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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 5 Apr 1999
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There are 2 messages totalling 517 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Perfect on the Mat
2. Chomsky on the NATO Bombings


Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 22:30:52 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Perfect on the Mat

Perfect on the Mat

Perfect on the Mat

U.S. defeats Iran in World Cup of Wrestling

Posted: Sunday April 04, 1999 04:04 PM

SPOKANE, Washington (AP) -- Kerry McCoy pinned Iran's Ebrahim
Mehraban in the final heavyweight match of the 27th World Cup of
Wrestling to lead the United States to the team title.

McCoy pinned Mehraban after 1:03 to cap the United States' 4-0
finish in the two-day, round-robin event on Saturday night.

Iran, which finished 3-1, took second. Cuba (2-2) was third,
with Germany (1-3) and Canada (0-4) taking the final two spots.

In the championship match, Iran took an early lead by winning
the two lowest weight categories. Gholam Reza Mohammadi won by
technical fall over Sammie Henson of the United States, in the
119-pound (54-kilogram) class, and Ali Rezar Dabier won by
decision over Tony Purler of the United States in the 127
3/4-pound (58-kilogram) event.

The United States captured the next four events with victories
by Cary Kolat (138 3/4 pounds, 63 kilograms); Lincoln McIlravy
(152 pounds, 69 kilograms); Steve Marianetti (167 1/2 pounds, 76
kilograms); and Les Gutches (187 1/4 pounds, 85 kilograms).

In the 213 3/4-pound (97-kilogram) event, Iran's Ali Reza
Heidari won by decision over J.J. McGrew of the United States.

In the match for third place, Cuba beat Germany 19-11.

Cuba opened with four wins in the four lowest weight categories.
German wrestlers took two of the four highest weight classes,
with Cuba's Alexis Rodriguez winning a decision over Sven Theile
in the 286-pounds-(130-kilograms)-and-over heavyweight class.

Canada failed to advance to the final session after losing to
the United States and Germany earlier in the day.

Under the tournament format, the five teams competed in a series
of dual meets over two days. The teams were chosen based on the
performance of their wrestlers at the World Championships last
September in Iran.

Six teams were supposed to compete, but the defending champion
Russian team did not arrive. The conflict in Kosovo led to the
closure of the U.S. embassy in Moscow, and the wrestlers' visas
were inside the embassy and could not be retrieved.

The United States has dominated the World Cup in the 1990s,
winning seven of nine team titles, including Saturday's victory.

An international event, the World Cup is a step below world
championship or Olympic competitions, but some team members are
likely to compete for Olympic berths.


Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 21:41:27 GMT
Subject: Chomsky on the NATO Bombings

The Current Bombings: Behind the Rhetoric

By Noam Chomsky

There have been many inquiries concerning NATO (meaning
primarily US) bombing in connection with Kosovo. A great
deal has been written about the topic, including Znet
commentaries. I'd like to make a few general observations,
keeping to facts that are not seriously contested.

There are two fundamental issues: (1) What are the accepted
and applicable "rules of world order"? (2) How do these or
other considerations apply in the case of Kosovo?

(1) What are the accepted and applicable "rules of world

There is a regime of international law and international
order, binding on all states, based on the UN Charter and
subsequent resolutions and World Court decisions. In brief,
the threat or use of force is banned unless explicitly
authorized by the Security Council after it has determined
that peaceful means have failed, or in self-defense against
"armed attack" (a narrow concept) until the Security
Council acts.

There is, of course, more to say. Thus there is at least a
tension, if not an outright contradiction, between the
rules of world order laid down in the UN Charter and the
rights articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights (UD), a second pillar of the world order established
under US initiative after World War II. The Charter bans
force violating state sovereignty; the UD guarantees the
rights of individuals against oppressive states. The issue
of "humanitarian intervention" arises from this tension. It
is the right of "humanitarian intervention" that is claimed
by the US/NATO in Kosovo, and that is generally supported
by editorial opinion and news reports (in the latter case,
reflexively, even by the very choice of terminology).

The question is addressed in a news report in the NY Times
(March 27), headlined "Legal Scholars Support Case for
Using Force" in Kosovo (March 27). One example is offered:
Allen Gerson, former counsel to the US mission to the UN.
Two other legal scholars are cited. One, Ted Galen
Carpenter, "scoffed at the Administration argument" and
dismissed the alleged right of intervention. The third is
Jack Goldsmith, a specialist on international law at
Chicago Law school. He says that critics of the NATO
bombing "have a pretty good legal argument," but "many
people think [an exception for humanitarian intervention]
does exist as a matter of custom and practice." That
summarizes the evidence offered to justify the favored
conclusion stated in the headline.

Goldsmith's observation is reasonable, at least if we agree
that facts are relevant to the determination of "custom and
practice." We may also bear in mind a truism: the right of
humanitarian intervention, if it exists, is premised on the
"good faith" of those intervening, and that assumption is
based not on their rhetoric but on their record, in
particular their record of adherence to the principles of
international law, World Court decisions, and so on. That
is indeed a truism, at least with regard to others.
Consider, for example, Iranian offers to intervene in
Bosnia to prevent massacres at a time when the West would
not do so. These were dismissed with ridicule (in fact,
ignored); if there was a reason beyond subordination to
power, it was because Iranian "good faith" could not be
assumed. A rational person then asks obvious questions: is
the Iranian record of intervention and terror worse than
that of the US? And other questions, for example: How
should we assess the "good faith" of the only country to
have vetoed a Security Council resolution calling on all
states to obey international law? What about its historical
record? Unless such questions are prominent on the agenda
of discourse, an honest person will dismiss it as mere
allegiance to doctrine. A useful exercise is to determine
how much of the literature -- media or other -- survives
such elementary conditions as these.

(2) How do these or other considerations apply in the case
of Kosovo?

There has been a humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo in the
past year, overwhelmingly attributable to Yugoslav military
forces. The main victims have been ethnic Albanian
Kosovars, some 90% of the population of this Yugoslav
territory. The standard estimate is 2000 deaths and
hundreds of thousands of refugees.

In such cases, outsiders have three choices:

(I) try to escalate the catastrophe

(II) do nothing

(III) try to mitigate the catastrophe

The choices are illustrated by other contemporary cases.
Let's keep to a few of approximately the same scale, and
ask where Kosovo fits into the pattern.

(A) Colombia. In Colombia, according to State Department
estimates, the annual level of political killing by the
government and its paramilitary associates is about at the
level of Kosovo, and refugee flight primarily from their
atrocities is well over a million. Colombia has been the
leading Western hemisphere recipient of US arms and
training as violence increased through the '90s, and that
assistance is now increasing, under a "drug war" pretext
dismissed by almost all serious observers. The Clinton
administration was particularly enthusiastic in its praise
for President Gaviria, whose tenure in office was
responsible for "appalling levels of violence," according
to human rights organizations, even surpassing his
predecessors. Details are readily available.

In this case, the US reaction is (I): escalate the

(B) Turkey. By very conservative estimate, Turkish
repression of Kurds in the '90s falls in the category of
Kosovo. It peaked in the early '90s; one index is the
flight of over a million Kurds from the countryside to the
unofficial Kurdish capital Diyarbakir from 1990 to 1994, as
the Turkish army was devastating the countryside. 1994
marked two records: it was "the year of the worst
repression in the Kurdish provinces" of Turkey, Jonathan
Randal reported from the scene, and the year when Turkey
became "the biggest single importer of American military
hardware and thus the world's largest arms purchaser." When
human rights groups exposed Turkey's use of US jets to bomb
villages, the Clinton Administration found ways to evade
laws requiring suspension of arms deliveries, much as it
was doing in Indonesia and elsewhere.

Colombia and Turkey explain their (US-supported) atrocities
on grounds that they are defending their countries from the
threat of terrorist guerrillas. As does the government of

Again, the example illustrates (I): try to escalate the

(C) Laos. Every year thousands of people, mostly children
and poor farmers, are killed in the Plain of Jars in
Northern Laos, the scene of the heaviest bombing of
civilian targets in history it appears, and arguably the
most cruel: Washington's furious assault on a poor peasant
society had little to do with its wars in the region. The
worst period was from 1968, when Washington was compelled
to undertake negotiations (under popular and business
pressure), ending the regular bombardment of North Vietnam.
Kissinger-Nixon then decided to shift the planes to
bombardment of Laos and Cambodia.

The deaths are from "bombies," tiny anti-personnel weapons,
far worse than land-mines: they are designed specifically
to kill and maim, and have no effect on trucks, buildings,
etc. The Plain was saturated with hundreds of millions of
these criminal devices, which have a failure-to-explode
rate of 20%-30% according to the manufacturer, Honeywell.
The numbers suggest either remarkably poor quality control
or a rational policy of murdering civilians by delayed
action. These were only a fraction of the technology
deployed, including advanced missiles to penetrate caves
where families sought shelter. Current annual casualties
from "bombies" are estimated from hundreds a year to "an
annual nationwide casualty rate of 20,000," more than half
of them deaths, according to the veteran Asia reporter
Barry Wain of the Wall Street Journal -- in its Asia
edition. A conservative estimate, then, is that the crisis
this year is approximately comparable to Kosovo, though
deaths are far more highly concentrated among children --
over half, according to analyses reported by the Mennonite
Central Committee, which has been working there since 1977
to alleviate the continuing atrocities.

There have been efforts to publicize and deal with the
humanitarian catastrophe. A British-based Mine Advisory
Group (MAG) is trying to remove the lethal objects, but the
US is "conspicuously missing from the handful of Western
organisations that have followed MAG," the British press
reports, though it has finally agreed to train some Laotian
civilians. The British press also reports, with some anger,
the allegation of MAG specialists that the US refuses to
provide them with "render harmless procedures" that would
make their work "a lot quicker and a lot safer." These
remain a state secret, as does the whole affair in the
United States. The Bangkok press reports a very similar
situation in Cambodia, particularly the Eastern region
where US bombardment from early 1969 was most intense.

In this case, the US reaction is (II): do nothing. And the
reaction of the media and commentators is to keep silent,
following the norms under which the war against Laos was
designated a "secret war" -- meaning well-known, but
suppressed, as also in the case of Cambodia from March
1969. The level of self-censorship was extraordinary then,
as is the current phase. The relevance of this shocking
example should be obvious without further comment.

I will skip other examples of (I) and (II), which abound,
and also much more serious contemporary atrocities, such as
the huge slaughter of Iraqi civilians by means of a
particularly vicious form of biological warfare -- "a very
hard choice," Madeleine Albright commented on national TV
in 1996 when asked for her reaction to the killing of half
a million Iraqi children in 5 years, but "we think the
price is worth it." Current estimates remain about 5000
children killed a month, and the price is still "worth it."
These and other examples might also be kept in mind when we
read awed rhetoric about how the "moral compass" of the
Clinton Administration is at last functioning properly, as
the Kosovo example illustrates.

Just what does the example illustrate? The threat of NATO
bombing, predictably, led to a sharp escalation of
atrocities by the Serbian Army and paramilitaries, and to
the departure of international observers, which of course
had the same effect. Commanding General Wesley Clark
declared that it was "entirely predictable" that Serbian
terror and violence would intensify after the NATO bombing,
exactly as happened. The terror for the first time reached
the capital city of Pristina, and there are credible
reports of large-scale destruction of villages,
assassinations, generation of an enormous refugee flow,
perhaps an effort to expel a good part of the Albanian
population -- all an "entirely predictable" consequence of
the threat and then the use of force, as General Clark
rightly observes.

Kosovo is therefore another illustration of (I): try to
escalate the violence, with exactly that expectation.

To find examples illustrating (III) is all too easy, at
least if we keep to official rhetoric. The major recent
academic study of "humanitarian intervention," by Sean
Murphy, reviews the record after the Kellogg-Briand pact of
1928 which outlawed war, and then since the UN Charter,
which strengthened and articulated these provisions. In the
first phase, he writes, the most prominent examples of
"humanitarian intervention" were Japan's attack on
Manchuria, Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia, and Hitler's
occupation of parts of Czechoslovakia. All were accompanied
by highly uplifting humanitarian rhetoric, and factual
justifications as well. Japan was going to establish an
"earthly paradise" as it defended Manchurians from "Chinese
bandits," with the support of a leading Chinese
nationalist, a far more credible figure than anyone the US
was able to conjure up during its attack on South Vietnam.
Mussolini was liberating thousands of slaves as he carried
forth the Western "civilizing mission." Hitler announced
Germany's intention to end ethnic tensions and violence,
and "safeguard the national individuality of the German and
Czech peoples," in an operation "filled with earnest desire
to serve the true interests of the peoples dwelling in the
area," in accordance with their will; the Slovakian
President asked Hitler to declare Slovakia a protectorate.

Another useful intellectual exercise is to compare those
obscene justifications with those offered for
interventions, including "humanitarian interventions," in
the post-UN Charter period.

In that period, perhaps the most compelling example of
(III) is the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in December
1978, terminating Pol Pot's atrocities, which were then
peaking. Vietnam pleaded the right of self-defense against
armed attack, one of the few post-Charter examples when the
plea is plausible: the Khmer Rouge regime (Democratic
Kampuchea, DK) was carrying out murderous attacks against
Vietnam in border areas. The US reaction is instructive.
The press condemned the "Prussians" of Asia for their
outrageous violation of international law. They were
harshly punished for the crime of having terminated Pol
Pot's slaughters, first by a (US-backed) Chinese invasion,
then by US imposition of extremely harsh sanctions. The US
recognized the expelled DK as the official government of
Cambodia, because of its "continuity" with the Pol Pot
regime, the State Department explained. Not too subtly, the
US supported the Khmer Rouge in its continuing attacks in

The example tells us more about the "custom and practice"
that underlies "the emerging legal norms of humanitarian

Despite the desperate efforts of ideologues to prove that
circles are square, there is no serious doubt that the NATO
bombings further undermine what remains of the fragile
structure of international law. The US made that entirely
clear in the discussions leading to the NATO decision.
Apart from the UK (by now, about as much of an independent
actor as the Ukraine was in the pre-Gorbachev years), NATO
countries were skeptical of US policy, and were
particularly annoyed by Secretary of State Albright's
"saber-rattling" (Kevin Cullen, Boston Globe, Feb. 22).
Today, the more closely one approaches the conflicted
region, the greater the opposition to Washington's
insistence on force, even within NATO (Greece and Italy).
France had called for a UN Security Council resolution to
authorize deployment of NATO peacekeepers. The US flatly
refused, insisting on "its stand that NATO should be able
to act independently of the United Nations," State
Department officials explained. The US refused to permit
the "neuralgic word `authorize'" to appear in the final
NATO statement, unwilling to concede any authority to the
UN Charter and international law; only the word "endorse"
was permitted (Jane Perlez, NYT, Feb. 11). Similarly the
bombing of Iraq was a brazen expression of contempt for the
UN, even the specific timing, and was so understood. And of
course the same is true of the destruction of half the
pharmaceutical production of a small African country a few
months earlier, an event that also does not indicate that
the "moral compass" is straying from righteousness -- not
to speak of a record that would be prominently reviewed
right now if facts were considered relevant to determining
"custom and practice."

It could be argued, rather plausibly, that further
demolition of the rules of world order is irrelevant, just
as it had lost its meaning by the late 1930s. The contempt
of the world's leading power for the framework of world
order has become so extreme that there is nothing left to
discuss. A review of the internal documentary record
demonstrates that the stance traces back to the earliest
days, even to the first memorandum of the newly-formed
National Security Council in 1947. During the Kennedy
years, the stance began to gain overt expression. The main
innovation of the Reagan-Clinton years is that defiance of
international law and the Charter has become entirely open.
It has also been backed with interesting explanations,
which would be on the front pages, and prominent in the
school and university curriculum, if truth and honesty were
considered significant values. The highest authorities
explained with brutal clarity that the World Court, the UN,
and other agencies had become irrelevant because they no
longer follow US orders, as they did in the early postwar

One might then adopt the official position. That would be
an honest stand, at least if it were accompanied by refusal
to play the cynical game of self-righteous posturing and
wielding of the despised principles of international law as
a highly selective weapon against shifting enemies.

While the Reaganites broke new ground, under Clinton the
defiance of world order has become so extreme as to be of
concern even to hawkish policy analysts. In the current
issue of the leading establishment journal, Foreign
Affairs, Samuel Huntington warns that Washington is
treading a dangerous course. In the eyes of much of the
world -- probably most of the world, he suggests -- the US
is "becoming the rogue superpower," considered "the single
greatest external threat to their societies." Realist
"international relations theory," he argues, predicts that
coalitions may arise to counterbalance the rogue
superpower. On pragmatic grounds, then, the stance should
be reconsidered. Americans who prefer a different image of
their society might call for a reconsideration on other
than pragmatic grounds.

Where does that leave the question of what to do in Kosovo?
It leaves it unanswered. The US has chosen a course of
action which, as it explicitly recognizes, escalates
atrocities and violence -- "predictably"; a course of
action that also strikes yet another blow against the
regime of international order, which does offer the weak at
least some limited protection from predatory states. As for
the longer term, consequences are unpredictable. One
plausible observation is that "every bomb that falls on
Serbia and every ethnic killing in Kosovo suggests that it
will scarcely be possible for Serbs and Albanians to live
beside each other in some sort of peace" (Financial Times,
March 27). Some of the longer-term possible outcomes are
extremely ugly, as has not gone without notice.

A standard argument is that we had to do something: we
could not simply stand by as atrocities continue. That is
never true. One choice, always, is to follow the
Hippocratic principle: "First, do no harm." If you can
think of no way to adhere to that elementary principle,
then do nothing. There are always ways that can be
considered. Diplomacy and negotiations are never at an end.

The right of "humanitarian intervention" is likely to be
more frequently invoked in coming years -- maybe with
justification, maybe not -- now that Cold War pretexts have
lost their efficacy. In such an era, it may be worthwhile
to pay attention to the views of highly respected
commentators -- not to speak of the World Court, which
explicitly ruled on this matter in a decision rejected by
the United States, its essentials not even reported.

In the scholarly disciplines of international affairs and
international law it would be hard to find more respected
voices than Hedley Bull or Louis Henkin. Bull warned 15
years ago that "Particular states or groups of states that
set themselves up as the authoritative judges of the world
common good, in disregard of the views of others, are in
fact a menace to international order, and thus to effective
action in this field." Henkin, in a standard work on world
order, writes that the "pressures eroding the prohibition
on the use of force are deplorable, and the arguments to
legitimize the use of force in those circumstances are
unpersuasive and dangerous... Violations of human rights
are indeed all too common, and if it were permissible to
remedy them by external use of force, there would be no law
to forbid the use of force by almost any state against
almost any other. Human rights, I believe, will have to be
vindicated, and other injustices remedied, by other,
peaceful means, not by opening the door to aggression and
destroying the principle advance in international law, the
outlawing of war and the prohibition of force."

Recognized principles of international law and world order,
solemn treaty obligations, decisions by the World Court,
considered pronouncements by the most respected
commentators -- these do not automatically solve particular
problems. Each issue has to be considered on its merits.
For those who do not adopt the standards of Saddam Hussein,
there is a heavy burden of proof to meet in undertaking the
threat or use of force in violation of the principles of
international order. Perhaps the burden can be met, but
that has to be shown, not merely proclaimed with passionate
rhetoric. The consequences of such violations have to be
assessed carefully -- in particular, what we understand to
be "predictable." And for those who are minimally serious,
the reasons for the actions also have to be assessed --
again, not simply by adulation of our leaders and their
"moral compass." _



End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 5 Apr 1999