Year 2000 No. 134, August 15, 2000

"Peacekeeping" Means Violence, Domination and Trampling on Sovereignty

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

"Peacekeeping" Means Violence, Domination and Trampling on Sovereignty

British Government Must Give Back Irish Land

British Troops Seize Kosovan Mining Complex

US Soldier Jailed for Life for Murder of Kosovan Girl

Evidence of Nuclear Bomb Incident in Puerto Rico

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"Peacekeeping" Means Violence, Domination and Trampling on Sovereignty

One of the big lies of the British government, US imperialism and other big powers is that they must intervene throughout the globe for humanitarian reasons.

Often overt and covert interference takes place to stir up tensions and create a climate of anarchy and violence. This interference has geo-political and economic aims. Meanwhile, an ideological barrage is carried out damning peoples and governments, and promoting the "superiority" of the values of the big powers. The governments of the industrialised countries co-ordinate this offensive and intervention with the propaganda about their own systems of "good government" in order to attempt to mobilise the workers and other sections of the people behind their own aims. In this period of the advance of "globalisation", the argument for "humanitarian" intervention is coupled with an attack on the right of peoples to sovereignty, to rise up and chose their own path of development.

Facts expose that this "humanitarian" intervention and "peacekeeping" brings only imperialist "peace" and the violation of human rights.

The working class and all democratic forces must firmly uphold the right of a people to sovereignty and national self-determination. They must cut through the ideological offensive that the big powers have a "moral duty" to intervene in the affairs of other countries, utterly condemning the notion of "enlightened self-interest" that serves to back this up. They must sweep away all the illusions with which these governments and their apologists seek to wrap up their reactionary chauvinism, and demand those responsible be indicted for crimes against humanity.

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British Government Must Give Back Irish Land

The Ministry of Defence must return the land at present privately owned in the north of Ireland.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has said that the MoD's refusal to hand back land used for military bases in Belfast, Derry and south Armagh has dealt a "body blow" to the peace process.

It has recently been announced that although the Crossmaglen observation post is being dismantled, the south Armagh military base will not be reduced further and privately owned land is to be retained. This news itself follows reports that the British army is to step up helicopter activity in south Armagh against the trend towards demilitarisation.

In Derry, plans to develop the Fort George barracks as a Silicon-Valley-type commercial enterprise were dashed when the army decided to retain the lease. The site is now expected to lie vacant for up to 12 years.

Gerry Adams described the British government's decision to retain privately owned land as "disgraceful and enormously unhelpful". He said, "The British government committed itself in 1998 to produce a demilitarisation plan. This has not happened. This poses a serious threat to the stability of the peace process. If the British government refuses to act on its commitment, the confidence and trust that are essential for the well-being of the peace process are subverted."

Alex Attwood of the SDLP called for greater haste and certainty on demilitarisation. He said, "This will require both the closure and demolition of army fortifications and the quick return of land occupied by the army to public and community ownership."

The British government must return the privately owned land forthwith as part of ending all its intervention in the north of Ireland which goes against the people of Ireland, north and south, exercising their sovereignty.

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British Troops Seize Kosovan Mining Complex

It was reported on Monday that British troops had seized a Serb-run mining complex in the northern part of Kosova. The troops took control in a pre-dawn raid and the news agencies report that the move will exacerbate tensions in the region.

The British "peacekeeping" troops, acting in support of the UN mission, occupied the lead smelter after rumours had been generated for a number of days which had heigtened tensions in the nearby city of Kosovoska Mitrovica, the agencies report.

Last week, UN officials had announced that the plant was spewing pollution into the air, launching a "public awareness campaign". However, the Kosovan Serb leader Oliver Ivanovic claimed the lead scare was a ruse to be used as an excuse for the United Nations to take over the Zvecan plant.

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US Soldier Jailed for Life for Murder of Kosovan Girl

A US Army court in Germany sentenced on August 1 an American soldier to life in jail without the chance of parole. The sergeant admitted raping and strangling an 11-year-old girl in Kosova.

The crime was committed in January while on "peacekeeping duty" in Kosova. The sergeant had told fellow platoon members that he planned to "grab a little girl and rape her, but he would have to kill her to get away with it and blame the Serbs".

The defence had argued that the accused's environment in Kosova might have contributed to his crime. They noted how there had been a number of incidents of excessive violence committed by US soldiers in Kosova, as well as beatings and unauthorised interrogations of the population of Albanian nationality, which they said could have led to a "negative command climate".

The father of the girl said, "My daughter welcomed the peacekeepers. She was very happy because she thought they had come to protect us. How do you do this to someone? He massacred my daughter."

The crimes occurred in the eastern Kosovan town of Vitina, an area which is supposed to lie distant from the front lines between the Serbs and the Kosovo Liberation Army. The area borders Macedonia and southern Serbia. However, the American forces who occupy the region have earned a reputation for aggressiveness. In late March, five of the soldiers in the convicted soldier's company were disciplined for mistreating civilians only a few days before the child's murder. The Albanian population have said that the American soldiers also routinely hit and pushed people for no apparent reason since they arrived as part of the NATO occupation force last June. On recalling the beatings, one resident said, "They were hitting people walking past with their hands if they spoke or reacted in any way. They were hitting cars; they even hit animals. People were scared to walk through this way. Even the Serbs did not do that." When several local people were arrested at the beginning of the year, some 500 residents demonstrated in protest for two days.

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Evidence of Nuclear Bomb Incident in Puerto Rico

After five years of investigations, new evidence has been found which confirms the occurrence of a nuclear incident in the Puerto Rican island of Vieques during the mid-60s. The incident was covered up and denied by the United States.

The incident took place in the context of the US military occupation of Vieques and its manoeuvres based on the island. The high command of the US Navy in Puerto Rico had categorically denied in 1995 that an incident with a nuclear bomb had ever occurred and commenced a campaign to suppress and harass all reporting of the incident.

However, television pictures have shown images of the ocean floor and beaches in the area that the US Navy uses for its war exercises, and the damage to coral reefs and marine species caused by the bombs dropped by the Navy. These include unexploded bombs, and the use of depleted uranium and napalm, which have caused a high incidence of cancer among the people of Vieques.

While the Vietnam War was at its height, the US Navy aircraft, the tv station Noticentro reports, accidentally dropped a nuclear bomb near the coast of Vieques. By chance the bomb, which had a greater power than those of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, did not explode. Now, the station has revealed new evidence that proves that the incident with the nuclear bomb did indeed occur, citing a letter sent by one of the top military assistants in the Department of Defence, Captain F. Costagliola, to the Executive Director of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy of the US Congress, John T. Conway. This letter unveils the shroud of secrecy that for 34 years has concealed the nuclear incidence in Vieques. The letter, dated August 19, 1966, includes a summary of the official report of the incident and of the search and rescue mission carried out by the US Navy to recover the nuclear bomb.

Dr Heriberto Torres, nuclear physicist, is quoted as saying on learning of the news, "One bomb, even one of the smallest ones, developed during that period in history, that detonates in that place, would have affected Puerto Rico and not only Puerto Rico. I believe [it would have affected] the United States as well."

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