Albanian Daily News
Nato used speeded-up film to justify bombing

Albanian Economic Tribune - Jan 07, 2000

BERLIN - Videotape shown by NATO to justify the killing of at least 14 civilians aboard a train on a bridge in Serbia last April was speeded up three times, the German daily Frankfurter Rundschau reports in its Thursday edition.

The alliance had sought to excuse the killing of the civilians by saying the train had been traveling too fast for the trajectory of the missiles to have been changed in time.

NATO warplanes fired two missiles at the 50 metre (yard)-long bridge over the Juzna Morava River at Grdelica Klisura, some 300 kilometres (180 miles) south of Belgrade on April 12 during its campaign to force Belgrade’s troops to leave Kosovo.

NATO’s supreme commander in Europe, US General Wesley Clark, shortly afterwards showed two videotapes of the train appearing fast on the bridge, and said it had then been impossible to alter the missiles’ trajectories.

A spokesman for NATO’S military command in Mons, Belgium, acknowledged in a telephone interview with AFP that those images had been altered by "a technical problem."

The footage, recorded by a camera installed in the warhead of one of the missiles that destroyed the bridge and train were altered during the process of being copied for screening, said the spokesman. He said NATO was aware of the problem since last October but did not consider it "useful" to disclose it.

The Frankfurt newspaper said the US air force, which carried out the bombardment, had not noticed for some months that the tape had been speeded up, and also attributed it to a technological error.

"We did not deem it useful to go public with this information after we noticed it," the newspaper quoted a US air force spokesman in Europe as saying.

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