Some articles, a few days old, but great reading.

First, apparently, Kfors' reluctance to stop the ethnic cleansing and killing of minorities in Kosovo, have caught the attention of Amnesty International -- 'Kosovo: Six months on...'

A more interesting article, is regarding Colombia -- 'Colombia death squads vow revenge massacres'

Keep in mind that the U.S. government is a strong supporter of the Colombian government. There's this big haze that they're helping the Colombian government to fight the drug lords. In fact, it's almost on the brink of a civil war.
It becomes even more interesting when you learn that the figures for Colombia are very similar to the ones in Kosovo -- 2000 killed, and a couple of hundred thousands of refugees/IDPs.
This time around, the U.S. is supporting the government. I also do believe, that the international court of justice, have, even though outside their jurisdiction, condemned the U.S. for it's involvement in Colombia.
Backgroundinfo: The Guardian 'Phony War'.


Amnesty International
Kosovo: Six months on, climate of violence and fear flies in the face of UN mission
EUR 70/136/99 -
23 DECEMBER 1999

Violence against Serbs, Roma, Muslim Slavs and moderate Albanians in Kosovo has increased dramatically over the past month pointing to a failure by the United Nations (UN) mission to protect human rights, Amnesty International said today.

Murder, abductions, violent attacks, intimidation, and house burning are being perpetrated on a daily basis at a rate which is almost as high as it was in June when the international UN civilian and security presence (KFOR) were initially deployed.

In the first week of December, 24 murders were reported. Amnesty International is particularly concerned about reports of abductions of young children and women which have reached an alarming rate in recent weeks. Two Serb women who were abducted and reportedly tortured and raped in October escaped and an investigation is under way.

Serbs and Roma are now almost all living in enclaves protected by KFOR troops and Serbs in Pristina (Prishtina) and other mixed communities require a military KFOR escort to leave their homes and conduct daily tasks such as buying food. On 7 December, an elderly Serb woman and her son were found murdered in their home in a central area of Pristina. Their home was not guarded by KFOR troops.

Identity-based human rights abuses are coupled with abuses which appear to be part of an organized campaign to silence moderate voices in ethnic Albanian society.

Last month, Kontakt, a multi-ethnic radio station based in Pristina had its offices ransacked and equipment stolen. Members of Kosovo’s Democratic League of Kosovo party have also increasingly become the target of attacks and intimidation.

The UN is responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights in Kosovo. The mission is required to take active steps to ensure safety and accountability but it is currently ill-equipped to do so. The Secretary-General of the UN stated several months ago that 6,000 international police officers were required to effectively police Kosovo, however to date only 1,890 have been deployed. This has led to a law and order vacuum.

"Violent human rights abuses continue to be perpetrated at an alarming rate with impunity. Unless the remaining international police officers are deployed, this situation will continue and a system of law and order will not be established in Kosovo," Amnesty International said.

"The law and order vacuum also results from the fact that the UN has thus far failed to establish a functioning, independent and impartial judicial system," Amnesty International said.

Amnesty International is also concerned that the UN mission and KFOR appear reluctant to take steps to bring to justice members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the Kosovo Protection Corps who commit human rights abuses such as unlawful detentions, beatings or evictions. At present there is no effective sanction for crimes committed in Kosovo.

"The campaign for human rights in Kosovo is far from over. In the spring of this year the international community intervened in Kosovo with the declared aim of preventing a human rights catastrophe. However, at the closing of the year human rights abuses continue to be perpetrated on a daily basis,"

"In order to bring about a significant improvement, the international community should live up to its promises and redouble its efforts to ensure respect for human rights for everyone in Kosovo," Amnesty International urged.

Colombia death squads vow revenge massacres
January 20, 2000

BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) -- Colombia's ultra-right death squads threatened Thursday to kill 10 leftist sympathizers every time Marxist rebels bomb a power pylon in their plan to sabotage electrical towers.

The warning by three notorious paramilitary gangs came hours after guerrilla leader Nicolas Rodriguez ordered his fighters to down more pylons to protest government privatization plans for the energy sector.

Earlier this week, National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels dynamited 22 high-voltage pylons, blacking out a huge swath of the northwest, including the main industrial city of Medellin with a population of 1.8 million people.

"For each pylon or electrical facility that is attacked, we will execute 10 base elements or rural guerrillas," said the death squad communique, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

Heavily armed paramilitary gunmen already murdered 26 peasants, whom they accused of supporting the guerrillas, in two separate attacks in northern Colombia Tuesday, a day after the ELN blew up the 22 pylons in northwest Antioquia province.

ELN leader Rodriguez vowed to step up those attacks Thursday to protest government plans to sell the state-run power generator ISAGEN and national power grid ISA.

The International Monetary Fund has mandated the sales, expected to net around $1 billion, as part of loan deal with Colombia.

"Unfortunately for Colombian society, the ruling classes only listen to the sound of dynamite and rifles," Rodriguez told the Caracol radio network.

"How is it possible that we're going to sell off national property to foreign interests?" he added.

This week's attacks boosted to more than 250 the total number of pylons felled by rebels in the last year.

Drastic electricity rationing has been imposed in Medellin and across most of northwest Antioquia and neighboring Choco and Cordoba provinces after this week's blasts.

Authorities say it could take weeks and cost more than $10 million to repair the damage.

In a novel campaign to protest the sabotage and the political violence, Francisco Santos, leading newspaper editor and peace activist has called on Colombians to turn off the lights in their homes for two minutes shortly after dark Sunday.

The Guardian
Phoney War
The US is planning a massive intervention in Colombia under the pretext of fighting the 'narco-guerrilla'
By John Pilger
October 19, 1999

Following its attack on the Balkans, the United States is planning a massive intervention in Colombia. The Clinton administration has decided to seek congressional approval for $1bn in military aid to the government of Andres Pastrana in Bogota. This is for a low-level air war, American-planned and "advised", with Blackhawk helicopters, satellite surveillance and cluster bombs. "It is the same policy," says Amnesty International, "that backed, death squads in El Salvador in the 1980s." It is the policy that started the war in Vietnam.

Colombia receives more US arms and equipment than any country in the world, apart from Israel and Egypt. Last May, the Washington Post disclosed that 200 American military personnel were playing key parts in the war against the guerrillas of Colombia's popular resistance, who occupy an area the size of Switzerland. Justifying a frontal attack on the resistance presented difficulties for Washington until the War on Drugs replaced the Soviet Threat, and a new enemy was conjured: the "narco-guerrilla".

The hypocrisy of American anti-drug campaigns in Colombia dates back to the 1970s when congress cut back US aid to repressive Latin American police forces while increasing so called anti-narcotics aid by about the same amount: a sleight of hand barely acknowledged at the time. "To keep the aid coming," wrote Peter Dale-Scott in his book, Cocaine Politics, "corrupt Latin American politicians helped to invent the spectre of the drug- financed narco-guerrilla, a myth." He quotes a senior US military officer who says the way to counter "those church and academic groups that have slavishly supported the insurgency in Latin America" is to put them "on the wrong side of the moral issue".

Because coca was grown by the poorest peasants as their sole means of survival, the guerrillas they supported were attacked, in a bogus "war on drugs" - while the drug cartels and their allies in the military were strengthened. This has been US strategy since the 1960s, when a secret American-led "Force X" infiltrated the guerrillas, carrying out atrocities that would then be blamed on the insurgency. Pioneered in Vietnam by the CIA's infamous Colonel Edward Lansdale, it was also used in Indonesia during the CIA-assisted bloodbath that brought Suharto to power.

What Washington fears most in South America is not drugs, but losing control of the critical north-east corner of the continent when the US military reluctantly withdraws from the Panama Canal at the end of the year. Compounding this is the popular nationalism of the reformist government of Hugo Chavez in oil-rich Venezuela. So far, the Americans have been able to control Panama by the open threat of an invasion similar in ferocity to that ordered by President Bush in 1990 on the pretext of arresting General Noriega, the head of state, drugs dealer and former friend of George Bush when he ran the CIA. At least 20,000 Panamanian civilians were killed in the American assault. If the popular resistance in Colombia can be "pacified", Venezuela may be restored to its traditional submissiveness.

In Colombia, however, matters are getting out of hand. Last month, a general strike all but stopped the cities and towns. Ten thousand Indian people blockaded the south; the majority of high school and university students walked out of their classes. Like most of Latin America, Colombia's economy is prescribed by the International Monetary Fund. Almost half the gross domestic product goes on paying off an unrepayable debt, while the Pastrana government is selling off most of the infrastructure, from telecommunications to the water supply, at well below its true value but at too high a price for domestic capital. The beneficiaries are, as ever, US and other western multinationals. In that respect, it is simply globalisation at work, a war of the rich versus the poor.

Violence is a constant, with more than 2,000 trade unionists assassinated, and thousands "disappeared" and killed by drug- trafficking paramilitaries who, like their counterparts in East Timor, are often indistinguishable from a military trained for civil repression - many in the US. A Human Rights Watch report says that army officers who planned and took part in paramilitary violence, "have been promoted and rewarded and now occupy the highest positions in the Colombian military".

The British are flying the flag. The Blair government has approved weapons sales to the Colombian military - ammunition, grenades. British Petroleum, whose former chairman, Lord Simon, made the smooth transition to Blair's minister for competitiveness, "is the most aggressive oil company in Colombia", says the national workers' union. An investigation by ITV's World in Action in 1997 revealed that BP had contracted former British SAS soldiers to train paramilitaries. The company denied the allegations.

When the suffering of the East Timorese was finally ordained news and the force of world opinion brought a glimpse of hope and freedom, it was too late for the thousands of victims of policies materially supported, even formulated, by Faustian partners in Washington and London. They ought not to get away with more of the same in Colombia.