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Remember Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia

Speaking of Blackouts

www.globalresearch.ca 17 August 2003

The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/PRI308A.html


Speaking of blackouts.....maybe after experiencing a mere 16 or so hours without power, people in the Canadian province of Ontario and in the American states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York might think a bit about what it means when we wage war on civilians in other countries and bomb electrical power plants.

And of course, when a power plant is bombed, the power does not come back on in 16 hours as it did here. It is out for days, weeks , or months, along with water treatment and pumping facilities, sewage and sanitary systems, all food refrigeration and storage, hospitals and medical facilities and communication and transport that depend on electricity.

As very brief reminder, here are a few news items from [Iraq April-August 2003]  and May 1999 when we bombed power plants in Yugoslavia. Remember, but more importantly...think.

Mart (PRIME News Group)


THE IMPACTS OF THE ELECTRICITY BLACKOUT IN  IRAQ  (2003)

The Age, Melbourne, 21 April 03

"Hundreds of people are dying who should not die, simply because there is a lack of adequate nursing and because basic operations cannot be performed due to the lack of medicines and electricity. Unless they get the power and the water back on soon we are facing a disaster,"  (The Age, Melbourne, 21 April 03)

Morning Star, 21 April 03

But the lack of electricity means that medicines cannot be refrigerated and much hospital equipment lies idle. The UN children's fund Unicef says that piles of rubbish are accumulating at the hospitals and up to 70 per cent of patients at the children's hospital now have diarrhoea. (Morning Star, 21 april 03)

Department of Defense Press Briefing, 12 August 03

MR. BREMER: The problem of power I have addressed before; I will say it again. The structural problem in electricity in this country is due to malfeasance and incompetent economic management by the Ba'athists over a period of almost 40 years. [It is not related to the bombing] When the war started, this country had about 4,000 megawatts of generating capability, but the demand was more than 6,000 megawatts. In other words, before the war, there was a gap of almost 33, 34 percent, a deficiency.[i.e. not due to economic sanctions and the 1991 Gulf War]

We are working to restore all of the generating capability in the country. That means getting it back to 4,000 megawatts. We are running between 3,3(00) and 3,400 megawatts a day. We will try to get to 4,000 megawatts by the end of September. We are affected by the kind of sabotage which continues to be conducted against transmission lines and by the lack of maintenance of these systems for a very long time and the complete lack of capital investment in the power industry.

So getting to the point where we can provide every Iraqi with the amount of power that he or she wants is a long-term problem, at least another year, because you cannot create 2,000 megawatts of power overnight.

What we are trying to do is, therefore, arrive at a solution which has -- takes into account everybody's interest, not just the interest of a few elite Ba'athists or people in the Republican Guard or the killers of the Fedayeen Saddam, but trying to say to all Iraqis: We will share all of the power we have, but you have to remember we don't have enough power for everybody.

So three weeks ago, I instituted a policy of sharing the electricity around the country, which means that at least you can plan on when the blackouts will happen. Of course, this depends on not having attacks against the power industry and not having breakdowns because of poor maintenance.

On the whole, that system is beginning to work, and parts of the country now are enjoying more electricity than they ever had before, because we are able to share it.

But it will take time, and I'm sympathetic with the problem of the people sleeping on their roofs and not having air conditioning at this time. We simply have to work at it, and we will. We intend to restore basic services to every Iraqi man, woman and child here, and we will do that. (DoD Press Briefing, 12 August 03)

Pensacola News, 14 August 03

Paul Bremer, the chief U.S. administrator in Iraq, told reporters it will take "staggering" sums - about $30 billion - just to restore Iraq's electricity and water systems. [contracts to Western energy companies to be financed on borrowed money].  That comes on top of a reported $4 billion a month to maintain military forces and operations there.

"It does leave us with a substantial problem in the next year - as we have to make these major infrastructure investments - about where we're going to get the capital," he said. Incredibly, Bremer apparently is hoping that a lot of the money will come from a conference of "donor nations" [creditors not donors] scheduled for October. Given the lack of international support for the U.S. effort so far, it seems more likely that American taxpayers will be the top "donor."

Meanwhile, the Bush administration is angering both Republicans and Democrats by refusing to provide even rough estimates of what Congress will be asked to appropriate next year for Iraq.

Bremer rejected an Arab reporter's assertion that the country was in chaos, despite the fuel riots in Basra, more attacks on U.S. forces that left two G.I.s dead, severe shortages of electricity exacerbated by continuing sabotage, last week's bombing of the Jordanian embassy, and new reports of accidents or sabotage at oil pipelines that have resulted in fires, interrupting the flow of oil. (Pensacola News, 14 August 03)

CNN 11 August 03

[Denial that the bombing affected Iraq's Electricity Grid] 

Paul Bremer and his people will tell you that they are actually supplying more electricity now than Saddam's government was before the invasion.

Ret. General Jay Garner Statement to House Sub-committee on National Security, FDCH, 18 July 2003

GARNER: As I left, the North and South had as good a water and better electricity than they ever had because they were getting electricity 24 hours a day. Now, the problem was in Baghdad. Because Baghdad never had the electrical grid capacity to generate enough electricity for the city. So that the electricity for Baghdad had to be ported or transported from the northern grids and the southern grids into Baghdad.

Daily Telegraph, 11 August 03

But the British official in charge of the reconstruction of Iraq has given warning that it could take at least a year before the country's infrastructure is repaired and running at pre-war levels.

Andy Bearpark, coalition director of operations and infrastructure, said that four months after the fall of Baghdad many critical installations, from telephone networks to sewage treatment plants, are still a year away from their pre-war standards.

And with temperatures hitting upwards of 122F (50C) he said that pre-war power supply would not be restored to its former levels for another couple of months, leaving many Iraqis to swelter in the summer sun.

"We will be up to pre-war generation of electricity in the next 60 or so days," said Mr Bearpark, 50, a bluff Rochdale man who has spent his career directing post-war reconstruction across the globe. "At the moment the minimum supply is three hours on, three hours off."

But protesters have long grown sceptical of coalition promises, complaining that provision rarely matches them.

Mr Bearpark has his own complaints, blaming rebuilding delays on the damage caused by looters, such as the organised gangs that strip pylons of electricity cables for their copper.

It is up to Gen Freddy Viggers, Britain's deputy to the overall coalition forces commander in Iraq, US Gen Ricardo Sanchez, to ward off such criminals. "Our main job is to look after the security threat," said Gen Viggers, who liaises with Mr Bearpark to provide military protection for rebuilding projects. 'We try to protect the pylon lines but beyond that the military can't do much in terms of civil reconstruction."

So fragile is Iraq's infrastructure that during a recent crisis, when one of Iraq's main power stations was offline, the country's entire electricity supply depended on a 30-mile stretch of cable. Mr Bearpark, who reports directly to Iraq's US administrator, Paul Bremer, said: "Freddy was able to put guards along that little section of wire to prevent complete meltdown."

There are other successes, including the rapid re-equipping of schools in time for the new school year beginning in September. Other complex exercises, such as the currency swap that will see Saddam Hussein's face disappear from banknotes from October, are dwarfed by major projects.

"For the moment we are pumping raw sewage into the Tigris," Mr Bearpark said. "Getting Baghdad's two sewage stations back will take 12 months. Then there's the telecoms. Roughly 50 per cent of the network was taken out by bombing. To get that all back will take a year."

Los Angeles Times, 11 August 03

The riots, in the city's north, were smaller than Saturday's protests but more violent, British soldiers said.

"They're shooting at us," said one soldier manning a checkpoint. "It's the petrol queues. They've been without electricity for four days now."

Many Iraqis are convinced that the U.S.-led occupation forces could provide electricity and gasoline, if only they made it a priority.

"We have no electricity, no gasoline, no water, no butane, no wood," said Aruba Saad, a housewife. "Why don't the Americans do something? How do they expect us to live? We're not animals."

Near the southern city of Diwaniyah, a U.S. soldier in a convoy died of heat stress Saturday, Central Command said. Another soldier was found dead in his quarters of unknown causes.

Sunday's unrest came as two Arab television networks broadcast videos of masked fighters calling for armed uprisings against occupation forces.

The Herald, Scotland, 14 August 03

[Iraq Electricity Blackout is Good for Business: The Spoils of War]

Patricia Hewitt, the trade and industry secretary, is understood to have asked the Ministry of Defence to take a more active role in support of British companies seeking reconstruction work.

She intervened after an approach from Siemens UK, which was putting together a bid to help repair Iraq's shattered electricity infrastructure, but faced stiff competition from America's General Electric.

It was perhaps the first sign of a real impetus on the part of the UK government to seriously promote UK business interests in the war-torn country.

That, coupled with the announcement of Mr Wilson being appointed as Tony Blair's special envoy to Iraq, and the announcement that British Airways is resuming flights to Iraq after 13 years, may improve prospects for UK firms.

They have viewed bidding for contracts in Iraq as a case of history repeating itself, following military interventions in Kosovo and Afghanistan.

Colin Adams, director of the British Consultants' Bureau, which co-ordinated restruction projects in Kosovo, has said British firms would be "extremely well -placed" for the rebuilding of Afghanistan.


THE IMPACTS OF THE ELECTRICITY BLACKOUT IN  AFGHANISTAN (2001)

The Guardian, 8 October 2001 Attack on Afghanistan: The bombing begins: 50 cruise missiles fired: 2am news

The US and Britain launched a massive air onslaught on Afghanistan last night, including 50 cruise missiles and wave after wave of heavy bombers, in the opening blow of what President George Bush vowed would be a "sustained, comprehensive and relentless" campaign against Osama bin Laden and his supporters.

Cruise missile strikes aimed at crippling anti-aircraft defences were followed by raids by high-altitude and stealth bombers. The sorties were flown from the Gulf and the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, while B-2 long-range stealth bombers flew from the American Midwest and refuelled in mid-air.

The bombing campaign, nearly a month after the terrorist massacres in New York and Washington, was aimed at devastating the forces of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban and the threadbare infrastructure of Bin Laden's al-Qaida organisation.

The first indication from Afghanistan that the campaign had begun came when several loud explosions were reported in Kabul and electricity supplies were cut.

[Media lies: Denial that they bombed electricity grids]: New Republic, 29 October 2003

The insistence on not attacking bridges and electricity grids, the sluggish and exquisitely calibrated air campaign, the parade of American diplomats courting the former Afghan king--all testify to the imperative of keeping the country's infrastructure intact.

 


THE IMPACTS OF THE BLACKOUT IN YUGOSLAVIA (1999)

http://cgi.cnn.com/WORLD/europe/9905/02/kosovo.02/

2 May 1999

Serbia plunges into darkness after NATO raid

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- NATO air raids struck a series of major Yugoslav power plants Sunday, knocking out power across Serbia, including Belgrade, senior Yugoslav officials told CNN Sunday.

NATO bombs damaged a power plant in Kostolac, 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Belgrade along the Danube River, which supplies electricity to all subsidiary power plants across Serbia.

An official government source said NATO planes also hit a plant in the southern city of Nis and another in Obrenovac, about 18 miles (30 km) west of Belgrade.

State-owned Serbian television, a repeated target of NATO airstrikes, went off the air around 9:45 p.m. (3:45 p.m. ET), as did all other television and radio stations.

Yugoslav Minister of Health Leposava Milicevic, speaking with CNN by phone, said the situation was causing serious problems throughout Serbia.

Without electricity, water could not be supplied to critical locations like hospitals, she said.

CNN's Brent Sadler, reporting from the Yugoslav capital, said: "Belgrade is now in darkness for as far as the eye can see."

While there was heavy anti-aircraft fire in Belgrade, Sadler did not report any explosions in or around the city center of Yugoslavia's capital.

NATO renews attacks despite prisoner release

NATO and Pentagon declined to say whether the power plants were targeted for an attack, and deferred further questions until a Monday morning briefing.

But earlier Sunday, U.S. and alliance officials said that, despite the release of three U.S. soldiers in Yugoslav captivity, air attacks against the country will continue unabated.

Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic must fully accept NATO conditions for a resolution to the civil conflict in Kosovo between separatist ethnic Albanians and Serbian forces before the alliance halts the airstrikes, the officials said.

Two U.S. warplanes crash in airstrikes

NATO on Sunday reported that it had lost two U.S. aircraft in its Kosovo air campaign overnight Saturday.

An F-16 crashed about 18 kilometers (11 miles) east of the Serbian town of Kozluk early Sunday, NATO spokesman Jamie Shea said. The plane was returning from a combat mission in Yugoslavia.

"The pilot ejected at around 2:20 a.m. (1200 GMT) this morning, and he was rescued by NATO forces two hours later," Shea said. "He is safely back at his operating base, where he is receiving medical attention and being debriefed on the incident."

Serbian air defense officials said they shot down the F-16, but NATO military spokesman Col. Konrad Freytag said the jet crashed after experiencing engine failure. He said the cause of the engine failure was unknown.

The second plane lost was a Harrier jump jet, which crashed into the Adriatic Sea while returning to the amphibious assault carrier USS Kearsarge from a t raining mission. Its pilot was also rescued, Shea said.

Previously, NATO lost an F-117 stealth fighter, which went down in Serbia on March 27; and an Apache helicopter, which crashed while training in Albania last month. Four pilotless "drones" also have been lost.

NATO admits civilian bus strike

NATO also said early Sunday that one of its attacks hit a civilian bus crossing a bridge near Luzane, north of Kosovo's capital, Pristina. NATO says the bridge was "used extensively by the Serb armed forces."

At least 34 people died in the attack, according to Serb news reports and witnesses.

"The pilot released the weapon, and only after he released the weapon did the bus come on the bridge," Shea said. "We will continue to do everything we can to try and avoid those kinds of incidents. We can't eliminate them altogether."

The bus was sliced in half by the attack and caught fire. Half of it remained on the bridge, while the other half plunged 13 meters (40 feet) over the edge. The bridge remained standing.

Reporters brought to the scene said they saw bodies and body parts strewn around the scene.

In Macedonia, an estimated 5,000 refugees streamed across the border within the past day, officials told CNN.

Macedonia refugee plight worsens

Some refugees have only blankets for living quarters At least 80,000 are squeezed into refugee camps with hopelessly inadequate facilities, they said. For some of the new arrivals, a piece of plastic is all they can expect for living quarters, as relief officials are unable to house nearly half the newcomers.

Macedonian Prime Minister Zupce Georievski, touring a border camp Sunday, expressed concern that his country had "not received one dollar" from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Four hundred of the refugees are expected to leave Tuesday to fly to the United States, which has agreed to temporarily house 20,000 Kosovars during the conflict. They will be processed for several weeks at Fort Dix, New Jersey.

In Albania, new refugees from Kosovo say Serb police are detaining women and children, possibly using them to serve as human shields.

One refugee from the border town of Prizen said, "It's totally panicky in the city. They're taking people as hostages."

Reports of intense KLA, Serb combat

In Southwest Kosovo, there were reports of heavy fighting between separatist ethnic Albanians and Serbian military forces.

Rebels with the Kosovo Liberation Army have engaged in a major offensive to open a corridor and unite with other KLA forces farther in the interior of the province, Turkish journalist Mithat Bereket told CNN.

The Serbian military answered with heavy artillery and tanks, he said.

Bereket said there were indications that the Serbian army was suffering from low morale and a high rate of desertions.

He said there were reports that Serbian soldiers were making 15- to 50-year-old Kosovar Albanians set up mines, dig trenches against tanks and give blood to prepare for a ground offensive.

Correspondents Brent Sadler, Tom Mintier and Jane Arraf contributed to this report.


http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/europe/9905/23/kosovo.01/

23 May 1999

NATO strikes at Yugoslav power plants

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- NATO bombs put Yugoslavia's largest coal-burning power plant out of business Sunday, the state-run Tanjug news agency said.

Tanjug said two rockets hit the Nikola Tesla plant near Obrenovac, 30 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of Belgrade, just before dawn. The attack caused "additional problems" in supplying the Yugoslav capital with electricity after attacks early Saturday struck the nearby Kolubara power plant.

Other NATO targets included armored vehicles and tanks; artillery positions; parked aircraft; a command post; ammunition and petroleum storage sites; and communications facilities.

"It was quite an intensive night of air operations," NATO spokesman Jamie Shea said in Brussels, Belgium.

Overnight, NATO planes flew 652 sorties over Yugoslavia, 301 of them striking targets. Alliance members vowed to continue the strikes until Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic agrees to their conditions for a safe return of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians who have fled their homes in Serbia's Kosovo province.

"The NATO campaign is doing real damage to his military machine," said British Foreign Office Minister Tony Lloyd. "And NATO is prepared to go on and on with its air campaign while building up its forces necessary to take the refugees home in safety."

Lloyd added that NATO was equally committed to the diplomatic search for peace, "but it must be a peace that gives the people of Kosovo a secure future."

Ground troop debate continues

The British also continued their push for a willingness to send a ground force into Kosovo before Milosevic has fully complied with NATO's demands, which include a complete pullout of Yugoslav and Serb forces from the region.

Returning from a trip to Washington, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the British Broadcasting Corp. that NATO must be ready to "deploy troops in a permissive or a non-permissive environment" -- meaning with or without Milosevic's consent.

Cook also praised signals from Washington that the United States was no longer categorically rejecting early deployment of ground troops.

In an opinion piece published in Sunday's New York Times, U.S. President Bill Clinton reiterated NATO's oft-stated view that the air campaign was working, but said he did "not rule out other military options."

The U.S. has now joined other NATO allies in calling for a larger peacekeeping force than originally planned. The alliance is massing some 28,000 troops along the Macedonian border for the mission, but the U.S. and others said as many a s 50,000 troops should be ready for action.

NATO's Shea said that the discussion about ground troops was to be expected from democracies, but the 19 NATO allies were still unified in their determination to force Milosevic's hand with an air campaign.

"We are not planning an invasion force for Kosovo," he told CNN on Sunday. "We still have confidence that our air power ... will force the Serb forces to withdraw from Kosovo. What we are doing is simply preparing for a peace implementation force which is going to big enough and robust enough to move quickly into Kosovo ... and allow the refugees to go back into their homes."

NATO's Shea said that the discussion about ground troops was to be expected from democracies, but the 19 NATO allies were still unified in their determination to force Milosevic's hand with an air campaign.

"We are not planning an invasion force for Kosovo," he told CNN on Sunday. "We still have confidence that our air power ... will force the Serb forces to withdraw from Kosovo. What we are doing is simply preparing for a peace implementation force which is going to big enough and robust enough to move quickly into Kosovo ... and allow the refugees to go back into their homes."

Correspondent John Raedler contributed to this report.


http://www.freeserbia.net/Documents/Kosovo/Shea2.html

NATO plunges Serbia into darkness in overnight strikes

Jamie Shea Backgrounder in Brussels on 3 May 1999

JAMIE SHEA: Good morning! I am here to give you the quick operational update in the usual fashion. Let me just point out that the Council is meeting today at 11 o'clock and that I will be back with SHAPE in the usual fashion at 3 o'clock for the daily operational briefing on camera.

There is one expression of SACEUR's that I'm sure you've heard on many previous occasions, he has said: "There are tanks and there are tanks!" What he means by that is that a tank which is stuck in its tracks because it has no fuel is far less of a tank and far less of a threat than one that has fuel and can move and as you know -- and I think President Milosevic has realised this this morning more than ever before -- there are also command-and-control systems and command-and-control systems and if a command-and-control system has no electricity to turn it on, it is of course wire, metal and plastic and not a functioning military system and that is what we did in our operations last night, we went out to deprive the command-and-control system of its electricity, of its power and to reduce it to wire, plastic and metal.

Alliance aircraft yesterday evening struck the five main electric yards that distribute power to the Serb armed forces, the military machine of President Milosevic, the power which supplies his airfields, his headquarters, his communication systems, his command-and-control network and no power means no runway lights, no computers, no secure communications.

More specifically, NATO aircraft last night struck the transformer yards of Opranovac (phon), a key electrical distribution station in western Serbia. We also attacked the transformer yard at Nis in southern Serbia and this has degraded significantly the command, control and communications capabilities of the 3rd Yugoslav Army headquartered in Nis; and we hit the transformer yards also in three other locations -- Bajinabasta (phon), Dermo and Novi Sad -- as well.

I want you to know -- and I want to stress this -- that NATO forces took the utmost care to ensure that important civilian facilities like hospitals had redundant power capabilities and that they had therefore the back-up transformers to keep their systems running through these power outages and I believe that you have seen from reports this morning from Belgrade that that was indeed the case, that those essential civilian services like hospitals were running.

We regret the inconvenience that power outages have caused to the Serb people but we have no choice but to continue attacking every element of the Yugoslav armed forces until such time as President Milosevic accepts the demands of the international community, those five unconditional points which we reiterate every day and I just want to remind you of what those five points are: that Milosevic must stop the killing, that he must get his troops out of Kosovo, that he must accept an international military presence with NATO as its core to establish security inside Kosovo, that he must allow without any restriction or qualification the return of all refugees and that he must work to build a permanent political solution based on the Rambouillet peace plan and we are not asking for anything more but we will not settle for anything less.

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

QUESTION (ABC NEWS): What's on the Council's agenda for today?

JAMIE SHEA: The Council today will be updating its assessments of the current situation in Kosovo based on a report by Klaus Naumann, the Chairman of the Military Committee, particularly reviewing -- as I am doing with you at the moment the developments on the military scene over the last 24 hours and in that respect let me stress that, as you know, the last 72 hours have seen the most intensive period thus far of NATO air operations bringing us beyond the 14,000 sortie mark since the operation began on 24th March and with on average over 600 sorties per night in recent nights so I think that will be the first thing on the agenda.

Secondly, there will be a review of the current humanitarian situation which continues to cause us enormous concern -- I will be speaking about that later at 3 o'clock -- and then obviously NATO ambassadors will discuss various planning activities following on from the Washington summit.

QUESTION (CNN): Reaction to the Chirnomyrdin visit to Washington?

JAMIE SHEA: Well obviously we are very pleased that Russia clearly wants to engage with the NATO countries in the search for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Kosovo. It is very encouraging that not only does Mr. Chirnomyrdin want to be in Washington today to meet President Clinton but also apparently wants to go on to Paris, to London and other NATO capitals in the next few days. We have always made it clear that we want Russia to be our partner in seeking a diplomatic solution but everybody knows that that diplomatic solution can only be based on the five principles, principles which are not simply NATO principles, they have been endorsed by virtually the entire international community. It is only on that basis that we can create a lasting real peace for Kosovo, anything less risks purely postponing the crisis to a later stage. We have seen with President Milosevic last October that half a cake is as good as no cake because he then slides back and we find ourselves in an even worse situation that we were in before so we hope obviously with Russia to build a common position but it has to be based on the five principles and we will continue to engage Russia in that respect -- let us obviously see what happens in Washington -- but I think the fact that we are talking to the Russians so intensively, that the Russians are engaging so intensively is an encouraging sign even if we may still have differences in our positions but at least we are working to narrow those positions but it has to be once again on the basis of the five core requirements of the international community.

DIMITRI: As a follow-up, is it only bilateral relations with NATO countries or are there some signs of relations between NATO headquarters here and the Russians?

JAMIE SHEA: No. This is being done, Dimitri, on a bilateral basis but obviously the NATO Allies are all heavily engaged in those talks. It's not simply France or the UK or the United States, you've seen that the Canadian Foreign Minister, Mr. Axworthy (phon), has been in Moscow; we know that the Belgian Foreign Minister, Mr. Dereik (phon), is there today to see Foreign Minister Ivanov; last week, Mr. Papandreou, the Greek Foreign Minister, was also in Moscow; Mr. Chirnomyrdin was in Rome last week meeting the Italian government before his trip to Belgrade so what I want to show you is that it's not simply the larger NATO countries that are involved in this, all NATO countries almost without exception are speaking to the Russians trying to engage the Russians, to seek their support on the five core principles that we know are the only way to solve this crisis.

JULIE: There were some reports that the ordnance used was a powder that was dropped on these power plants. I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about that?

JAMIE SHEA: I am not a military specialist, Julie, and the SHAPE briefing this afternoon I think will be a bit more detailed on that, particularly coming from the experts but what we have done is to demonstrate our ability to shut off the power system whenever we want and to do it in a way which short-circuits electrical systems without destroying the basic infrastructure which drives those systems and I think that shows that first of all, our key objective is not to deprive the Serb people of their electrical grid but to be able to disrupt and degrade at will the power that drives the military machine so that it is shut off for significant periods of time and so that the Yugoslav Army has to go to enormous trouble to try to restore that power and that disruption is going to cause a sufficient degree of uncertainty in their command-and-control systems to give NATO a significant tactical advantage as well so that shows that we have the technology to achieve a significant military result in an essential area -- the command-and-control system -- without having to destroy that basic infrastructure which of course is what drives the civilian electricity grid and I think that that will show President Milosevic in a very significant way just how much we can now shut down the power system as and when we have to do it.

JOHN: Jamie, doesn't the study of bombardment campaigns like this in the past show that when targets like power systems and other things that affect the civilian population are hit, that this actually increases the support of the civilian population for the regime in place? It seems to be that there has been a Rubicon crossed here.

JAMIE SHEA: John, obviously we want to spare the inconvenience to the Serb people but clearly we have to go after the fundamental military objectives.

One thing that I have noticed -- and I don't know if you have noticed this too -- but over the last couple of days we haven't seen on our television screens the outpouring of nationalism that characterised the early stages of this air campaign, the rock concerts in Belgrade, the human shields although I wouldn't used that term but they were described as human shields on the bridges in Belgrade, the expressions of support seem to have disappeared and I don't believe it is because people have stopped filming, I think it is because they haven't taken place. I said the other day that when Vuk Draskovic was still in the government and tried to organise his so-called "anti-NATO happenings", they collapsed because virtually nobody showed up and I've seen several reports -- and these are in the open press, in the presses of different countries -- over the last few days of people in Belgrade that say that the mood has changed, that if you like, the euphoria of nationalism is subsiding, that people are starting to weigh the consequences of the type of confrontation that Milosevic has embarked them on and they don't like it and they like it less and less. Even if this is not the type of organised resistance that we saw in 1996 and 1997, people are now starting to question where Milosevic is taking them and I think these signs will grow so I don't share that hypothesis that these things are going to stir up patriotism, I think quite the contrary, they are going to increase demands on Milosevic to stop this, to settle on the reasonable terms of the international community and start looking after what any leader should be looking after which is not his own prestige but the interests of his people.

DOUG: Just a follow-up on all of that, Jamie. Surely it is a little bit disingenuous to say that NATO regrets the inconvenience, surely you want large areas of the population in the country to get the message?

JAMIE SHEA: We don't want the population to get the message, Doug, I think they got the message years ago when their standards of living started plummeting as a result of the misrule of the current government. No, we want the regime to get the message and I think with their command-and-control severely disrupted last night and seeing just how quickly and massively NATO is able to do this, they will have one more thing to worry about in addition to all of the other things they have to worry about and maybe they will start worrying a little bit about how they are going to accept the five key provisions of the international community. We want to worry the government first and foremost and I think we did that last night.


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