off-center take on kosovo (fwd)


Steve Tomljenovic

Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the June 18, 1998
issue of Workers World newspaper


By Gary Wilson

News reports here about the Yugoslav province of Kosovo 
have presented greatly exaggerated tales. The stories have 
been "enhanced" by those with an interest in either 
promoting a civil war or weakening the Yugoslav government.

The Western big-business-controlled media all report the 
same thing. They say Yugoslav government forces are engaged 
in "ethnic cleansing" in Kosovo, forcing a flood of refugees 
from Kosovo to Albania.

The Yugoslav government says its military operations 
against armed mercenaries entering over the Albanian border 
ended June 1. It also says there has been no significant 
exodus from Kosovo to Albania.

So what is the truth of the situation? First, it should 
never be forgotten that the big media like the New York 
Times and CNN have close ties to the U.S. State Department, 
the CIA, the Pentagon and other U.S. government agencies.

These media giants usually serve as propaganda arms for 
U.S. foreign policy. They can lie about events and 
frequently do. 

Sometimes they admit much later that their original 
reports weren't exactly true.


For example, most reports don't make it clear that the so-
called Kosovo Liberation Army is a foreign mercenary army in 
the pay of the Western imperialist powers.

The KLA did not exist until recently. It became active 
only in the last few months.

The June 6 New York Times reported that KLA forces are 
entering Kosovo through Albania. But they are not from 
Albania. According to the report, most of them come from 
Germany--where they were born--and most speak only German, 
not Albanian. The report claims that many of them, but not 
all, have parents or grandparents who emigrated from 

All the funds for the mercenary army come from abroad, 
primarily from the United States, reported the May 26 
Washington Post. The money is funneled through Albanian 
immigrant groups. These are the sort of anti-communist 
groups long promoted by the CIA. 

Since March, the Post reported, the U.S. group has sent $4 
million to the KLA. These are the openly reported funds. 
There is more "cash carried in suitcases" that hasn't been 
disclosed, the Post said.

The article said the U.S. State Department has encouraged 
the transfer of funds to the KLA. It is all legal, State 
Department spokesperson John Russell said, because the KLA 
has not been classified by the U.S. government as 

This is in contrast to every genuine national liberation 
movement in the world. The U.S. government routinely labels 
them all as terrorists. For example, groups like the 
Palestine Liberation Organization have been labeled as 
terrorist. Anyone in the U.S. sending funds to the PLO would 
risk arrest and prison.

The KLA has no known leaders, political platform, 
publications or anything else to indicate that it is a 
liberation force.

In fact, the tactics used by the KLA are more akin to 
those used by fascist terror squads. In its long report of 
May 26, the Washington Post buried a paragraph describing 
how KLA mercenaries have targeted Serbs. One out of every 10 
people in Kosovo is Serbian.

The paragraph described KLA mercenaries stopping a train. 
They proceed to search the train, and then abduct a man 
traveling with his family because he is a Serb. 

"About a dozen Serbs have been kidnapped in the past week. 
Two have been found dead," the Post reports.

The mercenaries don't just kill Serbs. They also kill 
Albanians considered to be friendly to Serbs.

As for the press reports of a mass exodus from Kosovo, 
none shows pictures of masses of people. A photo of a family 
of eight walking through a field, for example, accompanied 
the New York Times report. The caption said "thousands of 
refugees are fleeing."

In the meantime, the United States is waging a two-pronged 
war against Yugoslavia.

Since 1991, Washington has imposed sanctions on 
Yugoslavia. Sanctions are like an army surrounding your 
house. They may not be firing weapons at the house, but they 
are stopping all kinds of supplies and food from entering. 
It is a policy of starvation once favored during sieges by 
medieval armies.

These sanctions continue to this day. Now the United 
States is proposing to stiffen them. 


U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke said in London June 7: "The 
sanctions regime of the Contact Group led by the U.S. and 
Great Britain has been very tight and is poised to tighten 
further if the situation deteriorates, and NATO is already 
making contingency plans if everything falls apart." (French 
News Agency, June 7)

The contingency plan Holbrooke referred to is the threat 
of military occupation by U.S./NATO forces. U.S. Senate 
leader Trent Lott supported a U.S. military operation in 
Kosovo on CNN's "Late Edition" June 7.

According to news reports, the U.S. State Department 
recently confirmed that U.S. policy has not changed since 
December 1992. That is when President George Bush declared 
that the United States would intervene militarily in Kosovo 
if it decided that it was "necessary."

The French News Agency reported on June 6 that the United 
States and Britain have put into place everything needed to 
assert authority for sending a military force into Kosovo.

                         - END -

(Copyright Workers World Service: Permission to reprint
granted if source is cited. For more information contact
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail:
•••@••.•••. For subscription info send message to:
•••@••.•••. Web: