Foreign Policy News Stories
Multinational Corporations Profit from
"CORPORATION CRACKDOWNS: BUSINESS
by Arvind Ganesan, Dollars and Sense, May/June 1999
In the sleepy fishing village of Veldur
in India, Sadhana Bhalekar, a young woman in her mid-twenties,
was taking a bath on the morning of June 3, 1997, when police
broke down her door, beat her retarded nephew, and mercilessly
dragged her naked out of her house. They
beat and then arrested her. She was three
months pregnant at the time. The police officer in charge reportedly
said, "This is Baba Bhalekar's wife, bash her head on the
road." Why? Vithal "Baba" Bhalekar, is a leading
opponent of the Houston-based Enron Corporation's Dabhol Power
project-the largest power plant in the world-in the state of Maharashtra,
India. The brutal police raid on Veldur village was clearly an
act of terror to silence critics of the project.
Police assaults against opponents of Enron's
project are a regular occurrence in Ratnagiri district, where
the power plant is located. Authorities threw in jail a high profile
critic of the project, Sadanand Pawar, an economics professor
from Bombay, because he had "spread false information to
the public which is against Enron."
The police-in what is often viewed as
the world's largest democracy-criminalized demonstrations against
Enron in December 1996, by banning all "public utterance
of cries, singing of songs, playing of music" and the "delivery
of harangues, the use of gestures or mimetic representations,
and the preparation, exhibition, or dissemination of pictures,
symbols, placards, or any other object or thing which may in the
opinion of such authority offend against decency or morality...."
The orders squashing free speech expire every 15 days, but police
routinely renew them to maintain the semblance of rule of law.
By March 1998, more than 3,000 people had been jailed, and some
beaten, simply for demonstrating against the project.
The Indian state government did everything
it could to ensure that Enron's project would move forward. What
about the company? Enron paid the police who arrested and beat
the protesters and continues to pay them to this day, a relationship
legal under state law. Enron also loaned police a helicopter to
survey the demonstrators.
But the actions of the company go beyond
material and financial support for abusive police. On at least
four occasions, contractors for the company directly threatened,
harassed, and attacked individuals who opposed the project. When
the victims tried to press charges, they found the rule of law
did not operate for them. The police looked the other way in some
cases. In others, the police arrested the victims.
The corporation denies any culpability.
Instead, the multinational criticizes human rights organizations
for documenting its abuses.
Since the East India Company first embarked
on colonial ventures centuries ago, corporations have been complicit
in human rights abuses. Because energy companies like Enron invariably
displace residents from their land, or make it unlivable by polluting
it, they are involved in some of the worst human rights abuses
today. They have received more attention since November 1995,
when the Nigerian government executed human rights activist Ken
Saro-Wiwa and eight others who opposed the environmental devastation
wrought by Royal Dutch Shell in the Ogoniland region. An international
campaign against Shell continues to this day even as the corporation,
the largest foreign investor in Nigeria, has endorsed United Nations
human rights guidelines and says it will devise policies to follow
Since Saro-Wiwa's death, human rights
and environmental organizations have stepped up their scrutiny
of corporate abuses and ugly corporate partnerships with repressive
governments. Local and national governments increasingly vie for
lucrative business deals with multinationals and are more than
willing to sideline human rights in favor of commerce. Similarly,
the United States and other home governments of corporations are
only too happy to support these multibillion-dollar energy or
infrastructure projects by taking human rights off their foreign
Companies and governments often argue
that these investments will improve human rights, but a cursory
look at operations throughout the world in the 1990s paints a
very different picture.
* Mobil Oil's natural gas subsidiary provided
the bulldozers used by the Indonesian military to dig mass graves
during its murderous campaign to crush an insurgency on the island
of Aceh in the early 1990s, according to allegations that only
recently surfaced. Indonesia is the world's largest exporter of
liquefied natural gas.
* Since 1993, when they began construction
on the Yadana natural gas field and pipeline in Burma, the French
oil company TOTAL and the U.S.-based Unocal partnered with the
brutal Burmese junta. The Burmese military providing security
for the project killed, tortured, raped, and conscripted the labor
of villagers along the pipeline's route, according to press accounts.
These charges will soon be judged in a California federal court,
where a lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights
and Earth Rights International alleges that Unocal benefited from
the use of forced labor and the Burmese military's human rights
* In 1996, the human rights world learned
of British Petroleum's multimillion-dollar contracts with the
Colombian military-among the world's most brutal-to provide security
for BP's exploitation of the massive Cusiana-Cupiagua oil fields.
These fields were the largest discovered in the Western Hemisphere
* Exxon is under fire after the slaughter
of 20 citizens living near the oil company's proposed pipeline
through Chad and Cameroon. The German parliament and African and
European groups predict further human rights violations, forced
relocations, and environmental damage once construction begins.
Environmental organizations from the North and South are calling
on the World Bank to suspend funding for the project until Exxon
addresses these issues. The pipeline would make Chad one of Africa's
top five oil exporters.
Burma, Colombia, Indonesia, and Nigeria.
All are countries with a history of rule by repressive governments
even without the collusion of multinationals. In this context,
corporations often argue that their presence and investment will
improve human rights. Superficially, "constructive engagement,"
as this argument is called, has merit: If economic activity increases,
so will the possibility of international dialogue with abusive
governments and an improvement of living standards that gives
citizens the power to raise their voices in protest.
Human rights violations become framed
as a "necessary evil" that insures improvement in the
long term. Essentially this view serves to justify million or
even billion-dollar investments in abusive countries.
Mobil-soon to merge with Exxon- is the
most vocal on the issue. Its "editorial advertisements"
lambast government sanctions to punish abusive governments. In
one 1997 ad Mobil wrote: "Rather than taking action that
merely makes us feel virtuous, government should clarify its objectives
and weigh the full costs before imposing sanctions. It should
seek ways to engage, not retreat..." Joining Mobil in attacking
sanctions is the American Petroleum Institute, an industry-funded
advocacy organization and think tank. Its August 1998 report-titled
"Oil and Natural Gas Industry Promotes Human Rights Abroad"-proclaimed
that the use of "sanctions to punish regimes that abridge
their peoples' human rights" denies local people the "rights
enhancements" that oil companies "confer." This
report was written in conjunction with USA*ENGAGE, another industryfunded
lobbying organization whose purpose is to severely limit or curtail
the use of sanctions by the U.S. government.
The reality is that "constructive
engagement" with undemocratic governments is a myth. Instead,
engagement has the opposite impact as a look at only the last
five years reveals. Consider Burma, where Unocal claims its Yadana
gas project-the largest single foreign investment in the country-"is
bringing sustainable, long-term, economic and social benefits
to the 35,000 villagers living in the immediate pipeline region
and lasting benefits to the people of Myanmar [Burma]." The
IMF reports that Burma's economy is collapsing, there is virtually
no social spending by the military junta, and there is no short-term
prospect for reforms, despite foreign investment. Throughout this
process, the military junta tightened its grip over the country.
Similarly, in Kazakhstan, President Nursultan
Nazarbaev signed a deal with Chevron in 1993 to develop the nine-billion
barrel Tengiz field-the world's largest single oil discovery since
1967, worth at least $78 billion. Five years after the deal was
inked, Nazarbaev has shut down the independent media, announced
snap elections, and arrested and harassed his leading political
opponent to insure that no credible opposition can challenge his
increasingly autocratic rule. He also appointed his son-in-law
to manage the state oil company.
The most compelling evidence, not just
of constructive engagement's failure, but of its role in undermining
progress on human rights, comes from a seemingly unlikely source-the
final report of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The commission found that corporations were "willing collaborators"
with the apartheid regime since the early 1960s with "a direct
interest in maintaining the status quo." They bypassed attempts
to impose sanctions by "forming partnerships with South African
parastatal organizations." The apartheid regime "depended
on five major oil companies to break the oil ban: Shell, British
Petroleum (BP), Mobil, Caltex, and Total."
"Foreign investment prevented governments
from taking any real action against apartheid" because of
the pressure exerted by these companies to maintain the system,
said the commission-a pattern we see today. Some examples of government-corporate
complicity in abuses:
Just this year, the Dutch government reversed
its long criticism of China's human rights record and refused
to sponsor a United Nations Human Rights
Commission resolution condemning China.
In February, the Chinese government awarded Royal Dutch Shell
the largest single foreign investment in Chinese history-a $4.5
billion contract to build an ethylene plant with a government
In March 1998, the U.S. State Department
ignored its own report on human rights abuses in Turkmenistan
to okay a $96 million award from the Export-Import Bank to four
U.S. companies selling natural gas and other equipment to the
country. Any Ex-Im Bank loan over $10 million requires the State
Department to conduct a human rights impact assessment "to
determine if it may give rise to significant human rights concerns."
Its 1997 human rights report began with the statement, "Turkmenistan,
a one-party state dominated by its President and his closest advisers,
made little progress in moving from a Soviet-era authoritarian
style of government to a democratic system." Its state security
forces "operate with relative impunity and have been responsible
for abusing the rights of individuals as well as enforcing the
Government's policy of repressing political opposition."
Turkmenistan possesses some of the largest
oil and gas reserves in Central Asia and companies such as Mobil,
Exxon, and Royal Dutch Shell operate there. So the State Department
okayed the deal that gives Bateman Engineering, Dresser Rand,
Corning, and General Electric $96 million in public funds.
While Turkmenistan's president Saparmurad
Niyazov was visiting President Clinton a month later, the U.S.
government's Trade and Development Administration awarded Enron
a $750,000 grant to conduct a pipeline feasibility study for a
proposed $2.8 billion pipeline in Turkmenistan. (General Electric
and Bechtel, both U.S. companies, eventually won the pipeline
project in February 1999.) After the Enron deal was signed, the
White House issued a press release stating, "Turkmenistan
is committed to strengthening the rule of law and political pluralism,
including free and fair elections for Parliament and the presidency
in accordance with international standards...." But when
reporters asked Niyazov about the government's attitude toward
opposition parties, he said, "We do not have any opposition
parties-you are ill-informed. We have none."
U.S. officials said they raised human
rights issues privately with Niyazov during his April 1998 visit.
The U.S. and Turkmen governments played the game of "hostage
politik"-where repressive governments release political prisoners
to gain political and commercial favor with Washington-during
the visit. The State Department lobbied for and secured the release
of 10 political prisoners which the U.S. government then cited
as an example of improvement in human rights, in justification
of its commercial interests.
Behind the political smokescreens, undemocratic
governments further consolidate their stranglehold over resources
and revenues once partnered with international corporations. A
dictatorship or one-party state has no incentive to distribute
its gains to a population it does not pretend to represent. Agreements
between a company and a repressive government are essentially
deals between two private parties-they are a profit-making enterprise
for the company and for those in power. When a resource brings
in hard currency, like oil, an autocratic government often becomes
a kleptocratic one, enabling a few to steal the wealth of the
nation. Then there is Enron. If increased investment necessarily
leads to improvements in human rights and respect for the rule
of law, then how to explain the human rights violations surrounding
the company's power project in India? India is considered the
world's largest democracy, governing under the banner of human
rights, the rule of law, and an active judiciary. It largely accepts
free expression and peaceful assembly. The conflict in the Ratnagiri
district flows directly from the conduct of Enron's subsidiary
and the state after villagers opposed the seizure of their lands,
and the polluting and diversion of their water. The abuses visited
upon dissenting villagers are traceable to the supposedly beneficial
investment by Enron.
Despite cheerleading that promotes foreign
investment as the key to improving human rights, the reality is
human rights are not safeguarded-even in countries considered
democratic-without forceful action on the scale that defeated
apartheid in South Africa. Financial institutions must enact human
rights guidelines in their loans. Campaigns sanctioning corporate
investors must enlist the support of those suffering under corporate/government
collusion. Corporate codes on human rights-such as those enacted
by Unocal and Shell after their operations in Burma and Nigeria
were exposed-are only one piece of a project that requires action
by governments, financial institutions, and the citizenry of the
NIGERIA'S "PROGRESS" Nowhere
is the need for concerted action more urgent than in Nigeria,
the largest oil producer in Africa, and the fifth largest in the
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Instead
of this rich resource transforming Nigeria into one of the most
prosperous states on the African continent and a model of human
rights and democracy, these natural resources have enriched a
small minority and multinationals at the expense of human rights.
Ironically, in August 1998, Mobil called
on governments to "Seize the Day"-not to tie increased
investment to real improvements in human rights by corporations
and the government-but to promote foreign investment in Nigeria
as a way to engage the repressive regime.
It is true that the military government
led by General Abdusalami Abubakar released many political prisoners
and relaxed restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly, and
association. It allowed elections so that now Olusegun Obasanjo
is Nigeria's civilian president.
But the situation in the oil-producing
Niger Delta is worsening, contrary to oil companies' claims that
they improve human rights.
In the Niger Delta, protests directed
at oil companies and the lack of development are increasing. Many
of the projects built by oil company money in areas largely ignored
by the Nigerian government are inappropriate for the needs of
the communities or shoddily carried out, exacerbating conflicts
within and among the oil-producing communities. Protesters regularly
occupy flow stations, stop production, or take oil workers hostage.
The Nigerian government set up special
task forces to handle security issues in the region, including
the protests of Saro-Wiwa and his allies. They crack down on anyone
deemed a threat to oil production. In virtually every community
in the oil regions, the paramilitary Mobile Police, the regular
police, or the army continue to beat, detain, or even kill those
involved in protests, peaceful or otherwise. They target whistleblowers
for arrest, including a coordinator of the African section of
the international watchdog group Oil Watch.
In a particularly brutal series of incidents
on December 30, saw youths protesting against multinational oil
companies throughout Bayelsa State were met with an influx of
several thousand military personnel. Two days later, in the town
of Yenagoa, security forces killed 25 youths over three days.
The government detained at least a dozen more.
Five days later, 100 armed soldiers, using
boats and a helicopter owned by Chevron, attacked Opia and Ikenyan,
two small communities of perhaps 500 people each in the north
part of Delta State. Community members told Human Rights
Watch later that they were used to seeing
Chevron's helicopter flying low over the community since two Chevron
wells are within 100 metres of Opia. At first they thought nothing
of it, but as the helicopter approached the village this time
it started firing down at them. It then flew to nearby Ikenyan
and opened fire. Soldiers then sped to shore in what appeared
to be Chevron's boats and opened fire, killing at least two people
in each village, including the traditional leader of Ikenyan who
was approaching them to negotiate. Fifteen people from Opia and
47 from Ikenyan are still missing. The soldiers torched each village
before they left, destroying virtually all the houses and sinking
Chevron defended the soldiers, who claimed
to be "counterattacking" youths who threatened them
as they were guarding a Chevron drilling rig. Villagers said they
knew of no such altercation. Chevron expresses no regret for what
happened. In this environment, companies cannot claim human rights
Turkey Destroys Kurdish Villages with
"TURKEY'S WAR ON THE KURDS'
by Kevin McKiernan Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, March/April
Behind army lines in the Turkish province
of Siirt, scores of frightened refugees were on the run. They
were Kurdish families, fleeing a village that had recently been
burned by the Turkish army. When I caught up to them, they were
fording the Tigris River, guiding a long line of donkeys laden
with refrigerators and other goods.
In the village, most of the houses were
in ashes. Only a handful of residents had returned to scavenge
some of their belongings. The local mayor told me that an army
commander, accompanied by a group of government-armed village
guards, had arrived and given residents 24 hours to get out of
town. Some quickly dug holes in the outlying fields to bury valuables;
others just gathered up what they could carry and abandoned the
I walked through the rubble, taking pictures.
The destruction was fresh, maybe a couple of days old, and some
of it was still smoldering. I heard an army helicopter overhead.
It was American-made, a Sikorsky Black Hawk, the type the Turkish
army uses to land troops in the villages. But it was high in the
air, on a different mission. I finished my work and moved on.
ROOTS RUN DEEP. At 25 million, the Kurds
are the largest ethnic group in the world without their own state.
With a similar language, religion, and culture, the Kurds have
lived for thousands of years in an area that is now part of Turkey,
Iraq, Iran, Syria, and the former Soviet Union. Today, the 15
million Kurds who live in Turkey constitute about 25 percent of
that country's population.
After World War I, Kurds hoped to create
a homeland from the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire, but those
dreams vanished with the birth of the Turkish Republic in 1923.
Riding a wave of nationalism, Mustafa Kemal, known as Ataturk,
"the Father of the Turks," imposed a single identity
on the multicultural population of Turkmans, Armenians, Assyrians,
Kurds, and others. Most minorities were forcibly assimilated,
everyone became a Turk. (The Kurds were called "Mountain
Turks" until after the Gulf War in 1991.)
In the first 25 years of the Turkish Republic
there were dozens of Kurdish uprisings. All were crushed, but
discontent continued. In 1984, a Marxist-led group called the
PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party, began an armed struggle against
The war in Turkey represents the single
largest use of U.S. weapons anywhere in the world by non-U.S.
forces, according to Bill Hartung of the World Policy Institute.
"I can think of no instance since the Israeli invasion of
Lebanon in 1982,' he said, "where American weaponry has been
put to this concentrated a use." In 15 years of fighting
in Turkey nearly 40,000 lives have been lost, more than in the
conflicts on the West Bank and in Northern Ireland combined. The
two million refugees produced by the war in Kurdistan are roughly
the number of homeless created by the widely reported war in Bosnia,
where U.S. weapons were not a factor. In contrast, 75 percent
of the Turkish arsenal was made in the United States, according
Despite these statistics, the civil strife
in Turkey has received comparatively little coverage in the U.S.
media. Television news rarely mentions the Kurds, unless the story
relates to the Iraqi Kurds. It is almost as though there are two
sets of Kurds: the Kurds in Iraq, who seem to be viewed as the
"good" Kurds because they oppose Saddam, and the Kurds
in Turkey, who are "bad" because they oppose a U.S.
ally. It doesn't seem to matter that there are four times as many
Kurds in Turkey, or that both populations have suffered repression
from their respective governments.
Until 1991, Kurdish music and language,
dress, associations, and newspapers were banned by the Turkish
government. After the Gulf War, Kurdish printing was legalized,
but in the intervening years numerous Kurdish newspaper offices
have been bombed and closed. More than a dozen Kurdish journalists,
as well as numerous politicians and activists, have been killed
by death squads (human rights groups list more that 4,000 extrajudicial
killings during the period). Despite 15 years of fighting the
PKK, Turkey today has no Pows; most rebels, according to the government,
have been "captured dead." But there are large numbers
of civilian Kurds in Turkish prisons where, according to organizations
like Amnesty International, the use of torture is routine.
Kurdish TV and radio are still illegal
in Turkey, although the government has promised to soften the
ban. The Kurdish language still may not be taught in schools or
used by merchants on storefronts or in advertising. It is illegal
in Turkey for parents to give their child a Kurdish name.
SHEPHERDS AND SOLDIERS
In June 1995, the army commander from the city of Mardin informed
residents of the village of Alimlikoy, called Bilalya by the Kurds,
that they would have to go on the payroll of the state as village
guards. The villagers were reluctant to become guards because
that would put them in the middle of the war with the PKK rebels.
They were shepherds who spent long, isolated hours in the mountains
with their flocks; they feared that if they accepted weapons from
the government, they would become targets for the guerrillas.
The Turkish officer gave them two weeks to think about it. When
no answer was forthcoming, he arrested the muhtar, or village
elder. The shepherd who walked me into Alimlikoy overland, around
the blockaded road told me the muhtar had been kept in jail for
several days. He had been beaten, according to the shepherd, "but
On the day the muhtar was released, which
was shortly before my arrival, the villagers hired trucks to haul
away household goods and as much of the ripening harvest of lentils
and barley as they could carry. I arrived in time to see some
of the harvests, piled in heaps by the side of the road. The Kurds
were pouring salvaged grain into plastic bags, which they hoped
to sell at the market. On a hillside, a giant sign read: "Happy
is He Who Can Call Himself a Turk."
Back in Alimlikoy, I asked the shepherd
why he hadn't just agreed to become a guard. "Why would we?"
he asked. "We have our fields and our animals. We have an
"Besides," he said with some
emphasis, "why should we try to do a job that not even the
state can accomplish?"
U.S. - ARMS AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Since 1980 the United States has sold or given Turkey, a NATO
ally, $15 billion worth of weapons. In the last decade the Turkish
army has leveled, burned, or forcibly evacuated more than 3,000
Kurdish villages. That is roughly three-quarters the number of
Kurdish settlements destroyed in Iraq in the 1980s during Saddam
Hussein's infamous "Anfal" campaign, when the West was
arming Iraq and turning a blind eye to widespread human rights
Most of the destruction in Turkey took
place between 1992 and 1995, during the Clinton Administration's
first term. In 1995 the administration acknowledged that American
arms had been used by the Turkish government in domestic military
operations "during which human rights abuses have occurred.
In a report ordered by Congress, the State Department admitted
that the abuses included the use of U.S. Cobra helicopters, armored
personnel carriers, and F-16 fighter bombers. In some instances,
critics say, entire Kurdish villages were obliterated from the
The administration conceded that the Turkish
policy had forced more than two million Kurds from their homes.
Some of the villages were evacuated and burned, bombed, or shelled
by government forces to deprive the PKK of a "logistical
base of operations," according to the State Department report,
while others were targeted because their inhabitants refused to
join the "village guards," a brutal military tactic
patterned on the Vietnam-era "model villages" program
that requires civilian Kurds to fight Kurdish guerrillas.
Human Rights Watch, the New York-based
watchdog group, said the State Department had issued only "half
conclusions" in its report, so as to avoid offending the
Turkish government. Human Rights Watch, which has also criticized
the PKK rebels for serious rights violations, said the U.S.-supplied
Turkish army was "responsible for the majority of forced
evacuation and destruction of villages.'
In a 1998 interview, John Shattuck, the
Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, defended U.S. arms
deliveries to Turkey. Shattuck, a onetime professor at Harvard
and a former member of the advisory board at Amnesty International,
said that although abuses against Kurds were "a matter of
grave concern" to the United States, Turkey's human rights
record was improving. And in any case, he added, "I don't
think the United States is responsible for Turkey's internal policies.'
Some members of Congress strongly disagree.
Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, a Democrat from Georgia, believes
that human rights, democracy, and nonaggression criteria should
be applied before American weapons are sold or given to countries
like Turkey. "If they are going to be our ally and they are
also going to receive our weapons," McKinney said, "the
least that we can do is to suggest to them that they not use the
weapons against their own people." McKinney led the fight
in 1997 for a code of conduct, which would have mandated congressional
review of such transfers. The code, which was opposed by the White
House, passed in the House but did not receive adequate support
in the Senate, where it died in conference committee.
Last September the code was reintroduced
with 80 co-sponsors in the House, but the session adjourned before
a vote could be taken. Congress did pass a less comprehensive
measure, an amendment introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont
Democrat, which prohibits U.S. military aid to foreign security
units that the State Department has found to have "committed
gross violations of human rights." The so-called "Leahy
Amendment" also bars funding for military training programs
if a member of a unit has been found to have committed "gross
human rights violations."
Many Europeans are also uneasy with Turkey's
current policies. Turkey has been angling for admission to the
European Union (EU) for years, but the EU, citing the lack of
freedom of expression, the jailing and torture of dissidents,
and the state of emergency in Kurdish areas, has locked the door.
The Kurdish problem, according to Hugo Paeman, the EU' s ambassador
to the United States, "is only a reflection of the fact that
we don't have the type of government [in Turkey] which we would
feel comfortable with within the European Union."
Paeman, a Belgian, said it was difficult
for the EU to negotiate in good faith with the civilian government
in Ankara when the army generals behind the scenes held the real
power. "Do you feel that you are actually not talking to
the people who are running Turkey?" I asked him. "Up
to a certain point, yes," he responded.
In view of that, I asked, is Turkish democracy
merely a facade? Ambassador Paeman paused to make eye contact
with his aide, a Danish official, before answering. "One
can say that," he replied.
FEEDING THE SPIRIT
When I met Ali in 1996, he was drinking tea and playing cards
in Midyat, one of dozens of Kurdish towns overflowing with refugees.
Ali and his wife and nine kids had all fled Shehkir, a farming
village known for its sweet cherries. Long ago the Turks had changed
the name of the place to Kocasirt, which is how it appeared on
the map. But Ali, like others who had lived there, still called
Having agreed to take me to the village,
Ali drove gingerly down a hill toward his old home, carefully
scanning the rock-studded road for signs of surface digging. He
said the army often mines access to abandoned Kurdish villages.
The week before, on the road to another vacated settlement, a
man and a woman were badly injured when a land mine exploded under
their donkey. "I have seen President Clinton on television,"
he told me in a trusting tone. "I don't think he would permit
these bad things to happen if he knew about them."
Ali said that in the summer of 1994, 16
army tanks rolled through his village searching for Kurdish guerrillas.
Some of the tanks had rubber wheels, like the kind the Germans
sell to Turkey; the others were track vehicles, like the M-48
and M60 tanks made in the United States.
Even though no rebels were found, the
soldiers returned a few months later and delivered an ultimatum
to the people: Become village guards or abandon your homes. The
70-year-old muhtar insisted the villagers had never fed or otherwise
assisted the rebels; they just wanted to grow their crops. He
told the soldiers that the people chose to be left alone. It was
the wrong choice.
A few nights later, the muhtar was dragged
from his home and shot. The townspeople still refused to take
arms from the government. Instead, they gathered their furniture
and household belongings and moved away.
Whatever Kocasirt had been before, it
was now a collection of deserted, burned, and dynamited houses.
It was a ghost town, except for the cemetery. There we encountered
an old woman who had just returned to the village by foot. She
was wailing softly and sprinkling red cherries on a tombstone.
She said she was "feeding the spirit" of her dead brother.
My guide recognized her: She was the sister of the muhtar. Reaching
for a weed in the overgrown graveyard, the woman made a sweeping
motion with one hand. "They just plucked him like a flower,"
THE WASHINGTON-ANKARA ALLIANCE
Because of its strategic location in the Middle East, between
the Balkans and the southern republics of the former Soviet Union,
Turkey has served as a major U.S. ally for more than 50 years.
The low point in the alliance came in 1974, when in response to
the invasion of northern Cyprus by Turkey's U.S.equipped armed
forces, Congress placed
a total embargo on U.S. arms transfers
to Turkey. The invasion, which has been condemned by numerous
U.N. resolutions, might have permanently altered the U.S.-Turkish
relationship had it not been for the fall of the U.S.-backed regime
in Iran in 1979.
For the United States, a decades-old strategy
in the Gulf collapsed with the demise of the Shah. Not only was
its Cold War containment strategy threatened, the United States
now regarded Islam, stretching from North Africa through the Gulf
to southwest Asia, as the single biggest threat to U.S. interests
in the region. Turkey, like Israel and Egypt, would form the cornerstone
of the new policy to contain Iran and the further spread of Islamic
Good relations between the United States
and Turkey weathered a 1980 coup, in which Turkish army generals
overthrew the country's democratically elected leaders. (Almost
20 years later the army's power over the constitution and other
Turkish laws is unquestioned.) Within months of the coup, the
United States and Turkey signed the Defense and Economic Cooperation
Agreement, a treaty which gave the United States the right to
locate military bases in Turkey, which borders both Iran and Iraq,
in exchange for a promise to modernize Turkey's armed forces.
The agreement proved vital to U.S. strategy
against Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War. The Allies flew hundreds
of bombing missions against Iraqi targets from Turkish air space.
The Turks also agreed to shut down the Iraqi pipeline where it
entered Turkey's southeast border. That decision, made at considerable
cost to Turkish interests, was key to the post-war embargo of
Turkey's value to U.S. policy-makers today
is more than just its proximity to Iran and Iraq or the perceived
need to contain the spread of Islam. There is also the issue of
petroleum. The Caspian Sea to the east is thought to contain more
than 100 billion barrels of oil. Capturing the deposits is a mammoth
project, the stakes are high, and the parties play hardball. The
agreement signed by a consortium of global companies to recover
the oil represents the most lucrative contract of any kind in
the twentieth century.
No one yet knows how the crude oil will
be transported to the West, but the United States is pushing for
a pipeline to be built through Turkey to the Mediterranean Sea.
Amoco and British Petroleum, the largest companies in the consortium,
want to build a shorter pipeline through Georgia and then ship
the oil by tanker through the Black Sea. But both companies are
currently involved in other projects in Turkey, and Turkey has
threatened to revoke their operating permits if they fail to support
the Turkish route for Caspian oil. As it turns out, such a route
would pass through the center of Kurdistan. Kurdish guerrillas,
who already have blown up sections of the Iraqi pipeline and Turkish
oil fields in the southeast, have vowed to block the project.
KURDS v. KURDS
In 1994, when I last visited Gorumlu, a settlement tucked into
the base of a mountain on the Turkish side of the Iraqi border,
the village showed signs of support for the rebels, and the area
was often the scene of firefights with the army. But today the
local Kurds are on the government payroll. The village guards
in Gorumlu had joined the widespread program of rural pacification,
the army strategy introduced in 1985. In this area the guards
were especially valuable because they knew the PKK trails along
the border; they had served as scouts for soldiers in several
incursions into Iraq in search of rebel base camps.
Because of their decision, the villagers
were able to keep their homes. The state was giving them weapons,
bullets, U.S.-made Motorola radios, and a salary of $250 a month
far more than they could make as farmers. With their help, the
Turkish army had driven the guerrillas deep into the mountains,
and clashes in the village had become less frequent. But Gorumlu's
switchover was not without cost.
The PKK, many of whose local members had
been recruited from Gorumlu, views both the guards and their families
as Turkish collaborators, and claims that both are legitimate
military targets. Soon after one army incursion into nearby Iraq,
the guerrillas launched a coordinated attack against the village
and the nearby army garrison, resulting in civilian deaths.
During the battle, the army commander
told me he had intercepted a radio transmission, which he said
came from a PKK superior, urging his fighters to "hit the
little mice as well as the big mice."
According to the Turkish officer and several
villagers, four children were killed and several adults were injured
when the PKK threw a grenade through a window of one of the houses.
For its part, the PKK has denied responsibility for the attack,
blaming instead the Kontra Gerilla death squads they say are linked
to the Turkish security forces.
BUYERS AND SUPPLIERS
Today, the United States has several intelligencegathering posts
in Turkey, including a radar installation in Mardin, a largely
Kurdish city. The Mardin facility was built by GM Hughes of E1
Segundo, California, the parent company of Delco Systems. The
radar site is said to be capable of "seeing" deep into
Iraq, Iran, and south central Asia.
NATO has major installations in Turkey,
the most prominent of which is at Incirlik, near the city of Adana.
U.S. intelligence planes, including the giant AWACs, take off
daily from Incirlik for flights over northern Iraq, monitoring
traffic both in Iraq and Iran. U.S. F-15s and F-16s, as well as
British aircraft, make regular sorties into northern Iraq, patrolling
the "no-fly" zone for violations by Saddam Hussein's
Turkey's war with the Kurds draws on weaponry
from dozens of American companies, including McDonnell Douglas,
General Dynamics, Hughes, Boeing, Raytheon, and Bell Textron.
Kurdish refugees driven into northern Iraq from destroyed villages
in Turkey rarely know any English, but in recounting the rocketing
of their settlements, they regularly use the words "Cobra"
and "Sikorsky," the U.S.-made helicopters used to clear
The "King Cobra," the gunship
produced by Bell Textron in Texas, is a strong contender for a
new Turkish arms contract worth almost $4 billion. In 1997 the
State Department granted market licenses to Bell and to Boeing
Aircraft for attack helicopters (Boeing makes the "Apache"
gunship), but future sales by either company could be delayed
if human rights concerns are raised again in Congress. In 1996
Turkey canceled the purchase of 10 Super Cobra helicopters when
Congress delayed that deal to consider whether Turkey was using
the Cobra against Kurdish civilians. If that happens again, Turkey
could buy attack helicopters from France or could turn to a version
of the weapon built jointly by Russia and Israel, without strings
attached. In fact, the burgeoning relationship between Ankara
and Jerusalem which includes Israeli upgrades of Turkey's F-4,
F-5, and F-16 fighters; the development of medium-range missiles;
and the conduct of joint military exercises has increasingly allowed
Turkey to circumvent U.S. and European embargoes.
The giant helicopter sale is one of two
prospective U.S. arms transfers that have generated strong opposition
from human rights groups. The other is a $45-million sale by AV
Technologies in Michigan for 140 armored personnel carriers (APCs)
to Turkey. Turkey already has an estimated 2,800 U.S.-made APCs
(most of which were made in California by FMC the Food Machinery
Corporation). The new APCs are intended for use by Turkey's "anti-terror"
police units. Amnesty International USA conducted a three-year
study on these police groups, which it sent to Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright in an effort to block the transfer. The report
provides examples of identified "anti-terror" units
torturing children, sexually assaulting prisoners, using electric
shock torture, beating, burning, and the near-drowning of suspects,
as well as other gross violations. Among 280 victims of the "antiterror"
units mentioned in the report were "infants, children, and
the elderly." But last December, despite such evidence, the
State Department okayed the arms deal. Because of the recently
enacted Leahy Amendment, some restrictions were placed on the
use of U.S. loans for APCs destined for areas of conflict, but
the export license for all 140 vehicles to the "anti-terror"
police was approved.
That was consistent with past practices,
in which arms deals involving Turkey have moved along expeditiously.
In 1992 and 1993 the Pentagon quietly facilitated a mammoth military
shipment to Turkey at no cost. According to the U.N. arms registry,
the U.S. government turned over 1,509 tanks, 54 fighter planes,
and 28 heavily armed attack helicopters to Turkey. The weapons
were slated for reduction after the Cold War under a 1990 treaty
on conventional forces in Europe. Instead of scrapping them, the
United States simply gave them away. There was no congressional
oversight or public debate about the transfer,
nor was there much question about the
purpose of the unprecedented arms shipment. As Jane's Defense
Weekly revealed as early as 1993, "a high proportion of defense
equipment supplied to Turkey is being used in operations against
Military assistance to Turkey has even
included the use of American soldiers. Last year, according to
the Washington Post, a special operations team authorized by the
Joint Combined Exchange Training Act, a little-known law passed
by Congress, conducted its first mission to Turkey. The U.S. team
was sent to train the Turkish Mountain Commandos, "a unit
whose chief function is to fight Kurdish guerrillas."
Turkey also benefits from the International
Military Education and Training program, a Pentagon program funded
through the foreign aid budget. From 1984, when the PKK's uprising
began, to 1997, about 2,500 Turkish officers received training.
Bill Hartung of the World Policy Institute says that much of the
training of the Turkish military focuses on how to use weapons
already purchased from American companies. Hartung estimates U.S.
taxpayers have already paid "tens of millions of dollars'
to train Turkish forces to fight the Kurds.
Cizre has been "cleaned," the Turkish policeman said
proudly. And in one sense he was right. The largely Kurdish town
of 25,000, located about 50 miles north of the Iraqi border, was
firmly under the control of the Turkish security forces.
When I was there in 1994, Cizre was a
hotbed of PKK resistance. That memory was still fresh as I rented
my old room at the ratty Kadioglu, where an intermittently lit
sign said "Turistik Hotel." The room had an outdoor
balcony, which overlooked the sign, and from there I used to watch
the exchange of tracer fire after dark, the surreal streams of
yellow lighting up the intersection below. In 1992, during Newroz,
the Kurdish new year, the Turkish army shot and killed a photojournalist
near the Kadioglu. Since my last visit, someone had repaired the
concrete balcony by my room, patching over the bullet-pocked walls.
The reception clerk told me he was getting
tired of it all, tired of the war and tired of all the unpaid
tasks he was forced to perform. He was still cooperative with
the police, and he had no use for the rebels. But, like many accommodating
Kurds, he was growing progressively alienated. It was true that
the guerrillas had been driven into the tops of the mountains,
their logistical base disrupted by deforestation and the widespread
destruction of villages. But the government seemed to be losing
the battle for the hearts and minds of ordinary Kurds.
The hotel clerk complained that he had
to inform the police of all movements by reporters: "When
you get up, when you go out, and when you return. It's incredible,"
he said. "We have to telephone three different places each
time: the Army, mit [military intelligence], and the regular police.
Why can't we just call one place, and let them handle the rest?"
What he really wanted was a sort of clearinghouse
for the surveillance of the press, and we got to joking about
it. In jest, I asked him to notify the police that I had used
a hotel toilet at 6 A.M. that day, and again at 7:30.
He smiled, shrugging his shoulders and
rolling his eyes. "What can we do?" he said.
INTERNATIONALIZING THE CONFLICT
The case of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan has raised the profile
of the Kurds in recent months. Ocalan, widely known as Apo was
arrested in November 1998 in the Rome airport after arriving from
Moscow. After a decade of directing PKK activities from Damascus,
Ocalan and other PKK officials had been expelled from Syria a
month earlier when Turkish troops began massing on the border,
threatening to escalate a long-running political feud between
Turkey and Syria.
Turkish officials were jubilant when Ocalan
was detained, but their euphoria soon turned to outrage. The Kurdish
leader, whom the government charged with "tens of thousands
of murders" in the 15-year-old uprising, would have faced
execution if returned to Turkey. But the Italian constitution
bars extradition to countries where the death penalty is in force.
Within days Italy announced it would not extradite, and Ocalan
Turkish politicians unleashed a firestorm
of protest. Across Turkey the police reacted by staging raids
on the offices of Hadep, the legal Kurdish party. More than 3,000
Hadep members were jailed within a few days. According to human
rights groups, a number of party members were subjected to torture;
two died in custody.
In Istanbul, the nation's top business
lobbies urged a total boycott of Italian goods (Italy ranks as
the world's second largest exporter to Turkey). But the European
Union immediately threatened Turkey with economic sanctions if
it followed through with the boycott.
Turkey's harsh attacks on EU-member Italy
seemed especially inflammatory, considering Turkey's persistent
efforts to be accepted for membership in the EU. But the Ocalan
affair was shaping up to be the nastiest row in memory between
NATO members, and the dispute was widening.
Massimo D'Alema, Italy's prime minister,
called on the Kurdish leader to renounce violence, a minimum requirement
to be considered for political asylum. Ocalan responded by saying:
"I am ready to do my part to halt terrorism." He called
for a political solution to the war, a demand that Turkey had
repeatedly rejected. The disavowal of violence was welcomed by
D'Alema, but the Italian leader further angered Turkey by declaring
that the struggle of the Kurdish people was an ancient and complex
problem that could not be regarded solely in the context of terrorism.
The PKK leader likened his cause to that
of the PLO, the IRA, and Basque separatists, movements that sought
to make a transition from warfare to diplomacy. He asserted that
he had come to Italy to launch the political phase of the Kurdish
struggle. Meanwhile, 40,000 Kurds from across Europe gathered
in Germany to demonstrate on Ocalan's behalf.
Others condemned the Kurdish leader. Human
Rights Watch, which had repeatedly attacked Turkey for abuses
against the Kurds, sent a letter to D'Alema charging Ocalan' s
PKK with massacres in Turkey's southeast, primarily in the early
1990s. The majority of the victims were village guards and their
families and Turkish teachers who were targeted by the guerrillas
as state collaborators. Opposing extradition to Turkey, Human
Rights Watch called instead for Ocalan to be tried under international
law in Italy or another EU country.
In January, Ocalan left Italy of his own
accord, reportedly aboard an Italian secret service airplane to
Moscow, from which he transited to an undisclosed location. His
brief appearance on the European stage and the diplomatic tornado
it whipped up had received more publicity in two months than he
or the PKK had generated in 15 years of guerrilla warfare. But
it was increasingly clear that he would not be awarded political
asylum and, with relations deteriorating with Turkey, Italy warned
Ocalan that if he stayed in the country, he might be brought to
trial on terror charges. Ironically, such a trial could also have
been Turkey's worst nightmare if it had exposed state terror as
well as rebel terror and if it had sparked an international review
of the long-standing civil war in that country.
Until now, Turkey has been able to ignore
Western demands for dialogue with the Kurds. The brutal scorched
earth campaign in the southeast has been a military success. The
deforestation and village burnings have been accomplished with
little press attention, a minimum of public debate, and no censure
from the United Nations. And the PKK, though still a force to
be reckoned with, recently has been beset by internal conflicts
and beleaguered by defections. Ocalan's arrest, in Turkey's eyes,
could have finished the rebels once and for all. But now his fate,
the "Kurdish question," and Turkey's suitability as
a member of the European Union have once again been postponed.
In early February, two months in advance
of the increasingly important national elections, Turkey took
steps to ban the Hadep party. Officials said that some members
of Hadep, which has more than 3,000 registered members, had shown
sympathy for the guerrillas by participating in hunger strikes
and other non-violent activity following Ocalan's arrest in Rome.
Hadep represents the Kurds' only potential
interlocutor with the government other than the rebels. The bid
to outlaw the party, which would deny the Kurds any representation
in the Turkish parliament, startled the United States and its
allies, alienated moderate Kurds, and further undermined the country's
For all the military assistance the United
States has provided its ally over the years, Turkey remains politically
unstable. The ruling coalition in Ankara recently collapsed in
a corruption-related scandal, and the Islamic party, the scourge
of the Turkish army, is stronger today than at any time in history.
While still a minority party, it is widely expected to win the
national elections this spring. The country is unstable economically
as well, and inflation is rampant, a reflection of the fact that
$100 billion has been spent, just since 1991, to defeat the rebels.
On the surface, very little seems to have
changed. The government still has 300,000 security forces in the
southeast, and Apo is underground once again. Notwithstanding
recent events, the battleground has yet to shift from the Turkish-Iraqi
mountains to the political salons of the Continent. Turkey still
boasts the largest army in NATO (after the United States), but
the path to diplomatic acceptance in Europe despite dogged U.S.
efforts will be clouded by the Kurds for some time to come.
KEVIN McKIERNAN, a photojournalist, has
visited Turkey and northern Iraq a dozen times since the Gulf
War. His work has appeared in Time, Newsweek, and the New York
Times, and on ABC, CBS, and NBC.
Reprinted by permission of The Bulletin
of the Atomic Scientists, 1998 by the Educational Foundation for
Nuclear Science, 6042 South Kimbark, Chicago, Illinois 60637,
USA. A one-year subscription is $28.
NATO Defends Private Economic Interests
in the Balkans
Sources: WOMEN AGAINST MILITARY MADNESS,
November 1998; and SONOMA COUNTY PEACE PRESS, April/May 1999 Title:
"The Role of Caspian Sea Oil in the Balkan Conflict"
Author: Diana Johnstone
BECAUSE PEOPLE MATTER, May/June 1999 (Reprinted
from Workers World, July 30, 1998) Title: "Kosovo: It's About
the Mines" Author: Sara Flounders
SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN, December 16.
1999 Title: "Caspian Pipe Dreams" Author: Pratap Chatterjee
Faculty Evaluators: Catherine Nelson,
Ph.D. & Jim Burkland Student Researchers: Misty Anderson,
Jake Medway, & Damian Uriarte
NATO and the countries it represents were
fully aware of numerous economic advantages to breaking up Yugoslavia
and thus pursued a war over Kosovo. Despite environmental and
civilian harm, NATO promoted a war with Serbia in order to position
the Western nations politically and economically, and to reestablish
The media often depicts Kosovo as an isolated
and poor region with little or no resources. Yet huge reserves
of lead, zinc, cadmium, silver, gold, and coal are in Kosovo and
were held by the Serbian state-owned Trepca mining complex. The
most valuable resources in the Balkans are its mines, estimated
to be worth in excess of $5 billion. The huge complex of mines,
oil and gas refining prospects, and power and transportation futures
is thought to be the largest piece of wealth not yet in the hands
of U.S. and European capitalists. Whoever ultimately controls
Kosovo will determine principle interest in the 22 mines and the
many processing plants of the Trepca complex for decades to come.
Natural gas pipeline routes that carry
Caspian oil to foreign markets may also have been a contributing
factor in NATO's war against Serbia. On average, the 1990s oil
prices from the Caspian Sea amounts to approximately $5 trillion.
Amoco and Chevron are two leading oil companies with interests
in Caspian oil.
Numerous problems exist with various proposals
for delivery of Caspian oil to the West. Options for building
pipelines through Iran and Russia are, for example, opposed by
the U.S. for political reasons.
The possibility of shipping the oil across
the Black Sea from a pipeline on the sea's eastern coast may be
the cheapest option. Still, the likelihood of environmental damage
while shipping 100 million tons of oil annually through the narrow
Bosporus Straits is too great. The solution favored by the U.S.
is to build the pipeline from the western end of the Black Sea
through the NATO-controlled Balkans.
NATO's role of protecting the vital interests
of multinational corporations is perhaps its principle justification
for existence after the end of the Cold War. A leaked 1992 Pentagon
planning document states, "It is of fundamental importance
to preserve NATO as the primary instrument of Western defense
and security, as well as the channel for U.S. influence and participation
in European security affairs." Without a Soviet threat, the
U.S. had to find other uses for the alliance.
A senior NATO official told a reporter
of the New York Times, "Organizations seek out action. They
need to do things. That's why NATO needs the Balkans...."
UPDATE BY AUTHOR PRATAP CHATTERJEE The
Caspian region has been touted as the successor to the Arabian
Gulf as a source of world oil. Various experts have estimated
that the region holds a treasure chest of roughly $5 trillion
worth of oil that makes the region the setting for tremendous
political rivalry. Although the conflict in the region has been
a major news story (such as the ongoing Russian assault on Chechnya),
very few reports have focused on the possible environmental consequences
of the drilling, the lack of democracy in the region, and the
unequal distribution of wealth.
"Caspian Pipe Dreams" provides
a road map to various pipeline options and the political rivalries
and conflicts, as well as the social and environmental consequences
of the drilling plans.
In mid-November, President Bill Clinton
went to Istanbul, Turkey, to take part in the formal signing of
pipeline agreements with the presidents of Turkey, Azerbaijan,
Georgia, and Turkmenistan. Russia and Iran, both of whom are rivals
to the American interests, were cut out of these agreements.
One of these pipelines will carry oil
from Baku, the Azerbaijani capital, some 1,080 miles across the
Caucasus and through eastern Turkey to the Mediterranean port
of Ceyhan. The other pipeline, which is 1,250 miles long, will
run under the Caspian to take gas from Central Asia along the
same route to an export outlet in Turkey. U.S. Energy Secretary
Bill Richardson summed up the American position for the press
at the signing of the pipeline agreements: "This is not just
another oil and gas deal, and this is not just another pipeline.
It is a strategic framework that advances America's national security
The mainstream media has been very interested
in the conflict over Caspian oil. There has even been a James
Bond movie, appropriately titled The World Is Not Enough, but
the coverage has been mostly sensationalistic and very supportive
of the "need" to tap these riches and the potential
benefits for the local people without questioning the possible
downside locally. Nor has the mainstream media ever covered possible
alternative development models for the region or the fact that
the very extraction and consumption of Caspian oil will exacerbate
To get regular updates on the subject
of the mineral industries I recommend that readers subscribe to
a twice-monthly electronic magazine, Project Underground, Drillbits
& Tailings, from a non-profit organization that supports communities
affected by the mineral industries. The magazine is available
electronically for free (financial support is encouraged) by e-mailing
email@example.com. All back issues are archived and
completely searchable on the World Wide Web at www.moles.org..
UPDATE BY AUTHOR SARA FLOUNDERS
"Kosovo: It's About the Mines" examines the economic
and strategic interests at stake in the Balkans. It was written
before NATO's war.
In May 1999, during the 78-day NATO bombardment,
I traveled through Yugoslavia with former U.S. Attorney General
Ramsey Clark and videographer Gloria La Riva. It was clear that
NATO overwhelmingly targeted the civilian infrastructure. In Belgrade
and Novi Sad I visited bombed schools and hospitals. In Nis I
saw a hospital and marketplace hit by cluster bombs.
In June, as the Yugoslav military withdrew
from Kosovo Province, the media debated whether the Pentagon had
destroyed three or seven Yugoslav tanks. What was not publicized
was that NATO had bombed 328 schools and 33 hospitals along with
heating plants, food processing and pharmaceutical plants, bridges,
apartments blocs, and refugee convoys. NATO planes dropped more
than 35,000 cluster bombs and fired thousands of rounds of depleted
Three months after the war a series of
articles in the Washington Post by Dana Priest (September 19,
20, and 21,1999) revealed that U.S. generals directing NATO bombing
purposely struck civilian targets in Serbia to pressure the government
to capitulate. The Geneva Convention of 1949 prohibits bombing
not justified by military necessity. If there is any likelihood
that a target has a civilian function, then bombing is prohibited
by international law and considered a war crime.
Back in the spring, NATO bombardment was
continually justified as a "humanitarian war." Hardly
anyone mentioned the powerful economic interests that drive modern
war. They assured the population that NATO intervention against
the Yugoslav military was the only way to stop "genocide."
On April 19, the State Department said that up to 500,000 Kosovar
Albanians were missing and feared dead. On May 16, Defense Secretary
William S. Cohen said that up to 100,000 Albanian men in Kosovo
had vanished and may have been killed. This was an unrelenting
theme during the bombing. A search of the Internet turns up more
than 1,000 stories written on Kosovo massacres and mass graves.
Throughout the NATO bombing the media
hardly mentioned Kosovo's many resources, except to charge that
the Trepca mines were sites of mass graves. The New York Times
on July 7, 1999, wrote a major story headlined: "Crisis in
the Balkans: Atrocities, Acid and Smelting Vats Evoke Fear of
Grisly Burials by Serbs." According to NY Times correspondent
Chris Hedges, truckloads of bodies arrived each night at the Trepca
mines and the unusual bittersweet smell, assumed to be burning
bodies, wafted up from the chimneys that ventilate the huge bowl-shaped
smelting vats. Reports claimed that more than 700 bodies were
in the mine.
In June, after the cease-fire, forensic
teams from 17 nations converged on Kosovo to gather evidence of
war crimes committed by the Yugoslav military. On November 11
a New York Times article reported that after five months of investigation
and exhumation of 195 most serious grave sites, reported to hold
thousands of bodies, they had not found even a fraction of the
reported 500,000 or 100,000 bodies. Their total count was 2,108
bodies throughout the province. They found no mass graves.
After a long NATO investigation at the
Trepca Mines, but with far less publicity than the original charges,
the November 11, 1999, New York Times article admitted that no
bodies or any evidence of a crime at the Trepca mines could be
found. The mines are now firmly in NATO control.
Since the cease-fire the real U.S. goals
have become much clearer. The largest U.S. foreign base built
from scratch since the Vietnam War is under construction in Kosovo.
Unlike the tent camps of the European forces, Camp Bondsteel is
already a heavily fortified base surrounded by miles of barbed
wire, earthen berms, and permanently heated and air-conditioned
Behind the propaganda of a humanitarian
war, U.S./NATO bases have been constructed in Albania, Croatia,
Bosnia, Hungary, Macedonia, and Kosovo. The Balkans, a region
of enormous strategic importance, rich natural resources and important
industrial capacity is now occupied by thousands of U.S. troops.
All this has happened without any informed debate or discussion.
Presently I am coordinating the Independent
Commission of Inquiry to Investigate U.S./NATO War Crimes Against
the People of Yugoslavia. Ramsey Clark has drafted a 19-point
indictment charging U.S. and NATO leaders with Crimes Against
Peace, War Crimes, and Crimes Against Humanity in violation of
the Nuremberg Tribunal, the Hague Regulations, the Geneva Conventions,
and the U.N. Charter. Large public hearings on these charges have
been held in 10 U.S. cities and in cities throughout Europe. Many
more hearings are planned. This has become a people's movement
demanding truth and accountability. The most dramatic event was
a People's Tribunal of over 10,000 people in Athens, Greece, where
the Greek Supreme Court declared President Clinton and NATO
leaders guilty of war crimes. An International
Tribunal will be held in June 2000 in New York City where a jury
of internationally prominent individuals will review the evidence
and deliver a verdict. Student interns on this project are welcome.
The 19-point indictment and research papers are available on the
International Action Center (IAC) Web site: www.iacenter.org.
U.S. Media Reduces Foreign Coverage
Source: AMERICAN JOURNALISM REVIEW, November
1998 Title: "Good-bye World" Author: Peter Arnett
Faculty Evaluator: Elizabeth Burch, Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Deb Udall & Monte Williams
Mainstream coverage: The Boston Globe,
November 15, 1998, D6, Editorial
Foreign news is disappearing from many
of America's newspapers. Today, a foreign story that doesn't involve
bombs, natural disaster, or financial calamity has little chance
of entering the American consciousness. This happens at a time
when the United States has become the world's lone superpower
and "news" has so many venues that it seems inescapable.
So how is it that Americans are less informed
than ever about what's going on in the rest of the world? Because
the media have stopped telling us. In the Indianapolis Star, for
example, in the 30 days of November 1977, there were a total of
5,100 inches of foreign news. In the same month in 1997, foreign
news accounted for just under 3,900 column inches, a 23 percent
drop over two decades.
Beyond quantity, the trend involves an
overall reduction in prominence of foreign news. For example,
even in metropolitan newspapers, a subscriber can go for days
without seeing a foreign news story crack the front pages. While
people told pollsters that they rely primarily on TV for national
and international news, mainstream newspapers have opted to cover
what national networks can't-local news and sports. Television
news, during the heyday of Walter Cronkite, John Chancellor, and
Frank Reynolds, contained at least 40 percent international coverage.
The figure today is 7-12 percent and dropping.
International news began to fade from
America's newspapers in the 1970s. When the Vietnam War ended,
international news fell dramatically out of favor with editors.
With the emergence of Watergate, the energy crisis, and other
domestic concerns, fewer papers were willing to support foreign
correspondents or subscribe to foreign news services.
Nationwide interviews indicate that most
editors believe readers aren't interested in foreign news. Surveys
of readers, however, show the contrary. A Harris poll showed that
nearly half or even more readers were interested in international
news. In a 1996 poll, the Pew Research Center for the People and
the Press asked readers what kind of news stories they regularly
follow. Fifteen percent said international affairs-just one point
below Washington politics and slightly ahead of consumer news,
and two points ahead of the celebrity stuff that gets all the
Planned Weapons in Space Violate International
Sources: EARTH ISLAND JOURNAL, Winter/Spring
1999 Title: "U.S. Violates World Law to Militarize Space"
Author: Karl Grossman
TOWARD FREEDOM, September/October 1999
Title: "Pyramids to The Heavens" Author: Bruce K. Gagnon
Community Evaluator: Rick Williams, Attorney At Law Student Researcher:
Mainstream coverage: The Huntville Times,
November 7, 1999, Editorial, D2
The United States plans to militarize
space while in direct violation of international treaties. The
Outer Space Treaty of 1967 bans deployment of weapons of mass
destruction in space. Still, the Ballistic Missile Defense system
and other space weapons programs have already been approved by
Congress and are currently underway. The United States Military
Space Command's "Vision for 2020" report not only speaks
of controlling the Earth and the sky above our planet, it also
describes plans to control the vast region beyond as NASA and
aerospace corporations move toward mining the moon, Mars, and
other planetary bodies for minerals.
Our military successes in the Persian
Gulf War convinced the U.S. military that space dominance and
space control were necessary. Using its satellite supremacy, the
Pentagon pre-targeted Iraq's military installations, and hit over
90 percent of its targets within the first few hours, giving the
U.S. the ability to control the entire battlefield. The Space
Command's Global Positioning System constellation of 24 satellites
is credited with providing navigation and timing support to coordinate
the actions of allied air crews and naval forces operating in
The Pentagon is so convinced that whoever
controls space will control the Earth and beyond that they are
feverishly working to deploy anti-satellite weapons (ASATs) within
the next five years. The weapons will enable the U.S. to knock
out competitors' eyes-in-the-sky during any future hostilities.
General Joseph Ashy, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Space Command,
stated, "It's politically sensitive but it's going to happen....
Some people don't want to hear this, and it sure isn't in vogue
but, absolutely, we're going to fight in space. We're going to
fight from space and we're going to fight into space.
The aerospace industry, eagerly awaiting
sub-contracts, engages in a campaign called "Declaration
of Space Leadership." This campaign calls for funding of
NASA and "Space Defensive Systems" at costs that guarantee
American leadership in the exploration of space.
Still, one of the military's problems
is providing the massive power needed to project their space-based
weapons. The military believes that nuclear power is the only
source powerful enough to supply military space forces with the
electric power needed for these weapons to work.
The Outer Space Treaty also states that
nations should avoid activities that stand to produce "harmful
contamination of space and celestial bodies as well as adverse
changes in the environment of Earth." Between NASA's demand
for future nuclear-powered space probes and the Space Command's
desire for nuclear powered space weapons, the result will be nuclear
contamination problems both on land and in space. With a 12 percent
failure rate in both the U.S. and Russian space programs, nuclear
accidents are inevitable.
NASA has launched a program to reach every
science teacher in the country. Their thoughts are that by 2020,
current elementary school students will be taxpayers. The industry
hopes that they'll not only believe that we should spend whatever
it takes to go to Mars, but also that war in space is inevitable.
UPDATE BY AUTHOR KARL GROSSMAN:
The United States is violating the Outer Space Treaty, the basic
international law on space, by covering its nuclear-fueled space
shots with the U.S. Price Anderson Act. The Outer Space Treaty
declares that nations "shall be liable for damage caused
by their space objects." The Price Anderson Act limits liability
in the event of an accident involving a U S. nuclear power system-and
was originally designed for nuclear plants on Earth. But in 1991
NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy, in a Space Nuclear Power
Agreement, declared it would cover U.S. nuclear-fueled space shots,
Thus, if there had been an accident on
the most recent U.S. nuclear mission, the plutonium-fueled Cassini
space probe, the U.S. would have only accepted liability for a
fraction of the consequences in death and damage- $8.9 billion
for impacts in the U.S. and $100 million, under the Price Anderson
Act, for impacts in all foreign nations. NASA documents, meanwhile,
acknowledged that if an inadvertent re-entry into the Earth's
atmosphere occurred during the most risky aspect of the Cassini
mission-the 1999 Earth "'flyby' or 'gravity assist maneuver'...approximately
5 billion [of the world population] could receive 99 percent or
more of the radiation exposure," and the cost of de-contaminating
the land could run in the trillions of dollars.
Since publication of the Earth Island
Journal article, Cassini was successful in buzzing the Earth in
a 700-mile high flyby in August 1999. Yet, the following month,
an accident befell NASA's Mars Climate Observer-similar to what
could have happened with Cassini. It failed in buzzing Mars because
one NASA team calculated altitude in meters, the other in feet.
Coming in too low, it broke apart.
Meanwhile, NASA plans eight more plutonium-fueled
space probe shots in coming years-all to be covered by the Space
Nuclear Power Agreement. With Cassini, the world got through one
in a series of space-borne rounds of nuclear Russian Roulette.
The enormous risk and illegality remains if U.S. plans are not
changed. And changed they could be. The next U.S. nuclear space
mission, for example, is in 2003, when NASA intends to launch
its plutonium-fueled Europa space probe to Jupiter. The same year,
the European Space Agency will be launching its solar-energized
Rosetta space probe beyond the orbit of Jupiter to rendezvous
with a comet called Wirtanen. The European Space Agency has made
a point of noting that it is using solar energy rather than nuclear
power to energize the instruments on board Rosetta and that Rosetta
will be gathering solar power as far as 500 million miles from
the sun. NASA could also use solar power as an alternative to
nuclear power in space.
Meanwhile, the U.S. push to weaponize
space has become more intense since the publication of the Earth
Island Journal article. The use of nuclear power in space is closely
linked to this trend. U.S. military documents declare that the
U.S. is seeking to control space, and from space (which the documents
call "the ultimate high ground") the Earth below. As
a U.S. Air Force board report, "New World Vistas: Air and
Space Power for the 21st Century," explains, the space-based
weapons such as lasers, need large amounts of power and a solution
"is nuclear power in space. Setting the emotional issues
of nuclear power aside, this technology offers a viable alternative
for large amounts of power in space." (The Pentagon's desire
to use nuclear power in space is a key reason why NASA rejects
the solar option and sticks with nuclear, to better coordinate
its activities with the U.S. military.)
"New World Vistas" further states
that "in the next two decades, new technologies will allow
space based weapons of devastating effectiveness to effect very
many kills." These plans remain despite the ban on deployment
of weapons of mass destruction in space by the Outer Space Treaty,
initiated by the U.S., the United Kingdom, and the former Soviet
Union in 1967 and ratified by most of the world's nations.
In a critical United Nations General Assembly
vote in November 1999, called to deal with the U.S. plans to weaponize
space, 138 nations voted to reaffirm the Outer Space Treaty and
its provision that space be used for peaceful purposes. The U.S.
abstained on the vote. And it drives on to make the heavens a
Although there was mainstream media coverage
of the Cassini mission and its Earth flyby, there was absolutely
no mention of the Space Nuclear Power Agreement aspect and the
Outer Space Treaty violation it involves. The current push to
weaponize space remains spottily covered by mainstream media,
with whatever coverage there is stressing missile defense, despite
the abundance of U.S. military documents making it clear that
the U.S. military's plans are largely about domination of space.
A comprehensive source of further information
is the book I have authored, The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program's
Nuclear Threat To Our Planet (Common Courage Press, Tel: (800)
497-3207), and video documentaries I wrote and narrated, Nukes
In Space: The Nuclearization and Weaponization of the Heavens
and Nukes In Space 2: Unacceptable Risks (EnviroVideo, Tel: (800)
ECO-TV46 and www.envirovideo.com).
Also, for more information and to get
involved in challenging the U.S. plans, contact the Global Network
Against Weapons & Nuclear Power In Space at (352) 337-9274
or E-mail: globalnet@ mindspring.com. Its Web site: www.globenet.free-online.co.uk.
UPDATE BY AUTHOR BRUCE K. GAGNON:
As this was written, CNN ran a non-stop promotion on TV for NASA's
Mars Polar Lander (which only days later turned up lost in space
wasting $123 million). While we are told that NASA is looking
for life on Mars, the reality is that NASA is doing planetary
mapping, and soil identification, and in future missions, the
space agency will do a soil sample return mission. All of this
is a prelude to "manned" missions to Mars. Manned nuclear-powered
mining colonies are to be set up to "exploit" Mars for
cobalt, magnesium, uranium, and other rare minerals.
Nuclear-powered rockets would blast off
from Cape Canaveral to shorten the amount of time it takes to
get to Mars. And the cost of all this? Space News, an industry
publication, gave the conservative figure of $400 billion as the
collective cost of the Mars mission series for the U.S. taxpayer.
Indeed, as outlined in my article, "Pyramids
to the Heavens," the U.S. Space Command's job would be to
create a parallel military highway between Earth and these exploited
planets to ensure, as they say in their "Vision for 2020"
report, "U.S. military, civil, and commercial investments
in space" are protected. President Clinton is expected to
make the final decision prior to June 2000 on "early deployment"
of the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system. This system would
allow for a return of Star Wars. The Air Force is now testing
space-based laser weapons and antisatellite weapons (ASATs) that
would be the follow-on technologies to the BMD Trojan horse. With
this space domination established, the U.S. would not only control
the Earth but also the new "shipping lanes" of space.
The corporate-dominated media is ignoring
the real story about space. As hundreds of billions of tax dollars
are spent on space, they offer the fluff and the hype from NASA
about Mars landings, but there is no analysis of where the U.S.
Space Command and the aerospace corporations are taking the space
program. Critics that are interviewed are used to make the case
that NASA needs more money to do the job "better." In
fact, a series of Mars movies will be coming out in 2000-2001
to sell the program. Filmmaker James Cameron recently told a Mars
Society conference, "I want to make humans-to-Mars real in
the minds of the viewing public." He said that he hopes to
create a ground swell for increased NASA funding.
The alternative media must help carry
this important issue to the public. Who else will? The Global
Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space (GN) is now
organizing to create a worldwide democratic debate about what
kind of seed should be carried into space. Should we take the
bad seed of war, greed, and environmental degradation with us
as we leave this planet? Just how much money should be spent on
the space program? And who should be in control?
For more information about this important
issue please check the Global Network's Web site: www.globenet.freeonline.co.uk.
On the Web site you will find links to all the major military
and corporate aerospace sites so you can see for yourself what
they are up to. To get directly involved please contact the GN
at P.O. Box 90083, Gainesville, FL 32607, Tel: (352) 337-9274.
Bruce K. Gagnon, coordinator.
The U.S. and NATO Deliberately Started
the War with Yugoslavia
Sources: THE VILLAGE VOICE, May 18,1999
Title: "The Real Rambouillet" Author: Jason Vest
EXTRA, July/August 1999 Title: "Redefining
Diplomacy" Author: Seth Ackerman
IN THESE TIMES, August 8,1999 Title: "What
Was the War For?" Author: Seth Ackerman
COVERTACTION QUARTERLY, Spring/Summer
1999 Title: "Hawks and Eagles: 'Greater NATO flies to Aid
of 'Greater Albania"' Author: Diana Johnstone
PACIFICA RADIO NETWORK, April 23,1999,
www.Pacifica.org Title: "Democracy Now" Host: Amy Goodman
Faculty Evaluator: Phil Beard Student
Researchers: Nathan Guzik, Jennifer Mathis, & Jennifer Acio
Mainstream coverage: C-SPAN Washington
Journal, San Husseini, April 22, 1999 Washington Post, "For
the Record," April 28,1999, A-24 Star-Tribune Newspaper of
the Twin Cities Minneapolis-St. Paul, May 17, 1999, 6A Harper's
Magazine, July 1, 1999
The U.S. and NATO pushed for war with
Yugoslavia by demanding full military occupation of the entire
country as a condition of not bombing. Belgrade could not accept
the U.S. drafted two-part Rambouillet ultimatum, not only because
it was a thinly veiled plan to detach Kosovo from Serbia, but
also because it contained provisions even worse than loss of that
historic province, provisions no sovereign country in the world
could possibly accept.
Appendix B of the proposed pre-war Rambouillet
treaty, subsections 7 and 8, stated that: "NATO personnel
shall be immune from any form of arrest, investigation, or detention
by the authorities in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY)
and "shall enjoy...free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded
access throughout the FRY, including associated airspace and territorial
Clauses 11 and 15 granted NATO "the
use of airports, roads, rails, and ports without payment [and]
the right to use all of the electromagnetic spectrum." Also
included were arbitrary arrest and detention powers for NATO personnel.
President Milosevic, fearing the loss of sovereignty of Yugoslavia,
refused to ratify the agreement-the bombing started the next day.
Robert Hayden, director of the Center
for Russian and European Studies at the University of Pittsburgh,
stated that, in his view, a close reading of the accords "provided
for the independence of Kosovo in all but name, and the military
occupation by NATO of all of Yugoslavia, not just Kosovo."
According to NATO spokesperson Jamie Shea,
"There was no intention whatever of having any kind of NATO
occupation regime in Yugoslavia itself. What Rambouillet refers
to is simply the right to transit, nothing more." Yet NATO
had carefully planned military operations several months in advance
and the treaty gave the Serbs no alternative.
Dan Goure, deputy director of political
and military studies at the Center of Strategic and International
Studies states the following: "The administration went to
Rambouillet basically to arrange a trap for Milosevic. It was
a no-win situation for him and frankly, Albright was trying to
find a pretext for bombing. They told the Kosovar Albanians that
if they signed and Milosevic didn't, they'd bomb Serbia. Rambouillet
was not a negotiation, it was a setup, a Iynch party."
Unreported in the mainstream media was
the fact that when Serbia rejected the treaty they also passed
a resolution declaring their willingness to negotiate for Kosovo's
self-management. For months, the Serbian government had offered
to negotiate. High level government teams made many trips to Pristina
to hold talks with Ibrahim Rugova and other nonviolent ethnic
Albanians. The Albanians refused to negotiate, for fear of going
against the rising armed rebel movement, the Kosovo Libertarian
Army (KLA), hostile to any compromise and ready to assassinate
"traitors" who dealt with the Serbs.
At Rambouillet, the older generation of
nationalist leaders did not have the slightest opportunity to
enter negotiations with the multi-ethnic official Serbian delegation.
They were overshadowed in the ethnic Albanian delegation by the
KLA, who by then were assured U.S. support. Genuine negotiations
would have at least paid attention to the extensive 10-page proposal
of the Serbian government. Some of the points outlined in the
proposal included the following: Equality of all citizens and
guaranteed human rights, facilitated return of all citizens to
their homes, safe unhindered access of all international and national
or non-governmental humanitarian organizations to the population
for purposes of aid, and the widest possible media freedoms.
UPDATE BY AUTHOR DIANA JOHNSTONE:
NATO's war against Yugoslavia was the major ongoing news story
of 1999 and will continue into 2000 and beyond. Presented by NATO
propagandists and most of the media as a "humanitarian"
war on behalf of the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo, this war violated
international law, killed thousands of people, wantonly destroyed
the livelihood of millions of innocent civilians in Yugoslavia,
and left the supposed beneficiary of this aggression- Kosovo province-in
NATO's airstrikes triggered violent Serb
retaliation against ethnic Albanians who by the hundreds of thousands
fled to safety in neighboring countries. They have since returned
to a province under foreign military occupation, with no government
administration or judicial system, at the mercy of a ruthless
Albanian nationalist armed group, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA),
which, while pretending to disband, has continued to drive out
Kosovo's non-Albanian citizens and to terrorize fellow ethnic
Albanians. This disastrous situation has its roots in the opportunistic
alliance, which I described in "Hawks and Eagles," between
U.S. strategists seeking a pretext to expand NATO and a nationalist
Albanian lobby with influential supporters such as former Senator
Bob Dole. This alliance culminated in the Clinton Administration's
promotion of KLA leader Hashim Thaqi to head the Kosovo Albanian
delegation that, by signing the "Rambouillet accords"-in
fact a U.S. ultimatum-gave Washington the pretext it sought to
launch NATO airstrikes against Yugoslavia in time for NATO's 50th
anniversary celebration in April of 1999.
This unscrupulous alliance has dire consequences
for the people of Kosovo and the entire region. A few words of
Serbian spoken in public can equal a death sentence. Nobody is
safe. Moderate Kosovo Albanian leaders have been publicly threatened
by the KLA. The only people who may be safe now in Kosovo are
the U.S. soldiers for whom the United States has hastily built
a huge fortified military base, Camp Bondsteel, in total illegality
on the territory of a foreign state.
Meanwhile, the Clinton Administration
is encouraging further disintegration of Yugoslavia itself by
inciting separatists in Montenegro, Voivodina, and the Sandjak
region, as well as certain opposition leaders, to resort to secession
and even civil war, in order to end the sanctions that continue
to punish the people of Yugoslavia.
Never has an event of such tragic dimensions
been so badly reported by Western mainstream media. Except for
Greece, and to some extent Italy, the NATO propaganda version
dominated media reporting. To justify continued airstrikes, NATO
apologists even resorted to racist stigmatization of the Serbs
as a people.
NATO propaganda has gradually lost credibility
thanks to its own excesses, to the reporting of a few mainstream
journalists such as Paul Watson and Robert Fisk, and more than
ever before to the alternative press and the Internet. Just as
Seattle may mark a new phase in activism against the excesses
of economic globalization, the Kosovo War marked a new phase in
the role of e-mail and Websites in overcoming the information
monopoly of the corporate media. Thanks to the Internet, my own
articles have appeared on Web sites and in publications I didn't
know existed. The Web site of the Transnational Foundation for
Future and Peace research, www.transnational.org, has been of
particular value in spreading information and stimulating debate,
as have ZNet and emperors-clothes.com.
Diana Johnstone 65 rue Marcadet 75018
Paris, France Tel & Fax: 011-33-1-4223-5211.
UPDATE BY SEITH ACKERMAN:
The diplomatic sleight-of-hand at the Rambouillet peace conference
in February-March 1999 forces us to ask searching questions about
the nature of NATO's Kosovo War. Was it, as NATO says, a desperate
recourse to the use of military force, aimed at stopping an imminent
genocide from being perpetrated by Yugoslav forces hiding cynically
behind claims of national sovereignty? Or was it an American power
play-designed to advance Washington's strategic goals in Europe,
joined by skeptical European allies brigaded behind a U.S. policy
they lacked the military weight to challenge?
Such questions cannot be answered with
any certainty until all the diplomatic records are opened-and
we will have to wait a long time for that to happen. In the meantime,
we can listen to those in some position to know what took place
at Rambouillet-as well as before and since. For instance, Eric
Rouleau, an influential French journalist and diplomat, recently
published an intriguing account of France's role in Western diplomacy
towards Kosovo in the French journal Le Monde Diplomatique. In
his lengthy analysis, Rouleau, a former French ambassador to Turkey,
writes that a senior official in the French foreign ministry admitted
to him that the Rambouillet document was unacceptable.
Prominent diplomats, scholars, and Balkan
experts have offered their judgments about U.S. diplomacy. Henry
Kissinger has said that "the Rambouillet text...was a provocation,
an excuse to start bombing" Yugoslavia. Lord David Owen,
the European Union's former peace negotiator for Bosnia, has acknowledged
that once the U.S. put forward the Rambouillet military annex,
with its demand to allow NATO troops throughout Yugoslavia, "there
was no question that the Serbs would risk air attacks." He
also found it "noteworthy" that this provocative demand
failed to materialize in the final June 3 agreement with Yugoslavia.
The famed British foreign correspondent,
Robert Fisk, published a report in the November 26 London Independent
tracing the evidence that Appendix B of the Rambouillet text was
designed to provoke a Serbian rejection. Fisk interviewed Serbian
officials, including Information Minister Milan Komnenic, a respected
figure within and outside Serbia, who is at work on a book about
the talks, entitled The Rambouillet Trap. Another minister, Goran
Matic, who is close to President Milosevic, told Fisk:
'We were ready to accept the political
solution of the Kosovo problem and U.N. troops to regulate the
implementation- but not NATO troops in occupation." Matic
claims that U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244, which set the
final peace terms in June, "could have been accepted before
To my knowledge, the facts about Appendix
B of Rambouillet, Serbia's prewar concessions, and the American
strategic interest in airstrikes, have never been discussed in
any depth in the news columns of the major media. In my view,
this silence represents the greatest failure of the American press's
coverage of Kosovo. Indeed, "failure" is probably too
exculpatory. Steven Erlanger of the New York Times, one of the
best American correspondents in Belgrade, acknowledged in a radio
interview last summer that he believes a diplomatic solution to
the Kosovo crisis had been possible at Rambouillet. Yet Erlanger,
unlike Robert Fisk, has never published an article exploring the
Yet the facts are available. One of the
best single sources for information about these aspects of the
Kosovo War is the Web site of Z Magazine, which devotes a special
section to Kosovo. That page can be found at www.zmag.org/ZMag/
kosovo.htm. Jan Oberg of the Transnational Institute in Stockholm
produced some of the earliest and best analyses of the Rambouillet
texts and the subsequent diplomacy. His Web site is www.transnational.org.
Evidence Indicates No Pre-war Genocide
in Kosovo and Possible U.S./KLA Plot to Create Disinformation
Sources: COVERTACTION QUARTERLY, Spring/Summer
1999 Title: "William Walker: 'Man With a Mission"' Author:
THE PROGRESSIVE REVIEW. June 1999 Title:
"My Multinational Entity, Right or Wrong" Author: Progressive
EL PAIS, September 23,1999 Title: "Spanish
Police and Forensic Experts have not Found Proof of Genocide in
the North of Kosovo" Author: Pablo Ordaz
Faculty Evaluators: John Kramer, Ph.D.
& Andrew Botterell, Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Fera Byrd & Jeremiah
Mainstream coverage: Los Angeles Times,
October 29,1999, Editorial
According to the New York Times, the "turning
point" to NATO's decision to go to war against Yugoslavia
occurred on January 20, 1999 when U.S. diplomat William Walker
led a group of news reporters to discover a so-called Serb massacre
of some 45 Albanians in Racak, Kosovo. This story made international
headlines and was later used to justify the NATO bombings.
The day before the "massacre,"
Serb police had a firefight with KLA rebels that was covered by
an Associated Press (AP) film crew. At the end of day, the village
was deserted. Then, the next day the village had been reoccupied
by the KLA, and it was the KLA who initially led foreign visitors
to the alleged massacre site. William Walker arrived at noon with
additional journalists, and expressed his outrage at a "genocidal
massacre" to the world press.
Walker's story remains shrouded with doubt.
"What is disturbing," remarks war correspondent Renaud
Girard, "is that the pictures filmed by the AP journalists
radically contradict Walker's accusations." Challenges to
Walker's massacre story were published in Le Monde and Le Figaro:
"During the night, could the UCK (KLA) have gathered the
bodies, in fact killed by Serb bullets, to set up a scene of cold-blooded
massacre?" (Le Figaro). Belarussian and Finnish forensic
experts were later unable to verify that a massacre had actually
occurred at Racak.
Walker's pronounced massacre fueled NATO's
justification for the air attacks on Serbia as a means of preventing
genocide. However, reports from various foreign offices state
that genocide was not occurring in Kosovo.
The Progressive Review reported that according
to internal documents from Germany's Foreign Office and regional
courts on January 6, 1999, "No cases of chronic malnutrition
or insufficient medical treatment among the refugees are known
and significant homelessness has not been observed." On January
12, other records noted: "Even in Kosovo an explicit political
persecution linked to ethnicity is not verifiable." In addition,
records from February 4 state: "The various reports presented
to the Senate all agree the often-feared humanitarian catastrophe
threatening the Albanian civil population has been averted."
February 24 records state: "Events since February and March
1998 do not evidence a persecution program based on Albanian ethnicity."
Records from March: "Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo have neither
been, nor are now, exposed to regional or countrywide group persecution
in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia."
Additionally, El Pais reports that Spanish
forensic experts have not found proof of genocide in the post-war
region of northern Kosovo. NATO told the Spanish forensic teams
that they were going into the worst part of Kosovo and to be prepared
to perform 2,000 autopsies. Only 187 bodies were found in nine
villages. They were buried in individual graves (most of which
pointed toward Mecca to comply with the Albanian Kidovar religious
custom) and without sign of torture.
UPDATE BY AUTHOR SAM SMITH:
At about the time the Balkan War broke out, I was working on a
memoir of the '60s and read, with no little embarrassment, some
of the things I wrote as a 27-year-old in 1965 about Vietnam.
I found there the tracks of a Cold-War-liberal upbringing, recent
service in the Coast Guard, the memory of a friend who was among
the first 40 killed in Southeast Asia, but most of all of a young
journalist unwilling to risk looking foolish to others. It took
about a year before I could turn such influences aside and stare
straight at the facts.
In the end, it was a struggle that stood
me in good stead. It taught me that war was the most seductive
drama most of us will ever encounter, and that the media too often
chooses the role of playwright rather than of honest observer.
The task has become much harder. Not only
has military agitprop become infinitely more sly and manipulative,
today's typical journalists are without personal experience of
the system they celebrate. For this reason, I sometimes suggest
a revival of the draft-but only for reporters. That way they would
not be so easily conned by the military "experts" they
so gladly interview and quote.
A less painful solution, of course, would
be a far more aggressive and skeptical journalism that did not
repeatedly serve, in Russell Baker's phrase, as a "megaphone
for fraud." For my part, I find myself increasingly covering
Washington's most ignored beat: the written word. The culture
of deceit is primarily an oral one. The soundbite, the spin, and
the political product placement depend on no one spending too
much time on the matter under consideration.
Over and over again, however, I find that
the real story still lies barely hidden and may be reached by
nothing more complicated than turning the page, checking the small
type in the appendix, charging into the typographical jungle beyond
the executive summary, doing a Web search, and, for the bravest,
actually looking at the figures on the charts.
My work on the Balkan War represents an
effort of this sort. It is the result not of investigative journalism,
but of something that I fear is even rarer these days: Simple
journalistic curiosity, a chronic dissatisfaction with the loose
ends of our culture and experience. The piece was just a compilation
of what should have been in my morning paper, but was not.
Although the issue with the article "My
Multinational Entity, Right or Wrong" is out of print, photocopies
of the article can be obtained by sending $2 to the Progressive
Review. Other coverage of the Balkan War can be found at the following
Web sites: http://prorev.com/ balkan.htm and htip://prorev.com/balkan
Sam Smith The Progressive Review
1312 18th St. NW, #502 Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 845-0770 Fax: (202) 835-0779 Web site: htip://prorev.com
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org news
UPDATE BY AUTHOR MARK COOK
Seldom has the power of mass media censorship been so graphically
and frighteningly demonstrated as in the William Walker episode
The Kosovo atrocity story Walker trumpeted
in January 1999 was almost immediately discredited, not by a small
political weekly somewhere, but by the leading newspapers in France.
No matter-the discrediting was so completely suppressed in the
United States that virtually no one could have heard of it. It
was not as if anyone successfully answered the French journalists'
claims; practically nobody even tried. As with Orwell's Ministry
of Truth, it was found that the best way to kill the story was
not to challenge it.
In contrast, Walker's dubious Racak story
was loudly and unquestioningly repeated and became the propaganda
justification for the bombing war. "Racak transformed the
West's Balkan policy as singular events seldom do," wrote
the Washington Post on April 18, 1999. The same day, the New York
Times called Racak "a turning point."
Ironically, Walker had no credibility
with the U.S. press corps. His role in E1 Salvador was so notorious
that CBS's 60 Minutes ran a segment on him twice. The second time
was after the principal figure Walker was protecting, Salvadoran
army chief of staff Rene Emilio Ponce, turned out to have been
the main culprit in the 1989 Jesuit murders.
Since publication, the press has still
not backed off the Racak story in the way that was finally done
with the Battleship Maine or the Gulf of Tonkin. The revelations
in the article have had an effect, however, in Europe as well
as here. Many Europeans doubted Walker's Racak atrocity story,
but knew little or nothing about his role in Central America.
In the period since the article's publication, several European
governments are reported privately to have called for his dismissal,
arguing that if nothing else, his Salvador reputation made it
difficult to use him to sell a "humanitarian" war.
Washington has not given up, however.
Aside from Richard Holbrooke, who has a similarly unsavory record
in East Asia and has now been appointed Washington's ambassador
to the United Nations, there is Undersecretary of State for Political
Affairs Thomas Pickering. As ambassador to El Salvador in 1984,
Pickering publicly took much the same position that Walker accused
the Serbs of taking at Racak-that it was all right to kill unarmed
civilians who sympathize politically with armed rebels, since
they are, in Pickering's words, "something more than innocent
civilian bystanders" (see "The Salvador Boys,"
Fall/Winter 1999 issue of CovertAction Quarterly).
Readers interested in following the story
further can search the Internet under the word "Racak,"
where the French stories can be found in English translation.
Nexus or Internet searches will produce the U.S. Embassy cables
from San Salvador published by the National Catholic Reporter
on September 23, 1994, as well as the articles cited on the Jesuit
murders. The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights publication on
the Jesuit murders, "A Chronicle of Death Foretold,"
may be obtained in libraries or from the Committee,330 Seventh
Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10001.
The findings of the "United Nations
Truth Commission on E1 Salvador" published in 1992-93, do
not appear to be on the Internet but can be found in libraries.
Unfortunately, the report, "De la Locura a la Esperanza,"
(Naciones Unidas, San Salvador y New York), is available only
in Spanish, reportedly because the U.S. government blocked publication
U.S. Media Ignores Humanitarian Aspects
of Famine in Korea
Sources: PEACE REVIEW, June 1999 Title:
"Famine in North Korea" Author: Ramsay Liem
PEACE REVIEW, June 1999 Title: "Dangerous
Communists, Inscrutable Orientals, Starving Masses" Author:
Faculty Evaluator: Les Adler, Ph.D. Student
Researchers: Damian Uriarte & Julie O'Conner
The U.S. media used the Korean famine
for political propaganda and has failed to cover the huge disaster
from a humanitarian perspective. The U.S. media provided only
minor coverage of the devastation even though people are suffering
A humanitarian food crisis of staggering
proportions has been developing in North Korea, yet nowhere has
there been an outcry like the one fueled by media worldwide for
Ethiopia. Instead, the media chooses to focus on the implication
of the threat posed by North Korea as they continue their nuclear
The German Red Cross estimates two million
deaths in 1997 due to starvation, the South Korean Buddhists Sharing
Movement reported an estimated three million deaths, and the New
York Council of Foreign Affairs reported an estimate of one million
North Korean deaths due to famine. In May of 1996, the Canadian
Food Grains report predicted that the North Korean grain supply
had been damaged four times more severely than Ethiopian agriculture
during the height of that country's famine in the mid-1980s. As
the critical threshold is reached, and some believe it already
has been, mortality from famine and famine-related diseases will
North Korea's entire population shares
the deprivation because North Korea's Public Distribution System
tries to insure a relatively equal distribution of food. Twenty-three
million lives are threatened at once, yet no headlines report
these figures. Instead, U.S. media talk about the danger of food
relief being given to the North Korean Military instead of the
people and the general failure of the Communist political system.
Author Yuk Ji-Yeon writes that North Korea
(with whom the U.S. is still technically at war) is still seen
as the enemy. While millions of people are starving, the media
blames the Communist leaders and ignores the human suffering that
is taking place. The media also promote the notion that a proud
North Korea refuses aid, rather than focusing on the fact that
the U.S. isn't offering much.
UNICEF is actively working in North Korea,
surveying 171 of 210 counties, and monitoring food aid distribution
from the World Food Program (WFP), an arm of the United Nations.
The WFP program's food aid to North Korea is, however, meeting
only 50 percent of the need. Meanwhile, the U.S., the food basket
of the world, contributes little.
UPDATE BY AUTHOR RAMSEY LIEM:
Tragically, hunger in North Korea continues to be an important,
if untold, story. Over the half-decade of acute food shortage,
hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Koreans have perished
and countless others have been ravished by illness and malnutrition.
Accurate statistics on the human costs of this crisis are not
Predictably, donor fatigue has been an
increasing problem and the U.N. World Food Program has warned
repeatedly that failure to respond by the international community
threatens long-term suffering in North Korea even if domestic
food supplies increase. For example, children who are severely
malnourished can experience permanent retardation of their physical
and psychological development threatening the loss of an entire
generation of young adults.
Fortunately, improved weather conditions
during the past year have contributed to improved prospects for
food production, and current estimates are that 4.8 of the 6-5
million metric tons of grain needed to feed the population will
be produced this year. Although the long-term recovery of North
Korean agricultural output is beginning to look more favorable,
international aid continues to be vital. Now more than ever, humanitarian
aid offers the promise of longer term food security coupled with
support for agricultural rehabilitation and the introduction of
new varieties of crops and farming methods.
To achieve these objectives, however,
the persistent marginalizing and demonizing of North Korea by
the United States and her Western allies must end. The most immediate,
concrete expression of such a change in policy toward the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) would be to end all economic
sanctions against North Korea and develop full diplomatic relations
based on mutual respect and recognition of one another's sovereignty.
While the Clinton Administration has at times shown an inclination
to follow this path, Republican hard-liners in the House and Senate
have repeatedly attacked the White House for "appeasing"
North Korea and sought to undermine the negotiation process. Americans
who wish to end the Cold War with North Korea and adopt a truly
humanitarian stance toward the food crisis in that country must
oppose this mean spirited and self-serving saber rattling.
Coverage of the food crisis in North Korea
by the mainstream press was nonexistent during the first two years
of shortages (1995-96), and ranged from curiosity to Korea-bashing
in 1997 and 1998. Yet coverage has returned once again to virtually
total neglect during the past year. The reality of hunger in that
country has been replaced by speculation about North Korea's nuclear
weapons and long-range missile capabilities in the very limited
coverage of North Korea in the U.S. press.
INFORMATION SOURCES FOR THE FOOD CRISIS
IN NORTH KOREA United Nations, NYC-World Food Program (principal
coordinator of international food relief in North Korea); United
Nations Development Program (UNDP): the UNDP has developed a join
proposal with the full partnership of the DPRK for mid-term agricultural
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC),
Philadelphia, PA-Asia Desk: the AFSC has the longest relationship
with Korea, north and south, of all NGOs in the United States;
they were the first group in the U.S. to initiate food relief
programs for North Korea when news of potential famine became
public in early 1996.
Institute for Strategic Planning: This
Washington, D.C.-based organization of Korean Americans has been
supporting food relief programs in North Korea for three years
and holding policy briefings in the D.C. area with government
officials directly engaged in negotiations with the DPRK.
World Bank's Resettlement Program Displaces
Source: WORLD RIVERS REVIEW, December
1998 Title: "World Bank's Record on Resettlement Remains
Troublesome" Author: Lori Pottinger
Faculty Evaluator: Bryan Baker, Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Jennifer Mathis,
Melissa Bonham, & Lisa Desmond
The World Bank funds large dam projects,
but does little to help the displaced millions who are forced
to relocate. A recent report by the World Bank's Operations Evaluation
Department (OED), which reviews the Bank's record on complying
with its own directives, paints a gloomy picture of the Bank's
resettlement record for the people displaced by these large dam
projects in the name of development. The most recent data available
indicate that 1.9 million people are being displaced by projects
in the Bank's current portfolio and that these numbers continue
The report, "Recent Experience with
Involuntary Resettlement," published in June 1998, provides
a detailed analysis of the resettlement record of eight dam projects
approved between 1984-91 in six countries. To date, the World
Bank has helped finance more than 600 large dams.
The OED report acknowledges major problems
with the Bank's resettlement record. Their biggest concern is
over the Bank's ability to restore the incomes of those resettled.
The authors of the report state that the Bank showed only "intermittent
interest" in providing follow-through to support its resettlement
programs once a loan was disbursed. Another problem stems from
the Bank's typical practice of gearing compensation disbursements
to a project's construction schedule. This practice results in
the Bank exiting the project before staff can reach the Bank's
primary responsibility -restoring or improving incomes and standards
of living for the displaced populations.
The report recommends that the Bank move
away from its policy of offering replacement land for lands lost
to a project. Big dam sites usually eliminate the only productive
farming systems in the region, leaving resettlers with barren
land. People indigenous to these valleys have few skills that
are transferable to activities other than farming. They become
displaced and unemployable in a foreign environment. Alternatives
to land-for-land compensation such as cash compensations or so-called
income generating schemes have been tried for years. Several investigations
by the World Bank Inspection Panel demonstrate that, at least
in rural settings, such options have universally failed. Even
the OED report confirms that the Bank's special income strategies
have been uniformly ineffective. Still, they are recommending
that the Bank weaken its compensation policy by de-emphasizing
the current practice of offering replacement land to displaced
farmers. One of the OED report authors has said, "In reality,
resettlers lose the best land in the area, river valley land,
and it's replaced with the most awful land around, because that
is what is left."
AUTHOR UPDATE BY LORI POTTlNGER
An estimated 40 to 60 million people have been displaced by large
dams in this century, most of them rural poor. The great majority
of those displaced have been further impoverished and abandoned
by the dam builders and governments responsible for their plight.
The World Bank has been a major force behind the world's rush
to dam its rivers, and Bank projects as a whole continue to displace
nearly 500,000 people a year. The Bank's resettlement policies
have long been considered the "gold standard" that forcibly
moves people for development schemes. Yet the Bank has failed
at resettling people effectively, and instead has increased poverty
the world over.
Since the original story was published,
the World Bank began to rewrite its resettlement policies, but
many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have criticized the
document thus far as far weaker than previous ones, especially
on issues of restoring incomes and "land-for-and" compensation.
Many NGOs question the entire idea of a policy on forced resettlement.
Says Patrick McCully of International Rivers Network (IRN), "[The
draft policy] insures that the only people certain to be better
off due to Bank-funded involuntary resettlement will be resettlement
consultants." IRN and other NGOs propose that the Bank no
longer engage in forcible resettlement, which the U.N. Commission
on Human Rights calls "a gross violation of human rights,"
but instead approve projects only after potentially affected people
have freely given their consent. "Bank-financed resettlement
should be voluntary and based on negotiated settlements with affected
people to which project developers can be held accountable. If
forced resettlement continues to be normal practice for the Bank,
project-affected people and their allies will continue to mobilize
against Bank projects," McCully writes in a letter to the
Even if the Bank were to adopt a stronger
resettlement policy, it would still have to rectify problems from
past projects. Dam-affected people have increasingly demanded
reparations for their losses. One recent example is ongoing protest
over Thailand's Pak Mun Dam, one of the few projects described
as a success in the World Bank's OED report (the topic of the
original story). At press time, 3,000 villagers had occupied the
dam site for nearly a year, demanding the dam be removed if the
World Bank can't make good on its promises to restore livelihoods.
"The OED report did not tell the truth," said a Pak
Mun villager, in a new report on the project by International
Rivers Network. Villagers are asking Bank staff to come see for
themselves how their lives and livelihoods have deteriorated.
Neither the original story about the OED's
evaluation of the Bank's resettlement practices nor the ongoing
revision of the Bank's resettlement policies have received significant
FOR MORE INFORMATION About dams worldwide:
Lori Pottinger, Director, Southern Africa Program and Editor,
World Rivers Review International Rivers Network 1847 Berkeley
Way Berkeley, California 94703 USA
Tel: (510) 848 1155 Fax: (510) 848 1008
Web site: www.irn.org
About the World Bank's role in forcible
resettlement worldwide: Bank Information Center 733 15th Street
NW, Suite 1126 Washington, DC 20005 Tel: (202) 624-0623 Web site:
Center for International Environmental
Law 1367 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite #300 Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 785-8700 E-mail: email@example.com Web site: www.ciel.org
IMF and World Bank Contributed to Economic
Tensions in the Balkans
Source: THIS, July/August 1999 Title:
"Banking On the Balkans" Author: Michael Chossudovsky
Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips, Ph.D. Student Researchers:
Jeremiah Price & Lisa Desmond
The World Bank and International Monetary
Fund (IMF) were leading contributors to economic tensions in the
Balkans that stimulated the breakup of Yugoslavia. The divisiveness
in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo was reported by media to be caused
by "aggressive nationalism" and the ongoing ethnic and
religious conflicts. However, other causes involving the IMF and
the World Bank contributed to the rise in ethnic tensions.
Declassified documents from 1984 reveal
that a U.S. national security decision directive, entitled "United
States Policy Towards Yugoslavia," set a policy for destabilizing
the Yugoslavian government. U.S. policy was to expand efforts
to promote a "quiet revolution" to overthrow Communist
governments and parties, while reintegrating the countries of
Eastern Europe into a market-oriented economy.
In the early 1980s, the World Bank and
IMF provided loans to the former Yugoslavia to supposedly "fix"
the economic hardship of the region. The loans from these two
organizations included mandated macroeconomic restructuring that,
rather than helping, in fact destroyed the industrial sector and
dismantled the welfare state. In 1980, when the first phase of
macroeconomics reform started, industrial growth began its seven-year
decline from 7.1 percent per annum during the years of 1966-79,
to 2.8 percent from 1980-87.
Within a climate of severe inflation and
wage freezes, restructuring moved on to include new laws, which
ushered in import liberalization and a freeze on credit. This
caused investment and industrial growth to plummet to zero. Consumer
price indexes increased 2,700 percent. Hundreds of firms filed
bankruptcy or liquidation, and tens of thousands of industrial
workers were laid off. In Kosovo, one of Yugoslavia's poorest
provinces, economic depression sparked ethnic conflict between
the Albanian majority and Serb minority. Albanian pressure to
secede increased and Slobodan Milosevic began moves to suppress
Albanian nationalism. In the process, hundreds of Albanians were
thrown out of state jobs.
In 1990, the IMF and the World Bank delivered
a new "financial aid package" that required new extensive
expenditure cuts by the federal government. Belgrade suspended
transfer payments to republics and provinces, and real wages collapsed
by 41 percent causing half a million workers to have their wages
suspended. Inflation began to rise and industrial growth plummeted
to 10.6 percent. The entire Yugoslavian banking system began to
be dismantled under the supervision of the World Bank. A year
later, in 1991, Croatia, Slovenia, and Macedonia declared independence
from Yugoslavia and civil war broke out in Croatia.
The IMF and World Bank involvement led
to the impoverishment of the population, which in turn led to
hatred, confusion, and divisiveness. The United States and NATO
wanted to see Yugoslavia become a market-oriented economy, but
due to structural adjustment programs the country has experienced
out of control inflation and enormous drops in real wages. Now
that the economy is in shambles, the U.S. and the European Union
have installed a "full-fledged colonial administration"
to replace the sovereign economic control of the country. Unfortunately,
most of the Western world doesn't realize the root of the problems
in the Balkans and sees NATO and the U.S. as the saviors of an
UPDATE BY AUTHOR MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY:
The military invasion and occupation of Kosovo is but a stage
in the broader process of conquest and political destabilization
of Yugoslavia. After the separation of Kosovo from Yugoslavia,
the Alliance is intent on promoting the secession of Montenegro,
Yugoslavia's only remaining access to the Adriatic. Washington
has backed the puppet government of President Milo Djukanovic,
politically as well as financially since 1997. Conditional upon
the adoption of "free market" reforms, U.S. assistance
has included support to the 12,000 strong police force loyal to
President Djukanovic, not to mention the financing of the Montenegrin
civilian militia. (See U.S. State Department, Press Conference,
Washington, DC, June 9, 1999; see also The Statements of Secretary
M. Albright and President M. Djukanovic, State Department Press
Conference, April 22, 1999).
Advised by Western economists and consultants,
the preconditions for Montenegro's "economic separation"
from Yugoslavia had been firmly established. The Deutschmark was
adopted as the "official" currency in November 1999
leading to Montenegro's de facto withdrawal from the Yugoslav
monetary system alongside the paralysis of federal transfers to
the Podgorica government. A Currency Board was installed on the
model of Bosnia-Herzegovina under the Dayton Agreement. Meanwhile,
Montenegro's Central Bank had severed its ties with the Yugoslav
Central Bank in Belgrade with a view to eventually establishing
its own currency pegged to the Deutschmark. The new currency would
be established under the currency board arrangement, with the
support and financial assistance of the IMF.
By November 1999, the political and economic
secession of Montenegro was already de facto with the exception
of the cutting off of Serbia from its access to the Adriatic.
In this regard, the U.S. is intent with the support of the Djukanovic
government of mounting an effective blockade of Bar, which is
the port of entry for imported oil into Yugoslavia. Meanwhile,
the Pentagon had already set out operations plans (OPLANs) "for
the invasion and forcible expulsion of Serb forces in Montenegro"
(Truth in Media, September 29, 1999). The same source indicates
"that the unit designated as the spearhead for the invasion
of Montenegro, II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF), stationed
at Camp Lejeune, NC, has an Operational Planning Team (OPT) in
Macedonia calculating how best to secure bridgeheads to militarily
support the Montenegrin government should it decide to declare
its independence from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY)"
(Truth in Media, September 29, 1999).
Destabilizing Vojvodina: Vojvodina is
a "bread basket" and a source of raw materials for Yugoslavia.
NATO's ultimate objective is the total collapse of Yugoslavia
as a viable national economy. Vojvodina has within Serbia the
same status as Kosovo. It is an autonomous province with Novi
Sad as its capital. NATO's hidden agenda is to destabilize Vojvodina,
calling for the establishment of a "special status."
The Budapest government (now a member of NATO) has called for
the return of the northern territories ceded from the Austro-Hungarian
empire as a result of the Treaty of Versailles after World War
I. Barely a month after the end of the bombings, Hungarian Prime
Minister Viktor Orban met behind closed doors with U.S. Defense
Secretary William Cohen. On the agenda: autonomy to ethnic Hungarians
in the north of Vojvodina.
Economic Reconstruction: The so-called
"reconstruction" by foreign capital of the Balkans under
the "stabilization program" will signify multi-billion
dollar contracts to multinational firms to rebuild roads, airports,
and bridges that will eventually be required (once the embargo
is lifted) to facilitate the "free movement" of capital
and commodities. The proposed "Marshall Plan" financed
by the World Bank and the European Development Bank (EBRD), as
well as private creditors, will largely benefit Western mining,
petroleum, and construction companies, while fueling the region's
external debt well into the third millennium.
Free market reforms have been envisaged
for Kosovo under the supervision of the Bretton Woods institutions
largely replicating the structures of the Rambouillet Agreement.
Article I (Chapter 4a) of the Rambouillet Agreement stipulated
that: "The economy of Kosovo shall function in accordance
with free market principles." The KLA government will largely
be responsible for implementing these reforms and ensuring that
loan conditionalities are met. In close liaison with NATO, the
Bretton Woods institutions had already analysed the consequences
of an eventual military intervention leading to the military occupation
of Kosovo. Almost a year prior to the beginning of the War, the
World Bank conducted "simulations" that anticipated
the possibility of an emergency scenario arising out of the tensions
in Kosovo (World Bank Development News, April 27, 1999).
The "reconstruction" of Kosovo
financed by international debt largely purports to transfer Kosovo's
extensive wealth in mineral resources and coal to multinational
capital. In this regard, the KLA has already occupied (pending
their privatization) the largest coal mine at Belacevac in Dobro
Selo, northwest of Pristina. In turn, foreign capital has its
eyes riveted on the massive Trepca mining complex that constitutes
"the most valuable piece of real estate in the Balkans, worth
at least $5 billion" (Chris Hedges, New York Times, July
8, 1998). The Trepca complex not only includes copper and large
reserves of zinc but also cadmium, gold, and silver. Also, it
has several smelting plants, 17 metal treatment sites, a power
plant, and Yugoslavia's largest battery plant. Northern Kosovo
also has estimated reserves of 17 billion tons of coal and lignite.
The most profitable state assets are being
transferred into the hands of foreign capital under the World
Bank-sponsored privatisation program. Strong economic medicine
imposed by external creditors will contribute to further boosting
a criminal economy (already firmly implanted in Albania) that
feeds on poverty and economic dislocation.
Also, Kosovo is slated to reimburse this
debt through the laundering of dirty money. Yugoslav banks in
Kosovo will be closed down and the banking system will be deregulated
under the supervision of Western financial institutions. Narcodollars
from the multi-billion dollar Balkans drug trade will be recycled
towards servicing the external debt, as well as financing the
costs of reconstruction. The lucrative flow of narco-dollars thus
insures that foreign investors involved in the "reconstruction"
program will be able to reap substantial returns. In turn, the
existence of a Kosovar "narco-state" insures the orderly
reimbursement of international donors and creditors. The latter
are prepared to turn a blind eye. They have a tacit vested interest
in installing a government that facilitates the laundering of
U.S. and Germany Trained and Developed
Sources: THE PROGRESSIVE, August 1999
Title: "Mercenaries in Kosovo: The U.S. Connection to the
KLA" Author: Wayne Madsen
COVERTACTION QUARTERLY, Spring-Summer
1999 Title: "Kosovo 'Freedom Fighters' Financed by Organized
Crime" Author: Michel Chossudovsky
Faculty Evaluators: Rick Luttman, Ph.D.
& Phil Beard, Ph.D. Student Researchers: Michael Spigel &
Germany and the U.S. collaborated in supporting
the development and training of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)
to deliberately destablize a centralized socialist government
Since the early 1990s, Bonn and Washington
have joined hands in establishing their respective spheres of
influence in the Balkans. Undercover support to the Kosovo rebel
army was established as a joint endeavor between the CIA and Germany's
Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND). The task to create and finance
the KLA was initially given to Germany:
"They used German uniforms, East
German weapons, and were financed in part by drug money,"
according to intelligence analyst John Whitley. As the KLA matured,
the U.S. and Germany recruited Mujahedin mercenaries, financed
by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, to train the KLA in guerrilla and
Since the mid-1990s, there has been a
small handful of Pentagon contractors or private military companies
providing support to the KLA. One of these contractors is the
Military Professional Resources, Inc. (MPRI). In a recent interview
retired Army Colonel David Hackworth gave to Catherine Crier of
Fox Television, he states that the MPRI used former U.S. military
personnel to train KLA forces at secret bases inside Albania.
The MPRI has a starting lineup comprised
of retired Pentagon top brass. Its roster includes one retired
admiral, two retired major generals, and 10 retired generals.
The MPRI employs more than 400 personnel and can access the resumes
of thousands of former U.S. military specialists from cooks and
clerks to helicopter pilots and Green Berets.
The MPRI has been in the Balkans for years.
MPRI military advisers helped plan Storm and Strike, the Croatian
offensive that was responsible for driving out 350,000 Croatian
Serbs from the Krajina province. In 1996, just one year later,
the MPRI received a $400 million State Department contract to
train and equip the Bosnian Croat-Muslim Federation Army.
Some of the KLA's military leadership
includes veterans of the MPRI-planned operation Storm and Strike.
Agim Ceku is the military commander of the KLA and was a former
brigadier general in the Croatian army. According to the London
Independent's Robert Fisk, Ceku is an ethnic cleanser in his own
right. Ceku, along with MPRI military advisers, helped plan the
Croatian military offensive that resulted in the ethnic cleansing
of the Serbs from Krajina.
UPDATE BY AUTHOR WAYNE MADSEN:
The story on the U.S. mercenary connection to the Kosovo Liberation
Army (KLA) was virtually ignored by the corporate-controlled media
during NATO's Balkans War. Playing into the hands of the Pentagon's
information warfare and perception management cadres, as well
as Clinton Administration spinmeisters, the major media sang the
praises of the KLA, refusing to peer inside the covert assistance
program rendered by Pentagon "private military contractors"
to this shadowy group long connected to criminal enterprises in
both Eastern and Western Europe.
The U.S. private military contractors
and police advisory teams associated with the Justice Department's
and United Nations peace monitoring teams continue their activity
in the world's most volatile trouble spots. As private entities,
these companies are not subject to congressional oversight or
Freedom of Information requests.
MPRI stepped up its military training
activities in Bosnia after the suspension of the firm's arms transfers
to the Bosnian army was lifted by the State Department. MPRI activities
included training a rapid reaction Bosnian special forces unit
and providing direct support to the Bosnian Defense Ministry.
Pentagon insiders reported that MPRI also provided weaponry to
paramilitary forces loyal to Montenegro's pro-Western President
Milo Djukanovic and continued covert assistance to the KLA in
Also, MPRI's activities in Africa increased.
Not only did the company's personnel increase their profile in
Angola, helping that nation in its war against Washington's former
UNITA allies, but the firm's representatives showed up in Abuja,
Nigeria, after the swearing in of democratically elected president
Olusegun Obasanjo. MPRI is a central player in the Pentagon's
African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI) and Nigeria was long
sought as a military partner of the United States in that effort.
However, neither former dictator Sani Abacha nor former president-elect
Chief Moshood Abiola were acceptable to Washington as military
partners. Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering provided much
of the high-level liaison between Obasanjo's government and MPRI.
Ironically, Pickering was present during a July 1998 meeting with
Chief Abiola when the imprisoned president-elect suffered a heart
attack and died minutes later. MPRI is also active in counter-narcotics
military operations in Colombia.
There has also been a blurring of law
enforcement and military activities of companies like Dyncorp
and Science Application International Corporation (SAIC). One
of Dyncorp's U.N. police monitors was wounded by pro-Indonesian
East Timorese militiamen in the post-referendum violence that
swept the ravaged territory. Others, providing police services
in NATO-occupied Kosovo, were attacked by both Serb and Albanian
SAIC became more active, through the CIA-connected
ICITAP, in paramilitary counter-narcotics and counter-insurgency
operations in Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala,
Haiti, and Panama-all long-time favorite haunts of CIA operatives.
ICITAP also stepped up training of Bosnian federal and cantonal
police units and various South African police services. Former
ICITAP director Janice Stromsem was joined by another ICITAP employee,
Mick Andersen, who charged that agencies other than the Justice
Department were engaging in "illegal activities" in
Haiti. Stromsem and Andersen were both forced from their jobs
with ICITAP and have been effectively ostracized within the government
after blowing the whistle.
During 1999, Dyncorp faced charges that
it was raiding police departments around the country luring away
experienced officers with six-figure salaries. In September 1999,
the mayor of Surf City, New Jersey filed suit against one of his
police officers for abandoning his job to join Dyncorp's force
in Kosovo. A retired Bloomington, Indiana police officer returned
home from Kosovo after becoming disenchanted with his duties.
Still others cited difficulties in dealing with the Albanian Mafia
in Kosovo. Moreover, some 10 percent of the U.N. police candidates
dropped out of Dyncorp's Fort Worth-based training program after
they initially signed up. Aside from radio interviews with progressive
radio stations in New York, there was no other media reaction
to the story.
For more information peruse the following
www.mpri.com www.dyncorp.com/areas/intlpm.htm www.saic.com
(key site's search engine for ICITAP) www.ciponline.org/facts/icitap.htm
www.us.net/cip/icitap3.htm www.ndu.edu/inss/strforum/ forum84.html
UPDATE FROM AUTHOR: MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY:
As Western leaders trumpet their support for democracy, state
terrorism in Kosovo has become an integral part of NATO's post-war
design. The KLA's political role for the "post-conflict"
period had been mapped out well in advance. NATO had already slated
the KLA "provisional government" (PGK) to run civilian
state institutions. In the weeks following NATO's military occupation
of Kosovo, the KLA took over municipal governments and public
services including schools and hospitals. The KLA has a controlling
voice on the U.N.-sponsored Kosovo Transitional Council, UNMIK.
In the weeks following the military invasion, the KLA "Provisonal
Government" established links with a number of Western governments.
Under NATO occupation, the rule of law
has visibly been turned upside down. Criminals and terrorists
are to become law-enforcement officers. With the withdrawal of
Yugoslav troops and police, the KLA without delay took control
of Kosovo's police stations. Under the formal authority of the
United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation
in Europe (OSCE) was entrusted with the task of training and installing
a 4,000-strong police force with a mandate to "protect civilians"
under the jurisdiction of the KLA-controlled "Ministry of
Public Order." The evidence suggests that the KLA-controlled
police force was also responsible for the massacres of civilians
organized in the immediate wake of NATO's military occupation
Moreover, despite NATO's commitment to
disarming the KLA, the Kosovar paramilitary organization is slated
to be transformed into a modern military force. So-called "security
assistance" has already been granted to the KLA by the U.S.
Congress under the Kosovar Independence and Justice Act of 1999.
While the KLA's links to the Balkans narcotics
trade (served to finance many of its terrorist activities) had
been highly publicized, the paramilitary organization was granted
an official U.S. seal of approval as well as being deemed a "legitimate"
source of funding. In turn, Washington's military aid package
to the KLA was entrusted to Military Professional Resources, Inc.
(MPRI) of Alexandria, Virginia, a private mercenary outfit run
by high ranking former U.S. military officers.
In September 1999, the KLA was officially
dissolved and transformed into the newly formed Kosovo Protection
Force that was funded by U.S. military aid. Shift in military
labels: KLA Commander Agim Ceku was appointed Chief of Staff of
Kosovo's newly created armed forces.
Barely a few weeks after Commander Ceku's
NATO sponsored appointment, the International Criminal Tribunal
for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) announced that it was "investigating
Ceku for alleged war crimes committed against ethnic Serbs in
Croatia between 1993 and 1995" (AFP, October 13,1999). This
information had been withheld by the ICTY during the mandate of
Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour. In other words, the U.N. and NATO
knew that Agim Ceku was an alleged war criminal prior to the onslaught
of NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia in March 1999. Moreover, KFOR
Commander Mike Jackson and UNMIK head Dr. Bernard Kouchner (and
1999 Nobel Peace Laureate as cofounder of Doctors Without Borders)
were fully aware of the fact that an alleged war criminal had
been appointed as Commander in Chief of the KPF: "If we lose
him it will be a disaster," said a diplomat close to Bernard
Vouchner, the U.N.'s special representative. "When you get
to the second level of the TMK [Kosovo Protection Force], you're
down to a bunch of local thugs." American diplomats have
suggested any indictment of Ceku would most likely be "sealed"
and thereby kept out of the public domain [meaning that public
opinion will not be informed of the Court's decision]. Another
diplomat said he believed KFOR, the NATO-led peace-keeping force,
could not contemplate a public relations disaster with the Albanians
by arresting Ceku (Tom Walker, "Kosovo Defense Chief Accused
of War Crimes, Sunday Times, October 10,1999).
The ICTY also cautioned that the inquiry
did not necessarily imply that Ceku was responsible for wrongdoings
in Kosovo: "The court's inquiries relate to atrocities committed
in Krajina between 1993 and 1995." Ceku's record in Kosovo
itself is not thought to be in question, although the office of
Carla del Ponte, the new chief prosecutor, said an investigation
into his activities with the KLA could not be ruled out. The possibility
that Ceku, a respected figure in Kosovo, could be accused of war
crimes, has sent "shivers through the international community
in Kosovo..." (Ibid.).
In other words, the so-called "international
community" has firmly relied on an "alleged war criminal"
to replicate in Kosovo the massacres and ethnic cleansing conducted
in Croatia against Krajina Serbs. Visibly what was shaping up
in the wake of the bombings in Kosovo was the continuity of NATO's
operation in the Balkans. Military personnel and U.N. bureaucrats
previously stationed in Croatia and Bosnia had also been routinely
reassigned to Kosovo. In this context, the assignment of Mike
Jackson to Kosovo as KFOR Commander was remarkably consistent
with the appointment a few months earlier of Brigadier General
Agim Ceku as Commander of the KLA.
KFOR Commander Mike Jackson had also been
routinely reassigned to Kosovo following his earlier stint in
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. His experience in "ethnic
warfare," however, predates the Balkans. From his earlier
posting, while in Northern Ireland as a young captain, Jackson
was second in command in the "Bloody Sunday" massacre
of civilians in Derry in 1972. Under the orders of Lieutenant
Derek Wilford, Captain Jackson and 13 other soldiers of the parachute
regiment opened fire "on a peaceful protest by the Northern
Ireland civil rights association opposing discrimination against
Catholics. In just 30 minutes, 13 people were shot dead and 13
injured. Those who died were killed by a single bullet to the
head or body, indicating that they had been deliberately targeted.
No weapons were found on any of the deceased" (Julie Hyland,
"Head of NATO Force in Kosovo, Second-in-Command at 'Bloody
Sunday' Massacre in Ireland," World Socialist Web site, June
Jackson's role in "Bloody Sunday"
"did not hinder his Military career"
. (Ibid.). From his early stint in Northern Ireland, he was reassigned
to the theatre of ethnic warfare in the Balkans. In the immediate
wake of Operation Storm and the ethnic massacres in Krajina, Jackson
was put in charge as KFOR commander, for organizing the return
of Serbs "to lands taken by Croatian HVO forces in the 1995
Krajina offensive." And in this capacity General Mike Jackson
had "urged that the resettlement of Krajina Serbs not be
rushed to avoid tension with the Croatians while also warning
returning Serbs of the extent of the land mine threat (Jane's
Defense Weekly, Vol. 25, No.7, February 14,1996). In retrospect,
recalling the events of early 1996, very few Krajina Serbs were
allowed to return to their homes under the protection of the United
Nations. According to Veritas, a Belgrade based organization of
Serbian refugees from Croatia, some 10,000-15,000 Serbs were able
to resettle in Croatia.
A similar process took place in Kosovo
where the conduct of senior military officers conformed to a consistent
pattern because the same key individuals were reassigned to a
"peace-keeping" role in Kosovo. While token efforts
were displayed to protect Serb and Roma civilians, those who fled
Kosovo were not encouraged to return under U.N. protection. In
post-war Kosovo, ethnic cleansing was carried out by the KLA while
under the auspices of NATO and the U.N. It has been accepted by
the "international community" as a fait accompli.
Moreover, while calling for democracy
and "good governance" in the Balkans, the U.S. and its
allies have installed in Kosovo a "civilian paramilitary
government" with links to organized crime. The outcome is
the outright "criminalization" of civilian state institutions
in Kosovo and the establishment of what is best described as a
"Mafia State." The complicity of NATO and the Alliance
governments (namely their relentless support of the KLA) points
to the de facto "criminalisation" of KFOR and of the
U.N. peace-keeping apparatus in Kosovo. The donor agencies and
governments (e.g., the funds approved by the U.S. Congress in
violation of several U.N. Security Council resolutions) providing
financial support to the KLA are, in this regard, also "accessories"
to this criminalization of state institutions. Through the intermediation
of a paramilitary group (created and financed by Washington and
Bonn), NATO ultimately bears the burden of responsibility for
the massacres and ethnic cleansing of civilians in Kosovo.
International Conference Sets World Agenda
Source: TOWARD FREEDOM, July 1999 Title:
"United for Peace" Author: Robin Lloyd
Faculty Evaluator: Phil Beard, Ph.D. Student Researcher: Jeremiah
The Hague Appeal for Peace (HAP) Conference,
which took place in the Hague, Netherlands, in May 1999, has set
a "Global Agenda" for world peace in the next century.
Over 1,000 groups, from 100 different countries, intended to voice
their suggestions on how to make international peace possible.
The four-day event yielded a turnout of over 8,000 people and
resulted in ground-breaking initiatives and resolutions.
One of the many new campaigns launched
at the conference was the International Action Network on Small
Arms (IANSA). The IANSA goal is to encourage tracking, protesting,
and publicizing the sales and shipments of weapons. Referring
to the fact that the U.S. sold $119 billion in arms, some 45 percent
of the world's total, from 1989 to 1996, Pierre Sane of Amnesty
International stated at the conference that the U.S. is "becoming
the arsenal of the world."
The Hague Global Agenda calls for recognition
and enforcement of World Court rulings that over 150 countries
have endorsed. The United States has been unwilling to submit
to the international jurisdiction of the World Court.
A long-term project put in motion at the
conference is the Global Action to Prevent War. Its purpose is
to establish a coalition of organizations that will build a permanent
body of NGOs, individuals, and eventually governments to support
Heads of some governments avoided the
event, although representatives from various governments attended.
Several of the attending representatives were ambassadors and
ministers, most of whom acknowledge that the majority of governments
will only recognize universal values until they interfere with
national or economic interests, and that governments often co-opt
the language of peace to justify and protect corporate interests.
The following is the agenda that was set
forth at The Hague Appeal for Peace Conference. The Global Agenda
outlines 10 fundamental principles for a just world order:
1. Every government should adopt a resolution
2. All states should accept the jurisdiction
of the International Court of Justice.
3. Every government should ratify the
ICC and implement the Land Mines Treaty.
4. All states should integrate the New
Diplomacy-the partnership of governments, international organizations,
and civil societies.
5. The world can't ignore humanitarian
crises, but every creative diplomatic means possible must be exhausted
before resorting to force under U.N. authority.
6. Negotiations for a Convention Eliminating
Nuclear Weapons should begin immediately.
7. The trade in small arms should be severely
8. Economic rights must be taken as seriously
as civil rights.
9. Peace education should be compulsory
in every school.
10. The plan for the Global Action to
Prevent War should become the basis for a peaceful world order.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan praised
the NGOs and civil society organizations for creating the conference.
While the conference was covered by Associated Press and released
worldwide, the United States media ignored it, with coverage in
the back pages of only a handful of small regional papers.
UPDATE BY AUTHOR ROBIN LLOYD
Ten thousand peace activists, Nobel peace prize winners, and celebrities
met for four days in May of 1999 at a conference center at the
Hague, the Netherlands, to virtually no U.S. (and skimpy international)
coverage. A few blocks away, the boys with the big cameras clustered
outside the gates of the International Court of Justice, where
Yugoslavia was charging NATO with grievous violations of international
After all, there was a war going on.
Every day, young people from the conference
trooped down with banners, urging the media to provide some coverage.
No luck. As a Hague Appeal staffer later explained, "Unless
the story has action and can be explained in two seconds, they
don't want to cover it."
The conference was spurred by a revolutionary
idea: abolishing war in the 21st century. Hopelessly idealistic?
As Cora Weiss, president of the Hague Appeal, put it, this end-of-the-century
conference was convened "because we want peace to have the
last word in this most war-filled, most violent century."
That concern also spurred my own participation. I was tired of
hearing the millennium being boiled down to an acronym-Y2K. The
conference provided a context to talk about renewal and a recommitment
to democratic values as we entered a new century.
And it wasn't a bad story, complete with
history (the conference occured 100 years after the first Hague
conference of 1899), hope for the future, revolutionary fervor,
youth, and even some celebrities (Kofi Annan, Bishop Tutu, and
Queen Noor, among others). Yet, maybe the best story was: how
could this "peace conference"-dedicated to abolishing
war, and taking place in the midst of one-avoid taking a stand
on Kosovo? Virtually every participant had to answer that question
upon returning home.
What was the conference's stand on Kosovo?
Officially, it didn't have one. And that may well have been a
factor in the press's indifference to both the process and the
21st century agenda that emerged.
But now, after the mobilization against
globalization in Seattle, the Hague conference reveals a larger
story: the potential role of "civil society" in the
new millennium. It's been growing for a while; politely at the
Hague, not so politely in Seattle. The people are at the gates,
asserting that their interests as human beings are being ignored
or manipulated by governments, international financial institutions,
"What are these NGOs 'swarming' about?"
The Economist asked in a December 1999 article. "Are citizens'
groups, as many of their supporters claim, the first steps towards
an 'international civil society' (whatever that may be)? Or do
they represent a dangerous shift of power to unelected and unaccountable
special-interest groups?" The way the magazine framed the
question suggests that they believe something pretty ominous is
In fact, the number of international non-governmental
organizations has increased fourfold, from 6,000 in 1990 to 26,000
today. But the key question is whether civil society can move
from knocking on the door of international institutions to taking
over the hall and creating a people's parliament. It's not as
utopian as it sounds. Remember when the U.S. shifted from electing
its senators through state legislatures to letting the people
A Millennium NGO Forum will be held at
the U.N. from May 22-26, 2000. Its agenda-to build grassroots
and public support for a more effective U.N.-is moderate, but
it will also provide an opening for international civil society
to push the envelope on global governance. As Toward Freedom editor
Greg Guma wrote recently in an editorial, "We need to move
beyond fear of government and work for democracy at the world
The Hague Appeal for Peace can be reached
on the Internet at www.haguepeace.org, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Millennium People's Assembly Network is at www.ourvoices.org.
Toward Freedom will continue to track development on its Web site,