LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
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
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
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
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
Amnesty International USA
"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"
J. A. KIRK
Environmental Action Commission
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
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
With all good wishes, I remain,
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, , 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
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
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
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.
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.
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
"I shall travel as a pilgrim, seeking not your money, but food, shelter,
and signatures on my petition. My petition will read:
WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA REQUEST OUR CONGRESS TO ENACT
WITH ALL DUE SPEED MEANINGFUL CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.] 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.
DAN and BEVERLY SWEETON
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
So Senators and Representatives, any takers?
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
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
REV. TOM HUTT, (RET.)
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
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
Yes, let's support our troops. Bring them home NOW!
J. PETER MAHER
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