The Coastal Post - September 2000

Brigandage

By Edward W. Miller

The infamy of NATO's Balkan wars becomes more apparent by the hour. On Aug. 14, NATO forces swooped down on the Zvecan smelter in Kosovo, seizing the last remaining piece of Yugoslav government-owned property in Kosovo: the Trepca mining complex. The complex, a collection of about 40 separate mines, produces gold, silver, lead, zinc and cadmium and was the primary employer in Kosovo until the NATO takeover. Trepca is not only a valuable industrial center, capable when running at top speed of producing over $5 million worth of vital industrial minerals per day, but an emotional symbol for the people of this Serb province, who are struggling against all odds to rebuild their lives and their industries after NATO's 78-day air barrage, a bombing to destroy Yugoslav's economy and force Milosevic from office. The Trepca smelter was the last facility in Kosovo still in Serbian hands, in fact, all the other factories in the Trepca complex are now in Albanian hands. None are functioning.

On Aug. 14, the top UN administrator for Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, announced the takeover of the smelter was necessary for public health reasons, saying the plant was raising lead levels in the area to "200 times the accepted World Health Organizations norms." Kouchner ordered the smelter closed "until repairs could be made which would reduce emissions." Milos Milosavljevic, President of the Trepca joint-stock management board had rejected attempts by UNMIK to take over Trepca, announcing to the press that both KFOR and UNMIK had been assisting Albanians in seizing and sabotaging Trepca production facilities.

Kouchner's act of brigandage violated UN Security Council Resolution 1244 which supposedly ended NATO's destructive air war against Yugoslavia while affirming that Country's sovereignty over Kosovo. This Yugoslav industrial complex was purposely spared in NATO's otherwise destructive bombing campaign.

As writer Richard Hugus pointed out (see www.tenec.net), the seizure was treated by the media as a "Hollywood Invasion." Hugus noted the Boston Globe reported: "Hundreds of NATO-led peacekeeping troops wearing surgical masks against toxic smoke swept into a Serb-run smelting complex in Kosovo yesterday and shut it down, then used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters... and about 900 peacekeepers cordoned off a 200-square yard area around the huge facility before sweeping into the mining complex, which is seen by some as vital to the economic survival of Kosovos... Soldiers from Britain, France, Belgium, and Denmark gasped for air as clouds of black and white smoke belched from aging chimneys."

The surgical masks, Richard Hugus notes, were pure media-props, completely useless against smelter fumes which require carbon-filter respirators. Our media has long marched hand-in-hand with the military. Major Thomas Collins of the US Army Information Service admitted in a February interview that "PSYOPS personnel, soldiers and officers had been working with CNN's headquarters in Atlanta through their program "Training With Industry". PSYOPS are the military specialists in psychological warfare. CNN admitted employing these people.

The day after the seizures, Aug. 15, about 200 workers gathered outside the lead-smelting factory to receive their severance pay. Each worker was given 1250 dinars ($24). The factory was being guarded by 400 K-FOR troops. At least four workers had been injured the day before in the angry protest against this brigandage.

The Yugoslav government immediately protested the action, calling it a "classic break-in," while the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed "profound concern" over the UN closure of the factory. Russian news agencies stated the takeover was "politically-motivated" and questioned the health reasons given by the UN, saying: "Even if an ecological disaster were at issue (and data from the Plant's laboratories refute such claims), this could in no way justify coercive actions by international structures, which could be interpreted as nothing other than an attempt to seize and estrange property not their own".

The background for the Trepca takeover is of interest. Writer Diana Johnstone, an American who was a European editor and later, press officer for the Green Group in the European Parliament, in February of this year wrote a piece: "How It Is Done, Taking Over the Trepca Mines; Plans and Propaganda." I spoke with Mrs. Johnstone last week, by phone in Paris. She had written that the International Crisis Group (ICG), a high-level think tank supported by financier George Soros and set up in 1995 "to provide policy guidance to governments involved in the NATO-led reshaping o the Balkins," had on Nov. 26, 1999 issued a paper entitled: "Trepca: Making Sense of the Labyrinth".

The paper advised the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to take over the Trepca mining complex from the Serbs as soon as possible and explained how this should be done. The ICG paper called on Bernard Koucher, UNMIK's head, to "cut through legal disputes and take over the industry's ownership and take over management of Trepca itself." Koucher issued a decree that: "UNMIK shall administer... property of or registered in the name of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia... which is in the territory of Kosovo."

Washington's background for NATO's intervention in the Balkans has been investigated by Benjamin Works, Director of the Strategic Issues Research Institute. Works reports that the "ethnic national fascist losers in WWII in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo... have been exploiting the political process in Germany and the United States. Their goal... the division of Yugoslavia and the cleansing of Serbian populations from these territories." In the 1980's, Albanian groups targeted House Republican Joseph DioGuardia (Albanian parentage) and Senator Bob Dole, giving the latter $1.5 million for his presidential campaign. In 1950, Senator Dole sponsored Senate Resolution Nr. 150 decrying Yugoslavian official repression of Kosovo's Albanian population. DioGuardia offered a similar Resolution in the House. Neither resolution emerged from committee. However, as the collapse of Yugoslavia seemed imminent, both Croatian and Albanian lobbies stepped up their campaigns.

The publication: Defense and Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, 31 March 1993 issue, reported that as much as $50 million was larded around capitol hill in the two year period when Bush was defeated and Dole controlled the Republican Party. Benjamin Works notes: ..."Congressmen speaking loudest against Serbia and the Serbs are those receiving money from DioGuardia's PAC. Most... were members of the House or Senate Foreign Relations Committees: Joseph Lieberman and Jesse Helms, Benjamin Gillman and Tom Lantos." Works says that Dole and DioGuardia effectively set foreign policy, dismantling Yugoslavia and ruining the Serbian people... He says: "the US Taxpayer is on the hook for billions... while service personnel will be tied down for years in Bosnia and Kosovo."

It now appears the US-backed UN Administrator of Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, has decided to hand over these Yugoslav state properties to a Western mining consortium, ITT KOSOVO. The firms involved are headquartered in the US, Canada, France and Sweden.

Until Washington is rid of soft money we Americans will have little control over our representatives.

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