rn: follow-up to recent messages


Jan Slakov

Dear RN readers,               June 6

First, I think it is important to point out that the bombings have NOT
stopped (and if the Yugoslav war is like the Iraq war, who knows how many
years it will be before they really come to an end).

Other items pursue the themes of de-legitmizing war and not seeing the
proposed capitulation/agreement as a "victory" and one item helps set the
record straight about atrocities and war crimes in Kosovo.

all the best, Jan
Date:   Sun, 6 Jun 1999 07:31:54 -0400
From: Eric Fawcett <•••@••.•••>
Subject: s4p-95: Russian view of continued NATO war

 !!!Day 75 of the Illegal and thus Criminal NATO War against Yugoslavia!!!

The Washington Post, Thursday, May 27, 1999; Page A39 

 "Impossible to Talk Peace With Bombs Falling" 

 By Viktor Chernomyrdin, a former prime minister of Russia,
President Boris Yeltsin's special envoy for Kosovo. 

 I deem it necessary to express my opinion on the Kosovo situation as the
warfare escalates and the danger grows of a shift to ground operations,
which would be even bloodier and more destructive. I also want to comment on
certain ideas put forward by President Clinton in his contribution of May 16
to the New York Times. 

In particular, I am anxious to express my opinion of his premise that
"Russia is now helping to work out a way for Belgrade to meet our
conditions," and that NATO's strategy can "strengthen, not weaken, our
fundamental interest in a long-term, positive relationship with Russia." 

In fact, Russia has taken upon itself to mediate between Belgrade and NATO
not because it is eager to help NATO implement its strategies, which aim at
Slobodan Milosevic's capitulation and the de facto establishment of a NATO
protectorate over Kosovo. These NATO goals run counter to Russia's stance,
which calls for the introduction of U.N. forces into Kosovo with
Yugoslavia's sovereignty and territorial integrity intact. 

Moreover, the new NATO strategy, the first practical instance of which we
are witnessing in Yugoslavia, has led to a serious deterioration in
Russia-U.S. contacts. I will be so bold as to say it has set them back by
several decades. Recent opinion polls back this up. Before the air raids, 57
percent of Russians were positively disposed toward the United States, with
28 percent hostile. The raids reversed those numbers to 14 percent positive
and 72 percent negative. Sixty-three percent of Russians blame NATO for
unleashing the conflict, while only 6 percent blame Yugoslavia. 

But just as Soviet tanks trampling on the Prague Spring of 1968 finally
shattered the myth of the socialist regime's merits, so the United States
lost its moral right to be regarded as a leader of the free democratic world
when its bombs shattered the ideals of liberty and democracy in Yugoslavia.
We can only regret that it is feeding the arguments of Communists and
radical nationalists, who have always viewed NATO as aggressive, have
demanded skyrocketing defense expenditures and have backed isolationist
policies for Russia. 

Now that raids against military targets have evidently proven pointless,
NATO's armed force has moved to massive destruction of civilian
infrastructure -- in particular, electric transmission lines, water pipes
and factories. Are thousands of innocent people to be killed because of one
man's blunders? Is an entire country to be razed? Is one to assume that air
raids can win a war? 

Further, it will no longer be possible to thwart the proliferation of
missiles and nuclear arms -- another negative consequence of NATO's policy.
Even the smallest of independent states will seek nuclear weapons and
delivery vehicles to defend themselves after they see NATO's military
machine in action. The danger of global instability looms, with more new
wars and more victims. 

The world has never in this decade been so close as now to the brink of
nuclear war. 

I appeal to NATO leaders to show the courage to suspend the air raids, which
would be the only correct move. 

It is impossible to talk peace with bombs falling. This is clear now. So I
deem it necessary to say that, unless the raids stop soon, I shall advise
Russia's president to suspend Russian participation in the negotiating
process, put an end to all military-technological cooperation with the
United States and Western Europe, put off the ratification of START II and
use Russia's veto as the United Nations debates a resolution on Yugoslavia. 

On this, we shall find understanding from great powers such as China and
India. Of this, I am sure. 

Date: Sat, 05 Jun 1999 21:26:12 +0000
From: frank scott <•••@••.•••>
Organization: college of marin
Subject: Re: rn: What will we learn from this war?

I'd like to suggest, again, to all who really feel that war itself is
the problem, and not the style or reason for the war, to consider the
so-called rules of war.

The geneva convention was and is all about making bloody murder a
legalistic and moral enterprise, with correct and incorrect ways of
slaughtering human beings. If we could focus on that intellectual and
moral underpinning for war, while we,of course, address militarism in
all its other forms, we could take a giant step in the direction of
truly ending "war".

Among other things, the war "good book" says its okay to bomb a place,
so long as it is defended. That may be part of what keeps switzerland a
war-free zone for dollars and dope and weapons, but it is a good place
to begin looking into these murderous rules for legal war.


From: "viviane lerner" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: ZNet/News coverage of the war
Date: Sat, 5 Jun 1999 09:20:16 -0700

To pass this comment along to friends, relatives, etc. please note that the
Commentaries are a premium sent to monthly donors to Z/ZNet and that to
learn more about the project folks can consult ZNet (http://www.zmag.org)
and specifically the Commentary Page

Here then is today's ZNet Commentary...


By Edward S. Herman

   The Nation has not distinguished itself in its coverage of the Kosovo
crisis. It has had some good editorials and articles, but these are nicely
balanced by pro-war pieces. It should embarrass the editors that its UN
Correspondent Ian Williams is a fanatical hawk, who supports the NATO
violations of the UN Charter and contemptuous treatment of the UN itself.
Contributing Editor Kai Bird has been given space for a truly stupid hawkish
entry that calls for a ground war in Kosovo, on political and moral grounds
(June 14). Christopher Hitchens has had three pro-war articles that have
taken the form of anti-anti-war diatribes (May 17, May 31, June 14). This
all no doubt reflects the sad intellectual and moral state of the
liberal-left, but one would have hoped for more from the Nation.

FAIR Media Advisory
Bombing "Success" Must Be Weighed Against Human Cost, Missed Chances for

June 4, 1999

Media commentators have been asserting that the Kosovo peace plan adopted
June 3 by the Serbian Assembly vindicates NATO's airstrikes on Yugoslavia.

A New York Times editorial (6/4/99) claimed the plan, if genuine, shows that
NATO's "sustained bombing has been more effective than many critics allowed"
and represents a "victory for the principles of democracy and human rights."

The Washington Post's Stephen Rosenfeld wrote (6/3/99): "They said Bill
Clinton was wrong to rely on air power alone to win the war, and -- assuming
the details are mastered -- they were wrong.... This time around, anyway, he
showed he was right. His weighing of means and ends finally clicked."

USA Today's Walter Shapiro stated (6/4/99): "The record must show that Bill
Clinton did the morally right thing. And if his efforts are crowned with a
lasting peace in the Balkans, the president deserves the gratitude of all of
us who doubted his resolve and courage."

CNN's Christiane Amanpour (6/3/99) said that the "plan amounts to
[Milosevic]  accepting less than he would have come away with had he agreed
several months ago at the Rambouillet talks."

These interpretations are seriously misleading. Seventy days of bombing in
the Balkans have brought an agreement from Yugoslavia whose terms, in many
important respects, diverge little from those Yugoslavia accepted before the
first shot was fired.  To a great extent, an end to the war seems possible
now not because massive bombing forced Yugoslavia to capitulate, but because
the U.S. seems to be willing to drop conditions that it had previously
insisted Belgrade must meet before bombing could be halted.

Indeed, the media notion of Serb capitulation seemed to rely on a cue from
NATO powers, as evidenced by this CNN report from correspondent Walter
Rodgers (6/3/99): "It's difficult to say whether it's a capitulation. It
really isn't even up for me to say that, that is something that has to be
decided by someone like the president of the United States, Britain's prime
minister, Mr. Blair."


At Rambouillet, before the bombing began, Yugoslavia had agreed to almost
all the points that are contained in the June 3 Serbian Assembly resolution,
including autonomy for Kosovo.  (See "Forgotten Coverage of Rambouillet
Negotiations: Was a Peaceful Kosovo Solution Rejected by the U.S.?," FAIR
Media Advisory, 5/14/99.)  A major point insisted on by the U.S. at
Rambouillet -- a referendum on Kosovo's independence after three years -- is
now absent from the Serb Assembly decision, without audible complaint from
U.S. officials.

What Yugoslavia rejected at Rambouillet was the idea of a NATO-led force in
Kosovo, proposing instead a U.N. command. It also objected to a last-minute
addition to the agreement known as Appendix B, which would have given NATO
sweeping powers throughout all of Yugoslavia.

There is strong evidence that the U.S. intentionally crafted this document
to provoke a rejection from the Serbs. (See "What Reporters Knew About
Kosovo Talks--But Didn't Tell," FAIR Media Advisory, 6/2/99.)  A State
Department official reportedly told journalists at Rambouillet (Cato
Institute conference, 5/18/99; see also The Nation, 6/14/99): "We
intentionally set the bar too high for the Serbs to comply. They need some
bombing, and that's what they are going to get."

After two and a half months of that bombing, the Serb parliament agreed to a
peacekeeping force "under U.N. auspices" in which there would be "essential
NATO participation."  This language is only slightly different from the
Yugoslavian position at Rambouillet, and there are suggestions that Belgrade
was willing to accept such a compromise peacefully (Newsweek, 4/12/99).

From: •••@••.••• (James Crombie)
Subject: Witness to Izbice killings speaks, Cluster Bombs, Arrests...
Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 01:54:05 -0300

Find below: 
Human Rights Watch flashes on Izbice, on NATO cluster bombs, 
on arrests in Kosovo, etc.


Possibly Largest Massacre of Kosovo War

(New York, May 19, 1999) — This past weekend, video
footage emerged of what may be the largest massacre
in Kosovo since NATO bombing began: the killing of
more than 120 ethnic Albanians in the village of
Izbice in the Drenica region on March 28, 1999.
Today Human Rights Watch released the direct
testimony of an important witness to the crime.


(New York, May 14, 1999) — Two prominent ethnic
Albanians were arrested last month in Kosovo, Human
Rights Watch has learned. Their current locations
and conditions are unknown.

Albin Kurti was co-president of the Independent
Student Union of Kosovo, the largest student
organization in the province. After organizing
non-violent student demonstrations in support of
education rights, in mid-1998 Kurti began work in
the Pristina office of Adem Demaci, then-political
representative of the Kosovo Liberation Army. Mr.
Kurti was reportedly arrested on April 21, 1999,
together with his father, Zaim, his two brothers,
Arianit and Taulant, and the owner of the house in
Pristina where the family was sheltering. Taulant
and the owner of the house were reportedly beaten
and released.

Also arrested in Pristina around April 21 was Dr.
Flora Brovina, a pediatrician and head of the League
of Albanian Women. According to relatives, the
police were waiting at Dr. Brovina's home, and
arrested her when she arrived.

Human Rights Watch expressed concern today for all
those in Kosovo's prisons. There is no news about
the condition of prisoners in any of the province's
six detention facilities: Lipjan, Pristina,
Gnjilane, Kosovska Mitrovica, Pec, and Prizren.



(New York, May 12, 1999) -- Human Rights Watch today
sent a letter to Secretary General Javier Solana
expressing concern at the mounting civilian
casualties in NATO's air war against Yugoslavia.
[Click here for text of the letter]


(New York, May 11, 1999) — Human Rights Watch today
condemned NATO's use of cluster bombs in the air
campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
The submunitions inside cluster bombs have a high
failure rate and can leave unexploded ordnance
across wide areas, ready to detonate on contact.

For more information on cluster bombs, consult Human
Rights Watch's briefing paper on the subject,
written by Human Rights Watch consultant William

For more information, please contact:
Joost Hiltermann (316) 2293-6742 (in the
Bill Arkin (201) 583-5151 (in New Jersey)
or (802) 457-3426 (home)
Carroll Bogert 212-216-1244 (in New York)

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