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One more thing, about research and guidance, I've read many many books on the issue, from all sides, from Malcolm to Garton Ash to Samantha Power to Noam Chomsky to really horrid academic histories published by the Texas A&M University Press (how a university press got involved publishing propaganda is beyond me) and I'm not sure I can recommend any books over any others.

For in depth history of the region, I go to LS Stavrianos' The Balkans. But that only takes you to WW2. Then I'd read Kaputt by Curzio Malaparte. And the only indispensable book after that is Lord David Owen's Balkan Odyssey. The rest is all murder and mayhem. After diplomacy breaks down, it's mainly the Serbs who do the killing, but the rest take part.

That will take you all the way to Carla Del Ponte's new book who sheds light on all the disgusting background and conspiracy.

As for me, I read lots of newspapers daily on the crisis, and tried my best to read between the lines. I was also on a listserv that received daily reports from the ground from the infamous Cybermonk who was capable of having firsthand reports translated from Albanian and Serbian into English. I also contacted journalists and investigators directly with questions and had them respond to me. For instance, when I got wind that an AFP film crew was in Racak the day of the infamous massacre, I started reading up, and apparently, the journalists in the village that day were highly doubtful that a massacre occurred. This was the report from the journalists themselves. Then William Walker showed up in the village. After reading an article by NBC reporter Preston Mendenhall who came into the village after Walker, I wrote him and he wrote back. I asked if any of the reports from AFP were credible. He said he heard of them, but in interviewing the Albanians on the ground he was highly doubtful. He had covered lots of wars and he thought the eyewitnesses were credible. Years later, the Finnish forensic team that investigated Racak revealed that the massacre corresponded more with the AFP rumors than the report that was printed all over the EU media after the OSCE showed up. We get a lot of this in the media. Check out the Markale Market Massacre in Bosnia and what happened when munitions experts examined the shell that ripped through the market. It really is hard to believe any of this stuff, which makes any of the research you do questionable. Everyone has an angle, everyone relies on rotten sources, and those backing the Serbs are the worst of all with their wild conspiracies about Srebernica.

But I try to focus on the diplomacy. At least there, you have the minutes of the actual proceedings.

by Upstate NY on Mon Mar 9th, 2009 at 08:02:18 PM EST
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