FROM BELGRADE, SERBIACAPITAL OF THE FREE WORLD
Apr. 19, 1999; 1:00AM GMT - DAY 27
Belgrade 1. A Spell at Guard Duty on Brankov Bridge
Novi Sad 2. Dancing on the Bridge (By Randall Major)
London 3. NATO Gears Up for Invasion at End of May?
London 4. British & American Special Forces Help
Washington 5. Gen. Clark's Hoof in Mouth Disease
Vranje 6. Human Suffering: Joy for Sick Minds
1. A Spell at Guard Duty on Brankov Bridge
BELGRADE, Apr. 18 - Despite the blustery winds and sharply lower temperatures after the thunderstorm blew over Belgrade this afternoon, several hundred people, including this writer, gathered this evening on the Brankov bridge as "human shields" against NATO's bombs. The bands played, the singers sang, the speaker spoke, and the actors performed on an improvised stage, under the glare of flood lights. A cold drizzle, the rain mixed with snow, dampened the atmosphere but not the spirits of the people on the bridge.
In the end, it turned out to be the quietest evening so far during your editor's stay in Serbia. Which was a welcome respite after last night's fireworks. Or one should perhaps not speak too soon, as the night is still young ?
2. Dancing on the Bridge (By Randall Major)
NOVI SAD, Apr. 18 - The informed world is astounded. The crazy Serbs have turned out enmasse, to stand in the dark on their bridges, disregarding the air raid sirens, to sing and dance, to shout cries of rebellion at NATO, the most incredible superpower ever to exist. Are they insane? Are they just victims of a propaganda war? What is, indeed, wrong with these people?
As a Texan, as someone who lives among the people of Novi Sad, I can claim with confidence: there is nothing wrong with them.
Imagine for a moment that, for whatever reason, a massive air armada was threatening YOUR bridges. Stop and think. If someone were to demolish London's Tower Bridge, how would your lives be affected? How would the people of New York feel if some horrid force destroyed not only the Tri-Burrows Bridge, but also the Brooklyn Bridge? How would your lives be changed then? Or the Golden Gate Bridge. How would you feel if a MIG suddenly appeared and shot out the center section?
As a Texan who grew up in a family of hunters, I must admit: my first thought would be to take the .243 Remington my daddy gave me as my first hunting rifle and go stand on that bridge. To shoot at whatever terrible flying machine that might approach it. Or the .270 Winchester my brother and I both used to hunt deer in our childhood. By God, even my daddy's old 16-gauge shotgun. I would defend those bridges with my whole heart, lay down my life if necessary.
Take a map. Look for yourself. Where would you have to go to reach your destinations if those bridges were suddenly gone? How would you get to work, return home, or go shopping? Then understand. These people are fighting for their bridges, because their bridges are their lives.
Is the Brooklyn Bridge a "military target"? A similar bridge in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, was proclaimed so. It is now a crumpled mass in the swirling Danube. Is travelling to see loved ones in Mill Valley a military operation? How many times have you seen tanks on the bridges of your town? Ever? The very same is true here. In thirteen years here, I've never seen even a military jeep on those bridges. Never.
It is not that the people of Yugoslavia don't have guns. They do. They are hunters and sportsmen very much like many of the people of my native Texas. But they leave their guns at home. They sing and dance, they celebrate their bridges, fighting against brute force with their love for life and for their bridges. Are these the "Serb butchers" as proclaimed by NATO and the mass media? I hardly think so.
As an American, it just makes me stop and wonder. Where would WE be without our bridges? The next time you drive over a bridge, think of it laying crushed by a Tomahawk missile. How will that make YOU feel?
The very fact that NATO is blowing up Yugoslavia's bridges is symbolic in a way. Each time a bridge goes down, a tie with the West is broken. A childhood memory is obliterated. Loved ones are separated. And anger grows towards the ones who have done it. By blowing up the bridges, NATO countries are cutting all ties between themselves and the ordinary citizens of Yugoslavia. How will those ties be reestablished in the future? And who will rebuild the bridges? How long will it take? Every bridge and each victim in this nonsensical war widen the gap and extend the time it will take for the wounds to heal, for the bridges to be rebuilt.
Randall A. Major, Novi Sad, Yugoslavia
3. NATO Gears Up for Invasion at End of May?
LONDON, Apr. 18 - NATO is making plans for a ground invasion of Kosovo as early as the end of May, the London Observer reported today. The Observer has established that 80,000 troops have been earmarked for the operation. American forces have already started training in a reconstruction of a Balkan village in the Colorado Rockies.
Military planners believe six weeks is the minimum period necessary to wear down Serb military and police units in the province. According to sources in London and Washington, the accelerated timetable follows the insistence by NATO's political leaders that the allied military campaign against Yugoslavia must be wrapped up within three months.
4. British & American Special Forces Help Drug-Dealing Maoists
LONDON, Apr. 18 - British and American special forces teams are working undercover in Kosovo with the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army to identify Serbian targets for NATO bombing raids, the London Telegraph reported today SAS soldiers fluent in Albanian and Serbian have dodged minefields and Serbian patrols around the torched villages along Kosovo's border with Albania and Macedonia to enter the war-battered province on surveillance missions.
One of their priorities is to pinpoint the location of Serbian tanks and weapons which - as The Telegraph revealed last week - have been hidden in garages, buildings and even mosques in villages "ethnically cleansed" of their Albanian populations. NATO later admitted that it was frustrated by the success of the Serbian tactics.
The SAS is also advising the rebels at their strongholds in northern Albania, where the KLA has launched a major recruitment and training operation. According to high-ranking KLA officials, the SAS is using two camps near Tirana, the Albanian capital, and another on the Kosovan border to teach KLA officers how to conduct intelligence-gathering operations on Serbian positions. [ ]
It is the latest evidence of the growing co-operation between NATO and the KLA, a movement once denounced by the West's leaders as "terrorists" and dismissed by its military strategists as a ragtag force.
TiM Ed.: Considering that the KLA are the creation of the West, perhaps such military strategists should be dismissed as ragtag analysts?
5. Gen. Clark's Hoof in Mouth Disease
WASHINGTON, Apr. 18 - Before he started the war on Serbia, NATO's Supreme Commander, Gen. Wesley Clark, was supremely arrogant as he predicted that he would crush the Serbs in three days. Twenty seven days later, one thing crushed, besides the dead Serb and Albanian civilians, is this diminutive egomaniac's ego. Which is when such mean people become really dangerous - to themselves and their friends, first and foremost.
The Washington Post, for example, reported today (Apr. 18) that Clark said on Saturday "he was unsure whether the full facts behind NATO's accidental bombing of a Kosovo refugee convoy would ever be known, but vowed a probe would continue". He had already blamed Serbs for NATO's Apr. 15 attack on a convoy of Albanian civilians in which over 80 people died. But the Pentagon later admitted that the NATO missiles had hit the column.
An Italian journalist has now visited the place and has reported about the evidence. He wrote:
Here is the address you where you can find more information:
6. Human Suffering: Joy for Sick Minds
VRANJE, Apr. 16 - A NATO bomb which on Friday fell near the village Ribinca, near Vranje in southern Serbia, seriously injuring two civilians, contained a cynical hand-written message by its sender, the Tanjug news agency reporte. A certain Eric N. wrote:
"Bad times. Isn't it lovely. See you guys. I'm going home, Eric N., Italy" beside the serial number of the NATO bomb, which was 30003 70 4 AS 4829 MFP 96214 (AP).
The bomb wounded the Serb farmer, Slobodan Djordjevic, and his 16-year old daughter, who received major skull fractures and is in critical condition at the Neurosurgical Clinic in Nis.
7. Some Brits Ready to Call it Quits?
ENGLAND, Apr. 18 - We received the following letter from Terry Allen, a former British soldier:
Also, check out... Truth in Media Statement on Kosovo Crisis, "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?", "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"
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"