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How Djindjic & Kostunica Marketed the Extradition of Milosevic...

1) Comments by Jared Israel, written 17 March 2003.

2) Followed by SPS statement, 31 May 2001, exposing the lie that Western aid would flow into Yugoslavia if Milosevic were extradited.


Dear readers: During the spring of 2001, pro-NATO politicians in Belgrade, led by Vojislav Kostunica and the recently assassinated Zoran Djindjic, tried to pass a parliamentary law to extradite Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague Tribunal. In an attempt to rally public support for this extradition, they conducted a publicity campaign, claiming that Serbia would get desperately needed foreign aid, but only if they turned over Milosevic.

Following these comments is a critique I wrote of that publicity campaign. The Socialist Party of Serbia adopted the critique as their official statement and published it on 31 May 2001.

Zoran Djindjic was assassinated on 12 March 2003. Since then, the Western media has lauded him as a great Serbian leader. I'm re-posting the extradition critique to help people understand Djindjic's true character.

You may be unfamiliar with the situation in Yugoslavia at the end of May 2001, so I've put together some background information. I think you'll find it useful, but if you prefer, you can skip directly to the critique of the campaign to extradite Milosevic. [C]


Held on suspicion of...something


At the time the SPS published the critique of the extradition campaign, Slobodan Milosevic had spent two months in a Belgrade jail. Contrary to the usual media descriptions, Milosevic had been, for the entire preceding decade, a top *elected* official, either the President of Serbia or Yugoslavia. Not a dictator. The standards of Yugoslav democracy were equal to or greater than any other European country. The media, for example, was certainly the most diverse in Europe. [1] And this in a country that was under fierce political, economic (total sanctions) and various degrees of military attack.

Yet when Milosevic was overthrown in a coup d'etat on 5 October 2000, this event was universally hailed in the Western media as a great victory for democracy!

Anyway, a few months after the coup, a mass of unidentified, armed men, led by police, laid siege to the house where Milosevic was living and arrested him. [1a]

Mr. Milosevic was thrown in jail on 1 April 2001. The Western media then broadcast stories about his supposed crimes. For instance, the virulently anti-Serbian columnist, Holger Jensen, wrote:

[Start Jensen quote]

So many charges are piling up against Slobodan Milosevic he may wish he had surrendered to the Hague war crimes tribunal instead of Serbian justice.

The Hague has no death penalty. All Milosevic would risk there is life imprisonment. But Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic says Milosevic will be charged with capital crimes for the murders of personal and political enemies.

[End Jensen quote]

Under Serbian law, a person may be arrested without evidence if they are suspected, or allegedly suspected, of having committed some serious crime. They may be held 'for investigation' for up to but not more than three months. If, during that period, the investigating magistrate can find no evidence of a crime, they must be released.

Of course, in the West, Milosevic's arrest, coming after years of propaganda against him, was presented as confirming his guilt.

But one month after the arrest, the magistrate in charge of investigating Milosevic had still produced exactly *zero* evidence of any crime. Which means, of course, that they had no evidence when they sent all those armed men to arrest him.

In repeating Zoran Djindjic's claim that "so many charges are piling up against Slobodan Milosevic..." Mr. Jensen and other Western journalists had forgotten to mention this fact, that there was no actual evidence.

Admitting that he didn't yet have the basis for an indictment, on April 30th the investigating magistrate filed a motion to keep Mr. Milosevic in jail for another 60 days of 'investigation'. This would bring his incarceration to three months, the maximum.

How did the Western media cover this request for a two months extension?


Lack of evidence is reported as guilt


Mostly the media did not cover it at all. And the few that did published reports like an Associated Press dispatch, entitled, "Court extends Milosevic stay in prison by two months." Here's an excerpt.

[Start excerpt from Associated Press]

Citing concern that he might flee if freed, a court ordered Slobodan Milosevic detained for two more months Monday during investigations of alleged wrongdoing while Yugoslav President.
Milosevic is being investigated for issuing ''illegal orders ... with the intent to procure for himself, a circle of persons and the ruling Socialist Party material gains that would enable their stay in power,'' while in office.

He allegedly amassed more than dlrs 100 million illegally, the independent Beta news agency reported, "Milosevic is being investigated for issuing 'illegal orders' that brought in some $100 million for himself and his inner circle, the independent Beta news agency reported."

[End excerpt from Associated Press]

Note the Assoicated Press repeats the unsupported charge that Milosevic and his associates "amassed more than dlrs 100 million illegally" so that they could "stay in power" but leaves out the only newsworthy facts.These were:

First, that the prosecution needed to file for an extension for more investigation. That meant they had thrown Milosevic in jail and told the Western media he was definitely guilty when in fact they had no evidence.

Second, that the Western media had repeated these claims, made by Djindjic and others, that "Milosevic will be charged with capital crimes for the murders of personal and political enemies" (Holger Jensen) or that "Milosevic is being investigated for issuing 'illegal orders'" (AP) without telling their readers and viewers that there was no reason whatsoever to believe any of this was true.

And now, instead of reporting this real news, Associated Press compounded the felony by publishing still more unsupported, anti-Milosevic slurs.

This remarkable deluge of misinformation is typical of how Milosevic has been treated in the Western media. Given such systematic dishonesty, how can Western citizens come to fair conclusions about what happened in Yugoslavia? [4]

By the end of June, when the three-month time limit for holding the overthrown President was about to run out, the would-be prosecution had still produced *no evidence against him.*


Why they jailed Milosevic


What was the point of keeping Milosevic in jail if there was no evidence against him?

There were two points.

First, to remove him from the scene so that forces under NATO's covert control could undermine him within the huge Socialist Party of Serbia and prevent decisive action against the illegal authorities.

Second, to use his arrest to strengthen the campaign against him in the Western media. Which, as we have seen, is exactly what happened....


NATO's Belgrade boys


During the period when Milosevic was held in a Belgrade jail, Zoran Djindjic and Vojislav Kostunica were, respectively, Prime Minister of Serbia and President of Yugoslavia. They had been installed in power by the NATO-sponsored coup of October 2000.

The word, "sponsored", is not hyperbole. Even the NY Times admitted that Vojislav Kostunica's campaign for President of Yugoslavia, and the coup that installed him, were financed by "suitcases of cash" shipped into Yugoslavia by the Americans and, as we learned later, by the Germans, and other European governments as well. [4A]

The reality, that they had no evidence against Milosevic, did not prevent Djindjic and Kostunica and their subordinates from issuing statements about how much they were itching to "try him first" in Yugoslavia, before sending Milosevic to The Hague. Thus Djindjic's assistant, Zarko Korac, postured with great bravado for the Associated Press:

[Start AP dispatch, "Serb leader: Milosevic must be tried in Serbia first"]

Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic could be extradited to face war crimes charges, but Serbia must have ''the first bite,'' the Serbian deputy prime minister said Friday.

''We want to show that the once supposedly great leader of a nation was a thief,'' Zarko Korac told reporters.

Korac said it was politically important that Milosevic should be tried first at home, but he did not rule out a later extradition to the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.

[End AP dispatch, "Serb leader: Milosevic must be tried in Serbia first"]

The truth is, even if there *had* been any evidence of wrongdoing, it would have been difficult to put Milosevic on trial in Belgrade. First, he still had much support among ordinary people - more in fact since he was arrested. Second, he is brilliant and tough and he would surely have turned the tables on his accusers who, after all, had been the worst toadies of NATO. For example, Mr. Korac, quoted above, used to appear regularly on Western TV programs, dismissing Serbian resistance to the breakup of Yugoslavia as caused by a supposed Serbian persecution mania. [6]

And then of course, there was that little problem: they had no evidence.

So, despite all the rhetoric about "having the first bite," the last thing the pro-NATO authorities wanted was to put Milosevic on trial in Belgrade. Instead they pretended to succumb to Western pressure to turn him over to The Hague. This would get Milosevic out of Serbia, where he was a lightning rod for resistance to the NATO takeover. With Milosevic gone, it would be easier to tame his Socialist Party. At the same time, the spotlight of militancy, inevitably on Milosevic as long as he was in Yugoslavia, might move to Vojislav Seselj, leader of the Radical Party. Seselj's politics led him to enthusiastically applaud Saddam Hussein and sign his name to statements denouncing 'Zionist Imperialism.' This would allow the Western media to misrepresent the Serbian resistance as fascist.

The problem was, the Serbian people hated the idea of extraditing Milosevic.

By early May, it was clear that the Yugoslav authorities could not make a case against Slobodan Milosevic. In two months he would be released, politically stronger than ever.

Kostunica was about to visit New York and Washington.

What to do?


Enter Human Rights Watch (HRW)


Presented to all the world as a humanitarian NGO, Human Rights Watch (HRW) is in fact controlled by people such as the high-placed intelligence operative, George Soros, and the last US Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Warren Zimmerman, who brought such terrible suffering to the people of Yugoslavia. [6A]

HRW issued a press release May 8th, instructing the UN, the Bush administration and Kostunica on how to handle the Milosevic problem.

The press release included an amazing statement about the UN:

"'Last fall, Yugoslavia was admitted to the U.N. with the expectation that it would abide by U.N. commitments -- including the requirement that member states cooperate with the tribunal,' said Richard Dicker, head of Human Rights Watch's International Justice program." [7]

How many errors can be squeezed into one sentence?

Contrary to Mr. Dicker, Yugoslavia was a founding member of the UN. It was part of the UN when Dicker was a harmless infant.

Moreover, there is no UN rule requiring member states to cooperate with The Hague Tribunal, for two good reasons.

First, because the Tribunal was set up in direct violation of the UN Charter, under which the Security Council is an administrative body with *no right* to create a court.

And second, as Attorney Dicker must know, an International court can only have binding jurisdiction over states if said states pass laws granting such jurisdiction. Otherwise, binding jurisdiction is an infringement on national sovereignty. In the case of the Tribunal, no state ever granted it such powers. Certainly not Yugoslavia.

So Dicker was either remarkably ignorant or simply lying.

But no matter, his press release was not concerned with truth or accuracy about International Law; it was concerned with formulating a media strategy for getting Milosevic into The Hague Tribunal, where HRW plays a leading role.

The HRW press release cut to the chase:

[Start HRW press release ]

Unfortunately, cooperation has been halting and President Kostunica himself has done little but denigrate the tribunal. Indeed, he has said point blank that Milosevic should never be sent to The Hague. U.N. officials should make clear that this approach is completely unacceptable.

In a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of State last week, Human Rights Watch urged that the setting of a date for a donors' conference on Yugoslavia should be tied to specific benchmarks. "No donors' conference should be scheduled until Yugoslav citizens who have been indicted by the tribunal are sent to The Hague," said Dicker. "Kostunica must also make a public commitment that Milosevic himself will be transferred to the custody of the tribunal." [7]

[End HRW press release]

The HRW statement took into account the political problem the pro-NATO Yugoslav authorities faced, that the Serbian people were totally opposed to turning Milosevic over to The Hague.

To handle this, Kostunica was to be represented as an obstinate Serb nationalist, in principle totally opposed to extradition. Thus he positioned himself as the voice of the Serbian people.

The truth is, it was impossible to determine from previous statements where Kostunica stood on The Hague since, as always, he continuously altered his position. Whatever one thought, one could find some statement where Kostunica seemed to agree...

But now he was to play Mr. Nationalist. As the proxy for the Serbian people, he was to be subjected to tremendous and obvious pressure from Big Daddy International Community. Hence the visit to New York, where UN officials could, as Dicker suggested, read Kostunica the riot act. Then on to Washington for more chastisement. Thus it was to be made clear to everyone in the world that if Kostunica wanted to get Western aid for his desperately poor people, he would have to stop being a rebellious boy and be realistic. Do the thing he 'hated'. Give up Milosevic.

The pro-NATO Belgrade authorities, including Mr. Djindjic and Mr. Kostunica, publicly followed Dicker's strategy. This was given much play in both Yugoslavia and the West. Thus the following, from National Public Radio (NPR), in the US, on June 18th:

"President Kostunica and Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic are hoping that that conference will raise $ 1 billion in aid for Yugoslavia, but the United States has threatened to withhold funding unless the Yugoslav government agrees to cooperate with the tribunal. Under current Yugoslav law, citizens cannot be extradited to face charges in a foreign court." [8]

The notion of trading Milosevic for Western aid was a terrible insult to the Serbian people whose culture greatly values honor. To better understand the Serbs' reaction, read Petar Makara's article on the extradition of Milosevic. It is called: "Theft of the Serbs' Only Treasure" (i.e., their honor). It can be read at

Besides giving them an excuse for extradition, Djindjic and Kostunica's "aid-in-exchange-for-Milosevic" pitch was an attempt to break the Serbs' proud spirit by making them grovel for aid. This strategy was only possible because, by May 2001, the people of Serbia were in desperate straits due to the devastating drop in the living standards, brought about by the implementation of the social/economic plans of the neo-liberal politicians installed following the October 2000 coup. [9]

Millions of people in Serbia strongly opposed Djindjic and Kostunica, attacking the notion of accepting money in exchange for turning over to NATO the man who had led the resistance to NATO.

But few in Yugoslavia were aware that the promise of aid was itself a lie, cynically concocted to provide justification for extraditing Milosevic.

It was to explain this point that the following analysis was written.

-- Jared Israel
17 March 2003


Western aid promises: Djindjic and Kostunica Tell a Traitor's Lie

Statement of the Socialist Party of Serbia
31 May 2001


For the leaders of a country to tell the people in that country that they should extradite patriots in exchange for money from the forces which have bombed that country - is an outrage.

But for leaders of a country to pretend that they are getting money from the bombers when they know perfectly well they are not - to tell the people that they should support the jailing of their patriots in exchange for money which these leaders know does not exist - this is the worst treason.

The present authorities in Belgrade are guilty of treason.

No Donors' Conference has ever given any money to any country. The term "Donors'' is itself a deception. The proper title is ''Creditors' Conference.'' If a "Donors' Conference" takes place in June it will be a meeting of the banks that claim Yugoslavia owes them money. The purpose of that meeting, like the purpose of all Donors' Conferences, will be to plan how to sell Yugoslav property so they can get back the money they claim they are owed as quickly as possible.

To whom will they sell Yugoslav industries to get their money? To themselves basically.

How much will they sell it for? Pennies on the dollar.

How much of the so-called Yugoslav debt will get paid in this way? Very little.

What will happen to the industry that the 'Donors' scoop up in this fashion? Wherever such industries might compete with some industry from the 'Donor' countries, the factories will be closed down.

Let us take an example that occurred in Hungary, a country whose leaders have more than cooperated with the U.S. The U.S. firm, General Electric, bought the big light bulb factory in Hungary and closed it down. Now Hungarians have to buy light bulbs imported by GE.

This has happened in dozens of countries.

Donors' Conferences helped plan the devastation of the economies of:

* Ukraine - went from the bread basket of Europe to being dependant on Western surplus "food")

* Bulgaria - industry stripped and shut down)

* Russia - wages fell almost 90% overnight)

* Vietnam - after the "Donors' Conference" its industry was stripped to raise the money to pay off 'debts'. This was particularly vicious because those 'debts' had been accumulated by the puppet regime of South Vietnam. South Vietnam incurred the 'debts' when it bought weapons from the U.S. to fight Vietnamese patriots!

That's what a Donors' Conference does.

Sometimes the real work takes place after the official Conference is over, in meetings of the so-called Paris and London Clubs, which are made up, respectively, of big commercial and national banks from the US and Europe.

But one thing no Donors' Conference has ever, anywhere in the world done is give 1 billion dollars - or in fact any money - to a country which supposedly owes these banks money. If they do lend any money on paper they immediately take it away.

That is, a little money may be lent with one hand, but it will be immediately taken away with the other hand, to "repay the debt."

This has already happened with millions of dollars supposedly "given" to Yugoslavia by the international community.

"The [IMF] Board also approved a loan equivalent to SDR 116.9 million (about US$ 151 million) under the IMF's policy on emergency post-conflict assistance in support of a program to stabilize the FRY's [Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's] economy and help rebuild administrative capacities. Of this amount, the authorities will draw SDR101.1 million (about US$ 130 million) to repay the bridge loans they received [from Switzerland and Norway] to eliminate arrears with the IMF."

In other words, the authorities in Belgrade borrowed money from Switzerland and Norway to pay money owed to the IMF. Then they borrowed money from the IMF - and that was used to pay Switzerland and Norway!

This is a con game.

Sometimes the truth about the phony "Donors' Conferences" leaks out. Consider this excerpt from a 'Reuters' news dispatch. 'Reuters' lists all the terrible things that will happen if Yugoslavia does not cooperate. The first thing is:

1. "The US will oppose Yugoslav loans and assistance from international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. At stake will be a planned $260 million loan from the IMF to back up reform of an economy on the verge of collapse after years of sanctions and warfare."

NOTE that they speak of loan not gift. No donation here!

Based on the evidence from past experience, this money may never be loaned. And even if it were loaned, it would immediately be used to pay back part of the supposed debt. No money would go to the economy or reach ordinary people. And then the $260 million that we never received would have to be paid back by selling our industries, by agreeing to purchase shoddy goods from the NATO countries and by agreeing to laws that eliminated social services in our country.

That is why every country that has relied on these phony loans has suffered. For 8 years we had no loans. Plus we had sanctions. But Rumania and Bulgaria which had no sanctions and which had loans lost all their industry and now their unemployed come to Yugoslavia looking for work.

We will always be better off helping ourselves than being saddled with parasites from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank who are in business to strip countries like ours of everything we have sweated to build.

Here's the second 'disastrous' consequence of not cooperating with Washington:

2. "[This will mean putting off] Belgrade's plans to start negotiating a debt settlement with the Paris Club of sovereign creditors and commercial banks of the London Club... Of its total $12.2 billion external debt, Yugoslavia owes some $5 billion to the Paris Club and around $3 billion to the London Club." ('Reuters', April 2, 2001)

So the "international community" claims Yugoslavia owes it at least $12 billion (US). And if Yugoslavia does not hand over Milosevic it will not have the pleasure of stripping all its industry to repay this debt. Wouldn’t that be terrible?

And how does the "international community" figure that Yugoslavia owes it $12.2 billion dollars? This is almost entirely interest on debts supposedly owed by the now nonexistent Yugoslav Socialist Republic. Here is a news report from Dec. 31, 1992, which explains it all:

"From: 'Facts on File World News Digest,' December 31, 1992

"Headline: IMF Revokes Yugoslavia's Membership

"Text: The International Monetary Fund December 15 revoked Yugoslavia's membership and apportioned the country's foreign debt among what the financial institution designated as Yugoslavia's five successor republics. The IMF took the action on the grounds that Yugoslavia had ceased to exist as a legal entity.

"Yugoslavia's foreign debt was about $15 billion, including $217 million owed to the IMF and $2 billion owed to the World Bank.

"A total of 36.5% of the debt was apportioned to Serbia-Montenegro, the new Yugoslav federation, which the IMF treated as a single republic. Croatia was deemed to owe 28.5% of the debt; Bosnia-Herzegovina, 13.2%; Slovenia, 16.4%; and Macedonia, 5.4%."

[End of 'Facts on File' news dispatch]

So in 1992, the IMF simply decided to say that the Federal Republic owed 5.475 billion US dollars. Since it now says we owe over $12 billion, that means that almost $7 billion of the supposed debt is interest! And when did that interest get charged?

That interest got charged during the years of sanctions imposed by the same international community that now claims we owe all this interest!

Those sanctions hurt the Yugoslav economy to the tune of billions of dollars U.S.

By what right do these men, who starved Yugoslavia with sanctions, costing us billions, and then bombed Yugoslavia, causing us at least $60 billion in damage not to mention the incalculable cost in human death and suffering, the pain of relatives who lost loved ones, the psychological damage to children, forced to hide in shelters from bombs, the long term damage of depleted uranium - how dare these starvers and bombers now claim that Yugoslavia owes them money?

Who are these men?

A Donors' Conference would give no money to Yugoslavia.

The only result would be: devastation of the Yugoslav economy. The Donors would order a forced sale of Yugoslavia's precious industries for pennies on the dollar to the same bankers who make up the Donors' Conference.

And when it was all over, the debt would still be there.

Because the money raised would be too little - as it is always too little, in every country where these bankers have imposed this scam - to pay the debt. Because you see that is the whole idea. They use the inflated debt to get hold of the industry, and when it is all over, they leave the country stripped of all it sweated for years to build, of everything except - billions of dollars in debt.

We would gain nothing from this Donors' Conference.

But some things would be gone.

Our industry would be gone.

Our pride would be gone.

Our honor would be gone.

And our patriots, they would be gone as well, starting with Mr. Milosevic, but not ending with him. Not ending with him.

Let us not follow this fool's gold chase proposed by the present authorities in Belgrade. Let us rely on ourselves, on our integrity and our own hard work. Let us trade with friends, not with thieves who try to break us with the fake lure of suckers' gold.

When they speak of the urgency of this Donors' Conference, the present authorities in Belgrade speak with passion.

Their passion is real.

But it is not because they fear that if we do not go along with their proposals, Yugoslavia will lose money that it needs. On the contrary, they fear that if they do not produce for their masters in Washington, they will be punished.

For Washington has no friends, only future victims.

Washington has laid down the law to these Belgrade authorities.

It has told them: you are taking too much time. Give us Milosevic. Give us the patriots of the Yugoslav Army. Give us those who fought us in Bosnia and Croatia. Give them to us NOW. And give us everything of value in Yugoslavia.

Because if you do not we will take you - the DOS leaders - in their place.

- SPS, 31 May 2001


*Further Reading follows the appeal*


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Further Reading


[1] See, 'Media in Serbia,' by Diana Johnstone at

[1a] After Milosevic's arrest, the Western media spread the story that he was suicidal. Concerning that, Emperor's Clothes published the article, "The 'Times' Spreads a Deadly Lie", which can be read at

[2] Copyright 2001 Ventura County Star
Ventura County Star
April 9, 2001 Monday
SECTION: Editorials; Pg. B06
LENGTH: 634 words
HEADLINE: Charges continue to pile up against Milosevic following his arrest
BYLINE: Holger Jensen; Rocky Mountain News

[3] April 30, 2001, Monday, BC cycle
International News
"Court extends Milosevic stay in prison by two months"
By Misha Savic

[4] To get a sense of the immensity of Western media lies about Milosevic, read Francisco Gil-White's "Media
Misrepresentation of Milosevic's Words at

[4A] * The 'suitcases of cash' quote comes from a New York Times article in which Vojislav Kostunica admitted that 'some' of his backers, who received said cash, were perhaps furthering U.S. Imperial goals. How astute!

The article in question is quoted extensively in, 'Kostunica: some backers 'work for American Imperial goals,'' at

* An article in the German magazine, Der Spiegel, waxed poetic about the wonderful job Germany and the US (and other Wesstern states) did, funding the anti-Milosevic opposition. See 'Der Spiegel: How Kostunica [and Djindjic!] Came to Power,' at

* Emperor's Clothes published a well-documented, in-depth analysis of Western sponsorship of the Serbian opposition. See, 'U.S. Arrogance and Yugoslav elections,' by Jared Israel and Nico Varkvessier at

* 'Otpor is an American Tragedy,' by Jared Israel, analyzes the US-funded Serbian youth group that did a lot of the dirty work during the October 2000 coup. Can be read at

For the evidence that the semi-covert National Endowment for Democracy did indeed fund Otpor, go to to

[5] Associated Press Worldstream; May 18, 2001; Friday
International news;Distribution: Asia;England;Middle East;Africa
"Serb leader: Milosevic must be tried in Serbia first"; Dateline: Geneva

[6] Mr. Korac is discussed in 'The N.Y. Times Spreads a Deadly Lie,' at

[6A] Regarding Mr. Zimmermann, see 'Nothing Is Forever...' at

[7] Human Rights Watch press release; Yugoslavia: U.N. Must Press Kostunica on Tribunal; Donors' Conference Should Depend on Cooperation, Arrest of Indictees (New York, May 8, 2001)

[8] All Things Considered (9:00 Pm Et)
June 18, 2001, Monday
Length: 411 Words
Headline: UN Delegation Meets With Yugoslav Officials
Anchors: Robert Siegel
Reporters: Guy Raz]

[9] Regarding the plans for destroying the Yugoslav economy, formulated by the people whom the October 5th coup put in power, see, 'The International Monetary Fund and the Yugoslav Elections', at

Shortly after the October 2000 coup, friends in Belgrade did some on-the-scene investigation regarding the rapid rise in cost of living. The results are reported in the article, "Is Kostunica setting the stage for a phony fuel-shortage melodrama?" at