PRISTINA, Serbia - Pristina is the capital of Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians have been most of the population in the past years. Large numbers of Serbs on the faculty of the University of Pristina reportedly fled the Kosovo capital in terror over the weekend after three Serbs were executed at the institution on Thursday.
A convoy of some 40 cars carrying Serb instructors from the university left Pristina for Serbia on Saturday, according to reliable sources at the scene in Belgrade today. While NATO sources confirmed that some professors had departed, they gave no figures, the Associated Press reported. An estimated 50,000 Serbs have left the province since the end of the NATO bombing campaign on June 10, mainly out of fear of reprisals by returning ethnic Albanians enraged by the deaths of friends and relatives and the destruction of their property at Serb hands over the past three months.
The three male bodies were found in a women's bathroom in the basement of the Faculty of Economics building at the university. All had been bound, bludgeoned, and shot to death. They were identified as Milenko Lekovic, a professor; Miodrag Mladenovic, a night security guard; and Jovica Stamenkovic, manager of the building's coffee bar. It appeared that they had been killed in the evening, after most students and instructors had gone home.
No suspects in the killings have been identified. Students on the campus blamed the Kosovo Liberation Army and told reporters that the killings were an attempt to frighten them into leaving the province. Officials of the rebel army denied responsibility for the killings and suggested that Serb paramilitary forces could have committed the murders to try to discredit the liberation group.
British Military Police investigating the killings had no comment.
The University hads long been domiated by Albanian Serbs. However, Serbia revoked Kosovo's autonomy in 1989 and soon began began to force non Serbians out of the province, where 90 per cent of the population of 2.2 million was of Albanian heritage. Serbian authorities then began a setries of reprisans and fired several hundred Albanians faculty, banned the use of the Albanian language in classrooms, and re-organized the university structure and curriculum. The ethnic-Albanian academics then established a shadow university, conducting classes in basements, garages, and rented halls across the capital.
An agreement to allow Albanian students and their instructors to share buildings at the University of Pristina with their Serb peers, reached in March 1998, was derailed by violence in Kosovo before it could take full effect. While the Serbs gave up control of some buildings at the university, they reportedly did so only after having removed all equipment. The economics building was a new facility that was erected after the university fell under Serb control.
(C)Copyright, 1999 The Daily Republican Newspaper. All Rights Reserved.
WASHINGTON - Revenge retaliation by Albanians against the Serbs continue to hamper NATO peacekeepers' efforts to stabilize western Kosovo. In the last 10 days more than 300,000 ethnic Albanians have returned to the southern Serb Province. Since March 24th, around 860,000 Albanians either fled from Kosovo or were expatriated from their homeland. Now Albanians seem to be on a "get you back" mission directed at the Serbs. Despite NATO's appeal for law and order, lawlessness is prevailing in the form of "payback" to the Serbs from the irate Albanians. Serb houses were torched in the western part of Kosovo. Tension is thick and inflamed tempers will remain "stretched" to the limit now, and well into the distant future.
Turn-about to some is fair play. During the 78 day NATO aerial bombings, Serbs torched and looted Albanian owned homes. NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana called on the people of Kosovo to not allow hatred and the desire for revenge, to cut their hearts. But reprisals persist despite appeals from NATO and Western governments to allow peacekeepers and international investigators to bring justice to those responsible for the earlier Serb crackdown in a timely "due process" manner.
A $5 million reward has been offered from the State Department for assistance in the conviction of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, and others wanted for similar war crimes. In addition to Milosevic and four aides indicted for alleged crimes in Kosovo, also indicted was former Bosnia Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic, and Ratko Mladic.(The latter indictments were handed down due to the 1995 massacre of 6,000 Bosnian Muslins).
During President Clinton's 73 minute News Conference, when questioned about the $5 million reward on Milosevic's head, the president assured reporters that this reward was not offered for the assassination of the "butcher" leader, but to bring the tyrant leader to justice for all the atrocities he is responsible for. Clinton also stated that time would record the success and reason for NATO's aerial bombardment of Kosovo. The President stressed concern for the errant bombing blunders, particularly the accidental bombing of the China Embassy. While the President is confident the bombings "for the most part" were successful and stopped the ethnic Albanian cleansing by Milosevic, he vowed not one "red" cent would be paid to restore Kosovo as long as Milosevic is allowed to stay in power. And many will still be scratching their heads in puzzlement years from now..trying to figure out the war... that never was.
Ethnic Albanians welcomed NATO's civilian and military leaders in Pristina, capital of Kosovo, with cheering and tears of gratitude. While President Clinton basked in the fact ( at least in his eyes) NATO came out the "supreme" winner in the Kosovo confrontation, trouble appears to be brewing in other parts of the world. Some are testing missiles. North Korea has been warned and cautioned by South Korean President Kim Daejung that another missile testing could damage the relations between South Korea, Japan, United States, etc., and threaten future monetary assistance.
Last August, North Korea surprised the entire world when they fired a rocket that flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean. North Korean officials denied the launching of a missile claiming it was only a satellite, but western officials believe it was a test of a three-stage ballistic weapon.
The threat of the unleashing of the deadly "Smallpox" strain is looming ahead. Many of the "communists" countries are reported set to devastate the world population by beginning the "germ" warfare with the "smallpox" disease. The disease has the capability to kill millions and the ones who may survive will be horribly crippled. Sounds like the future is more than just a little uncertain.
Over in Beirut, Lebanon, Beirut was blacked out while many residents in northern Israel cowered in bomb shelters, as the heaviest fighting in over three years broke out. Seven Lebanese and two Israelis were killed. With so much "unrest" threatening to consume the world...it's anybody's guess when the final war, Armageddon (between good and evil) will erupt.
Armageddon is a lot closer tonight, thanks to President Bill Clinton's NATO humanitarianism.
(C)Copyright, 1999 The Daily Republican Newspaper. All Rights Reserved.
MOSCOW - The U.S. Defense Department confirmed reports that Russian mercenaries fought in Kosovo alongside Serbian forces, and said that an international war crimes investigation would examine reports that they were involved in atrocities against Albanian civilians.
"We certainly know that Russians participated, Russian volunteers, mercenaries, we believe, did participate with paramilitary and other Serbian forces," said Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon, when asked to comment Tuesday on a report in the U.S. newspaper Newsday that dozens of Russian volunteers had taken part in the killing of hundreds of ethnic Albanians and the destruction of towns and villages around Prizren in southern Kosovo.
"I do not have verification that there were units or groups of the size that Newsday reports," Bacon said. "But we do believe that there was some Russian participation."
The Guardian newspaper in Great Britain on Wednesday also backed up Newsday's allegations. Quoting Kosovo Albanian witnesses, The Guardian reported that Russian paramilitaries were part of an execution gang that shot at least four civilians in the village of Korenica.
There has been no official Russian response to the allegations.
The Guardian reported that Human Rights Watch has also been collecting reports of Russian paramilitaries being involved in ethnic cleansing.
In the days immediately after NATO began bombing Serbia in March, Russian politicians expressed outrage. Some - including the Communists and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia - openly called for volunteers to travel to Kosovo to fight for Serbia.
Russian media have covered some of the volunteers' exploits. Komsomolskaya Pravda two weeks ago reported on a so-called "Russian battalion" - which it said also included Serbs who were rejected as unfit for the Yugoslav Army.
The commander of the battalion, an Israeli citizen and former Soviet citizen named David Ben Ami, was quoted by Komsomolskaya Pravda as saying that their main task was to fight against "Albanian terrorists" with the Kosovo Liberation Army, the guerrilla force that has fought for Kosovo's secession from Serbia-dominated Yugoslavia.
At least some volunteers, however, apparently expanded their mission to include atrocities against civilians. According to the Newsday report, which cited Kosovo Albanian witnesses, about 60 Russian mercenaries were involved in an assault on the town of Prizren that left 22 civilians dead.
Residents of Prizren said that when German troops arrived June 13, the Russian volunteers again showed up - in two buses and in a Mercedes painted camouflage brown - to taunt NATO and local Albanians. After the Germans brought up an artillery piece and ordered the Russian volunteers out, they left.
An unidentified German officer with NATO's peacekeeping forces confirmed that account to Newsday.
Newsday, citing only "Newsday sources," reported that Russian volunteers were also in "the front line of killing" in the villages of Velika Krusa, Pirane, Samodraza, Korisa, Bela Cirkva, Pusto Selo and Drenovac.
According to the testimonies of Albanian refugees collected by the U.S. State Department, at least 100 men were executed in Velika Krusa, while possibly many more civilians were executed in Bela Cirkva. Atrocities in those two villages are among those cited in the Hague Tribunal's indictment of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic for crimes against humanity.
Bacon said that the reports, reaching the Pentagon from the KLA during the conflict, indicated "very small numbers" of Russians were involved in ethnic cleansing and battling the KLA. Bacon confirmed that there had been reports "of some Russian deaths."
The exact nature of the involvement of Russian mercenaries "is something that I'm sure will be looked into by war crimes investigators who are now going into Kosovo in considerable numbers," he added.
The talk of Russian mercenary involvement - and the possible inclusion of Russian citizens in a future war crimes indictment - comes at a delicate stage in the fragile rebuilding of diplomatic and military links between NATO and Russia following the Kosovo conflict.
NATO and Russia have agreed that 3,600 Russian troops will join KFOR, the Kosovo Force of peacekeepers, most of them in a southern sector of the province commanded by German forces.
Washington is being careful, so far, not to link the behavior of Russian volunteers with the reputation of the Russian KFOR force.
"When the Russian forces arrive as part of KFOR, we expect them to be totally fair and professional in their dealings with both Serbs and Kosovo Albanians, as they have been in Bosnia and where there have been very stalwart and successful members of the peacekeeping force," Bacon said. "I anticipate that the Russian troops coming to Kosovo will be exactly the same."
But Newsday said earlier this week that German commander Brig. Gen. Fritz von Korff told reporters he would handle the Russian peacekeepers warily. "We will have to think very carefully about where we will put them," Korff told reporters. "I can only say one thing - I will certainly not deploy them in Prizren."
U.S. Marines came under fire at a checkpoint in Kosovo on Wednesday and returned fire, killing at least two of the unidentified assailants, their commander said.
The clash occurred when Marines, manning a checkpoint at the village of Zegra, were fired at, two kilometers south of the town in Gnjilane in southeastern Kosovo, said Brig. Gen. John Craddock, the commander of U.S. forces in Kosovo. The general said it was not known whether the assailants were Serbs or members of the Kosovo Liberation Army.
Switzerland froze Slobodan Milosevic's assets Wednesday, along with those of four other indicted war criminals, The Daily Telegraph reported.
The newspaper quoted a Swiss police agency as saying, "As a precautionary measure, the Federal Police Agency ordered that assets of the Yugoslav head of state, Slobodan Milosevic, and the four other people charged be frozen."
The agency said it was acting at the request of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, which is based in The Hague, The Telegraph reported.
A mid-level intelligence officer assigned to the CIA repeatedly questioned the targeting during the air war against Yugoslavia of a building that turned out to be the Chinese Embassy, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Quoting an unidentified senior U.S. intelligence official, the newspaper said the officer's concerns went unheeded inside the spy agency and at the U.S. military's European Command. "I'm not sure that's the right building," the senior official quoted the analyst as saying.
Although NATO war planners say they meant to strike the Yugoslav Federal Directorate of Supply and Procurement, American B-2 bombers instead hit the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade on May 7, killing three Chinese civilians and wounding more than 20 others.
Former Yugoslav President Dobrica Cosic on Thursday added his voice to calls for President Slobodan Milosevic's resignation, saying it was vital as a first step toward political change.
"Slobodan Milosevic's resignation should be the beginning of political changes in the country," said Cosic, who was ousted as federal president by then Serbian president Milosevic in 1993.
"I hereby appeal to Milosevic's patriotic consciousness, as well as his human and civil responsibility, to make possible the changes by offering his resignation," Beta news agency quoted him as saying.
[Editor's Note: Portions of this St. Petersburg Times story were carried by the Associated Press, The Los Angeles Times, and the Reuters Washington.]
WASHINGTON - A mid level intelligence officer assigned to the CIA repeatedly questioned the targeting during the air war against Yugoslavia of a building that turned out to be the Chinese Embassy, The Washington Post said yesterday.Quoting an unidentified senior US intelligence official, the newspaper said the officer's concerns went unheeded inside the spy agency and at the US military's European Command.
''I'm not sure that's the right building,'' the senior official quoted the analyst as saying.
Although Nato war planners say they meant to strike the Yugoslav Federal Directorate of Supply and Procurement, American B-2 bombers instead hit the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade on May 7, killing three Chinese civilians, wounding more than 20 others and causing strains in US-Chinese relations that have yet to heal.
Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering travelled to Beijing last week and gave Beijing a formal, detailed explanation of how the building was mistakenly targeted. But Chinese officials did not accept his explanation and have suggested that the United States deliberately bombed the embassy.
According to the Post's source, the analyst had ''some familiarity'' with theDirectorate of Supply and Procurement and was not sure that his colleagues had correctly located it on a map.
''He was concerned, raised some questions, and they didn't get resolved,'' the official said.
Another intelligence officer said the analyst ''raised his doubts with working-level counterparts'' at both the CIA and the European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, but the questions ''were never raised to senior levels before the strike took place''.
HONG KONG - Beijing is refusing permission for US military aircraft to land at Chek Lap Kok, according to the South China Morning Post.
US warships were banned last month from making visits, in retaliation for the Nato bombing of China's embassy in Belgrade.
The move has thrown doubt over travel plans for congressional delegations due to arrive in US air force jets during their summer break.
The ban on military aircraft was revealed yesterday by Consul-General Richard Boucher who said "one or two" applications had been knocked back and a series of requests for ship visits refused.
An application for a US navy P-3 Orion on a navigation training flight to touch down in the SAR was rejected, a US Consulate spokesman said.
A military analyst said he believed the rejection occurred last week. The Consulate spokesman could not give a date.
The P-3 aircraft is deployed to detect, track and attack submarines as well as conduct maritime patrols. Sources said they usually flew from Japan on training exercises to countries including South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Mr. Boucher said he was confident the ban would be lifted soon. "We've had no indication there's a permanent ban," he said. "I'm fairly confident it won't be long before we'll see US ships visiting here again."
Sources said it remained to be seen whether the refusal to grant landing rights to US military aircraft would apply to air force jets carrying dignitaries.
Delegations of Congress members usually come to Hong Kong at this time of year to check the SAR's progress.
Chief Secretary for Administration Anson Chan Fang On-sang has invited Congressman Christopher Cox,head of the spy inquiry, to inspect mechanisms to prevent sensitive technology being exported to China.
St. PETERSBURG, Russia - President Boris Yeltsin on Sunday gave the United States government a strange and unexpected peace offering: the Soviet KGB's formerly secret files on the assassination ofJohn F. Kennedy.
The thick stack of KGB files, reportedly containing some 80 documents, is said to include surveillance information about alleged Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald - who lived in the Soviet Union from 1959 until 1962 - and details about Moscow's reaction to Kennedy's assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
Yeltsin dropped the blockbuster on U.S. President Bill Clinton in Cologne, Germany on Sunday as the two met to begin mending the troubled Russian-American relationship.
In remarks reported by Reuters, U.S. National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, describing the documents as "a very interesting gift," said they were the result of an extensive search of Russian archives ordered by Yeltsin years ago.
"I am sure that those documents will be reviewed carefully and all interesting elements will be made public," Berger said.
On Nov. 22, 1991, exactly 28 years after the assassination, a KGB expert commission completed a study of the Kennedy files. Most of the files contain information about Oswald, who arrived in Moscow on a tourist visa in Oct. 1959, applied for political asylum, and lived in the Soviet Union until June 1962, working at the Gorizont Radio Factory in Minsk.
The study was ordered by Vadim Bakatin, a reformer appointed KGB director by Mikhail Gorbachev in the dying days of the Soviet Union. Bakatin wanted to declassify the file and release it to the public, but was thwarted by veteran spies who feared disclosure of their names and tactics. Bakatin lost the battle with the old guard and ultimately only 12 documents were released.
Some U.S. analysts, however, say that very little that is new will be learned from the files Yeltsin turned over on Sunday.
"I am positive that they will raise more questions than they answer," said J. Michael Waller, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council, a Washington-based think tank. "The KGB and its re-named successors have never willingly provided their files to anybody - particularly the United States - without some underlying purpose."
Waller said that the release was "a publicity stunt" and perhaps an attempt to curry favor with Clinton. "I wouldn't be surprised if the latest move is a play to Clinton's ego," he said. "Clinton has always considered himself a latter-day JFK. I think [the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service's] excellent psychological profiling has assessed Clinton at this point in time to be vulnerable to an approach that will play to his ego - and maybe persuade him to make concessions to Russia."
Over the period from Nov. 1992 to Nov. 1993, the national newspaper Izvestia published a series of articles based on interviews with KGB officers familiar with the files. If accurate, these articles may give some hints as to what the U.S. government and scholars can expect to find in the documents.
According to Izvestia, the original dossier included "five thick volumes and a small folder" containing "detailed information" about Oswald's life from Oct. 1959 to June 1962."
The dossier, Izvestia wrote, contains many banal details - including such intelligence gems as Oswald's salary (761 rubles a month), his frequent drinking and the temper tantrum he threw when an upstairs neighbor accidentally flooded his apartment.
It also reports that Oswald and a friend named Eric Titovets frequently attended parties and dances where they actively chased women.
"At all of the dances and parties attended by the American, there were always people from the KGB," the daily wrote. "And it is quite possible that Oswald even talked to them, danced with them and drank with them without knowing that each step he took was carefully recorded in his dossier."
It was at one of these dances, at the Minsk Medical Institute on the evening of March 17, 1961, that Oswald met a drugstore employee named Marina Prusakova, whom he later married. KGB officials interviewed by Izvestia, however, denied that Prusakova was an agent.
The dossier also showed that Oswald adjusted poorly to Soviet life, spoke Russian poorly, didn't get along with many of his co-workers and complained about his wages. In June 1962, prior to leaving for the United States, Oswald reportedly said to a neighbor: "You go on building your communism by yourselves. You can't even smile like human beings here."
The file also contained other more interesting observations. For example, according to the daily, the dossier reports that Oswald, who joined the factory's hunters' club and bought a single-barrel shotgun, was a rather poor marksman.
Izvestia, citing KGB sources, also reported that Oswald had cut his wrists on Oct. 21, 1959, when he was refused Soviet citizenship.
The newspaper quoted Eduard Shir kov sky, then head of Belorussia's KGB, as saying that "Oswald was watched 24 hours a day [and] the KGB used every means to gather information except chemicals and psychedelic drugs."
"Although some tablets might have been dropped in his glass ... but only to make him relax and talk more," Izvestia reported Shirkovsky as adding.
According to the daily, the KGB recruited over 20 agents to monitor Oswald - including his friends and co-workers - and used two separate code names for him: Nalim, or eel, and Likhoi, or reckless.
The daily, however, quoted KGB sources as saying that the Soviet authorities, after extensive surveillance and analysis, decided that Oswald was useless as a potential asset.
According to the daily, the KGB also concluded after the Kennedy assassination that Oswald could not have pulled it off alone.
"KGB officers who are acquainted with the contents of Dossier No. 31451 (Oswald's file) also are of the opinion that Lee Harvey Oswald was incapable of preparing and executing an operation such as the Kennedy assassination all by himself."
HONG KONG - The Western military technology behind Nato's success in Kosovo - in which no pilots' lives were lost - could serve as a model for Asian military aspirations.
Military victory can be as problematic as military defeat. For whenever nations resort to brute force, unexpected prices must be paid. While the Clinton administration may be savouring Nato's triumph over the loathsome Slobodan Milosevic, other parts of the world are taking note, not of a human-rights monster getting his come-uppance, but of superior technology getting its way anew.
They note that once again America, backed by cruise missiles and a behind-the-scenes nuclear arsenal like none on earth, got what it wanted in Kosovo without losing a single pilot's life.
China, especially, watched in awe and trepidation as once again the West's technology did to recalcitrant Yugoslavia what it had done to truculent Iraq in 1991.
The Nato campaign was also well observed by India and Pakistan, both of which shocked the world earlier this year with their nuclear tests; and in North Korea.
There, the leaders of the world's last Stalinist state surprised Japan with a test missile that soared over some of its cities last summer before plunking down in the Sea of Japan; and who earlier this week lost one of their gunboats in a tense exchange with the South Korean navy in the Yellow Sea.
Quiet, if wholly supportive, notice was taken in Taiwan, too, which wants US anti-missile technology on its territory, and in Japan, which wants at least that (and many in Asia fear more) as well.
Maybe in Indonesia, the military elite was too busy monitoring its nation's first serious democratic elections in decades to care much.
But once the dust settles over this populous land, they, too, will draw the same conclusion: That it is impossible to succeed in this world - to be taken seriously as a major player - without becoming a technological power. Gone are the days of Mao's simple, romantic rifle-toting peasant army.
Gone, too, is the moral force of an unarmed Gandhi. What is imperative now is that nations have the best military technology, whether by research development, import or sheer theft.
Yale management and political science professor Paul Bracken, author of an important new book on Asia's growing embrace of modern military technology, The Fire In The East writes, "The success of the US-led multi-national coalition in Kosovo will reinforce the spread of missiles and weapons of mass destruction in Asia. The reason is that Asian nations do not want to become like Kosovo, targets of Western attack without any deterrent whatsoever."
Indeed, had Beijing blocked the UN authorisation sanctioning Nato's entry into Kosovo, probably more Asian nations would have (quietly) cheered than (publicly) condemned. Memories of Western aggression linger long in Asia.
"The forcible opening of Asia by the West ushered in five centuries of arrogant colonial rule, piracy, trade slaving, and plunder on a scale previously unknown in history," writes Bracken in his book.
Rising Asian nationalism, not just in China but across the continent, will yield fearsome new military capabilities as globalisation provides new profits and technology imports for once moribund or cloistered economies.
Writes the professor: "Following the pattern that dates back at least to the Mongols, many Asian nations are now expanding the reach of their armed forces." Their motive is not just to protect each from the other, but to neutralise the power of the only superpower, the United States.
"The ballistic missiles and atomic, chemical and biological weapons coming to Asia are all disruptive technologies," writes Bracken. "They can nullify Western advantages in conventional weapons. They restrict Western access to Asia. They trump the Western technological lead."
But the West is blind to what is happening. It deludes itself into believing that Asian nations are so backward, they cannot usefully absorb, much less deploy, the technology they have imported, developed or stolen. This is why Asia, having observed Western success in both Iraq and Yugoslavia, will never truly observe arms-control pacts or accords that reify second-rate status.
But, oblivious or unobliging, the West will plod ahead on the diplomatic front in the old-fashioned way: "US foreign policy is increasingly Eurocentric," says Bracken.
Thus, Washington celebrates its pointed expansion of Nato, which the Chinese and many others in Asia, including Russia, regard as a long-term threat to their own internal control. And, when Asia suffers financial crisis, Washington relies on Western-dominated institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the G-7 to solve the problem.
"The US is trying to deal with Asia through Europe; even the Kosovo war shows this," adds Bracken.
"It is using European models and Western clubs because that is what Washington understands. It's like a high school clique, where like-minded students hang out with each other and try to run the whole school."
It will not work, over the long run anyway. Asia will re-arm, madly and rapidly. This is why Nato's success in Kosovo will prove a much better deal for the people of Kosovo, who get to return to their homeland under UN protection, than to the people of Asia, who get to bear the burden of a new regional arms buildup.
For when diplomacy fails, the world often suffers, despite superficial military success.
[Editor's Note: This story was published in the South China Morning Post on 6/18/99. Tom Plate teaches at UCLA.]
BUCHAREST, Romania - Thanks to Dr. Jan Oberg's column, we finally have a clear explanation of the situation in Kosova. As one who's lived in a post communist society I have been trying to unravel what may be really going on in Kosova.
In 1992, I was given a car by a man in Switzerland. I immediately began the process of trying to register this car in Romania (where I currently live). Registration consisted of submitting papers to the police, customs, finance department.
In this post communist society most things operated by "mita" or "spaga" which translates "bribes". In other words you could buy most of what you needed. In many cases you were denied justice until you gave a little something "to get ones attention".
In my attempt to register this car nearly every government office that I went to sent me to another office. I've later come to call this the "centrifugal force method". I mean, if you don't give a little "attention" you were sent to another office, then to another. You go from place to place at such a speed that eventually the pure inertia of discouragement throws you off course. You either succumb and give a little "attention" (maybe 100 US$ or so) or give up.
In conclusion to this story, let me say that it took nearly 6 months to register this car. Just this last week I was able to register a motorcycle which we use for our evangelistic work in the villages after 2 years of "centrifugal force". I am persistent, I don't give up, I don't give bribes and I fight. But without understanding this I would easily give up or slipped a little money.
Now let's apply this to what is happening in Kososva. First let's look at what Russia has done. After an apparent agreement they took the airport. Why? Did they ever have intentions of supporting the "NATO" principals or will they forever remain loyal to their serbian brethren? Let me make some suggestions. What is at stake is not peace in Kosova, it's Kosova itself. What has taken place in kosova is beyond repair. The serbs and the albanians will never again be able to look one another in the eye. Milosevic and his generals systematically destroyed the possibilities of unity between these people with their atrocities. We've heard reports of unfathomable tortures, we heard about rapes, we've heard the men who've come out of the prisons having been tortured with "your women belong to the serbs". They destroyed homes, communities and they currently hold many of the kosovar's belongings. The albanians will never feel justice and will never forgive. Milosevic knows this. So Kosova remains a time bomb.
This fragile peace accord will be valuable only as long as the western peace keepers are involved. How long will that be, 100 years? Since Kosova remains a province of Yugoslavia, it will always be subject to Yugoslavian rule and will never be able to erase the memories of this period in it's history. Milosevic and Russia don't know this?
Many of Kosova's intellectuals have been killed, many of it's fighting age have been killed or maimed. Does Kosova hold the potential to rebuild in the next generation - not likely. does Milosevic know this? Of course, he even planned it.
During the early years of the yugoslavian crisis Milosevic claimed he didn't know what was going on. Hwe claimed it was the serbs in Bosnia an Croatia who independently took action. The serbs in Bosnia claimed they were under the authority of Milosevic. And thus when we tried to arrive at a diplomatic solution we met only "centrifugal force". Eventually we paid the bribe. We divided Bosnia up into sectors, conceding parts which Serbians claimed after the war, as their rightful areas. We conceded peace keeping forces who later helped Milosevic focus his attacks on other areas of yugoslavia, since he no longer had to worry about the opposing armies. We paid the "bribe" for peace because we didn't have foresight."
Now in serbia it's beginning again. Russia is the next on the scene. There is a plan which we don't know. It's the only way to explain the "bizarre behavior" of the russians. Let's not forget that in the middle of the attacks they tried to send "humanitarian aid" which was recognized by the Hungarians as "military aid" and was not permitted to pass the hungarian border. What an embarrassment for a once powerful (and of course still quite powerful) country.
In the future plan they will not let this happen, thus they seized the airport. They know that NATO would never shoot down a russian plane, while it would be quite easy to deny them entrance into a sovereign state. "Bizarre behavior"?, not likely.
When we tried to resolve this diplomatically nobody seemed to know what was going on. The commanders said to speak to the generals, the generals said to speak to Yeltsin, Yeltsin said to speak to the generals. The communist tactic at work again -"centrifugal force". Will we pay the bribes. What's the stakes. Undoubtedly we will negotiate away something as part of the price. We will give a sector, or we will allow Russia self rule, or we will offer financial aid in some form. Clinton must pay something, to not appear a failure.
Now what is that plan which Kosova and Russia know but we don't? As stated earlier kosova is very fragile. It has the KLA, which is a civilian army thus, nearly impossible to disarm; it has the hatred which has built as a result of the "ethnic cleansing"; and it has the instability of remaining under yugoslavian rule. The KLA surely know that it's only possibility for peace would be to use this opportunity to claim independence, another threat to the fragile peace. Any move by the KLA would immediately nullify the agreement and solicit russian help for its oppressed brother.
Milosevic will surely exploit all these weaknesses, but at the appropriate time. First and foremost is the rebuilding. Who's going to do it? Why europe of course. This wouldn't be so bad if it was for an independent country, but we will merely rebuild a province of yugoslavia which can be reclaimed at nearly any moment.
Now we will have a time of peace, probably two to 4 years. Yugoslavia will rebuild itself and Moolisevic will use this to rally support. Part of its rebuilding will be from stolen items confiscated from the kosovar republic. Kosova will be rebuilt at the same time but by europe. New technology, investments, business, will go into kosova. The whole time Serbia will regroup with it's big brother, russia, who is now in place.
We had no choice but to help, but now we are the fools. We've been caught in the loop. We will pay the price many times over. Every snag will be a well orchestrated extortion, and we will pay the price for "world respect". We will have our hands tied by interational communities bureacratics processes. In the end all of our investments will eventually end up in Serbian hands. This fragile peace will be exploited at the appropriate time and the communist will regain their island, but next time richer, and better made.
The world is a very fragile place right now. In many places it's stitched together by signatures. At some point the seams will break again. So much for NATO'S utopian peacemaking.
[Editor's Note: Goerge Murray is an American citizen working in Romania.]
BELGRADE - If a UN operation had gone this wrong from the beginning, if the mandate had been violated to this extent, politicians, diplomats and media worldwide would have cried 'Failure!' But since it is a US-lead NATO operation, independent minded evaluations and criticism is conspicuously absent from mainstream media and the political discourse. The homogenisation of public opinion with NATO propaganda throughout the Western democracies is disheartening.
While NATO troops have been in Macedonia the last 8 months, only on June 14 could the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan present a plan for a civil UN administration for Kosova. It puts the EU in charge of reconstruction and gives the OSCE primary responsibility for establishing democratic institutions, organising elections, and monitoring human rights. The UNHCR will take charge of the resettlement of refugees and displaced persons.
The UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) will administer the police, justice, schools, public transport, telecommunications, and power plants. An international police unit of up to 2,000 will oversee the establishment of a Kosova police force. On 12 June, Annan appointed UN Undersecretary-General Sergio Vieira de Mello of Brazil as interim - interim! - special representative.
SC Resolution 1244 consistently mentions "the rapid early deployment of effective civil and security presences" and consistently mentions the two components simultaneously. Reality on the ground is already totally different. Evident for everyone who wants to see, the NATO dog will wag the UN tail as it pleases, in time and in space. And it will take months before the civilians are in place and co-functioning. Remember that it took 5-6 months to get the former OSCE KVM mission of 1200 deployed - only to be forced out due to NATO's bombing plan.
This is catastrophic. Precisely in this type of conflict, the need for social, village-based security provided by civil police and what the UN used to call 'Civil Affairs' staff is absolutely essential. While NATO is simply not trained for this or has any experience in it, the UN an OSCE and civilian NGOs everywhere have.
Imagine instead, that world leaders had wanted to increase the capacity for civilian conflict-management, had wanted to finally realise the UN Charter's finest norm: peace by peaceful means. Imagine that the international 'community' and leading security organizations had spent energy, money and creativity since 1989 on adapting the global system to civilian conflict-management, that the UN had had a pool of thousands of civilians - social workers, psychologists, economists, police, lawyers, teachers etc. - on stand-by for rapid deployment in post-war regions. Imagine that the OSCE and the UN had been given just a fraction of the funds, NATO has at its disposal. Imagine, in short, that the civilian aspects and the human dimensions of security and conflict-resolution had been nurtured and new civilised tools had been given priority, including early warning to prevent wars and violence in the first place.
Resolution 1244 states in para 9 a) that the security presence shall prevent renewed hostilities and b) demilitarise KLA and other armed Kosovo-Albanian groups. They must comply with the requirements 'laid down by the head of the international security presence in consultation with the Special Representative of the S-G.' The latter however is not yet on the ground!
And indeed, why should KLA comply? As they see it, they have liberated 'our Kosova' (albeit with a little help from their NATO allies) and they are not signatories - as are no Albanian - to the deal made in Belgrade. A major player was simply ignored (or given secret promises as to the future?)
Literally speaking, of course, it is impossible to disarm or demilitarise a force like KLA in this culture. In contrast to the Yugoslav forces, it is not an ordinary army - many of their members are simply armed civilians. Kosovo-Albanian leaders always responded to the question 'Who is UCK?' that 'it is me, him and her over there, we are a people in arms." But! NATO - the organization that flexes its muscle and just issued demands and refused to negotiate with the legitimate government (at least not officially) in Belgrade - will now NEGOTIATE with UCK, a force that has never obtained a mandate from the constitutional authorities or parliament of the independent republic of Kosova.
Yes, this is true! This is what Radio Free Europe reported on June 16: "NATO Negotiates Disarmament with UCK. U.S. Army General John Craddock told us on 16 June that NATO officials are negotiating with the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) about its demilitarisation. Craddock did not release details about the content or location of the talks. He added that the UCK's possible disarmament is up to the "discretion" of the respective peacekeeping troops. Craddock said that "we approach it in a fair and even-handed manner...Our soldiers are not instructed to routinely disarm [the guerrillas]. However, we have got to make sure we defuse explosive situations. We don't want armed [UCK] in proximity with withdrawing Serbs."
Pentagon officials said in Washington that both the Serbs and the UCK have initiated confrontations resulting in as many as "two dozen" deaths. They added, however, that "we are generally satisfied with the amount of compliance" with NATO's ban on armed violence.
It is difficult to understand the American general's statement as anything but a violation of UN SC Resolution 1244. Virtually all important media around the world have told us that the West can not trust Milosevic or the Serbs. What prevents people from not even now asking the opposite question?
Up till now the Yugoslav government has kept its side of the G8 Agreement and withdrawn its forces according to schedule. Not so NATO, the UN and KLA.
Imagine instead, the UCK/KLA had not been fed with weapons, ammunition, uniform and training by a number of Western countries, private arms dealers and, presumably, intelligence services. Imagine instead that the parties had been persuaded to sit down and talk at some point since 1992, that moderates on both sides had been supported by the West and that an economic development program had been promised for the Kosovo province - in exchange for democratization in Serbia and a lifting of sanctions and diplomatic isolation. Imagine that OSCE had not suspended Yugoslavia and that OSCE's mission in Yugoslavia had therefore not been abrogated in 1992. Imagine some of this - and you may begin to see a possible truth: this war, this humanitarian catastrophe, all this irreparable hate could have been avoided.
Resolution 1244 welcomes the EU and others 'to develop a comprehensive approach to the economic development and stabilisation of the region affected by the Kosovo crisis, including the implementation of a Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe..' There can be no doubt that this formulation covers not only the Kosovo province but also the rest of Yugoslavia and countries such as Macedonia and Albania as 'affected.' President Clinton, President Chirac and other government leaders, however, have already stated that no economic aid (presumably including reconstruction aid) will be given to Yugoslavia as long as President Milosevic is around.
This conditionality has no back-up in the UN Resolution. Furthermore, who would believe that there can be stability in this region if 11 million citizens of Yugoslavia shall be kept for decades in a poor, war-torn society?
Remember old Yugoslavia began to break down when the effects of global capitalism's restructuring produced the economic crisis of the 1970s and 1980s hit Yugoslavia hard. Economic and social misery breads dissatisfaction, scape-goating, nationalism and ultimately violence.
The West first introduced sanctions, isolation and demonisation, then destroyed the country's civil society, economy and infrastructure. It also forgot to care for its 650.000 refugees. If the West now refuses to give reconstruction aid it is a sure indicator of a future plan: to bring about the further destruction of present Yugoslavia in, let's say, Sandzak, Voivodina and ultimately Belgrade. But don't worry, we will be told by the managers of the military-industrial-diplomatic-media complex that it's all the fault of one man and that the Serbs deserve it.
[Editor's Note: Dr. Jan Oberg is the director of the TFF Conflict-Mitigation team to the Balkans and Georgia.]
NEW YORK - Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan all but announced that the Fed will raise short-term interest rates at month's end, but was less clear on whether he sees a need for further rate increases later in the year.
Even though improved productivity growth has raised the economy's velocity, Mr. Greenspan told the Joint Economic Committee of Congress that the economy's current pace is "unsustainable" and that the reservoir of idle workers is drying up. Unless something brakes the economy, he told the committee, inflation is nearly inevitable.
There is a great flaw in the thinking that rising prices are inflation. Rising prices are no more inflation than a fever is the flu. A fever does not cause the flu, but results from the flu. Rising prices do not cause inflation. Rising prices result from inflation, which is a money supply growth that exceeds growth in goods and services.
During the past 4 years the U.S. money supply grew at an ever increasing rate. Recently it has slowed substantially. Rising marketinterest rates may cause some less borrowing, and less borrowing cuts the growth rate of the money supply.
The FED is very good working with the supply of money. If they want more money in circulation, they just print some. Actually, they go into the market and buy bonds. They then pay for the bonds with money that is backed by the bonds they bought. Although they don't really print money, the effect is the same. If they want less money in circulation, they sell some of the bonds in their inventory.
But the FED is poor working with the demand for money. The supply of money together with the demand for money results in the price of money, which is the interest rate. The FED tries to influence demand by changing the price. They seldom know how the demand for money is changing. With the globalization of money, the FED probably cannot know which people in what countries want more or less U.S. dollars.
So, the FED should abandon trying to control the price of money (the interest rate) and rather control its value (what it will buy.) The FED could say it would stabilize the value of the dollar by buying or selling enough bonds so the dollar would buy a constant basket of goods and services, for example 0.00017 ounce of gold plus 0.015 bushel of wheat plus 0.1 pound of iron plus 0.5 kilowatt hour of electricity plus 0.02 hour of work at the minimum wage plus.
Then the value of the dollar would be stable. The FED would not need to try to guess the demand for U.S. dollars. Five years from now dollars would buy the same amount as now. One result would be that the interest rate would fluctuate more than currently, but that is a small problem, since futures markets allow locking in predetermined rates. The interest rate would also be low; it would be lower than currently. Market decisions would not be based partly on how much inflation was expected, because the dollar would be stable. Economic growth would also improve.
Unfortunately, I suspect the FED produced a nice bubble in the stock market with its 4 years of accelerating growth in the money supply. I suspect the FED is also in the process of trying to let the air out of the bubble by currently lowering money growth. A result is likely to be a nice recession. It probably won't do much for the stock market either. Did we really need either the bubble or the possible coming recession?
(C)Copyright, 1999 The Daily Republican Newspaper. All Rights Reserved.
WASHINGTON - NATO and UN officials are being met with a steady flow of resistance from determined, and somewhat stubborn, Albanian refugees, who are seeking to go back to their homeland, despite urging to wait until the area is more safe and secure.
After 78 days of being "misplaced" and trapped out in a no man's wilderness, many are defiant and irrational, ignoring the warnings to not cross the Macedonia borders into Kosovo.
Who can fault the Albanians for wanting to go back home? At the same time the Albanians cannot afford to return back home in the same way they left, like a herd of startled cattle. Upmost caution should be applied. The UN has posted signs alongside the borders warning of imminent danger from land mines hidden all over the area. They are stressing the importance of compliance to insure safety. Reports of one car driving over a land mine and killing two of the four passengers, should open up the awareness of potential dangers still lurking around every corner.
Most returning refugees will find their homes in ashes. Their emotional trauma will outlast this NATO's peace.
Under the unified command, different countries in the peacekeepers alliance are designated to oversee different sectors. NATO is promising the safety of the Kosovars, while claiming the Serbian army has been demilitarized and sent out of the area.
Secretary General of NATO, Javier Solana of Brussels, stressed the importance of having a unified stance within the Chain of Command, because otherwise the burden of meeting the "objectivity" mandated by the UN to oversee the security of Kosovo and to guarantee the refugees a safe journey home would be mean a false and empty preace.
In the meanwhile, many parts of Kosovo are continuing to be degraded by the KLA which contunies to pose a threat to the ethnic Albanian resistance movement. The situation is clearly unstable, and is a continuing threat to safety of the Albanians.
Mr. Solana attempted to assure all concerned that NATO was moving in a rapid manner. He stated that 14,000 NATO troops had been deployed to Kosovo, in 24 hours and 10,000 more would be deployed in the next 24 hours. According to recent reports coming out of Moscow, terrorists acts are still being perpetrated by the KLA.
This unacceptable action could cause a threat to the peace settlement. General Michael Jackson, commander of the NATO KFOR troops, stated: "NATO troops could not be everywhere in Kosovo at the same time. Orders to disarm the KLA is a slow ongoing process."
Doubts that the "peace settlement" will ever reach its pretentious goals, are becoming widespread. Reports are escalating of future revengeful "fallout" against the Serbian population. Many Serbs have remained in southern and western districts of Kosovo, after the withdrawal of the Yugoslav army. Fears of a ruthless vengeance Serbs by the KLA, burning down homes and entire villages, leave many all the more hopeless as another hope for peace in our time has slipped away.
(C)Copyright, 1999 The Daily Republican Newspaper. All Rights Reserved.
TOKYO - As the North Korean Communist confrontation with South Korea moved into its second week, the N. Korean navy vessel was sunk in the Yelloe Sea of the South Korean coast. The international incedent occurred as North Korean naval patrol boats sailed back into South Korean West Sea waters yesterday, the eighth consecutive day of a tense military standoff with South Korea, the Defense Ministry reported.
Three North Korean vessels crossed a U.N. declared border early morning, escorting six fishing boats, and took positions some 5km south of the sea border, or the Northern Limit Line. The North Korean flotilla was part of seven Communist patrol boats which had entered and stayed in the restricted waters for as many as 18 hours a day for the past week.
Communist North Korean warships have been sailing in and out of the South Korean waters zone since last Monday in what seemed to be a move to escort northern fishing boats to the crab fishing area, some 10 km west of the island of Yonpyong and about 100km northwest of Seoul.
Defense Ministry officials said that two North Korean torpedo boats were among the seven intruding vessels that moved south of the NLL last Sunday.The torpedo boats, 37 to 56 tons, are equipped with two torpedoes and 25-mm guns, and cruise at a maximum speed of 40 knots.
On Friday, South Korean naval ships rammed four intruding North Korean vessels in an effort to force them to return to their own waters, according to officials here.
North Korean border violation came ahead of a scheduled meeting Monday, in which generals of the U.N. Command and North Korea were set to discuss the incursion.
But, on Monday, South Korean military ships sank a North Korean torpedo boat and badly damaged a second today during a 10-minute firefight in disputed waters off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula, South Korean officials said.
Two South Korean ships also were damaged, but there were no immediate reports of casualties on either side, according to the South Korean Defense Ministry in Seoul. Ministry officials said a North Korean ship opened fire about 9:25 a.m. local time as South Korean ships were attempting to physically push it back toward its own territory.
The firefight followed more than a week of tension in the disputed water. North Korean military vessels have been making daily incursions into the crab-rich waters since June 8, accompanying a small group of fishing boats. South Korea has responded each day by sending a small flotilla of military ships to the area to drive the North Koreans back. In several cases, those ships have used a "shoulder to shoulder" maneuver, coming alongside the North Korean ship and driving it northward.
North Korean incursions are common in the area, about 60 miles northwest of Seoul, where North Korea has never formally recognized the borderline separating the territorial waters of the two Koreas. In the past, the North Koreans have almost always retreated quickly when confronted by South Korea military ships.
Today's shooting came about 30 minutes before the American-led U.N. Command and North Korean officials sat down in the border village of Panmunjom to discuss the tense military standoff. The Command has supervised the ceasefire on the peninsula since the end of the Korean War in 1953. The talks began as scheduled.
White House officials in Washington and U.S. military officials in Seoul said they were monitoring the incident closely. North Korea's state media today said that the North's generals at the Panmunjom meeting "lodged a strong protest against military provocations being committed by South Korean naval vessels."
North and South Korean soldiers have periodically exchanged gunfire along their sputed border for the past 46 years. The DMZ separating the two nations is the world's most heavily fortified, and hundreds of soldiers on both sides, as well as some Americans, have been killed in skirmishes while patroling the front lines.
Monday's hostilities are the most violent since September 1996, when 24 North Korean commandos aboard a spy submarine were killed when their ship went aground off the east coast of South Korea. A dozen South Korean soldiers and civilians were also killed in the aftermath. Nine more North Koreans died when another North Korean submarine sank in South Korean waters in June 1998.
(C)Copyright, 1999 The Daily Republican Newspaper. All Rights Reserved.
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia - The standoff at Prinstina Airport between a contingent of Russian troops and U.S. lead NATO forces has entered its second day. NATO troops have been blocked by the Russians from entering the Airport area in a tense stand off here. Serb soldiers stand nearby, ready to assist the Russians.
Adding to NATO's confusion, the Russian general is refusing to give up his strategic position.
Officials in Moscow insist on maintaining the airport as its own sector. Worse still, the Russians are refusing to serve under NATO command.
A spokesman for the Clinton administration, Madeleine Albright told world wide television viewers on Sunday, "I think we don't want to overestimate all of this...the peacekeeping force...will soon have about 15,000 troops in Kosovo while the Russians have about 200." Ms. Albright failed to explain her remarks.
Making matters more cloudy, Britain's defense minister, George Robertson, warned that Russia's appeals for more financial assistance from the West could be jeopardized by the airport stand off.
NATO officials had planned to utilize Pristina Airport as its KFOR headquarters. However, as NATO troops entered Pristina, the Russian troops had already taken control of the the Airport and set up positions there.
British troops denied access to the Airport then took over control of the main roads taking up positions alongside Yugoslav army and police units.
NATO's peacekeeping plan wouild have divided Kosovo into only five sectors, British, French, Italian, German and American. NATO overlooked assigning a sector to the Russians. By Sunday evening, NATO troops were in the five sectors. The Russians, in the meanwhile, had carved out what looks to observers here to be their best and brightest move, taking up positions at the Airport.
A British Army general, Adrian Freer yelled at Russian troops blocking entry to the Airport, demanding to know, "What the hell are you doing here? Get on to your commanders and get out of here now!" The Russian commander ignored the British general's order. At that point, NATO troops backed-off and made no further attempt to use force to dislodge the Russians, however.
(C)Copyright, 1999 The Daily Republican Newspaper. All Rights Reserved.
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia - Thousands of NATO troops roared across Kosovo on Saturday, encountering virtually no resistance from retreating Serbian forces, but made little headway in defusing a tense standoff with Russian troops at the airport in this provincial capital.
Spearheaded by British paratroopers and elite Gurkha troops, the NATO-led United Nations force moved north through the rugged mountain passes near the Macedonian border and the valley lowlands of Kosovo almost unopposed before coming face to face with some 200 Russian troops who beat them into the city early Saturday.
At first, the Russian forces and supporting Serbian troops defending the Pristina airport barred the British forces, according to a British pool reporter. American Apache helicopter gunships buzzed overhead and British Challenger I tanks moved forward in a show of strength, but the Serbs blocking the entrance refused to back down.
The impasse was temporarily resolved in negotiations between the Russian commander, Col. Gen. Viktor Savarzin, his Serb counterpart and British Brig. Adrian Freer, commander of the British 5th Airborne Brigade. The British troops were allowed into the airport.
Still, after three hours of talks, there was no agreement on how the airport would be divided between the British and the Russians. Freer admitted that control of the airport that NATO envisioned as the headquarters for its Kosovo peacekeeping force, known as KFOR, was probably in Russian hands, the pool report said.
The international diplomatic fallout over the surprise Russian move into the heart of Kosovo complicated NATO's dramatic entry into this devastated Serb province after more than 11 weeks of aerial bombing in the alliance's first offensive military campaign in its 50-year history.
As the first NATO troops moved into Kosovo, some Serb residents moved out along with departing Serb troops, fearful that they would be subject to revenge attacks from the ethnic Albanians returning from their forced exile.
The British armored vanguard of the peacekeeping force was followed by French, German and Italian troops, and 2,000 U.S. Marines who landed in Greece earlier this week began flooding into the eastern sector of Kosovo assigned to them. French tanks entered Kosovo from Macedonia but quickly were stopped by a minefield along the border.
The approximately 4,000 NATO soldiers who entered Kosovo Saturday were the first wave of the 50,000-troop force to be deployed over the next several weeks. Thousands more were set to enter Sunday and over the next week, from Albania as well as from Macedonia.
The U.S. contingent will number 7,000, most due to arrive this week from the 1st Infantry Division in Germany.
In Moscow, U.S. and Russian negotiators met to settle the role of Russia's peacekeeping force. Russian officials gave confusing signals about their soldiers in Pristina. Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said it had been a mistake and that the troops had been ordered to leave immediately; the Russian defense minister said they had come into Kosovo from their base in Bosnia-Herzegovina to secure the Pristina airport.
Then an aide to President Boris Yeltsin said Yeltsin had issued orders for the deployment but had left the timing to the military. In an indication the Kremlin was pleased with the turn of events, The Itar-Tass news agency said Yeltsin had promoted the troops' commander, Gen. Savarzin.
President Clinton and Yeltsin planned to talk by telephone Sunday. In a visit to Chicago on Saturday, Clinton said he looked forward to working with Russia to keep the peace in Kosovo.
"We are working now with the Russians to ensure that we can work together with a unified command structure as we have done so well in Bosnia," he told Illinois Air National Guard members at O'Hare International Airport.
In Washington, Defense Secretary William Cohen insisted that there must be a unified command structure for the peacekeeping force and that Russia could not have its own sector of Kosovo to guard, as do Britain, France, the U.S., Italy and Germany.
The situation remained strained at the Pristina airport late Saturday. Russian armored personnel carriers buzzed a group of journalists gathered in the pouring rain on the runway awaiting a news conference by British Lt. Gen. Mike Jackson, the commander of allied peacekeeping forces in Kosovo, whose arrival was delayed by several hours.
Earlier, along the way from Macedonia, the British armored column swept for land mines and booby traps. The Britons disarmed Serbian police officers and ethnic Albanian rebels, and they had at least one tense staredown with their Yugoslav counterparts.
Along the way, NATO's presence made Kosovo Albanians weep with joy. >From the refugee camps of Macedonia and all along the highway to Pristina, ethnic Albanian Kosovars flocked to salute the soldiers.
Throwing kisses and flowers, they waved homemade "Welcome to Kosovo" signs and flashed "V" for victory. They chanted, "NATO! NATO! NATO!" And then they chanted some more.
The emotional Albanian response to NATO's arrival thrilled the soldiers, but it failed to obscure the operation's problems.
Besides the standoff with the Russians, Pristina remained unstable. The pullout of Serb forces starting on Thursday sparked panic and outbreaks of violence. Gunfire that raged Friday night continued Saturday, hours after NATO tanks had taken up positions in the city.
Serb paramilitary forces, meanwhile, remained on the loose. Drunken paramilitary troops armed with automatic rifles stopped Western journalists and aid workers driving through Pristina's streets. Elsewhere, Yugoslav military troops staffed roadblocks.
The day started off well enough, if a bit off schedule. Sunny skies and giddy youngsters greeted an awesome convoy of military vehicles as it snaked its way out of Skopje and headed north.
British Challenger tanks and Warrior armored personnel carriers shook the ground as their massive tracks dug into the roads of Macedonia and Kosovo. Only a few hours into the convoy's launch, tracks were already ground into the highways.
Keeping watch were riflemen and tank gunners. They took up strategic spots on the shoulder of the main road, training their machine guns and cannons on lush, green canyons below and cliffs above.
Macedonians tending their gardens in the hot Balkan sun hardly noticed as the convoy rumbled past. But the refugees did. They lined up outside Stankovic 2 and other camps, old men clasping their hands together in thanks, young women waving and smiling at the soldiers, kids running alongside the tanks.
The scene touched even the tank commanders. One rose out his hatch to snap a photograph of the elated refugees. Others spoke of the reward of finally being able to go into Kosovo, an event for which thousands of British soldiers in Macedonia had been training for months.
"We feel like we're the victors even though we have not done anything yet," said Sgt. Daz Hendry, 36, a Challenger tank commander.
Hendry said the weeks of training had prepared the British troops well. But the unpredictability of what they would find in Kosovo over the next several days, weeks and months had everyone a bit on edge.
"Every situation is going to come down to the commander on the ground, even the man on the ground," said Hendry of the King's Royal Hussars, a proud regiment that can trace its service back to the Charge of the Light Brigade. "You can't train for everything. We're not going to go looking (for trouble), but there is no way the kid gloves are going to be on."
Some tests for the alliance came early. Forces commanded by Freer ran into elements of the Yugoslav army near the village of Kacanik. The British wanted to pass; the Yugoslavs wanted to hold their ground.
Freer raced to the front, meeting with a Yugoslav general who had arrived in a white, Mercedes convertible with no license plate.
A 20-minute discussion ensued, some of it recorded by television cameras, before the Yugoslav forces gave way.
Some NATO troops did more than just move Saturday. Ghurka soldiers stopped private vehicles in which Serb police were traveling. They searched the cars, searched the men and, while cameras rolled, relieved the police of their weapons. Among the guns confiscated were pistols, Kalashnikov rifles and Thompson submachine guns.
Asked whether the police had put up a fuss, a typically reticent Ghurka responded, "Not a worry."
Plenty of worries lingered elsewhere, though. Troops saw several burning houses at various spots on their 50-mile trek from Macedonia to Pristina.
In Kacanik, convoy members saw a man with a plaid shirt and camouflage pants walking through town carrying a rifle. Close behind him came several others, pushing ahead a man of whose hands were tied behind his back.
The men hustled their captive up a hill and out of sight, leading British troops on the scene to scramble after them.
Fears fill Kosovo that ethnic Albanians will try to take revenge on whatever Serbs civilians stay on after the soldiers pull out. Bitter and afraid after what NATO alleges was a Serb effort to purge Kosovo of ethnic Albanians, many Albanian Kosovars say they can never live again with Serb neighbors.
A boy of about 10 who was among the Albanians welcoming NATO troops ran up to one vehicle shouting: "We are so glad that you are here. We are going to kill every Serb. And we will do this together with you."
Hate festers on both sides. In Lipljan, a Serb soldier pulled over a car of Western journalists for questioning. When he found out that the driver was Macedonian and a fellow Slav, he asked, "When you are going to start killing the Albanians in Macedonia?" he asked the driver. "When you do, you just call us to help."
When the Macedonian replied that such would not happen in his country, the soldier snapped and shouted an expletive. He then ordered the vehicle to turn around.
Serb civilians also heaped scorn on the arriving Westerners, making lewd gestures and shouting expletives at soldiers and journalists even as they scrambled to pack up their cars and flee north to Serbia.
The Serbs are hoping to leave their fears behind. They will also leave behind for the United Nations and the governments of NATO in particular a major rebuilding project. Devastation and desolation pockmark Kosovo.
As many as half of all homes have been damaged by either Serb soldiers, police or paramilitary forces, or by the NATO bombing campaign. They stand out among green fields and red-tiled roofs, black and barren structures without roofs or windows or, sometimes, a single wall. It seems clear that many of the damaged houses were targeted with care.
Cars stripped, burned out, blown up and overturned litter the fields. The only working autos appeared to belong to Serbs, police heading south or civilians heading north. Many cafes, restaurants and gas stations are little more than shattered glass and rubble.
If NATO was looking for a pleasant metaphor to mark this first day of the UN occupation of Kosovo, the weather failed to provide one.
At around 5 p.m., as gunfire continued in the city, dark storm clouds that had been slowly gathering suddenly blanketed the sky.
NATO's lead tanks and troops were on approach to Pristina, and so was a tremendous storm. Wind whipped branches off trees and snapped power lines, and half-inch hail pelted cars and sent pedestrians scurrying for cover.
Temperatures dropped from about 90 to 45 in 20 minutes. And a layer of ice formed on the roads.
Near the entrance to the airport, Yugoslav military guards huddled under parkas as the ice blasted their heads. But soon the newly arrived Westerners showed up to set up their future headquarters.
(C)Copyright, 1999 Chicago Tribune. All Rights Reserved.
BERLIN - Under terms of a plan announced Thursday Volkswagen, wwould create a 12-million fund to compensate individuals who worked as forced laborers for the car maker during World War II. Other German corporations, including DaimlerChrysler and BMW, announced Thursday in Berlin the creation of an additional $1.7-billion fund for hundreds of thousands of people forced into slave labor during World War II.
Attorneys representing Holocaust survivors and leaders of Jewish organizations in the United States immediately denounced the plan as financially inadequate and expressed outrage that the companies presented it publicly without engaging in negotiations, something that they had agreed to do at a meeting in Washington last month.
The corporations emphasized that the fund would be financed only if they receive long-term protection from lawsuits related to Nazi government actions.
A State Department spokesman said Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat, who has been trying to broker a deal among the parties, told representatives of the German companies at a Washington meeting Thursday that their move had not been helpful to the process and that aspects of the proposal were unacceptable. However, the spokesman said Eizenstat remained optimistic that an accord eventually could be reached. Eizenstat has hoped for a resolution by Sept. 1--the 60th anniversary of the start of World War II.
At their news conference, the German-based companies acknowledged that they had "moral responsibility" because of their cooperation with Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime. "We will make it clear to the world that there is a historic and moral obligation that we want to stand up for," said Manfred Gentz, chief financial officer of DaimlerChrysler.
Gentz and two other German corporate executives said the plan was a "voluntary initiative," rather than payments that they could be legally obliged to make as compensation to individuals--both Jewish and non-Jewish--who were forced to labor in service of the Third Reich.
Payments, they said, would go to individuals and heirs of individuals who were enslaved by Nazi Germany in Wprld War II.
Claimants were forced to labor for German companies, primarily people deported to concentration camps and made to work under conditions of imprisonment, confinement to a ghetto area or similar situations of involuntary confinement.
Claimant suffered substantial material loss because of racial discrimination if a German company directly contributed to their loss or sought to profit from their loss.
Claimants were otherwise personally harmed as a result of Nazi government oppression in situations in which German companies were involved.
The executives declined to specify the exact amount of the fund, which they have named "Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future," but company sources and the German government have said it would be in the neighborhood of $1.7 billion.
The executives also declined to state what typical payments would be. However, they said the size of payments would be pegged to pension levels in the countries where a survivor lives--meaning that individuals in the United States and Canada would get considerably more than people in Eastern Europe and Russia. They also said that to qualify, an individual would have had to be a forced laborer at least six months.
Among the other companies in the consortium are Allianz, one of the world's biggest insurance companies; BASF, the large petrochemical company; Bayer, the pharmaceutical giant; DeGussa Corp., which worked with the German government on production of Zyklon B gas used in World War II gas chambers; Deutsche Bank; Dresdner Bank; Siemens, the electronics manufacturer, and Thyssen-Krupp, a major arms manufacturer in World War II.
Many of the companies have been sued in a massive class action filed last year in New Jersey. The companies contend that the suits are barred by statutes of limitations, and hearings are scheduled for this summer on those contentions. In addition, a large German construction firm that is not part of the consortium has been sued in Los Angeles by several slave laborers who survived the Holocaust.
At a separate news conference Thursday afternoon in Washington, attorney Michael Hausfeld, who represents Holocaust survivors, said the German companies had "sabotaged" the negotiations taking place under State Department auspices.
"We were led to believe at the State Department in May that we were engaging in a process where there would be working groups and a confidential exchange of information and ideas, leading each side to assess the viability of a workable resolution," Hausfeld said.
"Despite repeated attempts to get the Germans to accelerate the meetings, they have resisted and provided nothing to date to the process. Instead they unilaterally . . . announce a program that is totally unacceptable in tone and terms," Hausfeld said.
New York University law professor Burt Neuborne, Hausfeld's co-counsel, castigated the companies for saying simultaneously that they were engaged in a voluntary, "humanitarian" act and that no payments would be made until they got assurances that the lawsuits would be dismissed.
(C)Copyright, 1999 The Daily Republican Newspaper. All Rights Reserved.
BELGRADE - Here we go again! Media around the world tell us that there is a 'peace' process, 'peace' negotiations and a 'peace' agreement soon to be concluded.
There will be NATO 'peace-keepers' in Kosovo. They tell that Yugoslavia and the Balkans are taking the first steps to long-term 'peace' and stability.
To a peace professional it's all Orwellian Newspeak. This authoritarian NATO operation bodes ill for the future, for world order, normativity, lawful governance, democracy, moral politics and indeed peace.
The present and future costs of this type of peace policy are unacceptable and out of proportion with the Albanian-Serb problem it purported to solve in the first place. Today Serbs and Albanians are more polarised and hateful than ever. The very least would be to stop using the word 'peace' under circumstances like these.
There are those who say that there were no alternatives - but they suffer from either a) lack of knowledge about conflict-resolution, b) lack of political imagination, c) self-censorship or d) authoritarian NATO-fundamentalist attitudes - or perhaps all of it in some proportion. Here are some facts.
Since NATO started bombing on March 24, the number of refugees and displaced have increased from around 50.000 to 800.000; the number of dead and wounded increased from around 2.000 to an estimated 15.000. Atrocities have been committed by the Yugoslav/Serb side, by KLA and by NATO; the latter has used depleted uranium bombs and cluster bombs and otherwise violated internal law by deliberately destroying predominantly civilian objects and terrorising millions of civilians.
The Kosovo - or independent republic of Kosova - we wanted to preserve is demolished; the rest of Yugoslavia partly in ruins. The immediate direct material costs range between US $ 50 and 150 bn, the indirect and long-term costs may be several times bigger. No one knows the costs of the bombing - 33.000 sorties by 1100 planes, aircraft carriers, bombs, missiles, ammunition, surveillance, international coordination, fuel, supplies, wages, insurance, social benefits, transport, etc - but if we estimate it at US $ 500 million per day, we come close to US $ 40 bn. The region now faces a huge environmental destruction, the Danube in particularly affected. The US has carried out most of the destruction, the EU will be footing the bill for reconstruction - a tremendous burden on the EU.
NATO troops in Kosovo total 50.000 which is more than the repressive Yugoslav government ever had in the province. None of the agreements or, rather, dictates make reference to institutionalised consultations with the Yugoslav government.
Except for the possibility that a referendum may be held later, there is no mention of an independent Kosova, and the KLA/UCK must be disarmed. So, neither the Serb nor the Albanian side is going to get or achieve anything beyond what NATO will allow them to.
The G 8 document stipulates a complete withdrawal of Yugoslav military and police (with the return of a few, later) from the Kosovo province where, by the way, many of them were born and raised. The region will be occupied mostly by those NATO countries under US leadership that bombed Yugoslavia into de facto capitulation.
A Russian contingent will be co-located and not cover any zone by itself. If so, one can hardly expect many Serbs will feel safe enough to stay, let alone return.
There will be more refugees, the majority won't go back in the near future. Let's look at ALL the refugees. There are some 800.000 Albanian refugees. It is highly unlikely that they will be able to go back this year; getting 50.000 troops operable in a heap of ruins full of mines and with no water is not done overnight. And what would they come home to? After 4 years about 10% of the refugees have returned to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Then there is the other - forgotten - refugee problem.
Since 1995 Yugoslavia has hosted some 600.000 predominantly Serb refugees from Croatia, Bosnia, and Macedonia. There are 150.000 to 200.000 Serbs in Kosovo; if they choose to leave the province, there are equally many Serbs inside and Albanians outside waiting to come home. Media attention is almost exclusively on the Albanians and, thus, the willingness to bring humanitarian aid to all in need is likely to be met with 'donor fatigue.'
In addition, the bombings have made many leave Belgrade and other parts of Yugoslavia for Hungary and other European countries (if they can) and displaced thousands inside Yugoslavia.
Finally, when the worst is over we may expect hundreds of thousands of FRY citizens wanting to leave as they see no future for themselves and their children in the double cage of the Milosevic regime, the NATO occupation and their combined devastation of the country. So the real refugee problem may reach 2 million people.
Countries around have paid a multi-billion dollar price too. Although some may capitalise on it, full compensation is out of the question. Macedonia is on the verge of collapse; Albania is converted to a combined refugee camp on the one hand and a NATO base and UCK training ground on the other.
Croatia suffers a heavy blow to its tourist industry this summer. All Yugoslavia's trade partners have lost that market, first during years of sanctions and now because of the devastation. It can not be disputed that this type of peacemaking has destabilized the region for years to come.
A new Cold War is approaching.And there is a larger framework. The Ukrainian parliament has voted unanimously to revert the country to its former nuclear status. On April 30, a meeting of the Russian National Security Council approved the modernisation of all strategic and tactical nuclear warheads. It decided to develop strategic low-yield nuclear missiles capable of pin-point strikes anywhere in the world. The defence ministry authorised a change in nuclear doctrine.
Thus Russians feel humiliated through the 1990s, but go along with most US/Western demands because of its frail leadership, its economic weakness - it can hardly pay for its own troops to be deployed in Kosovo for years ahead - and its dependence on the West. And in Beijing, the bombing of the Chinese Belgrade embassy has resulted in a shift away from the no-first-strike principle.
Add the spy accusation, human rights policies and WTO negotiations and we begin to see the contours of a new Cold War. Russia, China and India - and others - have learnt not to trust the stated peaceful aims of the West. Many countries with secessionist minorities are likely to anxiously wonder when they will get the treatment Yugoslavia did.
Strengthening the principle that might makes right? Without being unduly philosophical, remember Gandhi's famous dictum that 'means are ends-in-the-making.' Mighty weapons, NATO dictates, de facto occupation and an all-dominating US presence can not bring genuine peace and democracy to the peoples of the Balkans. It is not diplomacy backed up with force, it's force backed up with diplomacy. The process has systematically marginalised small NATO countries, non-NATO countries, the UN, OSCE and NGOs. It has torn to pieces every vision of a multi-cultural, participative world order and the principle of bringing about peace by peaceful means. We are ALL worse off with this outcome. This whole process displays too much muscle, too little intellect and no heart. It should be humanly possible to imagine a slightly better balance between the three, and only such better balance would deserve to be called peace.
[Dr. Jan Oberg is the Director of the TFF Conflict-Mitigation team to the Balkans and Georgia.]
(C)Copyright, 1999 The Daily Republican Newspaper. All Rights Reserved.
WASHINGTON - The Energy Department has not been following its own rules for licensing visits to its nuclear weapons labs by foreign nationals who come in contact with sensitive information, the department's inspector general says.
Inspector General Gregory H. Friedman found that the U.S. sponsors of the visits -who are responsible for requesting the licenses -often fail to do so because of confusing regulations, the report said.
The report, obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday, was prepared for a Senate Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Thursday.
A special House committee last month detailed a 20 -year campaign by China to steal nuclear secrets and criticized lax security at the Energy Department laboratories visited by the foreigners.
The Energy Department, in a response attached to the inspector general's findings, said it is updating its export guidelines, which "will, among other things, clarify requirements" for the laboratory visits.
"The new policy will clarify where export control review responsibility lies ... and ensure that consideration of export license requirements is part of the visits and assignments process," the response said.
A "deemed export license" is required for visits by foreign nationals who might gain access to information or technology that would require a license if shipped to the foreign country. Examples are information that could have a dual military and civilian use, and technologies that are regulated by the State Department through placement on a "munitions list."
The report reviewed the license system for visits of at least 30 days to four Energy Department laboratories: Los Alamos and Sandia in New Mexico; Lawrence Livermore in California, and Oak Ridge in Tennessee. The report did not consider whether the foreigners should have been at the labs in the first place.
Friedman found that neither Energy Department nor Commerce Department guidance "was clear regarding when a deemed export license would be required for an assignment involving a foreign national."
The sponsors of the visitors, known as "hosts," were relied upon to determine whether there were export concerns raised by the visit -but "several hosts were not aware of, or did not understand, the requirements," the report said.
"We found ... that 13 of the 17 hosts we interviewed said that they were not responsible for making this determination," Friedman found. "In addition, when asked who certifies that no license is required, four of the 17 hosts said that they did not know or were not sure."
Despite the uncertainty over the need for licenses, five hosts at Oak Ridge said the six foreign nationals they were hosting were affiliated with a nuclear facility or "nuclear end-user in their home countries," the report said. "However, none of these hosts had considered applying for deemed export licenses."
A contractor at Livermore told investigators that lab employees "routinely struggle to try to determine if and when a deemed export license might be required."
Others said their names were officially listed as the hosts of record, but the actual sponsors were others. In one case a Chinese national was the actual host of another Chinese national, despite a requirement that the host should be a U.S. citizen.
Meanwhile, an advisory board said in a report Tuesday that the continuation of the Energy Department's foreign visitor program "is invaluable to this country" and should be continued.
"International scientific collaborations with foreign governments and scientists for research and development ... support the department's diverse mission areas of national security, energy resources, science and environmental quality," said the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board.
Energy Secretary Bill Richardson in March had asked the advisory panel to examine the issue of foreign visitor exchanges involving the government's research laboratories.
(C)Copyright, 1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
WASHINGTON - A federal judge yesterday dismissed a lawsuit filed by 26 members of Congress who contended that President Clinton has had no legal authority to continue U.S. participation in the airstrikes against Yugoslavia.
The bipartisan lawsuit sought to enforce timetables in the largely ignored Vietnam-era War Powers Act, which would have required Clinton to obtain congressional approval or terminate U.S. involvement in Kosovo by May 25, two months after the start of the action.
Although the airstrikes could end soon as a result of a Kosovo peace agreement, the House members wanted the judge to hear the case in hopes of receiving a ruling that would govern future use of military force.
In throwing out the case, U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman noted that the courts traditionally have been reluctant to intervene in political disputes concerning matters of war. Friedman said he saw no evidence of a constitutional impasse between the Clinton administration and Congress that would warrant the court's action.
The House members, led by Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.), wanted the judge to demand that Clinton immediately seek congressional approval to continue U.S. involvement in the war. Their lawsuit, filed April 30, contended the war is illegal because Clinton never obtained a declaration of war or other authority from Congress.
During a hearing last week, lawyers representing the House members pointed to two votes taken by Congress on April 28: a resolution to support the air war that failed on a tie vote, 213 to 213, and a measure calling for a declaration of war against Yugoslavia that was resoundingly defeated.
But, as the judge pointed out, Congress sent seemingly contradictory messages in two other votes on the matter. The House defeated a third resolution calling upon Clinton to remove troops, and later passed an emergency spending bill that helps pay for the U.S. role in the NATO-led military action.
"Had the four votes been consistent and against the President's position, and had he nevertheless persisted with airstrikes in the face of such votes, there may well have been a constitutional impasse," Friedman wrote in his 22-page opinion. "But Congress has not sent such a clear, consistent message."
Although the 26 members filed suit in their official capacities, Friedman said they lacked legal standing to act on behalf of the entire Congress. His ruling echoed arguments raised by lawyers for the Clinton administration, who contended the lawsuit represented the views of only a handful of members.
Campbell, a war opponent who spurred the House debates on the issue, said the decision will be appealed.
(C)Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company. All Rights Reserved.