.
My thanks to Ed Sebesta for calling my attention to some of these links.
From an ad for Chronicles in the back outside mailing cover of the Southern Patriot:
Chronicles is the only national magazine whose editors are all League members: Thomas Fleming, Theodore Pappas, Scott Richert, and Chilton Williamson, Jr. That's why every month in our pages, you'll find articles by League Board members like Michael Hill, Jack Kershaw, Grady McWhiney, and Clyde Wilson; reviews of the latest pro-South books; and features like "The Good Kennedy's," a profile of Southern patriots James and Ronald Kennedy.
You've watched Tom Fleming fire up the crowds at League Meetings. Now you can take advantage of this special offer to subscribe to his magazine. For only $19.00 ....
Finally, here is just one recent event at the Rockford Institute. It featured Fleming along with Trifkovic, who is listed as a former advisor of Biljana Plavsic, one of the leaders of the "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia from 1992-1995. In 1994 she announced that it was impossible to negotiate with Muslims because the "genetic material" that converted to Islam in the fifteenth century and after was "deformed" and that with each successive generation, the genes of Muslims became more deformed until now they lack basic capacity of human reason:
Rockford Institute Local Lectures presents:
A Panel Discussion and Buffet Reception
"The End of the American Century"
President, The Rockford Institute
"Make War, Not Love: The America of Albright and Reno"
Executive Vice President, The Rockford Institute
"Ready for What?: America's Modern Military"
And special guest
Foreign Affairs Editor, Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture
Executive Director of the Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies
Former BBC World Service Journalist and U.S. News and World Report Correspondent from Southeast Europe
Former Advisor to Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic and President Biljana Plavsic, Republic of Srpska
"Defending the West Against Itself"
For a later version of this article (2002), click here
For a sequel to this article, see 'Mutt America', The Religio-Racist Right and the Balkan Genocide