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Boris Johnson Forgets the Bombing of Yugoslavia
by Jared Israel

Research by Jared Israel and Samantha Criscione
Edited by Samantha Criscione

December 3, 2019


========================================================

Much of the media has attacked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on all sorts of issues, but the underlying motivation has been, I believe, his stand on Brexit. So let me make clear at the outset: opposition to Boris Johnson’s stand on Brexit is not my motivation for writing this article.

As a matter of fact, I agree with Johnson that it is high time the UK honored the Brexit referendum and moved on, which is why I was watching an Oct. 3 YouTube video of the Prime Minister making a speech in Parliament, and was amazed to hear him say, regarding the feasibility of the UK and the EU agreeing on a Brexit deal:

“When I think of the conflicts that have wracked Europe in the past, of the immense challenges that we have together surmounted, the seventy-four years of peace and prosperity that we have together achieved, I believe that surely we can summon the collective will to reach a new agreement.” [My emphasis – J.I.] [1]

There is a big problem with this statement and it has nothing to do with Brexit; namely, putting aside the question of prosperity, Europe has not achieved seventy-four years of peace, and major European states including the UK share responsibility for Europe having not achieved it.

Even if one does not count civil wars (e.g., Greece,
late 1940s) or the wars European powers have waged outside Europe (e.g., in the Falklands against Argentina, or in Iraq, Libya, Syria or Afghanistan), there has certainly been one war during those 74 years that wracked Europe, with the deep involvement of European governments . That was the war that tore the European state of Yugoslavia apart from 1991 to 1999.

It is remarkable that Johnson would forget that war because in 1999 he was in the old European city of Belgrade, capital of Yugoslavia (
then consisting of Serbia and Montenegro), as a London Telegraph correspondent covering the last phase of the war: NATO’s unjustified and illegal bombing of Yugoslavia (mainly Serbia and its province of Kosovo) from March 24 to June 10, 1999.

After the war, Johnson commented on what he had seen:

[Excerpt from “Serbia Welcomes Boris Johnson as UK Foreign Secretary” starts here]

“I saw lives ruined and families destroyed by bombing, and I saw civilians grieving for their loved ones who had been killed by NATO. We all saw the results of the Pentagon’s tragic mistakes,” Johnson told a debate in the UK parliament in 2003. [My emphasis – J.I.]

“I remember writing some very angry articles while in Belgrade about the way in which that war was conducted because I honestly hated the methods that were used. I despised the bombing from 30,000 feet, which seemed to me to be cruel and erratic,” he said. [2]

[Excerpt from “Serbia Welcomes Boris Johnson as UK Foreign Secretary” ends here]
 

Niš, Serbia, May 7, 1999  
© Tanjug.  Posted for Fair Use Only [3]


So, speaking in 2003, Johnson at least condemned “the way in which that war was conducted”; but aside from not challenging the, in my opinion, slanderous, anti-Serbian accusations used to justify the war, and the war itself, there are several things wrong with Johnson’s statement.

For one thing, it was not only the Pentagon whose tragic mistakes ‘ruined lives and destroyed families’ during the NATO bombing.

And for another, they were not mistakes.

========================================================

Mistakes? Or terror?

========================================================

When, after seventy-eight days, on June 10, 1999, NATO stopped bombing, and Yugoslav military forces moved out of Kosovo, it became clear that NATO had vastly overstated how much damage it had done to those forces.

Newsweek magazine commented on this:

[Excerpt from “The Kosovo Cover-up” starts here]

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Henry Shelton claimed that NATO’s air forces had killed “around 120 tanks,” “about 220 armored personnel carriers” and “up to 450 artillery and mortar pieces.”

[…]

According to a suppressed Air Force report obtained by NEWSWEEK, the number of targets verifiably destroyed was a tiny fraction of those claimed: 14 tanks, not 120; 18 armored personnel carriers, not 220; 20 artillery pieces, not 450. [4]

[Excerpt from “The Kosovo Cover-up” ends here]


The New York Times
reported much the same:

[Excerpt from “Crisis in the Balkans: The Toll; Damage to Serb Military Less Than Expected” starts here]

“It’s exaggerated,” a former senior allied official, who spoke to top European leaders in recent days, said of NATO’s damage estimates. “NATO hit a lot of dummy and deception targets [i.e., wooden models of tanks and airplanes – J.I.]. It’s an old Soviet ploy. Officials in Europe are very subdued. No one’s pounding their chest over this.”

[…]

Even in Junik and the villages around Mount Pastrik in southern Kosovo, where allied bombers staged intense attacks on Yugoslav forces that had massed against the Kosovo Liberation Army in the last weeks of the air war, there are few signs of the scorched carcasses of tanks or other military equipment NATO officials had expected to find.

“Nothing is here,” Lieut. Col. Dietmar Jeserick, a spokesman for the German peacekeeping troops based in Prizren, said today. [5]

[Excerpt from “Crisis in the Balkans: The Toll; Damage to Serb Military Less Than Expected” ends here]
 

But if NATO did relatively little harm to the Yugoslav military, the estimated 6303 tons of explosives NATO dropped did a lot of harm to the civilian sector, both property and people. [6]

Let’s start with property.

The Yugoslav government estimated that NATO destroyed $100 billion worth of property.
[7]

The Washington Post reported:

“The price tag for repairing the country after more than 10 weeks of NATO’s bombardment is estimated to be anywhere between $50 billion and $150 billion.” [8]

In 1999, Serbia had a population of about 7.5 million. To better grasp the extent of the damage, let’s imagine that NATO bombed the USA, and adjust the Washington Post’s maximum estimate of $150 billion in damages proportionally for the U.S. population, which was about 279 million in 1999. The result would be $5.58 trillion – that’s 5,580,000,000,000 – in damages.  (Even starting from the Washington Post’s minimum estimated of $50 billion, the adjusted total would be $1.86 trillion.)

And really, even that does not give the full picture of the difficulty of recovery, because Serbia’s economy had already been ravaged by years of draconian economic sanctions even before NATO planes started blowing up factories, including the huge Zavasta auto plant in Kragujevac, rail lines, warehouses, roads, bridges, hospitals, monuments to the victims of Fascism, homes, water processing plants, fuel tanks, electricity generating plants, the Belgrade Zoo and on
and on.
 

Zavasta car plant, Kragujevac, Serbia, Orthodox Good Friday, April 9, 1999  
©
RTS/AP.  Posted for Fair Use Only [9]


One month after the start of the
bombing, the Chicago Tribune spoke to General Klaus Naumann, the German chairman of NATO’s military committee. According to the Tribune:

“[Naumann] says Yugoslavia has been set back economically by10 years and figures that the air campaign could eventually turn the clock back half a century. Naumann warns that if Milosevic doesn’t retreat, ‘he may end up being the ruler of rubble.’ ” [10]
 

========================================================

Was this destruction militarily necessary ?

========================================================

According to the Geneva Conventions, Protocol I, which by the time NATO bombed Yugoslavia had been ratified by every nation in NATO except the US, France and Turkey, attacking civilian property is a violation of international law unless it “offers a definite military advantage.” [11]

In some cases – for example, when NATO bombed hospitals, markets, residential streets, certain bridges, people’s homes, a cigarette factory, water purification plants, the Zoo – there was no possible military advantage. 
 

Belgrade, Serbia, April 28, 1999 
© BBC.   Posted for Fair Use Only [12]

The BBC caption reads, “But not all missiles hit military targets. A residential street was blown up.” Yes, “not all”; a delicate understatement.


In other cases, such as the repeated bombing of a complex consisting of an oil refinery, a fertilizer factory and a petrochemical plant in the town of Pančevo, NATO argued that one of its products, fuel, could be used by the military.

That might sound reasonable, but consider this: the plants in the Pančevo complex were built by U.S., French, German, Spanish and Dutch companies, so NATO had access to the exact plans. While NATO used that knowledge to bomb the complex repeatedly with pinpoint accuracy, NATO did not limit its bombing to shutting down fuel production facilities. Instead, it hit petroleum and chemical storage tanks, knowing that this would start a huge oil fire and release many tons of lethal chemicals – ammonia, vinyl chloride, hydrochloric acid, liquid chlorine, dioxin (the toxic component of Agent Orange), and mercury – poisoning the air, the soil and the Danube River, which provides drinking water downstream in Bulgaria and Romania.


Three months after the bombing, The New York Times reported from Pančevo on the consequences: 

[Excerpt from “Serbian Town Bombed by NATO Fears Effects of Toxic Chemicals” starts here]

Farm workers, plunging their fingers into the earth, say they come away with rashes that burn and blister. Those who eat the river fish and vegetables or drink the tap water, which trickles out of faucets because of the damage to the purification plant, come down with diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps.

[…]

“The effects of the bombing on these industrial sites have been enormous,” said Simon Bancov, the Government health inspector for the region. “More than 100,000 tons of carcinogenics were unleashed into the air, the water and the soil. [13]

[Excerpt from “Serbian Town Bombed by NATO Fears Effects of Toxic Chemicals” ends here]

A woman whom the Times interviewed said she and her son had constant headaches, adding:

“I do not eat the fish from the river. I am afraid. We would like to eat frozen or canned vegetables, but we do not have this kind of money. We must eat what is in the markets.” [14]

The mayor, from a party opposed to the Milosevic government, said:

“NATO had to understand what they were doing to us, because these factories were built by American and European firms. They could not have been ignorant of the environmental damage. I have given up. I eat the fish. How much more can I be poisoned after living in clouds of this stuff?” [15]
 

Pančevo, Serbia, June 8, 1999
© Yugoslav Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Posted for Fair Use Only [16]


And consider this: unlike, for example, Hamas in the Gaza strip, the Yugoslav army did not hide military equipment in residential structures, or launch rockets from residential areas,
[17]  thus using civilian structures (and, therefore, civilians) as shields. So NATO had no military justification for bombing people’s houses. Yet, according to the Yugoslav government:

“The bombing damaged 25,000 houses and apartment buildings and destroyed 470 kilometers of roads and 600 kilometers of railway.” [18]

If NATO had been aiming at military targets, how could it have damaged or destroyed 25,000 houses and apartment buildings?
 

Cuprija, Serbia, April 8, 1999  © D. Milovanović / Vecernje Novosti  Posted for Fair Use Only [19]


Some media in NATO countries expressed concern over the manifestly non-military character of the bombing.

Chicago Tribune
reporter Steve Chapman wrote:

“Rail lines have been severed, industrial plants flattened and bridges demolished. Often, bystanders have found themselves classified, posthumously, as ‘collateral damage.’ Travel is hazardous, and just getting to work can be nearly impossible.” [20]

Chapman entitled his piece, “A War Against All of the Serbs,” and in it he commented, regarding the NATO bombing:

“Torturing or killing innocents in order to further a political goal is normally regarded as terrorism. [21]

NATO?  Guilty of terrorism?

On May 13, 1999, The New York Times reported, “NATO says it is not fighting against the Serbian people.” But a sentence later, t
he Times quoted General Michael Short, who was in charge of the NATO air war, saying:

“ ‘I think no power to your refrigerator, no gas to your stove, you can’t get to work because the bridge is down – the bridge on which you held your rock concerts – and you all stood with targets on your heads. That needs to disappear at 3 o’clock in the morning.’ ” [22]
 

Čačak, Serbia, April 1999  © Sovfoto/Universal Images Group via Getty Images. Posted Fair Use Only. [23]

General Short said, “No power to your refrigerator.” Even when NATO officials admitted the anti-people character of the war, they greatly understated the ferocity of the attack.  


So which should we believe?  NATO’s claim that it most definitely was not making war on the Serbian people? Or Gen. Short’s statement that it most definitely was?

Could it be that Gen. Short’s remarks represented not NATO’s strategy, but just his own tired, aggravated self, letting off steam? That, as NATO often claimed, it did not have a strategy of destroying the Serbian economy? That as Boris Johnson put it in 2003, when “bombing from 30,000 feet,” targets could easily be misidentified leading to “tragic mistakes”?
[24]

No, it could not.

Because NATO did not rely on single aircraft, bombing from 30,000 feet.

Pentagon spokesman Major General Chuck Wald explained this quite clearly during a Defense Department press conference, April 14. 

Wald, who was then Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs at the U.S. Air Force Headquarters, [25] said that before NATO planes could attack, a Forward Air Controller in a spotter plane had to check out the target.

Wald said that, flying
at a “very slow speed,” this Forward Air Controller “will find the target; he will identify it actually using binoculars” and:

“He loiters over the area to identify the target. They’re trained for identifying military targets, as you can imagine, and at that time will call in another set of fighters, probably two, to expend their ordnance on the target. But before they do that, the FAC, forward air controller, will talk to the other set of fighters and make sure they both have 100 percent assurance that they have the correct target, they both identify it, and there’s a verbiage that goes on between the two of them, and just as my answer’s taking a long time, it takes a long time for this to happen.” [26]

A reporter asked, “So it’s eyes on?”

Wald replied that:

“It’s eyes on, and it’s dual-control from the standpoint there is verification both from the pilot dropping the bomb and the forward air controller through a set of dialogues that goes on.” [27]

The inescapable conclusion: NATO bombed all that civilian property deliberately.

Which brings us to the question:

========================================================

Did NATO deliberately kill civilians as well? 

========================================================

No, no, no,’ says Chapman at the Tribune, recoiling from the abyss:

“The alliance deserves some credit for clearly going out of its way to minimize direct civilian casualties. It also can be excused if some strikes unavoidably kill non-combatants.” [28]

Let’s consider this.

First, according to the Yugoslav government, NATO killed 2,500 people and wounded 12,500. That is a lot of horror to excuse.
[29]

Second, Chapman says NATO deserves “credit” for minimizing civilian casualties.  But in fact, under international law, NATO leaders were required to carefully plan to avoid injuring or killing civilians, unless it was absolutely, militarily necessary. So if they did it, they were just obeying international law.
[30]

But did they do it?

As I noted earlier, according to Yugoslav figures, NATO destroyed 25,000 houses and apartment buildings. [31]

Because
NATO’s rules of engagement required that targets be painstakingly identified prior to attack, and because, as the Economist magazine noted, discussing a major advance in military technology since the first Iraq war nine years earlier –

“Less than a tenth of the bombs dropped [in Iraq – J.I.] were precision-guided, whereas nearly all the weapons now being aimed at Yugoslavia are equipped that way.” [32]

 –  it follows that, technical malfunctions excepted, NATO chose what to hit and hit what it chose, meaning that when NATO bombed houses and apartments, it did so deliberately, fully aware that, since Yugoslavia did not use residential housing to shield military facilities, it was bombing targets with no military relevance.
 

Apartment blocs and houses bombed in Aleksinac, Yugoslavia [Serbia], April 6, 1999  © EPA.  Posted for Fair Use Only.  [33]

A survivor (see footnote) said, “Why us?  Were not the target.” But in fact, they were. 


Now, was it possible that NATO planners did not know that if they bombed 25,000 homes (or 5,000 or 500 or any number of people’s residences) they would wound and kill ordinary people?

Of course they knew. Any eight year old child would know.

Third, u
nder international law, if NATO attacked an area or facility some part of which was militarily important, it was required by the Geneva Conventions “to take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of attack” [34] in order to avoid harming civilians.  But in fact, the way in which NATO bombed important facilities that it claimed were in part militarily important demonstrated a clear goal of injuring and killing ordinary people, immediately and over time.

One of the most striking examples was the Pančevo complex with its
oil refinery, fertilizer factory and petrochemical plant, discussed earlier.

As you will recall, NATO’s excuse for repeatedly bombing the complex was that one of the products it produced was fuel, which could be used by the military.

As I pointed out, NATO could have bombed only the oil refinery, doing just enough damage to render it inoperable, but chose instead to repeatedly bomb the entire complex including deadly storage tanks, which served no military purpose, no purpose at all except to punish Serbian civilians by poisoning their environment, which is a criminal act under international law.
[35]

“The repeated air strikes on the industrial complex, which covers several acres, culminated in three huge hits at 1 A.M. on April 18. The bombs sent fireballs into the air and enveloped Pancevo in clouds of black smoke and milky white gases. Flames leapt from the site for 10 days.” [36]

Everyone in Yugoslavia saw the pictures.
 

The BBC captioned this photo, “The Pancevo complex after the NATO attack.” In fact, this was only one of several attacks. 
© BBC. Posted for Fair Use Only  [37]


Everyone in Yugoslavia knew the Pančevo bombing would have terrible consequences for years, perhaps generations to come.


What was the goal of this ferocious attack on the civilian population?  Some NATO-country military officials have frankly stated that it was necessary to attack non-combatant property (although not civilians; that they do not admit) in order to compel Yugoslav President Milosevic to capitulate. That was clearly suggested on April 26 by
NATO military committee chairman, General Klaus Naumann:

“Naumann said he and Gen. Wesley K. Clark, the alliance’s top military officer, still look to the air campaign to force President Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw Yugoslav forces from the embattled Serbian province of Kosovo, largely because of a sense that no responsible head of government would allow his country to be reduced to rubble.  ‘Of course, we may have one flaw in our thinking,’ he added. ‘Our flaw may be that we think he may have at least a little bit of responsibility for his country and may act accordingly.’ ” [38]

Notice that in Naumann’s view, Milosevic’s failure to capitulate in the face of increasingly catastrophic social-economic destruction would indicate his irresponsibility, thus avoiding the awkward fact that it was NATO, not Milosevic, that was doing the destroying.  If attacking the civilian sector in order to force surrender was indeed NATO’s strategy, said strategy stood in violation of the Geneva Convention (as cited in footnotes [11], [30], [34] and [35]), meaning it was criminal.

My own conclusion from studying the timing and character of the bombings is that NATO’s real goal was even worse – not only to use social and economic destruction to force Milosevic to capitulate, but to hurt and demoralize ordinary Serbian people as much as the political realities in NATO countries would permit before Milosevic’s inevitable surrender made further bombing politically impossible.


Whether I am right or wrong, let us consider: what were the results of NATO’s campaign? 

Massive destruction
of non-military property, the means and fabric of economic and social life.  Brutal corruption of the environment.  Aggravated assault on thousands.  Homicide, with malice aforethought: mass murder in the first degree.  All war crimes under international law.

NATO has paid no restitution for this campaign of terror.  No official in any NATO country has yet been punished.

Some of the NATO and government officials who played a key role in the bombing of Yugoslavia are dead.

Lt. Gen. Michael C. Short, who directed the air war as NATO’s Joint Air Force Component Commander, died of stomach cancer in 2017. Robin Cook, Foreign Secretary of the UK during the bombing, died of a heart condition after falling eight feet off a ridge during a vacation in 2005.
Jacques Chirac, President of France during the bombing, died of unspecified causes in 2019.

Others are still living.

Gen. Wesley Clark was SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO) throughout the bombing of Yugoslavia.

Javier Solana was Secretary General of NATO.


General Klaus Naumann was chairman of NATO’s military committee.


Former US president Bill Clinton, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair were three of the four heads of state most prominently involved in the bombing.  The fourth was the late Jacques Chirac of France.

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright reportedly led a bombing “management committee,” whose core members were Albright; Robin Cook, Foreign Secretary of the U.K. (now deceased); Hubert Védrine, Minister of Foreign Affairs of France; Joschka Fischer, Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany; and Lamberto Dini, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy. The committee’s reported assignment was to smooth over officials’ hesitations, if any, about the intensity of the bombing, and the choices of targets.
[39]

Twenty years have passed since the NATO bombing, so perhaps in most countries the statute of limitations has run out on some of the crimes these men and woman committed.

However, I know of no country with a statute of limitations on murder.


– Jared Israel
Emperor’s Clothes
 

Medoševac, a suburb of Nis, Serbia, May 7, 1999  Copyright holder unknown.  Posted for Fair Use Only.  [40]


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 Footnotes and Further Reading

========================================================

[1] “Prime Minister updates MPs on Brexit negotiations: 3 October 2019,” UK Parliament, Oct. 3, 2019. The quoted statement runs from 02:12:19 to 02:12:40.
https://youtu.be/uGAOt8FXbco 

[2] “Serbia Welcomes Boris Johnson as UK Foreign Secretary,” by Milivoje Pantovic, Belgrade, Balkan Insight, BIRN [Balkan Investigative Reporting Network], July 18, 2016.
https://balkaninsight.com/...serbia-praising-johnson--2016/

[3] Picture credit: Tanjug. Published at Niš i Srbija zauvek će pamtiti proleće 1999. godine, by T. Todorović, Politika, March 3, 2019:
http://www.politika.rs/...zauvek-ce-pamtiti-prolece-1999-godine

The Tanjug photo shows a man in the ruins of his house in Medoševac, suburb of the city of Niš, after the NATO bombing, May 7, 1999. (See also the photos dated May 7, 1999 by Sasa Stankovic/EPA – European Pressphoto Agency and by Boris Subasic/AFP via Getty Images.)

Regarding the raid that destroyed his house, Agence France Presse reported:

“The raid was the third on the town, located 220 kms (130 miles) south of Belgrade, on Friday. Around 4 a.m. (0200 GMT), an industrial area to the northwest of the city, already targetted 13 times since the start of NATO bombing campaign on March 24, was also attacked.

“But several missiles fell on the Nis suburb of Medosevac, where most of the houses along one street were destroyed. Dejan Ciric said that four of his neighbours were injured in the raid, adding that more than 20 bombs had fallen in the area. Some thirty houses were almost completely destroyed, while a two-meter (six-foot) deep, seven-meter (20-foot) wide crater could be seen in the middle of the street.”

— “Sorrow and rage in Niš, as NATO raids kill 15,” AFP,  May 7, 1999.

 [4] “The Kosovo Cover-Up,” by John Barry, Newsweek, May 14, 2000.
https://www.newsweek.com/kosovo-cover-160273

[5]  “Crisis in the Balkans: The Toll; Damage to Serb Military Less Than Expected,” by Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times, June 28, 1999.
https://www.nytimes.com...damage-to-serb-military-less...

[6] Regarding NATO having dropped 6,303 tons of explosives, see “The Lessons and Non-Lessons of the Air and Missile Campaign in Kosovo,” by Anthony H. Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington, DC, September 17, 2003.
https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.c...sovolessons-full.pdf  
https://www.csis.org/...lessons-air-and-missile-campaign

[7] “Yugoslavia Gives NATO $100 Billion Damage Bill,” by Christopher S. Wren, The New York Times, Sept. 29, 1999.
https://www.nytimes...yugoslavia-gives-nato-100-billion-damage-bill

[8] Decades, Billions Needed to Restore Yugoslavia,” by Daniel Williams, Washington Post Foreign Service, The Washington Post, Saturday, June 5, 1999; Page A1.
http://www.washingtonpost.com.../stories/serbia060599.htm

[9] The picture is a screenshot from the Associated Press video, “YUGOSLAVIA: KOSOVO CRISIS: NATO ATTACKS LATEST (V),” dated April 9, 1999.
http://www.aparchive.com/...aa732051fe2fed6a9d1879d8

Picture credit: RTS/AP

The
Chicago Tribune reported:

[Excerpt from NATO Bombs Deal Fatal Blow to Once-Proud Automaker” starts here]

“Gloved workers walk gingerly over oil-soaked floors, keeping a wary eye on bent girders above and slabs of concrete dangling from a spider web of broken wires and cables.

Their job is to save what can be salvaged from the $1 billion Zastava automobile plant, once the pride of Yugoslavia and the envy of the Balkans. NATO bombs turned the plant into a junkyard of twisted metal, blackened machines, oozing chemicals and abysmal craters in which dark liquids bubble ominously.

Four generations of residents in this southern city have made cars, trucks and guns at the plant, which started as a metalmaking factory 153 years ago and became the flagship of Yugoslavia’s largest industrial chain, which employs 60,000 workers in 180 associated enterprises.

“When we saw it burning we all wept. It was the same feeling as if someone had burned your home,” said worker Ljubisa Petrovic.

The plant was so essential to the community that its workers formed human shields around the clock, camping on factory floors, to dissuade NATO from destroying their livelihood. Faxes and e-mails sent around the world pleaded “Please don’t bomb our factory. Please don’t take our jobs away.”

During the air raids between April 9 to 12, the days of the Serb Orthodox Easter celebrations, 131 workers were wounded.”

[Excerpt from NATO Bombs Deal Fatal Blow to Once-Proud Automaker” ends here]

NATO Bombs Deal Fatal Blow to Once-Proud Automaker,” by Uli Schmetzer, Tribune Foreign Correspondent, Chicago Tribune, July 16, 1999, Kragujevac, Yugoslavia.
https://www.chicagotribune.com/...-1999-07-16...

[10] A War Against All of the Serbs,” by Steve Chapman, The Chicago Tribune, April 29, 1999.  
https://www.chicagotribune.com/...&client=firefox-b-d

[11] Under international law, the rule governing military attacks on civilian property is found in Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions, Chapter III, Civilian objects, Article 52.  It was ratified by every country that was a member of NATO in 1999, except Turkey, France and the US. Here is the relevant text:

  CHAPTER III
 
Civilian objects

Article 52 — General protection of civilian objects

1. Civilian objects shall not be the object of attack or of reprisals. Civilian objects are all objects which are not military objectives as defined in paragraph 2.

2. Attacks shall be limited strictly to military objectives. In so far as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. [...]

— Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), of 8 June 1977, Chapter III, article 52, p. 38.
https://www.icrc.org/...icrc_002_0321.pdf

[12] Picture credit: BBC. Published at “Belgrade under fire - in pictures,” BBC News Online, Friday, April 30, 1999.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/332328.stm

[13] Serbian Town Bombed by NATO Fears Effects of Toxic Chemicals,” by Chris Hedges, The New York Times, July 14, 1999.
https://www.nytimes.com/...fears-effects-of-toxic...

[14] ibid.

[15] ibid.

[16] NATO Crimes in Yugoslavia: Documentary Evidence. 25 April -10 June 1999, Vol. II, Belgrade, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, July 1999, p. 549.

The original caption reads: “Photo 32 The Zarić family from the village of Starčevo - Pančevo working in a corn field near the refinery.”

[17] This video, shot by Indian newsmen, shows Hamas setting up and firing a rocket surreptitiously from a high population residential and hotel area in Gaza: 
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/gaza-rocket-video_n_5651799


This Israel Defense Forces (IDF) video shows twelve instances of Hamas firing rockets from residential areas in Gaza:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQibX-0uTro

Some people argue that Hamas has no choice but to locate weapons and ordnance in densely populated areas because all of Gaza is densely populated. 

Not true.

In fact, Gaza’s population is concentrated in several cities, with most of its 149 square miles unpopulated or lightly populated, as indicated in the maps below.  http://tenc...densit1.jpg 

Source: BBC.

[18] “Serbia Mourns 1999 Bombing Victims; Kosovo Thanks NATO,” by Filip Rudic, Belgrade, Pristina, Balkan Insight, BIRN [Balkan Investigative Reporting Network], March 24, 2017.
https://balkaninsight.com/....serbia-marks-18th...bombing  

[19] Picture credit: D. Milovanović / Večernje Novosti
Published at
Svetski eksperti: NATO je osiromašenim uranijumom uništio genetski materijal Srba, by Ivana Stanojević, Večernje Novosti, Oct. 6, 2019.
http://www.novosti.rs/vesti/naslovn...

Večernje Novosti
caption: “Cuprija after the 1999 NATO bombing
.”

[20] A War Against All of the Serbs,” by Steve Chapman, The Chicago Tribune, April 29, 1999.
https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1999-04-29-...

[21] ibid.

[22]  “Allied Air Chief Stresses Hitting Belgrade Sites,” by Michael R. Gordon, The New York Times, May 13, 1999.
https://archive.nytimes.com...9kosovo-nato.html

[23] Picture credit: Sovfoto/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.
https://www.gettyimages.fi.../serb-couple-sitting-in-the-ruins

Getty caption: “A Serb couple sitting in the ruins of their home in Cacak (170 km from Belgrade) after a NATO air strike, Yugoslavia, April 1999.”

[24] “Serbia Welcomes Boris Johnson as UK Foreign Secretary,” by Milivoje Pantovic, Belgrade, Balkan Insight, BIRN [Balkan Investigative Reporting Network], July 18, 2016.
...2016/07/18/serbia-praising-johnson-appointment-...

[25] U.S. Air Force Biographies, General Charles F. “Chuck” Wald, Retired July 01, 2006.
https://www.af.mil/...general-charles-f-chuck-Swald

[26] Emperor’s Clothes has archived Major General Wald’s April 14, 1999 press conference, which you can read at http://tenc.net/...wald-4-14-99.htm

It is also available at the subscription-only LexisNexis media archive.
Here is how it is listed there:
Federal News Service April 14, 1999, Wednesday, Section: Defense Department Briefing, Headline: Defense Department Regular Briefing, Briefers: Kenneth Bacon, Pentagon Spokesperson Major General Charles F. Wald, USAF, The Pentagon.

[27] ibid.

[28] “A War Against All of the Serbs,” by Steve Chapman, The Chicago Tribune, April 29, 1999.
https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...1999-04-29-...

[29] “Serbia Mourns 1999 Bombing Victims; Kosovo Thanks NATO,” by Filip Rudic, Belgrade, Pristina, Balkan Insight, BIRN [Balkan Investigative Reporting Network], March 24, 2017.
https://balkaninsight.com/....serbia-marks-18th...bombing  

[30] Under international law, the rule requiring combatants to plan attacks with the goal of preventing civilian casualties unless absolutely militarily necessary is found in Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions, Chapter IV, Precautionary Measures, Article 57.  It was ratified by every country that was a member of NATO in 1999, except Turkey, France and the US.

CHAPTER IV
Precautionary measures

Article 57 — Precautions in attack


1. In the conduct of military operations, constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects.

2. With respect to attacks, the following precautions shall be taken:

a) those who plan or decide upon an attack shall:

i) do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects and are not subject to special protection but are military objectives within the meaning of paragraph 2 of Article 52 and that it is not prohibited by the provisions of this Protocol to attack them;

ii) take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of attack with a view to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects;

iii) refrain from deciding to launch any attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated; [...]”

— Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), of 8 June 1977, pp. 41-42.
https://www.icrc.org/.../icrc_002_0321.pdf

[31] Serbia Mourns 1999 Bombing Victims; Kosovo Thanks NATO,” by Filip Rudic, Belgrade, Pristina, Balkan Insight, BIRN [Balkan Investigative Reporting Network], March 24, 2017.
https://balkaninsight.com/serbia-marks-18th...

 [32] Regarding NATO’s use of precision-guided bombs in the attack on the Serbians, see “Are they too clever by half? High technology against Serbia has yet to prove itself a winner,” Europe, The Economist, April 29, 1999.
https://www.economist.com/...29/are-they-too-clever-by-half

The term ‘precision-guided’ is not hyperbole.  For example, consider the AGM-130 bomb, which was widely used by NATO:

“The AGM-130, which can be fired at a considerable distance from its target, is initially guided by satellite. As it nears its target, the weapons officer can guide it the rest of the way using the video image.”

“Crisis in the Balkans: The Deaths; NATO Commander Says Train Was Hit Not Once, but Twice,” by Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times, April 14, 1999.
https://www.nytimes.com/...train-was-hit...twice.html

 [33] Picture credit: EPAEuropean Pressphoto Agency https://webgate.epa.eu/...MEDIANUMBER=99448393

EPA caption: A man sits on his bicycle in front of ruins after last night's NATO air strike in Aleksinac on Tuesday 06 April 1999.”

[Excerpt from CNN article, “Airstrikes hit home [sic! Should be ‘homes.’ – J.I.] in a small Serbian town” starts here]

ALEKSINAC, Yugoslavia (CNN) – It was a night of unrelenting bombardment in the Serbian town of Aleksinac. It was a night that Serbs felt suffering and pain, anger and bewilderment.

Two blasts early Tuesday ripped through apartment blocks and apparent civilian homes in Aleksinac as NATO missiles pounded targets in Serbia. [“Apparent civilian homes”? What else does CNN think they could be?  – J.I.]

At least four civilians were killed, 30 were injured and a medical clinic used by civilians was hit in the town, about 100 miles south of Belgrade. It appeared to be the largest civilian casualty toll since the beginning of NATO airstrikes..

“This is completely inhuman. I can’t describe it,” a teacher said. “I saved my children and I can only hope we’ll be OK.”

The point of detonation was sandwiched between a block of apartments on one side and the clinic on the other.

Confusion and panic was reported as explosions hit and fires broke out. Windows and corridors were strewn with shattered glass and splintered wood.

People wandered around in shock. Survivors said they scrambled through debris. Firefighters doused the flames of Serbian homes. The direct hits caused almost unrecognizable ruin.

The citizens of Aleksinac asked why the bombing occurred.

“There is a military barracks about half a mile away, maybe more,” one man said. “But why hit us?

“We’re not a target.”

[The Serbian language has no definite or indefinite article.  What the man would have said was, ‘We are not target.’  What he meant was, ‘NATO is attacking the Yugoslav military, not ordinary people, so ordinary people are not the target.’  Therefore, to communicate his intended meaning, his words should have been translated ‘We’re not the target.’  The evidence is, he was mistaken. – J.I.]

[Excerpt from CNN article, “Airstrikes hit home [sic! Should be ‘homes.’ – J.I.] in a small Serbian town” ends here]

— “Airstrikes hit home in a small Serbian town,” from Correspondent Brent Sadler, CNN, April 6, 1999.
http://edition.cnn.com/...9904/06/serb.town.hit/

 [34] Under international law, even if attacking a target is militarily necessary, combatants are required to use methods of attack that minimize harm to civilians. This requirement is found in Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions, Chapter IV, Precautionary Measures, Article 57.  (The relevant section is highlighted in bold, below.)

CHAPTER IV
Precautionary measures

Article 57 — Precautions in attack

1. In the conduct of military operations, constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects.

2. With respect to attacks, the following precautions shall be taken:

a) those who plan or decide upon an attack shall:

i) do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects and are not subject to special protection but are military objectives within the meaning of paragraph 2 of Article 52 and that it is not prohibited by the provisions of this Protocol to attack them;

ii) take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of attack with a view to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects;

iii) refrain from deciding to launch any attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated; [...]”  [My emphasis – J.I.]

Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), of 8 June 1977, pp. 41-42.
https://www.icrc.org/...crc_002_0321.pdf

[35] Two articles in Protocol I of the Geneva convention are relevant to the environment-destroying way that NATO bombed the Pančevo industrial complex.  First, CHAPTER III, Civilian objects, Article 55, under which the Pančevo bombing was definitely a crime of war:

CHAPTER III
Civilian
objects

Article 55 — Protection of the natural environment

1. Care shall be taken in warfare to protect the natural environment against widespread, long-term and severe damage. This protection includes a prohibition of the use of methods or means of warfare which are intended or may be expected to cause such damage to the natural environment and thereby to prejudice the health or survival of the population.

2. Attacks against the natural environment by way of reprisals are prohibited.”

— Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), of 8 June 1977, p. 40
https://www.icrc.org.../icrc_002_0321.pdf

In addition, CHAPTER III, Civilian objects, Article 56 arguably applies.  It forbids attacks on “works and installations containing dangerous forces.”  It does not specifically name the storage tanks used in fertilizer factories, oil refineries and plastic factories, but these certainly qualify as “containing dangerous forces,” and therefore, I would argue, CHAPTER III, Civilian objects, Article 56 applies. 

CHAPTER III
 Civilian objects

Article 56 — Protection of works and installations containing dangerous forces


1. Works or installations containing dangerous forces, namely dams, dykes and nuclear electrical generating stations, shall not be made the object of attack, even where these objects are military objectives, if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces and consequent severe losses among the civilian population. Other military objectives located at or in the vicinity of these works or installations shall not be made the object of attack if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces from the works or installations and consequent severe losses among the civilian population.

[...]

3. In all cases, the civilian population and individual civilians shall re-main entitled to all the protection accorded them by international law, including the protection of the precautionary measures provided for in Article 57. If the protection ceases and any of the works, installations or military objectives mentioned in paragraph 1 is attacked, all practical precautions shall be taken to avoid the release of the dangerous forces.[...]” [My emphasis – J.I.]

— Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), of 8 June 1977, p. 40
https://www.icrc.org.../icrc_002_0321.pdf

[36] “Serbian Town Bombed by NATO Fears Effects of Toxic Chemicals,” by Chris Hedges, The New York Times, July 14, 1999.
https://www.nytimes.com/...fears-effects-of-toxic-chemicals.html

[37] Picture credit: BBC. Published at Bombing threatens Serbs’ environment, by Environment Correspondent Alex Kirby, BBC News Online, April 19, 1999.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/323113.stm

[38] Analysis: Warnings of Air War Drawbacks,” by Bradley Graham, Washington Post Staff Writer, The Washington Post, Tuesday, April 27, 1999.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/military042799.htm

[39]  France Played Skeptic on Kosovo Attacks,” by Dana Priest, Washington Post Staff Writer, The Washington Post, Monday, September 20, 1999.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/...airwar20.htm

[40] We do not have source information for the picture posted at the end of the article, but we did find two other pictures of the same woman in front of the same house:

1) photo by Sasa Stankovic/EPA (European Pressphoto Agency). Dated May 7, 1999, the caption states that the elderly woman in the picture is sitting in what was the garden of her destroyed home in the Serbian city of Niš:
https://webgate.epa.eu/...99409711

Medoševac, a suburb of Niš, Serbia, May 7, 1999  © EPA.  Posted for Fair Use Only.

2) photo of the same woman holding the same photograph, which was published on the Serbian newspaper Vesti.
 
Source: Article in Serbian newspaper, Vesti.  Headline of article: “Sećanje na 1999: Stradanje Niša gore od Danteovog pakla,” [Eng. Tr.: Remembering 1999: The sufferings of Niš worse than Dante’s hell], by Marko Todić, Vesti Online, March 25, 2019.
https://www.vesti-online.com/...danteovog-pakla/
The article has pictures from the Vesti archive, including this one:

Medoševac, a suburb of Niš, Serbia, May 7, 1999
© Vesti.  Posted for Fair Use Only.


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