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Enslaved by Freedom
Sandhya Jain

Kosovo's scandalous independence has driven another nail in the coffin of a deeply discredited United Nations and proved its complicity in the return of naked eighteenth century colonialism. Nations with oil, gas, or other prized commodity may gear up for 'free trade' exclusively with Western corporates; Western military presence to protect freedom as in Iraq; or self-determination of the kind that carved Christian East Timor out of Muslim Indonesia to become a virtual colony of Australian oil majors.

Muslim Kosovo, wrenched out of Christian Serbia, has both oil and gas. Further, Catholic-Protestant imperialists have triumphed over Eastern Orthodox nations that once took to communism; hence also Moscow's anger. China has shown its displeasure by rebuking Taiwan for recognizing Kosovo; India's shameful silence is explicable only by the dominance of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi over the present regime. This will nullify Congress efforts to woo the Muslim community for, as former envoy M.K. Bhadrakumar says, only three of the 60-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference have recognized Kosovo (DNA, 25 February 2008).
The Islamic world is becoming conscious of its continuing humiliation and exploitation by Western imperialism, which has an unmistakable racist edge. None of the non-white peoples who converted to Christianity to the extent of becoming Christian nations (The Philippines, South Africa, East Timor to name only a few) enjoy genuine sovereignty or status in the international community.

Kosovo is a link in a 737-strong chain of American military bases in 130 countries. Journalist Pepe Escobar says Kosovo's tragedy has its genesis in the trans-Balkan AMBO pipeline and Camp Bondsteel, the largest American base in Europe after the Vietnam War (Asia Times, 29 February 2008). It exposes how ugly corporates ensure compliance with their interests across successive administrations.

It was Democrat President Bill Clinton who falsely demonized the Serbs and used NATO to get over the lack of a United Nations mandate, just as Republican President George Bush later leapfrogged over the UN to colonize Iraq. The Euro-Americans moved to fragment Yugoslavia with the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. During the 1991 bombing of Iraq, President Clinton sponsored separatist movements in Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia; imposed crippling economic sanctions on Yugoslavia, and pushed NATO forces into the region.

America also armed the right-wing UCK (Kosovo Liberation Army), though Kosovo was not a Yugoslav republic, but part of Serbia. Washington's 'free press' carried grim (fairy) tales of Serbian genocide against Albanian Muslims (remnants of the Ottoman Empire). UCK controlled the opium and heroin trade from Afghanistan-Pakistan through the Balkans to Western Europe, earning over US$1.1 billion for weapons. There is also a rich trade in prostitution. British intelligence trained UCK in northern Albania, while Turkish and Afghan instructors taught them guerrilla tactics. Al-Qaeda also had links with UCK and Osama bin Laden visited Albania in 1994.

As nationalist Yugoslavia resisted Western pressures, America unleashed 78 days of intensive bombings, including the use of radioactive depleted-uranium bombs. On 3 June 1999, NATO occupied Kosovo. President Slobodan Milosevic was kidnapped and taken for trial to The Hague, where he died in March 2006, apparently of a heart attack. Meanwhile, Carla Del Ponte, chief prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, assisted by forensic experts of 17 NATO countries, discovered that there was no genocide, no mass graves, only 2,108 bodies belonging to all nationalities and mostly victims of NATO bombing!

Unashamed, Kosovo's tormentors placed her under a UN Mission in 1999, under Security Council Resolution 1244. Real power vested with the Mission of the European Union (EU). NATO was security guarantor; it slept over the hideous ethnic cleansing of 250,000 Serbs and Romas (gypsies). The regions' rich industrial resources were forcibly privatized and sold to giant Western multinationals. Halliburton took over the strategic oil and transportation lines of the entire region along with the security of Camp Bondsteel, the American military base.

Sara Flounders, co-director, International Action Center, says UN played a shameful role in Kosovo. In June 2005, Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed ex-Finnish President Marti Ahtisaari as special envoy to negotiate Kosovo's final status. He was also Chairman Emeritus of the International Crisis Group (ICG), a private body funded by multi-billionaire George Soros, who sponsored the 'coloured' revolutions in former Soviet Baltic Republics. ICG favours NATO intervention and open markets for the US-EU; its Board included two key US officials complicit in bombing Kosovo: Zbigniew Brzezinski and Gen. Wesley Clark, then NATO supreme commander and now military adviser to Hillary Clinton.

The Ahtisaari report submitted to the new UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in March 2007 was understandably a command performance. It proposed an International Civilian Representative (read viceroy) appointed by US-EU to oversee Kosovo, with power to overrule any actions or annul any laws by local authorities. The Representative would control Customs, Taxation, Treasury and Banking. The EU would set up a European Security and Defense Policy Mission (ESDP) and NATO an International Military Presence, which would control foreign policy, security, police, judiciary, all courts and prisons. M.K. Bhadrakumar says the deployment of NATO forces without a UN mandate is equivalent to projecting NATO as a global political organisation. It is pertinent that Security Council Resolution 1244 kept Kosovo within Serbia.

But Kosovo is ultimately about the $1.1 billion Albanian Macedonian Bulgarian Oil Corp. pipeline, to be completed by 2011. Registered in America, the firm will get oil brought from the Caspian Sea to a terminal in Georgia and then by tanker through the Black Sea to the Bulgarian port of Burgas, and relay it through Macedonia to the Albanian port of Vlora. Clinton's NATO war was to secure Vlora's strategic location. The oil is to be shipped to Rotterdam in The Netherlands and refineries on the US West Coast, avoiding the congested Bosphorus Strait and Aegean and Mediterranean seas. AMBO conforms to Vice President Dick Cheney's US energy security grid. Halliburton via subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root, built Camp Bondsteel near the Macedonian border in southern Kosovo. It is also a place where prisoners can be held indefinitely without formal charges or lawyers.

As things now stand, Yugoslavia is destroyed; Iraq seems headed the same way. Sectarian religious violence is endemic, and Turkey is playing along with America for a share of Kurd oil (Kirkuk).

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