War Crimes Denial

I was incredulous to see the thoroughly discredited reports by Thomas Deichmann and Diana Johnstone listed as "Other Censored Stories" in the article "MAI Named the 'Most Censored' Story of 1999" by Project Censored in the April, 1999 Progressive Populist, page 21. This is akin to suggesting that censorship is at work because holocaust deniers do not appear on panels along with concentration camp victims from World War Two.

Far from being "censored" these reports by Deichmann and Johnstone, which are familiar to most of us who do work on the Balkans, are just plain wrong. Following a narrow political agenda, their contentions suggest that the independent media, all major human rights organizations, the United Nations Commission of Experts and the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) are all manufacturing evidence of the torture, rape and death that took place in the three camps in the Prijedor area of Bosnia, Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje.

In fact, crimes were committed on a horrific scale in the municipality of Prijedor where more than 52,000 non-Serbs, mainly Muslims, were killed or expelled. Of a total of seven indictments for genocide, the most serious possible indictment by the ICTY, four are based in part on what occurred in these camps. Simo Drljaca and Milan Kovacevic, members of the Crisis Staff who planned and authorized the establishment of camps at Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje and the commanders of the Omarska and Keraterm camps, Zeljko Meakic and Dusko Sikirica, have all been accused of genocide by the court.

According to the indictments, between April 30 and December 31, 1992, the first months of the 1992-95 Bosnian war, the camps at Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje were planned with the specific purpose of detaining the Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from the municipality of Prijedor. The conditions in the camps were calculated to deteriorate the health of those detained, with the ultimate intention of destroying part of the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat groups. Those who staffed the detention facilities were killing or causing serious physical or mental harm to the Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats detained, again with the intention of destroying in part the national, ethnic or religious groups they came from. These indictments were based upon carefully obtained evidence of many hundreds of witnesses.

The first conviction by the ICTY was that of Dusco Tadic. Tadic's guilt rested in part on the fact that, according to the judgment, he participated in the beating of prisoners at Omarska and Keraterm camps, which were "severe and contained the common factors of humiliation, ethnic persecution and physical violence."

Unlike Deichmann and Johnstone, the ICTY has has made every attempt to be evenhanded and accurate. In November of 1998, Esad Landzo (guard), Hazim Delic (deputy commander), and Zdravko Mucic (camp commander), Bosniak and Croatian perpetrators were all found guilty by the court of crimes committed against the Bosnian Serbs victims at Celebici, another detention camp.

Deichmann's calculated and obscene effort to deny all of this evidence because a single photograph may be inaccurate, the example cited in the MAI article, speaks for itself. By the way, Diechmann has actually stooped to attempting to discredit individual rape victims in an attempt to keep the story of the rapes at Omarska from being told. For more on the subject of rape, see the excellent documentary Calling the Ghosts: A Story about Rape, War and Women, Bowery Productions, (212) 677-2286.

Deichmann and Johnstone's rear-guard action in the cold war should be ignored rather than cited as deserving more attention. They could be dismissed as being pathetic if their contentions were not being used by the guilty to avoid responsibility. This is particularly dangerous in this region where the cycle of impunity must be broken if there is to be any long-term peace or stability.

Bosnia Coordinator
Amnesty International USA
Email gwallman@igc.org

Fight Sprawl

"Why do we go on Sprawling?" [by Donella Meadows, 4/99 TPP] does not go on enough! Consider acre upon acre of nonpervious paving which grows storm water run-offs to flood stages where none existed before. How about 3- and 4-lane roads to mammoth shopping centers making it virtually impossible to find dirt byways on which to run 4-wheel drives ?.

What about "Open Space" parcels bartered from developers that make nice parks and ballfields but are not large enough to support an ecosystem of indigenous animals and plants, let alone the corridors to keep them viable.?

When it becomes cheaper to get what we must have while maintaining and preserving the environment, then we will control "sprawl" instead of "sprawl" controlling us.

Environmental Action
Yardley, Pennsylvania
Email JKirk44344@aol.com

Catching Up in Kosovo

It appears to me that our nation has compounded the tragedy that is now taking place in Kosovo and in the entire region. We did not pay sufficient attention to the coming tragedy but spent an entire year dealing with the President's sex life and the Republican efforts to impeach the President. How any sane person can compare even the President's "sex lies" with the gigantic tragedy now taking place in the Balkans. Surely the Republicans and the other Clinton haters have a huge responsibility for this past madness. It is my hope that The Progressive Populist will address this gigantic refugee tragedy.

At the ending of the war with Germany my military unit was responsible for over one hundred thousand prisoners of war in a camp. Even under military conditions providing sufficient food, water, shelter and sanitary conditions was most difficult. There were a number of these camps along the Rhine River. Perhaps because of this war time experience I find the refugee calamity so painful.

With all good wishes, I remain,

Sincerely yours,

Winthrop, Massachusetts
Email Vitz62821@webtv.net

Kosovo Gold

Kosovo is often portrayed in the media as an isolated mountainous region that's poor and without resources. It might seem, from these accounts, to be an area of interest only to those who live there. The New York Times, on July 8, [1998], wrote about the real wealth of Kosovo--the Stari Trg mining complex. It was a tip-off that something more was at stake in this war.

Reporter Hedges description of a visit to the Stari Trg mining complex is an eye opener. He describes the glittering veins of lead, zinc, cadmium, gold and silver in Stari Trg. According to Hedges, "The sprawling state-owned Trepca mining complex, the most valuable piece of real estate in the Balkans, is worth at least $5 billion." According to the mine's director, Novak Bjelic, "The war in Kosovo is about the mines, nothing else. This is Serbia's Kuwait--the heart of Kosovo.

In addition to all this, Kosovo has 17 billion tons of coal reserves.

The enormous mineral wealth of Kosovo is never publicly discussed by U.S. United Nations Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, President Bill Clinton or the Pentagon generals. They speak only of "self-determination" of the Albanian population of Kosovo. Of course, they never mention what U.S.-imposed "self-determination" means.

Who ever controls that enormous mineral wealth, will also have an impact on the economy and political climate of much of Europe. It is clear we do not want a communist government controlling that area. To secure control of that region, we violated our Constitution and the NATO Charter. Both of these documents do not permit attacking a sovereign nation. Should not strict economic sanctions been imposed first?

It seems clear that when this nightmare of atrocities is over, Kosovo will gain autonomy. This then is the question: Who will have the financial resources to operate these mines? Certainly not Kosovo; they are financially devastated. This leaves the U. S. backed multinational corporations an open door to take over the mineral wealth of this area. Is this the "self determination the New World Odor gang have in mind?

Fort Madison, Iowa
Email cwmiller@interl.net

Prison Policy is Criminal

If fewer than a third of prison inmates are dangerous criminals--murderers, armed robbers, sex offenders--why aren't the rest doing community service and paying fines, healing themselves, their victims and their communities, in a mostly "Christian" society? Why aren't small-time drug offenders--prosecutions, [disproportionately] black--in treatment, and big-time entrepreneurs, universally, in jail? Why are 10% of the jail and prison populations mentally ill, ie, sick, people? And does prison profitability relate to the criminalizing of minor offenses; to overlong sentences; and to legal slavery?

I doubt those advocating the harshest, most unjust punishments see themselves in lengthy confinement, or subject to the brutal conditions in some of our jails and prisons. Likewise, a society that endorses "the rule of law" without concern for principles of equal, balanced and appropriate justice, or mercy and compassion, forgets that slavery, the Holocaust, the Inquisition, and Christ's execution were all models of "law and order". In fact, the current wave of moral rectitude in our country masks the cruel, unjust, and in some cases, criminal mistreatment of many of our fellow citizens.

Lilburn, Georgia

Privatize Medicare

Socialists have long touted the Canadian health care system as a model of universal coverage that should be embraced by the United States.

Although not widely publicized in the mainstream press, this government funded institution is on the brink of financial collapse, with the result that basic medical care is being denied Canadian citizens, with many of them forced to travel to the United States in order to obtain those services.

With our Medicare System on the verge of financial collapse in less than a decade, logic would not dictate expansion of the system, but rather reforming the system by privatization and reducing the incredible complexity of rules and regulations that increase costs and do nothing to advance medical care.

Omaha, Nebraska

Support Campaign Finance Reform

The following message came from Granny D's web site: "Soft Money is a cancer on our Society! It must be cut out! It has affected our moral fiber, stolen our free elections, and like a hidden octopus, its tentacles have reached into our wallets. I say that we the people do care how much money is spent to become a political candidate in these United States.

"I'm Granny D, and in my 89th year, I am walking across America from California to Washington, D. C. I shall walk about ten miles a day. Call me crazy, call me God-sent, I am on a crusade. My purpose is to create a groundswell for Campaign Finance Reform to eliminate the cancer. My goal is to convince Congress that We, The People, do care about Campaign Finance Reform.

"I shall travel as a pilgrim, seeking not your money, but food, shelter, and signatures on my petition. My petition will read:


For more information check out Granny D's Web site at: (www.grannyd.com). [Or write Doris Haddock, a.k.a. "Granny D", c/o Box 87, Dublin, NH 03444; Email info@grannyd.com.] It costs nothing but a few minutes of your time. Support Granny D in her walk for CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM. Send her a message of support. You can also sign the petition by e-mail. Write your congressperson and let him/her know how you feel about Campaign Finance Reform. If an 89-year-old lady can walk across the United States to bring attention to this problem, we can at least support her. Please forward this message to a friend.

Lebanon, Tennessee

Congress: Feel Our Pain

As of this writing, the Republicans in Congress appear poised to ram a draconian budget resolution through Congress without the public understanding the full ramifications of what it could mean. According to a recent series of reports by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities--analyzing data from the Congressional Budget Office and the Congressional Budget Committees--the Republican budget will force cuts of around 18 percent in non-defense discretionary programs. This includes cuts in things such as environmental programs, public health programs, housing, law enforcement, agriculture and others. These cuts are due primarily to a large tax cut for the wealthy and ridiculous increases in military spending which eat up a large portion of non-Social Security surpluses (if not all of them) and discretionary spending respectively.

Even more alarming is that Republicans have announced their intention to protect some programs--such as highways, elementary and secondary education, medical research--from cuts. Therefore, the cuts in other programs would be even deeper. CBPP estimate cuts of 35-40 percent below current levels, adjusted for inflation, by 2009.

What will it be, sinking millions into the unproven sinkhole that is missile defense or providing home delivered meals to millions of homebound seniors? Aiding the few family farmers remaining or providing a $20,000 tax cut to the wealthiest Americans?

I have a modest proposal to save some money in the federal budget that could then be used to boost some of these programs already operating on shoestring budgets that are facing additional devastating cuts ... why not pass legislation requiring cuts in member's salaries of an equal percentage by which they will be cutting non-defense discretionary spending? After all, shouldn't our elected officials feel our pain? If we can't afford programs that actually assist working Americans, are we sure we can afford the salaries of our elected officials?

So Senators and Representatives, any takers?

Washington, D.C.
Email brumidi@worldnet.att.net

Intervention is Dangerous and Illegal

What the United States and her NATO allies are actually doing in their criminal assault upon the people of Yugoslavia was stated very succinctly by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in testimony before the House International Relations Committee early in March of this year:

"Sending U.S. troops to Serbia would be a dangerous precedent for the United States and a violation of international law.

"What is being proposed is that NATO troops be deployed in the territory of a sovereign state, with a view to separating a province, which in the history of that country is the cradle of national identity.

"It would be the same as asking the US to accept foreign troops so that the Alamo could return to Mexico because the ethnic structure of Texas has changed."

Not only is international law being violated by our ethnocentric egotism, but it has allowed us to become killers of Yugoslavs and destroyers of their property on behalf of a vicious terrorist group of criminals known as the Kosovo Liberation Army. The KLA is a drug-running criminal enterprise masquerading as nationalist fighters for freedom.

No one can seriously believe that President Clinton and his lackeys in NATO care about ethnic cleansing. If they were, they would have demanded that Israel take back the million or so Palestinians that she ethnically cleansed from Palestine in the wars of 1948 and 1967, and to pay the Palestinians compensation for the property that was confiscated from them.

It is a sad but true fact that the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo are being used by the NATO coalition in order to destroy Yugoslavia just as Adolf Hitler used the Sudetenland Germans of Czechoslovakia to destroy that country.

The bitter truth is that President Clinton and the leaders of NATO are international outlaws!

Menasha, Wisconsin
Email tomhutt@hotmail.com

Bring Troops Home

If President Clinton really wanted to support our troops, he should cease issuing them illegal orders.

Are the American soldiers captured by the Serbs really "Prisoners of War?"

According to President Clinton and his Goebbels clones, this "war" is not war, but "peace-keeping," therefore American soldiers captured on Yugoslav soil are not prisoners of war, entitled to the protection of the Geneva conventions on treatment of POWs.

Armed intruders are technically just bandits. Shooting such, unlike the American mothers and children murdered at Waco and Ruby Ridge by Janet Reno's hit men, would be legal.

Clinton's bombing of the Petrovaradin bridge over the the Danube at Novi Sad puts him on the list right up there with the Hungarian army which dynamited holes in the ice at Christmas-Hanukkah 1941 to shove Jews and Serbs, some 3000, to drown in the river. This bridge was their monument.

Clinton's mendacious and confused remarks to Dan Rather on March 31 show that he did not even know that it will be on Orthodox Palm Sunday, not on Easter, that he will be bombing America's old ally, Serbia. Orthodox Easter comes next week[ April 11]. It is also the date when RAF and USAAF dropped bombs on Serb cities, on request from Stalin, following the example of Hitler's bombardment of Belgrade in 1941.

Clinton's allusions to Hitler and genocide are sheer role reversal.

It is clear to competent observers that Clinton's policy and rhetoric have ghost writers that would have made Adolf Hitler proud. His genocidal policies have totally perverted and disgraced United States foreign policy and arms. Clinton has befouled the name of America.

President Clinton and Secretary of State Albright are bunglers sans pareil. They have totally perverted and disgraced United States foreign policy and arms.

Yes, let's support our troops. Bring them home NOW!

Chicago Illinois
Email maher34@hotmail.com

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