New Worker Online Digest

Week commencing 26th March, 1999.

1) Editorial -- Stop NATO!

2) Lead story -- Stop the bombing!

1) Editorial

Stop NATO!

ONCE again a stream of sickening propaganda is pouring out of Washington and London as these major capitalist powers try to sanitize their murderous war threats against a weaker, but proudly defiant, country.

We heard it all last Christmas when Britain and America connived to bomb Iraq again. Now it is Yugoslavia's turn to be vilified, condemned and subjected to brutal air attacks.

It is sickening to listen to because the entire Anglo-American case rests on blaming the Yugoslav government for the present fighting in Kosovo and holding it solely responsible for the plight of the refugees an other civilian victims.

The undoubted suffering of people caught up in this conflict is being cynically used to justify an even bigger war and even more death and destruction.

What's more, the pretext for Nato's threatened war turns the truth on its head.

For years the Western powers have repeatedly spat upon Yugoslav sovereignty. Even the country's name is ignored and replaced in news reports and politicians' speeches with «Serbia». And if the Yugoslav federation is today a predominantly Serbian state that is only because the west has encouraged and aided the breaking away of other parts of the former Yugoslav Republic.

Kosovo, an autonomous part of Yugoslavia, is clearly next on the West's list of for detachment. It is also an area of fertile valleys, forests, rich mineral deposits and a valuable metallurgical industry. While it remains inside Yugoslavia this wealth is locked away -- in a separate state of Kosovo it would be there for the picking!

And what of the war? While the West heaps all the blame on Belgrade it has in reality been the West that has covertly equipped the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). The smart new uniforms, guns and other equipment were not manufactured in Kosovan mountain huts nor provided by struggling Albania. They have been supplied by outside forces -- western forces.

It is a case of foreign powers blatantly intruding into the internal affairs o sovereign nation, a long standing member of the United Nations, and encouraging separatist elements to wage war against it. When the Yugoslav government resisted it was accused of aggression.

Nato's increased pressure on the Yugoslav government has nothing to do with concern for the victims of war. The motive is to serve up a victory for the KLA -- a victory it is clearly incapable of winning on its own even with the guns and bullets already donated.

All of this raises another question. Why are the major capitalist powers going to such extreme lengths to break up Yugoslavia when they are usually able to exploit countries through more subtle methods?

The answer is that Yugoslavia, if it were left intact, would be a militarily strong force in the region -- but not a force under the control of Nato or the Western European Union. Also, though Yugoslavia was not a communist country and was not part of either the Warsaw Pact or Comecon, it had, and still has, a sector of its economy that is under state control.

Many countries, including the once powerful republics of the former Soviet Union, can be pressed into giving up their natural wealth and valuable assets rough compulsory privatisation programmes imposed by the West in exchange for derisory handouts.

Yugoslavia shows no sign of rolling over so easily. Therefore the stick is being used rather than the carrot.

The leading capitalist states already have Yugoslav blood on their hands -- they egged-on and aided separatists in Bosnia, Croatia and lately in Kosovo. Now they talk of plunging in up to their armpits. And at the heart of it all is capitalism and its insatiable desire for more and more and more.

If the threats become reality the consequences will be terrible for the whole region. Other countries will be affected and the death and devastation will be greater than anything that has gone before in the effort to break-up Yugoslavia.

We need to vigorously protest against our government's stance now! Every decent citizen should make their voice heard -- NO TO NATO WAR ON YUGOSLAVIA!

Stop the bombing!

by Andy Brooks

WAR has erupted in the Balkans. Anglo-American imperialism, backed by the rest of the Nato pack, has declared war against Yugoslavia. American B-52 bombers and RAF Barriers are hitting targets in Serbia and Montenegro. Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevich has called on his people to remained «determined» in the face of Western aggression and carry on working to «help the army and defend the nation». The attack has provoked outrage in Moscow and Beijing.

Anglo-American warplanes are hitting Belgrade and the Kosovan provincial capital of Pristina to bomb the Yugoslavs into the ground and seize their province of Kosovo -- part of Serbia since 1913 when the Turks were driven out.

Nato has some 400 warplanes readied for action against the Yugoslavs together with an arsenal of Cruise missiles on board ship including some on a Royal Navy submarine in the eastern Mediterranean.

Blair and Clinton led the orchestrated justification for the war by claiming it was done to save the Albanian minority in Kosovo, whose «Kosovan Liberation Army» is armed and financed by the West. Last minute Yugoslav efforts to stop the war, including an appeal for an intervention by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, failed in the face of Washington's ultimatum that Belgrade must accept the West's terms for Kosovo including the deploymentof Nato troops in the province.

The Yugoslavs, though overwhelmingly outgunned by the might of imperialism, warn that they will meet force with force. And their armed forces are capable of hitting Nato bases in Bosnia, Macedonia, Hungary and Italy.

Russian demand

Russia is demanding an emergency meeiing of the UN Security Council to try and stop the war. Russian premier Yevgeny Primakov called off his trip to the United States mid-flight in protest and President Yeltsin went on television to warn of the danger of a much wider European war.

In the Russian parliament, the Duma, members of the communist and nationalist blocs are calling for military assistance to Yugoslavia and the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in neighbouring Belarus.

Chinese call

People's China made its opposition clear at the United Nations. «Any military action against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia without the authorisation of the UN Security Council will be a severe violation of the UN Charter and established principles of international law,» Qin Huasun declared. «Such action will not be accepted by the international community,».


He told reporters that «the question of Kosovo is an internal matter» for Yugoslavia. The Chinese UN representative said: «The Chinese government believes that it should be settled politically through dialogues, on the basis of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yugoslavia and the guarantee of the legitimate rights and interests of the ethnic groups in the region,»

Grave Crisis

Blair has refused to allow a Commons vote on the crisis -- a snivelling tactic he's done before over Iraq. The government has the support of the Tory leader and the Liberal Democrats.

But in parliament on the eve of the fighting veteran Labour MP Tony Benn called the proposed action disgraceful and illegal as it had not been sanctioned by the UN or voted on in the Commons.

This was echoed by the Tory MP Sir Peter Tapsell who accused Blair of «weasel words» and said the Prime Minister should admit he was proposing to wage war against «one of the great fighting peoples of Europe. The British people should be told now that we are embarking inevitably in ground operations that will result in heavy casualties.»

Some of Blair's New Labour intake laughed at his remarks.

* Five Labour MPs, Tony Benn, Jeremy Corbyn, Alice Mahon, Alan Simpson and Robert Wareing have signed an Early Day protest motion «That this House recognises that Nato military action against Yugoslavia has not been endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, does not have the support of the Contact Group on Kosovo, contravenes the sovereign status of a recognised state, is likely to cause further civilian casualties and could lead to an escalation of conflict with consequent loss of life on all sides, therefore opposes the bombing of Yugoslavia by Nato, and calls on Her Majesty's Government to adopt a policy of assisting a negotiated resolution of the terrible crisis in Kosovo in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter.»

* Labour CND and the Serbian community in London are holding protest vigils outside Downing St. All readers are urged rejoin them.

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