Socialist Worker

UN shows NATO lied

Issue No. 1673

NATO HAS admitted that the murder rate in Kosovo now is exactly the same as it was in the run up to it launching war earlier this year. NATO leaders justified their war by pointing to the murder of ethnic Albanians in the months before air strikes began in March. Some 15 to 20 people a week were being killed then, according to NATO. It now admits that the same number are still being killed each week in Kosovo, many of them ethnic Serbs and Roma Gypsies.

The official United Nations war crimes investigator also reported last week that 2,108 bodies had been found in the 195 out of 529 grave sites investigated so far. That is a gruesome toll, but far short of the lies used to urge on the bombing by NATO. During the war NATO claimed 100,000 ethnic Albanian men were missing, 'presumed dead'. The claim was taken up and repeated by pro-war newspapers and commentators.

It also emerged last week that the CNN news agency worked closely with the US government during the war. Eason Jordan, CNN's head of newsgathering, admitted that the agency had prior knowledge of the US bombing of the Serbian TV station. Jordan claims CNN used the knowledge to warn off the planned bombing, as journalists from the US and elsewhere would have been in the building at the time. Days later, when the Western journalists had gone, the US bombing went ahead, killing 16 Serb journalists.

THE 'three strikes and you're out' law in California, which automatically jails people for life after a third criminal conviction, has had no effect on crime levels. The 1994 law was imposed amid claims that it would slash crime levels by acting as a deterrent. One man was jailed for life under the law for stealing a slice of pizza. Now a study by the law department of the University of California has found that the law has had no effect on crime levels in the US state.

User friendly

ABERDEEN City Council has sent out demands for higher charges for home help to relatives of pensioners who died. Families of over 100 pensioners who used to get home helps in the city before they died received the letters.

The council apologised later. But its heartless mentality can be judged from the way it talks about the people concerned: 'The department became aware that the mailing list had included approximately 130 people who were no longer service users.'

THE union representing Mexico's airline flight attendants last week accused a company whose plane crashed, killing 18 people, of ignoring safety warnings. The Taesa airline plane crashed in Mexico last week.

The union representing flight attendants said the company had ignored a series of warnings about safety irregularities. It listed at least 20 'irregularities', like fuel leaks, inspections that never happened and missing lubricants on key parts.

Railtrack back in dock again

RAILTRACK stands accused once again of putting profit before safety with lethal consequences. The company could face prosecution after a 12 year old boy died playing in one of Britain's busiest railway sidings in Nottinghamshire. Shaun McGrath was crushed by a 400 tonne diesel train when he dashed across a line.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report slammed Railtrack. Christopher Hall, the HSE's principal railways inspector, told the inquest into Shaun's death last week that safety regulations had been overlooked at the site. 'After the accident we carried out an inspection and found many problems with the fencing. It was generally in poor condition and in some cases was absent altogether.'

The HSE has issued two enforcement orders against Railtrack. Had this been done earlier Shaun might still be alive. A report by the Railways Inspectorate is due to be completed in a few weeks and could see Railtrack face prosecution.

THE Big Issue magazine has exposed an 'abortion counselling' service as a front for anti-abortionists. The Addams Women's Centres operate in Manchester, Leeds, Luton and London. They offer free abortion advice and counselling. But when women arrive they are handed a plastic model of a foetus and told they are murdering their babies.

'Standard practice'

THE CITY of London is built on lies and would collapse without them, a £7 million fraud case heard last week. Christine Allan, a company secretary, admitted inventing documents to smooth the way for a major share deal.

She worked for oil and gas company Alliance Resources. In 1995 the company wanted to raise cash through a share deal. Company boss John O'Brien promised potential City investors that Alliance was about to exploit huge gas reserves in the US. But in reality, the prosecution claimed last week, Alliance had lost its lease to drill on the new site and its flagship well was running dry.

Testifying in the court case, Christine Allan said she had simply made up key papers, including bank letters. Many City forecasts 'are probably packed full of lies - the whole of the City would collapse if you didn't. It's standard practice,' she told Southwark Crown Court.

Things they say

'WE'VE ONLY been two and a bit years in government. We are where the Thatcher government was in November 1981.'


'TONY SPENDS a heck of a lot of his own money performing his role and Cherie has to spend a fortune on outfits.'


'INSTEAD of inflationary wage rises, why not invest in your company's success by being part of a share ownership scheme?'

Chancellor GORDON BROWN giving advice to workers

'BROWN is moving into areas that would have made his Old Labour predecessors blanch. His measures would not have seemed amiss had they come from the most flinty of Thatcherites.'

DAILY MAIL editorial

'I'M AFRAID it's traditional.'

A spokeswoman from the FOREIGN OFFICE on why the Gurkhas would be snubbed at the Remembrance Day service in London, despite the fact that thousands lost their lives fighting in the British army

'I DO remember Princess Diana coming across the cat's bowl with 'Pussy' written on it. She dared me to eat out of it. Rarely being able to resist a challenge, I finished the entire cat's dinner.'

JAMES HEWITT, Diana's lover

'MR BROWN, the friend of the capitalist, announced measures to help entrepreneurs and share owners that would have caused howls of outrage in the 1980s from the Labour benches if announced by a Conservative Chancellor.'

Times columnist PETER RIDDELL

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Article information

Inside the System
Sat 20 Nov 1999, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1673
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