By Peter Meyer
In 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, US-NATO foreign policy had to re-imagine its role in the world. The Cold War served as a means of justifying US imperialist expansion across the globe with the aim of "containing" the Soviet threat. NATO itself was created and existed for the sole purpose of forging an anti-Soviet alliance. With the USSR gone, NATO had no reason to exist, and the US had to find a new purpose for its imperialist strategy in the world. ... The wars in Yugoslavia throughout the 1990s served as a justification for the continued existence of NATO in the world, and to expand American imperial interests in Eastern Europe.
— Andrew Gavin Marshall: An Imperial Strategy for a New World Order: The Origins of World War III, Part 1
"The pilot attacked what he believed to be military vehicles," said Mr Shea (spokesman for NATO, as reported on 1999-04-15 by the BBC). "He dropped his bomb in good faith, as you would expect of a trained pilot from a democratic country. ... The bomb destroyed the lead vehicle, which we now believe to have been a civilian vehicle."
"NATO deeply regrets" the death of five people when missiles fell 600m short of their target and hit residences in the mining town of Aleksinac on April 5.
"NATO deeply regrets" the death of at least ten people when NATO jets hit a Yugoslav passenger train travelling from Belgrade to Salonika on a bridge near Leskovac on April 12.
"NATO deeply regrets" the deaths of 80 people which occurred when NATO attacked two refugee columns in Western Kosovo on April 14.
At the conclusion of the NATO bombing campaign (instigated, like the bombing of Afghanistan and the War on Iraq, by the United States and Britain, and planned and carried out by then General Wesley Clark) several thousand Yugoslavs had been killed, about 1600 of them civilians. Not a single NATO soldier died in action. As with the Gulf "War", this was not a war but a campaign of destruction and murder carried out from a safe distance (and under the hypocritical pretence of conducting a "humanitarian war"). It was in fact a terrorist campaign directed against the Serb people and its political leadership.
In this disgraceful action NATO displayed no honor, and its troops exhibited no bravery. In the end it was a war to save NATO itself (since defeat would have been a fatal blow to its credibility). To the politicians of Britain and the United States of America who brought us to this point, to the politicians of the European countries who collaborated with them and to the American generals who directed this war, only dishonor and disgrace is due, and the blame for creating a humanitarian disaster which did not end with the bombing.
On March 24, 1999, NATO attacked the Republic of Serbia with bombers and cruise missiles. The "war" (really more of a bombing campaign) marked the first time in over fifty years that European powers (as part of the U.S.-dominated NATO) attacked another European country. The bombing and missile attacks initially occured nightly, then day-and-night, and went on for eleven weeks, causing major damage to Yugoslav society. NATO deliberately bombed water and power supplies, hospitals and prisons, knowing full well that without electricity and water the people of Yugoslavia would suffer great hardship and some (such as people in hospitals with no power) would die. This war was illegal under international law from the beginning. Deliberate infliction of suffering upon civilians is a war crime, and the U.S. generals who planned and carried out this war (in particular, Gen. Wesley Clark) are war criminals.
How did this barbarity arise? Traditional Serb-Albanian ethnic hostility was a factor, but it was the callousness and stupidity of American and British political leaders that allowed it to become what it did.
Serbs and Albanians had long lived together in harmony in Kosovo. At the end of the 1980s Slobodan Milosevic felt the need to buttress his power by inducing in the Serb minority in Kosovo a fear of the Albanian majority. The Albanians began to feel they were victims of injustice. They organized themselves into paramilitary units, the KLA (or UCK) and attacked Serb police. The Serbs, not known for their gentle ways, retaliated. The hostilities escalated. The Albanians had a brilliant idea: Provoke the Serbs to murder, play it up in the Western media, cry "Hitler!" and "Genocide" and — bingo! — the Western moralists become instant allies.
And so it went. The Serb police ambushed a KLA operation which was smuggling arms over the border from Albania. Next day Albanian terrorists entered a bar in Pec and sprayed the occupants with machine-gun fire, killing six Serb teenagers. In the village of Recak the KLA killed four Serbs. The Serb police attacked the village (from which the KLA had fled) and killed 15 Albanians. Soon after, numerous Albanians were found shot dead in a ravine near the village. The Western TV crews were on the scene surprisingly quickly. William Walker, head of the Kosovo Verification Mission (OSCE), was invited to see the bodies, and without proof, declared in shocked tones that the Serbian police and army were responsible for this "massacre".
The KLA initiated battles in civilian areas knowing that the Serbs would retaliate and civilians would be killed. Incidents such as that at Recak gave the U.S. the green light to present itself as the defender of morality and to enter the conflict on the side of the KLA. The KLA thugs rubbed their hands with glee. Their plan was working.
"NATO deeply regrets" the deaths of at least ten people killed in the bombing of a Serbian television station in Belgrade on April 23.
"NATO deeply regrets" the deaths of twenty civilians which occurred when a laser-guided bomb lost its target lock over Surdulica on April 27.
"NATO deeply regrets" the deaths of thirty nine civilians killed when a NATO missile hit a bus crossing a bridge at Luzane on May 1.
NATO's war seemed to some incredible. It was the result either of cynical calculation or amazing stupidity. It did make sense as part of a U.S. plan for military domination of Europe (and Russia) under the guise of NATO (at least for as long as the U.S. could maintain this fiction). Was the U.S. aiming to acquire a military stronghold in the heart of Europe from which it could, if and when it deemed necessary, threaten any European or Middle Eastern nation with the devastation of Yugoslavia and of Iraq as examples to those not inclined to accept U.S. domination? Appendix B of the so-called Rambouillet Accord can be seen as justifying this suspicion.
The Rambouillet DiktatThe Rambouillet "Accord" is entitled an "Agreement", but the term "Parties to the Agreement" means representatives of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Republic of Serbia and Kosovo. All three such representatives are required to sign at the conclusion of the text of the "agreement" but there is no place for a signature by a representative of NATO or of any Western country. Thus this is not an "agreement" but a statement of surrender imposed upon Yugoslavia. Had the Serbs signed this "agreement" they would effectively have handed control over all of Yugoslavia to NATO. Is it any wonder that they didn't sign? And because they quite rightly refused to sign away the sovereignty of their country, the Western powers began to try to bomb Serbia into submission.
John Pilger: Revealed: the amazing NATO plan, tabled at Rambouillet, to occupy Yugoslavia (link expired)
Nothing like this ultimatum has been put to a modern, sovereign European state. Of all the Hitler and Nazi analogies that have peppered the west's propaganda, one is never mentioned — Hitler's proposal in 1938 to the British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, that Germany occupy Czechoslovakia because ethnic Germans there had been "tortured", "forced to flee the country" and "prevented from realising the right of nations to self-determination". As a cover for German expansion, Hitler was laying the basis for a "humanitarian intervention", whose fraudulence was no greater than NATO's cover for its own worldwide expansion.The full text of the Rambouillet "Accord" is available at:
Interim Agreement for Peace and Self-Government In Kosovo
Here is the full text of the infamous Appendix B:
Appendix B: Status of Multi-National Military Implementation Force
It is interesting to note that the 3-part TV program War in Europe (by Eamon Matthews) has a lot of footage of Madeleine Albright and Tony Blair attempting to justify their waging of war upon Yugoslavia (a war which was illegal under international law), and of the gilded interior of the chateau at Rambouillet, but it makes no mention at all of Madeleine Albright's demand that Serbia surrender its sovereignty, as set out in Appendix B, allowing NATO to occupy all of Yugoslavia — a demand conveniently ignored in this program (which, although quite interesting, was basically propaganda on behalf of NATO).
Did Allies Demand Right to Occupy All of Yugoslavia?
Appendix B of the Rambouillet Accord — the United States/NATO "peace plan" for Kosovo — would have opened the door for NATO to occupy all of Yugoslavia. — Rambouillet: Blueprint for Conquest
Had the Americans succeeded (via the Rambouillet Diktat) in gaining control of Kosovo you can be sure that a huge military build-up in its newly acquired territory would have occurred. The Serbs, of course, knew this.
Or if you can't imagine that the U.S. motive was basically military conquest then how about capitalist exploitation of resources?
Many key aspects of the accord have been given very little or no coverage in the corporate media.
Chapter 4a, Article I — "The economy of Kosovo, shall function in accordance with free market principles."— The Rambouillet Accord: A Declaration of War Disguised as a Peace Agreement
Kosovo has vast mineral resources, including the richest mines for lead, molybdenum, mercury and other metals in all of Europe. The capital to exploit these resources, which are today mainly state-owned, would undoubtedly come from the U.S. and western European imperialists.
John Pilger: What really happened at Rambouillet? And what else is being kept under wraps by our selective media? (link expired)
It seems to me that a vital wider question has yet to be asked: is NATO really bombing Yugoslavia, or is the bombing aimed at the emerging European superstate, which offers a clear threat to the US as a new economic superpower? Who will pay the huge inflationary bill for rebuilding what was Yugoslavia? The EU is the answer. A crusade for "human rights" can provide a new cloak for a project as old as imperialism itself.
Madeleine Albright set the Serbs up. Her plan was for the Albanians to sign the Accord (thus appearing to be "reasonable") but for the Serbs to refuse, thereby allowing her to demonize them and "justifying" American aggression (under the guise of NATO) against Serbia. Madeleine knew that the Serbs would never agree to the terms of Appendix B (if they did then Kosovo would become a U.S.-controlled territory), and they did not. Madeleine was about to get her war.
"NATO deeply regrets" killing at least seventeen people when a NATO bomb hit a bus packed with women and children near Pec on May 3.
"NATO deeply regrets" killing fifteen people when a cluster bomb exploded over a market and a hospital in Nis on May 6.
"NATO deeply regrets" killing three Chinese diplomats when NATO bombers hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade on May 7.
Albright apparently believed that a few days of bombing would be all that was necessary to cause Milosevic to surrender. If so she miscalculated badly. Not only did Milosevic not surrender but he counter-attacked, in the form of executions of Albanian men and forced expulsion of the Albanian population. Hundreds of thousands became refugees, on trucks, tractors and trains headed for the borders with Albania and Macedonia. And there was nothing that the NATO generals could do to stop this.
NATO's generals then took to bombing Belgrade, the bridges over the Danube, the hospitals, the fuel depots and the power stations. Serb television ridiculed Clinton, Albright, Blair and Robin Cook, so it was bombed (16 people died in an attack that was perhaps expected by the Yugoslav government, which certainly used it to good propaganda effect).
As the bombing continued into April, with no sign of surrender by Milosevic, the political leaders of the West (and many ordinary people) became very nervous. The leaders were forced to face up to the possibility of embarking on a ground war in Europe (using Hungary as a staging area), with the major risk of bringing the Russians into the conflict on a large scale, and possibly precipitating nuclear war.
Milosevic had been hoping that the Russians would intervene to defend Yugoslavia against NATO. Eventually he was told by them that this would not happen, and that he'd better settle for what he could get, which included a cease-fire under United Nations auspices and a pledge that Kosovo would remain part of Yugoslavia.
On June 6th 1999, on the border with Macedonia, talks between generals of NATO and of the Yugoslav army, in which the Serbs were presented with a 6-page document to sign, were begun but soon broke down. The text of this original document was not released, but it may have contained all the NATO demands contained in Appendix B: Status of Multi-National Military Implementation Force .
Talks resumed the next day. On June 9th, after negotiations, the Serb generals signed the Military Technical Agreement. Belgrade claimed a victory. NATO proceeded to occupy Kosovo. The Russians (who quickly transferred forces from Bosnia) beat them to the occupation of Pristina airport.
The Russians had been planning to airlift a few thousand paratroopers to Pristina before NATO took control of central Kosovo. They were prevented from doing so only by the refusal of the governments of Eastern European countries to allow the Russians to use their airspace.
The politicians Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Robin Cook, and the NATO generals, with Wesley Clark at their head, had brought the situation to a point where a nuclear war between Russia and the West might easily have come about.
Stupidity of the Week"War can be necessary sometimes to uphold civilisation, and this one was" said Tony Blair. "Nothing we do or say can compensate for the loss of loved ones who died, but we can say they did not die in vain." (As reported in The Independent, 1999-06-11, page 2.)
Was Tony Blair reading from some old post-World-War-II Churchillian speech that his handlers had dredged up for the occasion? Which loved ones is he referring to? No NATO soldiers, or civilians of NATO countries, died in combat. Does he mean, then, the Yugoslavs who were killed, such as Milena Malobabic, the teenage girl who died (along with seventeen other patients) when NATO bombed the tuberculosis sanatorium at Surdulica on May 31? Does he mean the other 1600 or so Yugoslav civilians killed by NATO bombs and missiles? If so, what does he mean that "they did not die in vain"? Does he mean that their deaths, and NATO's "victory", allowed morally bankrupt politicians such as himself and Clinton to trumpet that "good has triumphed over evil"? Those who died would, I'm sure, be glad to know that "they did not die in vain".
In June and July 1999 the KFOR forces from NATO countries attempted to impose NATO control over Kosovo, with limited success, as shown by the murder one afternoon (presumably by Albanians) of fourteen Serbian farmers. The real victors in Kosovo, thanks to NATO, have been the KLA, which aims to take control by means of a de facto administration, eventually forcing NATO out. The KLA plan to enlist NATO on their side against the Serbs paid off handsomely for them. The resulting situation is not exactly what the U.S. had planned. However, we need shed no tears that the plans of the U.S. imperialists have been frustrated, except that this whole affair has been a tragedy which need never have happened.
Since September 2001 the U.S.A. has been loud in its condemnation of terrorism, waging a so-called "War on Terror", directed particularly against Islamic countries. But the U.S.A. is itself a terrorist state, and this is shown clearly by the nature of the war that NATO (dominated by the U.S.) conducted against Serbia.
Terrorism is the practice of the deliberate infliction of harm, injury, death and/or destruction upon a civilian target sufficient to cause horror, revulsion or despair among the civilian population and/or their political leaders, with the goal of causing those populations or political leaders to act in a way desired by the terrorists.
In the case of Serbia the Americans, day and night for over two months, bombed bridges, hospitals, fuel depots, railway lines and power stations. The aim, as in Vietnam, was to destroy so much civilian infrastructure, and to make life so miserable for civilians, that they would force their government to surrender. It did not work in Vietnam but it worked in Serbia.
The peoples of Europe should feel especially threatened by the U.S.-led aggression against Serbia. It was the latest move in the long-running attempt by the U.S. to impose its will upon the entire world by the use of military force. The last such attempt was made by Nazi Germany sixty years ago, an attempt which led to the deaths of over forty million people. Under the guise of hypocritical declarations of a "humanitarian" war to "save" the Kosovan Albanians the U.S. was in fact attempting to dominate the whole of Europe by its military power (and ultimately the whole world). If it had succeeded in its aims in Kosovo then Europe would have been under the U.S. gun for a long time.
The plans of the U.S. imperialists did not work out in Kosovo as they had hoped. Since October 2001 they have been making another attempt at world domination, this time on a much larger scale. The bombing of Afghanistan was the opening shot (unless you count their bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11th). And with the War on Iraq it has become obvious to all but the most dim-witted American that the U.S. seeks to control the entire world by means of military force.
The consequences of NATO's war have been a disaster for Kosovo. Bombed and burnt-out buildings (people's former homes) were still to be seen everywhere a year later. Civil government is rudimentary, there are few public services and the economy is controlled by the Albanian mafia. Pre-war discrimination of Serbs against Albanians has been replaced by post-war intimidation and brutality of Albanians toward Serbs (or rather, the few Serbs who remain, the majority, hundreds of thousands, having fled Kosovo in fear of being killed by the Albanians). The Serbs and the Albanians hate each other much more now than they ever did before America's military aggression.
NATO, under the pretext of saving Albanians from Serb hostility, bombed Serbia into relinquishing control over Kosovo, and now only the heavily armed presence of KFOR troops prevents the Albanians from murdering every Serb in the province. As BBC journalist Jonathan Dimbleby remarked, anyone who thinks that Kosovo represents the success of an "ethical foreign policy" or the triumph of the "New World Order" had better think again.
Kosovo today is the consequence of a mentality which believes that it can get whatever it wants by the use of force and violence. The Nazis thought the same way. The Nazi mentality is still with us in the corridors of power of Washington. The task which faces humanity in the 21st Century is to root it out.
Some messages on this subject:
- The drive toward a corporate-militarist domination of the Earth
- The Europeans have been pretty foolish
- A question of how many politicians remain bought
- Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity
- There is no degree of folly of which humans are not capable
- An unholy alliance between governments, big business and the military
- Executives of corporations [can] escape responsibility
- This is the first morally righteous war since WW II
- Kosovo ... has been a moral disaster for everyone
John Bart Gerald: On Crimes of Power: The Bombing of Yugoslavia, 1999
According to Military Commission Charges filed against him, [Australian Guantanamo prisoner David] Hicks "traveled to Tirana, Albania and joined the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) ... Hicks completed basic military training at a KLA camp and engaged in hostile action before returning to Australia."
Gee, I wonder if this is the same Kosovo where NATO and the US State Department sent Mujahideen mercenaries back in 1998-99 (matching Hicks' timeframe)? "The US DIA approached MI6 to arrange a training programme for the KLA, said a senior British military source. 'MI6 then sub-contracted the operation to two British security companies, who in turn approached a number of former members of the (22 SAS) regiment. Lists were then drawn up of weapons and equipment needed by the KLA.'" (The Scotsman, Glasgow, 29 August 1999) This operation was akin to what the CIA and Pakistan's ISI had done in Afghanistan a decade before, even though officially the KLA was listed as "a terrorist organization [that] was financing its operations with money from the international heroin trade and loans from Islamic countries and individuals, among them allegedly Usama bin Laden ... Another link to bin Laden is the fact that the brother of a leader in an Egyptian Jihad organization and also a military commander of Usama bin Laden, was leading an elite KLA unit during the Kosovo conflict." But don't believe me; the previous quote is not from some paranoid conspiracy theorist, but taken from the testimony of Ralf Mutschke of Interpol's Criminal Intelligence Division to the House Judicial Committee, 13 December 2000. (See Michel Chossudovsky, "OsamaGate", Centre for Research on Globalisation, October 9, 2001.)
— Kurt Nimmo, Fast Track Tribunals?
Further web documents:
- Madeleine Albright
- Our Illegal War ...
- Balkans: No to NATO Expansion
- Which do we believe: NATO facts or Serb lies?
- NATO's Totalitarian, Terrorist War
- Expanding Empire
The global war drive of big business and the forces that will stop it
- Two Imperialist Tendencies in the War
The bombing of the Chinese embassy was not an accident.
- Noam Chomsky: The Current Bombings: Behind the Rhetoric
- Editorial from The Nation: Dark Victory
- Richard Falk: Reflections on the War
- Anti-war movement to keep campaigning and fight for a just peace
- Michael Parenti: The Rational Destruction of Yugoslavia
- Gary Wilson: Who's the KLA? German Document Reveals Secret CIA Role
- Voices against the war in Kosovo
- Brian Becker: Why putting NATO on trial will make history
- Britain Denies Chinese Embassy Bombed Deliberately [Disappeared]
- Eurocorps to replace NATO as Kosovo force
- CNN: Kosovo is still a war zone
- Richard Falk: Kosovo Revisited
- BBC News: Amnesty International Accuses NATO of War Crimes
- Michael C. Ruppert: Kosovo Liberation Army and Albanian Sponsors Have Well Documented Roots in The Heroin Trade
- German Intelligence and the CIA supported Al Qaeda sponsored Terrorists in Yugoslavia
- John Pilger: Kosovo — the site of a genocide that never was
- Revelations of Russian General: US and NATO had Advanced Plans to Bomb Yugoslavia
Wesley ClarkGeneral [now retired] Wesley Clark was, at the time of NATO's "war" (it was more a bombing campaign than a war), Supreme Allied Commander Europe, NATO's top general.
In September 2003 he declared himself a candidate for the Democratic nomination for U.S. President in 2004 (despite a history of association with the Republicans). Here are some articles concerning the former general:
- Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn: Meet the Real Gen. Clark
- Wesley Clark — A War Criminal?
- Mitchel Cohen: Gen. Wesley Clark: War Criminal
- Michael Moore to Wesley Clark: Run!
- Terry Lodge: You Are Way Off Base About Wesley Clark — an open letter to Michael Moore.
- Rustie Woods: The Body-Snatchers Have Arrived — First Casualty, Documentary Filmmaker Michael Moore
- General Wesley Clark — From Waco to Yugoslavia
- Michael C. Ruppert: BEYOND BUSH II
Clark's real notoriety came in 1999 when, as NATO Commander under Bill Clinton, he led another US military invasion, which the UN also refused to sanction, into Bosnia and Kosovo. Clark's aggressive command nearly resulted in a military confrontation with a Russian armored column. As it turns out, the reasons for that invasion were as fabricated as were the reasons for Bush's invasion of Iraq.
- Sunil K. Sharma and Josh Frank: Two Measures of American Desperation: Wesley Clark and Howard Dean
Clark waged a brutal air war against Serbia that brought death and destruction mostly to civilians and the infrastructure that was their life support but, by most post-war accounts, left the Serbian military relatively unscathed. "We’re going to systematically and progressively attack, disrupt, degrade, devastate and ultimately, unless President Milosevic complies with the demands of the international community, we’re going to destroy his forces and their facilities and support." It’s clear that Clark included as legitimate targets schools, bridges, hospitals, electrical facilities, market places, trains, refugee convoys, and media outlets. Clark bombed Serbia with "an almost sadistic fanaticism" (William Blum), making profligate use of deadly cluster bombs and depleted uranium shells, of the sort now ravaging Iraq. ...
Clark's attempts to cover up instances of intentional NATO bombings of civilian targets have been exposed, though not properly publicized. In one case, fourteen people were killed in a Grdenicka, Serbia on April 12, 1999 when a US jet bombed a passenger train crossing a bridge. Clark claimed the atrocity was a tragic mistake, as the pilot was firing on the bridge and the train only came into view after the bombs had been dropped. He showed two video films shot from the nose of the remote control-guided bombs to support his claim, which were later found to have been doctored. In fact, the train could be seen on the bridge when the pilot bombed it, and he turned around to make a second sweep on the burning bridge, dropping a bomb directly on the carriage.
Milosevic DiesThe death of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in his jail cell at the Hague on Saturday [2006-03-11] has unleashed a torrent of historical distortions and outright lies that echo the propaganda campaign waged more than seven years ago to justify the US-NATO war against the country.
... [The trial] had turned into a political embarrassment, producing no real proof of Milosevic's direct responsibility for the terrible crimes carried out during the civil wars that erupted in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. It had threatened to become even more of a problem for those who organized it after Milosevic, at the end of February, asked the tribunal to issue a subpoena ordering former US President Bill Clinton to testify, apparently with the aim of showing that Washington itself was responsible for crimes against humanity in waging an illegal war against Yugoslavia and conducting a sustained bombing campaign against civilian targets. ...
That the US has been a principal organizer of this trial exposes the fraud of the entire enterprise. Washington itself accepts neither international law nor the jurisdiction of any international court over its own actions on the world arena. It has boycotted the International Criminal Court and strong-armed governments around the world into signing waivers exempting US officials and US troops from any liability for war crimes carried out against their peoples.
If, moreover, the trial of Milosevic were really about human rights and international justice, the obvious question is: Why has the UN not put George W. Bush in the dock?
There is no question that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and others in the current US administration are responsible for far greater war crimes and a far greater loss of innocent human life in waging an unprovoked and illegal war against Iraq than anything perpetrated by Milosevic.
— Bill Van Auken: Media lies and hypocrisy in wake of Milosevic’s death
- Edward S. Herman, David Peterson and George Szamuely: Human Rights Watch in Service to the War Party: Including A Review of "Weighing the Evidence: Lessons from the Slobodan Milosevic Trial" (Human Rights Watch, December, 2006)
- The Concluding Note from the above article.
NATO now [January 2009] comprises not only 26 full and two new candidate members, and not only 23 Partnership for Peace adjuncts throughout Eurasia from the Irish Sea to the Chinese border, but also enough other partners on five continents to comprise over a third of the world's nations. ... To consolidate the Pentagon's and NATO's plans for complete global military domination, and to further the encirclement of China as well as Russia, the main target of both is India, acquisition of which would be the most significant advancement in both's history along with the intended absorption of Ukraine.
— Rick Rozoff, Global Military Bloc: NATO's Drive Into Asia
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