jtravis on Wed, 2 Jun 1999 11:27:53 GMT

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Syndicate: Pilger on rambouill

       31 May 1999 


                         What really happened at
                         Rambouillet? And what else is
                         being kept under wraps by our
                         selective media? 

                         As Nato announces another "heaviest night
                         yet" of bombing, with paralysed hospital
                         patients among the latest victims, the truth of
                         how and why the war began remains elusive.
                         Nato disinformation has been largely successful. The complete
list of
                         targets hit has yet to be published in Britain. It shows
clearly a pattern
                         of civilian destruction: the Dragisa Misovic clinic in Belgrade
was the
                         19th hospital to be destroyed, together with more than 200
                         and colleges, housing estates, farms, food-processing plants,
                         reservoirs, theatres, cinemas, museums, churches, monasteries
                         archaeological sites. 

                         The Rambouillet accords, Nato's justification for the bombing,
                         remain unpublished, except on the Internet. The sequence
of events
                         around Rambouillet is revealing. Although the conference
ran for six
                         weeks, the Yugoslav delegation and the Kosovars never actually
                         The Contact Group - the governments of the US, Britain,
                         Italy and France - were the instigators and managers of
                         conference, as well as the western media's principal informants.

                         The "fact sheet" released by the US State Department, entitled

                         Understanding the Rambouillet Accords, refers only to the
                         structure planned for the province. The Foreign Office dispensed
                         similar message through diplomatic correspondents: that
a reasonable
                         political solution was on offer, not a pretext for military
assault. At the
                         end of February, the Serbs agreed to most of the autonomy
                         and Robin Cook boasted to MPs of agreement on "90 per cent"
of the

                         It was the Kosovars who refused to sign. When they eventually

                         agreed, the complete text of the accords was subjected to

                         extraordinary secrecy, with the Contact Group saying that
they had
                         agreed to remain silent. Why? On the last day, 22 March,
the Serbs
                         were presented with "Appendix B", from which I quoted in
the New
                         Statesman on 17 May. This demands Nato's right of "unrestricted

                         passage and unimpeded access through the Federal Republic
                         Yugoslavia, including associated air space and territorial
                         along with immunity from "all legal process", including
the criminal
                         law, and control over "all telecommunications services,
                         broadcast services". 

                         This was not a political proposal, but an impossible ultimatum.
                         meant the effective occupation of all of Yugoslavia. The
                         newspaper Berliner Zeitung described it as "a surrender
                         following a lost war". Two days later, the bombing began.

                         Nato's supporters say that these conditions are no different
                         those of the Dayton agreement, which Milosevic signed. On
                         contrary, the Dayton accords concentrate on transit rights,
                         the Rambouillet appendices spell de facto control of Yugoslavia,
                         demanding, unlike Dayton, that Nato personnel be immune
from its
                         criminal law. In any case, the partition of Bosnia was a
very different
                         situation, in which Milosevic was effectively the west's
                         lauded by the US envoy, Richard Holbrooke, as "a man we
can do
                         business with, a man who understands the realities of Yugoslavia".

                         Few Nato politicians who bear responsibility for launching
the war
                         knew anything about this. Without reading the full text
of the
                         ultimatum, they accepted Nato's disinformation, directed
as much at
                         them as at the general public. Two of the most senior officials
in the
                         German foreign ministry were reported as "completely surprised"
                         the appendices, which they described as "completely new"
to them.
                         The day the bombing began, the Yugoslav parliament, in rejecting
                         Nato ultimatum, proposed a UN monitoring force in Kosovo.
                         went unreported. 

                         It is often asked why the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan,
has not
                         spoken against the illegality of the Nato action. He has.
On 15 May, he
                         told a peace conference in The Hague that the use of force
"must be
                         under the authority of the United Nations". His remarks
ought to have
                         been front-page news, but the conference was not reported.

                         From the beginning, there has been a kind of virtual truth
about the
                         bombing and its causes, with the strange spectacle of journalists

                         egging on the moralising aggressiveness of the Prime Minister,
                         than scrutinising the actions and agendas of his government
and its
                         allies. The evidence of recent history has been excluded.
When has
                         morality ever played a part in British foreign policy? Ask
the 10,000
                         Cypriots who marched on a British military base on Cyprus
last week,
                         calling for an end to the bombing. Under the terms of Cypriot

                         decolonisation, Britain, Greece and Turkey were the guarantors
of the
                         island's independence, but all three betrayed it when Turkey,
a Nato
                         member, invaded in 1974 and Britain did nothing. 

                         It seems to me that a vital wider question has yet to be
asked: is Nato
                         really bombing Yugoslavia, or is the bombing aimed at the
                         European superstate, which offers a clear threat to the
US as a new
                         economic superpower? Who will pay the huge inflationary
bill for
                         rebuilding what was Yugoslavia? The EU is the answer. A
crusade for
                         "human rights" can provide a new cloak for a project as
old as
                         imperialism itself. 

                         Milosevic and his vicious gang should answer for the crimes
                         humanity being committed with their cynical approval and
                         from Bosnia to Kosovo - and so should all the other gangs,
                         the most powerful of all, the one currently raining cluster
bombs and
                         depleted uranium on an innocent population, including those
                         claim to be "saving". 
------Syndicate mailinglist--------------------
 Syndicate network for media culture and media art
 information and archive: http://www.v2.nl/syndicate
 to unsubscribe, write to <syndicate-request@aec.at>
 in the body of the msg: unsubscribe your@email.adress