Francisco Javier Bernal on 8 Jan 2001 02:25:44 -0000

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

[Nettime-bold] War Against Women And Other Civilians In Yugoslavia

War Against Women and Other Civilians in Yugoslavia:
Terror Keyed Triumph of the New Colonialism
by Geoff Berne
January 8, 2001 

Note from the Editor: This is the text of a speech by
Geoff Berne delivered December 7, 2000 on the
University of Wisconsin campus in Madison, Wisconsin.
The event was presented by U.S. Out Now as part of "16
Days of Activism Against Gender Violence." Sharing the
program was fellow-Ohioan Greg Elich who presented
photographic slides and audio-taped interviews made
during an August 1999 trip to Yugoslavia, just two
months after the end of NATO bombing, and a report on
his November, 2000 trip to Iraq with an international
delegation seeking to defy NATO sanctions against
travel to that country. Berne and Elich reached a wide
audience in Madison in appearances on WYOU television,
WORT-FM radio, and West High School. Following this
transcript Berne adds an Afterword. We think you will
find this commentary particularly instructive. 

I am happy to stand here tonight with Greg Elich and
lend my support to his unusual effort, as an
individual American, as a journalist, and as an
activist, to throw light on the dark world of American
wars in Yugoslavia and Iraq. Greg has put himself in a
category all his own by traveling to the scenes of
these two controversial wars and bringing back a
graphic, ground's eye view of the bombing in
Yugoslavia's devastation, in particular, such as
Americans have not seen on television since the war in
Vietnam: cluster bombs that bore through the roofs of
an entire hospital parking lot full of cars, spewing
uncountable numbers of mini-bombs leaving walls of
entire neighborhoods pocked with puncture holes,
uranium-tipped missiles that destroyed an entire
factory that once manufactured the Yugo automobile,
and bombs that found their way down chimneys to
destroy eleven people in a family hiding in the
basement of a village home and the rest of their
neighborhood as well. What you hear and see in his
program leaves no doubt that America has stepped over
the line of acceptable conduct in these wars, as even
Amnesty International, whose reports of wrongs
committed against the Albanian population of Kosovo
helped win world acceptance for the NATO intervention
in the first place, has implied in a report released
in April 2000 that criticized our deliberate
terror-bombing of innocent civilians. 

Our focus tonight is primarily Yugoslavia. We come
from two different perspectives: Greg, from Columbus,
Ohio, has been a scholar and activist on the
Yugoslavian question, and Iraq as well, since the
early 90's, I, a writer and consultant for political
campaigns in southwestern Ohio, who in March, 1999,
had barely finished reading an explosive memoir by
Panamanian military leader Manuel Antonio Noriega
called America's Prisoner, in which he tells the
inside story of America's invasion and conquest of
Panama in 1989 -- when the bombing of Yugoslavia burst
onto the country's television screens and sent me in
frustration with what I was watching to my computer in
search of information and an explanation of what
exactly was going on. 

Here I had just read how Noriega, the leader of a
small but strategically located Central American
nation, who defied America by shutting down the
original School of the Americas and refusing to allow
Panamanian territory to be the staging ground for the
Contra war against the Sandinista revolutionary
government in Nicaragua, was first depicted as a
drug-trafficking fiend and machete-waving psychopath
and then, as night follows day, targeted for a
full-scale American land, sea, and air invasion in
1989 that was waged to capture him, bring him to
justice for his "crimes," and bestow the glories of
democracy on his suffering and tyrannized people. And
now in 1999 here were America and 18 other NATO
nations, with a population of 800 million people,
going off on another Armageddon-style manhunt against
yet another world class monster, Slobodan Milosevic,
the President of Yugoslavia, a nation of 12 million,
who somehow was never referred to as President
Milosevic but only, like an evil character out of
"Batman," as "Mr. Milosevic" or, for fans of "Rocky"
movies, shortened to just "Slobo." 

Surely, I thought as I tried to watch CNN, I'm not the
only person who saw the movie "Wag the Dog" and could
recognize that what was happening was a re-enactment
of the very syndrome that the film portrayed - slick
Hollywood cinematography being used to fabricate the
image of kerchiefed women and children of Kosovo as
innocent, helpless victims of this Serbian vampire. As
days wore on I discovered a world of information on
about two dozen websites that blasted to shreds every
word of official "news" that the networks were
dutifully reporting about the war. Here were two
worlds of truth on two different screens and myself
fleeing in desperation from the melodramas
masquerading as news on the one screen and becoming an
admittedly fanatical searcher for hard facts and
documentation on the other. 

I want to share with you some of the sobering
discoveries about the Kosovo mission that I made in
doing all this website researching. First of all,
while it may seem pointless to beat a dead horse
considering that the war was over before a movement of
protest against it ever really got off the ground, the
fact is that our war to destroy Yugoslavia is far from
over and American occupation, American bases, and/or
American economic domination in Bosnia and Kosovo
could keep us involved with the fate of the "former"
Yugoslavia for decades to come. After all, we have
been in South Korea for 50 years. 

I am tempted to call Iraq the Bush family's war and
Kosovo the Clinton & Gore war. Together these two wars
define the two men who have divided up the American
voting public. Both wars used bombs cased in depleted
uranium that has brought Gulf War syndrome [a.k.a.
Balkans Syndrome], cancer, leukemia, and untold other
suffering to the populations of the two countries.
Both wars involved saturation bombing of civilian
targets including power, water, and sewage facilities.
Both wars were waged on the pretext of rescuing women
and children from the hands of political leaders
portrayed as degenerates and sadists: in Iraq
followers of evil Saddam Hussein were said to have
marched into Kuwaiti maternity wards and ripped
thousands of infants right out of their hospital
incubators, while in Bosnia Serbian soldiers were said
(in all seriousness) to have committed between 50,000
and 100,000 rapes on the Slavic Muslim women and
girls. The Bosnian mass rape stigma helped mobilize
world opinion in favor of sanctions against fiendish
Serb followers of the evil Slobodan Milosevic, a
barbarian stigma that persists today as a rationale
for the occupation of Kosovo by NATO, bringer of peace
and civilization. Of course how a Bosnian Serb army of
less than 30,000 could have spent all that time raping
while still conducting other acts of persecution they
were accused of such as burning, looting, beating, and
uprooting a million people from their homes is a
question that was never answered, much less raised by
the Western media in their rush to proclaim Serb
"crimes" as the ultimate in horror. 

One of the reasons why the wildest atrocity figures
were so widely believed was because of the success of
a former officer in the State Department's Latin
American division, William Walker, in staging for the
cameras the discovery of a mass "grave" (actually a
shallow ditch) with over forty Muslim bodies in the
town of Racak. Though proof resonated around the world
that the bodies must have been trucked in from another
location and hence were not shot in a mass execution
by "Milosevic's" hate-crazed Serbs the impression of
Milosevic as a mass murderer of 100,000 ethnic
Albanians endured even after international forensic
teams sent in after the war by the UN abandoned an
exhaustive search of Kosovo after being able to find
only 2,800 bodies, most of whom were assumed to be
victims of armed combat in which the dead had, after
all, been one of the aggressive parties. Walker's name
woke me up out of a deep sleep when I realized that
this was the very same Walker who had helped bring
world outrage against Noriega in Panama by
orchestrating mass demonstrations against him for the
CNN cameras and then personally confronting Noriega
with the choice of accepting a $2M payoff from the
American government or subject his country to a
full-scale invasion. Walker, who honed his trade of
subverting foreign governments under the best of them,
Col. Oliver North, in Nicaragua, has made a mark on
history with his Racak "massacre." Look for him to
show up in years to come in other countries, like
Russia, China, Korea, and Venezuela, over which the
United States has not yet assumed complete control. 

Are the Serbs "genocidists?" How many today are aware
that in World War II the people of Serbia who've been
painted as racial persecutors of their country's
ethnic minorities, Albanians and Catholic Croatians,
were known as one of the bravest allies of the
American fight against Nazi fascism and racism in all
of Europe? 

In fact, the Serbs organized the largest anti-Nazi
resistance movement in Europe. In 1941 as Hitler was
preparing "Operation Barbarossa" to invade the Soviet
Union, he marched through every country in eastern
Europe and the Balkans meeting absolutely no
resistance except in Poland, Greece, and Yugoslavia.
It was Serbia that posed the biggest problem because
unlike other parts of Yugoslavia such as Slovenia,
Bosnia, and Croatia, and Yugoslavia's neighboring
countries of Romania and Bulgaria, where Nazi puppet
governments set about slaughtering Serbs and sending
them to homegrown concentration camps, Serbia rose up
against their own acquiescent prince and refused to
bow down to the Wehrmacht's might. This so enraged
Hitler that he actually postponed his Russian invasion
for a month. Instead he unleashed "Operation
Punishment" on Serbia. Saturation bombing of the
capital city Belgrade killed 17,000 on the first
night. While Serbian resistance to the Germans
continued after the fall of Yugoslavia, Hitler's
timing was thrown off by a month, and the invasion of
Russia never got back on track. Instead the punishing
Russian winter took the toll of the German forces,
marking the beginning of the end for Hitler's Reich. 

The Serbs lost 52 per cent of their adult male
population in World War I. In World War II one million
Serbs were killed in Holocaust type deaths in
concentration camps and other mass slayings alone.
700,000 others died from other causes related to the
war. You see, the Slavs of Serbia were on the Nazi hit
list that included Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, the
elderly, the mentally and physically ill. These were
called "Untermenschen," a subhuman species not worthy
to breathe the same air as the superior Aryans, the
supermen, that inhabited German and other Western
European countries. 

Could this Serb people, themselves historic victims of
racial persecution, be one and the same as the
population that Milosevic had supposedly brainwashed
into following him on a crusade to exterminate and
drive out two million ethnic Albanians from Kosovo?
Somehow, with the election in October of a successor
to Milosevic, Vojislav Kostunica, there has been a
shocking turnaround in the western media that once
portrayed the Serbs as rampaging genocidists. Now,
almost overnight, they have started being portrayed as
searchers for freedom and western-style democracy who
have thrown off the dictatorial yoke of Milosevic
after years of oppression. Now the theory's going
'round that there were only 200 or so hard-core
paramilitaries who were doing all the genocidal stuff.
The rest of the country simply stayed in the
background and let these 200 beasties get all the
world's headlines! 

One has to marvel at the ease with which this supposed
dictator was dislodged from his stranglehold on power.
How could he have whipped the whole nation into a
frenzy of murderous racial hatred and kept them in his
iron grip for ten straight years and then in one
October week politely, if reluctantly, just stepped
aside when a challenger beat him in an election?
Dictators just aren't what they used to be anymore.
They go down without the waste of a single bullet. 

Unfortunately, the melodramatic crusade the United
States has waged against the villainous Milosevic has
been the opposite of comedy. In fact it was just one
chapter in a miniature version of a World War III that
the Clinton administration has been waging all over
the globe under the banner of peacekeeping for the
past eight years. Under Clinton in those eight years
from 1992-1999 the United States military was engaged
in 45 "small-scale contingency" military operations.
By comparison, in the entire 45 years between 1945 and
1990 the United States was engaged in a total of just
16. (These figures are taken from "Why is U.S. Foreign
Policy Adrift," letter to The New York Times by
University of Cincinnati political scientist Robert J.
Harknett, March 12, 1999). In the four month period
from December 1998 to March 1999 alone, Clinton sent
bombing missions to Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, and
Yugoslavia. We are still conducting bombing missions
in Iraq, and are dispatching military forces in
anticipation of a war in Colombia. When they say the
Cold War is over, what they mean is that the era of
hot war is once again upon us, with the Yugoslavia
conflict and its 20 participating countries being the
hottest so far. 

The war in Yugoslavia was serious business. 20,000
tons of bombs were dropped by NATO planes, more
tonnage than the Nazis dropped in all of World War II.
There were 40,000 bombing sorties in 78 days. And yet
with all of that, maybe there is an element of the
comic in that we were able to destroy only 14 tanks
and 20 artillery guns! * 

The toll on the Serbs was as follows: 
2,500 Serbs killed by bombing including 2,000
2,000 Serbs murdered by Albanians (who were supported,
armed, and militarily protected by NATO troops); 
250,000 Serbs were uprooted from Kosovo since the war
stopped and NATO stopped bombing in June, 1999. 
There are only 20,000 Serbs left in Kosovo,
historically the cultural and historical shrine of the
Serbian people. 
100 Eastern Orthodox churches were destroyed, 1,500
Serb towns, 67,000 Serb homes, 34 highway and bridges,
The 100,000 rounds of Depleted Uranium bombs that were
dropped are expected to leave an eventual toll of
10,000 deaths from cancer or leukemia. 
Even if one were to accept the legally unfounded
concept of a unique U.S. or NATO right of humanitarian
intervention, one would search in vain for proof that
anything the Serbs did to the ethnic Albanian minority
of Yugoslavia could have warranted a 78 day
retaliation on this magnitude. After all, 200,000
ethnic Albanians continued to live in Belgrade
peacefully right through the bombing. 100,000 of them
had fled from the fighting and bombing in Kosovo but
where did they flee to? Belgrade, the capital city of
the Serbs who supposedly hated them and were bent on
ethnically cleansing them and putting them in mass
graves. The fact is, Milosevic, accused of lighting a
fire of Serbian nationalism that became a full-scale
campaign of ethnic extermination, was no nationalist
or racist against ethnic groups who were native to
Yugoslavia -- just a nationalist against the United
States, NATO, the I.M.F., and western financial and
military interests! These are the same western
interests that have succeeded in ousting him, with an
investment by the U.S. alone of $70M in grants to
opposition political parties, and print and broadcast
media. With American gunboats waiting offshore as a
threat to renew military operations in case voters
chose Milosevic, a new regime headed by the
American-financed candidate Kostunica was elected in
September, 2000. Already Kostunica has signaled that
he will repay his American backers by acceding to a
trial in a western puppet "court" for crimes of ethnic
persecution for former leader Milosevic, who as will
be shown actually stood for the opposite of ethnic and
racial exclusion, and whose sole crime was defending
the nation he was elected, twice, to lead. 

Consider the fate of Slavic Serbia today in the hands
of its western masters -- and then go read Milosevic's
1989 speech commemorating the 500th anniversary of the
Serbian defeat by the Turks in the Battle of Kosovo.
According to NATO's propaganda this speech had been
used by Milosevic to rally fellow-Serbs in a war of
ethnic "cleansing" of Muslims in Kosovo and elsewhere
in Yugoslavia. But Milosevic's actual words do no such
thing. What he says is that Serbia's historic
acceptance of literally dozens of ethnic populations
is not its "disadvantage" but rather its "advantage"!
"Socialism," he says, "being a progressive and just
democratic society, should not allow people to be
divided in the national and religious respect.
Yugoslavia is a multinational community and it can
survive only under the conditions of full equality for
all nations that live in it. Equal and harmonious
relations among Yugoslav peoples are a necessary
condition for the existence of Yugoslavia." (Speech at
Kosovo Field, June 28, 1989, in commemoration of the
600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo:

Where in this speech is the call for ethnic cleansing?
Ye mighty writers both right and left who have gloried
in the downfall of this so-called racist dictator:
have you ever read the actual words of this notorious
address? If so, where is the hate speech? Where
exactly is the beef? 

And why didn't this alleged racist "war criminal" use
the race card in his campaign for President last fall?
How is it that not one word of hatred for ethnic
Albanians was ever reported said by Milosevic during
that campaign? America paid out $70 million to
Milosevic's opponents to make fist posters and radio
commercials calling Milosevic a dictator, but not one
American newspaper printed what the man actually said
in his own election speeches last September. 

Here in Wisconsin, though, let's hear this rabid war
criminal in his own "hateful" words. What is it
exactly that he calls on the Serbian people to stand
up against and fight? Is it Albanians, Croats, or
Kosovars? No, it's colonialism by the western powers
and the threat of colonialism and Americanization to
the very existence of the Serbs as a people - and to
Yugoslavia as a nation with its own cultural

"The (western powers) want this to be a zone of
permanent conflicts and wars which would provide them
with an alibi for their lasting presence . . .
Countries under foreign command relatively quickly
part with their history, their past, their tradition,
their national symbols, their way of living, their own
literary language. Invisible at first but very
efficient and merciless selection of national identity
would reduce it to a few local dishes, a few songs and
folk dances, the names of national heroes used as
brand names for food products or cosmetics. One of the
really obvious consequences of the takeover of
territories of countries by the big powers in the 20th
century is the annihilation of the identity of the
people of those countries. People can hardly come to
terms with the speed with which they are starting to
use a foreign language as their own, to identify with
foreign historic figures forgetting their own, to
glorify the history of others while mocking their own,
to resemble others instead of themselves."
(Milosevic's Speech to the Nation, October 2, 2000: 

At one time, Yugoslavia consisted of six areas that
became republics after World War I- Serbia, Croatia,
Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, and
Macedonia. Yugoslavia is now reduced to just two,
Serbia and Montenegro, with Montenegro readying a bolt
for independence as the clock ticks. At one time,
Josip Broz Tito, the postwar Croatian-born leader,
upheld the idea that all 26 ethnicities residing in
the Yugoslav republics, would live according to the
principles of "Brotherhood & Unity." Rather than
concentrate all Serbs in Serbia proper, Tito ensured
that large numbers of Serbs would stay a minority in
all of Serbia's sister republics. Throughout
Yugoslavia, however, each of the 26 ethnicities was
allowed to have newspapers published and schools
conducted in their own language; starting with the
Milosevic era in the 1990's the Yugoslav parliament
has had 20 political parties spanning all of these
varied ethnic populations (more political parties than
in any other parliament in Europe); and intermarriage
between the different ethnic peoples was legendary in
Yugoslavia. Nonetheless all this effort at
multi-ethnic amity fell apart when in the early 1980's
the International Monetary Fund demanded as a
condition of loan repayments to international
investors that Yugoslavia begin to eliminate
unprofitable industries, reduce social services and
welfare benefits, and allow western companies to
invest and replace local Yugoslav businesses, many
traditionally run by the state. 

Efforts to comply with these loan terms resulted in a
freeze on wages, food prices rising 50 per cent, 1100
companies closing, and two million (25 percent of the
work force) unemployed. In these conditions
brotherhood and unity fell apart as each of the ethnic
groups vied with others for jobs and each of the
republics began to break away from the
sister-republics in defense of their own ethnic

In 1990, the U.S. fueled the growing conflicts by
passing the Foreign Operations Appropriations Law
ordering that any part of Yugoslavia failing to hold
elections independently and without Yugoslav federal
government oversight (in other words, declaring their
independence) within six months would lose American
financial support. And in 1992, with Ambassador to
Yugoslavia Warren Zimmerman giving interviews
proclaiming America's objective to break up the
Yugoslav federation of republics into independent
states, the U.S. imposed a freeze on all trade to and
from Yugoslavia. David Fennario of The Montreal
Gazette (5/30/99) accused the I.M.F. of creating the
chaos in Yugoslavia by demanding that money stop going
into social programs and instead go to pay off western
investors who were demanding profits. "I.M.F.
policies, backed by NATO," said Fennario, "are the
root cause of the Balkan crisis." 

In addition to debt repayment, and putting a permanent
American military base in a country that until
"Operation Allied Force" in 1999 had been the only
country in Europe to not have one, there are other
motives for America to move militarily on Yugoslavia.
One big motive was the takeover of Yugoslavia's
precious Trepca mines. There are profits to be made
from the armaments, bombs, and planes used in
Yugoslavia plus profits to be made from reconstruction
of bridges and other new and old infrastructure. There
are profits to be made by American investors in
western companies that will replace Yugoslavia's own
state and private concerns in every sector of the
economy from telecommunications and cars to beer and
fast foods. There are untold riches to be reaped by
American oil companies from the soon-to-be constructed
oil pipeline from Central Asia that will go right
through Kosovo. There is money to be made by the
organized crime syndicates of Albania who have turned
Kosovo into a haven for drug trafficking,
prostitution, and other criminal activity. 

And finally, there is the all-important vanquishing of
Yugoslavia's stubborn resistance to Western pressure
to abandon its brand of independent socialism and
uniquely "mixed" economy for the market system. 

What has just been described is the classic definition
of colonialism. Even if we use UN or European
surrogates to administer them, or turn them over to
lavishly financed, hand-picked puppet leaders, what we
have shown in Bosnia and Kosovo is that the U.S.
military is willing and able to seize foreign
territories in the manner of a conquering colonial
power. Martin Luther King in 1967 made a speech
entitled "A Time to Break the Silence" in which he
warned that America was going in the direction of
becoming a feared and hated colonial power in Vietnam
and elsewhere around the globe: 

"We have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. Our
minimal expectation is to occupy it as an American
colony and maintain social stability for our
investments. This tells why American helicopters are
being used against guerrillas in Colombia and Peru.
Increasingly the role our nation has taken is the role
of those who refuse to give up the privileges and
pleasures that come from the immense profits of
overseas investment." 

Just a few weeks ago Bill Clinton showed that the
lessons King wanted us to learn from Vietnam have been
forgotten and that from now on that war should simply
be considered a tragedy in which there is no right and
wrong, just unfortunate losses of life on both sides.
In his visit to Vietnam Clinton even excused President
Lyndon Johnson who'd been driven from office by an
aroused peace movement. Clinton said "Johnson did what
he thought was right," that the United States does not
owe Vietnam an apology for its involvement in the war,
and that no one should say the 58,000 Americans and
the 3 million Vietnamese who were killed lost their
lives in vain. "People fight honorably for what they
believe in and they lose their lives. No one has a
right to say that those lives were wasted." 

Bill Clinton will become known through history as the
President who refused when he had the chance to do so
to apologize for Vietnam, and also for being open and
above board about the true purpose of making these
endless foreign wars: keeping things peaceful and
stable for investors to make profits. Here is how he
described the rationale for the war in Kosovo: "If
we're going to have a strong economic relationship
that includes our ability to sell around the world,
Europe has got to be the key, . . . . and that's what
this Kosovo thing is all about." (Address to the
American Federation of State, County, and Municipal
Employees Biennial Convention, Washington, DC, March
23, 1999:

Yes Mr. Clinton, wars that kill women and children and
hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings are
simply "the cost of doing business," a cost that must
be paid without feeling any need for apology. 

We have just experienced an election in which the
pro-military stance of the major candidates and their
running mates symbolized the new acceptability of war
-- i.e. wars of the new cowardly kind that rely on
acts of terror such as carpet bombings and torture
that expressly target noncombatants such as women and
children. Both Gore and Bush supported a military
budget in the area of $290 billion. Both Gore and Bush
stated they supported military actions in Grenada,
Panama, Iraq, Somalia, and Bosnia. Gore was one of
only 10 Democrats to vote with Republicans to aid the
Contra counter-revolutionaries in Nicaragua in 1986.
Joseph Lieberman was co-author of the Kosovo Self
Defense Act, authorizing $25 million to arm and
support the terroristic, drug-running Kosovo
Liberation Army. As Bush the Elder's Defense Secretary
Richard Cheney presided over "Operation Just Cause" in
Panama that killed four or five thousand poor
Panamanians who had the misfortune to live in slums
that surrounded the military headquarters of General
Noriega and presided over the annihilation of 125,000
Iraqi men, women, & children including 113,000
civilians in "Operation Desert Storm." Ralph Nader,
while not in the camp of those supporting these wars,
wrote 69 weekly columns from the start of the bombing
in Yugoslavia in March, 1999 up through last summer
yet never saw any need even to mention the war in
Yugoslavia, which only happened to be the biggest
military operation in Europe since World War II!
Buchanan who posed as an opponent of the war in
Yugoslavia and other "interventions" nonetheless in
his 1999 campaign-year book defended all previous
American interventions such as Vietnam, had served on
the Reagan administration's Council for Inter-American
Security which had responsibility for overseeing the
American-armed Contra saboteurs and death squads in
Nicaragua, and wrote the infamous Reagan speech at the
cemetery honoring the inventors of the blitzkrieg --
those supreme interventionists -- the Nazi storm
troops, the SS, at Bitburg, Germany. 

In 1973 Congress passed the War Powers Act requiring
that any foreign act of war by American Presidents be
ratified by a formal Congressional Declaration of War
within 60 days. The House of Representatives in April
1999 voted by 213 to 213 to deny approval for
extending the operations in Kosovo, one of the
strongest assertions of Congressional prerogative over
warmaking in my lifetime. With that vote members of
the House including Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Madison
honored the memory of the Vietnam generation and its
intention to control wars made by runaway Presidents
issuing executive orders (Clinton issued 279 of them)
without even consulting Congress. 

Let's just see what it means when rulers like Clinton
throw out the U.S. constitution's requirement that
Congress make wars, throw out the Geneva Convention,
the Hague Convention, the United Nations Charter,
NATO's charter limiting its military actions to
defense of member nations, the Nuremberg Principles,
the Helsinki Accords, etc. 

It means that NATO commander Wesley Clark can openly
boast of using air war to "demolish, destroy,
devastate, degrade and ultimately eliminate the
infrastructure of Yugoslavia" in order to terrorize
the population into acquiescence in a NATO takeover of
the national government and economy. It means that
V.P. candidate Joseph Lieberman can blithely shrug off
questions about bombing non-military targets such as
water supply and power stations because, after all,
"we're trying to break the will of the Serbian people
so they will force their leader to . . . order the
troops out of Kosovo." And it means, as Nobel Prize
winning Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn said,
that there is "no difference in the behaviour of NATO
and of Hitler. NATO wants to erect its own order in
the world and it needs Yugoslavia simply as an
example. We'll punish Yugoslavia and the whole rest of
the planet will tremble." 

It would be comforting, said columnist Charlie Reese
of The Orlando Sentinel, "to imagine that one day the
American people will elect to public office men and
women who make clear to the world that we do not make
war on women and children. So long as the victims are
'the other' -- foreigners -- most Americans don't seem
to give a flip what is done to them." 

And what of women and children and other civilians at
the hands of these Americans who are supposedly in
Kosovo to save the Albanian population in that
province from ethnic persecution and violence, from
rape, murder, and arson of their homes? In September
of this year Time Magazine reported on the sentencing
of Sgt. Frank Ronghi to a life sentence for rape and
murder of an eleven year old ethnic Albanian girl in
Kosovo. In all nine soldiers from the elite 82nd
Airborne Division (five enlisted men and four
officers) received punishments that other than
Ronghi's consisted of reductions in rank, fines, etc.
for having committed acts of gross intimidation
against Albanians of Kosovo that this fighting
division was obviously having trouble learning to
protect and safeguard from supposed violence.
"Soldiers would spit on locals, push them on the
streets, poke the women with sticks, and generally act
like barbarians. A group of four U.S. soldiers
including Ronghi assaulted several females, touched
some of the females' hair, grabbed their buttocks and
their body parts, and spoke to them in a seductive
manner. One soldier later confided to investigators
that he groped the women 'just to get a cheap thrill.'
The soldiers stopped women between the age of 15 and
25 on the sidewalks and then handcuffed their husbands
or fathers, boyfriends, or brothers who came to their
aid. Then they would slap the cuffed men and punch
them in their groins. They would also grab people who
were watching what was going on, handcuff them, and
hit them also. Locals including women and children
would be ordered to lay on the ground for up to a
half-hour in sub freezing weather. Guns were trained
on them by GIs and any questions would be met with a
firm combat boot on the back, applying steady
pressure." (How US 'Peacekeeping' Became a Reign of
Terror A new report by the Army tells a horrifying
tale of brutality and abuse by American occupiers by
Mark Thompson, Time, September 20, 2000:,8599,55375,00.html)

Violence against women is not limited to American
occupying forces. In June 1999, for example, The New
York Post reported that the Kosovo Albanian military
rebels had desecrated and robbed a Serbian orthodox
church at Devic, including the altar and icons, and "a
24 year old nun was taken to a back room and raped." 

Before turning this program over to Greg Elich, I want
to suggest that as you view his unique photos you keep
in mind these words of warning from Martin Luther King
in his 1967 speech, for what he said about Americans
being degraded by the experience of Vietnam has come
to describe prophetically our current situation as a
feared colonial super-power in the world today: 

"Now the Vietnamese languish under our bombs and
consider us the real enemy. They move sadly and
apathetically as we herd them off the land of their
fathers into concentration camps where minimal social
needs are rarely met. They know they must move or be
destroyed by our bombs. So they go -- primarily women
and children and the aged. They watch as we poison
their water, as we kill a million acres of their
crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through
their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees.
They wander into the hospitals, with at least twenty
casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong
inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million
of them, mostly children. They wander into the towns
and see thousands of the children, homeless, without
clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals.
They see the children, degraded by our soldiers as
they beg for food. They see the children selling their
sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.
. . What do they think as we test our latest weapons
on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine
and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe?
. . We have destroyed their two most cherished
institutions: the family and the village. We have
destroyed their land and their crops. . . We have
corrupted their women and children and killed their
men. . . . We are at a moment when our lives must be
placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own
folly. Every man of humane conviction must decide on
the protest that best suits his convictions, but we
must all protest. The war in Vietnam is but a symptom
of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and
if we ignore this sobering reality we will find
ourselves organizing concerned committees for the next
--Martin Luther King Jr. 
("A Time to Break the Silence," Riverside Church, New
York City, April 4, 1967. 

* Author's note (01/01/01): Inflating the scale of
destruction of enemy military targets has been the
trend throughout the 90's in American Defense
Department war information under the elder Bush as
well as Clinton. In a 1992 New York Times Op-Ed
entitled "Operation Desert Sham," Mark Crispin Miller
noted that by the end of the Persian Gulf War U.S.
commander Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf was making the
mathematically absurd boast of having knocked out 81
out of the 50 Iraqi Scud missiles whose destruction he
had declared at the beginning of the war would be the
goal of American intervention! As Miller showed, not
only had Schwarzkopf claimed destruction of a far
greater number of missiles than Iraq had actually been
accused of having, but in the end "U.S. forces (had
not destroyed) a single mobile launcher, and hence . .
. no missiles were destroyed by allied bombing during
the war" (New York Times Op-Ed, June 24, 1992). Taken
together the wars against Iraq and Serbia were
distinguished by American avoidance of direct
engagement of enemy military forces and the
substitution instead of terror-war against civilian

Afterword - January 1, 2001 

The Madison, Wisconsin speech was delivered before the
outcome of the Presidential election had been
determined. The election of George W. Bush and the
emergence of his designated Secretary of State Colin
Powell (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the
brutal 1989 invasion of Panama and 1991's Operation
Desert Storm) as a supporter of continuing America's
enforcement of inhuman sanctions against Iraq show
that the era of colonial warmaking by American
Presidents without formal declaration by Congress will
continue. While the European Army, or Euroarmy, is
being sold to people of Europe who opposed NATO in
Yugoslavia as a European alternative to U.S. intrusion
on the continent, what's more likely is that it would
act as surrogate or agent, masking ultimate control of
the occupied countries by the U.S. and its
International Monetary Fund-World Bank financing
powers. Even if Europe takes over for U.S. occupying
forces in Yugoslavia in conformance with rumored goals
of the new Bush administration, the pattern will have
been established of European ground forces securing
territory won by undeclared American air operations
that, because of non-involvement of ground troops,
will not be perceived by the public in this country as
"wars." Hence a priority for opponents of American
pursuit of global dominance who consider themselves
"antiwar" should be to press for labeling of American
air bombing operations as acts of war requiring
adherence to the 1973 War Powers Act. Reaffirmation of
the Constitution's vesting of war-making power in the
Congress rather than the executive branch is needed
for Americans to have any brake at all on a government
of, by, and for the multinational corporations
terror-bombing its way to World Empire. As George II
prepares to pick up where George I left off in Iraq,
and to squirrel American corporations into niches of
opportunity left open by William I's flattening of the
once-independent economy of the formerly socialist
Yugoslavia, can there be anything of greater priority
than enforcement of the Constitution's restrictions
against a President acting like an emperor? If only on
this point of constitutional strict constructionism I
will have to agree with Cato Institute writer Gene
Healy's warning against the trend of the Clinton years
towards an "Imperial Presidency," 

"The president has repeatedly usurped the
congressional war power. In Haiti, Iraq, Sudan, and
Bosnia, the Clinton administration displayed its
contempt for the constitutional process and asserted a
unilateral power to wage war without congressional
approval. The most flagrant example was the 78 day air
war conducted against Serbia in 1999 despite
Congress's adamant refusal to approve the action. As
we approach the end of President Clinton's second
term, the imperial presidency is as unconstrained and
as menacing as it has been at any time since the
Vietnam War. Bold congressional action is needed to
reclaim legislative authority over the war power."
("Arrogance of Power Reborn: The Imperial Presidency
and Foreign Policy in the Clinton Years," Cato Policy
Analysis No. 389. December 13, 2000, 

       Geoff Berne is an Ohio writer known for his
opposition to American policy in Yugoslavia. In June,
1999 he sponsored a forum with British Labour Party
dissident and NATO critic Tony Benn and later
co-organized a protest against a visit to Cincinnati
by Bill Clinton. Berne is a former university English
teacher and advocate-promoter for America's
traditional and ethnic music. Previous posted writings
on Balkans-related subjects include: "Yugoslavia: A
Holocaust Denied," "Belligerent Buchanan Pleads for
Peace," "In the Information War, A Victory for Peace,"
and "Boycotting the Election for Emperor." 

Nettime-bold mailing list