---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 16:53:34 -0400 To: •••@••.••• From: Snezana Vitorovich <•••@••.•••> Subject: M. Chossudovsky :NATO Invades Macedonia NATO INVADES MACEDONIA by Michel Chossudovsky Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa 22 August 2001 The URL for this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/cho/natoinvades.html Some 3500 heavily armed NATO troops have entered Macedonia with a mandate to "disarm the Albanian rebels". Whereas a token collection and destruction of obsolete weapons is envisaged, the evidence amply confirms that the "National Liberation Army" has been armed, equipped and financed by Washington. NATO's ultimate goal is to protect rather than disarm the terrorists, weaken and disable the Macedonian Security Forces and install a protectorate under direct military rule. The US-EU brokered "peace" agreement constitutes an act of surrender and submission to the NATO aggressor. ________________________________________________________________ In the hours preceding the "initialing" of the Ohrid "peace" agreement on August 8th, the terrorists renewed their assaults leading to the death of ten Macedonian soldiers in an ambush in Prilep. On the next day, a major KLA-NLA military offensive directed against the Macedonian Security forces was launched. And two days later, several hundred troops belonging to the United Nations Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) stationed in Kosovo crossed the border and attacked the Macedonian Security Forces (ARM) in the Radusha area.1 These carefully planned military actions were also accompanied by violent assaults directed against civilians. In an atmosphere of public protests and renewed terrorist assaults, the "framework peace agreement" was signed on the 13th of August, allowing NATO to deploy troops throughout Macedonia with a mandate to "disarm the Albanian rebels". The Western media mantra --parroting NATO's official statements-- concluded without further examination that the "Albanian rebels" were attempting to stall the ratification and implementation of the "framework document" (yet to be approved by the Macedonian parliament), undermining "the painstaking efforts of the international community": "We have unequivocally stood against all acts of violence in Macedonia and all breaches of the cease-fire…" said US State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher…".2 Meanwhile, Yugoslav President Voijislav Kostunica accused the American and European mediators of "having been duped by the Albanian rebels."3 Pentagon and US State department planners (from the most powerful nation on earth) "duped" by "Albanian rebels"? According to the Western media, the military alliance had no prior knowledge of these terrorist assaults launched at the time of crucial "peace" negotiations. The enemy is presented, as a peace "facilitor", the identity of the NATO aggressor and its relationship to the terrorists, are not mentioned. WHO ORDERED THE TERRORIST ASSAULTS? The so-called "Albanian rebels" do not make key military decisions on their own. Amply documented, the KLA-NLA and its various affiliated factions constitute America's proxy army integrated by US military advisers, trained by British Special Forces, financed and equipped by Washington. War is always waged in terms of carefully designed political objectives; military operations --including covert activities in support of "freedom fighters"-- are never haphazard. The terrorist assaults are part of Washington's military-intelligence agenda in Macedonia. Senior US military advisers detached from private mercenary companies are working with KLA-NLA commanders. NLA Commander Gezim Ostremi, was trained by British Special Forces to head the UN sponsored Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC).4 Confirmed by British military sources, the task of arming and training of the KLA had been entrusted in 1998 to the US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Britain's Secret Intelligence Services MI6, together with "former and serving members of 22 SAS [Britain's 22nd Special Air Services Regiment], as well as three British and American private security companies".5: "'The US DIA approached MI6 to arrange a training programme for the KLA,' said a senior British military source. `MI6 then sub-contracted the operation to two British security companies, who in turn approached a number of former members of the (22 SAS) regiment. Lists were then drawn up of weapons and equipment needed by the KLA.' While these covert operations were continuing, serving members of 22 SAS Regiment, mostly from the unit's D Squadron, were first deployed in Kosovo before the beginning of the bombing campaign in March. 6 OPERATION "ESSENTIAL HARVEST": REPLICATING KOSOVO The First and Third Parachute battalions ("1 PARA" and "3 PARA") detached to Macedonia under Operation "Essential Harvest" have a history of active collaboration with the KLA. The British Paras led the invasion into Kosovo in June 1999 in liaison with KLA forces.7 The evidence amply confirms that the US and British military-intelligence establishment has continued to support the KLA in its terrorist operations in Macedonia: "two of the Kosovo-based commanders leading the Albanian push [into the Tetovo region] were trained by former British SAS and Parachute Regiment officers… [A] commander with the nom de guerre of Bilal was organising the flow of arms and men into Macedonia, and … veteran KLA commander Adem Bajrami was helping to co-ordinate the assault on Tetovo. Both were taught by British soldiers in the secretive training camps that operated above Bajram Curri in northern Albania during 1998 and 1999. "8 In a bitter irony, the officers of the British parachute regiment dispatched under Operation "Essential Harvest" had previously collaborated and forged personal ties with KLA-NLA commanders now in charge of military operations in Macedonia. The evidence would suggest that the British Para battalions were sent in "to assist" rather than "'disarm" the KLA-NLA. 9 Moreover, US military advisers --on assignment to the KLA-NLA (through private mercenary companies)-- remain in contact with NATO and US military and intelligence planners, who are in turn in liaison with the US State Department. Ultimately, Washington and London decide on the broad direction of KLA-NLA military operations in Macedonia. What this means is that while the Washington call for a cease-fire a diplomatic level, it also decides when "to breach" the cease-fire, and when to actually implement the cease-fire. In other words, the so-called "breaches of the cease-fire" --marked by a renewed wave of terrorist attacks-- during the final stages of the US-EU sponsored "peace negotiations"-- were not decided by the "Albanian rebel" commanders without consulting Washington. What this means is that by allowing the "National Liberation Army", America's proxy military force in Macedonia, to launch a new wave of terrorist assaults at the time of crucial negotiations, Washington had consciously and deliberately stalled its own bogus "peace" initiative, while precipitating the country to the brink of civil war. NATO controls the cease-fire because NATO controls the terrorists! NATO has stated that they will only intervene and "disarm the rebels" if there is a cease-fire. But what NATO really wants is that the Macedonian ARM remain in the barracks under a unilateral cease-fire, while their proxy forces continue to make further territorial gains. Already, the unilateral cease-fire ordered by President Trajkovski in the wake of the Ohrid peace agreement has enabled the KLA-NLA terrorists to take up strategic positions in the Crna Gora mountain range near Skopje while also reinforcing their control in the Tetovo region.10 These NLA territorial advances at the time of crucial negotiations are part and parcel of NATO planning. Following the visit to Skopje of General Joseph Ralston, NATO's supreme allied commander in Europe (20 August) the President ordered (under a new unilateral cease-fire) the Macedonian Security Forces to remain in the barracks. The ARM has been instructed: "…to carry out a withdrawal of troops as a contribution towards de-escalation in advance of a planned NATO mission to the country… the [defence] ministry in Skopje said warplanes and helicopters would accordingly not be used in crisis areas and the army was to withdraw heavy weapons from combat positions".11 In other words, the invading army imposes a unilateral cease-fire to facilitate the process of territorial conquest. INVADING A MEMBER COUNTRY OF THE UNITED NATIONS The command structures of the KLA, the NLA and the United Nations sponsored Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) overlap and coincide. The so-called Albanian National Army (AKSh) (a paramilitary group linked to the KLA-NLA) which claimed responsibility for the Prelic killings was formed by members of the United Nations KPC. These killings coincided (almost like clockwork) with the final stages of the "peace" negotiations at Ohrid. Everything suggests that this action had been carefully planned in advance and was known to Western intelligence agencies.12 Moreover, the decision to dispatch several hundred KPC troops across the border from Kosovo in the days following the conclusion of the Ohrid negotations, could not have been taken without the acquiescence of NATO and UN military personnel stationed in Kosovo. What this means is that a UN sponsored military force (using UN equipment and resources) has invaded a member country of the United Nations, with the knowledge and approval of NATO forces in Kosovo. To say that this constitutes "a violation of the UN charter" would be a gross understatement. In the words of Macedonia's Prime Minister Ljubo Georgevski in a letter to addressed to the Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan: "I, personally, consider this an official declaration of war by the international protectorate of Kosovo and by the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC), which is unfortunately part of the UN civil administration in Kosovo."13 While representing a dissenting political voice, Prime Minister Georgevski, nonetheless signed the "framework document" opening the door to the invasion of his country by NATO troops. "DISARMING THE REBELS" The disarmament process is totally fictitious. Why would NATO disarm its own proxy force, which has been re-equipped in the last few months with brand new weapons "Made in America". Following the signing of the framework document, NATO announced it had agreed "with the NLA on terms and procedures for an eventual arms turnover". In this regard, NATO plans to replicate the token "disarmament" of the KLA implemented in the wake of the 1999 bombing campaign in Kosovo, where small arms and AK-47s were handed in on a "voluntary" basis. This process was then followed by the arming and equipping of the KLA with advanced weaponry leading into the terrorist attacks in Southern Serbia and Macedonia. The whole disarmament process is an obvious hoax. In fact, the terms of the "disarmament" are being negotiated with the terrorists rather than with the Macedonian authorities: "the rebels will collect their own weapons and deposit them at pre-arranged collection sites. NATO troops will then move in, seal the area, pick up the guns for destruction in a third country and leave."14 While NATO "weapons collection teams" have been deployed, NATO has clarified that the handing in of weapons will be entirely "voluntary": "what we prefer from a NATO force point of view is that the insurgents collect the weapons on our behalf…"15 But if the handing in of the weapons is "voluntary", then why does NATO need to bring in large amounts of heavy military equipment in British military transport planes? There is reason to believe that one of the objectives of Operation "Essential Harvest" is to channel arms and supplies to the terrorists inside their territorial enclaves, while at the same time disarming all forms of armed resistance, including the civilian defense groups which have developed in opposition to the terrorists and the NATO led invasion. While the Western media is spreading rumours that the rebels are "armed with assault rifles and knives" 16 (Associated Press, 20 August 2001), the evidence confirms that the US is continuing to equip the terrorists with advanced weaponry: "In the well-built guerrilla bunkers overlooking the besieged city of Tetovo, there is ample evidence of U.S. military hardware … An abundant stock of sophisticated night-vision goggles provide the guerrillas with a tremendous tactical advantage over the Macedonian security forces… Snake Arifaj, a 22-year-old guerrilla platoon commander, proudly displayed his unit's impressive arsenal and said, 'Thanks to Uncle Sam, the Macedonians are no match for us.'… Commander "Mouse," a 47-year-old UCK officer in the Tetovo sector… confirmed that two US Chinook Heavy Transport Helicopters had in fact delivered "heavy mortars and ammunition" [in early August] to the guerrillas… [A]mmunition supply is not a problem for the guerrillas. 'We have all the equipment and men we need to capture Skopje in 24 hours,' said Commander "Jimmy", a 22-year-old Albanian guerrilla who is already a veteran of Chechnya, Kosovo, and south Serbia. "Militarily, the Macedonians are no match for our soldiers."17 HIDDEN AGENDA While paying lip service to the social rights of ethnic Albanians, Washington has no interest in the process of constitutional reform as contained in the "framework document". Washington's objective is not to "disarm the rebels" but to disable the Macedonian Security Forces (ARM) and dismantle State institutions. In this regard, NATO forces are working hand in glove with the KLA-NLA. Moreover, once the so-called "disarmament" process has been completed, "unarmed observers" from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) are slated to enter "NLA enclaves to begin confidence-building measures before the return of Macedonian police."18 MEDIA FALSEHOODS All the appearances of an "internal conflict" are retained. The links of NATO to the terrorists are never mentioned by the Western media. The confrontation between Macedonians and ethnic Albanians is the cornerstone of most news stories, logically providing a justification for a "peacekeeping" intervention. With a shaky framework agreement on constitutional reform and the country on the brink of civil war, the main players retain their full legitimacy. In the eyes of public opinion, they are not "aggressors", they are peace-keepers intervening on "humanitarian ground". While the media upholds the NLA as a liberation army fighting for the social rights of an oppressed minority, the process of "demonisation" of the Macedonians has commenced with one-sided news stories relating to presumed war crimes and alleged atrocities committed by the Macedonian police and security forces. Meanwhile, everything indicates that ethnic tensions have been further heightened with the entry of NATO troops. Terrorist gangs linked to the KLA-NLA are assaulting Macedonian civilians as occurred in Kosovo in 1999. INSTALLING A NATO PROTECTORATE Washington has pushed Macedonia to the brink of civil war with a view to justifying a NATO led intervention "on humanitarian grounds". Deliberately jeopardised as a result of the terrorist assaults and the NATO invasion, Washington is fully aware that the "peace" agreement (including the constitutional amendments) has little chance of becoming operational under a "functioning democracy". In this regard, NATO has already hinted that it "has contingency plans" if it is unable to accomplish its mission under the framework "peace" agreement.19 In the days following the signing of the framework agreement, the International Crisis Group (ICG), a "Non-governmental Organisation" (funded by George Soros') with links to US State department pointed to the need to "changing the mandate" of the NATO led "Operation Essential Harvest": "NATO cannot limit its mission to 30 days. It must be prepared to do more than collect arms that are voluntarily given to it. It must seal the border with Kosovo and should provide the security assurance required to see the 13 August agreement through to parliamentary ratification and implementation. And it must be prepared to use all necessary force to make that assurance real… Unfortunately, despite the agreement, there is little trust or even expectation of peace among either ethnic Albanians or Macedonians. That puts a heavy burden on the international community, which will need to decide… whether the mission should have a more open-ended time frame and a more vigorous, traditional peacekeeping role…"20 In turn, the US media has already started to build a "justification" for a more permanent NATO presence as a means to guaranteeing the social rights of ethnic Albanians. An Associate Press report, for instance, quotes: "Mustafa Arifi, 26, sitting with his uncle in the cool shadow of the local mosque… Not only does he want NATO troops to come, he wants them to stay far longer than the 30 days envisioned by the alliance. 'I know the big powers are on our side,'' he said with certainty. 'I would love for them to be here for 20 years.''' 21 And no doubt once the NATO mandate has been redefined --using a "humanitarian" or "peacekeeping" pretext-- the next stage will be to extend NATO's "mission" beyond the agreed 30 days, leading to a more permanent military presence of NATO troops, as a stepping stone towards the installation of a full-fledged NATO protectorate on the Kosovo-Bosnia model. In this regard, it is worth recalling that Bosnia-Herzegovina was carved up "along ethnic lines" under the 1995 Dayton Agreement. Similarly, Under Operation "Essential Harvest", the arrangement imposed by NATO on the Macedonian government, is that the terrorists will remain in the territories they occupy and NATO will ensure that Macedonian troops will not enter rebel controlled territory. This also means that Macedonians who were expulsed by the terrorists will not be able to return to their homes. And NATO has confirmed, in this regard, that it will not assist in the return of "internally displaced persons".22 In other words, by firmly protecting the KLA-NLA in their territorial enclaves and allowing the process of ethnic cleansing to proceed, NATO has deliberately created conditions which favour the partition of Macedonia, opening the door to "the detachment" of the so-called "Albanian regions" occupied by KLA-NLA forces and their (possible) annexation to a so-called "free Kosovo". Meanwhile, the Atlantic Military Alliance --while paying lip service to the territorial integrity of the Yugoslav federation-- is also promoting the secession of a "free Kosovo" from Yugoslavia, which would lead to a fracture of Yugoslavia as well as much broader conflagration in the Balkans. ENDNOTES 1, Macedonia Information Agency (MIA), Skopje, 11 August 2001. 2. US State Department Briefing, Washington, 9 August 2001. 3. Interview with Belgrade's Politika, quoted in the Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 11 August 2001 at http://quotidien.nouvelobs.com/etranger/20010810.OBS7336.html. 4. UPI, 1 July 2001. 5. The Scotesman, Glasgow, 29 August 1999. 6. Ibid. 7. See the webpage of the Parachute Regiment at http://www.army.mod.uk/infantry/para/make_up.htm). 8. Sunday Times, London, 18 March 2001. See also The Observer, London, 11 March 2001. 9. From their experience in Northern Ireland, the British Paras have also developed techniques of dealing with civilians going back to the 1971 "Bloody Sunday Massacre" in Derry, Northern Ireland. In a bitter irony, General Michael Jackson who led the Allied Forces invasion into Kosovo in 1999, was Second in Command in the "Bloody Sunday Massacre". 10. Krasnaya Zvezda, Moscow, 16 August 2001, BBC Monitoring Service, London, 18 August 2001. 11. Deutsche Press Agentur, 20 August 2001. 12. On the origins of the AKSh, see Nedelnik Start's report on an intelligence document submitted to the Prime Minister in 2000 which confirms AKSh links to the KPC, Skopje, 2 June 2000. 13. MIA, Skopje, 13 August 2001. 14. BBC, 18 August 2001. 15. See Transcript of NATO Press Conference, Skopje 15 and 17 August, at http://www.afsouth.nato.int/operations/skopje/APICSKOPJE.htm#STARTNATO) 16. Associated Press, 20 August 2001, 17. Scott Taylor, "Thanks to Uncle Sam, Macedonians are no match for us!", 20 August 2001, at http://emperors-clothes.com/analysis/taylor.htm). 18. Jane Defence Weekly, 15 August 2001. 19. Washington Post, 18 August. 20. See International Crisis Center (ICG) web page at http://www.crisisweb.org/. 21. Associated Press, 18 August 2001. 22. See NATO Press Conference, Skopje, 20 August 2001, at http://www.afsouth.nato.int/operations/skopje/TRANSCRIPT-20AUG.htm) ARTICLES BY THE AUTHOR ON MACEDONIA: "The Military Occupation of Macedonia", August 2001, at http://globalresearch.ca/articles/chossudovsky/macedonia-occupation.html "Washington Behind Terrorist Assaults in Macedonia", Ottawa, July 2001, at http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/choss/washbe.htm also at "America at War in Macedonia", June 2001, http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/choss/pipe.htm "Macedonia: Washington's Military Intelligence Ploy", June 2001, http://www.transnational.org/forum/meet/2001/Chossudov_WashingtPloy.html "Washington Finances Ethnic Warfare in the Balkans", Ottawa, April 2001, http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/choss/fin.htm C Copyright by Michel Chossudovsky, August, 2001. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to post this text on non-commercial community internet sites, provided the essay remains intact and the copyright note is displayed. To publish this text in printed and/or other forms, including commercial internet sites and excerpts, contact the author at •••@••.•••, fax: 1-514-4256224. The URL for this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/cho/natoinvades.htm.