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Hearing on July 31

Commission prepares NATO war crimes indictment

By Sarah Sloan

If you follow the news today, you would hardly know a single bomb had been dropped on Yugoslavia. The big-business media and the capitalist politicians don't want people to remember the criminal 79-day bombing campaign they carried out against a country the size of Ohio.

But those around the U.S. and the world who led anti-war campaigns during the bombing are planning events to reveal the truth and continue the mobilization against imperialist war.

On July 31 the Commission of Inquiry to Investigate U.S./NATO War Crimes Against Yugoslavia will hold a hearing in New York. The International Action Center and former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark initiated this meeting. A multi-count indictment prepared by Clark accusing Bill Clinton, General Wesley Clark, and others with war crimes against Yugoslavia will be presented.

Ramsey Clark and other expert witnesses will present testimony based on the collective work of a team of researchers investigating war crimes, crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity committed by the U.S., England, Germany and other NATO countries.

International struggles
against imperialism

Speakers representing a number of international struggles against imperialism will be traveling to New York for the meeting. These include Felix Wilson from the Cuban Interest Section. Maude Le Blanc of Haiti Progress will speak about the true nature of an occupying force. Ismael Guadalupe from Puerto Rico will represent the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques, a group leading the struggle to demand the ouster of the U.S. Navy from Vieques, Puerto Rico.

King Downing, an African American lawyer, will speak about the effect of the war on oppressed communities in the U.S. Shani Rafati, a Roma activist from Kosovo whose family was in Pristina during the bombing, will speak about the many nationalities of the region. Frank Kovac will describe conditions of the Hungarian minority in multi-ethnic Yugoslavia.

Monica Moorehead, an organizer of the September Mumia Awareness Week, and Gloria Rubac, from the Texas Coalition Against the Death Penalty, will speak about the crimes of the U.S. government against the people here. John Kim--a Korean veteran, the president of Veterans for Peace in New York and an attorney--will also speak. And Roland Keith, an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitor in Kosovo, will testify on the role of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army.

Expert analysis

Other speakers include economist and author Michel Chossudovsky from Toronto; author Michael Parenti, Karen Talbot and Herb Foerstel on the role of the media; Gloria La Riva from the International Action Center, who traveled to Yugoslavia twice during the bombing; Michel Collon from the Belgian Workers Party; and David Jacobs, a lawyer from Canada involved in bringing an indictment against the Canadian government and other NATO countries.

The hearing will also examine past U.S. patterns of criminal behavior. This panel will include Iraqis, Sudanese, Haitians, Kurds and others. The meeting will include a multi-media presentation of video and slides taken in Yugoslavia, showing the effect of the bombing campaign.

An IAC letter describes the group's goals. "We are not simply trying to reveal the truth about U.S./NATO war crimes before, during, and after the war," it reads. "We are also trying to educate and mobilize broad public opinion to oppose imperialism.

"The war is not over. The U.S./NATO occupation of Kosovo and the cessation of the bombing campaign is not, in our opinion, a sign that peace has arrived in the Balkans. The U.S. goal is to destroy all of Yugoslavia and to continue its march through Central and Eastern Europe, into the Caucasus, and into the former southern republics of the Soviet Union.

"The commission will also deal with the `whys' of the war. Why did it really happen? How did the U.S. and NATO conspire to dismember Yugoslavia? What did the U.S. seek to accomplish with the expansion of NATO after the collapse of the USSR? What are the economic and political goals behind U.S. strategy, not just in Yugoslavia, but in all of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the southern republics of the former USSR?"

Activists from around the country are expected to attend the July 31st event. They will then organize local hearings to collect evidence of U.S./NATO war crimes. Hearings are expected in Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other U.S. cities, as well as in NATO countries, Russia and Yugoslavia.

The July 31 hearing will be held in New York's Fashion Institute of Technology at 27th St. and 8th Ave., Dubinsky Hall, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A detailed schedule can be found on the International Action Center web page at

The IAC office is at 39 West 14 Street, Room 206, New York, NY 10011; email: [email protected]; phone: (212) 633-6646; fax: (212) 633-2889.

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