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The Coastal Post - November 1999

Brute Force

By Edward W. Miller

"Cry 'havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war."
Julius Caesar

Let's once again review the sequence: On April 30, 1998, the U.S. Senate, following furious lobbying by the armaments industry, voted to extend NATO membership to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, and on March 23, the U.S. Senate, following no significant debate, voted 58/41 to authorize President Clinton to conduct military air operations and missile strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Thus, in a cowardly move and in direct contradiction to the powers expressly given to Congress by our Constitution, we were at war with a sovereign nation without an express declaration of war. The fact is, NATO was not only in violation of the UN Charter, which forbids military action against sovereign states not at war with their neighbors, but also in violation of its own charter, sinceno NATO country was subject to attack.

After two months of almost incessant bombing, interrupted occasionally by inclement weather, NATO reduced Kosovo to a shambles and destroyed the remainder of Yugoslavia. While pursuing its so-called "humanitarian objectives," NATO managed to further alienate Russia and to antagonize China.

The economic damage from this mindless bombing is already affecting the entire Balkan area, since the River Danube has now been blocked in several places by bombed-out bridges. Trapped ice floes in winter will flood the countryside. Commercial shipping, vital to the economies of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Herzegovenia and Croatia, has ceased. Much of Yugoslavia's industry has been wiped out. On May 20, NATO missiles destroyed the Yugo auto manufacturing plant in Kragujevac, 62 miles east of Belgrade, thereby putting its 36,000 employees out of work and devastating the local economy. Hospitals and schools, including the University in Belgrade, were hit by our "scientifically guided missiles." All the major highways were targeted.

Before NATO initiated this war, Milosevic had been reducing the political and humanitarian rights of the Kosovars, while their Kosovo Liberation Army, or KLA, supported by our CIA and funded by drug cartels located in Turkey, was attacking Serbian police outposts while complaining to the West about "Serbian aggression." Despite numbers exaggerated in the Western media describing "genocide" and "mass Muslim graves," forensic teams from the UN have since found fewer than 2,000 bodies from both sides, many apparently killed in the Serb-KLA crossfire. One "mass grave of 300 bodies" touted in CNN news was discovered to hold only five bodies.

In contrast, with NATO's military interference, the loss of both Kosovar and Serbian life increased exponentially, while neighboring Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, and even Greece and Italy were overwhelmed with refugees. Kosovo itself has been reduced to a land of burned-out villages, bombed towns, while Yugoslavia, a more thickly populated and industrialized country, is devastated.

The U.S. intent to vilify Milosevic and his Serbs at all costs was clearly shown in an article in the Covert Action Quarterly (Spring/Summer 1999) by Mark Cook. Cook reported that U.S. diplomat William Walker had publicly denounced the Yugoslav police for "execution massacre of 45 people in the Kosovo village of Racak on January 15, 1999." After making his public accusation (reported in the New York Times), Walker shepherded a group of foreign reporters to the purported massacre cite to view the bodies.

The Yugoslav government, outraged by Walker's accusation, insisted the bodies be subject to autopsy. What was found was that there had been no massacre, that several of the bodies had been dragged from other areas to the so-called "massacre site" where there was a surprising dearth of spent cartridge shells. Mark Cook adds: "The Yugoslav government said that the deaths were the result of a battle with elements of the Kosovo Liberation Army. The battle had in fact been filmed by the Associated Press TV crew, and observed by at least two U.S. teams of international monitors, Walker's own staff." Unlike the U.S. media, foreign papers got the story straight.

William Walker was U.S. ambassador to El Salvador when, in November, 1989, six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter were dragged from their beds and murdered by the Salvadoran Army. Declassified U.S. State Department cables later showed Walker had worked diligently to cover up the real murderers.

At the International War Crimes Tribunal hearing in San Francisco on November 13, Ex-Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who just returned from Kosovo, reminded a crowded auditorium that the fragmentation of the Balkan countries, beginning with the secession of Slovenia from Yugoslavia, had actually been planned in Washington during the Reagan Administration. The intent was to drive these people apart, using our CIA and media to aggravate the political and religious differences long present in the region. In the earlier Bosnia-Croatia, Herzogovenia crisis, Richard Holbrook (our present UN Representative), was active in carrying out Washington's plan of segregation. Clark also noted that our economic sanctions against Yugoslavia are simply an extension of our bombings, the identical "bomb now, die later" strategy being employed against the Iraqi people.

Older Americans may remember that during World War II, Yugoslavia's Marshall Tito, who had earlier been sent by Moscow to control Communist Yugoslavia, became a hero to some and tyrant to others. Having driven Mussolini's army from his country, he managed to hold off some 20 Nazi divisions before Hitler moved these troops to his Russian front. Tito negotiated secretly with the German high command to help defeat the Chetniks led by his rival, Mikhailovich. In the last months of his life, though critically ill and surviving on an artificial kidney, Tito tried desperately to bind his Yugoslavian Federation together, appointing eight vice presidents from the Yugoslav states to form a government under one president. This multi-ethnic state is now being fragmented by the West.

Europeans are also concerned over NATO's destruction and killing as well as the apparent impotence of the UN in this crisis. On October 25th in Paris, a dozen speakers from seven countries presented a devastating case against NATO's Yugoslavia war. Co-chair of the "Justice and War" conference, American journalist Diana Johnstone, pointed to the "humanitarian pretense" as a public relations cover for NATO expansion eastward for economic and strategic reasons.

Amongst the Paris speakers, Toronto lawyer Christopher Black explained that the "International Criminal Tribunal" for former Yugoslavia in The Hague is a tribunal instigated and funded by the U.S., private corporations and NATO for political purposes. The U.S. has voted again and again against a true "world court."

On May 18, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, whose United Nations has been purposely marginalized by Clinton and the NATO nations, in a speech at The Hague marking the Centenary of the First International Peace Conference, had warned that: "Unless the Security Council is restored to its pre-eminent position as the sole source of legitimacy on the use of force, we are on a dangerous path to anarchy."

Lawyers from several countries filed a complaint with the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia against the individual leaders of the NATO countries. Their list of crimes includes: "willful killing, extensive destruction of property not justified by military necessity, employment of poisonous weapons (uranium-tipped missiles), cluster bombs, the wanton destruction of cities, etc."

As for the Clinton-NATO argument that their military intervention was justified by the need for that "humanitarian intervention" articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, MIT's Professor Noam Chomsky noted that "humanitarian intervention" was used by Japan to justify its invasion of Manchuria, by Mussolini to justify his invasion of Ethiopia, and by Hitler to justify his invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Congress' critical error in not destroying NATO after the Cold War was compounded in 1998 by extending NATO to Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. Our Representatives never debated at length the consequences of a NATO onslaught against a sovereign country. In ignoring this Constitutional imperative, Americans were again betrayed.

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