The Transnational W I R E
# 17

June 23, 2000 

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Peace & nonviolence

Baby Steps to a Global Revolution? Barbara Ehrenreich and Juliette Beck Discuss the New Activism
The WTO. The World Bank and the IMF. The protests against transnational corporate power have begun to sink in. A year ago, a mass movement that raised such issues as corporate accountability and Third World debt seemed an impossibility. But since the shutdown of the World Trade Organization meetings in November and the protests against international lending institutions in Washington, DC, it has become obvious that Americans -- particularly young Americans -- are not as apolitical as people have tended to think. A movement of young activists is afoot. And their target is not one politician or businessman, but an entire system of international capital that they insist is creating an intolerable corporate culture, strangling democratic freedoms and further impoverishing countries of the Third World.

A conversation between Pierre Bourdieu and Günther Grass
About the role of the public intellectual, about writing history from below and about dogmatic neoliberalism.

The Big Issue. Coming up from the streets
The Big Issue was set up in 1991 to give homeless people the chance to make an income. It campaigns on behalf of homeless people and highlights the major social issues of the day. It allows homeless people to voice their views and opinions...and study the powerful Bilderberg group.

We the Peoples Millennium Forum Declaration and Agenda for Action Strengthening the United Nations for the 21st Century
We, 1,350 representatives of over 1,000 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other civil society organizations from more than 100 countries, have gathered at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York from 22 &endash; 26 May 2000 to build upon a common vision and the work begun at civil society conferences and the UN world conferences of the 1990's, to draw the attention of governments to the urgency of implementing the commitments they have made, and to channel our collective energies by reclaiming globalization for and by the people.


Armament and the new Cold War 

Russian missile defence plan falls flat in Washington
A Russian charm offensive aimed at derailing controversial US plans to develop a missile defence system ran into trouble last night after Washington branded Moscow's alternative proposals as "totally inadequate". The rejection will be keenly felt by Russia's defence minister, Igor Sergeyev, who made a special trip to Nato headquarters in Brussels to brief the alliance on how his country thought the threat of an attack from so-called rogue states should be countered. It is also highly embarrassing for President Vladimir Putin...

China threatens to boost its nuclear weapons capacity if confronted with the US BMD
When US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright meets today and tomorrow with the Beijing leadership, she will not find a receptive audience for the proposed American missile defense system. If Washington proceeds with a $60 billion defense umbrella, analysts say, it's likely to prompt China to begin tapping its vast hard-currency reserves to build a larger, newer strategic arsenal. But Chinese arms control and nuclear weapons experts, along with some of their American counterparts, say the US already holds the globe's most formidable nuclear sword.Armed with a nuclear shield, they add, the world's "hyperpower" would have the capability to neutralize Beijing's relatively small atomic arsenal in a nuclear first strike.


Globalization - imperialism

War and money
War and money: this dangerous twosome are not only at the root of much suffering, their intricate relationship can also be a source of regeneration. The impact of business in war zones, the arrival of the new war economies and the emergence of a competitive sea of humanitarian actors are just some of the developments currently shaping the humanitarian response to armed conflicts. Learn about the interesting People on War project conducted by the ICRC, a project where the victims of wars are being heard effectively.

China and globalism
The globalist establishment assumes that bringing China into the WTO will throw a huge log in the path of reformers seeking labor rights, environmental protection and other social standards as new operating rules for globalization. But those smug leaders may have it backward. Certainly, China provides a new obstacle to reform, but its main impact may be to hasten the discrediting of the WTO and other international institutions. China's irregular presence may dramatically demonstrate the lawless contradictions tolerated within the system. The WTO regime cannot now enforce its commercial edicts in disputes among the most advanced economies. Imagine the WTO's impotence when it tries to impose its "free trade" ideology on developing China -said William Greider.


The Balkans and Kosovo/a -

Questions surface over NATO's revised take on the war in Kosovo
KLA guerrillas constantly were on the phone to NATO "to tell us there were 15 bad guys down the road," U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael C. Short, NATO's air operations boss, told a conference. And NATO itself "instigated" the KLA's biggest offensive of the war in May 1999, German Gen. Klaus Naumann, former head of the NATO military committee, told an interviewer. This collaboration might not be noteworthy--except that NATO leaders so emphatically denied it during the war. And the revisionist accounts are but one example of the way the official accounts have been rewritten or contradicted by insiders since the war. While the air war is history, the issue is not just academic: The alliance can't afford widespread doubts about its conduct of the war as it struggles to continue a peacekeeping effort that is likely to drag on for years in the province.

China - Time for in-depth reflection on Kosovo
The People's Daily reports from the UN Security Council debate.

Montenegro, Serbia - money and killings - and CIA
Stories and perspectives from Truth in the Media in Arizona - details you do not often hear in the Western mainstream press.

US seeks war crime amnesty for Milosevic
China is seen as haven...It bombed his home, put a bounty on his head and branded him a monster who could never be forgiven, but the United States is quietly seeking a way out for Slobodan Milosevic that would leave his bank account intact. Despite denials, US officials are considering ways to allow the Yugoslav president to leave office without a war crimes trial at the Hague. In what may turn out to be the Balkan endgame, the US is signalling the possibility of a secure retirement for the man blamed for setting Yugoslavia aflame. Another interesting Guardian analysis.

UNMIK's Dr. Kouchner tells UN's Dienstbier to "shut up"
The truths about Kosovo that Mr. Jiri Dienstbier has told the world, are not so popular in Kosovo.

Election boost for Milosevic divides Montenegro further
Yugoslavia's president Slobodan Milosevic has won an important political victory in Serbia's sister republic of Montenegro after voters strongly backed his supporters in a key local election and rebuffed proponents of independence. Jonathan Steele's analysis in the Guardian.

Independent War Crimes Tribunal finds the U.S. and NATO guilty
A panel of 16 judges from 11 countries at a people's tribunal meeting in New York June 10 before 500 people found U.S. and NATO political and military leaders guilty of war crimes against Yugoslavia in the March 24-June 10, 1999 assault on that country. See the full indictment text, read the speeches and testimonies and the text of the final judgement - and see who the judges were.

Kosovo One Year Later
The Cato Institute report says that "Confronting Kosovo's depressing prospects, the administration consoles itself that, as President Clinton says, it "did the right thing in the right way" when it intervened. Even granting that doubtful premise, this is not enough to exonerate policymakers from their responsibility for the situation the United States confronts today. In the real world, policymakers are judged by the consequences of their actions, not by their intentions. The Kosovo war has not vindicated the administration's doctrine of "virtuous power." By waging an avoidable war, the Clinton administration has saddled the United States with a host of intractable problems."


What was the truth then? What is it today? The role of the media

Self-censorship is alive and well today
Self-censorship is commonplace in the news media today, according to a survey of nearly 300 journalists and news executives by the Pew Research Center and the Columbia Journalism Review. About one-quarter of the local and national journalists say they have purposely avoided newsworthy stories, while nearly as many acknowledge they have softened the tone of stories to benefit the interests of their news organizations. Fully four-in-ten (41%) admit they have engaged in either or both of these practices.

War, peace and the media - can media contribute to peace too?
A series of articles from MediaChannel.


The US as a world order problem

The United States expands nuclear targets worldwide
Senior American military officers insist that current nuclear policy prevents them shrinking the US nuclear arsenal to fewer than 2,000 to 2,500 strategic weapons - and that going lower would threaten national security. Their calculations are buried in the nation's strategic war plan and ultimately linked to presidential guidance.

The US intensifies its fight against a declining world terrorism everywhere.
While U.S. government statistics indicate that terrorism is declining, L. Paul Bremer III, Chairman of the National Commission on Terrorism, in the June 2000 report to Congress, says the threat of terrorism is "becoming more deadly," and recommends actions which would further erode American's civil liberties. - Created in the wake of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, the commission's recommendations include greater monitoring of foreign students, sanctions against Greece and Pakistan, and adding Afghanistan to the list of countries designated a "state sponsor" of terrorism. The list currently includes Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, North Korea and Cuba.

Is the US itself a rogue state?
Cuba, Libya, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria? By any objective criteria, based upon generally accepted norms for civil society, the rogue state par excellence is not among this frequently cited group of states. The rogue state par excellence has carried on a campaign of international terrorism and genocide, has refused to abide by international law or treaties, has violated norms of civil society, and has defied world opinion to a degree unmatched by the frequently cited "rogue states." Some recent examples...


Humanism, human rights and "humanitarian" intervention

The Berlin Tribunal: NATO guilty
In The Hague, Carla Del Ponte, chief prosecutor at the "International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia" (ICTY), created by the UN Security Council at the initiative of the United States, announced that she saw no grounds even to open an inquiry. NATO made "some mistakes", she acknowledged. But Ms Del Ponte was "very satisfied" that there had been no deliberate targeting of civilians during NATO's bombing campaign. In Berlin, on the same day, another Tribunal concluded a far more serious examination of the charges against NATO. This unofficial "European Tribunal" was genuinely independent of all the governments involved in the 1999 war.  

Amnesty's reports on NATO's bombings - and human rights abuses in Serbia
"Collateral Damage" or Unlawful Killings? Violations of the Laws of War by NATO during Operation Allied Force. From 24 March to 10 June 1999 the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) conducted an air campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), codenamed Operation Allied Force. NATO aircraft conducted over 38,000 combat sorties, including 10,484 strike sorties, against targets in the provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina, Serbia proper and the Republic of Montenegro. Yugoslav media have stated that thousands of civilians were killed in NATO air raids. However, the civilian death tolls given in detailed FRY government accounts range from 400 to 600. NATO has not released official estimates of civilians or FRY combatants killed. No NATO forces were killed in hostile action during the air campaign. (07 May 2000)

Conscientious objectors still face uncertainty if returning to Yugoslavia

An impartial tribunal, really?
Christopher Black blasts the Hague Tribunal: It is clear that from the beginning American, British, French and German interests were behind the creation of the Tribunal and worked ceaselessly behind the scenes in order to create it. They first considered doing so in regards to Iraq and Saddam Hussein, during the Gulf War. The idea apparently originated with the United States Department of the Army, which alone should tell you something about its true purpose. The rhetoric used to justify such a body to the general public was of course heavily seasoned with concerns for "human rights" the "dignity of the individual", "genocide" and "democracy".

NATO deliberately targetted civilians
Amnesty's report on NATO's bombings is a blistering attack on the Alliance. Legalistic in nature but damning in content - the Amnesty's report reminds readers that Amnesty repeatedly condemned Serb atrocities against Kosovo Albanians - the report highlights the inconsistencies and obfuscation by NATO's official spokesmen, says Robert Fisk in the Independent.


Sustainability versus our conflict with Nature

Urgent warning to limit resource demands
A pioneering analysis of the world's ecosystems reveals a widespread decline due to increasing resource demands. The analysis was released today at the World Exposition in Hannover, an international exhibition of new technologies and sciences running from June 1 to October 31, 2000. As part of the global dialogue at the World Expo, commonly called Expo 2000, the Washington, DC based research organization World Resources Institute warned that if the decline in ecosystems continues, the consequences could be devastating for human development and the welfare of all species.



WIRE Editor

Jan Oberg with TFF Associates


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