Memo To: Sen. Don Nickles [R-OK], Deputy Majority Leader
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: A Valid Perspective from Canada
Good job on Face the Nation, Don, although I'm sorry Bob Shieffer cut you off when you were trying to respond to the silly things Senator Joseph Biden had said about the bombing paying off. What a crock! Slobodan Milosevic got everything he wanted, which means all the bombs dropped, all the suffering and destruction and all the blood spilled were completely unnecessary. The only price Milosevic had to pay was making believe he is eating crow.
I'm sending you this most recent essay of Professor Michel Chossudovsky, a professor of economics at the University of Ottawa. I've never met him personally, but we have communicated by fax and internet for several years, after I happened to read an op-ed for the International Herald Tribune which made the only sophisticated case against "Shock Therapy" as a means of helping communist countries convert to market economies. There may be others, but he and I are the only two who have been writing for years about the problems created for the Yugoslav Federation by the International Monetary Fund -- which you may know I have been terming the new "Evil Empire" since the Berlin Wall came down. Chossudovsky is the author of The Globalization of Poverty, published in London in 1997. He also is a member of the Ad Hoc Committee to Stop Canada's Participation in the War in Yugoslavia -- for all the right reasons, as far as I can tell. I've also sent this piece to Dan Quayle, whom I understand you are supporting in his presidential bid. He also has opposed the war in Yugoslavia, for all the right reasons. I'm not certifying this as being gospel, Don, but it certainly is well-developed and represents a sophisticated view by a respected Canadian of what we are doing.
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NATO'S WAR OF AGGRESSION AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA: AN OVERVIEW
NATO TO THE "RESCUE" OF ETHNIC ALBANIANS:
Ethnic Albanians have not been spared by NATO air raids. Killing ethnic Albanians in Kosovo is said to be "inevitable" in carrying out a "humanitarian operation on behalf of ethnic Albanians." Presented as a humanitarian mission, the evidence amply confirms that NATO's brutal air raids of towns and villages in Kosovo have triggered the exodus of refugees. Those who have fled their homes to refugee camps in Macedonia and Albania have nothing to return to, nothing to look forward to... An entire country has been destroyed, its civilian industry and public infrastructure transformed into rubble. Bridges, power plants, schools and hospitals are displayed as "legitimate military targets" selected by NATO's Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) in Vicenza, Italy and carefully "validated prior to the pilot launching his strike."
With the "diplomatic shuttle" still ongoing, the Alliance is intent on inflicting as much damage on the Yugoslav economy (including Kosovo) as possible prior to reaching a G8 brokered "peace initiative" which will empower them to send in ground troops. "Allied commanders have steadily widened their list of economic targets... Increasingly, the impact of NATO air strikes has put people out of work... causing water shortages in Belgrade, Novi Sad and other Serbian cities. ... [T]he effect was to shut down businesses, strain hospitals' ability to function and cut off water..." Some 115 medical institutions have been damaged of which several have been totally demolished. And hospital patients -- including children and the elderly -- are dying due to the lack of water and electricity...
General Wesley Clark, NATO's Supreme commander in Europe, confirmed in late May that "NATO'S air campaign has not reached its peak yet and the alliance should be prepared for more civilian casualties." General Clark also confirmed that "he would be seeking to increase the number of air strikes in Kosovo and expand the range of targets. As the bombings entered their third month, there was also a noticeable change in "NATO rhetoric." The Alliance had become increasingly unrepentant, NATO officials were no longer apologising for civilian casualties, claiming that the latter were contributing to "helping Milosevic's propaganda machine."
EXTENDING THE CONFLICT BEYOND THE BALKANS:
Drowned in the barrage of media images and self-serving analyses, the broader strategic interests and economic causes of the War go unmentioned. The late Sean Gervasi writing in 1995 had anticipated an impending War. According to Gervasi, Washington's strategic goals stretched well beyond the Balkans. They largely consisted in "installing a Western-style regime in Yugoslavia and reducing the geographic area, power and influence of Serbia to a minimum...." In this context, the installation of American power in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean also constitutes a step towards the extension of Washington's geopolitical sphere of influence beyond the Balkans into the area of the Caspian Sea, Central Asia and West Asia.
In this regard, NATO's military intervention in Yugoslavia (in violation of international law) also sets a dangerous precedent. It provides "legitimacy" to future military interventions. To achieve its strategic objectives, national economies are destabilised, regional conflicts are financed through the provision of covert support to armed insurgencies... In other words, the conflict in Yugoslavia creates conditions which provide legitmacy to future interventions of the Alliance into the "internal affairs of sovereign nations."
The consolidation of American strategic interests in Eastern Europe, the Balkans (and beyond) was not only marked by the enlargement of NATO (with the accession of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic as NATO members) barely two weeks before the beginning of the bombings, the War in Yugoslavia also coincided with a critical split in geopolitical alignments within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In late April, Georgia, the Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldava signed a pact in Washington, creating GUUAM, a regional alliance which lies strategically at the hub of the Caspian oil and gas wealth, "with Moldava and the Ukraine offering [pipeline] export routes to the West." This geopolitical split bears a direct relationship to the crisis in Yugoslavia. The region is already unstable marked by nationalist conflicts and separatist movements.
The members of this new pro-NATO political grouping not only tacitly support the bombings in Yugoslavia, they have also agreed to "low level military cooperation" with NATO while insisting that "the group is not a military alliance directed against any third party, namely Moscow." Dominated by Western oil interests, the formation of GUUAM is not only intent on excluding Russia from the oil and gas deposits in the Caspian area but also in isolating Moscow politically thereby potentially re-igniting Cold War divisions...
THE WAR HAS STALLED NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROLS:
In turn, the War in Yugoslavia has significantly stalled nuclear arms-control initiatives leading to the cancellation of an exchange program "that would have had U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons officers in constant contact at year's end to prevent any launches as a result of Year 2000 computer troubles." Moreover, Russia's military has also voiced its concern "that the bombing of Yugoslavia could turn out in the very near future to be just a rehearsal for similar strikes on Russia." According to Dr. Mary-Wynne Ashford, co-president of the Nobel Peace Prize winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), the impact of NATO bombings of Yugoslavia "on nuclear weapons policy is an extremely serious development... Russians feel a sense of betrayal by the West...because NATO took this action outside the UN."
Aleksander Arbatov, deputy chairman of the Defence Committee of the Russian State Duma U.S.-Russian relations describes the War in Yugoslavia as the "worst most acute, most dangerous juncture since the U.S.-Soviet Berlin and Cuban missile crises." According to Arbatov: "START II is dead, co-operation with NATO is frozen, co-operation on missile defence is out of the question, and Moscow's willingness to co-operate on non-proliferation issues is at an all-time low. Moreover, anti-U.S. sentiment in Russia is real, deep and more widespread than ever, and the slogan describing NATO action - "today Serbia, tomorrow Russia," is "deeply planted in Russian's minds."...
Mary-Wynne Ashford also warns that whereas Russia was moving towards integration with Europe, they [the Russians] now: ".... perceive their primary threat from the West. Officials in [Russia's] Foreign Affairs (Arms Control and Disarmament) told us that Russia has no option but to rely on nuclear weapons for its defence because its conventional forces are inadequate.... Even if the bombings stop now, the changes in Russia's attitude toward the West, its renewed reliance on nuclear weapons with thousands on high alert, and its loss of confidence in international law leave us vulnerable to catastrophe.... This crisis makes de-alerting nuclear weapons more urgent than ever. To those who say the Russian threat is all rhetoric, I reply that rhetoric is what starts wars."
THE MEDIA WAR: "SILENCING THE SILENT MAJORITY":
This war is also "a War against the Truth." With protest movements developing around the World, NATO has reinforced its clutch over the mass media. In a stylised ("wag the dog") media mascarade, the Alliance is relentlessly portrayed as "the saviour of ethnic Albanian Kosovars". A full-fledged "cover-up operation" has been set in motion with a view to thwarting public debate on the War. The hidden agenda is to "silence the silent majority." The Western media heeding to the Alliance's demands has blatantly misled public opinion. Casually portrayed on TV screens, civilian deaths are justified as inevitable "collateral damage." According to the Pentagon, "there is no such thing as clean combat."
Meanwhile, anti-war commentators (including former ambassadors and OSCE officials) have been carefully removed from mainstream public affairs programmes, TV content is closely scrutinised, the images of civilian deaths and destruction relayed from Belgrade are seldomly and selectively displayed, journalists are under tight supervision. While the media do not hesitate to criticize NATO for having committed "errors" and "tragic mistakes," the legitimacy of the military operation and its "humanitarian mandate" are not questioned: "Public opinion is confronted with a loaded question which allows only one answer. In the present war, that question is, "Doesn't ethnic cleansing have to be stopped?" This simplification allows the media to portray Yugoslavia rather than NATO as the aggressor. The alliance, in a complete inversion of reality, is presented as conducting an essentially defensive war on behalf of the Kosovar Albanians..." when in fact ethnic Albanians are the principle victims of NATO's "humanitarian bombings." According to NATO's propaganda machine, "ethnic Albanians do not flee the bombings" and the ground war between the KLA and the Yugoslav Army. According to Diana Johnstone this makes them "nearly unique [because] throughout history, civilians have fled from war zones.... No, as we have heard repeatedly from NATO spokesmen and apologists, Kosovo Albanians run away from only one thing: brutal ethnic cleansing carried out by Serbs."
The refugee crisis we are told by NATO is limited to Kosovo. Yet the evidence (withheld by the Western media) confirms that people throughout Serbia are fleeing major cities: Reliable estimates put the number of refugees who have left Belgrade to escape the bombing at 400,000. Most are women and children, as with the Kosovo Albanians. At least another 500,000 have left Serbia's other cities, notably Novi Sad and Nish, where NATO bombing has caused air pollution, cut the water supply, and struck purely civilian targets such as market squares. Altogether, according to the Italian daily Il Manifesto, the NATO bombing has produced at least a million refugees in Serbia. Predrag Simic, foreign policy adviser to Serbian opposition leader Vuk Draskovic, told a Paris conference [in late May] that Kosovo was being so thoroughly devastated by NATO bombing that nobody, neither Albanians nor Serbs, would be able to go back and live there."
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR WAR CRIMES?
Public "disapproval" of NATO bombings is immediately dismissed as "Serb propaganda." Those who speak out against NATO are branded as "apologists of Milosevic." While most anti-War critics in NATO countries are not defenders of the Milosevic regime, they are nonetheless expected to be "balanced" in their arguments. "Looking at both sides of the picture is the rule": anti-war commentators are invited to echo NATO's fabricated media consensus, to unequivocally "join the bandwagon" against Milosevic. Under these circumstances, an objective understanding and analysis of the role of the Milosovic government since the civil War in Bosnia and in the context of the present crisis in Kosovo has been rendered virtually impossible.
Media double standards? Whereas President Milosevic and four members of his government were indicted by the Hague International Criminal Tribunal (ICTY) (late May) for organising a policy of "ethnic cleansing" in Kosovo, the news media failed to mention that several parallel law suits were launched at The Hague Tribunal (ICTY), accusing NATO leaders of "crimes against humanity." It is also worth mentioning that the UK government (whose Prime Minister Tony Blair is among the list of accused in one of the parallel law suits) has provided The Hague Tribunal with "intelligence on the situation within Kosovo" since the beginning of the bombings. Part of this intelligence material was relayed by the KLA with which British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has been in frequent contact as well as through British Special Forces (SAS) directly collaborating with the KLA.
SHAKY EVIDENCE OF A "HUMANITARIAN CATASTROPHE" PRIOR TO THE BOMBINGS:
In the course of "covering-up" the real motivations of NATO in launching the War, the international media have also failed to mention that an official intelligence report of the German Foreign Ministry (used to establish the eligibility of political refugees from Kosovo) confirmed that there was no evidence of "ethnic cleansing" in Kosovo in the months immediately preceding the bombings. Who is lying? German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer had justified NATO's intervention pointing to a "humanitarian catastrophe," yet the internal documents of his own ministry say exactly the opposite: "Even in Kosovo an explicit political persecution linked to Albanian ethnicity is not verifiable. The East of Kosovo is still not involved in armed conflict. Public life in cities like Pristina, Urosevac, Gnjilan, etc. has, in the entire conflict period, continued on a relatively normal basis. The actions of the security forces [were] not directed against the Kosovo-Albanians as an ethnically defined group, but against the military opponent [KLA] and its actual or alleged supporters." The above assessments are broadly consistent with several independent evaluations of the humanitarian situation in Kosovo prior to the onslaught of the bombing campaign. Roland Keith, a former field office director of the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM), who left Kosovo on March 20th reported that most of the violence in Kosovo was instigated by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA):
"Upon my arrival the war increasingly evolved into a mid intensity conflict as ambushes, the encroachment of critical lines of communication and the [KLA] kidnapping of security forces resulted in a significant increase in government casualties which in turn led to major Yugoslavian reprisal security operations... By the beginning of March these terror and counter-terror operations led to the inhabitants of numerous villages fleeing, or being dispersed to either other villages, cities or the hills to seek refuge... The situation was clearly that KLA provocations, as personally witnessed in ambushes of security patrols which inflicted fatal and other casualties, were clear violations of the previous October's agreement [and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1199]. The security forces responded and the consequent security harassment and counter-operations led to an intensified insurrectionary war, but as I have stated elsewhere, I did not witness, nor did I have knowledge of any incidents of so-called "ethnic cleansing" and there certainly were no occurrences of "genocidal policies" while I was with the KVM in Kosovo. What has transpired since the OSCE monitors were evacuated on March 20, in order to deliver the penultimate warning to force Yugoslavian compliance with the Rambouillet and subsequent Paris documents and the commencement of the NATO air bombardment of March 24, obviously has resulted in human rights abuses and a very significant humanitarian disaster as some 600,000 Albanian Kosovars have fled or been expelled from the province. This did not occur, though, before March 20, so I would attribute the humanitarian disaster directly or indirectly to the NATO air bombardment and resulting anti-terrorist campaign."
CHRONOLOGY OF NATO PLANNING:
Carefully removed from the public eye, preparations for both "the air campaign" and "the ground war" have been ongoing for almost a year prior to the beginning of NATO's "humanitarian bombings" on March 24th 1999. Responding to broad strategic and economic objectives, the Alliance's first priority was to secure the stationing of armed combat troops in Macedonia on the immediate border with Kosovo. U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen had traveled to Skopje in late December 1997 for discussions with the Macedonian government and military. These high levels talks were followed a few months later by the visit of Macedonia's Defense Minister L. Kitanoski to Washington for meetings at the Pentagon. On the agenda: the establishment of a NATO base in Macedonia.
No time was lost: on May 6, 1998, the NATO Council met "to review alliance efforts" in the region; a major military exercise entitled "Cooperative Best Effort" was slated to take place in Macedonia in September. NATO nonetheless "reassured the international community" that the military exercise was not meant to be "a rehearsal," rather it was to enable "NATO military authorities to study various options. Decisions on whether to execute any of those options would be a matter for future decision." Largely the consequence of KLA terrorism, the deterioration of the security situation in Kosovo conveniently provided NATO with a pretext to build up its ground forces in Macedonia (composed largely of British and French troops). According to NATO, it was therefore necessary to envisage "a more complicated and ambitious [military] exercise [in Macedonia] to send a clear political signal [to Belgrade] of NATO's involvement."
THE ROLE OF THE KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY:
In parallel with the setting up of its military operations in Albania and Macedonia, NATO had established direct links with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). A U.S. Department of Defense briefing confirms in this regard that "initial contacts" between the KLA and NATO had taken place by mid-1998: "...the realization has come to people [in NATO] that we [NATO] have to have the UCK [acronym for KLA in Albanian] involved in this process because they have shown at least the potential to be rejectionists of any deal that could be worked out there with the existing Kosovo parties. So somehow they have to be brought in and that's why we've made some initial contacts there with the group, hopefully the right people in the group, to try and bring them into this negotiating process."
While these "initial contacts" were acknowledged by NATO officially only in mid-1998, the KLA had (according to several reports) been receiving "covert support" and training from the CIA and Germany's Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND) since the mid-nineties.
The concurrent building up of KLA forces was part of NATO planning. By mid-1998 "covert support" had been gradually replaced -- despite the KLA's links to organised crime -- by official ("overt") support by the military Alliance in violation of UN Security Council Resolution UNSCR 1160 of 31 March 1998 which condemned: "...all acts of terrorism by the Kosovo Liberation Army or any other group or individual and all external support for terrorist activity in Kosovo, including finance, arms and training."
On 24 September 1998, another key UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR 1199) was adopted which called "upon the authorities in Belgrade and the leadership of the Kosovar Albanian community urgently to enter without preconditions into a meaningful dialogue on political status issues." It also required Belgrade to withdraw its troops from Kosovo. Following a renewed wave of KLA terrorism, the Yugoslav authorities were blamed for the "crackdowns on ethnic Albanians" providing NATO defense ministers meeting in Vilmoura Portugal (September 24th on the same day as the adoption of UNSCR 1199) with the "justification" to issue an "activation warning" for a campaign of air strikes against Serb positions. The Vilmoura statement called upon Belgrade to "take immediate steps to alleviate the humanitarian situation..., stop repressive actions against the population and seek a political solution through negotiations with the Albanian majority."
This so-called "activation warning" was followed in mid-October by "an activation order" by the North Atlantic Council authorising NATO's Supreme Commander for Europe General Wesley Clark to initiate "limited air strikes" and a "phased air campaign" ... should the Yugoslav authorities refuse to comply with UNSCR 1199. Under the impending threat of air strikes, a partial withdrawal was carried out by Belgrade (following the adoption of UNSCR 1199) creating almost immediately conditions for the KLA to occupy positions previously held by retreating Serb forces. In turn, the strengthening of the KLA was accompanied by renewed terrorist activity and a consequent "worsening of the security situation." NATO's hidden objective, in this regard, was to use the KLA insurgency to further provoke ethnic tensions and generate social strife in Kosovo. In the meantime, U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke had entered into discussions with President Milosovic. Forged under the threat of NATO air strikes, negotiations on Kosovo's political status had also been initiated in Pristina between a Serbian delegation led by President Milan Milutinovic and Ibrahim Rugova, President of the Democratic League (DLK) representing ethnic Albanians. While Mr Christopher Hill, the US envoy had been invited as an observer to these meetings, Milutinovic had insisted that the negotiations (which proceeded from UNSCR 1199) were an internal matter.
Following the agreement between U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke and President Slobodan Milosevic, Yugoslavia was to complete negotiations on "a framework for a political settlement" by the 2nd of November 1998. Moreover, a Verification Mission to establish compliance with resolutions UNSCR 1160 and UNSCR 1199, was put in place in Kosovo under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). A parallel NATO air verification mission (complementing the OSCE verification mission) was established following an agreement signed in Belgrade on 15 October 1998 by the Yugoslav Chief of General Staff and NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, General Wesley Clark.
The terms of both the OSCE and NATO verification agreements were subsequently embodied in UNSCR 1260 of October 24th. Whereas Belgrade was given a 96 hour "deadline for compliance", the Alliance decided to postpone the initiation of air strikes following talks in Belgrade (October 25-26) between President Slobodan Milosevic and General Wesley Clark. According to the Alliance statement: "NATO will remain prepared to carry out air operations should they be necessary." In the meantime, NATO launched Operation Eagle Eye using unarmed aircraft and unmanned predator aerial vehicles (UAVs). Eagle Eye surveillance activities were coordinated with the "ground verification" mission conducted by OSCE observer teams and by the Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission (KDOM).
"THE RACAK MASSACRE":
The so-called "Racak massacre" occurred shortly before the launching of the Rambouillet "peace initiative." Although it turned out to be a fake, the Racak massacre nonetheless played a key role in "setting the stage" for NATO's air raids. William Walker declared (in his capacity as head of KVM) that the Yugoslav police had carried out a massacre of civilians at Racak on January 15th. The Yugoslav authorities retorted that local police had in fact conducted an operation in this village against the Kosovo Libération Army and that several KLA soliders had died in cross-fire. As later reported by several French newspapers (Le Monde, Le Figaro and Liberation), it was confirmed that the "Racak massacre" was indeed a fake put together with a view to discrediting Belgrade: "Eventually, even the Los Angeles Times joined in, running a story entitled "Racak Massacre Questions: Were Atrocities Faked?" The theory behind all these exposés was that the KLA had gathered their own dead after the battle, removed their uniforms, put them in civilian clothes, and then called in the observers." (Continued Tomorrow)
© Copyright by Michel Chossudovsky, Ottawa, 1999. All rights reserved.