Ivo Skoric on Fri, 12 May 2000 06:47:14 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Two messages

Rudolph Giulliani, who perhaps will be remembered as a Mayor 
that presided over most cover-ups of police brutality 
(http://balkansnet.org/raccoon/torres.html) in the recent New York 
history, was recently, right in the middle of his campaign for 
Senate, struck with the news of prostate cancer, then of the 
prostate cancer of his police commissioner and now with the news 
of his wife abruptly leaving him for his adultery: she ain't gonna 
swallow Clintonesque excuses either.

Arrogance, vanity and evil eventually turn back on their pernicious 
holder. That's why I posted those two messages concurrently. 
First, the NATO Secretary General speech in Slovenia - a lavish 
display of self-congratulatory cocky assertiveness, dead-sure in its 
imperial might, and second, the AI report on use of torture "at 
home" by the democratic empire's planetary leader.

His lordship was very pleased with Slovenia's pro-active role in 
helping to foster "new Europe" and to bring its "Euro-Atlantic" 
values to the [Balkan] region, and he did not hesitate to offer his 
reassurances to the organizers (Slovenian Atlantic Treaty 
Association) that their good work was not going to go un-noticed in 
NATO capitals - but that for full NATO membership they will have to 
increase their military spending... In a separate address, Secretary 
General announced admitting Croatia to the Partnership for Peace 
by the end of May. While this may provoke cheers among the 
uninformed lovers of Western Empire in Croatia as well as boos 
among the uninformed haters of Western Empire scattered along 
the Serb corner of the Internet, let us keep it in perspective: PfP 
includes nearly everybody except Mongolia.

Meanwhile, in the heart of Western Empire, population roughly the 
size of population of Slovenia, is kept as property of the State, with 
certain civil rights (like the right to vote) lost for life, and with being 
treated not much differently than in allegedly human rights abusive 
People's Republic of China: sensory deprivation, electro-shocks, 
cruel restraining devices, long isolations, pepper spray, and other 
means of enforcing those democratic values and human rights 


Secretary General's Speech at the Joint Wilton Park/Atlantic Council
 Conference NATO in Southeast Europe in the 21st Century"

BRDO Castle, Slovenia - 11 May 2000

Ladies and Gentlemen,

        Good morning.  It is a great pleasure to be here with you this
morning.  The subject of this conference is particularly relevant. As we
enter the 21st Century, the futures of NATO, the European Union and of
South-Eastern Europe are intimately linked, and I am very pleased that
Wilton Park and the Atlantic Council of Slovenia have had the wisdom to
bring us all together to discuss these issues.

        Slovenia is a very fitting place to have this conference.  This
country is a candidate for accession to both NATO and the European Union. 
Slovenia's political and economic success over the past decade stands as 
a clear example for the countries of South Eastern Europe that courageous
decisions can pay off; that hard work can bring results; and that the
vision of becoming fully part of Europe can become a reality.

        These same three elements: courageous decisions, hard work, and a
vision of European integration -- lie at the heart of NATO's approach to 
this region.

        NATO's vision of South Eastern Europe is very simple.  It is a
vision of a region that shares what NATO countries take for granted: peace 
and trust between neighbouring states; the highest standards of human 
rights, freedom and democracy; economic cooperation; and deepening 
integration. It is this vision that has guided the Alliance in all of 
its activities in the Balkans and in the whole region.

        The first example of this was in the early 1990s, when NATO
intervened to help bring the Bosnian war to an end.  That conflict 
violated our vision of Europe in every way. The conflict shattered the 
peace that Europe had preserved for almost 50 years.  It caused enormous 
human suffering, and violated the most basic standards of human rights. 
It introduced the vile term "ethnic cleansing" into the world's vocabulary. 
It ran directly counter to the overall process of integration going on in 
Europe.  The conflict in Bosnia embodied the darkest elements of this past 
century: division, exclusion and expulsion.

        For all those reasons, NATO took action -- first to help end the
war, and then to build the peace.  This was a difficult decision to take, 
it was the first time NATO fired a shot in anger, after almost 50 years of
existence.  But the results bear witness to the wisdom of that courageous
decision.   Today, just five years after the NATO-led force deployed into
Bosnia, that country is well on the path to recovery.  Multi-ethnic
institutions have been created to run the country.  More and more
moderates are being elected.  There is a single currency, a single
vehicle licence plate, a single telephone area code.  Over 25 indicted
war criminals are facing trial in The Hague.  And there is even a
multi-ethnic Bosnian Olympic team training together for the Sydney

        Of course, there is still much work to be done.  All those
indicted for war crimes must face trial.  The different ethnic groups 
in Bosnia must work better together, for example by creating one single 
multi-ethnic army, instead of three separate ones. Corruption must be 
weeded out. Bosnia must learn to stand on its own feet, and conduct 
itself as a modern European country.  But as we enter the 21st century, 
real progress is being made in the right direction.

        This success vindicates NATO's decision to take action in Bosnia
--but there was one major flaw in that decision.  It came too late.  It 
came after years of violence, years of failed diplomacy, years of grotesque
human rights violations on a scale Europe had not seen for five decades. 
One of the very clear lessons of the Bosnian conflict is that ignoring a
crisis, or taking half-hearted measures, doesn't make it go away. Unless
action is taken to stop it, a crisis can only get worse, cause more
instability, and create more suffering.

        The international community learned that lesson -- and NATO
applied it in Kosovo. By March of 1999, Serb oppression had driven almost 
400,000 people from their homes. The United Nations Security Council 
had stated clearly and repeatedly that there was a clear threat to peace 
and security. The UN High Commission for Refugees warned that a 
humanitarian emergency was impending, and that some kind of response was 
required. Let us not forget how very serious was this humanitarian crisis.

        It was also a very real political crisis --not only for Kosovo,
but for the entire region. Just imagine the implications of not taking 
action against Milosevic and his thugs. All of South-East Europe would 
have been seriously destabilised for a generation.  One million refugees 
would have been stranded in neighbouring countries; conflict would have 
simmered, and undoubtedly spread across borders;  and the entire region 
and beyond would have suffered economically and politically.  The situation 
in Kosovo had a direct influence on our security interests that we 
could not ignore.

        It also had real implications for our values.  If we had
allowed this ethnic cleansing to go unanswered, we would have fatally
undermined the Euro-Atlantic community we are building for the 21st
century.  After decades of working towards ethnic tolerance in our own
countries, could we have stood aside and allowed over a million people
to be terrorised and expelled from their country, for no other reason
than their ethnic origin?  For all these reasons, when the diplomacy
had run its course, NATO decided to take action. This time, we did not
wait until it was too late.  This time, we made the right decision, at
the right time.

        And this was by no means NATO acting alone. Nearly the entire
family of European and North American nations united in the quest to
stop the violence and reverse ethnic cleansing.  We saw a family of
nations that not only talked about common values, but defended these
values.   In short, we saw a Euro-Atlantic community that is growing
up and growing together.

        And let me say for the record: through its actions during the
Kosovo crisis, Slovenia demonstrated clearly that is it part of this
new Europe.  Your strong support for the Alliance was significant in
the region - and it did not go unnoticed in NATO capitals, I assure
you.  NATO was able to prevail because it could count on the active
and unflinching support of its Partner countries, Slovenia among them.
I salute and thank Slovenia for its support -- and for its courage.
This was more than help in an emergency.  It was a resounding
vindication of a concept of the Euro-Atlantic area as an zone of
shared values -- a sign that Europe is truly becoming a common
security space, united and working together to be at peace with

       Much of the credit for Slovenia's positive role during the
crisis can, I believe, be rightly attributed to many of the people
here in this room, and to the Slovenian Atlantic Treaty Association,
the joint organisers of this conference.  You took on the important,
often difficult job of explaining to your public and media why this
operation was so important.   You helped the people of Slovenia
understand that NATO's actions were upholding the beliefs that we all,
increasingly, share: peace, democracy and fundamental human rights.

       For that contribution, I say thank you.  In any democracy,
public support is crucial for success.  And by playing the role that
you did -- as a vital bridge of understanding between the people, the
Government and the wider international community -- you were, an
important part of our collective success.

       And again, the results vindicate our collective decision to
act.  Indeed, despite some  massive hurdles, there has been amazing
progress since KFOR deployed into Kosovo barely 10 months ago. More
than 850,000 refugees have returned from abroad, and over 50,000 homes
have been rebuilt at a furious pace by the international community and
by ordinary citizens.   The World Food Program is giving aid to
650,000 Kosovars and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
and other agencies have provided shelter kits to some 400,000 people.
Not a single person died of cold or hunger in Kosovo last winter.
About 550 schools have been cleared of mines and unexploded
ammunition, and 300,000 children went back to school last autumn, to
be taught in their own language for the first time in ten years. And
that is not all.

       The Kosovo Liberation Army has been disbanded and demilitarised
by KFOR, and it has handed over more than 10,000 weapons.  And
civilian organisations are being created to begin to govern a truly
multiethnic Kosovo.

        Are there still problems? Of course.  But the trend is
positive, and no one should doubt that things are infinitely better
than they would have been had the international community ignored the
problem until it was too late.

        This victory -- of engagement over indifference, of peace over
violence -- is also guiding our larger vision for the future of
South-Eastern Europe.  A future in which the Balkans cease to be a
source of instability and conflict; a future in which the whole region
of South-East Europe enjoys stability, peace and prosperity.  A future
in which even Serbia embraces the values shared across the Euro-
Atlantic area - democracy, respect for human rights - and rejoins the
European family.

        What does this mean?  It means that Balkans should no longer
be seen as isolated from the rest of Europe. Instead, we have to look
at the region as a whole, and help the entire region share what some
of its countries, and most of Europe, already take for granted --
peace, prosperity, and increasing integration.

        Of course, NATO is not doing this alone.  The European Union
and the OSCE play leading parts.  The Stability Pact will play a major
role in the investment by the entire international community to build
lasting, self-sustaining peace and prosperity through cooperation.
NATO is working closely in tandem with the Stability Pact, and its
co-ordinator, Bodo Hombach, will be the guest speaker at this month's
meeting of Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council foreign ministers.

        I am very pleased at the proactive role Slovenia has played
within the Stability Pact.  Your leading role in the de?mining project
in Bosnia not only addresses an immediate security challenge -- it
also lays the groundwork for Bosnia to shed the deadly legacy of war,
and continue its development towards normality.

        NATO's efforts in the region follow the same logic --
promoting self-sustaining peace by encouraging and supporting regional
cooperation.  At last year's Washington Summit, NATO created a
consultative forum on security matters on South Eastern Europe.  We
are also building on the existing mechanisms of the Partnership for
Peace and the Euro- Atlantic Partnership Council to give substance to
our promise of assistance to Partners in the region.  We are setting
up security co-operation programmes for the countries in the region,
and giving our PfP activities and exercises a stronger regional focus.

        Can all these new plans really deliver?  Can they really make
a difference?  My answer is clear: They can.  They can, provided that
all nations and institutions involved in this effort give their best.
And provided that the countries of South-Eastern Europe themselves
demonstrate leadership in this historic project.

        Indeed, the success of these three projects ?? Bosnia, Kosovo
and the South East Europe Initiative -- depends on close cooperation
between NATO and countries in the region.  That ongoing cooperation is
not only testimony to our shared values, but to the cooperative
approach to European security -- an approach epitomised in the two
major mechanisms NATO has built with its Partners over the last
decade: The Partnership for Peace and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership

        In Partnership for Peace, 25 nations (and 26 by the end of
May), from Ireland to Sweden, and from Slovenia to Romania, are
engaging with the 19 NATO nations in military cooperation: on defence
planning, on joint peace support, on humanitarian operations, and on
civil emergency planning.  In the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council,
the same nations consult and cooperate on the political level: on
regional security in the Balkans, on defence conversion, on
establishing sound civil-military relations.

        The contribution of Partner countries in SFOR and KFOR is the
clearest sign that this Partnership has paid off. It is no
exaggeration to say that our operations in Bosnia and Kosovo could
never have succeeded without Partner involvement.   This is a precious
achievement -- one that we must preserve. That is why we are
determined to make PfP and EAPC even more operational.  The role of
Partners in the preparation and conduct of joint operations will
increase.  Defence planning targets will become even more ambitious.
The range of our consultations will become broader.  And we will also
make sure that the political voice of Partners will be heard loud and

        Slovenia is fully involved in the Partnership.  Your country
has developed solid and realistic cooperation programmes with NATO,
and they are already paying dividends, by promoting better defence
planning, staff officer training and interoperability.

                NATO is also making another long-term investment in
European stability -- through our ongoing enlargement process. Your
country is a very serious membership aspirant.  Indeed, you were one
of the first to declare publicly your wish to join the Alliance.
Through our Membership Action Plan, NATO is giving advice, assistance
and practical support to Slovenia and to other countries aspiring to
membership.  The relationship between Allies and membership aspirants
will become more "interactive", and we will work energetically with
them to help you come closer to the Alliance. A stronger relationship
between NATO and Slovenia is good for you, good for us and good for
European security.

        But let me be clear: ultimately, the responsibility of
thorough preparation for membership remains with the aspirant
countries themselves.  They must be ready to make the reforms which
are needed.   They must tackle the crucial issues, such as defence
reform, without delay.  They must not shy away from taking tough and
painful decisions, and they must allocate sufficient resources to
their reforms.  Fine words are not enough.  They must be backed by
action.  Then, and only then, can aspirant countries self-confidently
step forward and say "we are ready for membership".  Then, and only
then, will new members make NATO stronger.

        I have no doubt that the aspirant nations know what is at
stake.  And I have no doubt that they will deliver.  In the context of
the MAP, Slovenia has already developed a significant programme for
the restructuring of its armed forces.  It is a resounding
demonstration of Slovenia's willingness to stay on the course it has
charted for itself.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

        Today, the image of South-Eastern Europe is getting better by
the day.  Most of the countries of the region are working hard for
change.  They are forging cooperation with their neighbours.  They are
working to develop better conditions for ethnic minorities in their
countries.  They are building security through trust and cooperation,
rather than on mutual suspicion and competition.

        This is the quickest route to prosperity and security.  It is
how the word "Balkans" will be consigned to history, to be permanently
replaced by the more accurate and inclusive term: "South East Europe".
And I believe that Slovenia will continue to serve as an example for
the region -- as a truly democratic and prosperous country,
integrating ever-more closely with European institutions.  A country
that is part of the solution, not of the problem.

Thank you.


Amnesty International Public document
AI Index AMR 51/68/2000
News Service Nr. 83
9 May 2000

UN Committee against Torture must condemn increasing
Institutionalized Cruelty in USA

Cruelty to detainees and prisoners is becoming institutionalized
across the USA, Amnesty International said today, on the eve of the US
Government's first appearance before the UN Committee against Torture
in Geneva.

"Since the United States ratified the Convention against Torture in
October 1994, its increasingly punitive approach towards offenders has
continued to lead to practices which facilitate torture or other forms
of ill- treatment prohibited under international law."

The spiralling prison and jail population -- which recently hit two
million for the first time -- and the resulting pressures on
incarceration facilities have contributed to widespread ill- treatment
of men, women and children in custody. Police brutality is rife in
many areas, and it is disproportionately directed at racial and ethnic

"From the use of long-term isolation in supermaximum security units,
through the routine employment of chemical sprays to subdue suspects
and prisoners and the incarceration of asylum-seekers in cruel and
degrading conditions, to the use of electro-shock weapons in local

and courts, the USA is standardizing practices which undermine the aim
of the Convention to eradicate state torture and ill-treatment from
the planet," Amnesty International said.

Recent allegations of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading
treatment in the USA include:

- Ronnie Hawkins subjected to an eight-second 50,000 volt electro-
  shock from a remote control stun belt in open court on the order of
the judge, to punish his verbal statements. In the past decade, 100 US
jurisdictions at federal, state and local level have acquired stun

- Inmates at two "supermax" prisons in Virginia subjected to arbitrary
  electro-shocks from stun guns. Perry Conner, who was beaten in the
  genital area and repeatedly electro-shocked until he lost control of
  his bowels, was not allowed to shower for six days.

- Widespread punitive solitary confinement and excessive use of
  shackling, handcuffing and four-point restraint against children in
  a South Dakota juvenile facility.

- James Earl Livingston, a mentally ill man, died after being pepper-
  sprayed and left in a restraint chair, one of several deaths
  associated with the use of this device.

- Liquid pepper spray swabbed directly into the eyes of non-violent
  anti-logging protestors, a technique allegedly repeated against
  World Trade Organization protestors in 1999.

In a report outlining its concerns to the Committee against Torture,
Amnesty International notes the US Government's reluctance to adhere
to international human rights law and to accept the same minimum
standards for its own conduct that it so often demands from other

"As with other international human rights treaties, the USA's respect
for the Convention against Torture is only half-hearted when applied
to itself," Amnesty International said, pointing out that the US
Government has agreed to only limited compliance with the Convention,
entering several reservations. For example, it agreed to be bound by
the Convention's ban on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment only to
the extent that it matches the ban on cruel or unusual punishments in
the US Constitution.

"If all countries took this approach, the global system for protecting
fundamental human rights would quickly collapse," Amnesty
International warned.

-"The US Government, which so often labels itself as champion of human
rights, must take serious steps to ensure that international standards
are respected throughout the country," Amnesty International said.

While the US system provides a range of remedies for torture or ill-
treatment, there remain serious deficiencies in overcoming abuses and
localized climates of impunity.

The USA should also urgently review officially sanctioned practices
which are at odds with international standards for humane treatment,
such as the use of long-term isolation in conditions of reduced
sensory stimulation, and cruel restraint methods, including the use of
electro- shock stun belts.

Amnesty International calls upon the Committee against Torture to
condemn such practices and urges the US Government to implement
effective measures to stop the abuses that are occurring on a daily
basis in the United States.

Amnesty International, International Secretariat, 1 Easton Street,
WC1X 8DJ, London, United Kingdom

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