KOSOVO: AMERICAN SOLDIERS CHARGED

Kidnapping, sexual abuse, rape, beating, assault with knives, torture and murder...the legacy of the USA’s elite Alpha Company in NATO’s peace-keeping forces in Kosovo “Get Ugly Early” is the motto of Alpha, the USA’s elite paratroop company, which belongs to the 82nd Division. Its 800 members “violated the basic principles of good conduct, human decency and army values”, states a report published this week by the US Army. This report investigated serious charges brought against this Company by Albanian civilians, including women and children. Among the cases investigated, which were confirmed and condemned by the US Army, are the following : * The rape and murder of an eleven-year-old girl by Sergeant Frank Ronghi * Forcing Albanian civilians to lie down in the snow while they were insulted * Beating up civilians * Sexually harrassing women, fondling their breasts and buttocks while they were being searched In today’s terminology, “Armies” are referred to as “Peace-Keeping Missions” and “Soldiers” have become “Keepers of the Peace”. Their mission is not to fight, but to stop fighting. This incident raises the question as to whether elite combat forces are best employed in civilian peace-keeping missions, especially forces such as these which are incapable of following the proper military codes of conduct and basic human decency. Tim BANKROFT-HINCHEY Correspondent of PRAVDA.Ru Lissabon 2000-10-02