By Sara FloundersAug. 24, 2000--Claiming they were concerned about controlling air pollution,some 3,000 NATO soldiers stormed a lead smelting plant in Zvecan at 4:30 inthe morning of Aug. 14. The plant was the only functioning industry in thevast Trepca mining complex in northern Kosovo, a few miles from the city of Mitrovica.At 6:30 a.m., in a further attack that had nothing to do with air pollution,NATO soldiers closed down and confiscated the equipment of Zvecan's RadioS--the only station that dared to report information critical of NATO. The northern part of Mitrovica is the only remaining multi-ethnic part of Kosovo. Thousands of Serbs, Romani people, Slavic Muslims, othernationalities and peoples of mixed backgrounds have been driven out of other areas by Kosovo Liberation Army thugs and vigilante groups. Manyhave fled to the north side of the Iber river. There, with the local Serbian population, they have resisted more than a yearof KLA attacks in an economically devastated region. The surprise attack by NATO shut down the only radio station and the mainsource of employment for the local population. The mines, with their smelting, refining and power centers, once constitutedone of Yugoslavia's leading export industries and a main source of hardcurrency. It was the major source of jobs in the region.Defending the pre-dawn attack, Bernard Kouchner, the head of the UnitedNations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), said, "As a doctor and chief administratorof Kosovo I would be derelict if I allowed a threat to the health of children andpregnant women to continue for one more day." UNMIK is the police force setup by NATO to administer Kosovo.