Stefan Wray on Fri, 9 Apr 1999 03:09:27 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> 2: Croatian-American On Resistance; Shortwave Solution to Lines Cut

Date: Thu, 08 Apr 1999 12:31:24 -0500
From: Stefan Wray <>
Subject: Croatian-American On Resistance to US/NATO

Croatian-American On Resistance to US/NATO

My grandparents are from a small village called Kovacevac, near Karlovac,
on the Kupa river. This is 60-90 kilometers south of Zagreb. Can't remember
exactly. Been there twice. Once with my parents. Then later by myself. Last
time actually it was Christmas 1989. Very odd watching news about the U.S.
invasion of Panama on TV in this village.

In the early 1990s, my mother received a phone call from some of my distant
relatives there - second, third, and fourth cousins, great, and great great
uncles and aunts, etc. - that the village of Kovacevac had been destroyed
by neighboring Serbs. All the houses had been burnt. The livestock driven
off or killed. And the inhabitants forced to relocate.

My mother had received a letter, no phone call, and then later received
another describing how the families had been dispersed and were in centers
in Karlovac and Zagreb. After that our family here received no more news.

When I was growing up although I knew I was half Croatian - (became more
meaningful when we would go to Croatian-Day picnics in late August in
Pittsburgh to eat greasy roast lamb, white onions, and white bread and
watch the adults drink Iron City Beer and yak away in words I didn't
understand) - I guess I really thought of ourselves as having roots in
Yugoslavia, more so than Croatia.

All along I've thought of the differentian between Serbs and Croats as
being rather silly and stupid. And at this point I hold little interest in
the fact that half of my DNA was developed after perhaps centuries of
inbreeding in a small village in Croatia. This genetic fact, coupled with
whatever cultural heritage was transported to the US that still lingers,
has little bearing at this point. I don't really care that I am half
Croatian. And it doesn't nor shouldn't be a factor in how I view the
current US/NATO bombing campaign and the Milsovevic campaign against Kosovo.

What is important is POWER. Who has power? Who doesn't? How is that power
wielded? What are the long-term goals and objectives of those who maintain
power? What should those who are oppressed by powerful forces do to resist?
Given what they should do, in the ideal, what can they actually do, in the
real? Etc.

The biggest power brokers in this current scenario - in terms of military
power, economic power, political power at the world level - are the US/NATO
forces, with the US being the kingpin in this alliance. The second
important power is the Milosevic government of Yugoslavia. Then there are
the other non-NATO world powers who, besides Russia, have taken a position
on the sidelines (at least from U.S. media we haven't heard anything).
India has supposedly proposed an alliance with China and Russia against
NATO but I've heard more of it. Finally, apart from governments, there is
the limited power of resistance and dissent within Yugoslovia (Serbia,
Montenegro, and Kosovo). And the limited resistance and dissent from inside
US and NATO countries. Given that Albanians (or as someone else put it,
people who are being labelled Albanians who physically reside in the
geographic region known as Kosovo) are being forced out of the country,
they obviously have little power.

Rather than concern ourselves with the degree of ethnic similarity or
dissimilarity we made find ourselves individually having either with the
perpetrators or victims of war in Yugoslavia, maybe it is best to look at
some objective realities.

We are all non-state actors living within the confines of the largest
military force on the planet and we are disagreeing with the use of that
military force. Yet we have little power over or influence upon the
government of this country and effectively no control over its foreign
policy decisions. We are basically powerless to impact the course of
history in this way. We know that in recent times, despite some opposition,
the US government has been able to carry out whatever war plans it deems

Some US subjects (citizens) opposed the US invasion of Grenada in 1983, the
US invasion of Panama in 1989, the Gulf War in 1990-1991, the deployment of
US forces in Somalia in 19??, the second and third and continuing rounds of
US bombardment of Iraq, but our opposition had no impact.

Dissent within the United States did have an effect on U.S. involvement in
the civil wars in Central America in the late 1970s through late 1980s. But
these were protracted conflicts that allowed for opposition to grow and
have an impact. 

The Pentagon learned well from its mistakes of the Vietnam war. And even
though it is now 24 years ago that the last US helicopters left from the
rooftop of the US embassy in Saigon, the "left" and "progressives" and
"peace activists" in this country have not taken the lessons to heart and
figured out that resistance to war now must set a different course.

The primary causes for engendering domestic US opposition to the Vietnam
War was the role that media played in bringing home real images of
brutality on the ground in Vietnam and the fact that there were actual US

Today, those two factors have been erased. The US government-military
controls the media and the battlefield. The Gulf War is the new model.
Remote control war directed from afar using satellites, high overhead
planes, sea-to-land missiles, etc. No US casualties. No media coverage of
the ground. 

Same is happening in Yugoslavia. We see some damage from Serb TV via CNN,
but not much. 

Our chance or opportunity is if US/NATO screws up, and it turns to a ground
war and if US soldiers start to get killed. But I'm not sure this will
happen. It is definitely something the Pentagon does not want to happen.
Seems like their strategy is just going to be to bomb Yugoslavia in to
submission. Keep bombing and bombing from the air until the entire
infrastructure of Yugoslavia is completely destroyed and Milosevic finally
gives in.

The bombing has gone on for 15 days now. I don't see any reason why it can
go on for another 15 or more. No other world power seems to be getting in
the way.

I don't forsee our demonstrations getting much larger than doubling or
tripling the size. Maybe, in the best of options, we might get 300 people
at a demonstration against the war here in Austin, Texas. And even if these
numbers and more turnout in cities across the nation and around the world,
the chances of that having an impact on the course of this war are
extremely low. 

At best, we will show other people through local and national media that
there is no hegemony of US opinion on the matter.

But I could be wrong. What happens in Yugoslavia might turn in to a
protracted war. US forces might end up on the ground. US soldiers might
come home dead. The media might project grisly scenes. More people might
get angry. Counter-elites might start to question US policy and leak
strategic information to the New York Times. US soldiers might see the
stupidity of war and desert or kill their officers. 

But I don't have expectations of this outcome. 

A major part of war is social engineering and propaganda. For the US
military-government to carry out its war plans it needs a subservient
population that believes in its mission. I think it has this now. The US
has perfected its war fighting capability to minimize the potential for
occurences that will result in domestic questioning of its objectives. The
military is not stupid. In fact they are quite smart and employ some of the
best minds that this country produces to figure out how they can move
forward and carry out their war plans without anyone getting in their way.

We, meaning people living both within the confines of the US military-state
and those outside of it, who are against US military policy will most
likely have little influence over the course of the US/NATO war on
Yugoslavia. We will have our public demonstrations in various cities. Some
media will relay our message of opposition. We will exchange email messages
like this one around the globe. And we will know that opposition exists
everywhere. But in the end, we will not be able to alter or change the war
plans of the Pentagon and the NATO commanders.

For me, this latest US military action simply compounds my existing hatred
for the US military-government. But so too did the US bombing of Iraq in
December increase my hatred for this military establishment. But I
personally am saturated with hatred for the US government and its war
machine that adding more hatred doesn't do anything. I've hated the US
military for 25 years. So what?

The best thing to hope for, at least for now, is not stopping the US/NATO
bombings. If this is the opposition's objective, then we are doomed to
failure, because we do not have the political power and obviously not the
military power to make this happen, nor do I expect we will anytime soon.

A good outcome will be if more people who reside within the confines of the
US-domestic military controlled geographic territory (meaning US citizens)
and more people who reside outside of the US turn against the US

Simply put, if more people in the world hate the US military-government
after this latest chapter in US military prowess, then this will be a good
thing. If after this is all over, more people think that the US
military-government represents the "good guys", then this will be a bad
thing. Because they are not the "good guys" and if more people think they
are, it will mean there are more people who have succumbed to their
propaganda and way of thinking - which is a bad thing.

I realize that putting things in such simple terms terribly reduces the
problems. But I'm trying to figure how we, the oppposition to US/NATO, can
set realistic goals and expectations. As I said, even though we may stand
around with placards on street corners with the slogan "Stop US/NATO
Bombing" written, it is unlikely that US/NATO bombing will stop because we
are really powerless to make it so.

So we need more realizable objectives, objectives more within our reach.
Not that hating the US military-government is the ultimate objective. But I
think of the US military-government as an enemy. I view the US
military-government as an occupation force on the North American continent.
And I think that when more people view this entity in this way, we are
heading down the right trail.

When the US goes to war, it reveals the true nature of what this country is
all about. This country is a war machine. And it is a country full of lies
and double-speak. Everytime it makes war, it says it does so in the name of
freedom or to end oppression, but it is always the opposite case that is true.

More people need to see this. And especially more subjects living inside
the US territory need to see this.

In the end, we will probably not be able to change the course of US war
plans in this current war - and if we think we can then we are setting
ourselves up for failure and emotional letdown when it is over - but we can
think about ways to use the current deployment of US military might as a
vehicle to inculcate ideas and persuade people about the true nature of the
United States government and to think about ways to develop effective
resistance strategies over the course of the next century. Surely this will
not be the last war that the US fights.

Doing this might be a more fruitful course of action rather than being
deluded and thinking that we can actually stop US/NATO bombing right now.

How do we resist 21st century warfare?

How can a country being subjected to 21st century warfare tactics
effectively fight back?

How can opposition flourish within the countries that are the perpetrators
of 21st century warfare?

That age old question: what is to be done?

- Stefan Wray

P.O. Box 685228 
Austin, TX 78768-5228

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Date: Thu, 08 Apr 1999 12:36:00 -0500
From: Stefan Wray <>
Subject: Shortwave Solution to Lines Cut


What possibility exists for using shortwave radio to transmit digital
signals from a computer in Serbia to be picked up in neighboring Italy,
Hungary, or Austria, and then converted back on to the Net?

Can we do this:


Anyone know?

- Stefan Wray

P.O. Box 685228 
Austin, TX 78768-5228

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