cj#1065> Chossudovsky re: NATO’S CLAIM OF ETHNIC CLEANSING


Richard Moore

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 18:22:05 -0500
X-Sender: •••@••.••• (Unverified)
Mime-Version: 1.0
To: •••@••.•••
From: Snezana Vitorovich <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Michel Chossudovsky :NATO claims of ethnic cleansing

                      Michel Chossudovsky

Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and
author of The Globalization of Poverty, Impacts of IMF and
World Bank Reforms, Third World  Network, Penang and Zed
Books, London, 1997.

Member of the Canadian antiwar movement.

Copyright Michel Chossudovsky, Ottawa, February 2000

NATO's two main justifications for bombing Yugoslavia on
humanitarian grounds have been refuted by the Western
alliance's own official figures and documentary evidence.
These justifications rest on two central premises:

1) the alleged indiscriminate mass killings of Albanian
civilians (premise number one);

2) the implementation of a deliberate policy of mass
deportations or "ethnic cleansing" (premise number two).

"Premise number one" has been invalidated by the FBI and
European forensic teams working under the auspices of the
Hague Tribunal (ICTY). The forensic and police investigators
have uncovered several hundred bodies in grave sites in
Kosovo as opposed to the 10,000 to 100,000 civilian
massacres claimed by NATO and Western governments as a
pretext for waging the War. British Prime Minister Tony
Blair had announced that President Milosevic was "set on a
Hitler style genocide equivalent to the extermination of the
Jews during World war II".1 "We've now seen about 100,000
military aged men missing... They may have been murdered",
echoed US Defense Secretary William Cohen. 2 "Genocide is
starting," stated German Defense Minister Rudolf

The Hague Tribunal (ICTY) (while upholding the war crimes
indictment against members of the Yugoslav government), has
acknowledged the exhumation of 2,108 bodies in Kosovo from
grave sites in Kosovo.4 This figure includes the deaths of
ethnic Albanians, Serbs, Romani and other ethnic groups who
died during the war (23 March 9 June 1999)  from all known
causes (including politically motivated executions and
massacres of civilians, NATO air strikes, the groundwar
between the KLA and the Yugoslav Armed Forces and natural


"The allegations of indiscriminate mass murder, rape camps,
crematoriums have not been borne out" by the police
investigations and forensic evidence. 5 In the absence of
"premise number one", the policy of mass deportations
directed against ethnic Albanians (premise number two) is
being upheld by NATO and the Western media as "a sufficient
justification" for launching the war. In the words of
Madeleine Albright "opposing ethnic cleansing is central to
our values... We are reaffirming NATO's core purpose as a
defender of democracy, stability and human decency on
European soil."6

Yet the recently released Report entitled "As Seen, As Told:
Analysis of the Human Rights Findings of the OSCE Kosovo
Verification Mission" suggests that the allegation of mass
deportations is also a fabrication. 7 Although heavily
slanted in its main conclusions, OSCE figures suggest that
there were proportionately more Serbs (as a percentage of
population) fleeing Kosovo than ethnic Albanians which puts
an obvious question mark on NATO's assertion that organized
mass expulsions of ethnic Albanians were taking place.

According to OSCE numbers and Kosovar Albanian sources on
population size and distribution, an estimated 45.7 percent
of the Albanian population and 59.5  percent of the Serb
population had  fled Kosovo during the bombings (i.e. from
23 March to 9 June 1999).8

The OSCE report summarises the balancesheet of ethnic
Albanian refugees as numbering 862,979. In a secluded
footnote at the bottom of the main table, the report
nonetheless acknowledges that:  "In addition [to the 862,979
ethnic Albanian refugees], more than 100,000 Serb IDPs
[Internally displaced persons] are estimated to have left
Kosovo and to have been registered in Serbia and
Montenegro". 9 Whereas ethnic Albanians (including those who
fled to Montenegro) are categorized as "refugees", Serbs who
fled Kosovo during the same period are casually identified
as "Internally Displaced Persons". The figures for ethnic
Albanians are very precise in contrast to those indicated
for the Serbs in the footnote. The number of refugees
belonging to other ethnic groups who fled the province
during the bombings is not even acknowledged.

According to Kosovo Albanian sources, the Province had a
total population of 2.1 million of which 90 percent are
ethnic Albanians, 8 percent  Serbs and 2 percent are other
ethnic groups.10 Based on these figures (which are accepted
both by NATO and the postconflict KLA provisional
government) there were an estimated 1.89 million ethnic
Albanians and 168,000 Serbs in Kosovo.10

In accordance with the above population breakdown, the
exodus of Serbs (as a percentage of population) was larger
than that of the ethnic Albanian population. According to
OSCE numbers (from UNHCR sources), it is estimated that 45.7
percent of the Albanian population and more than 59.5
percent of the Serb population fled Kosovo during the
bombings (i.e. from 23 March to 9 June 1999).

In other words,  Serbs who ostensibly were not the target of
"ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Serbs" had also fled
the theatre of the war in Kosovo. If there had been a
deliberate and cohesive policy of ethnic cleansing and
massacres directed against ethnic Albanians, the percentages
would have been markedly different and this is something
which NATO was cautious not to reveal to public opinion
while the bombings were ongoing.

The above estimates depend on the veracity of the OSCEUNHCR
refugee figures as well as on the reliability of the data on
population size and distribution. In estimating these
percentages, we have accepted official OSCE   UNHCR refugee
numbers at face value, namely that the OSCE Report had not
artificially "inflated" the number of ethnic Albanian
refugees nor had it "deflated" the number of Serbs who fled
Kosovo during the bombings with a view to vindicating NATO's
claim of ethnic cleansing. We have also taken Kosovar
Albanian assumptions pertaining to  population size and
distribution.  In other words, the percentages are derived
from their numbers!  Moreover, it should be emphasised that
the percentage of Serbs who left Kosovo estimated at 59.5
percent is based on the 100,000 figure given by the OSCE.
Yet the OSCE report states that the number of Serbs who fled
 Kosovo during the same period is "more than 100,000".

Accounting for biases in the OSCE UNHCR figures and margins
of error in the data on population, the estimates  do not
support NATO's allegation of a policy of mass deportation
directed against ethnic Albanians.

Ironically, the OSCE (also in a discrete footnote)
acknowledges the assumptions of Belgrade's 1991 Census data
which indicates the ethnic Albanian population at 82 percent
of total population. Yet the Census was boycotted by ethnic
Albanians and the figures were never recognised by the
parallel provisional government of Kosovo. Why does the OSCE
acknowledge Belgrade's 1991 Census when NATO and KLA
statements repeatedly indicate that the ethnic Albanian
population is at 90 percent? Based on the 1991 Census
figures, the estimated percentage of each population group
which fled Kosovo would be 53.7 percent for the ethnic
Albanians and more than 51.5  percent for the Serbs.11 Yet
even when applying the assumptions of the 1991 Census,
NATO's claim of mass deportations is not borne out.

The refugee crisis, we were told repeatedly during the War
was limited to ethnic Albanians. According to the Western
media, Serb civilians had been protected by the Serb police
and Armed forces. The large scale exodus of Serbs from
Kosovo prior to June 9, 1999 (acknowledged by the figures
contained in the OSCE Report) was simply not mentioned. To
reveal the numbers would have discredited NATO's main
justification for launching its "humanitarian war".


Other documentary evidence including an official report of
the German foreign ministry published prior to the War,
confirms that there was no evidence of "ethnic cleansing" in
Kosovo in the months immediately preceding the bombings. Who
is lying? German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer had
justified NATO's intervention pointing to a "humanitarian
catastrophe", yet the internal documents of his own ministry
stated exactly the opposite:

"Even in Kosovo an explicit political persecution linked to
Albanian ethnicity is not verifiable. The East of Kosovo is
still not involved in armed conflict. Public life in cities
like Pristina, Urosevac, Gnjilan, etc. has, in the entire
conflict period, continued on a relatively normal basis. The
actions of the security forces [were] not directed against
the KosovoAlbanians as an ethnically defined group, but
against the military opponent [KLA] and its actual or
alleged supporters."...12

Moreover, a report of the United States Committee on
Refugees (USCR) confirms a significant reduction in the
number of refugees and internally displaced persons in the
period following the signing of the October 13 agreement
between U.S. Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke and Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) President Slobodan Milosevic.
According to USCR, the overall refugee situation had
improved with the entry of the OSCE Kosovo Verification
Mission (KVM). The USCR report also confirms that "KLA
ethnic cleansing of ethnic Serb civilian population pockets
intensified in December [1999]" substantiating the results
of the German Foreign Office intelligence report.  But we
were told time and again that the Serbs rather than the KLA
had been responsible for ethnic cleansing in the months
leading up to the War...13

The OSCE UNHCR figures on the number of refugees rather than
supporting NATO's main justification for waging the war,
suggest that more than half the Serb population had also
fled Kosovo during the war. This tendency could be explained
by the fact that the KLA had been responsible for relaying
intelligence to NATO pertaining to potential targets in the
bombing operation. Moreover, a history of the war also
suggests that the massacres and atrocities directed against
the Serbs by the KLA Military Command (amply  documented for
the period after June 9) had already commenced prior to the
arrival of KFOR forces in Kosovo.

NATO's two central postulates for waging the war
respectively "indiscriminate mass killings" and "ethnic
cleansing" are not borne out by the relevant data. What then
was the justification for the humanitarian bombings? What
was the hidden agenda? Ultimately the truth must prevail,
public opinion must be informed and those who are
responsible for waging this criminal  war must be brought to


1. Quoted in Peter Gowan, Kosovo; the war and its aftermath,
Labour Focus on Eastern Europe, no. 64, 1999, p. 26.

2. CBS Face the Nation, 16 May 1999 quoted by Joyce Howard
Price in The Washington Times, May 17, 1999.

3. Quoted in Peter Gowan, op. cit.

4. Reuters, 10 November 1999.

5. Wall Street Journal, 31 December 1999.

6. Quoted in Time  Magazine, May 17, 1999, p. 2526.

7. OSCE, Kosovo/ Kosova, As Seen, As Told, An analysis of
the human rights findings of the OSCE Kosovo Verification
Mission, October 1998 to June 1999, Warsaw, 1999.

8. Ibid

9. Ibid.

10. Figures for 1993. See Albania Worldwide Web,
http://www.albanian.com/main/. See also Musa Limani, The
Geographic Position, Natural Riches, Demographic
Characteristics, and the Economical Development of Kosova,
Pristina,  The Association of Lawyers of Kosova, 1992.
Kosovar Albanian estimates place the population of Kosovo at
2.3 million for 2000. 11. The Government of Yugoslavia 1991
Census data for Kosovo identified a total population of
1,956,196 of which 82.2 % are Albanians, 9.9 % Serbs and 7.9
% other ethnic groups. The Census was boycotted by the
ethnic Albanian population. During the 1990s, the evidence
suggests that Kosovar Serbs left the Province in large

12. Intelligence Report from the German Foreign Office,
January 12, 1999 to the Administrative Court of Trier.

13. See USCR

C Copyright by Michel Chossudovsky, Ottawa, February 2000.
All rights reserved.  Permission is granted to post this
text on noncommercial community internet sites, provided the
essay remains intact and the copyright note is displayed.
The text can also be photocopied for noncommercial
distribution. To publish this text in printed and/or other
forms contact the author at
    •••@••.••• or  fax: 15144256224.

Michel Chossudovsky

Department of Economics,
University of Ottawa,
Ottawa, K1N6N5
Voice box: 1-613-562-5800, ext. 1415,  Fax: 1-514-425-6224
E-Mail: •••@••.•••
(Alternative Email: •••@••.•••)

Recent articles:

"Seattle and Beyond: Disarming the New World Order"

NATO's Reign of Terror in Kosovo
Overview on the War:
On the role of the KLA:
Breakup of Yugoslavia:
On the bombings:

On The Globalisation of Poverty and the Financial Crisis:

Richard K Moore
Wexford, Irleand
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance
email: •••@••.•••
CDR website: http://cyberjournal.org
cyberjournal archive: http://members.xoom.com/centrexnews/
book in progress: http://cyberjournal.org/cdr/gri/gri.html

                A community will evolve only when
                the people control their means of communication.
                        -- Frantz Fanon

Permission for non-commercial republishing hereby granted - BUT
include and observe all restrictions, copyrights, credits,
and notices - including this one.