Klaus Hartmann: NATO created a “New Eastern Front”

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20 years of destruction of the rule-based coexistence

(Contribution to the International Conference: “Peace and Progress instead of Wars and Poverty”, Belgrade, 22-23 March 2019)
Abstract: Aggression against Yugoslavia as a “door-opener war”; Ceaseless breach of international law; Encircling, pushing back and destabilizing Russia and China – NATO created a “new eastern front”; Direct confrontation at Russia’s western border since the fascist coup in Ukraine; Deployment of the AEGIS rocket ramps in Poland and Romania: breach of the INF Treaty; Task of the peace forces: Delegitimizing NATO, preventing further NATO accessions, supporting campaigns in all member countries for NATO’s withdrawal.


At every possible occasion, the European Union declares that it is the guarantor of peace in Europe, that it has guaranteed many decades of peace on the continent. Either the EU has a miserable knowledge of geography, because Yugoslavia is undoubtedly in Europe; or the union suffers from advanced dementia. Probably both answers are wrong; they only want to make people forget the scandal, the fall from grace. The large majority of the NATO member countries that participated in the aggression were members of the European Union.

While NATO membership is out of the question for the vast majority of Serbia’s population, the question of Serbia’s relations with the European Union does not seem to have been answered with sufficient clarity. That is why I would like to make it clear that, in terms of military matters, the European Union is not fundamentally different from NATO.

In order to become a member of the European Union, Serbia would first have to surrender its province of Kosovo and Metohija. Serbia will lose its sovereignty to determine its own national budget, which will no longer be decided in Belgrade but in Brussels. Likewise, its national independence, its sovereignty to pursue its own foreign policy will be lost. As a member of the European Union, Serbia must abide by sanctions imposed on Syria, as well as those on Russia.

In addition one should be aware – Serbia’s population, as well as its government – that membership in the European Union also means the obligation of EU “military integration.” And this is under NATO’s command.

The war of aggression against Yugoslavia was the first war in Europe since 1945, a turning point in post-war history. Yugoslavia had not attacked any other country. It was NATO‘s first open war, not preceded by a declaration of war. NATO used military force without a UN mandate and therefore committed an aggression in violation of international law. The U.S.-led Operation Allied Force was launched without evoking the collective defense clause, which until then had been considered the basis of a NATO operation, and it was the first NATO war waged on territory outside the alliance.

Dr. Reinhard Mutz, deputy director of the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg, said at the time: “Anyone who proceeds with violence in interstate transactions, from his own volition and by circumventing the rules applying to all, is exercising illegitimate force. … The West is putting the ax to the foundations of its own civilization, when it deliberately undermines (International Law). Where the end does not justify the means, the means desecrate the end.”

20-klaus-hartman-300x225The World Union of Free Thinkers stated on June 5, 1999 at its conference in Munich: “The war against Yugoslavia is in violation of the Charter of the United Nations and has caused immense damage to international law. … This war marks the attempt to replace international law – that international law, which emerged after the liberation from fascism in 1945 on the basis of the agreements of the anti-Hitler coalition, and which established the valid world order, guaranteeing the sovereignty and equality of all states – with that of a reign of lawlessness.”

At that time, we warned that the attack on Yugoslavia was a war “opening the doors” for future aggressions. Some friends were skeptical. They thought this was exaggerated. However, Imperialist wars of aggression and regime change have followed one another at a rapid pace. After Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, after the wars also against Lebanon, at the Horn of Africa and in Mali, the dismantling of Sudan, Georgia’s “commissioned” war against its “breakaway provinces,” or the coup d’état in Ukraine, these skeptics have fallen silent. Since the wars on Libya and Syria, the aggression against Yugoslavia has again become a topic of public discussion.

During its bombing, NATO itself confirmed that our assessment was correct, that this was a “door opener” war. A new Strategic Concept (The Alliance’s Strategic Concept) was adopted at NATO’S 50th Anniversary Summit in Washington on April 24, 1999. This concept authorized the Alliance to also engage in “crisis response operations” – such as was being carried out at the time against Yugoslavia – which are not covered under Article 5 of NATO’s Charter (territorial defense): Thus, in violation of its own founding Charter, it now also plans to wage wars “outside of its Charter,” and beyond the territorial borders of the Alliance. NATO has decided to transform itself into an internationally operating alliance of aggression, and the attack on Yugoslavia was the model for the complete abolition of restrictions and restraints on NATO’s war machine.

NATO’s aggression was also a prime example of how the population is misled into a war. German Foreign Minister Fischer sold the war under the slogan “Never again Auschwitz,” while German resistance fighters fought through newspaper ads against Fischer’s “new Auschwitz lies”. Former CIA agent Robert Baer commented: “As a German politician, he should have had a certain historical instinct for such unobjective comparisons.”

Scharping, Germany’s Minister of War, fantasized about a “concentration camp in Pristina”, of a “Serbian fetal grill” and of Serbs playing football with decapitated heads. He unveiled a “horseshoe plan” according to which Serbia wanted to encircle Kosovo in a horseshoe shape and drive out the population, but the plan was a propaganda invention of his own ministry.
In her book “Fools Crusade” the US author Diana Johnstone exposed the “humanitarian” reasons for war as wanton manipulations: In “Time” magazine the “need” for an “ethnic cleansing” was already articulated one year before the war began.

“The USA and Great Britain must either act unilaterally or persuade others to join them. None of these scenarios are likely unless Milošević starts a campaign of genocide or ethnic cleansing.” But, unfortunately, the contemplated scenario is a long way off when “only 10 refugees went to Albania”: “That seems good news […], but there is a problem. If there is neither ethnic cleansing nor a wave of refugees crossing international borders with neighboring Albania or Macedonia, then there is hardly any chance of international intervention”.

All the feints and forgeries of the Western warlords and their media mob have been refuted many times, occasionally even in their Western media. Their “main enemy”, President Slobodan Milošević, has earned special merits. He died in The Hague Prison after being given the wrong medication and refused treatment – a judicial murder, intended to spare the so-called “Tribunal” and its clients their impending defeat.

As my comrade Christopher Black said: “The show trial was part of the drama for the world’s public, and it could only end in a conviction or death. The trial collapsed as soon as it began. A conviction of Milošević was clearly not possible after the evidence was heard. … The only way out of the dilemma for NATO was to end the trial without releasing Milošević or admitting the truth about the war. This logic required his death in prison and the suspension of the trial.”

But despite the exposure of NATO’s propaganda lies at the time, last year, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg declared in Belgrade: “We bombed you to protect you.” And I just received information on the comment made by Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas yesterday, saying that Germany’s participation in the bombing had been a “responsible-minded action.” “I would hate to imagine what else would have happened there, if we had not done it.”

Willi Wimmer (CDU) had attended a conference in Bratislava in April 2000 as Vice-Chairman of the OSCE Parliamentary Committee, organized by the US State Department and the American Enterprise Institute. He wrote an open letter to Chancellor Schröder about the results: “The war against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was waged in order to revise a wrong decision taken by General Eisenhower during the Second World War. US soldiers had to be stationed there for strategic reasons”. But Wimmer also cites a socio-political reason: “the Yugoslav adherence to what remains of socialist politics had blocked the neo-liberal reorganization of the entire Balkans along American and Western European lines.”

The former CIA agent Robert Baer confirms this in an interview on the strategies of the CIA during the war in Yugoslavia: “The goal was to eliminate the state of Yugoslavia as a geopolitical power factor. According to Fukuyama’s mistaken analyses, the goal in Washington at that time was to use the opportunities to permanently install Western ideas of the world not only in Europe, i.e. the very great washing-up, in order to permanently prevent the emergence of an opposing power factor such as the USSR had once been. The state of Yugoslavia stood in the way of this strategic plan.”

08-zivadin-jovanovic-300x169It was NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia that, at the latest, initiated the policy of encircling, pushing back and destabilizing Russia and China. The events of the past few weeks and months prove this: following Montenegro, North Macedonia and, possibly, Moldova are to become NATO members, making the encirclement even tighter. Our host and former Yugoslav Foreign Minister Živadin Jovanović asked:
“What is NATO’s intention? The real geopolitical goal is to expand to the Russian borders. Since 1999, the USA has started to build its largest US base, not on American territory, but on the Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo. Why does small Kosovo need a large base? Even for the Balkans this base is far too large. And what is the reason? Let us look at the geopolitical environment: Caspian Basin, Caucasus, Central Asia and Siberia – that is what justifies the existence of such a base.

With Bondsteel began a dramatic increase of US military bases in Europe – in Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, the Baltic States and the Czech Republic. Now there are more US military bases in Europe than at the height of the Cold War. Today the European continent is completely militarised. All this serves to prepare for a leap to the Russian borders. This also explains the war in Georgia in 2008 and the Ukrainian Maidan in 2014. The aggression against Yugoslavia was a turning point for the globalization of intervention! The main objective: Siberia! The declared plan is to occupy here the largest reservoir of mineral resources on earth.”

Our main issues remain:
NATO must pay reparations for the destruction in Yugoslavia, in particular for the long-term damage to health caused by chemical warfare and the use of uranium-tipped ammunition.

The West must end its hostile policies toward Syria and Ukraine; it must end sanctions against Syria and Russia.
The US must revoke its termination of the INF treaty – which it had already violated by stationing Aegis missile launchers in Romania and Poland.

We must develop public campaigns in our countries for a withdrawal from NATO. Serbia must not share the bed with its murderers.

We reaffirm our solidarity with all Serbian patriots. Peace, cooperation and friendship with Russia!

Klaus Hartmann
Chairman of German Freethinkers Association
President of World Union of Freethinkers
Co-Chairman of International Committee “Slobodan Milošević”