The Transnational W I R E
# 22

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August 26, 2000


Peace, nonviolence & other good news and thoughts


UK going to support a world court
The British government will formally break ranks with the US on Friday by supporting the creation of an international criminal court to prosecute those responsible for genocide and other crimes against humanity. (The Guardian).

Towards a peace agreement in Burundi ? - and what Clinton should do
At the August 28 signing ceremony for a Burundi peace accord, President Bill Clinton should pledge U.S. support for prompt, effective justice to punish serious crimes committed during the war, Human Rights Watch said today. Clinton is scheduled to appear at a signing ceremony to mark the end of a civil war that has pitted Hutu against Tutsi in Burundi, and that has cost the lives of well over 100,000 people in the last six years. From All And the mediator,
Nelson Mandela, proposes Burundi's Assembly speaker as interim president.

Toward a new internationalism
"What has really disappeared is the kind of middle-ground, mixed economy often lauded in the Cold-War years. Social democratic and Keynesian strategies, supposedly the result of a class accord, are no longer viable under today's global neoliberalism. But all of this merely points to the need for a much more radical, universal, internationalist strategy, rooted in national realities and struggles as the only way forward for the movement" - say the editors of Monthly Review.

Truth and reconciliation commissions - can South Africa export them?
When the fighting in Burundi stops, Ntsebeza believes that the devastated nation should use South Africa's TRC as a model to begin healing rifts in a peaceful way. "No experience of any one country can be exported to any other country, but there is something to be said for South Africa" and its relatively peaceful transition, Ntsebeza says. (From The Christian Science Monitor)

Armament, the new Cold War & militarism



The Kursk affair - are you sure you got the whole truth?
"There can hardly have been a better example of the media acting as adjuncts of government than their coverage of the sinking of the Russian submarine Kursk. From the start, there was to be little deviation from the storyline &endash; as familiar as it is comforting. A decrepit submarine manned by a worthy but incompetent and underpaid crew went down to the bottom of the Barents Sea. The cause of the accident was almost certainly the shoddy level of maintenance.." - writes George Szamuely at

China's hand in Africa's wars
In a bid to develop a market for its arms industry, China has dispatched four military delegations to sub-Saharan Africa in the last few months. South Africa and the United Nations have worked to resolve the region's conflicts. But China's new policy &endash; really intended to get the People's Liberation Army out of the Chinese economy &endash; threatens to create a miniature but destabilizing arms race in southern Africa.  (Stratfor).

Israel may have as many as 200 nuclear weapons
New satellite photographs published on the internet indicate that Israel could have made enough plutonium for up to 200 nuclear weapons, US scientists say. (From BBC). See also the
Christian Science Monitor on this. But where else did you see the first-page story about that?

Chinese and world protests over BMD, Star War
A collection of articles from China Daily.

The US assesses the world reaction to BMD
A classified U.S. intelligence report predicts that if the United States deploys a national missile defense system, China would likely add to its nuclear arsenal as a deterrent while Russia would continue reductions in its nuclear force, U.S. government sources said on Tuesday. (From

World (dis)order, globalization - imperialism


UN strapped for cash
According to the reports that have leaked so far, the U.N. mission to Kosovo (UNMIK) faces both a power shortage and a security crisis due to depleted funding. The European Agency for Reconstruction, which has paid for Kosovo's electricity since the end of NATO's bombing campaign last year, expects that UNMIK's accumulation of unpaid power bills will lead to a power crisis this winter. From July to January, the KPC will not receive funding at all, reported London's The Times. (Stratfor).

Clinton to visit Nigeria and Tanzania
President Bill Clinton will, sometime this month, pay a state visit to Nigeria. Much is being made of this trip and the chance it holds out to restore the country on to the global diplomatic map. After the benighted years of military rule, and the concomitant alienation of the country from the comity of nations, a visit from the American president is welcome. From Tempo, Lagos. And
the assistant secretary for African Affairs explains the significance of the President's visit to Nigeria and Tanzania. From

The Balkans and Kosovo/a

NATO's takeover of smelter in Mitrovica, foreseen by Diana Johnstone in February
Comparison of two documents, a November 1999 International Crisis Group (ICG) paper on the Trepca mining complex, and a February 2000 article in the Toronto Star by ICG consultant Susan Blaustein, provides an exceptionally clear glimpse into the workings of the "international community" (Emperor's Clothes).

Figures on Serb killings put too high, the West admits - now
Nato officials conceded last night that their wartime estimates of the number of Kosovo Albanian civilians massacred by Serb forces might have been too high. They were reacting to findings by forensic experts for the International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague who are preparing to complete their work in Kosovo after exhuming about 3,000 bodies. (Guardian).

What was the truth then, what is it today? The media...

Reports on Korea, Kosovo, NATO propaganda, truth and lies - and spies. Numerous stories here.

Media and the US elections - critical analyses
The rlationship between media and politicians is the hidden disease of American electoral democracy. Advertising - money paid to the media poutlets - is the single highest campaign expence.

The US as a world order problem


Why Pentagon and State Department hate peace in Korea
The problem is that peace in Korea upsets the Pentagon's applecart. For years, North Korea has been the Pentagon's dream come true, a perfect bogeyman to drum up support for obscene defense spending. Tiny, impoverished, technologically backward North Korea was built up into a threat so insidious it could be used to justify the additional $60 billion the Pentagon plans to spend on a National Missile Defense (NMD) shield over the next fifteen years. But the accord has already helped take the steam out of Star Wars (as did the recent missile test failure). From The Progressive.

The US 'Plan Columbia' - disturbing questions about real agenda
Clinton visits Columbia. He promotes "Plan Colombia", which many observers see as a vehicle his State Department has devised to permit the US to enter the counter-insurgency war against the FARC guerrillas under the cover of "counter-narcotics". Plan Colombia is the biggest aid package every offered to a Latin American country. Yet it is opposed by many in Colombia who have no sympathy with the guerrillas, because they believe it will provide no exit from the quagmire of 30 years of conflict. Far from bringing peace, they believe it will drag the country deeper into bloodshed. (From The irish Times/Common Dreams).

US weapons exports soaring
No wonder some use these weapons and no wonder we then 'need' to intervene to stop the killing! (From Muzi.comNews).

Human rights, "humanitarian" intervention & peacekeeping


US elections - what's in it for women?
Women's votes -- not our rights -- are key on the campaign trail. First and foremost, the definition of "Woman" that informs most discussions of "the women's vote" is profoundly limited. When candidates or reporters speak of the gender gap, they're speaking of white women -- and especially young, white, middle-class mothers, the "soccer moms" who've garnered so much ink in recent years. But soccer moms aren't the voters primarily responsible for the gender gap--women of color, often invisible in these discussions, are. (From FAIR).

Independent panel looks at UN peacekeeping in the future - and changes UN philosophy
The Panel concurs that consent of the local parties, impartiality and the use of force only in self-defence should remain the bedrock principles of peacekeeping. Experience shows, however, that in the context of intra-State/transnational conflicts, consent may be manipulated in many ways. Impartiality for United Nations operations must therefore mean adherence to the principles of the Charter: where one party to a peace agreement clearly and incontrovertibly is violating its terms, continued equal treatment of all parties by the United Nations can in the best case result in ineffectiveness and in the worst may amount to complicity with evil. No failure did more to damage the standing and credibility of United Nations peacekeeping in the 1990s than its reluctance to distinguish victim from aggressor. (From the UN)

Underdevelopment, alternative economics and sustainability


20 million lives at stake - but who talks about 'humanitarian intervention'?
"As you can see from the fact sheet that was handed out, we still believe that over 20 million people are at risk if this crisis is allowed to spiral into a true famine. The US Government is treating this crisis as the highest priority humanitarian emergency in the world currently. So far, USAID and the Department of Agriculture have committed over $575 million in humanitarian assistance to the relief effort..." says USAID deputy assistant administrator,
Leonard Rogers.

The coming water shortage
The number of people living in countries facing severe or chronic water shortages is projected to increase more than four-fold over the next 25 years, from an estimated 505 million people today to between 2.4 and 3.2 billion people by 2025, according to Population Action International (PAI). (From IPS/OneWorld).



WIRE Editor

Jan Oberg with TFF Associates


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