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Did Ramsey Clark Help Milosevic?

Part 1: Why did Ramsey Rush to Belgrade?

By Jared Israel and Nico Varkevisser
[Posted 11 October 2003]


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After reading our articles criticizing Ramsey Clark for smearing Slobodan Milosevic on US Television, some people have asked why we wanted to attack a man who supposedly did so much to help Milosevic.

But did he? In this and subsequent articles we will answer that question. How did Ramsey Clark actually function in relation to the kidnapping of Milosevic to The Hague, during the period when Clark was active in the summer and fall of 2001? [1]

From the time Ramsey Clark was given the official title of co-Chairperson of the Milosevic support group, ICDSM, we had grave misgivings about him. Nevertheless, as ICDSM leaders (Nico Varkevisser as spokesperson and Jared Israel as editor of its Website) we tried to take a positive approach, for example organizing a press conference for Clark in Amsterdam in early August 2001.

To our amazement, we saw that:

A) Clark refused to work collectively with others and....

B) Clark fought to carry out key elements of The Hague Tribunal's agenda, and....

C) The Tribunal tried to force Milosevic to accept Clark as his lawyer.

At that time, the fall of 2001, we didn't know that Clark supported Islamic fundamentalism. We didn't know he had championed Nazi war criminals and Muslim terrorists [2]

So it was Ramsey Clark's behavior regarding Milosevic, not other deeds, that convinced us he isn't what he appears.

Clark and his close associates in the groups he leads claim to be dedicated fighters for social change who should lead movements world-wide, including the US antiwar movement. Obviously our charges contradict these claims. 

Are we right or wrong? Did Clark pretend to support Milosevic's cause while pursuing a hidden agenda?

In this article we will deal with Clark's first actions following the kidnapping of Slobodan Milosevic. Subsequent articles will deal with what he did later at The Hague and during his Nov. 16th interview on CNN.


NATO tries to stage a Milosevic show trial


When they arranged Slobodan Milosevic's kidnapping from a Belgrade jail cell on June 28, 2001, the NATO-controlled Hague Tribunal had a clear goal. [3]

They wanted to make Milosevic the unwilling star in a show trial aimed at confirming a decade of media lies.

Once and for all they would prove that the Serbs were the new Nazis; that Bosnian and Kosovo Muslims were the new victims; and that the NATO assault on Yugoslavia was justified because it had averted a Holocaust. In this way the Tribunal would present the Serbs as the main culprits in the Yugoslav wars thus making Serbia liable for war reparations that would effectively hobble that Republic for years to come. [3A]

But in order for this strategy to work, the Tribunal needed Milosevic to cooperate. He had to adopt a legalistic approach, retaining an attorney or better yet a whole defense team to represent him. How would this help the Tribunal?

First and foremost, by the very act of bringing in a legal defense team, Milosevic would be telling the world that the Tribunal was a neutral court dedicated to figuring out whether Milosevic was guilty. But Milosevic needed to prove the opposite - that the Tribunal was an arm of NATO created to demonize the Serbs and punish leaders who had stood up to NATO and its local proxies.

Second, having a defense team would mean Milosevic could not personally confront  'judges', prosecutors and witnesses, exposing them as liars and tools of NATO. The powerful affect of Milosevic cross examining witnesses - the leader of the Serbs exposing the lies of those who accused the Serbs - would be lost.

By their very nature, lawyers focus on legalisms to get clients found innocent - not on scoring political points. With lawyers on stage, Milosevic could not use this show trial to establish a permanent record of truth. And the media could write off prosecution defeats because "naturally Milosevic has clever lawyers." Milosevic would be effectively silenced.  [3B]

Third, this would be especially true because at the Hague and Rwanda Tribunals, defense lawyers are employees of and paid by and therefore beholden to these Tribunals. We know from lawyers from the Rwanda Tribunal that in some cases a hundred thousand dollars or more in legal fees have been held back.  Of course this affects a lawyer's outlook. There is a pressure not to annoy the Tribunal. Certain arguments may be avoided; certain actions may not be taken. It is even possible that a heart-to-heart chat takes place; a hint may be given; and there is a quiet betrayal. 

Milosevic would be placed in the impossible position of trying, from his jail cell, to control a team of attorneys with a) the wrong (because legalistic) orientation, who were b) paid by his enemies.  And the man already has high blood pressure.

What a gift for NATO! While the lawyers legalized, Milosevic and the Serbs would be slaughtered in the media.

Knowing this, Milosevic adopted a radically different strategy.


Milosevic says, 'No lawyers need apply!'


As his assistant Zdenko Tomanovic told reporters on July 2 outside the prison in Scheveningen near The Hague: 

[Excerpt from AP report starts here]

Mr. Milosevic does not recognize The Hague tribunal… Milosevic believes the tribunal "is part of a mechanism to commit genocide on the Serb people."

"He is not going to appoint any lawyer," Tomanovic added. He said Milosevic would refuse legal representation during the arraignment and the trial expected to begin next year... [4]

[Excerpt from AP report ends here]

The AP also reported that "Milosevic intends to argue that his only crime was to stand up against NATO, a defense unlikely to win points with the court…." [4]

Precisely. Milosevic was not going to try and win points with the officials of this "court" because they are his enemies.  He was going to refute their lies.

The Chicago Tribune ran the headline, "Milosevic refuses to recognize court". The Tribune reported that according to Tomanovic:

"...a judge had tried to hand a copy of the charges to Milosevic, but he refused to accept it and the judge placed it between the bars of his cell. 'Even today it is hanging in the same place,' he said."

And according to Tomanovic, Milosevic "said he would not allow any lawyers to represent him." [5]

Notice the phrase: "would not allow".

The Hague Tribunal was not pleased. Spokesperson Jim Landale made that clear:

"'He has advised us he does not wish to have defense counsel present tomorrow,' Landale said. 'We have advised him against this, but it's his right.'" [4]


Ramsey insists


At the same time that Zdenko Tomanovic was talking to reporters in The Hague, former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark was talking to reporters in Belgrade. 

Why in Belgrade? What was Clark doing there?

Cathrin Schütz, an activist in Clark's group, the IAC, interviewed Clark on June 18, 2001, for a German newspaper called Junge Welt. The interview, which was published a few weeks after our first two Ramsey Clark articles, was obviously intended as a reply to us. [5A]

In the interview, Schütz said:

"Mr. Clark, when former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was being extradited to The Hague in June 2000, you rushed to Belgrade to try to stop this from happening. Why?" [5B]

Schütz's spin on why Clark flew to Belgrade is a bit of a stretch since Clark left New York on the evening of June 28th, about 7 hours after he and everyone else who was not in a coma knew that Milosevic had *already* been kidnapped to The Hague. [6]

Since Clark *could not* have flown to Belgrade "to try to stop this from happening," as Schütz claims, why did he go? And why the big rush?

Perhaps we can gain some insight from what Clark told reporters on July 2, three days after his hasty arrival in Belgrade.

As you will recall, Milosevic said he wasn't going to "allow any lawyers to represent him."  On July 2nd Clark said he'd been talking to Milosevic's Yugoslav lawyers, so of course he knew Milosevic's approach.

(We use the phrase, "Milosevic's Yugoslav lawyers," because these gentlemen were his lawyers in Belgrade, prior to the kidnapping. However, while some of them now assist the President, Milosevic has made it clear that he views them as assistants, not as legal advisors, and they do not in any way represent him before the Tribunal. He has not retained counsel, Yugoslav or otherwise. He does not consider what is going on in The Hague Tribunal to be a *legal* proceeding.)

Despite the impression given by Ramsey Clark in his July 2nd press conference, Slobodan Milosevic had not asked for Clark's help. Indeed, Clark had not even spoken to Milosevic.  During the three months Milosevic was held "for investigation" in a Belgrade jail, from April 1 to June 28, 2001, Clark successfully resisted the urge to rush to that city. This despite requests from the ICDSM that he do go to Belgrade and make a statement opposing Milosevic's incarceration.

Nevertheless now Clark did not hesitate to publicly instruct Milosevic in matters of strategy. As the Associated Press reported:

"...Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark offered to aid in Milosevic's defense. Clark told reporters in Belgrade he was considering joining Milosevic's defense team but that he would insist that Yugoslav lawyers take the lead. ...[Clark] said he was holding talks with Milosevic's lawyers." [4]

Notice that Clark said he was *considering* joining Milosevic's defense team, as if he had been invited. Notice also that by saying he was considering joining, Clark was communicating that Milosevic *had* a defense team, that is, that Milosevic had adopted a conventional legal strategy, thus accepting that the Tribunal was a legitimate court. And notice finally that Clark said he would "insist" on how things were done; in other words, he would be in charge. Not bad for a guy trying to hustle a job! 

Clark told the British newspaper, Morning Star, that he would be happy to join a Milosevic "defense team" - i.e., the very thing that  Milosevic said he would not allow. And Clark continued:

"If he followed my sense of it, he would have proud and effective Yugoslav lawyers standing up before that court and saying to the world: 'We are capable of defending ourselves'." [7]

So again we have Clark offering to be the strategist, though he hadn't been asked, in a legal defense team that Milosevic didn't want. This makes the head swim, so let's break it down into manageable pieces:

* First, former US Attorney General Clark was trying to get himself hired as Milosevic's attorney/legal strategist/Public Relations man. Isn't it a violation of legal ethics to solicit clients?

* Second, Clark met with Milosevic's lawyers without Milosevic's permission. One could argue that Clark is free to talk to anyone he wants. This may be true, but keep in mind that he was in fact opposing Milosevic's strategy. He was pressing for one in which, in his words, "proud Yugoslav attorneys" would play the starring role. Thus he was encouraging these attorneys to pressure Milosevic while...

* Third, Clark publicly misrepresented Milosevic's strategy. This is key. In order to convict Milosevic (and the Serbian nation!) in the court of public opinion, the Tribunal needed to convince the public of two things. First, that this was indeed a *trial* - not a kangaroo court with prosecutors and judges both working for NATO. And second, that it was Milosevic and other Serbian leaders - rather than NATO leaders - who had to defend themselves.

Thus the Tribunal's main public relations goal at this stage was to force Milosevic to assign lawyers to represent him in a "legal defense team" - or at least to create the impression that he planned to set up such a team. This was assisted by Clark's comments, fostering the misimpression that Milosevic had indeed created such a "defense team", which Clark kindly offered to join and lead. As if Milosevic had accepted his kidnapping as a legitimate arrest, had accepted the Tribunal as a legitimate court, and had accepted the proceedings against him as a proper and normal trial which he was responding to in the normal way - by hiring lawyers.  

* Fourth, Clark talked about Yugoslavs as if they were children for whom it would be a great achievement to come up with "effective" attorneys who could "stand up before that court [sic!]" and prove that "we are capable of defending ourselves." Prove they were capable? Prove to whom? What did Clark think Yugoslavia was, a backward territory?

Ms. Schütz claims that Ramsey Clark's hurried trip to Belgrade had the purpose of preventing Milosevic's kidnapping.  Mr. Clark's words suggest a very different explanation.  It appears he rushed to Belgrade to a) gain influence among Milosevic's Yugoslav attorneys and other supporters and b) using them as leverage, push for Milosevic to adopt a legalistic strategy with Clark as strategist and c) foster the public misperception that Milosevic was creating a legal team to represent him or at least to work with him in court.

This hypothesis is supported  by the Hague Tribunal's very different reactions to the two press conferences held on July 2nd.

In response to Zdenko Tomanovic's public advocacy of Milosevic's *real* strategy of rejecting The Hague Tribunal by *not hiring lawyers*, the Tribunal ordered the Dutch government to prevent Tomanovic from returning to Holland for the following six weeks. Thus they punished Tomanovic and deprived Milosevic of an accurate public voice. And this was done during an important period, when everyone, including Milosevic's supporters, were forming their impression of Milosevic's strategy. Coincidentally, during this period Ramsey Clark had a significant media presence.

Ramsey Clark fared much better than Tomanovic. In response to Clark's public opposition to Milosevic's strategy, he was allowed unmonitored and unequaled access to the President, plus a good deal more.  

Concerning Clark's participation in the Tribunal's manipulations, more coming in Part 2: "The Hague picks Ramsey for Best Boy."

-- Jared Israel and Nico Varkevisser
Editors, Emperor's Clothes

[Footnotes and Further Reading Follow The Appeal]


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* Footnotes and Further Reading *


[1] * "Ramsey Clark Poses as Milosevic's Lawyer...
and then smears the "client" on nationwide U.S. television!" at
* "More on how Ramsey Clark Attacked Milosevic at
the National Press Club,"

[2] Clark has frequently praised Islam as *the* progressive force of our time. For example, he said, "Islam is the best chance the poor of the planet have for any hope of decency in their lives; for any hope for dignity in their lives. It is the one revolutionary force that cares about humanity!"

In the real world, when people speak of Islam as a 'revolutionary force' they mean Islamic fundamentalism. For this quote see, "Islam in America; Five Mistakes of U.S. Policymakers in the Muslim World; By El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan; Washington Report, March 1999, pages 86-89

* Regarding Ramsey Clark's championing of Nazi war criminals, see
"How Ramsey Clark Labored to Protect Nazi Émigrés," at

* Clark went to Egypt to campaign for the release of Sheikh Rahman, spiritual guide to gama'a al islamyya. While there he gave a press conference with the de facto head of gama'a. This is perhaps the most extreme terrorist organization in Egypt, a country in which Muslim extremism is a serious problem. (Gama'a was accused in the murder of Anwar Sadat and became world infamous for the mutilation/slaughter of tourists and Egyptian workers in Luxor, Egypt.) For a former US Attorney General to go to a foreign country and lend the prestige of his former office to such an organization is truly amazing. The Egyptian paper Al Ahram wrote a sympathetic report on Clark's trip. See 

[3] Thank God for Jamie Shea, spokesperson for NATO during the cowardly bombing of Yugoslavia. The man had a wondrous large mouth. It was he who boasted that NATO controlled the Tribunal, commenting that if the then-Chief Prosecutor, Louise Arbour, did something-or-other it would be because 'we' - meaning NATO - let her. Please, Jamie, come back; we miss you...though all is not forgiven! To read Shea's boastful confession, please see
"Official Statements Prove Hague 'Tribunal' Belongs to NATO," at 

[3A] The demonization of the Serbs required the fabrication of a Milosevic who never existed in real life.  For a discussion of this media-created Milosevic, see "KLA Attacks Everyone; Media Attacks Milosevic," at

Regarding the "new Nazis" accusation, see "Hijacking the Holocaust," at

Regarding who was victimized in Yugoslavia, see "Nightmare by Design," at

[3B] Precisely because Milosevic has prevented the Tribunal from using him for a show trial, most plans to televise the proceedings have been dropped. Nevertheless, the transcript of the proceedings are a permanent record with detailed refutation of the lies told about  Yugoslavia and the Serbs.

[4] The Associated Press July 2, 2001, Monday, BC cycle Section: International News Length: 834 Words Headline: Milosevic Meets With Lawyer, Plans Strategy Ahead Of Scheduled Appearance Before U.N. Tribunal Byline: By Robert H. Reid, Associated Press Writer Dateline: The Hague, Netherlands

[5] The Chicago Tribune; Milosevic refuses to recognize court;
By Ray Moseley; Tribune foreign correspondent July 3, 2001

[5A] This is our fifth article on Ramsey Clark.  The previous four are, in order of publication:

1- "Ramsey Clark Poses as Milosevic's Lawyer...
and then smears the "client" on nationwide U.S. television!" at

2- "More on how Ramsey Clark Attacked Milosevic at
the National Press Club,"

3- "Ramsey Clark's IAC Accuses us of Slander, but they get the facts wrong..." (discusses Clark's June 29 2001 flight to Belgrade) at

4- "How Ramsey Clark Labored to Protect Nazi Émigrés," at

[5B] The German text reads: "F: Als Milosevic im Juni 2000 nach Den Haag ausgeliefert werden sollte, sind Sie nach Belgrad geeilt, um die Auslieferung zu stoppen. Warum?"
From: Junge Welt; Zum
Inhalt der Beilage «sloboda - Freiheit für Milosevic»; 18.06.2003; Interview: Cathrin Schütz; »Das Tribunal ist illegal«; Junge Welt sprach mit dem ehemaligen US-amerikanischen Justizminister Ramsey Clark über den Verlauf des Prozesses

[6] The kidnapping of President Milosevic was announced by CNN on June 28th around 1 in the afternoon, Eastern US time.
CNN BREAKING NEWS 13:20, June 28, 2001 Thursday, Transcript # 062808CN.V00, News; International, 630 words, Yugoslavia Confirms Extradition of Milosevic, Lou Waters, Alessio Vinci

[7] Morning Star; July 03, 2001; Section: Pg. 2; Headline: Clark offers to defend Milosevic

[8] Emperor's Clothes has published several articles on the illegality of The Hague Tribunal.  See for example "The Illegal Basis of the War Crimes Tribunal," by Dr. Kosta Cavoski at

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Ramsey Clark Poses as Milosevic's Lawyer and Smears the Client on TV