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Success of Macedonian Truce Depends on Villagers' Return.
the Washington Post
By John Ward Anderson
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, July 28, 2001; Page A16
LESOK, Macedonia, July 27 -- After four days of terror, 85-year-old Kona Bogdanovski was so disoriented that at first she did not recognize her son when he walked through the door at 6 p.m. on Thursday. The frail, almost deaf woman had been hanging on in this largely deserted village with no electricity, water or phone, and her only visitors were armed strangers who broke down the door and ransacked her house.
"I held her and we both started crying," her son, Blagoja Bogdanovski, 50, recalled today.
"She was asking, 'Is it you?' and I was saying, 'Yes, it's me.' She said, 'The Albanians came with weapons and harassed me and I was very frightened and there was no electricity. I don't know how I'm going to continue staying here.'
"And I told her, 'From now on, I'm going to stay at home and take care of you and protect you.' " Bogdanovski said he had left the village on an emergency early in the week and could not return to get her because of security blockades.
Bogdanovski and his mother are among only a handful of people who remain in this hillside village, whose population in normal times is about 400 Macedonian Slavs. Many of the rest are camped out on the front steps of parliament in the capital, Skopje, about 25 miles to the east, protesting that the government did nothing when ethnic Albanian rebels drove them from their homes this week. Now, with the rebels gone under the terms of a new cease-fire, they say the government is doing nothing to guard the village so they can return.
Getting the villagers back in their houses is a top priority and a step toward ending a simmering six-month ethnic conflict before it explodes into full-scale civil war. The exodus from this and other otherwise inconsequential hamlets this week offered a chilling hint that the conflict might be veering toward the large-scale "ethnic cleansing" that solidified hatreds and fueled fighting in other Balkan wars of the past decade.
The success or failure of the new cease-fire could depend largely on villages such as Lesok, and whether fighting breaks out if and when their residents return.
Pinto Teixeira, the European Union's ambassador to Macedonia, visited Lesok today. He said it was important for villagers to return "to show it's possible for Albanians and Macedonians to live together." But he acknowledged it would take "courageous" people because the risks were so high. "That's why I felt it was important to come here today, so the people know they are not alone."
"If it is safe, everybody would like to come home," said Gligororska Violeta, 53, who stayed in Skopje four nights before returning Thursday. "But how can I persuade my children to come back when you can't even find bread here?"
High-level peace talks broke down nine days ago over whether Albanian should become Macedonia's second official language. The collapse and what international observers said were a series of provocative cease-fire breaches by the ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army helped spark three days of fierce fighting this week in and around the city of Tetovo.
The town is a focal point of the revolt, whose leaders say they want greater political, economic and cultural rights for ethnic Albanians, who make up about 30 percent of Macedonia's 2 million people. Members of the Slavic majority say the real aim is to split up the country.
A new cease-fire was signed Wednesday. High-level talks have not resumed, although officials said they hope to convene them Saturday. Under terms of the cease-fire, rebels withdrew from villages they had seized around Tetovo.
On Thursday, about 100 people from Lesok were bused from parliament back to the village. But most merely picked up a few belongings and returned by the same buses to Skopje, residents here said, because there is still no water, power or security.
The new agreement requires government and rebel forces to stay about 500 yards away from most villages in a demilitarized corridor running northeast from Tetovo to the border of Kosovo.
"I will tell my friends to come back, but I'm not sure it's safe," said Filipovski Stojce, 60, as he took shelter from the sun with a neighbor under a cool grape arbor. "No one has told us it's safe, but it will be more secure if all of us are here."
"There are some things stronger than fear," said his friend, Kocevski Drakce, 50. He shrugged and stammered in English, "Home sweet home, let's hope."
Villagers here offered different versions of what had caused them to leave.
Stojce and Drakce, members of the Macedonian majority, said that about 35 rebels walked through the village in three groups firing into the air and ordering everyone to leave. One house was set afire "and they started shelling and shooting at houses and told us to leave or they wouldn't guarantee our lives," Stojce said.
Other residents said that rather than direct threats, it was the high level of personal insecurity that led them to head for the capital. While all of their homes had been ransacked in their absence, the town shows relatively little serious damage.
As often happens here, members of the opposing ethnic group had a much different account.
Llokman Elezi, 49, the ethnic Albanian mayor of a 13-village region that includes Lesok, denied that any Macedonians had been forced out.
"No, no, no!" he said. "No one has any reason to be afraid. They are 100 percent safe. The NLA came out with a declaration for this region saying no civilians should be harassed, and they should not be afraid, except those with blood on their hands."
The problem, he said, was that the Macedonian government had given small arms to the villagers to protect themselves. The villagers had fired indiscriminately, killing three people. "After they had used all of their ammunition, they left the village, and they were too afraid to come back," he said.
Displaced Macedonian villagers seethe as they queue for food.
ZILCE, Macedonia, July 27 (AFP) -
In a cloud of dust, a Red Cross truck arrives in this northwest Macedonian hamlet where seething Macedonian Slav refugees are queueing to receive their first small packages of international assistance.
"We have become become refugees on our own territory," said one elderly Macedonian man on crutches, looking tearfully at his wife, as they queued up in the heavy sun to obtain the first ration tickets of their life.
They are among 350 inhabitants of the village of Lesok who have fled and taken refuge in Zilce, following intense fighting over the past week near the flashpoint northwest town of Tetovo between ethnic Albanian guerrillas and government forces.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says 8,000 Macedonian Slav people have fled their villages overall, fearing for their lives as ethnic Albanian rebels fight for what they say are minority rights.
Most took refuge with their families in the capital Skopje, while others went to villages around Tetovo, the biggest Albanian town in Macedonia.
None of them believe Thursday's reported withdrawal by ethnic Albanian guerrillas of the National Liberation Army from key positions they had controlled over the past three weeks will allow them to return to their homes.
"They (the guerrillas) are still there, somewhere in the hills. We can never go home," said Dafinka, a Macedonian Slav woman who had fled Lesok.
"We have left our houses to save our lives, and we will never be able to return because they (the Albanians) are there," said Miki.
Tension suddenly rises among the refugees as they queue for rations in front of the ICRC's improvised shelter at the sudden sound of muffled explosions from somewhere in the distance.
The tension turns into consternation when the refugees open packets of humanitarian aid which have just been delivered to them.
"Is that the price of our lives... flour and oil?" said one elderly woman, as other women, dressed in black, look in disbelief at the small packets of flour at their feet.
The villagers suddenly turn their ire on the international community, which has been accused by the Skopje government of backing the ethnic Albanian rebels.
"We have been sacrificed," said one man. "All that is the fault of the government, of the so-called international community which is backing ethnic Albanian guerrillas."
Another refugee suddenly attacked members of the English-speaking press.
"Go, all of you, it is all your fault," he said, threatening to tear up the notes of a journalist.
Skopje Accuses U.S. of Supplying Albanian Rebels.
Agence France Presse
BERLIN, Jul 27, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) The Macedonian secret service has evidence that a U.S. military helicopter has delivered supplies in recent days near Albanian rebel positions, government spokesman Antonio Milososki told the German daily Berliner Zeitung Thursday.
Milososki was quoted as saying that there was "video footage and witness reports" of supply boxes being unloaded from a U.S. helicopter near areas controlled by rebel fighters.
He said that the films had not been released "so that we don't get into any more trouble" with the U.S. government.
U.S. peacekeepers in Kosovo strongly denied the claims, the newspaper reported.
No rebels' withdrawal in Macedonia.
the Times of India
SKOPJE: NATO said on Thursday it could not say whether ethnic Albanian guerrillas had started withdrawing from key positions in northwestern Macedonia, as top Western officials prepared to visit Skopje in a bid to rescue a tattered truce.
"We do not have many details. We are very much waiting for them. We would expect all the parties to abide to what they concluded," NATO spokesman Barry Johnson said.
Under the deal, brokered late on Wednesday by NATO's special envoy Pieter Feith, the guerrillas of the self-styled National Liberation Army (NLA) agreed to retreat from positions and villages they have gained control of since the July 5 ceasefire.
The withdrawal was due to start at 6:00 am (0400 GMT), Johnson said.
However, he said there was no confirmation on the ground that the rebels had started dismantling their checkpoints and withdrawing their units from the villages and roads around Tetevo.
The rebels' political representative Ali Ahmeti signed the accord on Wednesday, under which all rebel checkpoints on the road are to be dismantled, while all paramilitary forces are to withdraw 500 meters from the last house in all the villages controlled by the guerrillas since July 5, according to the terms of the agreement.
The withdrawal of the rebels was a condition of the Macedonian government for it to continue respecting the ceasefire and to restrain from further violence.
Although Johnson said late on Wednesday that the accord was signed between the representatives of the government and the NLA rebels, sources close to the Skopje authorities insisted the agreement was sealed solely between NATO and Albanian "terrorists".
The accord came on the eve of a hastily arranged visit by NATO Secretary General George Robertson, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and the president of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Mircea Geoana, which aims to press for a return to a ceasefire.
The top envoys were to meet Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski and other Albanian political leaders, for talks aimed at resumption of political negotiations focused to solve the crisis in the country.
Robertson on Wednesday described the situation in Macedonia as "critical," calling on "all those involved to demonstrate leadership by taking the right decisions to follow the path to peace and not to war".
"Any efforts to resolve the situation militarily can only result in the wreckage of the country and the inflicting of grave civilian casualties," he said.
His visit was arranged after an outbreak in fighting around Tetovo threatened to scupper the ceasefire and after mobs went on an anti-West and anti-Albanian rampage late on Tuesday in the capital.
Late on Wednesday, several hundred pro-Macedonian protestors marched along the central streets of Skopje, unsuccessfully trying to reach the residence of the US ambassador, protected by strong police forces.
The protestors, shouting "Macedonia, Macedonia" and carrying the country's flags, later marched past the British and German embassies without any incidents.
The United States expressed its determination on Wednesday to continue helping Macedonia search for peace, as it condemned violence against Western embassies fueled by what it called "irresponsible" charges of favoritism.
"We continue to reach out to all the political parties in the multi-ethnic Macedonian government to continue promoting their working together to find a peaceful solution to this," said State Department spokesman Philip Reeker.
Local media reported that Trajkovski gave guarantees to a delegation of Macedonian Slav villagers who were expelled from their houses in the Tetovo region that they would be able to return home late on Thursday.
Their security is to be guaranteed by the OSCE and EU observers, the channel reported.
Some 8,000 people fled their homes in Tetovo and its surroundings following the latest clashes, a government crisis committee said on Wednesday.
Trajkovski earlier warned that the country "will never allow ethnic cleansing on its territory," insisting that Macedonian security forces would "use all means to protect its citizens."
Vowing cooperation with the international community, Trajkovski nevertheless warned that if peace "efforts fail, the Macedonian security forces will use all their potential to protect citizens and their property and destroy terrorist groups."
Macedonian rebels attack police checkpoint: mayor
TETOVO, Macedonia, July 27 (AFP) -
Ethnic Albanian rebels in northern Macedonia fired on a police checkpoint near the town of Jegunovce Friday, drawing retaliatory shooting but not causing any casualties, the town's mayor, Petre Antovski, said.
The exchange, which lasted around half an hour and occurred near a chemical and metals factory 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of the flashpoint town of Tetovo, came on the second day of a ceasefire agreement signed between the rebels and NATO peacebrokers.
OSCE: Special Report:
Human Rights-Related Complaints
Related to the EAAG in the Tetovo Area
On Friday, July 20, the Mission human rights specialist spent the day in the Tetovo area continuing to address human rights concerns specifically related to the conduct of the ethnic Albanian armed group in that region. The allegations under investigation related not only to the group's treatment of ethnic Macedonians in the Tetovo area, but also towards persons in the ethnic Albanian community who objected to the EAAG's (Extreme Albanian Armed Groups) activities or tactics.
The Mission specialist confirmed reports from the OSCE's Tetovo-area Monitors that, even during the ceasefire, the ethnic Macedonian civilian population north of Tetovo is under heavy pressure from the EAAG to leave. This pressure takes the form of kidnappings, temporary detentions, and serious, persistent forms of intimidation and restrictions on the movement of civilians attempting to engage in ordinary activities such as agriculture, shopping, and going to work. The conduct of the EAAG is consistent with an attempt to ethnically cleanse that area.
Furthermore, this conduct is having a negative effect on both the stability of the ceasefire in the Tetovo area and on efforts to achieve a broader political settlement. EAAG roadblocks and vehicle stops are accurately perceived by government authorities as dangerous to the ethnic Macedonian civilian community north of Tetovo rather than solely in terms of military threats or technical ceasefire violations. In addition, the EAAG is currently engaging in actions associated with civil administration of the area under their control [e.g., regulating traffic, conducting "police patrols," closing brothels]. Unfortunately, their treatment of ethnic Macedonian civilians in the course of these activities actively discourages a perception that said community would be safe, let alone fairly treated, should the EAAG remain in control of their current area of influence in this region. Thus, to the extent the EAAG is engaged in behavior that creates intolerable conditions for ethnic Macedonians during the ceasefire, it is both destabilizing the ceasefire and discouraging a political settlement.
A distinct change in the attitude displayed towards Mission vehicles and activities by persons in ethnic Albanian areas in and south of Tetovo was also noted. Whereas the Mission has previously been welcomed and received a friendly reaction as it drove through these communities, a distinct wariness and even a chill was perceived in the general tenor of the average person on the street in ethnic Albanian areas around Tetovo. For example, one young boy in the Poroj area, sitting with a playmate of the same age, began to wave at a Mission vehicle but was immediately stopped by his companion. Adults observed the HDO specialist's movements carefully. It appears there has been a sea change in the ethnic Albanian community towards international observers in the Tetovo area.
The Mission has received numerous allegations of kidnappings, beatings, robberies, and intimidation of ethnic Macedonians at EAAG checkpoints, checkpoints that are themselves a violation of the ceasefire agreement. It is impossible to present a figure for each of these categories. The Mission believes that incidents of robberies and intimidation at EAAG checkpoints are significantly under-reported and that the most likely explanation for this phenomenon is fear of retaliation by the EAAG. [Note: when the ethnic Macedonians and ethnic Serbs were displaced from villages in the Kumanovo area, the Mission discovered these communities lacked familiarity with the human rights reporting process. The Mission then engaged in community outreach and education with these ethnic groups and has confirmed that ethnic Macedonians in the Tetovo area know how to report human rights complaints.]
Circumstantial evidence indicates that the number of incidents of robbery and intimidation is likely to be substantial. When contacted by the Mission HDO, villagers give indications that these events are occurring but also indicate that any missing property or threat is not worth the perceived risk involved in making a complaint. Relatives and friends in particularly vulnerable villages are noted to discourage persons from coming forward. Indeed, several villagers in Lesok complained that the recent presence of EU and UNHCR officials in the village exposed the villagers to danger and retaliation when the officials left.
The Mission is most likely to be informed of allegations related to missing/ kidnapped/disappeared persons, largely because the success of the Mission in locating missing persons results in these cases being brought to its attention by families seeking the Mission's assistance in locating a loved one. As of 23 July, the Mission has received credible allegations that 25 persons have disappeared or are allegedly detained by the EAAG operating in the Tetovo area. This number includes ethnic Macedonian civilians and ethnic Albanians who were serving in the Ministry of Interior as regular officers or as reservists at the time of their disappearance. It does not include 3 persons held by the EAAG in Raduca. An additional number of ethnic Macedonian civilians have reportedly been kidnapped, shown military preparations of the EAAG, and then released. [The Mission has met with ethnic Albanian activists to check on their situation. At this time the Mission has received 1 report of a disappearance of an ethnic Albanian from a police checkpoint since the ceasefire. Although this is a surprising number, it is unusual for this ethnic group not to report such incidents when they occur.]
Human rights related complaints specific to the alleged conduct of the EAAG in the Tetovo area now include: illegal detentions of civilians, beatings and other physical abuse, forced labor [detained persons report having been forced to dig ditches, some ethnic Albanians report they were similarly forced to assist the EAAG], forced conscription, use of juveniles in areas of engagement, intimidation of ethnic Macedonian civilians [including women, children, and the elderly] at checkpoints, looting and wanton destruction of property, robbery, ethnic cleansing [5 ethnic Macedonian villages primarily inhabited by retirees have been cleared of inhabitants by the EAAG], and engaging in a firefight with automatic weapons without warning in an area immediately adjacent to civilian dwellings and where children were at play.
In addition to the foregoing, the Ministry of Interior alleges that the EAAG has executed a number of ethnic Albanians for alleged collaboration with the government and other acts of perceived "disloyalty" to the EAAG. The Mission can confirm that a number of ethnic Albanians in the Tetovo area appear to have been murdered. It is not in a position to assess who might be the perpetrators. The condition of the missing ethnic Albanian members of the police forces cannot be determined at this time. We note that the missing include the Colonel who is the commander of the watchtower at Jacince as well as relatives of ethnic Albanians serving with the government.
Finally, the information available to the Mission strongly indicates that thus far only the EAAG has engaged in the use of mines, and the EAAG in the Tetovo area has specifically acknowledged employing these devices to discourage movement in the hills.
Representative cases: On Friday the Mission HDO investigated the situation of 3 ethnic Macedonians who had reportedly been hospitalized after being kidnapped and released by the EAAG in the Tearce area. All 3 were recovering from injuries as severe as any beating the Mission has investigated in the course of the current situation.
All 3 were unwilling to be interviewed and would not allow photographs of their injuries. [It is important to observe that, although both ethnic groups express fear of the possible consequences of making a report of a human rights violation, ethnic Albanians then disclose their complaints. In contrast, ethnic Macedonians express extreme fear of the EAAG and usually cannot be induced to describe their experiences to the Mission.] All three nodded their heads vigorously in agreement with the statement that sometimes people did not want to cooperate with an investigation because they and their families had been threatened, and continued to nod in agreement when the HDO added, "sometimes even with death."
These persons appeared extremely fearful of Mission's presence, but ultimately consented to showing their injuries to the investigator. There were chafing marks on their wrists that appeared consistent with their hands being bound. By observing the pattern of the bruises and abrasions, it appeared they had been beaten whilst their hands were bound behind their backs. From the appearance of their injuries, it appeared they had been struck with rifle butts and wooden or metal rods, objects typically associated with the kinds of deep bruising observed on the subjects. [One person stated briefly that a particular pattern of injuries had been caused by being struck with a wooden broom handle and a police baton.] All had been beaten on the soles of their feet as well as on the back of the legs. One had reduced kidney function upon admission, but was improving.
These impressions were later confirmed in conversations with the attending doctor. It was also discovered that the 3 young men had attended an engagement party and were standing outside the house of one of them when a car with 3 armed NLA members drove up and accosted them. They were roughed up, blindfolded, and driven to a location where the beating was administered.
While at the hospital, the HDO received a report that at approximately 1100 hours that same day, another ethnic Macedonian had been kidnapped from his house near the football stadium in Drenovic. The Mission HDO and Senior Monitor attempted to investigate this report, however, as they approached the house they observed not only a new NLA sandbag emplacement immediately up the street from the residence, but also numerous uniformed and armed NLA personnel in the area observing their approach. It was determined that there was no one at the house and that the area was too unsecure to investigate the report further at that location.
The Mission also received a report that a house had been destroyed by "mortar fire" in Bogovinje the previous night. On 1 July the Mission had investigated a report of attempted forced recruiting by the NLA in Bogovinje and was concerned that there might be a connection between the incidents. The alleged forced recruitment attempt had been resisted by the father of the young man, and acknowledged members of the NLA had been killed and wounded in the incident. The Mission had found the original report credible and had noted with concern that threats of retaliation against the family had forced them into hiding.
Upon arriving in Bogovinje, Mission members found that the restaurant and residence of the family had been reduced to smoldering rubble. The team's effort to investigate the incident was interfered with by blatant intimidation of the witness they were interviewing, whilst the team was speaking to him.
The team had noted that a number of persons had observed their presence at the incident site. One vehicle with an EU license plate stopped approximately 100 meters away to observe the team. The occupants of that car flagged down a second vehicle, which blocked the egress of the Mission's parked car. Three persons in the second car had a brief conversation with the persons in the first vehicle, then walked up to the witness the team was interviewing. One of the 3 told the witness to "shut up." This interloper then told the team that the destruction of the property was the result of a personal dispute between the owners and criminals, not the activity of the NLA.* He directed the team to ask any other questions of the Mayor. When asked to identify himself and the source of his authority to direct the Mission's investigation, he left with the other 2 men.
Prior to this interference, the witness had stated that the NLA had "mortared" the unoccupied house during the night. He was specific that it was the action of the NLA. From the witness' description and the team's view of the scene, it appears more likely that a line of sight weapon or explosives placed in the buildings was used, rather than a mortar per se. The witness reported that fuel in the house was ignited by the bombs and caused the fire that totally destroyed the property. This was consistent with the team's observations.
The ethnic Albanian newspaper, Fakti, reported in its weekend edition for 21-22 July that, "On Thursday night the house and restaurant of Ramiz Berzati from [Bogovinje] were completely burned down. Ordinary citizens tell us that this is most probably an act of the local residents as a sign of revulsion because the owner of the house was known as a collaborator of the police and a traitor, and because exactly in front of this house the NLA commander, Shpendi, lost his life."
*Note: The NLA has publicly boasted that it has closed the brothels and "bars with the trafficked women" in Bogovinje. In this Mission's view, the likelihood that the NLA would tolerate a chronic private dispute between criminals in a town where the NLA has sufficient control to shut down organized criminal activity, and allow it to be pursued through the use of a weapon, the use of which constitutes a ceasefire violation attributeable to the NLA, is virtually zero.
And Now For Something Really Shrill About Macedonia...
by Rick Rozoff and Jared Israel [27 July 2001]
Today Agence France Presse (AFP) published a report about protest demonstrations in Macedonia.
The 'AFP' report contains the shrill, defamatory stereotypes used with increasing frequency in the Western media to describe Macedonians, both ordinary citizens and officials.
We are witnessing one of those media campaigns so uniform, scripted and predictable - and consistently inaccurate - that one has to suspect coordination between the controlling elements of the news media and certain Western foreign offices and covert services.
Examples abound in this brief 'AFP' dispatch. Macedonians are pointedly, repeatedly and gratuitously identified as 'Slavs' (as opposed to what they are - Macedonians!) and their actions are labeled with such pejorative terms as: 'irate,' 'mob,' 'incited,' 'escalated,' 'irresponsible' and 'immature.'
"Mob of angry Slavs" is the phrase of choice indicating the mental image intended for the reader. And it is have some effect. Yesterday on one of the major American liberal news Websites a press wire headline read: "Anti-Albanian Riots Explode In Macedonia."
'HONEY, IS SOMETHING MISSING FROM THE ANTI-ALBANIAN RIOTS?' 'WHY YES, DEAR, THEY AREN'T ANTI-ALBANIAN.'
We have read a dozen or so reports on the protests and saw nothing factual to suggest an anti-Albanian flavor. Rather, even in these hostile Western media reports one could see that the protesters were focused and informed, with clear political, not ethnic, targets: NATO, the U.S., Britain and Germany, all for their role in undermining Macedonian sovereignty and assisting the so-called NLA terrorists. And really, shouldn't they be angry? NATO (led by the U.S.) is after all trying to destroy their country and their lives. (2)
But "crowd of angry Slavs" is the message that Western officials and their always-obliging media are drilling into the public's imagination.
Make no mistake, these distortions have a purpose: to dehumanize the victims of what is in fact going on in Macedonia, that is, large scale ethnic cleansing and national destruction
As has been the case throughout the assault on Yugoslavia, the tone of Imperial war propaganda is faux-liberal.
Here's how it worked starting with the secession of Croatia and Slovenia back in 1991, and, alas, how it is still working today.
A secessionist force is organized by the U.S. and or Germany and or England. This Western proxy force draws on elements which hark back to the old Nazi alliance of World War II (3) - in this case, the descendents of pro-Nazi Albanians, mainly from Kosovo. This force is ordered to attack, a process the media misdescribes as a rebellion by an oppressed local population. The fascist flavor of the 'rebels' is hidden from Western eyes. (In this case, we hear little about the rallying cry of the NATO proxy army attacking Macedonia, which is "Greater Albania," i.e., the re-creation of the map of the Balkans that existed only under Hitler.) Moreover, most of the media ignores the easily documented involvement of Western operatives (in this case the official NATO organization in Kosovo) in sponsoring and directing the attack. (4) The attempts of the nation under attack to defend itself are misdescribed as brutal repression and the victims are accused of racism.
What is the goal of this propaganda today? To prevent the development of a support movement for Macedonia among the public in NATO countries. The logical basis for supporting Macedonia is that a) it is the victim of Imperial attack, organized from Washington and b) it is being attacked on a racist basis, i.e. the attack appeals to anti-Slavic racism within the Albanian populations of the area. To prevent this kind of support movement from developing, the Western media and government officials turn matters upside down, portraying Macedonians as ethnic chauvinists and opponents of peace. One might call this strategy "Outflanking opposition from the Left." By feeding Western citizens the lie that Macedonia's "problem" is discrimination against Albanians which has spawned an "extremist" response, direct NATO intervention and occupation of territory can be presented as "peacekeeping" to "rebuild civil society" and other fairy tales.
The propaganda works. After she had watched the TV news, a decent but uninformed American told one of us, "It's a mess over there - I guess we better do something." Little did she know: 'we' have!
President Bush's brief visit to the massive U.S. military base ("Bondsteel" of all things) in Kosovo Tuesday was meant to deliver a message about Macedonia. Or rather, several messages.
MESSAGE ONE: THE MEANING OF KOSOVO
First, he said Kosovo is for Washington the model of progress through intervention. He told U.S. troops (and, of course, the world):
"Thanks to you and those who served before you, the people of Kosovo are able to buy food and find shelter, go to school, and get medical help."
Since Kosovo's current reality is that an estimated 350,000 non-Albanians and anti-fascist Albanians have been driven from their homes and are refugees in Serbia or elsewhere, or are dead, since the remaining Serbs and Roma ("Gypsies") live in conditions of terror, including daily beatings rape and murder, and we have documented the facts of this terror, since the U.S. has created in Kosovo a regime of open gangsterism (4a) - for Bush to say:
"the people of Kosovo are able to buy food and find shelter, go to school, and get medical help."
means that fascist tyranny is the U.S. model for progress; thus in Macedonia as well. (5)
Bush called for:
"a political settlement that 'addresses the legitimate grievance of the Albanian population while protecting Macedonia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.'
Since in fact the issue in Macedonia has nothing whatsoever to do with "legitimate grievances" but rather involves an invasion by U.S.-armed terrorists, what is this but a call for the Macedonians to surrender. Bush emphasized that such was his intent by the almost funny way he "threatened" the KLA terrorists (many of them UN-employed!) who are attacking Macedonia:
"..he also urged Kosovo Albanians to stop fueling the Macedonian conflict and 'focus on Kosovo.'"
Surely that sent terror through the ranks of the KLA or NLA or Kosovo Protection Corps - or NATO! - take your pick.
MESSAGE TWO: "LISTEN UP YOU DARN ALBANIANS!"
All of this constitutes a message also to those whom NATO's "NLA" proxy army has been targeting for recruits: Macedonians of Albanian descent. These ethnic Albanians have not been sufficiently receptive to the mix of terror and promises of 'Greater Albania' which the Kosovo Liberation Army invaders have used in the effort to elicit their "participation" in the "rebellion." Bush is telling these ethnic Albanians: Kosovo is our model. We are backing the terrorist secessionists in Macedonia just as strongly as we backed them in Kosovo, so join up or when our boys take over you can kiss your behind goodbye. This, as we have discussed elsewhere, is the basic 'recruiting' strategy of the U.S. proxy force, the Kosovo Liberation Army. (6)
If you think this sounds terribly conspiratorial, that a U.S. president would never promise ethnic harmony and deliver racist terror, just read the article, "What NATO Occupation Would Mean For Macedonians." Prior to occupation, NATO promised everything to Serbs in Kosovo. After occupation, it delivered a nightmare. (7)
MESSAGE THREE: THE U.S. IS READY TO OPENLY SEND IN TROOPS
But perhaps the key thing said by Bush was:
"America's contribution is essential, both militarily and politically." ('N.Y. Times,' 25 July 2001).
Many people were fooled by Bush's election promise to pull out of the Balkans. Instead of pulling out, he has continued with Clinton's policies, including the attack on Macedonia and the further encirclement of Russia with NATO bases. The continuity of these policies from elder Bush to Clinton to baby Bush means that U.S. policy is not dependent on the whims or personal economic interests of members of this or that US presidential administration, but rather is part of far-ranging strategic goals of the U.S. establishment, that is, the financial interests usually called Wall Street. The big prize is the former Soviet Union, the attempted conquest of which requires securing the Balkans as the southern staging ground for attack.
The "Kosovication" of Macedonia is part of that strategy. Bush's trip set the stage for a greatly intensified attack, including heightened demonization of Macedonia in the Western media, and direct NATO intervention. An ominous note: the U.S. is pulling its Embassy personnel out of Skopje. That is precisely what the U.S. did before bombing Yugoslavia. (7)
And of course, the story below says it all: the Macedonians' justified protests at NATO's sponsorship of terrorist invaders can be used as an excuse for - NATO invasion!
Below is the report from Agence France Presse (AFP):
JI & RR
Thursday July 26, 9:43 AM
US troops placed on alert after violence in Macedonia
WASHINGTON, July 25 (AFP) - An unspecified number of US troops in Europe were on alert Wednesday after attacks by irate protesters threatened the US and other Western embassies in Macedonia, a US defense official said.
"We do have units which have been alerted," the official said on condition of anonymity, refusing to elaborate.
Any decision whether to seek extra protection rests with US ambassador to Macedonia, Michael Einik, the official said, though the State Department was unaware of any such request late Wednesday, an official with that agency told
The troop alert follows attacks late Tuesday by violent protesters on embassies in the Macedonian capital of Skopje. A mob of angry Slavs, incited by allegations NATO tacitly supports ethnic Albanian rebels, damaged the US and other embassies with hurled projectiles, State Department officials said.
Despite the attacks, the United States remained determined in its efforts to help bring peace to Macedonia, though US officials and Balkan experts privately voiced concern the escalating strife and emergence of anti-NATO sentiment could complicate facilitating any settlement.
"We continue to reach out to all the political parties in the multi-ethnic Macedonian government to continue promoting their working together to find a peaceful solution to this," State Department spokesman Philip Reeker told reporters.
Reeker added that US special envoy for the Balkans, James Pardew, met earlier Wednesday with Macedonian President Boris Trajkowski to discuss the situation.
The mob violence came as clashes between Macedonian security forces and ethnic Albanian rebels flared anew, while refugees streamed out of the contested northwestern town of Tetovo as rebels advanced across northern Macedonia.
The Slav-dominated Macedonian government neither condemned the violence nor appealed for restraint Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the government of Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski, an opponent of Trajkovski's, has accused NATO of siding with the rebels and of seeking to turn Macedonia into an international protectorate under the control of the Western alliance.
The State Department refuted the charge.
"These kind of irresponsible press reports... irresponsible, immature statements from certain political leaders, are not helpful to the situation," Reeker said, denying that the United States or other NATO countries backed Albanian rebels.
The administration of President George W. Bush supported Macedonia "in its territorial integrity, in its sovereignty and in a future as a multi-ethnic state," Reeker insisted.
Washington has become all too-aware that the feud between Georgievski and Trajkovski is increasingly compromising the search for peace, with a top administration official warning that "political agendas aren't going to have anything to do when they are in the midst of a civil war and fighting for their lives."
Former National Security Council Balkans analyst Ivo Daalder directly accused Georgievski of trying to extract political mileage from the conflict.
"He has no interest in negotiating because he thinks he can win through the use of force," Daalder told AFP.
"He doesn't want a compromise," making a settlement in Macedonia "more difficult but not impossible."
(1) 'AFP' story can be read at http://sg.news.yahoo.com/010726/1/19qib.html
(2) SORRY VIRGINIA BUT THEY ARE NATO TROOPS, NOT 'REBELS' by Jared Israel with research by Rick Rozoff, George Thompson and Max Sinclair. Can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/mac/times2.htm
(3) The Roots of Kosovo Fascism; by George Thompson at http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/thompson/rootsof.htm
(4) "GERMAN PAPER CHARGES: U.S. IS 'ADVISING' ALBANIAN TERRORISTS" at http://emperors-clothes.com/docs/advise.htm
(4a) * Serbs kidnapped, Albanians subjected to gangster rule, these are the norms in the new Kosovo, argue Vanja Mekterovic, Vladimir Radomirovic and Jared Israel in 'Concentration camps in Kosovo: The KLA Archipelago' at http://emperors-clothes.com/news/reporter.htm '
(5) "I cannot give it a name but it seems like hell" by a Serbian woman from Kosovo at http://emperors-clothes.com/misc/name.htm
(6) "What is the KLA Strategy in Kosovo" - Interview with a Kosovo Historian who explains the nature of the "offer" the KLA makes to get Albanians to join up. Can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/interviews/strategy.htm
(7) What NATO Occupation Would Mean For Macedonians." Interview with eyewitnesses tells what happened to a Kosovo town after NATO - and its KLA - took over in July, 1999. Every citizin of a NATO country should read this for it tells what has been down in our names. At http://www.emperors-clothes.com/misc/savethe-a.htm
Current situation in Macedonia does not require changes in Bulgarian position, Solomon Pasi said.
Current situation in Macedonia does not require changes in Bulgarian position about the conflict, Foreign Minister Solomon Pasi said for News.bg Agency. He announced that next week he would talk with Macedonian ambassador Lyubisha Georgievsky. Bulgarian Foreign Minister had a meeting devoted to priorities of Bulgarian foreign policy with ambassadors of NATO member countries. Speaking at the meeting, Solomon Pasi had appealed to the international society to make all the efforts possible towards solving the conflict with peaceful means.