Truth in Media Global Watch Bulletins

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TiM GW Bulletin 2000/5-1

May 4, 2000

NATO Losses Revisited 

NATO Covering Up Its Losses

Is NATO Hiding the Loss of Over 400 Troops and Over 60  Aircraft? Yugoslav Air Force Raids Destroyed Scores of NATO Aircraft on the Ground in Tirana (Albania), Tuzla (Bosnia)



Moscow                        1. Russian Sources: NATO Covering Up Its Losses 

Philadelphia                  2. NATO Losses Revisited (by Venik)

Vienna                          3. - an Oxymoron: Truth Censorship on the Internet

Washington                  4. U.S. Air Force Readiness Hits 15-Year Low


1. Russian News Sources: NATO Covering Up Its Losses 

Over 400 Troops, Over 60 Aircraft Lost? 

MOSCOW, Apr. 29 - In a story headlined  "NATO Covering Up Own Losses," the Russian Agency of Political News (Agenstvo Politicheskih Novosti - APN) reported on Apr. 29 that NATO had lost over 400 troops, and over 60 aircraft during its 79-day war with Serbia. The estimates reportedly based on Russian government figures, released last month, but were hushed up in the West by the New World Order lapdog media.

The article was written by an experienced military correspondent, Vladislav Shurygin, who elaborates on an earlier Russian Defense Ministry report, which was first published in the Foreign Military Review and then by ITAR-TASS (see the next TiM article by Venik for details).  These are the highest figures so far of NATO's human casualties to emerge from the post-war post-mortems.  

Shurygin observes that NATO and the Pentagon had lied unabashedly, and that they continue to do so.  He notes that it may take years for the U.S. government to admit what it really lost in its war on Serbia. He says, for example, that NATO even lied regarding the number of combat sorties it had flown, let alone its own casualties. Instead of the claimed 35 000 flights, the alliance actually flew only about 25 000, he says.  By way of a disclaimer, the APN said that Shurygin's piece was the "author's personal view" of the subject. 

TiM readers proficient in Russian can check out the APN report for themselves by clicking on


TiM Ed.: Incredible as it may seem at a first glance to western audiences accustomed to lapping up the soap fed to them by the New World Order "lie and deny" news spinners, the above estimates are not far off the contemporaneous reports by the Greek media. On Apr. 7, the Athinaiki (The Athenian), an Athens daily, said in an article that NATO had already lost 88 soldiers as of that early date of the war.  In fact, it could be low.

If NATO had lost 88 troops during the first two weeks of the war, when the intensity of fighting was at a lower level, according to NATO, then its human casualties over the 11-week conflict might have been over 1,000, had the same rate of attrition continued.

Whatever the actual number, it is certainly greater than zero, which is what Clinton, NATO and the Pentagon have been alleging.  A steady stream of new factual information emanating from the Russian media, mostly based on the Russian official military sources (who were in a position to track firsthand the air and sea battlefields a year ago - Russia had two ships in the Adriatic during the war monitoring the war through electronic surveillance), serves to discredit such ludicrous claims by NATO and the Clinton administration.

In fact, it would not surprise us if the Russian government were engaging here in a game of political blackmail and brinkmanship with the Clinton administration, trying to gain some leverage in negotiations of other, bigger issues (such as the Missile Defense Shield).  

Since both Moscow and Washington know that if Russia were to release a proof (electronic surveillance recordings, for example) which back up its claims about the NATO losses, this would have a devastating effect on NATO/NWO.  For, the whole world would then know that a tiny Yugoslav Army had whipped the arrogant and omnipotent aggressor, using some fairly outdated weaponry, but more than making up for it with cunning and bravery of its officers and troops.  Since the Clinton administration cannot afford such an embarrassment, especially in an election year, chances are they'd be ready to cave in to the Russians when Clinton goes to Moscow on June 4. 

The only question that remains unanswered, however, is how did the Clinton administration manage to keep so many grieving American and other NATO families silent about the losses of their loved ones? Or more pointedly, did it bribe them (pay them off) or intimidate them with threats or worse?  

2. NATO Losses Revisited (by Venik)

VIENNA, May 4 – Pseudonym "Venik" should be a familiar term to the wartime TiM readers. It was Venik who was the first to systematically analyze and report the NATO losses as of last April.  And this TiM source been updating that information ever since (just search our Web site by that keyword). Here is the latest contribution on the topic of NATO losses:

PHILADELPHIA, Apr. 21 - According to a March 25, 2000, article published by the ITAR-TASS news agency, Russian GRU (Main Intelligence Directorate) sources report that during the Operation "Allied Force" NATO's air forces sustained losses considerably higher than is officially acknowledged by NATO command. According to GRU information, NATO lost three F-117A stealth bombers, and at least 40 other combat planes, and over 1,000 cruise missiles.

So far, NATO officials acknowledged losing three combat planes (the USAF F-117A on March 27, the USMC AV-8B Harrier on May 1, and the F-16CG-40-CF on May 2), two attack helicopters (AH-64 Apache on April 26 and another Apache on May 5), between 30 and 32 unmanned reconnaissance vehicles, including at least 16 American, 7 German, and 5 French UAVs. Interestingly enough, NATO acknowledged all of the UAV losses mentioned by Yugoslav military officials - 30 - and, perhaps, even more.

Official NATO reports and statements made by various NATO officials indicate that about 10 NATO planes made emergency landings. Two F-117As sustained extensive damage (the F-117A 86-0837 was damaged on April 21 during landing; and another F-117A lost a part of its tail section due to a nearby SA-3 SAM explosion). An RAF C-130K Hercules transport plane crashed on June 11 in Albania. The aircraft was delivering a British SAS unit that was trying to beat Russian paratroopers to the Slatina base. The US Army OH-58 combat reconnaissance helicopter crashed on May 26 in Bosnia.

According to the information from unofficial Yugoslav military sources, NATO's final assessment of its aircraft losses during the operation "Allied Force" indicates that some 61 aircraft have been destroyed, 53 aircraft were damaged beyond repair or it is not cost-effective to repair them, 57 aircraft have sustained repairable combat damage. A total of 171 NATO aircraft were hit by Yugoslav defenses during the war.

According to Yugoslav army officials, NATO lost 61 planes, 7 helicopters, 30 UAVs, and 238 cruise missiles. These numbers include only those NATO aircraft that crashed inside Yugoslavia. Distribution of aircraft kills among various units and branches of the Yugoslav Armed Forces is as follows: 

3rd Army: 34 planes, 5 helicopters, 25 UAVs and 52 cruise missiles (according to an official statement by General Nebojsa Pavkovic, commander of the 3rd Army, on June 12, 1999); Navy 3 planes, 3 UAVs and over 5 cruise missiles (from an official statement by the FRY Navy Commander, Milan Zec, June 10, 1999); 

2nd Army: 24 planes, 2 helicopters, 2 UAVs (reported by Major General Spasoje Smiljanic in his interview to Politika newspaper at the end of April), 30 cruise missiles; 

1st Army: 6 planes, 129 cruise missiles (reported by General Ninoslav Krstic in his interview for the "Vojska" magazine on May 24, 1999). If you add up these numbers, provided by various Yugoslav military officials, you will see that the number of planes reported to have been shot down is 67, and not 61, as the official report by Gen. Dragoljub Ojdanic states. And here's why...

On June 17, 1999, Gen. Spasoje Smiljanic, then commander of Yugoslav Air Force and Air Defense (RVand PVO), announced that "the Yugoslav Air Force and Air Defence units have downed 36 airplanes, 42 cruise missiles, nine UAVs and two helicopters." It is important to keep in mind, however, that RVand PVO air defense units do NOT include low-level army air defenses or naval air defenses, such as man-portable SAMs and some AAAs. The total number planes shot down by RVand PVO and by various air defense units outside of RVand PVO command comes to 61 planes, 7 helicopters, 30 UAVs and 238 cruise missiles according to Gen. Ojdanic. However, these figures only include those NATO aircraft that crashed inside Yugoslavia. In some of the earlier reports mentioned above Yugoslav military commanders included NATO aircraft that crashed outside Yugoslavia.

Several new pieces of destroyed NATO hardware were added to the Yugoslav Aeronautical Museum's exhibit on March 24 to commemorate one year since the beginning of NATO's aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Currently the museum's exhibit includes over 1,500 fragments of NATO's military hardware. The museum's curator, Cedomir Janjic, announced that more destroyed NATO weapons will be soon added to the collection in a new wing of the museum dedicated to the war with NATO.

In an interview to the Associated Press Yugoslavia's Minister for Science and Development, Cedomir Mirkovic, said "It is truly amazing how many aircraft and drones were downed with the relatively modest and primitive equipment..." Mirkovic refutes Western claims that Yugoslav air defense downed only two planes. "We shall prove we have more," he said, without elaborating.

In February British press was discussing a sharp shortage of operational aircraft experienced by the Royal Air Force. The news first appeared in the January 23, 2000, Hundreds of Crippled Jets put RAF in Crisis article from The Observer, by Antony Barnet. In particular, the article, based on the Observer's own investigation, outlines the following problems with the RAF:

"Two out of three of the UK's 186 fleet of Tornado bombers are grounded;

Fewer than 40 per cent of other frontline aircraft, such as Harriers and Jaguars, are ready to fly at short notice;

The Ministry of Defence has spent almost 1 billion developing a laser-guided bombing system that does not work properly;

There is shortage of nearly 20 per cent of junior officer fast jet pilots and the RAF is having a severe problem in retaining trained pilots."

Two out of three British Tornadoes that are grounded comes to a rather substantial number of 124 Tornado strike aircraft which are not operational. The crisis began developing following the Operation "Desert Storm" in Iraq, but it really took off since the Operation "Allied Force" against Yugoslavia. As far as I know only four NATO Tornado aircraft were shot down during the conflict based on media reports. Two Luftwaffe strike aircraft were shot down on March 26-27. The other two Tornadoes were shot down on April 15 and May 26. It was not reported whether these aircraft were German or British.

The fact is that most of RAF's strike aircraft are out of order for a variety of reasons. I do not have enough information to draw any definitive conclusions. However, I know enough to say that 124 strategically - important strike aircraft are not grounded for no reason. 

NATO has sustained significant losses. An even greater number of aircraft were damaged not only by ground fire but also by the intensity of operations and skipping on the required maintenance hours. After talking to several USAF aircraft mechanics, who participated in the "Allied Force", I can conclude that NATO aircraft were pushed to the limit and way beyond it. This is especially true for the USAF aircraft. One USAF aircraft mechanic who served at Aviano told me: "Two weeks - three weeks tops - and the "Allied Force" would have been over 'cause NATO would have run out of working planes."

In the February 13 article in The Observer, based on first-hand information posted by RAF pilots and technicians at an Internet discussion group and entitled Pilots Vent Fury at RAF on Web, Antony Barnet writes "Pilots currently serving in the Gulf, and others recently back from Kosovo, are so angry about defective equipment and low morale they are flooding the secret site with complaints aimed at senior officers." The "secret" site is the PPRuNe message board for military pilots. I've spent several days at that site fishing for information until that Sherlock from The Observer scared everyone away with his article.

From what was written by RAF pilots, it can be readily seen that there is a great deal of concern about technical capabilities of aircraft and even about their basic safety compromised by the lack of proper technical service and spare parts. An RAF Captain wrote: "The number of sorties lost due to unserviceability is way too high. I now find that I have to accept faults to get the job done that a few years ago I would not have done ... Although I have a few worries about the structural strength of the airframe I am convinced that we are going to have a major problem due to some esoteric fault... We struggle to get spares, some parts have to be manufactured over and over. We use the cheapest contractor we can find..."[...]

Yugoslav Air Force Grounded "Apaches," Not Mechanical Trouble

According to an ITAR-TASS review of the article published by the Foreign Military Review magazine of the Russian Defense Ministry, Yugoslav aviation prevented the use of American AH-64 Apache attack helicopters during the Kosovo conflict. The "NATO Losses in the War with Yugoslavia" article, the Foreign Military Review writes "... the biggest sensation was the number of troops lost by NATO. Not just NATO pilots were killed in Yugoslavia, but also search-and-rescue troops that were tasked with locating downed pilots. Yugoslav air defenses have shot down no less than five NATO helicopters, which (alone) resulted in deaths of about 100 troops of the Alliance."

According to the Foreign Military Review, the reason why Pentagon did not use Apaches in Kosovo "...had nothing to do with technical problems with the helicopters or insufficient training of their flight crews, as was often stated by NATO officials. The only reason was the April 26, 1999 attack carried out by Yugoslav "Galeb" fighters against "Rinas" airport located near Albania's capital of Tirana, where the Apaches were based. That day two groups of these light helicopters were destroyed and over 10 helicopters were damaged."

A similar operation was carried out by Yugoslav AF on April 18 against the airport in Tuzla, Bosnia, used as an emergency landing site for NATO aircraft. As the result of this attack some 15  NATO aircraft were destroyed on the ground. 

The Foreign Military Review writes: "Despite the fact that American aircraft dominated NATO operations, they weren't the only aircraft shot down by Yugoslav air defenses. Among the destroyed aircraft were five German "Tornadoes," several British "Harriers'" two French "Mirages," Belgian, Dutch, and Canadian aircraft. On June 7 the USAF lost a B-52 strategic bomber, while on May 20 a B-2A "Spirit" was shot down.

Information regarding the B-52 loss comes as a surprise to me. I have seen a brief eyewitness report regarding this incident, but it was never mentioned in press or on the NATO losses list on my site. Looking at the eyewitness report listing compiled by aviation enthusiasts in Yugoslavia, we can find the following entry (#381) June 7, between 012 and 040, area between Slankamen and Indjija, One large bomber (most probably B-52) was shot down. Aircraft exploded after a direct SAM hit. Crew killed."

Venik, Philadelphia, April 21, 2000, (the previous location at  is also working. 

3. - an Oxymoron: Truth Censorship on the Internet

VIENNA, May 4 - It is not unusual that the pressure to keep the lid on NATO losses is on at all government levels.  But even we, at the Truth in Media, were surprised by similar moves in the private sector, especially on the Internet, particularly a year since the bombing (during the war, we have reported several times on censorship of war news that Internet outfits like AOL had implemented).

Here's an excerpt from a letter which we received today from a Belgrade TiM reader about his and other Serbs' experiences at the web site.

"I received this e-mail from a Serb friend who like myself was posting on the; but we were all banned after one of the Serbs posted NATO's losses a story from , which he translated in English and then posted:

"Dear Serb members of the FreeRepublic, 

It seems that Free republic is not so free, and that Jim Robinson is a fake and this site is a farce.  He has banned myself and other pro-Serbs posters alleging that we were Serbian propagandists, that is that we were working for the Serbian government. Which is not the case at all. Others and I were just trying to educate Americans on the truth about the war against Serbia, in Kosovo and the previous civil wars."

It seems that Jim Robinson, the owner of FreeRepublic, could not care less about what the site purports to stand for (Free Republic). Thus I am sending you this e-mail to see if you can help on a creation of a site that would directly compete with the FreeRepublic, a site that will not banned, or censor news stories that are written by various people around the world on various subjects, including the YU crisis, as well as New World Order, and other current headlines that affect our lives around the world. Let me know if you are in a position or if you can help in any way."


TiM Ed.: "Could not care less," or was he also intimidated?  Either way, if the above allegations are proven true, we invite the TiM readers who are also visitors to the web site to let the owner know what they think of such a "free republic."  Or perhaps to do it by the most efficient way of protest in a free society - by boycotting it.

4. U.S. Air Force Readiness Hits 15-Year Low

WASHINGTON, May 2 - The U.S. Air Force readiness to fight a war slumped in recent months to its lowest level in 15 years, declining 28 percent since the end of the Cold War, a senior military official said Tuesday (May 2), according to an Associated Press report.

Only 65 percent of the force's combat units were considered operating at the military's best levels of readiness in December and January, the official said on condition of anonymity. That means roughly 115 of its 329 combat units were not fully capable of performing their mission.

The rating is based on calculations of whether the units have the people, supplies, equipment and training to do their jobs and it's been steadily declining for years.

The 65 percent rating early this year, for instance, compares with 95 percent readiness in 1989 and 76 percent at the end of 1998, the official said.

The official blamed budgets that didn't allow enough for spare parts and didn't offer service members salaries competitive in today's booming U.S. economy. That has meant a loss of pilots to the nation's commercial airlines and of other personnel to other civilian jobs.

The Air Force has been downsized by 40 percent, and in one year, for example, only 81 percent of what was needed for spare parts was budgeted. "That catches up with you," the official told the AP.

He also blamed the aging fleet of aircraft and increasing tempo of operations, naming the 1990-91 Gulf War, the bombing crusade two years ago to punish Iraq for not cooperating with U.N. weapons inspectors, and last year's NATO-led war in Kosovo.

Also check out, "The Day NATO Shot at Journalism."

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Also, check out... “Berliner Zeitung” Disputes Racak “Massacre”, CIA and KLA Ties, His Disgrace, Artemije, How Gen. Clark Misled the World, Death on the Danube, Reverse Fascism, Racism of the New World OrderDeath of the City, Cavorting with the Enemy (Albright), Toward a New Multipolar World in the New Millennium, Stitching Together the New World Order Flag, Chinese Embassy; Slovakia; bin Laden and Bosnia, Criminals Return to Scene of Their Crimes, Truth in Media Statement on the Kosovo War, "Wither Dayton, Sprout New War?", "On the Brink of Madness", "Tragic Deja Vu's," "Seven U.S. Senators Suggest Ouster of Milosevic", "Biting the Hand That Feeds You", "A Balkan Affairs Potpourri", "Put the U.N. Justice on Trial", "International Justice 'Progresses' from Kidnapping to Murder", "Milosevic: 'A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery'...", "Kosovo Lie Allowed to Stand", "New World Order's Inquisition in Bosnia", "Kosovo Heating Up""Decani Monastery Under Siege?", "Murder on Wall Street""Kosovo: 'Bosnia II', Serbia's Aztlan""What If the Shoe Were on the Other Foot?", "Serb WW II General Exonerated by British Archives," "Green Interstate - Not Worth American Lives", "An American Hero or Actor of the Year?" (A June '95 TiM story) and/or "Kocevje: Tito's Greatest Crime?", "Perfidious Albion Strikes Again, Aided by Uncle Sam", "Lift the Sanctions, Now!" (1993)

Or Djurdjevic's WASHINGTON TIMES columns: "Chinese Dragon Wagging Macedonian Tail,"  "An Ugly Double Standard in Kosovo Conflict?", "NATO's Bullyboys", "Kosovo: Why Are We Involved?", and "Ginning Up Another Crisis"

Or Djurdjevic's NEW DAWN magazine columns: "Washington's Crisis Factory,"  and "A New Iron Curtain Over Europe"