Bombs Down, Shares Up

While the war against Yugoslavia has led to an unprecedented surge in US share prices, it is leading to devastation not only for Yugoslavia but to other European countries as well.

The US vultures profiting from the war were major sponsors of the recent «spectacular» of NATO's fiftieth birthday celebrations held in Washington.

An Associated Press article tells it all:

«Amid platters of stuffed grape leaves and hummus laid out in the Turkish ambassador's residence, diplomats, Congress members and federal officials mingled with executives whose corporations are kicking in $250,000 apiece for the NATO summit.

«Schmoozing and talking business with leaders from 43 foreign countries and the United States are part of the payoff for American corporate sponsors helping finance the receptions, logistics and hoopla surrounding NATO's 50th anniversary.

«General Motors, Ameritech and Boeing are among 13 companies so far that have donated at least a quarter-million dollars [each] in cash or goods and services. That buys one of their executives a spot on the summit host committee's `Board of Directors', which is dominated by communications and defence companies.

«It's a natural for us, because Ameritech is the largest foreign investor in European telecommunications», company spokesman George Steinitzer said.

«Ameritech is awaiting Federal Communications Commission permission to merge with another company with a seat on the host committee board, SBC Communications.

«Other board members are well known in Washington political circles. As a group, the 13 companies spent $52 million on lobbying last year.»

Defence contractors

«Giving at least $25,000 [each] to join the committee are 28 other company including defence contractors Northrop Grumman and Raytheon; The Washington Post Foundation; and the lobbying firm Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand, which also represents foreign clients.

«It's a great opportunity for these businesses», host committee spokeswoman Dana Vickers Shelley said. «The heads of government and the heads of state will be there, but included in their delegations will be foreign trade ministers and other officials.»

«Some donations let companies show off their products: DaimlerChrysler is donating Mercedes to help ferry the delegates around town; Motorola is providing cellular telephones to be carried over Nextel Communications' network, another donation; Microsoft is providing software.

What's not for sale?

«It leads me to think, `What's not for sale anymore?'» said Bill Hogan, director of investigative projects for the Centre for Public Integrity, a Washington watchdog group. «One would be hard-pressed to think of any other board of directors where the only qualification is paying your way on to it.»

«Standing near a buffet table at the ambassador's residence, Boeing Senior Vice President Christopher Hansen said his company simply was supporting NATO. «We think it's important to reinforce the alliance», Hansen said. «I wouldn't want to make the justification on a business level.»

NATO hosts

«Forty-one companies have joined the NATO host committee, contributing cash or services for the summit. A donor offering $250,000 wins a place on the «Board of Directors» and those qualifying include Ameritech, Daimler-Chrysler, Boeing, Ford, General Motors, Honeywell, Lucent Technologies, Microsoft, Motorola, Nextel Communications, SBC Communications, TRW United Technologies.

«You could be listed as a «Host» for $100,000; a «Benefactor» for $50,000; and a «Patron» for $25,000. (Acknowledgment to the Global Resource Action Centrefor the Environment).»

War prize

But arms contracts are not the only war prize. The mineral wealth of Kosovo also makes the big corporations drool at the mouth.

«The Stari Trg mine, with its warehouses, is ringed with smelting plants, 17 metal treatment sights, freight yards, railroad lines, a power plant and the country's largest battery plant», says the New York Times. This mining complex contains glittering veins of lead, zinc, cadmium, gold and silver.

The Trepce mining complex, also in Kosovo is «the most valuable piece of real estate in the Balkans, worth at least $5 billion,» says the <MI>NYT» Lignite deposits in the Kosovo mines are sufficient for the next 13 centuries and the capacity of the lead and zinc refineries rank third in the world.

Kosovo also has 17 billion tons of coal reserves. These mines alone are sufficient to explain the interest of imperialism in prizing Kosovo out of the Serbian grasp.


The catastrophic consequences of the war for Balkan and other European countries are beginning to be felt.

Trade via the River Danube has been disrupted as a result of Yugoslavian bridges being bombed into the river. Of course, this does not worry the US, Britain or France, far away from the conflict region.

In Italy, tourism has declined disastrously, as has the Adriatic fishing industry.

Estimates of the direct costs of the war, should it last till the end of 1999, amount to US$58 billion and NATO member states have announced increased taxation to meet the costs of the war.

But it is the economy of Yugoslavia which is being bombed «back to the stone age» by the ferocious bombing which surpasses anything rained down on Germany in WW2 or even against Iraq.

The IMF is totting up the cost to the countries bordering Yugoslavia. «Balkan States face a $4bn bill» says the Australian Financial Review (29/4/99).

Another consequence is the slump in the value of the euro. Its value has gone down by 10 per cent since being launched at the beginning of this year. A major target of the US in forcing the bombing of Yugoslavia and pushing for a ground invasion to keep the war going as long as possible is to knock out its European rival. US world domination means subjugating its European competitors as well.

This is the price to be paid for the cowardly surrender to the American dictatorship by almost all of the governments of European countries -- not to mention the killed and wounded and the millions losing their homes and their jobs.

This article was published in The Guardian, newspaper of the Communist Party of Australia in its issue of Wednesday, May 5th, 1999. Contact address: 65 Campbell Street, Surry Hills.
Sydney. 2010 Australia. Phone: (612) 9212 6855 Fax: (612) 9281 5795.
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