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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Kosovo: A Slicker Crime

I blogged recently, here and here about how Clinon and Blair's NATO attack on Yugoslavia was a criminal enterprise similar to Iraq, but with a better cover story and neater execution (if you were on the sending rather than receiving end of the bombings, that is). Neil Clark in the Guardian describes the payoff:
The trigger for the US-led bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 was, according to the standard western version of history, the failure of the Serbian delegation to sign up to the Rambouillet peace agreement. But that holds little more water than the tale that has Iraq responsible for last year's invasion by not cooperating with weapons inspectors.

The secret annexe B of the Rambouillet accord - which provided for the military occupation of the whole of Yugoslavia - was, as the Foreign Office minister Lord Gilbert later conceded to the defence select committee, deliberately inserted to provoke rejection by Belgrade.

But equally revealing about the west's wider motives is chapter four, which dealt exclusively with the Kosovan economy. Article I (1) called for a "free-market economy", and article II (1) for privatisation of all government-owned assets. At the time, the rump Yugoslavia - then not a member of the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO or European Bank for Reconstruction and Development - was the last economy in central-southern Europe to be uncolonised by western capital. "Socially owned enterprises", the form of worker self-management pioneered under Tito, still predominated.

Yugoslavia had publicly owned petroleum, mining, car and tobacco industries, and 75% of industry was state or socially owned. In 1997, a privatisation law had stipulated that in sell-offs, at least 60% of shares had to be allocated to a company's workers.

The high priests of neo-liberalism were not happy. At the Davos summit early in 1999, Tony Blair berated Belgrade, not for its handling of Kosovo, but for its failure to embark on a programme of "economic reform" - new-world-order speak for selling state assets and running the economy in the interests of multinationals.

In the 1999 Nato bombing campaign, it was state-owned companies - rather than military sites - that were specifically targeted by the world's richest nations. Nato only destroyed 14 tanks, but 372 industrial facilities were hit - including the Zastava car plant at Kragujevac, leaving hundreds of thousands jobless. Not one foreign or privately owned factory was bombed.
Much more.