The Transnational W I R E
# 18

July 7, 2000 

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Peace & nonviolence

Interfaith efforts for peace and solving global problems
Think globally, act locally" is a mantra for activists of all kinds seeking to improve their communities and shape a better future. The United Religions Initiative (URI) - which was launched officially this week in Pittsburgh, Pa., with a charter-signing ceremony - has already patterned this theme on six continents.

World Summit for Social Development ended in Geneva
Here is the site that offers all you want to know.

Overcoming violence
An interesting site by the World Council of Churches. In December 1998, The eighth assembly of the World Council of Churches gathered in Harare, Zimbabwe, to discern priorities and programmes for the next seven years. Around the Assembly theme, 'Turn to God - Rejoice in Hope', delegates established the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV). The Assembly stated that we must "work strategically with the churches on these issues of nonviolence and reconciliation to create a culture of nonviolence, linking and interacting with other international partners and organizations, and examining and developing appropriate approaches to conflict transformation and just peace-making in the new globalized context...

Positive News & Living Lightly
Tired of news being only bad news? Here is a couple of publications that will make you happy to see all the wonderful things that happen - which your mainstream media won't even mention.

Changemakers Library, Tools for Social Change
A comprehensive guide to the rapidly growing profession of social entrepreneurship. provides resources, inspiring ideas and opportunities for social entrepreneurs and those interested in learning more about innovative social change.


Armament and the new Cold War 

Beijing warns Albright against national missile defence
The US secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, faced tough talking yesterday in Beijing as Chinese experts warned that American plans for a national missile defence shield would compromise their security. China welcomed her with the sharp message that it would be forced to increase its nuclear arsenal if the US went ahead with its plan.


Globalization - imperialism

The Jubilee 2000 project
A debt relief campaign launched a report Monday accusing wealthy nations of failing to hold to their promises, according to the Financial Times. The study, issued by Jubilee 2000, reports that only $15 billion in debt relief will be provided by the Welcome to the most exciting and important challenge you will ever face. The challenge, if you dare, is this: Read the Jubilee 2000 Radical Agenda for Global Social Transformation, and then either support its objective of transforming global society by the year 2000 or try to come up with a good reason why you won't.

The G8 Okinawa Summit coming up
Schedule of the Meetings of Foreign Ministers. Establishment of the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit NGO Center. International Symposium on Information Technology and Development Cooperation (Live Broadcast). Schedule of the Meetings of Heads of State and Government. International Symposium on Perspectives of the 21st Century -Beyond the Century of Confrontation. Young Leaders Summit 2000 in Okinawa (Updated). World Economic Symposium: Asia in the Global Economy of the 21st Century. International Symposium "The Role of NGOs in Conflict Prevention". G8 Youth Summit, Okinawa 2000

Confronting apartheid in the world
At the South Summit in Havana, leaders of developing nations collectively condemned the World Bank (WB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as agents of the North's neo-liberal economic policy-makers. Leaders of the G77 -- a UN-affiliated body representing 133 Third World nations and 80 per cent of the world's population -- held the WB, the IMF and the WTO responsible for creating conditions of abject poverty in the South and dramatically increasing the disparity between rich and poor.


The Balkans and Kosovo/a -

New power boost for Milosevic
Both houses of parliament overwhelmingly approved changes to the constitution put forward by the ruling coalition, which will allow the Yugoslav leader to run for office again when his term expires next year. It will also furhter reduce the power of Montenegro - and increase tension in the Balkans.

Kosovo Albanian leader Thaci withdraws from Interim Administration
Kosovo Albanian leader, Hashim Thaci, has pull his Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, out of the province's joint administration after Serb representatives agreed to rejoin the institution only on a limited basis. Thaci, the former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army, said the PDK had withdrawn from the Interim Administrative Council to "reflect" on the June 29 'Understanding' between the Serb National Council and the UNMIK chief, Bernard Kouchner, which paved the way for the SNC's return to the institution for three months as observers. The 'Understanding' makes several recommendations to improve the lot of the province's beleaguered Serbian minority.

Questions raised over Racak massacre last year in Kosovo
At the time, William Walker, the head of the International Observer Mission in Kosovo, said the civilians had been executed and mutilated. Western leaders accused the Serbs of committing crimes against humanity.
Now, a team of Finnish pathologists isn't so sure that's what really happened in the tiny village.
CBC Radio News has learned an autopsy report reveals no evidence the 40 bodies were intentionally mutilated. Only one of them showed any sign of being killed at close range.

Proposed anti-terrorist law directed against the Yugoslav opposition
Read what esteemed lawyers and the opposition in Belgrade think about the proposed law. Some say it "is culmination of abuse of law by the state against its citizens," others that it is the end of the legal state and the prelude to forbidding political parties.

...but then Milosevic made a U-turn
Yugoslavs are still recoiling this week from the shock of the abrupt withdrawal of a repressive anti-terrorism bill from the federal parliamentary programme. Most expected the adoption of the bill, which would have granted the authorities sweeping powers, to be a formality, as the regime had spent months preparing the population for the controversial legislation with a concerted propaganda campaign on state TV and radio. Several theories for the U-turn have emerged.

Continuing Balkan instability and increasing crime
Senior international law enforcement officials have expressed new concern about the rise in criminal activity in the Balkans, especially drug trafficking. A leading UN crime-fighting official says the global nature of trafficking highlights the need for universal jurisdiction, to allow authorities to prosecute it anywhere.  

Open Letter to Carla del Ponte, the Hague Tribunal
"You cannot negate the physical evidence of destruction from the air in Yugoslavia (which still includes in theory Kosovo itself), enshrined with pictures, names, dates and targets actually hit. The Yugoslav government has published four factual volumes that need no further discussion about authenticity. No one can deny that civilian targets have been extensively hit. Figures for civilian deaths and for those injured more or less seriously do vary. Some 3000 dead have been claimed at the maximum with three times that number for the maimed. On the lowest end about 300 dead and some 2,000 injured are on hand. We even have a visually recorded tragedy in the complaints of General Clark that NATO's civilian authorities would not allow him to "further extend" the number of civilian targets, another item of evidence "missed." Clearly, Madame Prosecutor, your entire case for rejection rests only on the presumed lack of INTENT to punish the Serb civilians. The intent is clearly admitted by the U.S. Secretary of State more than a year after the bombs started falling on civilian targets in Yugoslavia. The INTENT WAS TO ACTUALLY PUNISH YUGOSLAVIA." - writes history professor emeritus Raymond Kent.


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

How Big Brothers used Orwell to fight the Cold War
A 79-page FBI dossier released on George Orwell reveals how the British author of Animal Farm and 1984 was used by both the Americans and the Russians as a key figure in the battle for ideas for two decades after his death in 1950. - One wonders who is used todayt?


The US as a world order problem

The twilight of the European project
Peter Gowan's and Jeffrey St. Clair's seminal piece in CounterPunch."One of the significant consequences of the NATO attack on Yugoslavia is almost certainly that it marks the end of the European project as a political project for Western and Central Europe. That political project could only have succeed if the member states of the European Union had been prepared to stick to their words and reconstruct the European political order as a norm-based rather than a power-politics based system, becoming democratic and embracing the Eastern part of the continent."

Hidden facts about terrorism: it's gone down!
Nothing so well illustrates the misinformation the Clinton administration and media have been spreading about terrorism than a series of charts buried in the annual report on the subject by the State Department. While past history is not necessarily predictive of what will happen tomorrow and adding, say, the TWA 800 crash would change the totals significantly, the existing data on actual terrorists incidents compiled by State provides a powerful indictment of White House and media fearmongering.


Humanism, human rights and "humanitarian" intervention

The rich live longer, the poor die younger
The mapping of the human genome may hold out the prospect of life expectancy in the west nudging 100 but it comes far too late for countries where poverty, war and HIV/Aids have turned the clock back on development by decades, the UN says in a report published today.
Its annual assessment of progress in 174 states finds that the super-rich are not only getting richer, they are living longer as well.
While the income gap between rich and poor countries continues to widen, the lifespan in some sub-Saharan Africa countries is only half that in the developed world.


World future, sustainability and strategy

The World Bank voids its own policies in loan to China
Raising doubts about World Bank reform efforts, a new, hard-hitting internal report accuses the bank of violating its own environmental and human rights policies when it approved a rural-poverty project that affects ethnic Tibetans and Mongolians in China.
The Washington-based international-aid agency, under fire from Congress and from activists who staged massive demonstrations against it in April, responds that it has instituted new policies to ensure that its projects do not unduly harm the environment or indigenous populations.

Stratfor's forecast on oil prices, Milosevic, Kosovo, China and more
In the coming months, world events will be shaped by an unfolding game of alliances. After consolidating power at home, the new government in Moscow will look abroad, seeking investment from the West and competing to a certain degree with China. After a long dormant period, American interest in the world will be renewed with the pressures of a presidential campaign; one of those pressures will be found in the price oil. And Washington is likely to bring its own pressure to bear on friendly governments in Latin America and the Persian Gulf to control those prices before the November elections.



WIRE Editor

Jan Oberg with TFF Associates


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