Kosovo war was provokedBy Reed Irvine, Cliff Kincaid
August 4, 2000
There are disturbing revelations about the conduct of the Kosovo war coming from British publications. First, a leading British official during the war in Kosovo has admitted that NATO's war against Yugoslavia was deliberately provoked by the U.S. and Britain. Further, an attack on Serbian television which killed 16 civilians was not only deliberate but designed to cause maximum damage. After seeing these reports, a U.S. congressional analyst says that British officials may come to regret seizing and holding former Chilean President Pinochet for human rights violations when he visited London for medical treatment. They may have set a precedent which could lead to prosecution of British and American officials for the Kosovo war.
The Clinton Administration wants people to believe the war took place because Yugoslavian President Milosevic wouldn't agree to a peaceful settlement of the conflict in his province of Kosovo. As we reported last year, the Guardian newspaper says that U.S. and British officials knew that the terms they put to him at the talks at Rambouillet would be rejected and would offer an excuse for war. Those terms would have set the stage for the break-up of Yugoslavia and given NATO complete access to the country as a whole.
British Lord Gilbert, who was defense minister of state responsible for intelligence, told the Guardian newspaper, "I think certain people were spoiling for a fight in NATO at that time. I think the terms put to Milosevic at Rambouillet were absolutely intolerable; how could he possibly accept them? It was quite deliberate."
The Guardian also carried a story citing U.S. officials as saying that the NATO attacks on Serbian television and the ruling party headquarters in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, were "specifically intended to maximize their domestic and international propaganda value..." The paper said that parts of the buildings were targeted that would likely contain controls for fire alarms and sprinkler systems. This meant that the fires caused by the missiles would spread to other parts of the building. The attacks killed 16 civilians and injured 16 others.
This revelation is absolutely horrifying. It confirms that not only did NATO bomb a civilian target, but that the attack was staged to maximize damage to civilians. Such an attack opens up NATO officials to charges of human rights violations and war crimes. Relatives of some of those killed in the attack have already hired a lawyer who has filed an action with the European Court of Human Rights. One family member, who lost her 26-year-old son in the attack, said the bombing violated international law. She asked, "Does NATO plan to bomb anyone they don't agree with? Tony Blair, [the British Prime Minister], is celebrating his fourth child while he took away my only son."
A U.S. congressional analyst says Blair and his foreign secretary, Robin Cook, are not the only ones who could face such lawsuits. Bill Clinton could find himself in a court -- another court -- for what happened in Kosovo. But he could also face legal action for the bombing he ordered of a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan. Clinton's legal problems are not over; they're going global.