19 April 1999
weekly opinion

When the Australian people elected John Howard with a hostile senate, they didn't understand that he could sneak the GST through before the new senate took power.

Look at the facts.  Admit it, the last election was a landslide against the Coalition, concealed by an ineffective opposition.  Two senators down, lower house majority crippled, One Nation resurgent, two new Democrats.

There is no way that is an endorsement of the GST. As for the senate enquiry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The person who is in a crucial position to stop the GST until 1 July is Senator Harradine.

Here is his e-mail.  Send him a letter!


The signs are that Habibe is not able to deliver an election.

Back at the ranch (Java), that must look like a recipe for the Indonesian people to run amok.

Habibe would be well advised if he withdrew those troops that are making trouble in Dili.  The trouble that they make in Dili could be the trigger for something really nasty back in Java.

Compliments to John Howard for his response on this one.  His jung(face) should be that the Australian government disapproves of the undemocratic conquest and attempted absorbtion of the country of East Timor.   Australian policy allows open discussion in the media, (including Fretelin broadcasts to Indonesia), permits export of guns from it's shores and gives asylum to political E. Timor refugees.

Australia should not declare war on Indonesia, or incite UN intervention.  The USA made that mistake with Serbia.


Since the 24 March, after about 3 and a half weeks of bombing, NATO claims to have shot down about three fuel dumps, a handful of bridges, several army barracks, several government buildings in Belgrade, a couple of empty paddocks with windsocks on them, a tractor, a train and admits to losing a stealth fighter.

Like the NAZIS, the USA has now begun bombing Serbia, designed not to damage Serbian war potential, but to terrorize and punish the Serbian people for daring to stand against the mightiest power on earth.  Using the same excuse as rapists, our apologists are telling us that history shows that:

Being raped is in the Serbian Psyche.  They like it....
The Sydney Saturday Herald headline was "Bombed in good faith".

An English journalist, Robert Fisk was a witness to the tractor and collateral damage of about 74 Albanians.

The Serbs claim that the third Yugoslav army (stationed on Kosovo) has shot down sixteen NATO aircraft, five helicopters, forty-six cruise missiles and four unmanned planes since the beginning of hostilities on March 24. The Serbian army also claims to have wiped out the NATO supported KLA in Kosovo.

NATO airplanes appear to keep a respectful height above Serbian anti-aircraft fire.  That is why they mistake tractors for troop transports.

The ABC reported that Serbians claimed that Kosovar Albanian politician Ibrahim Rugova (governed Kosovo for ten years) is asking NATO to stop bombing and talk peaceful resettlement.

NATO peace terms seem to be that NATO troops occupy Serbia and Kosovo (i.e. total surrender).  The Serbians will apparently agree to unarmed UN observers.

I find it a bit weird that the largest military grouping in the world, representing the major European powers and the USA cannot immediately cower a small, backward country of about 7 million (excluding Kosovar & Montenegro).

To keep on fighting, the Serbians must really feel that right is on their side - and be really desperate.

Just about all of the rest of the world feels that NATO is in the wrong.

So I looked around.  An MIT researcher of the Brooking Institute, Alan Kuperman writing for the LA Times, (reprinted in the Herald) commented that Albanians lived happily under Milosevic's Kosovan government from 1989 until the KLA was formed in 1997. He wrote:

In 1989, Milosevic revoked Kosovo's autonomy on grounds that majority ethnic Albanians were oppressing Serbs. The charges were genuine, but his reaction was excessive and politically motivated. . . . From 1989 to 1997, Milosevic made no move towards ethnic cleansing, genocide or civil war in Kosovo.
Then he described the formation of the KLA and the response of Serbia..
The KLA acquired arms loosed by Albania's 1997 civil war and began shooting Serbian police. . . . . . these extremists used deadly violence against not just the discriminatory government and civilian Serbs but also against moderate ethnic Albanians who dared to pursue peaceful solutions. . . . . Milosevic responded, as have the American allies Israel and Turkey in their cases, with disproportionate retaliation that hurt the rebels but also terrified the population.
Then he explained why the USA and NATO were culpable...
Had the United States stood aside, the KLA could have been contained with limited displacement and killing of civilians - an imperfect but acceptable solution. Instead, the US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, announced: "We are not going to stand by and watch the Serbian authorities do in Kosovo what they can no longer get away with doing in Bosnia." Building on this inappropriate analogy, US policy emboldened the rebels, radicalized the Albanian populace, marginalized Rugova and prompted Milosevic to escalate his crackdown.
And next, the solution...
Now, in the endgame, the US Administration must acknowledge past errors to avoid compounding them. It should understand that Milosevic tolerated much Kosovo Albanian autonomy and probably would again if the threat of militant secession were removed.

Through quiet diplomacy, the US should offer to suspend bombing if Milosevic will take back unarmed refugees, accept a non-NATO peacekeeping force and constrain his own forces to patrolling Kosovo's international borders. This would be "defeat", but for ill-advised policy, not NATO itself.

The KLA is an obstacle to peace and must be marginalized. Arming the rebels would only perpetuate war and spread instability. Finally, because the US spearheaded the policy that provoked Kosovo's ethnic cleansing, it primarily should bear the refugee burden - financing repatriation and rebuilding,

I have watched Tail that wagged the Dog, and wonder whether what is happening in Yugoslavia mightn't be the sequel?

It would not surprise me if someone called for an international war crimes tribunal soon, with Albright & Clinton as defendants.  Not that it would do any good.

Is the USA military's sole purpose to settle Madeline Albright's childhood humiliations?

Politicians who commit the most atrocious crimes are rarely brought to justice, are they?

I doubt that they will ever get Pinochet.  If they do, he will be an exception.

The list of political criminals who retire to a life of wealth & luxury seems endless.

Oh PLEASE America, be careful.  Nobble Willie & Maddie before they start WWIII.