MACEDONIA IS one of the countries NATO poured its troops into in a “humanitarian” intervention that was hailed as bringing peace and stability. And the Macedonian state has shown it is willing to kill innocent people to keep on board with its US ally.
Its security forces murdered seven migrants in March 2002 in what the government claimed was a coup against global terrorism. Macedonia’s government finally charged former interior minister Ljube Boskovski and six security officers last week in connection with the attack.
The victims, six Pakistanis and one Indian, were passing through Macedonia looking for work in Europe, when they were ambushed by the security forces. The security forces kidnapped them and took them out to the Rastanski Lozja area, north east of the capital, Skopje.
There they encircled the men and shot them. Their bodies were filmed with handguns stuck in their waistbands. “The crime is even more shocking because these murders were premeditated and were committed to spruce up Macedonia’s image as an ally in the war against terrorism,” said a spokesperson for Pakistan’s foreign ministry. Ghulam Fatima, mother of murdered Ejaz Ahmed, said, “I think of him 24 hours a day. He was very keen to go abroad and earn some money to help the family.”
IN THIS WEEK
THE Indian government moved to break a key strike by sending in the army to smash picket lines, and arrested up to 20,000 people. The railway workers in India began their strike on 8 May.
They fought for 20 days against Indira Gandhi’s Congress Party, which was government. Congress had been in the leadership of the campaign that ended British rule in India. But it was determined to curb working people’s hopes that a growing economy would mean the poor would benefit too.
MORE SIGNS of the systematic racism and abuse that exists in the British army. A British corporal at Ballykinlar barracks in Northern Ireland was arrested after an attack on a black soldier by two other soldiers. The men dragged him to the floor and kicked him in the face and body.
One witness said, “They were shouting, ‘You black bastard-we are going to kill you.’ A search of the corporal’s quarters following the attack is reported to have found Nazi BNP propaganda.
BLAIR’S ARMED forces minister Adam Ingram got caught out trying to gag George Galloway. Ingram was accused in his Galloway’s book I’m Not The Only One of playing the flute in a sectarian Protestant band in his youth. Ingram tried to stop it being published.
But a judge said that the description of the band as “anti-Catholic” and “Protestant supremacist” was fair comment.
ANOTHER occupation. Another abuse of innocent people. Women are being abducted, raped and abused in Kosovo’s sex-slave trade, which has exploded since NATO and UN forces went in. Many of the 2,000 women forced into prostitution are under 14 years old.
NATO troops, UN police and others from Britain and the West hoping to make a profit from Kosovo are responsible for 80 percent of the money generated by the sick trade.
One of the many witnesses quoted in a chilling new Amnesty International report says, “If we were not willing, they just beat us and raped us.”
The report shows how the sex trade is generated by the international presence, and how the authorities have allowed it to flourish. This abuse is not isolated to Kosovo. It happened in neighbouring Bosnia when NATO troops went in in 1995.
Dyncorp, a contractor which provided services for NATO, was forced to send six workers home after employees were accused of organising a sex-trafficking ring. Dyncorp went on to provide troops to guard the US-backed Afghan president Karzai, and to recruit mercenaries in Iraq.
FRED HALLIDAY made his name as a highly respected figure on the left who wrote about the Middle East. But in the first Gulf War in 1990-1 he rushed to back the US slaughter, just as some supposed “left wing” commentators have done during the current war on Iraq. “Is everything imperialism does negative?” he asked. Now even pro-war Halliday cannot cover up the horrors that US imperialism has brought to Iraq.
He described the current war as the “crisis of our times”. “The US has destroyed the goodwill it initially enjoyed” in the days after Saddam Hussein fell, he said. “The situation is quite literally out of control.”
So 14 years later Halliday is finally seeing the reality of the “positive” role of imperialism-torture, killing and destruction. It’s a good job no one in the anti-war movement has been listening to you, Fred.
Figure it out
The number of people killed at work every day, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO). That is more than were killed in the attacks on the World Trade Centre. Almost 270 million accidents are recorded each year.
“Black billed Hollinger for the cost of numerous personal household staff-including chefs, senior butlers, butlers, under-butlers, chauffeurs, housemen, footmen and security personnel.”
Lawsuit against Conrad Black disgraced former owner of the Telegraph on his attitude to the parent company
“There has not been an occasion for many months when I got on our plane without wondering whether it was really affordable. But I’m not prepared to re-enact the French revolutionary renunciation of the rights of nobility.”
CONRAD BLACK in an e-mail to a Hollinger shareholder
“As a physical building it does not exist, but it does for postal reasons.”
BASHIR KHANBHAI Tory MEP explaining why he listed a fictitious address on his travel expense claims
“Iraq has become for the US what Afghanistan was for the Soviets after their invasion in 1979. In both cases governments were overthrown but political stooges brought in by the invaders lacked credibility and chaos reigned.”
SIR MARRACK GOULDING former undersecretary general to the UN on the Iraq war
The US defence department announced last week that a satellite positioning device had been found in an Afghan cave. They said the equipment was lost in Somalia in 1993. The discovery, they proclaimed, was concrete evidence at last that Bin Laden's Al Qaida network was behind the deaths of 18 US soldiers in the disastrous raid on Mogadishu.