To Our Readers


Sunday, July 8, 2001

Of dictators, war
criminals and the
latest in tourism

EVERY so often a story hits the news that makes me feel good. That was the case last week when I heard Slobodan Milosevic had arrived in The Hague for his war crimes trial. What was most satisfying about the story was that Milosevic had to delay a meeting with his lawyers because the airline lost his luggage.

Planning his defense had to take a back seat while they tracked down his suitcase. After all, you can't expect today's well-heeled dictator to go to court come-as-you-are.

Another travel-related news item featuring war criminals, brought word Adolf Hitler's Bavarian retreat in Berchtesgaden is being developed into a luxury hotel complex operated by the Intercontinental chain, complete with tennis courts and a nearby golf course.

At least, in his hit "The Producers," Mel Brooks' musical comedy based on the Third Reich (which featured the tune "Springtime for Hitler") was fictional. This new pleasuredome is offensively real.

Bavarian officials, fearing a backlash, have created an information center that demonstrates how Nazi commanders directed their conquest of Europe and the Holocaust from Der Fuhrer's rustic retreat.

Jewish critics have suggested that the Holocaust might be better documented by preserving the Gestapo headquarters in Berlin, for example, than Hitler's mountain getaway.

Then there's this word from Lima, Peru: Vladimiro Montesinos -- former spy chief under ex-President Alberto Fujimori, held in jail to face charges of narcotics trafficking, illicit arms dealing, influence peddling and directing a paramilitary death squad -- has gone on a hunger strike.

This is reportedly an attempt to pressure the judge to transfer Montesino from the maximum-security naval prison he helped design to a civilian jail. Still, we suspect the gambit won't engender much sympathy. Enthusiasm is more likely.

Finally, just in time for our summer vacation, we're told war-torn Yugoslavia has suspended visa requirements for visitors from the United States and the European Union. They'll issue 30-day special tourist passes at the border instead. If you go, watch your luggage.

John Flanagan is editor and publisher of the Star-Bulletin.
To reach him call 529-4748, fax to 529-4750, send
e-mail to or write to
500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-500, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813.

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