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|This text gives good overview
of Western policies in Kosovo.
SIT: Kosovo Update,
SIRIUS: The Strategic Issues
"Force and fraud are
in war the two cardinal virtues."
Clinton's Kosovo Play
It is clear that the Clinton Administration's members are content to blatantly misrepresent initiatives, motives and general goings-on in Kosovo, while at the same time diplomatically acting in a manner very contradictory way. This is a practical definition of hypocrisy --talk one way, act another.
The question is, why? The contradictions are stacking up like cord-wood but the Press and the Republicans are not challenging any of them; why?
Milosevic is the latest whipping boy and the priority is to get rid of him, no matter how many Yugoslav citizens and others die. This was true of the Junta in Haiti and of the recent operation against Suharto in Indonesia. "We cannot get rid of Kim Jong-Il, Saddam or Castro. Let's get rid of the lesser despots to ensure the Clinton legacy," seems to be the logic.
The Clinton team continues to lash out against Mr. Milosevic and the Serb forces in Kosovo while more quietly confirming that the KLA attacks from villages and Serb counter-attacks on KLA-held villages had subsided for a few days. But fighting has now escalated around Junik, implying a new set of provocations from the KLA, looking for a fresh "casus belli."
Further, some in the Press confirm that IT WAS [Kosovo Albanian leader] RUGOVA WHO WALKED OUT OF SERB-ALBANIAN TALKS brokered by Richard Holbrooke and not the Serbs who walked away, but it is Serbia's responsibility to give concessions to resume negotiations. Rugova stopped the process when the KLA went on a few rampages of ethnically cleansing Serbs out of these villages and attacking Serb police checkpoints. Then Serbia moved to try to seal off the border. As a consequence of these KLA initiatives, 65,000 people have, for now, been displaced; of whom 12,000 have fled into Albania, to provide a piteous photo opportunity, which tends to support the Albanian propaganda line.
The Albanians have been practicing ethnic cleansing by subtle and unsubtle means of discrimination and coercion against Serb neighbors since the 1970s. The KLA have been the most vicious and there is an ample roster of crimes including RAPE OF NUNS, breaking arms and legs of priests and nuns, murder, house and barn burning and employment discrimination.
IT IS SERB CIVIL AND "HUMAN" RIGHTS THAT HAVE BEEN EGREGIOUSLY VIOLATED FROM THE LATE 1970s, NOT ALBANIAN "HUMAN RIGHTS." But this is how jaundiced the whole exercise in "grand theft-province" has become: focus on continued legal regard for individual civil rights has been lost amid the politically-inspired preoccupation over a group's collective ethnic "right." This is Rugova's fraud, now coupled to the KLA's attempt to unleash wanton force, unmoderated by the rules of war, which the Yugoslavs generally abide by.
This is why Kosovo lost its provincial autonomy --its provincial assembly and executive-- through its own misrule, fraud and tyranny. But in any given village they still demonstrate that they retain local autonomy. They elect their mayors, appoint their local officials and pay some taxes to these local functions. The Yugoslav police have allowed daily exercise of free speech rights in the on-going demonstrations in Pristina; further the Albanian press continues to publish. The Kosovo Albanians simply stopped working and stopped paying taxes, phone bills and electric bills at the national and provincial level and have created the appearance of their own misery through self-afflicted initiatives. Then they bully the minority that doesn't support the game, through means including vicious murders of postmen and their wives.
The problem the Euro-American New Left establishment of NGOs creates for itself in sustaining and abetting such monstrously political misrepresentations is that they have utterly discredited themselves before the diplomatists and leaders of the major powers. This is why the Rome conference on establishing a permanent International Tribunal is dead on arrival. Not only won't Russia or China have it --they have become guardians of individual freedom vs. collective bureaucracies in an odd but profound sense-- the Pentagon won't have it.
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence," John Adams declared in defense of British soldiers at the Boston Massacre Trials in December 1770. "The law... will not bend to the uncertain wishes, imaginations and wanton tempers of men... On the one hand it is inexorable to the cries and lamentations of the prisoners on the other it is deaf, deaf as an adder, to the clamors of the populace."
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, et al, have gone too far and have discredited themselves --but then, they were never as influential or as useful as they allege in their "post hoc" (false cause) self-justifications --but that is a story for another day. These high-minded people have demonstrated repeatedly that they are not subjected to the discipline of truth in the law, but are vulnerable to political "truths" and inject emotion into the process to contest against reason and fact.
The Holbrooke Demand - An Impossible Condition
On Tuesday, June 23rd Richard Holbrooke demanded that the Serbs pull their army and police back into "cantons" as a necessary precondition to resumption of peace talks with Ibrahim Rugova. But the Serbs cannot safely do that with arms and volunteers flooding to the KLA over the border. And Rugova's official interests are not served either, if it is true, as the wires say, that he is losing influence to the violently-minded KLA gunmen.
The only safe way to, as the US officially claims it wants, head off a big and nasty fight with the KLA is for NATO to seal the Albanian side of the border, with international rights monitors and other inspectors to assure full implementation while Kosovo autonomy is re-negotiated in Pristina and Belgrade. The very biased wire reports indicate the Yugoslav Army and Police have done an effective job of sealing most of the border without NATO help on the other side, but right now, there are not even human rights observers on the Albanian side to contest the blatant pro-KLA propaganda spin, much less monitor the flow of men and munitions. If the US wishes to limit the KLA offensive as they repeatedly avow (see Jamie Rubin's quotes below), why would we demand the Yugoslav troops withdraw before we place troops and observers on the Albanian side to staunch the flow of foreign volunteer guerrillas and contraband? This is not making sense analytically or diplomatically; this is pure partisan politics. It is clear the KLA is out of control, though of limited capability. They need to be stopped, and fast if NATO wants peace.
Holbrooke and NATO have made no such offer to seal the border. Instead they offer more threats of military action against the Serbs from the air. Here is the dirty secret. NATO and other interested organizations such as the OSCE, EU, UN or even NATO, could have positioned monitors on the Albanian side of the border, and might even have offered neutral observers to the Serb side of the border as well, in order to observe truthfully what is really going on.
NATO could offer at any time to position 20,000 troops on the Albanian side to shut off the flow of weapons into Kosovo, but instead, Clinton and the others continue to allow the flow and attempt to hamper necessary Serb efforts to contain that flow in order that, in conjunction with their irresponsible rhetoric about slaughter, to continue the pressure on Milosevic.
It seems from this analytical line that the logical conclusion is that Clinton's team believes that with Montenegro's government making noise about secession and with the continued flow of foreign Albanian gunmen, Milosevic's grip on power will be loosened. But why would Montenegro really secede if it then becomes a target for Albanians trying to advance other land claims? Thousands of Albanian refugees not supportive of the KLA but supportive of Rugova are camping out in Montenegro instead of Albania, adding to a threat against the permanency of its borders. Why did they go north instead of south? So that their citizenship rights cannot be questioned. It also seems Muslim rights are not particularly curtailed or violated in Montenegro or in the Sanjak.
More Background and Agitprop from the Clinton Team:
From Jamie Rubin's mouth, here is an example of glaring contradiction within one Olympian pronouncement in several quotes from articles in last Friday's New York Times:
"We are aware that the Kosovo Liberation Army is promising another offensive to make, in our view, the situation even worse." [True.]
"That is a sure fire way to give President Milosevic another pretext [sic!] to kill innocent Albanians, and the Kosovo Liberation Army should think about that." [If Serb police kill KLA guerrillas they apparently are automatically transfigured into innocents, one is led to conclude.]
"The ball is in President Milosevic's court to create the conditions that will allow serious negotiations to begin." [Rugova walked out of the talks, which have already begun under a May initiative begun by Richard Holbrooke.]
The Serbs have perpetrated no atrocities in Kosovo-Metohija, rather, they have PREVENTED many atrocities on the part of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) an increasingly FOREIGN band of armed outlaws posing as liberationist guerrillas and "freedom fighters."
"We support enhanced [a favorite Clinton vaguery] autonomy, but people are deluding themselves if they think that they are going to achieve independence [Russia keeps reminding us of our own OSCE treaty requiring borders cannot be changed by violence]."
Rubin also reiterated fears --mostly rumor-mongering-- that Albania will become a magnet for Mujaheddin out of Iran, Afghanistan, Chechnya (as William Safire speculated on June 18th) and God knows where else! This on the same day that his boss and her boss are trying to charm Iran in advance of the US-Iran soccer match! You can't make up stuff this rich and peddle the novel, but the Clinton team can and sell it as current events.
The Clinton team --our President, Sec. of State Albright, SecDef Cohen, Amb. Holbrooke, NSC Advisor Sandy Berger and Spokesman Jamie Rubin, all continue to openly defy the facts by speaking of Serbian "slaughter" and "ethnic cleansing." But last week, the Serb forces have made clear, by its loose investiture of the rebel-held town of Malisevo, that they are very patient and only attack after their forces have been attacked from any given rebel stronghold. Foreign observers and some correspondents on the ground know this and the pattern is persistent and consistent.
I do not for an instant believe the comic-book incident on the Albanian border where an "innocent woodcutter" and two horses were killed on the Albanian side by vicious Serb border guards. This reminded me instantly of Hitler's 1939 attack by "Polish troops" on the border radio station. Since no neutral observers were present and since it neither makes sense to cut wood so near the shooting, nor make sense for Serbs to shoot someone obviously chopping wood, chalk this up as the most laughable agitprop.
Nor do I put much stock in reports on Sunday and Monday of two young Montenegran Muslim deserters from the Yugoslav army and in any truth of their allegations they had orders to shoot and kill any adult males they encountered. These lads are seeking refugee status and will gladly tell just what they think we want to hear --especially after coaching from their KLA saviors and in order to gain refugee visas to the West. No such orders have been given or the body count would be in the thousands not 300+ as reported.
The following squib from an industry threat watch survey says more about conditions inside Albania proper than all the woefully jaundiced spin coming from AP, Reuters and the other reporters spitting back Albanian agtiprop from the border zone or from KLA-held villages in Kosovo. Few of those stories are ever balanced by reference to Serb sources, or neutral observers on the Serbian side of the front line:
"AVIATION PROFESSIONAL Special Edition June 19, 1998 ALBANIA - U.S. State Department Issues Travel Warning -
"The U.S. State Department has issued a Travel Warning for Americans in Albania. The Warning reads: "The Department of State recommends that American citizens continue to avoid unnecessary travel to Albania. Because of the influx of refugees from Kosovo into the northeastern part of the country and the resulting potential for increased security problems, Americans are particularly cautioned against travel to that area. The security situation in Albania generally remains a cause for concern, due to the continuation of bombings and sporadic gunfire, mainly during the evening hours, as well as an increase in criminal activity. There has been an increase in the theft of vehicles at gunpoint, particularly four-wheel drive vehicles. The security situation outside Tirana remains even less stable than in the capital, and American citizens should avoid travel outside the capital unless absolutely necessary. The U.S. Embassy strongly recommends that American citizens avoid crowds and exercise caution at all times...This supersedes the Travel Warning issued August 14, 1997.""
How Yugoslavia Can Help Itself:
I understand the Yugoslav forces have given occasional press briefings and I think it is now time that they provide statistics of how many KLA guerrillas and equipment they have captured alive. The Albanians are now attempting to kite atrocity gossip about massacres and "disappeared" people -- a hot button to "human rights activists."
At least thirty armed KLA-types were captured alive at Prekaz in early March and surely many more since. A growing number of captives surely must have been born in other countries and that would make sense to disclose. Showing that there are prisoners being processed through a criminal or military tribunal under consistent legal procedures can be very persuasive and the International Committee of the Red Cross is both commissioned and obliged precisely to verify correct treatment. Cumulative totals of arms seized, etc. also helps, as well as cumulative totals of Serb and Albanians killed, taken hostage, ethnically cleansed or otherwise harassed by the KLA since March 1st.
I know this sounds something like the "Six O'Clock Follies" of the Saigon briefings, but such facts are more than management by body count. Somebody has to report on the extent of the KLA's shameful depredations against all civilians, Serb and Albanian. To withhold these data serves only to give the Albanian propagandists free rein and to further cultivate paranoia among Serbs at home and abroad. Further, withholding this cumulative evidence does not help Russia play its role as the Serbs' mentor and watchdog at the UN and with NATO.
When John Adams uttered the immortal phrase "facts are stubborn things:" he was successfully defending the British troops involved in the Boston Massacre. In this case, the facts can speak volumes. I think the Serbs are an ancient and honorable people, with a lot of intelligent minds. It is time to beat the opposition at its own game.
Copyright 1998 Benjamin C. Works-SIRIUS
The truth belongs to us all.
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Last revised: June 29, 1998