Vanunu's Release near

On April 21, 2004 the Israeli whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu is due to be released from his 18-year imprisonment. An international delegation will be on hand to welcome him to freedom. These admirers include Nobel laureate Mairead McGuire and others from more than ten other countries. Mr. Vanunu wants to leave Israel. He applied for a passport some time ago, but his application probably will not be granted.

Nuclear Proliferation

A Pentagon report of October 2003, previously classified, is titled, "An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and its Implications for United States National Security." It stated that climate change is a far greater threat than terrorism. A quick change could bring global chaos, as countries turn to nuclear weaponry as a means of acquiring and security supplies of food, water, and energy. The report anticipates that nuclear energy will become an essential supply, and this will accelerate proliferation, as countries get enrichment and reprocessing capabilities. See

Source: Sunflower, March.

Al-Qaeda Has Tactical Nukes?

Al-Hayat, a pan-Arab newspaper reported on 8 February that al-Qaeda had bought tactical nuclear weapons from Ukraine in 1998. The paper reported that al-Qaeda said it would use the weapons in the US only if the group faced a "crushing blow" that threatened its existence, such as a use of weapons of mass destruction against them.

Source: Reuters, Sunflower

Milosevic Trial

The prosecutor of the tribunal case against Slobodan Milosevic has closed his case and the former Yugoslav president will begin his defence on June 8. By way of assisting him, the court has provided him with two offices where he can make phone calls and meet with witnesses. Although the accused or his lawyers may ask the court to dismiss charges that they feel the prosecution has not proved, they did not do so. However, the amici curiae (two lawyers appointed by the court to ensure that proceedings against Milosevic are conducted fairly) did ask that the genocide charges be dropped. The judges will issue their ruling before Milosevic begins his defence.

The tribunal has appointed Judge Patrick Robinson, one of the judges in the case, to be the presiding judge, replacing Richard May, who had presided for the last two years but fell ill and recently submitted his resignation. Efforts are now underway to fill Robinson's former position.

The prosecutors had expected the tribunal to make the Serbian public more aware of the crimes that Milosevic had committed, and that they would distance themselves from their former leader. However, observers in Belgrade say this has not happened. Instead, Milosevic has gained renewed popularity, while the tribunal continues to be despised in Serbia.

Why has the Serbian public not been appalled by the atrocities that were described in the courtroom?

Apparently this can be explained mainly in terms of the position taken by the Serbian media. The press has led the public to believe that the tribunal is an anti-Serb institution, pursuing political rather than legal objectives. There are practically no reports offering analyses of the trial.

Still, the Serbian public has been able to watch live broadcasts of the trial, and even when it has been shown without commentary, the public has reacted negatively. Even the new democratic government authorities in Belgrade have avoided cooperating with the court. Whenever they have done so, their actions have been presented as a necessary evil, performed only to secure financial or political gain with the international community. Very few see the process as one of establishing facts or getting at the truth. Thus Milosevic has been able to present the trial as a defence of the "Serbian cause."

Sources: BBC and Biljana Kovacevic-Vuco for Tribunal Report, Institute for War and Peace Reporting.

Peace Magazine Apr-Jun 2004

Peace Magazine Apr-Jun 2004, page 31. Some rights reserved.

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