All brasscheck.com dispatches on the US-led
attack on Yugoslavia are available, complete
with index, at http://www.brasscheck.com/yugoslavia
Please inform your friends, colleagues, and
others who you think might care.
May 24, 1999
"...the pilots I've talked to are frustrated that people
don't understand how well it's going."
- Air Force General Charles Wald as quoted by the Washington
Post, May 24th
"..through the ignorant arrogance of the most small-minded,
narcissistic, and incompetent western leaders of our lifetime,
we find ourselves once again in grave danger of global catastrophe."
- Sam Smith. Progressive Review http://prorev.com
Apache Brief: Tim Butcher of the London Telegraph
has finally reported what I advised readers
of these dispatches on May 13. The Apache helicopters
sent to Albania - along with 5,000 US troops "to guard
them" - will never fly into Kosovo from Albania
because they are militarily useless in the face
of the region's high mountain terrain.
Yet to reach the public eye: the vulnerability of the
"invulnerable" stealth bomber.
Is it propaganda or is it news?
A few weeks ago, the Clinton Administration was caught
trying to force a US-owned Internet service provider
to cut Yugoslavia off the Internet in part to stop
you and others from seeing "Serb propaganda" like this
"Please, please do something. You are killing us.
They were hitting power plants, water lines and distribution
plants all over Yugoslavia - they still maintain that
they don't target civilians. NATO briefings are becoming
a joke throughout Europe. The war criminals.
How are we going to live without water?"
- Madame Ivanka Besevi, Age 74
And this one:
"I am back again. We are being rationed, 4 hours on,
4 hours off. This is a catastrophe. I am speechless,
people are on the brink of madness, myself included.
My elderly mother cannot stop crying. My aunt, who is
80, is in the same condition, being very sound of mind
both of them have understood what the USA is trying to do.
Kill us all. Little by little, they have been taking away
everything we have...My heart is about to explode with
worry, despair, incredulity"
As I scan the newspapers and press services, I see no shortage
of stories about Albanian refugees (refugees of all other backgrounds
are ignored), but virtually nothing about the war's other victims:
millions of civilians of Yugoslavia's 26 different ethnic backgrounds
who are enduring the most vicious bombing campaign in Europe since
World War II. Cities are losing their water systems, electric service
is failing, serious food shortages are developing, and, with the destruction
of Yugoslavia's largest pharmaceutical plant, a shortage of medicine
The goal seems to be to turn Yugoslavia into the next Iraq.
The manic air assault, which has killed well over 1,000
non-combatants and injured thousands of others, will soon
eclipse the total death count in the Kosovo civil war between
February 1998 and March 1999 which the State Department set
at 2,000. And keep in mind, that 2,000 figure includes KLA
combatants and their supporters in the midst of an
Western news services are capable of getting reports from
Belgrade and other parts of Yugoslavia. Just days ago much
was made of a protest against the government held there. But
other than the occasional picture of a deliberately
destroyed power plant or an accidentally damaged embassy,
the US press treats Yugoslavia as if it were empty,
populated only by "targets" and the unfortunate
people who find themselves in them - factory workers,
journalists, engineers, nurses, patients, children -
when they are blown up.
The "success" of NATO? It has finally revealed
some figures. Destroyed or significantly damaged:
130 APCs (armored personnel carriers)
2 major roads into Kosovo
That's 660 piece of military equipment
(a nice round number by the way)
Does that seem like a spectacular military
success given that NATO has bombed
the country every day in excess of 60 days,
many times flying in excess of 500 missions
What NATO *has* been successful in is
destroying the Yugoslavian civilian
economy. Several *thousand* dwellings,
factories and industrial facilities
have been seriously damaged or destroyed
including: oil and chemical refineries
and storage fields, fertilizer plants,
pharmaceutical plants, food processing
plants, a milk cow breeding farm, over
one dozen hospitals including a Gerontological
Centre in Leskovac, hundreds of school
buildings, tens of thousands of housing
units, and TV and radio broadcast and transmission
facilities. Counter Punch has a list of
the first month's sickening toll here:
Finding hard information on this devastation
in the US press is for all practical
purposes impossible. Only the most extraordinary
events - the two-time air assault on a packed
passenger train, the destruction of a hospital,
the bombing of the Chinese embassy, the slaughter
of Albanian refugees - can grab the US news media's
attention and inspire them to go beyond their
normal roll of "rip and read" and ask a few
Meanwhile, every injury to an Albanian refugee - "some of
the men were roughed up" "we were given only bread and water
and an occasional egg" "we were robbed by masked men" "we
were told to leave our homes" - deplorable events all -
are transformed into detailed, feature news stories in
papers like the New York Times on a daily and, in
the case of the AP, hourly basis.
This is not journalism. It's propaganda. By shielding
US news consumers from the reality of the violence
inflicted by NATO, CNN, the AP, the New York Times
and all the other news outlets that are treating the
war as a spectator event - a kind of serial video war
game - are helping perpetuate the agony.
Instead of the very real topic of the human suffering the
bombing is causing, the news media busies itself with
speculation about the coming ground war.
And what can stop this madness?
The AP, in a report relayed by the Washington Post, claims
that the diplomatic sticking points are as follows:
"Besides demanding that Milosevic withdraw his security forces
from Kosovo, NATO is insisting he permit the return of more
than 800,000 ethnic Albanian refugees of the 2.1 million Kosovo
prewar populace who have fled or been deported."
Given that the vast majority of Albanians - over 90% - who
left Kosovo, left *after* the NATO bombing began, this is
an odd point for the AP to highlight as the reason for the
continuation of the bombing.
Odder still is the absolute US news media blackout of the
*real* sticking point, the one that triggered the bombing
in the first place: NATO's insistence that Yugoslavia submit
to a nationwide military occupation and that government's
refusal to consent.
The following clauses in the Rambouillet Text bear repeating:
7. NATO personnel shall be immune from any form of arrest,
investigation, or detention by the authorities in the FRY (Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia.)
8. NATO personnel shall enjoy... free and unrestricted passage
and unimpeded access throughout the FRY including associated
airspace and territorial waters.
11. NATO is granted the use of airports, roads, rails and ports
15. [NATO shall have] the right to use all of the electromagnetic
These extraordinary demands - which any sovereign nation would be
obligated to refuse - *not* Yugoslavia's unwillingness to submit
to mediation or a legitimate UN peacekeeping force, are the root cause
of the dispute which NATO is now attempting to "resolve" through
violence, terror, and, at the root of it all, US news media-enabled
What has prevented the US news media from conveying this simple
"I really look with commiseration over that great body of
my fellow citizens, who, reading newspapers, live and die
in the belief that they have known something of what has
been passing in the world in their time."
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Norvell, June 14, 1807
Directory of Dispatches ||
Index of Topics ||
Copyright notice: any information on this page may be
freely distributed as long as it is accompanied by the URL
(web address) of this site which is http://www.brasscheck.com/yugoslavia