The following Editorial was published in The Guardian, newspaper of the Communist Party of Australia in its issue of Wednesday, April 14th, 1999. Contact address: 65 Campbell Street, Surry Hills.
Sydney. 2010 Australia. Phone: (612) 9212 6855 Fax: (612) 9281 5795.
Subscription rates on request.
It is not surprising that the people of a number of countries are influenced by the incessant daily dose of horror stories flashed around the world on TV screens. The intention is to demonise Yugoslavian President Milosevic personally and to try and shift the blame for the horrors of the bombing to the shoulders of others and to justify war against Yugoslavia.
The truth is that the flood of refugees is mainly linked to the savage bombing of both Kosovo and the Serb parts of Yugoslavia.
There are many Serb refugees as well.
The population of Kosovo is predominantly of ethnic Albanian origin yet it is the main city of Kosovo, Pristina, which has suffered some of the heaviest bombing. Why should this criminal act be perpetrated except to induce the Albanian population to take to the roads to reach what they hope will be a safe haven in Macedonia, Albania or Montenegro?
Pristina is only a short distance from the Macedonian border and it is understandable that many would head in that direction.
Although some refugees were leaving to escape the military conflict between the Yugoslavian army and the cutthroats of the KLA it is nothing to that now created by the NATO bombing. There was no mass exodus before the bombing commenced.
For some years the KLA has been deliberately armed and supplied by the US and Germany to destabilise the situation within Yugoslavia. Numerous reports detail the involvement of the KLA in the European drug trade, money laundering and in the arms trade.
The conflict is with the KLA, not the people of Kosovo. If it were a case of ethnic discrimination why aren't the 100,000 ethnic Albanians living in Belgrade being chased out?
The fact that the refugees are mere pawns in the criminal game being played out by NATO is demonstrated by the refusal of a number of European countries to take in the refugees that their bombing has created? The aim of this seemingly callous response has an even more sinister intention behind it.
The Albanians are being actively recruited in Albania and trained militarily. They are to be the stormtroopers (under NATO command) who are being prepared to invade Kosovo, do the fighting and dying while NATO provides air cover. It is once again a diabolical exercise in using others as cannon-fodder to achieve the objectives of the US and European pay-masters.
The use of the Contras in Nicaragua and the death-squads in several other Latin American countries all paid for and armed by the US are previous examples. The KLA is the European equivalent of the Nicaraguan Contras.
This NATO intention is confirmed by the fact that none of the countries taking refugees are giving the refugees the opportunity to apply for permanent residency. The Australia Government is adopting special legislation which denies the Albanian refugees normal refugee rights.
The intention is to return them to Albania or to Kosovo if the NATO plan to occupy Kosovo should succeed.
They are being promised a return to Kosovo in some three to six months.Throughout this period they will remain in limbo. It is a cruel game being played with hundreds of thousands of people.
They are to be moved around on the chess-board of political expediency. The current exodus has been described as the greatest refugee flow since the end of WW II.
This assertion ignores the huge refugee crises which have been experienced by the people of Rwanda, the Congo, the Palestinians (most Palestinians have been forced into exile from their homeland by Israeli aggression and seizure of their land), the Kurds who have been systematically terrorised by Turkey and Iraq, by the huge number of refugees caused by the nearly 20 years' long war in Angola, by the long civil war still going on in the Sudan.
But the western powers show next to no concern for these refugees. They do not count in the plans of NATO at present.
The only hope for Kosovo Albanians is an end to the NATO imposed war.
The Albanians of Kosovo are not new arrivals on the international scene. As long ago as 1985, the «Wall Street Journal» was reporting on the activities of the «Kosovo-Albania Drug Mafia» in New York City (Sept 9, 1985).
That same year «The New York Times» reported that Kosovo-Albanian drug dealers had offered almost half-a-million dollars to murder two US federal attorneys and drug enforcement agents. The targets were given round-the-clock protection by US government agencies.
Today, according to some estimates, 25-40 per cent of all heroin in the US is being supplied by the Kosovo Cartel. Kosovo-Albanian dealers are in jails in Switzerland, Italy and Germany as well as the US.
It was German Intelligence which was the first to form an alliance with the Kosovo Albanian drug cartel to further the Balkan aims of the then Kohl Government.
Kohl's administration was deeply involved in promoting the break- up of Yugoslavia, initially with the secession of Croatia which the German Foreign Minister virtually orchestrated.
Heroin trade «businessmen» can be very reliable allies in covert operations -- they are tough, ruthless and brutal. The heroin industry is quite capable of forming an alternate government, a pseudo-state with its own income and armies. (Colombia is one example of this.)
Germany's ambitions in the Balkans do not appear to have changed with the advent of the Social Democrat/Greens Coalition Government. They sit uneasily with those of the US in the same region.
In the fighting in Bosnia, Germany backed Croatia and the US covertly aided the Muslims against the Bosnian Serbs, who were treated as invaders in their own country.
During the Bosnian war, the country's «porous borders» combined with the Western powers' willingness to deal with drug merchants and even to deal «in» heroin produced what the «Washington Post» called (on November 14, 1993) «an epidemic of heroin smuggling and arms sales».
After Bosnia, Western attention switched to the Yugoslav republic of Serbia, and the province of Kosovo, where the effects of the US-imposed economic blockade of Yugoslavia had aggravated separatist tendencies among the province's Albanian population.
The Yugoslav Government's response failed to resolve the situation in the face of rising agitation by separatist forces.
Albanian unrest was covertly aided by the West amidst a developing US campaign around «human rights abuses» (in between bombing Iraq and helping Turkey crush the Kurds). A «Kosovo Liberation Army» (KLA) was formed with money from «sympathisers» in the US.
«Volunteers» for the KLA poured into Kosovo from Germany, ultimately making up more than half the KLA forces.
German Intelligence provided the Albanian seperatists with the latest German anti-tank grenades, combat jackets, electronic monitoring devices and intelligence training, according to the German TV program «Monitor» (September 24, 1998).
This aid was not entirely altruistic. «Romania Libera» headlined a story on July 30, 1998: «Albanian Terrorists of KLA Pay for Weapons in Heroin».
When the US-led NATO bombing of Yugoslavia started on March 24, Western media coverage went into overdrive to justify the aggression.
The destabilising role played by the KLA has been ignored. One is given the impression that Serb forces are fighting innocent civilians.
The Yugoslav army and police are accused of all manner of atrocities, but the atrocities perpetrated by the KLA go unreported in the mainstream media.
Only days before the supposed «peace» talks in France, the KLA exploded several bombs targeting civilians. «The bomb in Mitrovica, north-west of Pristina, went off in the town's market place, killing four people, including two women and a young girl, and wounding 30 others», reported «Morning Star».
«Three people were also killed and 28 wounded by two KLA bombs that went off within 15 minutes of each other in Podujevo, around 20 miles north of the Kosovan capital Pristina.»
The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Kosovo Verification Mission condemned the bombings.
«These devices, containing considerable amounts of explosives, were targeted at crowded public places at the busiest time of day, with the clear aim of causing the maximum amount of civilian injuries and deaths», it said.
These criminal acts of the KLA, inside Kosovo itself, were largely ignored by the capitalist media. Once again they followed the line favoured by US «spin doctors».
Once the bombing of Kosovo itself began in earnest, the well orchestrated flight of refugees became the main story, serving as a smoke-screen to hide the momentous shift in world politics away from international law and the United Nations as the responsible body to resolve international conflicts, to the empowerment of the US and NATO to enforce their own «law».
NATO will be marking its 50th anniversary in late April and is hell-bent to show the world that no country and no government can stand in the way of its masters' economic and political aims.
It's not as though the international community does not know about the KLA atrocities. In 1998 Serbian police discovered a cremation oven in a lime factory in the village of Klecka (about 45km southwest of Pristina) used to dispose of murdered Serbian civilians.
Klecka had a KLA base including a training camp and a munition depot. A large amount of weaponry and ammunition was recovered by the police, including anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades and humanitarian aid packets provided by the United States.
At the time, US Special Envoy to Yugoslavia, Christopher Hill, no doubt reflecting the US' dubious view of the German-backed KLA, said: «I condemn the horrible massacre of Serb civilians committed by Albanian terrorists.
«The United States is shocked by the brutalities in the village of Klecka. Whoever did this must be punished. The United States does not support the armed attacks of the KLA and condemns every kind of aggression, as well as the kidnapping of civilians.»
A year ago the United States did not openly support the KLA. Even today, the US aim is for a NATO protectorate in Kosovo, similar to that in Bosnia.
Even before the failed Munich-style conference in Rambouillet, the West made it known that they would launch air strikes unless Belgrade dropped its understandable opposition to a 28,000-strong NATO occupation force (KFOR) in Kosovo. KFOR was already massed and training on the Yugoslav border in Macedonia.
Immediately after the Yugoslav Government rejected this blatant attempt to partition their country further, NATO began bombing and public opinion is being carefully manipulated to accept what has been planned all along -- establishing a NATO protectorate in Kosovo.
NATO is bombing Yugoslav cities to protect a coalition of Greater Albania ultra-nationalists and a drug cartel -- as well as trying to further impoverish Yugoslavia and establish NATO bases for future operations against a resurgent Russia.
DEFIANCE -- YUGOSLAV BOMBING ROUNDUP
Sydney. 2010 Australia. Phone: (612) 9212 6855 Fax: (612) 9281 5795.
Email: <email@example.com> Webpage: http://www.peg.apc.org/~guardian
Subscription rates on request.
Protest actions against NATO bombing of Yugoslavia have continued around the world as NATO has stepped up its attacks and prepares to extend the war on the ground in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo. The US, British and NATO administrations have no intention of ending the war until they have achieved their aim of breaking up Yugoslavia and occupying the whole or a substantial part of Kosovo.
Belgium: Protesters defied police, water cannons, pepper spray and tear gas in the capital Brussels in actions against NATO's war on Yugoslavia. Demonstrations had been banned and many protesters were beaten and arrested.
Germany: Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in over 150 German cities during the Easter holiday. Ten thousand took to the streets in Berlin under the slogan «No To War Politics». During a protest in Frankfurt by 6,000 people the US flag was burned outside the US Consulate.
Greece: Greek workers went on a two-hour general strike against the NATO bombing. The two largest trade union federations in Greece, representing both the public and private sector, called the strike. The Federation of Rail Workers will take strike action if any arms for NATO's war are transported on the Greek railway network.
NATO HQ: Yugoslav hackers are bombarding the NATO web site in Brussels with e-mails to disrupt the site. One hacker is sending 2,000 messages and viruses a day.
Russia: Demonstrations continue throughout Russia. The Russian Government is sending humanitarian aid to Yugoslavia, including clothes, medicine and food.
Italy: More than 100,000 demonstrators marched through Rome. Some carried posters of Clinton and Italian Premier Massimo D'Alema with the slogan «Happy Easter, murderers».
In Britain three Labour MPs have called for Parliament to be recalled to debate and vote «on the biggest bombing operation in Europe since the war».
In Sydney several thousand Yugoslav-Australians gathered in the Domain on Sunday to protest against the unjust, immoral and illegal NATO bombing.
They were joined by members of the peace movement and other anti- war protesters. Police turned out in force -- over 900 encircled the protesters -- but the rally was peaceful.
Speakers said that the western media has ignored the huge numbers of Serb refugees and evidence of atrocities committed against Serbs.
One protester told «The Guardian»: «It has nothing to do with ethnic Albanians», and pointed out that NATO's real aim was to control the Balkans, and ultimately Russia.
There is no sign of weakening resolve amongst the Yugoslav people. The big patriotic, anti-war rallies continue in Belgrade and the other cities and masses of people are assembling on the bridges and occupying factories -- potential NATO targets.
Many of the protesters wear «Target» badges or T-shirts, highlighting the fact they are potential NATO targets. Others wear «Sorry, we didn't know it was invisible» badges, referring to the US Stealth Fighter that was shot down.
Energy supplies, communications centres, transportation, factories, bridges, railway lines, schools, government buildings, hospitals and other infrastructure have been bombed.
On top of the loss of life and the many people who have suffered injuries, the economic impact will be crippling.
Yugoslavia's proposal for a cease-fire last week was rejected out of hand by US, British and NATO leaders. Instead, NATO responded by stepping up the bombing, well into its third week.
NATO ignored the joint statement by Slobodan Milosevic and Kosovan Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova which calls for a solution by «political means».
Rugova had initially supported NATO intervention but is now demanding an end to the bombing.
There is growing evidence that NATO is preparing to send troops in on the ground in Kosovo.
NATO now has full rights over Albania's airspace and the thousands of refugees from Kosovo -- of both Serbian and Albanian ethnic origin -- are the pawns in NATO's military and political manoeuvres.
The extension of the war by NATO in turn heightens the dangers of its escalation beyond the borders of Yugoslavia and for the possible involvement of Russia.
When NATO was set up in Washington 50 years ago, it was loudly trumpeted as a «defensive alliance» intended to ensure Europe's «collective security». The USSR, far and away the strongest European power, which had moreover played the principal role in defeating the most recent aggressor to attack Europe -- Nazi Germany -- was understandably sceptical.
The Soviet Union applied to join the new «defensive» alliance, pointing out that European security could not be guaranteed without its participation.
NATO's aggressive rather than defensive purpose was immediately exposed when it refused the admission of the USSR.
Nevertheless, NATO's propagandists have spent half a century telling anyone who would listen that the alliance was purely defensive. In the conditions created by Washington's Cold War, many believed this flimflam.
One of the side effects of the US resorting to NATO rather than the UN to cover its aggressive acts in Yugoslavia has been the blinding light it has shone on NATO's real role -- and that of the USA.
The Czech-based organisation «Bloc-Free Europe», certainly no friend of the Soviet Union and the former members of the Warsaw Pact, has sent an open letter to «the representatives of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states on the 50th anniversary of putting their signatures to the Washington declaration».
The letter expresses concern at «the endeavour manifested particularly by the United States» to expand NATO (to now include the Czech Republic amongst other new members in Eastern Europe).
This, the letter points out, «is in contradiction to the individual articles» of the original NATO treaty.
«Today», it says, «the United States is trying to create from NATO, drawn up by the Washington treaty as a defensive alliance of the USA, Canada and a part of European countries, a gendarme of the world and also to involve European countries in responsibility for actions that are taking place above all in the USA's power interest.»
The letter goes on to make the important point: «We see a danger also in that -- as shown by the activities of NATO in Yugoslavia -- NATO intends to intervene militarily in individual countries without the approval of the UN Security Council and without respect for the UN Charter.»
The letter characterises such intervention as «a gross offence againstinternational law».
«We know that those who resort to making light of international law are those to whom this law is becoming too tight for enforcing their goals.
«We appeal to member states of NATO to bring to an end this hazardous policy of an effort for supremacy and Americanisation of the world....
«We are convinced that it is necessary to start speedily a discussion about the security of Europe and the world based on the observation of international law and the principles of the United Nations.»
The attack by NATO on Yugoslavia has cut through all the Western spin-doctoring about NATO like a laser through butter.
Rob Green, Chair of the anti-nuclear weapons World Court Project UK, in an e-mail alerting other peace groups to the Russian report that a US B2 stealth bomber had dropped an Electro Magnetic Pulse weapon on Yugoslavia (see separate story this page) commented: «It means that, sensibly, the Russians have a sophisticated intelligence-gathering capability in Yugoslavia, to get first-hand information on how NATO is performing.»
Even a year ago that «sensibly» would not have appeared.
Green added: «I saw a report that the first people to inspect the downed F117 Stealth fighter-bomber were a Russian `trade mission'...»
And nuclear disarmament activist Peter Coombes in a circular letter to peace activists on the Internet wrote: «The NATO war against Yugoslavia is extremely dangerous and obviously frightening....
«NATO has set a military precedent of unilateral action that is a direct security threat to Russia, China, and others....
«There should be no doubt that this NATO military action will stall all efforts to bring about nuclear disarmament.
«Until recently I have made the assumption that NATO would not be a threat to Russia and would not intervene in Russia's internal disputes following agreements to disarm nuclear weapons.
«Today, I am deeply aware that my assumption has been strongly challenged by the unfolding of events in Europe and NATO's reaction to the UN and Russia.»
As with its previous acts of aggression, from Korea to the Gulf, the US is using its war against Yugoslavia to test a range of new weapons under battlefield conditions. These include the billion- dollar B2 stealth bomber and, according to Russian sources, Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons.
Developed at the Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratories, the EMP weapon is apparently an attempt to produce the kind of electro- magnetic disturbance seen in nuclear explosions but in a «controlled environment» and without nuclear fallout or radioactivity.
The purpose of the EMP weapon is ostensibly to disrupt an enemy's electronics and communications in order to weaken their defensive capability. But it can also have serious effects on people.
The US has been testing and using smaller electronic magnetic pulse weapons since at least the mid 1980s. They were reportedly used against the anti-US bases demonstrators at Greenham Common where the side effects ranged from nose bleeding and hair loss to miscarriages and cancer.
They also induced panic. The larger weapon used in Yugoslavia, dropped by a B2 bomber, was probably also intended to have similar effects, although on a larger scale.
As with other innovative weapons the US has tested in conflicts - - such as Agent Orange in Vietnam, depleted uranium in Iraq -- the long term health effects of EMP weapons should be of grave concern to the international community.
The NATO attack on Yugoslavia also provided an opportunity for Germany to«test» its air force's effectiveness in action over a foreign country for the first time since WW2.
Germany's new Social Democratic Government, like Britain's Labour Government, is pursuing the same foreign policy as its right-wing predecessor.
In Germany's case, this means trying to make Germany not just a power again in Europe but the power, with strong aspirations to dominance over Eastern Europe too.
«Might is not right. NATO's bombing is an act of aggression against a sovereign country. What price the UN now?
«No person, no country can simply recite itself into a field of action whose gates are locked against it by a superior law.
«The United Nations Charter is every country's superior law; it prescribes that no country or group of countries shall resort to the use of force against another, save in self-defence, except under the authority of the United Nations.
«NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia have not been authorised by the United Nations. That authority was not even sought. They are therefore acts of aggression against a sovereign country; and as such they strike at the heart of the rule of international law and the authority of the United Nations. Because they are acts undertaken by the world's most militarily powerful countries, that damage is incalculable....»
In a statement the Portuguese Communist Party says that «the war operations carried out in the Balkans and now against Yugoslavia, under the pretence of humanitarian aims, are an integral part of the vast offensive of the US to change NATO into a political and military block which is planned to operate in any part of the world at its own free-will, to squash all those who oppose their interests.
«It is necessary to remember that, falsely involving the defence of freedom and democracy, NATO harboured from its foundation the fascist dictatorship of Salazar of Portugal, the dictatorship of the Greek colonels and the Turkish dictatorship. It was linked to the neo-fascist coups in Italy in 1964 and 1969. It was an accomplice of the harshest dictatorships in South Africa, Iran and Latin America.
«NATO professes to intervene in any corner of the world, even setting aside the UN and international law. Its interventions in Yugoslavia are models of its new interventionist philosophy, once again jeopardising the peace of Europe and the world with its retinue of horrors.»
volver al comienzo del documento