Mediamatic Magazine Vol. 7#1 Peter Fend 1 Jan 1992

Newsroom Amsterdam:

Accumulating Evidence of a hidden Struggle for Access to Tibet

During the last week of October 1992, a death notice repeatedly appeared in the International Herald Tribune claiming that We, the people of Tibet, are greatly indebted to the 'just-deceased Members of the German Parliament, Petra Kelly and Gert Bastian'.

Evidently, at least according to those paying, the Tibetan Community in Switzerland, the Tibetan Youth Community, the Tibetan Women's Association, and others, the two pioneers of the Green Party in the German Parliament had had a lot to do with Tibet. They had made 'valuable contributions to (the) cause'. We presume this means Tibet's Independence from China.

Precisely this cause was fiercely defended to us by a one-time art dealer and sometime professional colleague of Marina Abramovic, someone who also frequently visited Tibet, and with other places 'in transition' such as Thailand, and who last summer developed a plan to give news room a solid direction and base, in the Brussels' intelligence community. After asking testily 'Who are you working for?' (as if one must be working for some government), he declared that the 'liberation of Tibet' would be achieved within five years. That is: with sufficient covert assistance and timely military or other coercive action, the thirty years of Tibet's incorporation within China could come to an end. Artists such as Abramovic (or, at other times, Josef Beuys, Les Levine and Newton and Helen Harrison) could make themselves useful by doing the groundwork.

This person's business came to our attention when, after having been caught photocopying the contents of a news room briefcase at the Abramovic house, he proceeded to send correspondence and faxes regarding whatever might better become of news room under the label 'Stichting ARM'. One artist who was thinking of
collaborating on news room, named Rob Scholte, began receiving:

- a letter to him at the alleged address of Stichting ARM referring to his alleged request for documents about the Serbian partition of Yugoslavia from the Serbian Academy of Sciences

- a proposal for a news room type newspaper for distribution parachute inside Yugoslavia to be called 'sniper'

- an assortment of newspaper articles about either Yugoslavia or aids, mostly incomplete, usually with references to ARM

When people get this kind of mail, the security police might arrest them on suspicion. We discussed the matter with Rob Scholte, He decided to demand an explanation, and the return of private documents on a business proposition. The explanation eventually given, after several days' silence, was that one does not study political science in Paris for nothing, and well, in his case, the service is for France.

Does this mean that France, like the United States and Great Britain, is working for the 'liberation' of Tibet?
Probably not entirely. Probably, in view of the French tradition of hedging bets, it seems more likely that one intelligence branch is working for the liberation of Tibet, while another is doing the opposite: chumming up to China.

However, in Germany, we have heard from high places, and as anyone can surmise from recent comments on human rights by Klaus Kinkel, the choice is China. It has become fashionable to say that, while Japan is great, China will be greater: China is the new friend to have, the country to know, the market for growth. Neither Germany nor China would appreciate the 'valuable contributions to our cause' advertised by the proclaimed 'people of Tibet'.
The full scope of all this becomes clear with an inventory of the estimated mineral resources of Tibet: up to 40% of the world's uranium, probably the largest reserves on earth, and large quantities of the rare precious metals platinum and titanium, for which until now the West has to rely mainly on South Africa. Aircraft or rockets cannot be built without the rare metals, and, according to economics ministers from Germany, France and China, a viable economic future, including a strong industrial export programme cannot be built without nuclear fuel. To sum up: Tibet appears to be, together with the Gulf and South Africa, the next World Prize.

And any country that hopes to get access to this Prize, can do without foreign policy-complications caused by such anti-nuclear politicos as Bastian or Kelly who think that a place like Tibet can be both 'liberated' and ' Green'.

Speaking from experience: shortly after the news room sarajevo proposition at ps 1 in New York in April, a key figure involved found herself being invited to stay at the house of, and occasionally (if she wanted to) share love with, a rugged young man who made a living out of climbing mountains in Tibet, carrying with him several million dollars worth of advanced photographic equipment. By August it became clear that the man was not so much a filmmaker as a surveyor, the problem with his work being that, while inside Tibet, he must remain undetected. As was being indicated by e-mail correspondence from London, he should avoid certain places, should send postcards frequently as if he were a tourist, and should be prepared to endure severe hardship…

Suffice to say that, for the governments in Washington and London, and probably also in Paris, Tibet could be a wonderful asset to the West, the chief problem being, however, that China might have a different idea about access for some Western countries (in view of its already evident support to Yugoslavia in defiance of Western policies) and might prefer to make the assets of Tibet available to others.

Only think of Germany's new friendship for China. And the visit to China of Akihito from Japan. Or the Chinese-Japanese climbing team, which has just conquered a key peak in Tibet. A war from the past can be forgiven with a view to the needs of the future. Particularly when other countries - such as France or the US – make a habit of complaining about the violation of human rights.

Nowadays, to maintain a strong economic link, France and the United Kingdom supply Japan with enriched plutonium. Germany is not a part of this deal.

Moreover, quite suddenly relations with India have warmed up, and the US is conducting joint naval manoeuvres with them, France is sending weapons, and all the Western countries are celebrating the new capitalism. After all, those who want to gain access to a Tibet independent of China, will need an ally close-by.

Once again, the alignments of the last world war reappear, and once again, the classic polarity of Eurasia core land mass versus outlying maritime powers reappears.

All this must be quite difficult for Marina Abramovic, who allegedly kicked Mr. ARMS out of her Amsterdam house for his lack of sympathy for Serbia. Abramovic, who supports the Serbian cause, would therefore be sympathetic to China's geopolitical programme. At the same time, she has become a key proponent of Tibetan religion. Would she also be interested in helping to achieve a policy for Tibet in opposition to China's geopolitical programme? We might well invite her to present her views in the next issue of this column.