FROM PHOENIX, ARIZONA Topic: BALKAN AFFAIRS
Mar. 31, 1999; 12:00PM EST - DAY 8, UPDATE 1
Belgrade 1. Ethnic Albanians Protest NATO Bombing
Belgrade 2. Serbs Claim NATO Using Banned Shells with Depleted Uranium
Pristina 3. Nine Refugees Killed as NATO Bombs Hit Refugee CenterGermany 4. German TV Reports Albanian Refugees Paid to Lie Phoenix 5. Kosovo Srebrenica II? (From TiM's Bosnia Travel Diary, 1995)
-----------------------1. Ethnic Albanians Protest NATO Bombing
BELGRADE, Mar. 31 - Ethnic Albanians held a noisy protest rally in front of the deserted U.S. embassy in Belgrade today, CNN has just reported. They claimed to be have been driven out of Kosovo by the NATO bombing and/or the KLA terrorists.
----------2. Serbs Claim NATO Using Banned Shells with Depleted Uranium
BELGRADE, Mar. 31 -- Serbian state media last night accused NATO of using cluster bombs in its attack on Kosovo. Belgrade TV reported that the bombs, which are banned under international conventions, had killed and injured a number of civilians in Kosovo. State television broadcast a correspondent report which allegedly showed debris from four cluster bombs found in the Kosovo villages of Vrbovac and Mogila, populated by ethnic Serbs.
Separately, Command of the Second YU Army announced yesterday that one person was killed and two were wounded in NATO's raid on the village of Besnik near Rozaje (Montenegro). According to the statement, an investigation by the Ministry of Internal Affairs revealed that in this assault British made cluster bombs with radioactive (depleted uranium) and chemical contents were used, prohibited by the international law. The victims are young boys.
The hands and forearms of the officials who had been in contact with the bomb's fragments during the investigation, after a short time got covered with edema, rash and reddening.
Well, prohibited or not, unfortunately it is all too familiar. When NATO bombed the Bosnian Serbs in 1995, there were similar reports. We first reported on it in June 1996, citing a Pale TV report, which aired at 1930 GMT on March 11, 1996. It alleged publicly that NATO had used some depleted weapons against the Serbs (see TiM Fax Bulletins 96-22, 3/31/96 and 96-42, 6/08/96 - not available at the Web; this was in TiM's pre-Internet days).
We did it November 1997 (Truth in Media's GLOBAL WATCH Bulletin 97/11-2, 3-Nov-97), after Belgrade's independent weekly, NIN, also said that cases of the "Gulf Syndrome" were evident among the population in some Serb parts of Bosnia, including the Sarajevo, Doboj and Foca areas. NIN quoted Dr. Zoran Stankovic (then 43), a pathologist who heads the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the Military Medical Academy (NIN, Oct. 30, 1997).
Dr. Stankovic was a member of the committee which investigated the war crimes in the Bosnian Serb Republic in the fall of 1995, immediately after the bombing by NATO forces. He told NIN that NATO used radioactive projectiles whose penetrable armor contained depleted uranium, just as the U.S. forces did against Iraq, during the operation "Desert Storm."
In what is possibly the most damning evidence of NATO's crimes against humanity in Bosnia, NIN cited a warning issued to the NATO (S-FOR) troops in Bosnia "not to drink the local water, and not to touch the grass or the ground with their hands."
"In light of the above data, a question can be posed Who should actually be standing in the face of justice at the Hague War Crimes Tribunal?", the NIN report asked.
Finally, in June 1998, TiM reported that, "increased incidents of leukemia, cancer and baby deformities in the last two years in the bombed out Serb areas, such as Hadzici, near Sarajevo, attest to that, according to some doctors with whom this writer talked during his latest visit to the Balkans. The 'Gulf Syndrome' in the Balkans? You bet. Except that it's the Serb civilians, rather than the Gulf War vets, that are its victims" (see "Kosovo Heating Up," TiM GW Bulletin 98/6-4, June 15, 1998, available at our Web site).
-------------3. Nine Refugees Killed as NATO Bombs Hit Refugee Center
PRISTINA, Mar. 30 - Steve Pratt of CARE Yugoslavia was quoted by Australian ABC radio as saying that his staff could confirm that nine refugees died when NATO hit buildings in Kosovo near the agency's refugee centers, according to a Mar. 30 Associated Press report.
-------------4. German TV Reports Albanian Refugees Paid to Lie
GERMANY, Mar. 30 - Our European sources report that the first program of German TV (ARD) showed a replay of its day-time show BRISANT, during which its reporter at the Kosovo border said, "unfortunately, many (refugees) are using this difficult situation to make money. There are people here at the border crossing who are offering the refugees money if they agree to tell stories about supposed massacres, tortures and other misdeeds which the Serbs are allegedly committing. A number of people (refugees) are taking up the offer."
------------5. Kosovo Srebrenica II? (From TiM's Bosnia Travel Diary, 1995)
PHOENIX, Mar. 31 - If true, this report makes Hitler's propaganda minister look like a PR amateur by comparison. This writer can add his own experience from Bosnia which could lend some credence to this, otherwise, totally "off the wall" story for an average American.
In mid-July 1995, just as the Serbs took the eastern Bosnia Muslim enclave Srebrenica, I happened to be there(July 13-15). As my driver and I drove from Belgrade to Pale, or Serb Sarajevo as it was also called back then, we had to drive along the roads which the Muslim soldiers were trying to cross, as they retreated from Srebrenica and trying to fight their way north to Tuzla, a Muslim stronghold (also see the map in the Travel Vignette section of our Web site, "On the Run..." story).
Luckily, we got through to Pale without any major incidents, though we heard that some fighting broke out along the route we had just taken right afterward. Several times along the way, we saw trucks and buses full of women and children, heading in the opposite direction, toward Tuzla.
"What's that?" I asked my driver.
"These are the convoys which Gen. (Ratko) Mladic assembled for evacuation of Muslim civilians from Srebrenica to Tuzla," he replied.
The next day, among others, I also had a meeting with Dr. Radovan Karadzic, the former president of the Bosnian Serb Republic. As we sat in his office, on the two TV monitors on top of his credenza, CNN and (British) SKY network were broadcasting continuously the news about the Serb takeover of Srebrenica. And just like now in Kosovo, they were calling it "ethnic cleansing."
Occasionally, the two networks would show interviews with the women and children from the refugee camps set up for them around Tuzla. And again, just like now in Kosovo, they were talking about the alleged Serb massacres and atrocities.
"They are all lying," Karadzic, who speaks English, muttered. "There were no massacres or atrocities in Srebrenica; only battlefield casualties."
"I suspect so," I replied, explaining that I just saw the day before possibly these same women and children with my own eyes being transported by the Serbs in buses and truck into safety of the Muslim territory around Tuzla.
A few weeks later, Madeleine Albright, then the U.S. ambassador to the U.N, presented to the UN Security Council some satellite pictures which she said were "evidence" of Serb massacres in Srebrenica. Knowing that these photos proved nothing except that the U.S. was trying to whip up hatred against the Serbs, Albright already provided a way out of having to produce the real evidence - the remains of the 5,000 to 6,000 Muslim soldiers which the Serbs had allegedly executed. Note her comment about how the Serbs WILL supposedly moved the bodies
The same NY Times article added the following speculation about the upcoming "vanishing corpses."
With the absence of any traces of a "corrosive substance," when it came time to dig up the "evidence," the entire legend fell flat. So another explanation had to be found. The bodies were simply dug up, and moved someplace else.
And then even that "explanation" fell flat. Bosnia, including the Serb part, has now been under NATO occupation for over three years. Yet there is still no physical proof of the alleged massacre. No wonder no one is even talking about it anymore.
Meanwhile, both Karadzic and Mladic were indicted in the fall 1995 for this "crime against humanity" by the War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague. And the number of the alleged Srebrenica victims most often quoted by the media rose to 8,000.
After learning this, the TiM editor wrote to Judge Goldstone at about the same time (Nov/95), offering to testify about what he had seen in Bosnia, in the vicinity of Srebrenica, at the time of the alleged massacre in July 1995. No takers from the Hague for this angle of the Srebrenica truth, as it turned out, even though TiM has proof that an official at this UN kangaroo court did sign for the registered-return-receipt letter we had sent. Too busy manufacturing the evidence, rather than collecting it?
So in February 1996, we wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal about all this. It was published on Feb. 9, 1996, at the top of the editorial page under the headline, "Bosnia What's the Full Truth?"
A colonel of the Bosnian Serb army, a native of Sarajevo, summed up during that July 1995 trip the present era rather philosophically, though cynically
"Every 50 years or so, wise men shut up, fools speak up, and criminals rise to the top."
Guess that would count TiM among the fools. But we are in good company here. For, that's exactly what the George Washington and his comrades did in 1776 when they did a lot more than just speak up against the British oppressors.
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'", "What If the Shoe Were on the Other Foot?", "Green Interstate - Not Worth American Lives", 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"