cj#937> re: media coverage of village bombing


Richard Moore

Dear cj,

Thanks for your many responses to my `Query re/media coverage', several of
which are included further down in this posting.

Before that are two news items, one about US weapons testing in Yugoslavia,
and another which reviews the pseudo-negotiation process that was used to
create a justification for the bombing.  As usual, contact information is
provided so you can pursue the information sources independently of cj.

I'll tie these together in a companion posting, cj#938, which will also be
posted to other lists.


Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 15:09:27 +0200 (CEST)
To: •••@••.•••
From: Foundation Global Reflexion <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Global Reflexion Info 13; 1/4

The Global Reflexion Foundation will contribute, according to her ability,
to inform on issues of mayor human concern that in the media does not
recieve proper attention or is presented in a distorted way. We receive
information from different sources, that does not necessary reflect our

NATO is testing its latest weapons in Yugoslavia.

MOSCOW, April 8 (Itar-Tass) - The North Atlantic Alliance is using
Yugoslavia as a proving ground to test the latest weapons with which its
armed forces are to be armed in the next century. For instance, the NATO
command is planning to use the latest types cluster bombs to destroy the
tanks of the third Yugoslav army, which is deployed in Kosovo, Itar-Tass has
learned from a military-diplomatic source here on Thursday.
He said that the NATO air force was about to use for the first time cluster
anti-tank bombs with infra-red C-B-U-97 targeting sensors. Developed by the
U.S. Textron Company, they are classified top secret and designed to destroy
tanks and other armour from the air. This weapon was never used in combat so
far. The United States air force is to get it only next year.

The above-said source also said that five strategic B-1B Lancer bombers,
which are raiding Yugoslavia from the Fairford base in Britain, would be
used to try out these anti-tank bombs. Studies carried out by the U.S. air
force claim that three bombers can drop simultaneously thirty-two cluster
bombs from an altitude of up to 6,000 metres. They are expected to destroy
from 350 to 750 armoured vehicles at a time.

Global Reflexion - Foundation for International Cooperation
P.O. Box 59262 - 1040 KG Amsterdam - The Netherlands

        Center for International Cooperation
        Sloterkade 20 - 1058 HE Amsterdam - The Netherlands
        Ph. ++ 31 20 615 1122 / Fax: ++ 31 20 615 1120
        e-mail: •••@••.•••

Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 19:47:11 -0500
To: •••@••.•••
From: Mark Douglas Whitaker <•••@••.•••>
  (United States requiring NATO instead of UN forces as the ultimatum)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 15:43:53 -0400
From: FAIR <•••@••.•••>
Reply-To: •••@••.•••
To: •••@••.•••

                    Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
               Media analysis, critiques and news reports

FAIR Media Advisory:
May 14, 1999

Was A Peaceful Kosovo Solution Rejected by U.S.?

Since the beginning of the NATO attack on Yugoslavia, the war has been
presented by the media as the consequence of Yugoslavia's stubborn
refusal to settle for any reasonable peace plan--in particular its
rejection of plans for an international security force to implement a
peace plan in Kosovo.

An article in the April 14 New York Times stated that Yugoslavian
President Milosevic "has absolutely refused to entertain an outside
force in Kosovo, arguing that the province is sovereign territory of
Serbia and Yugoslavia."

Negotiations between the Serb and Albanian delegations at the
Rambouillet meeting in France ended with Yugoslavia's rejection of the
document that had been adopted, after much prodding, by the Kosovo
Albanian party.

But is that the whole story?

There were two parts to the peace proposals: a political agreement on
autonomy for Kosovo; and an implementation agreement on how to carry out
the political deal--usually understood to require international
peacekeepers in Kosovo.

By the end of the first round of Rambouillet in February, the Serb side
had agreed to the essentials of a political deal. Agence France Presse
(2/20/99) quoted a U.S. official as saying that the "political part" of
a peace accord "is almost not a problem, while the implementation part
has been reconsidered many times."

The U.S. wanted the Kosovo plan to be implemented by NATO troops under a
NATO command, and had already made plans for a 28,000-troop force. The
Yugoslavian leadership was opposed to the idea, claiming such an
arrangement would amount to a foreign occupation of Kosovo by hostile

On February 20, the Russian ITAR-TASS news agency reported from
Rambouillet that unnamed "Contact Group members may offer, as a
compromise, Milosevic an option under which a multinational force will
be deployed under the U.N. or the OSCE flag rather than the NATO flag as
was planned before."

Agence France Presse reported the same day that the Serb delegation
"showed signs that it might accept international peacekeepers on
condition that they not be placed under NATO command" and added that the
head of the Serb delegation "insisted that the peacekeepers answer to a
non-military body such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation
in Europe...or the United Nations." A U.S. official confirmed this to
AGP: "The discussions are on whether it should be a UN or OSCE force,"
the official said.

The next day, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright declared: "We accept
nothing less than a complete agreement, including a NATO-led force."
Asked on CNN the same day: "Does it have to be [a] NATO-led force, or as
some have suggested, perhaps a UN-led force or an OSCE...force? Does it
specifically have to be NATO-run?" she replied, "The United States
position is that it has to be a NATO-led force. That is the basis of our
participation in it."

Two days later, Albright repeated this position at a press conference:
"It was asked earlier, when we were all together whether the force could
be anything different then a NATO-led force. I can just tell you point
blank from the perspective of the United States, absolutely not, it must
be a NATO-led force."

Over the next month, this position was repeated countless times with
increasing vehemence by State Department officials. Furthermore, the
U.S. refused to allow the Serbs to sign the political agreement until
they first agreed to a NATO-led force to implement it.

"The Serbs have been acting as if there are two documents but they can't
pick and choose," Albright said (AGP, 3/13/99). "There is no way to have
the political document without the implementation force that has to be
NATO-led.... If they are not willing to engage on the military and
police chapters, there is no agreement."

Finally, on March 23, the day before the NATO bombing began, Ambassador
Richard Holbrooke met with Milosevic one last time to deliver his
ultimatum: Sign the agreement or be bombed. The response was delivered
that night by the Serbian parliament, which adopted resolutions again
rejecting the military portion of the accords, but expressing
willingness to review the "range and character of an international
presence" in Kosovo.

At a March 24 State Department press briefing, spokesman James Rubin was
asked about this development:

QUESTION: Was there any follow-up to the Serbian Assembly's yesterday?
They had a two-pronged decision. One was to not allow NATO troops to
come in; but the second part was to say they would consider an
international force if all of the Kosovo ethnic groups agreed to some
kind of a peace plan. It was an ambiguous collection of resolutions. Did
anybody try to pursue that and find out what was the meaning of that?

RUBIN: Ambassador Holbrooke was in Belgrade, discussed these matters
extensively with President Milosevic, left with the conclusion that he
was not prepared to engage seriously on the two relevant subjects. I
think the decision of the Serb Parliament opposing military-led
implementation was the message that most people received from the
parliamentary debate. I'm not aware that people saw any silver linings.

QUESTION: But there was a second message, as well; there was a second

RUBIN: I am aware that there was work done, but I'm not aware that
anybody in this building regarded it as a silver lining.

In other words, the State Department was aware that the Serbs had once
again expressed openness to an "international presence," but this was
not seen as a "silver lining," apparently because only a NATO force was
acceptable to the U.S.

In an intriguing corollary to the insistence on NATO forces, a leaked
version of the Pentagon's 1994-1999 Defense Planning Guidance report
advises that the United States "must seek to prevent the emergence of
European-only security arrangements which would undermine NATO....
Therefore, it is of fundamental importance to preserve NATO as the
primary instrument of Western defense and security, as well as the
channel for U.S. influence and participation in European security

This whole subject seems to have escaped the interest of the major

Those who support the bombing of Yugoslavia argue that the motives are
humanitarian and that all peaceful options for arriving at a settlement
in Kosovo had been exhausted. Journalists need to do more reporting on
the Rambouillet process to see if that in fact was the case.


This media advisory was written by FAIR media analyst Seth Ackerman
Contact: Steve Rendall < mailto:•••@••.••• >

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Date: Sat, 15 May 1999 15:26:28 -0400
To: •••@••.•••
From: Dave Steele <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: cj#935> Query re/media coverage

Hi Richard,

        On Canadian TV, at least the story was prominent on the news.  It
was also covered on NPR.  I didn't watch the US reports, but it is (with the
disclaimer that NATO says the village was a "legitimate military target") on
the front page of today's New York Times.  I think public opinion is slowly
turning against the bombing here (at least it seems so in the circles i'm
exposed to) despite the massive propaganda campaign that attempts to
mobilize public support.  Keep up the good work!

                Dave Steele

Date: Sat, 15 May 1999 16:00:18 -0400
From: Duane McCormick <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: cj#935> Query re/media coverage

Yeah.  See:


From: "Rick Martin" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: cj#935> Query re/media coverage
Date: Sat, 15 May 1999 16:01:39 -0400

I don't have a television so I can't tell you what appeared on American TV

The story did appear on the various American Internet news sites, but with a
slant.  The village was described as a "legitimate military target" and the
villagers were described as "human shields."

I'll bet the villagers themselves would tell a very different story!


From: "Dr. Carey Carpenter" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: cj#935> Query re/media coverage
Date: Sat, 15 May 1999 05:23:26 -0600

Dear RKM:

This story was covered promptly in the American media, although
with the caveat that it may have been Serbian artillery which did the
damage...but admitted that it may have been NATO action, too.


Date: Sun, 16 May 1999 12:30:57 +1000
To: •••@••.•••
From: Michael Boddy <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: cj#935> Query re/media coverage

For the record, this event was shown on Australian TV, although the Oz
government is not directly involved, but supportive of NATO (and the
Yanks). I saw it on a commercial channel. The story was clear. NATO said
the village harboured elements of the military and had trucks nearby. If
they could see them, then they would see the villagers etc. wouldn't they.
So, why do it? All this bombing is to save and help persecuted civilians.
This sort of reasoning is a bit like that given by the police when they
engage in a high-speed car chase which many times now in Australia has
forced the car-stealer to do something really dumb and kill innocent people
by crashing in to the at intersections. All for a car.  "We cauight the
criminal" Yeah, great. But who's the criminal now?

Date: Sun, 16 May 1999 00:10:26 -0700 (PDT)
From: Charles <•••@••.•••>
To: cyberjournal <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: cj#935> Query re/media coverage

I have not watched TV since the incident but I have heard reports on NPR.
The reports followed a pattern similar to that of a similar incident a few
weeks ago:

1. We don't know what happened or whether anything did.

2. The Serbs were shelling that area and may have caused the damage so
they can blame it on us.

3. We did it in the course of an attack on a legitimate target.  We regret
the collateral damage.  Such damage is unavoidable in a just war.

4. The Serbs may have put the civilians there deliberately and even if
they didn't they are the bad guys in this war.

5.  So blame Slobodan Milosovich for this as for everything else.



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