Truth in Media Global Watch Bulletins

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Sept. 23, 1999

Special Truth in Media Reports on NATO's Kosovo War explosion.gif (16495 bytes)and "Peace"bomb.gif (3054 bytes)

S99-147, KFOR "Peacefarce" 41

FROM SINGAPORE          natologo-animated.gif (3783 bytes)    Topic: BALKAN AFFAIRS

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Sept. 23, 1999 - KFOR "Peacefarce" 41


Pristina                               1. KLA "Disarms" 100 Days after Start of "Peace Farce"…

Pristina                               2. …But Killings Continue in Kosovo

Washington                        3. Serb Agents "Infiltrating" Kosovo?

Paris                                   4. France: A Reluctant Accomplice to Mass Murder


1. KLA "Disarms" 100 Days after Start of "Peace Farce"…

PRISTINA, Sept. 21 - One hundred days after NATO occupied Kosovo under the KFOR "peace farce" label, and after several delays and deadline extensions, the KLA had been officially disarmed, according to western media reports. The assertion is a part of the farce which even the most gullible among the Kosovo observers would be hard pressed to swallow.

In recent weeks, NATO also supposedly persuaded KLA members to turn in more than 10,000 weapons, 5.5 million rounds of ammunition and 27,000 grenades, and to stop wearing their uniforms. But no one here pretends that the former rebel fighters will lack access to additional weapons and ammunition, or that the KLA will fade into oblivion.

In fact, KLA leader Hashim Thaqi, who last spring was named prime minister of a provisional Kosovo government, announced today that he plans to form a political party. The party's apparent objective is to obtain an electoral mandate legitimizing the KLA's present lock on key political positions throughout the province. The party's long-term objective will be to gain Kosovo's independence from Yugoslavia and its largest republic, Serbia, a goal ostensibly opposed by most Western countries.

The accord was reached after top KLA officials, including all but one of the rebel army's regional commanders, won agreement from NATO to call the new ethnic Albanian civil defense group Kosovo's Protection Corps. The group, which NATO had wanted to name the Kosovo Corps, will oversee humanitarian and disaster assistance.

NATO's field commander here, Lt. Gen. Mike Jackson of Britain, gained a renewed promise from the KLA leadership today that the rebel group will officially cease to exist at midnight Tuesday (Sept. 21), two days past a deadline set in June. The new head of the Kosovo Protection Corps will be Agim Ceku, the KLA's military chief of staff.

NATO's desire to avoid pushing the KLA too far lies behind its decision to accept a name for the new group that is more to the rebels' liking. A patch to be worn by members of the new corps does not display the Albanian flag, as the KLA had sought, but it has a map of Kosovo in the flag's red and black colors.

But on several other matters, the Western alliance's negotiators won KLA concessions. One provision of the deal limits the number of armaments available to corps members for self-defense at any one time to 200, instead of 450 requested by the KLA; and another limits the total full-time membership of the corps to 3,000. NATO rejected a KLA demand to begin moving toward creation of a national army in one year.

Meanwhile, the Justice Ministry in Belgrade said the NATO-KLA accord sought to "legalize the action of terrorist bands and the criminal KLA," arguing that it was a violation of Yugoslav sovereignty in Kosovo.


2. …But Killings Continue in Kosovo

PRISTINA, Sept 21 - Despite an apparent KLA demilitarization agreement which went into effect on Sept. 21, killings continue in this war-torn Serbian province. Russian troops in the eastern town of Kamenica on Tuesday (Sept. 21) found an 82-year-old Serb woman murdered in her home, the latest of over 300 victims of Kosovo Albanians' revenge against the Serb civilians.

In addition, four children were killed when a cluster bomb left over from NATO's bombing of Serbia exploded in a field in eastern Kosovo. The NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force said two more children were wounded by the explosion near the town of Mogila on Monday (Sept. 20) afternoon.


3. Serb Agents "Infiltrating" Kosovo?

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 - Serbian security forces are infiltrating Kosovo to spy on NATO forces and provoke renewed violence, a senior U.N. official told the Washington Post on Sept. 21. Military officers in the NATO-led peacekeeping force said their troops have been placed on a higher state of alert, particularly in the tense northern Kosovo city of Kosovska Mitrovica, where Serbs and ethnic Albanians clashed 10 days ago.

NATO officials also have warned U.N. officials, Western diplomats and ethnic Albanian leaders of increased security risks, causing some to add bodyguards, avoid nighttime travel and stay closer to colleagues, U.N. officials said.

"There is a convergence of alarm," a U.N. official said, adding that NATO may need to take the security threat more seriously. In particular, the official said, NATO should consider policing Kosovo's northern boundary with Serbia to help prevent what he described as an influx of too many "young people . . . who have no link to Kosovo."

Several NATO officials expressed much less concern, saying they have no evidence of specific plans by Yugoslav forces to create disturbances in Kosovo, which remains a province of Serbia, Yugoslavia's dominant republic. One official involved in monitoring Serbian activities in Kosovo described the intelligence reports as more rumor than fact.


TiM Ed.: Now get this… Kosovo is Serbian territory, right? Not even the most vile of the NATO war criminals are disputing this. So even if this Washington Post report is true, and if the Serbian agents are monitoring NATO's and KFOR collaboration with the Kosovo Albanians in ethnically cleansing the Serbs, the question which comes to mind is - isn't that their right?

It is incomprehensible to this writer why the Serb agents, if they are in Kosovo, have to operate in a clandestine manner on their own territory? It is even less comprehensible why NATO has taken it upon itself to warn the "ethnic Albanian leaders" of allegedly increased security risks. What sort of a warning did they provide to over 180,000 Serbs who were driven out of Kosovo under KFOR's "peace farce," or the over 300 Serbs who have been murdered since June 12? None whatsoever, as the above statistics show.

While visiting Nis during TiM editor's "Tour de Serbia," this writer had a chance to talk to one of the Serbs who managed to escape with nothing else but his life from Gnjilane, a town in eastern Kosovo which had been chosen for headquarters of the American sector. This man was accused by some local Albanians of war crimes. Which was enough for the American troops to try to arrest him - evidently on the basis of "presumed guilty until proven innocent" - a KFOR "refinement" to the cornerstone of American justice.

Having seen the American commanders who tried to be fair and equitable yanked out and replaced with more obedient servants of Bill Clinton's New World Order, this man decided it was time to run, rather than try to prove his innocence under such adverse circumstances. So he literally bolted across the Morava river with nothing but his clothes, to the safety of Central Serbia.

Subsequently, this Serb's father was arrested by the American troops and held at a new base being built in the vicinity of Gnjilane, before being released. What he saw while in detention was highly informative. For, it shows that NATO is here to stay in Kosovo.

"My father was held at a huge, 4,000-hectar base being constructed by the Americans," our Serb source said. "It looks as permanent as any other basis Americans have built in NATO countries."

Funny how neither Congress nor any of the western media sources are asking any questions about what this base is about, isn't?

Furthermore, on Tuesday night (Sept. 21), while still in Moscow, this writer also talked to a relative of one besieged Serb family in Orahovac (Kosovo). These Serb people are confined to a radius of a few hundred yards around their homes. If they try to leave, they are likely to be killed. So they stay. And pray to God that one day, miraculously or otherwise, someone will liberate them from the misery to which they were confined by the Kosovo "peace farce."

The chief U.N. official in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, is nonetheless considering whether to restrict access to Kosovska Mitrovica for the first time since NATO's peacekeeping operation got underway in June, officials said. Under the draft rule, only those who could establish a prior connection to the city would be allowed to travel there.


4. France: A Reluctant Accomplice to Mass Murder

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 - Before U.S. warplanes fired missiles into Belgrade's 23-story Socialist Party headquarters in late April ("USCE" - see our Web site), NATO planners bluntly spelled out the risks in a document circulated to President Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and French President Jacques Chirac, according to a Sept. 20 Washington Post report. Here's an excerpt:

"Next to a photograph of the party headquarters, the document said: "Collateral damage: Tier 3 – High. Casualty Estimate: 50-100 Government/Party employees. Unintended Civ Casualty Est: 250 – Apts in expected blast radius."

Officials in Washington and London approved the target, but the French were reluctant, noting that the party headquarters also housed Yugoslav television and radio studios. "In some societies, the idea of killing journalists – well, we were very nervous about that," said a French diplomat.

One of the myths of the war is that the leaders of NATO's 19 member countries ran the air campaign by committee. But that is not the way the decision-making looked to the alliance's generals and political leaders. Inside the alliance, it was clear that the important choices – such as whether to bomb targets that had a largely civilian character – were made by the leaders of three countries: the United States, Britain and France.

And only one of them, France, regularly played the skeptic.

The first time President Chirac of France realized how fast and far the air campaign had moved from its original, modest size was when he watched the Yugoslav Interior Ministry erupt into a fireball on April 3, day 11 of the war. "Paris was pretty shocked," a French diplomat recalled. Chirac requested an urgent telephone call with Clinton to discuss the strategy being pursued by Gen. Wesley K. Clark, the supreme allied commander in Europe.

It was Easter weekend, and Chirac was at his government's medieval castle in Bregancon on the French Riviera, which did not have a secure line to Washington. White House officials immediately dispatched a communications team from the U.S. European Command in Germany to put in a "Stu 3" phone, the most secure equipment.

To NATO officers, the phone's installation was a sign that the presidents were going to interject themselves into the minutiae of the war, which the alliance had hoped would be over in two or three days. "We were just discovering," said a French military official, "that maybe the war would last a long time and we'd have to have discussions about it."

That day, Chirac told Clinton he wanted a say, along with the American president and the British prime minister, in all crucial decisions about the war. Clinton told Chirac the target approval process was already too slow. He agreed to include the Frenchman but proposed that they agree in advance on the kinds of air strikes over which each leader would reserve a veto.

Chirac asked to review any targets in Montenegro, a small republic of Yugoslavia that had remained democratic and was trying to stay out of the war. Blair wanted a veto over all targets to be struck by B-52 bombers taking off from British soil. And all three leaders wanted to review targets that might cause high casualties or affect a large number of civilians, such as the electrical grid, telephone system and buildings in downtown Belgrade. […]

All agreed on the new guidelines.

To help out, Washington created "a management committee," as one senior administration official called it, to smooth over disagreements about the military campaign. The core of the committee was the so-called quints: Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and the foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany and Italy. They held a five-way conference call almost every day.

The calls helped maintain unity. If Italy's Lamberto Dini was apprehensive about accelerating the bombing, as he often was, Albright would call first to the German and British foreign ministers and arrange for them all to reassure the Italian. Occasionally even the British wavered, as when Foreign Secretary Robin Cook questioned strikes on power lines affecting a large hospital in Belgrade. But the group brought him around. […]

France also reluctantly agreed in mid-April to air strikes on Belgrade's two main TV towers, one of which was atop the Socialist Party headquarters. The Pentagon warned western reporters to stay out of those buildings. But as warplanes streaked toward the kill on April 12, the Pentagon got word that some journalists were inside. Air Force Gen. Joseph Ralston, acting as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff because Gen. Henry H. Shelton was traveling, ordered the jets to turn around.

By April 18, Clark was pushing to reschedule the strike, and western journalists were warned again. Two days later, French officials declared that the decision needed "more study." Washington went into a full-court press, arguing that the Socialist Party headquarters was really an alternative headquarters for the Milosevic regime and providing videotapes to show that Serbian TV was broadcasting nationalist propaganda (see S99-51, Day 31, Update 1, Items 1 and 2, Apr. 23 and S99-55, Day 33, Item 2, Apr. 25).

"It was tough," said Shelton of the negotiations with the French. "We kept after it. Persistence wore them down, and I think they eventually saw exactly what we were talking about."

Still, Chirac floated the possibility that he might show up for only part of NATO's 50th anniversary summit in Washington. Clinton got on the phone again. "Glad you can stay," he told the French president, according to administration notes of the call. "Your early departure would have been perceived as disunity and would encourage Milosevic."

As NATO dignitaries rolled into Washington's red-carpet hotels on April 21, rescue workers were digging through the rubble of the Socialist Party headquarters, struck by four cruise missiles at 3:15 a.m. Two days later, NATO bombed the Yugoslav state TV and radio building, collapsing the top two floors. While no authoritative casualty figure exists, Yugoslav reports indicate that 10 people died in the twin attacks, far fewer than NATO's worst-case estimate.

France had quit NATO's integrated military command in 1966 and acted aloof toward the alliance ever since. But with 60 planes involved at the start, and 100 by the end, France had the second largest air force in Operation Allied Force. Despite frictions, both Paris and Washington considered the joint effort a quantum leap in their political-military relations. And the alliance's cohesiveness was strengthened at the summit by the prospect that it might lose its first war. […]

U.S. commanders and political leaders had wanted to strike Yugoslavia's electrical system in the first week of the war, but the French were opposed. To try to break the stalemate, French and American military officials exchanged ideas on how to bring down the grid. The United States proposed a strike on transmission lines that would take days or even weeks to repair. The French called that unacceptable.

So the Americans offered up a top-secret weapon, the CBU-94, which would turn the electricity off for just a few hours. Shelton showed his French counterparts how it would work. He even described what kind of backup electricity would be available to hospitals.

When the French still balked, the discussions became heated. "Okay, what's your alternative?" Ralston asked, according to a participant. "You want to back away?"

Finally, Paris agreed. And in the post-midnight darkness of Sunday, May 3, dispensers the size of a can of tennis balls dropped from the sky, each with its own parachute. As they reached Yugoslav power grids and transformer yards, spools of specially treated carbon-graphite thread unraveled into a web, causing instant short circuits.

The "rubber duckies," as the military dubbed the weapon, knocked out power to 70 percent of Yugoslavia. Most of it was back on within a day. But the strike pushed NATO over a threshold it had avoided for 40 days: bringing the war to the Serbian people.

Three weeks later the French agreed to more severe strikes on the power system, disabling it for days and disrupting water supplies.

The only target the French refused to allow NATO to strike was the so-called Rock 'n' Roll bridge over the Sava River in Belgrade, where scores of Serbian volunteers stood as human shields. "That was the one that was obvious. Don't waste your time trying to get approval to do this one," recalled Shelton.

Not only in France, but throughout the alliance, a portion of the public criticized NATO for keeping its pilots safe at 15,000 feet while causing civilian casualties on the ground. […]

The Big Flop

"Is it really the Chinese Embassy?" Clark asked the next morning in the video conference. "I want to make sure that the building we targeted was, in fact, the Chinese Embassy."

"Sir," said the chief of intelligence, "I take personal responsibility for the error . . . and we're working to re-scrub each of the remaining targets."

Stacks of taunting faxes came into Clark's office that day. "Dear Gen. Clark," many of them began. "We've moved. Our new address is . . ."

While NATO planners double-checked other targets, it appeared that the alliance had imposed a moratorium on bombing Belgrade. In fact, after the May 7 strikes, there was hardly any important target left in the capital to hit.

On May 11, Clark went to Brussels to brief the North Atlantic Council, NATO's standing political body, on the embassy disaster and to listen to complaints.

"There was contradictory guidance," he told commanders at the video conference the next morning. "They don't like collateral damage. Some don't like attacking Belgrade. I want them to get in the boat on targeting. I told them, 'Give us targets and no-strike areas.'"

But, he concluded optimistically, "The Chinese Embassy problem is behind us."

It was not behind NATO's pilots. Many had become demoralized by the accidents and nonstop demands for detailed information about each mishap. Colonels who were supposed to be directing daily missions found themselves reconstructing cockpit video and audio tapes, looking for errors in judgment.

The mood got to Brig. Gen. Randall C. Gelwix, director of the operations center in Vicenza. On May 13, he wrote a new battle cry on a white easel in his office: "We Are the Good Guys." It remains there to this day."

"At one point you got the sense NATO would quit" because of the run of civilian deaths, he said. "We were over here feeling, 'We're going to lose the will to beat this bad guy.'"


TiM Ed.: How stupid can these Pentagon military types be? "Lose the will to beat this bad guy" by killing thousands of innocent Serb civilians?

As it turns out, stupidity and ignorance of the law are no protection for those who break the law. In this instance, the NATO leaders and pilots not only broke the law of civilized behavior, or that of waging war by the Geneva Convention rules; they also violated the U.S. Constitution in doing it without the congressional approval.

One of these days, sooner or later, in this world or the next, these people will also pay for their war crimes. "Sorry, I only followed the orders..." won't cut it as viable defense for them more than it did for the Nuremberg defendants.

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Also, check out... 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 Exhonerated by British Archives," "Green Interstate - Not Worth American Lives", "An American Hero or Actor of the Year?" (A June '95 TiM story) and/or "Clinton arme secrètement les musulmans bosniaques", "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"