Lair Of A Squirrel Red


Castro smites Bush over biofuel by korakious
March 30, 2007, 7:37 pm
Filed under: Cuba, energy, environment, Fidel, Imperialism

I was very happy to see today that Fidel Castro wrote an article for Granma lambasting Dubya for his newly found love for bio fuel. I was excited because this is Castro’s first comment on international politics in quite some time, meaning that the old man is indeed getting better, and because it is always good to have such respected socialists commenting on environmental issues (the old left thinks environmental concerns are petty bourgeois).

On to the article itself now. The title of Guardian’s report , “Castro warns poor will starve for greener fuel” is quite misleading, whether or not deliberately. By the title alone, it would seem that Castro is against green energy per se. Anyone who has been keeping an eye on developments in Cuba will of course know that this is couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Castro correctly argues that the cost for producing biofuel from food will be paid by the poor people of the world as the third world countries that form the majority of agricultural producers will sell their food crops as fuel. What this implies is, in simple terms, a competition for food between the people of the third world and… cars:

Other countries in the rich world are planning to use not only corn but also wheat, sunflower seeds, rapeseed and other foods for fuel production. For the Europeans, for example, it would become a business to import all of the worldТs soybeans with the aim of reducing the fuel costs for their automobiles and feeding their animals with the chaff from that legume, particularly rich in all types of essential amino acids.

Further, he made the point that funding bio fuel production could lead to many poor countries to turn forests into farmland, thus exacerbating the problem of climate change. George Monbiot has been arguing along similar lines for some time now. The argument is supported by evidence of ever accelerating deforestation in the third world. The liberal sycophant will of course rush to tell you that this is because of “bad” and “irresponsible” governments – how strange that they only exist in the third world! – and that things would be far better if there was internal reform. Not once will it cross their mind that government corruption and deforestation is the product of the global North’s imperialist exploitation.

But enough with bashing imperialism. None but the most empty headed liberal or crypto first world chauvinistic Trot would assert that the third world is responsible for its own problems. Let’s take a look at what Cuba is doing to prevent climate chaos.

For one, Cuba has replaced all incandescent light bulbs and their ~90% energy loss with fluorescent bulbs that produce light of equal intensity at only 20% of the energy normal bulbs use. Cuba made this move 2 years before Australia enacted similar legislation. Of course, no major news source picked it up back then.

More importantly, Cuba and Venezuela have embarked on a joint effort to produce biofuel from sugar cane alcohol, thus sparing food crops. Forest protection and tree planting schemes will also ensure that Cuba’s woodlands will not become the victim of her energy needs.

That’s just a couple of the efforts that have earned Cuba the honour of being the only country with fully sustainable development. Meanwhile, in Britain, carbon emissions continue to rise while Brown and Cameron fight over whose policies are greener. The truth of course is that none of them is. There’s really nothing green about spending an obscene amount of money on renewing Trident, when it could be spent on providing Free Public Transport.

You’ve got to be red to be green.

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Look at us, we’re activists!!! by korakious
March 30, 2007, 2:39 pm
Filed under: Elections, Holyrood, SSP

The second session of the Scottish Parliament is now formally over. The 129-4=125 careerist party hacks left the hideous building to start their election campaigns. Until May 3rd, you should expect to see them addressing rallies, knocking on doors, talking to people on the street and doing every short of slimy trick to dupe the Scottish electorate into voting for them yet again. Jack “ape” McConnell chose to start his campaign by visiting a school building site. He is after all a Labour party member, looking out for workers! The Lib-Dem leader went to Aberdeen to “knock on doors”. The Nationalists too launched their official campaign, with Alex Salmond giving a speech about how Scotland has chosen independence and that SNP equals independence; usual SNP drivel.

They all care for us now! They care for us for 35 days every 4 years! Never mind that they are nowhere to be seen when Parliament is in session and the hacks comfortably sitting on their benches. They are busy with running the country then, but now, they can engage with us, hear our concerns and pledge to do the best for us if we give them our vote. Really!

Hypocrisy, lies and filth.This is the reason for the growing apathy of the Scottish people, especially the youth, with which everybody seems to be oh so concerned. Apathy? I’d say antipathy. The turnout for Holyrood elections didn’t drop from 58 in 1998 to 49.8 in 2003 because people “don’t care about politics”. What they don’t care about is the politics of the bourgeoisie or, in more concrete terms, the politics of parties who row over who can save the NHS when they pursue the same filthy policies of handouts to big business and pay cuts for the workers. What more than half of the Scottish people don’t care about is parties like the SNP and Lib-Dems, theoretically against the Council Tax in principle, voting against the SSP’s proposal to scrap it.

But wait a minute. There’s a party whose members are on the streets campaigning every week. There’s a party that’s not afraid to stir shit up a bit against the Blatcher government renewing doomsday weapons instead of using the money (TENS OF BILLIONS OF POUNDS) to provide student grants, free school meals and free public transport. Nor does this party cower away from matters reserved for Westminster.

This party, is of course, none other than the SSP. But why is the SSP not a party of hypocrites and capital sycophants? It’s not because we are “good people”. It’s not because it just happened that honest politicians found themselves in the SSP.

It’s because we are socialists. We are not responsible to this or that magnate. Our only allegiance is to the working class of Scotland and the world. This is what allows us to maintain our political integrity and stand when others cower. The parties of the bourgeoisie can only serve their masters’ interests. Even if an honest person does find his or her way in one of them, which is unlikely, they won’t be able to change anything. They’ll be reduced to some “colourful” dissident voice, only to be assimilated by the dominant party ideology as the time passes, or to drop out of politics altogether.

The only change the parties of the ruling class can bring is change within the system. This kind of politics however completely misses the point – the system is the problem. As long as the system, capitalism, is in place, the problems facing the people of Scotland and the world will remain. There is only one way out of the current deadlock and it is socialism.

Now, that’s a word neither Labour, nor the SNP like to hear.



If Solidarity came to power…. by korakious
March 29, 2007, 8:20 pm
Filed under: sectariana, Trollings

The following was inspired by a similar post made by my friend Vassilis, on what would happen if Synaspismos won the Greek General Elections of 2004. If you are not familiar with the crisis in the Scottish Socialist Party it will make no sense to you.

A year of Solidarity in power

May 2007

It is May 3rd, the day of the election. Solidarity has registered below 1% in pretty much every poll conducted in the past few months. Nobody expects “Scotland’s socialist movement” to return any MSPs but…

By diabolical coincidence, 1.5 million Scots decide to vote Solidarity, for a laugh. Solidarity becomes the first party to form an absolute majority in Holyrood. Tommy Sheridan, the self proclaimed mild mannered Clark Kent of Scottish politics, dressed in a blue lycra suit (as above), delivers a powerful speech about an obscure Scottish football team taking on Real Madrid and winning. He then likens himself to Evo Morales and goes on to say something about the Scottish working class making the right choice. He spends the rest of the month going around Scotland delivering similar speeches, oblivious to the fact that microphones amplify the volume of one’s voice.

June

After a month of much merriment, Solidarity dissolves into three parties that form a coalition government: SWP, CWI-Scotland and STS (Sheridan’s Tangerine Sycophants). Sheridan announces the initiation of negotiations with London for the separation of Scotland from the UK. The Westminster Parliament unanimously agrees that Scotland should become independent in order to prevent the rest of the UK from becoming the laughingstock of the international community by being associated with Sheridan.

Despite initial hostility to Scottish independence, the SWP finally goes along with it, stating that it will table amendments to the draft constitution of the newly founded state.

On the domestic front, true to his promises, Sheridan brings in the ban of airguns. After such a radical social reform, he announces that Scotland has passed into the stage of socialism.

July,

The SWP presents its motions to parliament. Scotland is to be renamed North Britain and become an Islamic Republic in solidarity the Arab people targeted by American imperialism. In the same manner, Sharia law replaces Scots law. Angela McCormack states that this will send a strong message to the peoples of the world, making Scotland the mothership of the anti-imperialist movement.

Despite controversy, the motions are passed as the only group that opposed them within the Sheridan coalition, CWI-Scotland, was unable to attend the vote for reasons of senility.

Sheridan becomes Caliph.

August,

The opposition parties raise the point that the Islamification of Scotland tramples the human rights of the predominantly non-Muslim population of the country. The SWP replies that there is no country in the world named Scotland. Sheridan adds that such fabrications are reminiscent of the “dark days of Stalinism” and responds by banning all opposition parties that oppose Socialist Islam.

Stevie Arnott, now Ayatollah-Commissar of Cultural Affairs, orders portraits of Sheridan to be displayed at all major public sites. He justifies this action by reminding the North-British population that Sheridan is the most iconic socialist of the post war era and that the move only actualized what was already the case in the realm of ideas (he is a philosopher you see).

September,

Sheridan brings in mandatory prison sentences for knife-carrying. Cameras are installed in houses in order to enforce the new law. Scissors become the most popular utensil for cutting food.

Former SSP members are arrested and sent to labour camps in Orkney. Female members are burned at the stake for witchcraft. Sheridan announces that he has destroyed the scabs that tried to ruin him.

Witch-hunts are reintroduced in North Britain. In the spirit of Socialist Islam and North British tradition, accused women are given the right to appeal against the charges. They are then pushed off Edinburgh castle. If they survive the fall, their delving into the dark arts is proven and they are burned. If they do not, their name is cleared. An STS spokesman states that this is another great victory of Socialist Islam against political correctness gone mad.

October

The government nationalizes all brothels, strip club and sex-related industries. Attempts by the new state employees to organize in unions are ruthlessly suppressed for breaking that internal unity of the working class.

November

Sheridan stars in North British blockbuster “Orangeheart”. The film follows the exploits of the mighty knight Thomas Al-Sheradin as he fights against witches, Queen’s spies, Rupert Murdoch and Real Madrid.

He is awarded the Golden Raspberry for his outstanding performance.

December

Sheridan welcomes a North Korean delegation, sent by Kim Jong Il to share and exchange personality cult knowledge for the benefit of the two great nations. Some days later, Kim Jong Il is reported to have made a crackling speech with football similitudes. He also announces his intention to sue Hollywood for defamation over the film “Team America”.

January 2008

The SWP tables a motion at Parliament suggesting that socialism should cease to be the official description of the North British socio-political system as it may be alienating to non-socialist Muslims. Sheridan agrees.

CWI-Scotland members die of collective heart attack. No one notices.

February,

Sheridan delivers some more speeches.

March,

The nation is shocked as Sheridan is reported to have had a tanning accident. Disappointment sweeps the country as an STS spokesperson announces that the Great Leader was unharmed and more orange than ever!

April,

Without political opponents to play the hero against, Sheridan gets bored. He orders the North British army to invade England and take over Manchester. Cupids is finally merged with the state owned North British Sex Industry.

Westminster demands an explanation. Sheridan refuses to answer and announces his intention to sue the English government for libel, as he has never, ever been to Cupids.

May,

The English army retakes Manchester and within days crosses the border. It enters Edinburgh and overthrows the Sheridan-SWP regime.

This is the first time in history that the Scottish people are happy to see the English army marching into the country.



Against Party Bureaucracy by korakious
March 29, 2007, 1:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

As a follow up to my previous post about Venezuela, here’s an article from Montly Review making exactly the same point as I did.

Against Party Bureaucracy:
Venezuela’s PSUV and Socialism from Below

by George Ciccariello-Maher

In recent weeks, it has become clear that three of the major parties constituting the Chavista coalition will not immediately dissolve themselves to pave the way for the construction of the unified socialist party (PSUV) that president Hugo Chávez has demanded be created to usher in the next phase of the revolution. These “dissidents” include the Homeland for All party (PPT), the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV), and the broad-based social-democratic party PODEMOS.

Their refusal has created a political firestorm of sorts: Ismael García, head of PODEMOS and perhaps the most openly critical of the president’s proposal, refused to be forced into any “single line of thinking.” He was promptly attacked by many Chavistas, and Chávez himself indirectly accused García of “raising the flags of the right.” García himself has perhaps deepened the tensions on both sides by attacking the “fascist mindset” of those who would oppose pluralism within the Chavista ranks.

This falling-out has been deemed a serious crisis by many, but, while both internal and external critics of the unified party speak of an impending authoritarianism, their stance obscures the pernicious influence of party bureaucracies masquerading as “pluralism.” In the end, if it blunts the influence of these bureaucracies, this “crisis” may be a blessing in disguise for the PSUV and the Revolution as a whole.

A Constituent Assembly for the PSUV?

As an example, we could consider the recently named “technical committee” whose task it will be to formulate the basic structure of the PSUV and push forward its consolidation during the next few months. This committee was named directly by the president (another authoritarian gesture, according to critics) and consists of six members: vice president Jorge Rodríguez; governor of Miranda state, former vice president and minister, and longtime Chavista heavy-hitter Diosdado Cabello; minister of education (and president’s brother) Adan Chávez; militant activist and head of Venezuelan Popular Unity (UPV) Lina Ron; former nutrition minister and head of the Francisco Miranda Front (FFM) Erika Farías; and the last-minute addition of Antonia Muñoz, governor of the state of Portuguesa.

Now consider, if you will, the demand issued by PODEMOS: the election of a constituent party assembly as the first step to constructing a unified program. If such an election were held today, according to the breakdown of Chavista votes in the December presidential election, this committee would (hypothetically) look much different: it would most likely consist of three members of the Chavista MVR (the largest vote-getter by far, which has already announced its intention to dissolve to pave the way for the PSUV), one member of PODEMOS, one member of PPT, and perhaps one member of the PCV.

What does a comparison between the existing technical committee and a hypothetical election tell us? For starters, of the technical committee that Chávez named to drive the PSUV, only Diosdado Cabello raises eyebrows as a potentially opportunistic party bureaucrat. Rodríguez, a psychiatrist by trade whose father was tortured and murdered by police in 1976 (and whose sister is a member of the Socialist League which their father founded), has remained largely outside official politics, with the exception of a brief and commendable stint as head of the National Electoral Council. While Adan Chávez, Farías, and Muñoz are all MVR members, they also attest to the internal variety of the central organ of Chavismo: Muñoz, for example, is a self-described “fighting woman” who was even expelled from the party for 22 months for breaking ranks to run against official MVR candidates. (The fact that Farías is an out lesbian and that Muñoz was added to create a gender balance speaks for itself).

The naming of “Commander” Lina Ron is even more revealing. Ron is as hard-line as they come: a street activist by nature, she has shunned all offers of institutional positions in favor of mobilizing the poorest sectors of Venezuelan society to the radical wing of the Chavista movement. Formerly linked to the Bolivarian Circles, Ron defines her UPV as an organization populated by “radicals, hardliners, men and women of violence,” the shock-troops of Chavismo, whose devotion to the revolution is unshakeable (UPV’s logo speaks for itself: a fist punching a palm). Chávez has on many occasions distanced himself from Ron, especially around the time of the 2002 coup when his government was forced to take a decidedly moderate tack (he once described her as “uncontrollable”). Praise has not been lacking, however, as Chávez has also referred to Ron as “a soldier who deserves the respect of all Venezuelans.”

The naming of Ron to the PSUV technical committee reveals one thing above all: a commitment to attack party bureaucracy. This, too, explains the cool response of organizations like PODEMOS who, according to Lina Ron herself, are only seeking to protect their privileged position within the revolution: these privileges, in the form of governorships and mayoralties, belong not to the parties but to the Revolution. Rather than recognizing this, according to Ron, PODEMOS had chosen the path of “gathering a club of friends in the Hotel Hilton, covered by the major press, to challenge my commander-in-chief.” As Ron sees it, the future PSUV will finally dispense with this internal hierarchy: “the hour has come, in the united party, for everyone to enjoy equal conditions.” Indeed, a full-page communiqué from UPV published recently in Últimas Noticias takes aim at PODEMOS, which it argues has “created a rupture within the Chavista bases only for the sake of the arrogance of party managers,” and who as a result are weakening revolutionary unity and “doing the Empire a favor.”

A similar pattern emerges when we consider the PSUV’s “promotional commission,” a body dedicated to the ideological development of the embryonic party (and which was also named by the president). This committee also includes some more conservative Chavistas like MVR general director Francisco Ameliach, but what is particularly notable is that nearly half of this commission have a past in guerrilla movements of one kind or another. This extends from octogenarians Guillermo García Ponce, formerly of the PCV and several armed movements and currently editor of Diario VEA to a younger generation of urban guerrillas like Ali Rodríguez Araque, who also served as head of PDVSA, and William Fariñas, formerly associated with the far-left Bandera Roja (Red Flag). While the PPT and PCV are represented, in Rodríguez Araque and current minister of popular participation (and author of the Law on Communal Councils) Davíd Velásquez, respectively, PODEMOS is conspicuously absent.

From Passive Representation to Active Construction

It is this attack on party bureaucracy that explains the tense intra-Chavista relations prevailing since December 16th, when Chávez announced the formation of the PSUV and the precondition that parties must dissolve in order to enter the new organization. The “glum faces” that Michael Lebowitz noted that night in the Teresa Carreño Theater represented the recognition that party privileges were under attack from the top as well as from the bottom. This paradoxical top-bottom alliance, one which takes as its point of departure a hostility to bureaucratized middle sectors, is perhaps best expressed in Chávez’s oft-repeated argument that the votes garnered by the various parties in the past election “belong to Chávez, that is, they belong to the people.” In the same speech, Chávez was explicit about the threat that the PSUV poses for party hierarchies: “For this new era we need a new political structure that is placed not at the service of parties and their distinct colors, but rather at the service of the people and the Revolution.”

But how, procedurally, is it possible to circumvent party hierarchies while avoiding top-down authoritarianism? This is certainly a difficult task, but I will argue that when we compare the provisional timeline for the constitution of the PSUV with the counter-proposal offered by PODEMOS, the differences become clear. Specifically, the PSUV timeline foresees the following stages, taking place under the guidance of the technical committee: the first stage, already underway, involves the selection of 11,000 “promoters,” or activists chosen for their exemplary ethical values, whose task it will be to travel the country activating, in the second stage (beginning March 24th), “socialist battalions.” It will be these “promoters” and “battalions” who will carry out a census and registry of the new party in preparation for elections during the third stage (after June 24th). This election will give rise to a fourth stage, in which a constituent party assembly will formulate the PSUV’s program (between August and November), which will then finally be voted upon by the new party’s membership in a nationwide referendum.

How does this differ from the demands of the “dissident” Chavista parties? On the surface, the disagreement is about timing, but this conceals a more fundamental difference. PODEMOS has essentially refused to dissolve until they know the shape of the future PSUV, and are demanding that elections to a constituent assembly precede their adherence to any program. While one wonders how they plan to participate in such an election while representing their existing parties, the point is clear: the second largest Chavista party is hoping for a PSUV constitutional assembly which reflects their current electoral weight, thereby granting them a privileged position in the drafting of a party program that suits their needs. Hence PODEMOS has recently released their own proposal for the structure of the elections to the PSUV founding assembly: these should be 50% local, 30% on the state level, and 20% national. This 20% leaves more than enough space for the existing party bureaucracies to slide smoothly into the driver’s seat of the new organization.

On the other hand, Chávez’s timeline envisions a longer process which is more actively driven by the base: the “promoters” and “battalions” will essentially “go to the people” in the Maoist sense of the phrase, in order to educate and prepare them to construct the party themselves. This is clearer when we consider that the founding congress will be built on the representation of “socialist electoral areas,” thereby privileging the election of local as opposed to national delegates. Hence while PODEMOS seeks to preserve their privilege by promoting a process of passive representation based on immediate partisan preferences, the timeline provided by Chávez is instead centered upon facilitating the active construction of the PSUV from below. It is this crucial difference that is overlooked by such observers as Margarita López Maya, who in clinging to an impoverished and representationalist view of democracy misses the fact that the best way to enable grassroots democracy is to check the power of party elites.

Despite talk of “crisis,” the unwillingness of PODEMOS to embrace this process unreservedly might end up being their final gift to the revolution. If this active construction of the PSUV from the bottom up is allowed to proceed unhindered by those who would seek to immobilize the process, if the elections to the constituent party assembly can take place without the stale bureaucrats of the past, then the PSUV might be able — if only for the time being — to slow the creeping tide of bureaucratic petrification that threatens to hollow out the Revolution from within. That many such threats exist within the MVR as well, an organization which is already seeking a smooth infiltration into the PSUV, is yet another aspect of this danger that will need to be confronted throughout the entire process in the year ahead.



A Declaration of Trotskyism against Trotskyists by korakious
March 29, 2007, 12:59 am
Filed under: sectariana, Trollings
The Squirrel Vanguard:

  • Reaffirms its belief in the validity of the theory of Permanent Revolution
  • Reaffirms its commitment to the fundamental principle of the political independence of the working class and its vanguard.
  • Restates its opposition to bureaucracy, Stalinism and everything related.

However, the Vanguard denounces, in the strongest manner:




One party, one vanguard. by korakious
March 28, 2007, 3:35 pm
Filed under: Chavez, Venezuela

A couple of days ago, Hugo Chavez publicly called for the dissolution of the constituent parties of the government coalition into a single united, revolutionary socialist party. Chavez argued that the Bolivarian Revolution is entering a new phase of increased intensity that will “sharpen the contradictions” and that in order for the revolution to be successfully pushed forward, a new, strong and united socialist party must be established in order to reduce sectarian in fighting and be thus more effective in fighting the state bureaucracy which is, correctly, seen as the main enemy of the Bolivarian project. 13 of 24 parties that make up the coalition immediately agreed to the proposed unification, while others have required more time to internally debate the subject.

Sujatha Fernandes reports that the proposition has been met with mixed public sentiment. While many support the project, others have expressed concern about
its top down character, arguing that unity should be the product of grassroots processes rather than leadership directives. This is in line with the general criticisms of the Bolivarian process as a Bonapartist project of the Venezuelan national bourgeoisie.

I would say that first, we are not aware as to what extent this has been discussed at the base. As far as we know, Chavez’s announcement might have well been discussed internally. In fact, it would be rather odd for the majority of the coalition parties to agree to a unification upon its announcement, if it had not already been considered within their appropriate party structures.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with establishing a united socialist party, putting forward a revolutionary programme. As long as it is structured in a democratic manner, allowing a multitude of opinions to be expressed and affect policy formation, I believe that such unitarism is in fact a goal to strive to. It could also be argued that the dissolution of current parties within a new socialist and radically democratic formation can help destroy a large chunk of the cancerous bureaucracy that plagues the movement. I don’t think that one of the parties that reacted less than enthusiastically to the proposal was the Communist Party of Venezuela is coincidental. Such a merging, if carried out, will cost many a “professional revolutionary” his job.

Despite my instinctive hostility to “great leaders”, I do have high hopes for this endeavour. Chavez stated that the party will be “democratic and humanist” – I’ve no idea what the latter’s supposed to mean – and given that his record in government is one of constant democratization of the Venezuelan state, I do not, yet, have any reasons to believe that he is a hypocrite.

Contrary to other populist leaders, Chavez has not only delivered what he promised, but he constantly presents in himself in an ever more radical light. It could be that the social processes in Venezuela are pushing him leftwards and that he goes along with the current for opportunist reasons, or it could just be that he is indeed a man of principles that found himself in a position of supreme power. The future will show.

What’s certain is that Chavez deserves our active support for every step he takes against the bourgeoisie and our criticism for every unnecessary delay and/or retreat.



When employees of the bourgeois state speak more sense than many on the left, you know there is a problem by korakious
March 26, 2007, 1:59 am
Filed under: Imperialism, NATO, Yugoslavia

The following was posted on The Socialist Unity Blog which by the way is very good.

This weekend marks the eighth anniversary of the U.S.-led NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. The implications of that action are still with us.

‘The onslaught that began March 24, 1999, continued for 78 days, causing an estimated 10,000 civilian casualties and inflicting widespread damage on the country’s infrastructure. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s unprecedented attack against a sovereign state was done without United Nations authority and in violation of the UN Charter and international law. It also set a dangerous precedent: It transformed NATO from a purely defensive organization into a powerful alliance prepared to intervene militarily wherever it chose to do so. And it paved the way for the unilateral U.S. invasion of Iraq.

‘Bill Clinton and other NATO leaders justified the bombing on humanitarian grounds. It was alleged that genocide was taking place in Kosovo and that Serbian security forces were driving out the Albanian population. Later, it was disclosed there was no genocide in Kosovo. (Of course, the outcome appears to be an independent quasi-state of Kosovo, as shall be recommended next week to the UN Security Council.) Before the bombing, several thousand Albanians had been displaced within Kosovo as a result of the fighting between Serbian security forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army. But nearly all of the Albanians who fled Kosovo did so after the bombing began. The real ethnic cleansing came after Serbian forces withdrew and more than 200,000 Serbs, Roma, Jews and other non-Albanians were forced to flee; more than 150 Christian churches and monasteries have since been burned by Albanian mobs.

‘The bombing had little, if anything, to do with humanitarian concerns. It had everything to do with the determination of the United States to maintain NATO as an essential military organization. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the withdrawal of Warsaw Pact armies had called into question NATO’s reason for existence. Why was such a powerful and expensive military organization needed to defend Western Europe when there was no longer any threat from Soviet communism?

‘The armed rebellion by the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army provided Washington with the opportunity needed to demonstrate to Western Europe that NATO was still needed. So, it was essential to convince the news media and the public that atrocities and ethnic cleansing were taking place in Kosovo.This was done with relative ease by a campaign of misinformation aimed at demonizing the Serbs and by assertions by Mr. Clinton, Tony Blair and other NATO spokesmen that hundreds of young Albanian men were “missing” and that mass executions and genocide were taking place in Kosovo. Compliant journalists and a credulous public accepted these lies.

‘In April, 1999, at the peak of the bombing, Mr. Clinton gathered NATO’s political leaders in Washington to celebrate the alliance’s 50th birthday. The party was used as a platform for Mr. Clinton to announce a new”strategic concept” — NATO was to be modernized and made ready for the new century. There was no reference to defence or the settling of international disputes by peaceful means or of complying with the principles of the UN Charter. The new emphasis would be on “conflict prevention,” “crisis management” and “crisis response operation.”

‘Usually when a treaty is to be amended or changed, it must be approved and ratified by the legislatures of the contracting states. This was not done with the North Atlantic Treaty. It was changed by an announcement from the U.S. president, with little or no debate by the legislatures of member countries. It may well be that NATO should be in a position to intervene militarily in the internal affairs of another country, but it surely is essential that the ground rules for such intervention be in accordance withthe UN Charter and only after concurrence of member states. NATO should not become a convenient political “cover” to justify the use of military power by the United States.’