Viridian Note 00182: Military Green

Bruce Sterling []

Key concepts
Green military, Serbia, Trepca mining complex, lead poisoning, national sovereignty, United Nations, KFOR, Kosova

Attention Conservation Notice: The very word "Serbia".... why even go on?

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A New Viridian Individual Project: "Orca's Odyssey"

(Laurence Aurbach Jr.)
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Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty List RFE/RL Newsline

(((Here we have an interesting example of military "khaki-green." An armed global entity has shut down a local industrial complex because it's too filthy to be allowed to run. Someday coal mines and oil refineries will also be championed by obstreperous, poverty-stricken, criminalized local regimes == while the civilized world coughs politely into a handkerchief and contemplates air strikes.

    (((It makes sense to interpret this maneuvering as a harbinger of SO/LIC environmental health-war in a Greenhouse world. Note how the brain-damaging fumes of lead have become a potent symbol of Serbian resistance. Compare this to the strongly Green Serbian propaganda when NATO bombed the Serbian energy infrastructure and toxic fumes flew hither and yon from blazing oil refineries. Whether you poison the locals or rescue them from poison, it's a transparent and cynical plot either way!)))

"UN WARNS OF 'POISONING' FROM SERBIAN-RUN SMELTER IN KOSOVA A UN spokesman in Mitrovica said on 8 August that a Serbian-run lead smelter is sending five times what the WHO considers a 'very dangerous amount' of lead into the air from the Trepca mining complex. The spokesman noted that "the smelter plant is operating without proper environmental and health controls. The fumes are not going up the chimney, which has a converter, and instead they are pumping raw residues over Zvecan and Mitrovica,' Reuters reported.

"PEACEKEEPERS TAKE CONTROL OF MINING COMPLEX IN NORTHERN KOSOVA In the early hours of 14 August, some 800 KFOR troops occupied the Serbian-run Trepca mining complex near Zvecan. The UN recently reported that levels of lead pollution and other forms of contamination from the plant have reached 'very dangerous' levels.

    "After the occupation of the mine, crowds of local Serbs threw stones at peacekeepers, AP reported. Unconfirmed reports suggest that some Serbian engineers inside the mine may have barricaded themselves in their offices. Bernard Kouchner, who is the UN's chief civilian administrator for Kosova, said: 'As a doctor and as chief administrator..., I would be derelict if I let this threat to the health of children and pregnant women continue for one more day.'

"SHARP SERBIAN REACTION TO UN TAKEOVER OF POLLUTING MINING COMPLEX. Several hundred 'angry and confused' mainly Serbian workers gathered outside the Trepca mining complex on 15 August, AP reported. (...) Novak Bijelic, whom the UN sacked as plant director, said that the 'fascist takeover is aimed at destroying the company.' State-run Serbian television argued that 'the obvious intention [of UN chief administrator Bernard Kouchner] was to destroy Trepca, which has become a symbol of Serbian resistance.' Trepca was Kosova's largest single employer until the conflict in 1999. The complex of about 40 mines produces gold, silver, lead, zinc, and cadmium. It uses antiquated technology, and pollution control devices are inadequate or nonexistent." (...)

    "ANGRY SERBS PROTEST KOSOVA MINE TAKEOVER... Some 1,500 Serbs gathered on 16 August for the second day outside the Trepca mine complex, which UN peacekeepers have occupied to end environmental pollution from the smelter. Milan Ivanovic, who is spokesman for the Serbs, told AP that 'the takeover of Trepca is just part of the strategy by [UN chief administrator Bernard] Kouchner and the Albanians to ethnically cleanse Kosovo [of its remaining Serbs]. We will not allow the Albanians in. All those who worked here must continue to work.' (...)

    "KOUCHNER REASSURES SERBS. Speaking at the Trepca complex on 16 August, Kouchner said that ending environmental pollution at the complex is in everyone's interest. 'This [Serbian] community will have to understand that we will work for the benefit of all Kosovo and Serbs as well. We are acting in the interests of the Serbs,' AP reported. Kouchner stressed that 'it was impossible to tolerate this pollution, because of...the very high level of lead.... I don't know how long it will take us to...[have] this place running, months perhaps. This place is in desperate state, this is like the nineteenth century.'"

    "UN DEFENDS MOVE AGAINST POLLUTION IN KOSOVA. UN spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva said on 16 August in New York that 'the levels of lead in the atmosphere [at Trepca] were absolutely beyond any levels that are acceptable. They are 200 times higher than what World Health Organization recognizes, or sees as acceptable.' He pointed out that the workers are being paid and that the complex will reopen. 'It's all part of a larger project, of course that takes time, to modernize and make that entire complex more productive within modern norms of environmental protection,' the spokesman said.

    "BELGRADE WANTS UN MEETING ON KOSOVA MINE. Vladislav Jovanovic, who is Serbia's chief diplomatic representative at the UN, said in New York on 17 August that his government demands that the Security Council condemn the UN mission in Kosova's recent takeover of an environmentally dangerous mining complex. Jovanovic dismissed Kouchner's expressions of concern about lead poisoning from the plant, calling his remarks 'another cynical and transparent attempt to hoodwink world public opinion and the Security Council,' AP reported."

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