All brasscheck.com dispatches on the US-led
attack on Yugoslavia are available, complete
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July 11, 1999
A soldier's tale
Missing from the news: the makeup and conduct of the
Yugoslav military conscripts sent to Kosovo. This appears
to be another case where the facts turned out to be the *exact
opposite* of what was reported by the US news.
From a report by Uli Schmetzer that appeared in the Chicago Tribune,
one of the few US papers that made an honest attempt to investigate
actual conditions in Kosovo.
The news you probably didn't see:
1. Regular Yugoslavian army units not only were not involved
in atrocities, but also protected Albanian villages against
2. A disproportionate number of draftees called up for service in
Kosovo were from regions that were anti-Milosevic, pro-peace,
and living in harmony with their ethnic Albanian neighbors.
3. NATO probably knew the nature of the Kosovo force but
made them the focus of its attack anyway.
4. Yugoslav forces in Kosovo, mostly made up of amateurs, easily
deflected attacks on it by the US's multi-billion dollar air
1. "Many Albanian refugees concede the Yugoslav army was not involved
in atrocities, except for some rogue units. Some refugees said they felt
safer when the army occupied their villages or towns. Often the killing,
looting and burning had been carried out before the army arrived, or
when army units moved out and armed Serb fanatics moved in."
* Another "unintended" consequence of NATO bombing, driving
legitimate forces out of the region so the thugs could take
2. "The corporal says he was among the first to be drafted into the reserves,
the mainstay of the Yugoslav army. He is a leading figure in the Civic
Alliance of Serbia movement, a pacifist group opposed to the nationalist
politics of Milosevic. Like most government critics, he was quickly
drafted to the front in Kosovo.
"I guess the government hoped we'd all be killed. They even suggested
on television we should be sent to the front with a gun trained on our
backs, indicating we were all potential traitors. But all of us did our
duty because we told ourselves we were not fighting for Milosevic but
to save Serbia and Serb lives," he said.
Kraljevo, 60 miles from the border with Kosovo, is a small city and an
anti-Milosevic stronghold with a population of 120,000, including
surrounding villages. Yet 23,000* of its men were drafted to the front in
the reserves and 41 of them were killed in Kosovo, perhaps the highest
ratio of casualties of any town in Serbia."
* More than half the reported Yugoslav forces in Kosovo.
In a town closely associated with ethnic Albanians for generations, the
Kosovo crisis generated strong anti-war sentiment. Milicevic said he
participated in 40 anti-war conferences and saw the war as a "political
game" before he was mobilized."
3. "Serbian troops, he said, scoffed at leaflets NATO dropped, urging
Yugoslav forces to go home and supplying a list of war criminals in
"We were furious," he said. "In those early days the list did not
mention Milosevic nor any high-ranking generals but colonels and
majors who we knew, just like our own commander, had nothing to do
with the ethnic cleansing. How could you trust NATO after reading that
* NATO's intelligence was so accurate it could indentify low
ranking officers and drop leaflets on the exact locations where
their troops were stationed, but it didn't know that over half
the force was drawn from anti-Milosevic, pro-peace regions?
This defies belief. This report makes the KLA-NATO coordinated
slaughter of several hundred Yugoslav troops *after* the surrender
even more appalling.
4. "Milicevic recalled with undisguised glee how his unit cheered from its
bunkers as NATO planes bombed fake Yugoslav tanks fitted with
heat-generating devices to hoodwink heat-seeking missiles. Sometimes,
he said, bombs fell on fake bridges spanning fake rivers made of black
After the attacks, he said, the soldiers propped up the decoys,
reactivated them, and watched as warplanes came back to blast them
again with laser-guided electronic eye bombs. There was a celebration
in the trenches, he said, when his unit shot down an unmanned NATO
reconnaissance plane with a World War II anti-aircraft gun.
"We felt good. We had antiquated, second-generation weapons, but we
could still outfox the world's most modern air forces who had
15th-generation weapons," Milicevic said.
If the US news media got *everything* wrong about the war,
what was it doing during the bombing? The following might shed
some light on this question (sent along by Sam Smith http://prorev.com)
ROBERT FISK, INDEPENDENT, LONDON:
1. [A CNN reporter] "astounded one of his
English colleagues after NATO had bombed a narrow road bridge in the
Yugoslav village of Varvarin, killing dozens of civilians, many of whom fell
to their death in the River Morava. "That'll teach them not to stand on
bridges,' he roared" This was not the kind of language he used on air, of
course, where CNN's report on the bridge killings was accompanied by the
remark that there had been civilian casualties - according to the Serb
authorities'all this when CNN's own crew had been there and filmed the
decapitated corpse of the local priest ....
2. Two days before NATO bombed the
Serb Television headquarters in Belgrade, CNN received a tip from its
Atlanta headquarters that the building was to be destroyed. They were told
to remove their facilities from the premises at once, which they did. A day
later, Serbian Information Minister Aleksander Vucic received a faxed
invitation from the Larry King Live show in the US to appear on CNN. They
wanted him on air at 2:30 in the morning of 23 April and asked him to arrive
at Serb Television half an hour early for make-up. Vucic was latewhich was
just as well for him since NATO missiles slammed into the building at six
minutes past two. The first one exploded in the make-up room where [a] young
Serb assistant was burned to death.
CNN calls this all a coincidence, saying that the Larry King show, put out
by the entertainment division, did not know of the news department's
instruction to its men to leave the Belgrade building."
Yeah, the NATO hit on the make-up room of a multi-floor office
building at the exact moment Vucic was scheduled to be there was
Sam sent this along too:
THIS WILL ONLY HURT A LITTLE BIT
UPI: To bring democracy to Kosovo, international officials must act
undemocratically in the short run based on lessons learned in implementing
peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina, according to the newly appointed Southeastern
Europe coordinator for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe .... In Kosovo, which is likely to become a protectorate,
international officials must create the government institutions, and
elections should be postponed, possibly for two years, Barry said. Creating
an apolitical judiciary and independent media should be priorities.
- Another "protectorate" which prohibits citizens from
voting or even occupying key administrative offices.
Surprise, surprise. As a US military official said
several months ago about Kosovo: "The model is Bosnia."
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