The Guardian October 4, 2000


Flagrant interference in Yugoslav elections

In what must be the most flagrant interference in the internal affairs 
of a country ever recorded, the US and its West European allies have spent 
millions of dollars, used the threat of further military action and the 
possibility of civil war, and attempted to bribe the Yugoslav people with 
promises of aid  so long as they voted against President Slobodan 
Milosevic.

The Yugoslav Government had committed the unpardonable sin of standing up 
to last year's bombing and the further dismembering of Yugoslavia by 
detaching the province of Kosovo and Montenegro.

So confident were the governments of Germany, Britain, Italy, France and 
the European Union that their dirty work would succeed that they declared 
the Yugoslav President defeated even before a single ballot result had been 
announced.

It was the United States that provided the cash to buy and corrupt the so-
called "democratic opposition" and to pay for their election campaign.

To ensure a vote count that was acceptable to the demands of the West, the 
US set up an alternative vote counting centre in Yugoslavia's neighbour, 
Bulgaria.

In a statement, the former US Attorney General, Ramsey Clark declared that 
"The US Government has boasted that it injected $77 million into Yugoslavia 
to build up the opposition to President Milosevic and his governing 
coalition. Another $105 million has been authorised on September 26 by the 
US House of Representatives for similar use."

Confirming US interference, the Los Angeles Times reports, "On the 
day after the presidential election, the US House of Representatives 
approved a bill authorising financial aid for opposition groups in Serbia.

"The bill authorises US$500 million to help finance so-called democratic 
forces in Serbia and Montenegro, including US$50 million to fund the 
activities of pro-democracy and dissident groups."

In a similar comment the New York Times wrote (20/9/00) "Let us make 
no mistake. The fault for corrupting the Yugoslav political process lies in 
one place: Washington, with its `democratic' this and `independent' that, 
and all the time they are trying to buy people, especially young people, 
with the lure of a traitor's gold. When, and it will happen, the American 
people learn what crimes are being committed in their name, God help the 
State Department."

The whole exercise was accompanied by a virulent anti-Milosevic media 
campaign in the western world, including Australia. The objective was to 
demonise Milosevic as a war criminal, yet it was the western leaders, in 
particular, Blair and Clinton, who orchestrated the NATO aggression against 
Yugoslavia.

The Yugoslav Government is portrayed as a "dictatorship" yet it is the 
Yugoslav President who is elected by the Yugoslav people whereas the 
British Prime Minister and the US President are not chosen in a popular 
vote.

For them, democracy only rules when a candidate acceptable to them and who 
slavishly does what he or she is told by the masters of the New World Order 
is elected.

In demanding that President Milosevic hand over power now to the candidate 
chosen by the West, they are ignoring and attempting to override the 
Constitution of Yugoslavia which prescribes that a successful candidate 
must receive more than 50 per cent of the vote to be elected.

The Yugoslav Electoral Commission has announced that in the first round of 
the election held on September 24, Milosevic received 40.23 per cent while 
Kostunica won 48.96 per cent.

The Electoral Commission therefore called a second round of voting for 
October 8.

Over 200 international observers from more than 50 countries were in 
Yugoslavia during the balloting and have given the ballot the thumbs up as 
being free and fair.

Having invested so much in their campaign to overthrow the Milosevic 
Government, it is hardly likely that the western powers would easily accept 
defeat.

Everything is being done to ensure that "their man" is installed and as 
usual, no lie or threat is too big to achieve their ends.

In the run-up to the election, NATO naval units were gathered in the 
Mediterranean to convey the "message" that another war would be launched 
against Yugoslavia unless Milosevic was voted out.

The European Union attempted crude bribery, assuring the Yugoslav people 
that the illegal sanctions imposed on Yugoslavia would be lifted if they 
did what was expected of them. If they voted for Milosevic, sanctions would 
stay.

Another threat circulated in Yugoslavia was that civil war would break out 
unless they changed leaderships.

Their country would be regarded as "democratic" if they voted for Kostunica 
but "undemocratic" if they voted for Milosevic, according to the 
propaganda.

All of this is typical of the brutish, bullying super-power tactics used to 
terrorise a whole nation and is now standard US policy throughout the 
world.

It is being applied against the people of Colombia and has been used 
against Iraq for the last 10 years.

The International Action Centre established by Ramsey Clark has called for 
an investigation into the interference by the US into the elections in 
Yugoslavia and in other countries as well.

A statement issued by the Centre says: "In response to the emergency 
situation in Yugoslavia caused by the open and extensive intervention in 
that nation's election process by the US and West European governments, the 
International Action Centre calls for the establishment of a Commission of 
Inquiry to investigate US manipulation of elections and other interference 
in the internal affairs of sovereign countries.

"The intervention has taken the form of military pressure, with NATO naval 
manoeuvres in the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas and threats of resumed 
bombings, economic pressure that a 9-year long embargo would be relieved 
only if the vote went against President Milosevic and direct financing of 
organisations and parties that oppose the Milosevic lead coalition."

Their statement recalls the US interventions in elections in Nicaragua 
where the popular Sandinista Government was voted out in 1990.

Washington injected $54 million into that poor country.

Other examples include intervention in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic 
of Congo) where the former Mobutu dictatorship was installed, the 
intervention in Chile which resulted in the murder and overthrow of the 
progressive government of Salvadore Allende, the intervention in Haiti and 
in Cuba where huge amounts of money have been expended in an attempt to 
overthrow the popular government of Fidel Castro.

Many other examples could be given.

"In all cases where the US put `its man in office' the people wound up 
worse off than before", says Ramsey Clark.

"Think of what Mobutu did to the Congo, what Pinochet did to Chile, and 
that under the US backed governments in Nicaragua that country was reduced 
to one of the poorest on earth. After the election in each country, US 
money stopped coming in."

The US never kept its promises of aid to develop Nicaragua. Currently, 
Taiwanese bankers and industrialists are the major exploiters of low-paid 
Nicaraguan labour in the "free trade zones" where conditions of work in the 
sweatshops are about the worst in the world.

"We need to expose the way the US Government takes advantage of elections 
to put in a regime of their choice and how this has always been harmful to 
the people of that country."

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