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Spanish Experts Refute NATO Genocide Claims

* Comments concerning the Spanish forensic scientists who were sent to Kosovo by NATO to find evidence of Serbian genocide, and have reported that NATO lied to them. *

by Jared Israel (revised 10-7-99)

I've been reading mass grave stories in the New York Times for most of a day. I hope to write a detailed analysis soon, but meanwhile, here are a few observations:

* You would expect these stories to be horrifying. What is surprising is that they are so repetitious - using the same phrases - that reading them is exhausting.

* The articles are often written in semi-fictional style, as in "A cap lay on the ground, stained bright red. 'Who would believe the Serbs would do this?' asked the gaunt Albanian. A tear trickled down the old man's cheek." This kind of writing encourages the reader to suspend disbelief, as one does when reading a short story, to accept emotionally charged statements as true.

* Evidence, if any, is anecdotal; sources are vague.

* The discovery or even the rumor of a grave is cited (often in a press conference by some authority figure) as proof of Serbian atrocities.

These 'atrocities' are discussed in great, though entirely speculative, detail. Trial by media. It is enough to make you gaga, especially when you read such 'news' for hours at a time. The mental equivalent of smog.

The arguments made here are circular. The supposed mass grave is discovered. The newspaper or TV reporter, or the authority figure giving the press conference, takes as a starting point the assumption that Serbs are genocidal murderers and proceeds from there. The grave has not been opened, or perhaps it has been opened but the only evidence is a few scraps of clothing. Nevertheless we are told that dead bodies will be found; the bodies will be Albanians; they will be civilians; they will have been killed by Serbs; the Serbs will have been soldiers or policemen. The reporter does not probe, does not investigate, does not test these speculations against fact and nobody complains because the speculations are not presented as speculations. Once uttered, they have the authority of Revealed Truth. They become part of the Record, to be cited in later news reports as Proven Fact."

Report of Spanish Experts Contradicts NATO

Recently, a group of Spanish forensic scientists and policemen specializing in war crimes were sent to Northern Kosovo. Upon their return they held a press conference. This press conference, was, as far as I know, ignored by all Western media except for one article in the moderate Spanish magazine, El Pais, (see: ). Apparently the Spanish experts came to conclusions unacceptable to NATO; hence the media blackout.

The Spanish experts say they were told they'd be performing 2000 autopsies; in fact they were shown only 187 bodies, less than 10%. About half these people had died when NATO bombed the Dubrava prison in Istok, in Kosovo. (Based on autopsies, the Spaniards concluded that most of the people who died at the prison were killed by shrapnel; some were shot trying to escape after the bombing.) The war crime involved here is NATO's: it is a war crime to bomb any nonmilitary target, let alone a prison, the ultimate sitting duck.

Let me linger here for a moment. One would imagine NATO leaders were aware they had ordered the bombing of the prison in Istok. In case they had some doubt, they could have consulted one of many newspaper accounts:


At least 100 people were killed and 200 injured in NATO attacks on a prison in Kosovo... All buildings of Dubrava prison were destroyed and the bodies were still lying in the prison's courtyard...An investigating judge from Pec, Mr. Vladan Bojic, accused NATO of committing the most massive murder of prisoners in modern civilization and confirmed an investigation had began.

…The Serb Media Centre said Mr. Bojic himself was slightly injured in a second raid on the prison on Sunday….NATO said an attack did take place on the prison. It said the target was legitimate because the grounds were being used as a barracks and staging area by Serbian special police accused of atrocities against ethnic Albanians...

Military spokesman Col. Konrad Freytag said the building in Istok had been shown on the military planners' target list as a disused prison. (Birmingham Post, May 25, 1999)

Were NATO leaders surprised that their bombs killed people? Wasn't that the purpose of bombing the prison? If the term 'war crime' has any meaning, this was a war crime.

So then why, may I ask, were the Spanish forensic scientists told to look for evidence of Serbian war crimes at Istok? Given that NATO had publicly admitted bombing the prison, why weren't the Spanish scientists told to look for NATO war crimes? Why was it necessary for the Spaniards to hold a press conference to reveal the STARTLING news that when NATO bombs a prison, the Serbs are not to blame?

And yet it was necessary. And not merely necessary - heroic. The Spanish scientists and policemen are correctly perceived as heroes for publicly testifying that when NATO bombs a Serbian prison it does not constitute a Serbian war crime. Doesn't this tell us something about the surrealistic state of international relations in the New World Order?

Down 95%

The Spanish forensic scientists speculate that the remaining cadavers are Albanian civilians killed by Serbian troops or police. If their speculation is correct, these people could be victims of Serbian war crimes. That's less than 100 people, about 5% of the promised 2000.

In considering this 5%, I suggest we adopt a cautious approach.


Every official in a NATO country is under pressure to parrot the NATO line. Nevertheless these Spanish experts aired their reservations publicly. Note that when they discussed the individuals with bullet wounds they made clear they were speculating:

"It gives the IMPRESSION that the Serbs gave a choice to the families to leave their homes. If some member of the clan, for whatever reason, decided to remain, upon returning they were found dead."

Of course, one can only get the "impression" that these people were shot by "the Serbs" for refusing to leave their homes if one accepts that they were members of families whom "the Serbs" had ordered to leave. But how could the scientists know this? They could only 'know it' from witnesses.

The El Pais story says nothing about witnesses, so now we must speculate; fortunately we do know a few things.

First, Kosovo is under a reign of terror by the Kosovo Liberation Army, with NATO's blessing. At the end of this commentary we list a few articles documenting that reign of terror, including first hand accounts. (See note 1 at end)

Second, both NATO and the KLA have a strong interest in proving that the Serbian government had a policy of genocide against Albanians. NATO needs to prove this because the existence of Serbian genocide was NATO's justification for bombing Yugoslavia for 78 days. The KLA needs to prove it because Serbian genocide is the KLA's justification for driving Serbs and "Gypsies" out of Kosovo. As Clinton adviser Sandy Berger put it, speaking for NATO and the KLA:

  • "All across Kosovo, we see reminders that America and our allies did the right thing in taking a stand against ethnic cleansing…. The Serb forces responsible for the violence are gone…But there is also tremendous sadness -- from the pain of remembering and the devastation left behind by Milosevic's campaign of hate. And in many victims there is rage, a desire for justice, and sometimes revenge." (Foreign Policy Adviser Sandy Berger, "Remarks to Council on Foreign Relations", July 26, 1999)

In this remarkable speech Mr. Berger a) gives the KLA the green light to attack Serbs because it's all quite understandable considering the "tremendous sadness" and the "victims" consumed with "rage" and b) makes the purpose of the war crimes investigations perfectly clear. That purpose is NOT to discover the truth. Discovery is unnecessary; Mr. Berger has discovered the truth in advance. Rather the purpose of investigation is to provide "reminders that America and our allies did the right thing."

Thus the investigation is controlled by two highly interested parties, NATO and the KLA. Their control includes not only the handling of evidence but the recruitment and preparation of witnesses. Obviously such witnesses can be either agents of the KLA or under KLA domination. Any witness providing testimony disliked by the KLA would be risking his or her life. And as a recent story in the mainstream media suggests, the KLA considers lying a perfectly legitimate weapon in winning international support. (See note 2 at end) So much for the witnesses.

Bigots with a heart

And then there is the problem of the graves. The Spanish experts say the cadavers were found in individual graves, not mass graves. That is thoughtful of the Serbs. And even more thoughtful: the graves were "oriented for the most part toward Mecca out of respect for the religious beliefs of the Albanian Kosovars…"

This is curious. I have read many newspaper articles which argue that Serbs are hostile to Albanians because the Albanians are (mostly) Muslims. This supposed hostility was supposedly the motivation for alleged anti-Albanian atrocities. The Serbs say they don't hate anybody, that they have been fighting to preserve a multiethnic society against a terrorist assault by a racist faction among ethnic Albanians - a faction backed by the U.S. and Germany.

Let's assume the newspapers are right and the Serbs are mistaken. So first the Serbian troops murdered these Albanians out of religious hatred - and then the same Serbian troops buried the same Albanians facing Mecca out of religious respect. Isn't this rather strange behavior?

Let's approach this from a different viewpoint, that of common sense: perhaps the Spanish experts were lied to. Perhaps they were shown the bodies of KLA troops who died fighting the Yugoslav army; hence the bullet wounds (inflicted in battle) and the respectful burial (performed either by the KLA or by Yugoslav troops who do not hate Muslims and therefore respected Muslim burial customs.) That at least would be believable.

There are many graves in Kosovo; too many. For a year and a half a fierce war raged between KLA terrorists and the Yugoslav Army and police. Aside from those who died in the fighting, we have credible evidence that the KLA executed many pro-Yugoslav Albanians, as well as non-Albanians (who do not necessarily differ from Albanians in appearance) not to mention Yugoslav soldiers and policemen.

So, thousands of people died and were buried. The KLA has had a free hand in Kosovo since early June, plenty of time to move bodies around, to dress dead soldiers as civilians and to tutor 'grieving relatives' until their stories sound believable. And despite all that, the Spanish scientists, sent to the zone of the worst Serbian atrocities, came back virtually empty-handed.

(A note in passing: The Spanish scientists and policemen report that they were originally told they'd be doing 2000 autopsies. But they were only shown 187 bodies. Why? Was this simply a miscount? Impressive miscount, wouldn't you say? Or had NATO concocted the 2000 figure so that if the Spaniards were interviewed by the media before doing the autopsies they would tell a 'good' story?

Or could there be a more sinister reason? Could it be that as the autopsies proceeded it became clear to the Spaniards' NATO handlers that were not 'politically correct', that they might a) figure out and b) publicly testify that the other one thousand eight hundred and thirteen bodies might be those of Serbs or pro-Yugoslav Albanians massacred by the KLA, and that therefore these other bodies were discretely withdrawn, perhaps moved to some other part of Kosovo where the 'investigators' have a proper respect for unduly constituted authority...

Investigation? or Inquisition?

Some people ask: are you saying Serbs are incapable of committing atrocities? No, as with all populations, some Serbian people are probably capable of committing atrocities. But to go from this general possibility to the charge that the Serbian armed forces systematically killed Albanian civilians (while they were at the same time publicly arguing for multi-ethnic unity and indeed arming many Albanians against the KLA) is to go quite a distance. Traversing it requires something: proof.

American legal theory says a person is innocent until proven guilty. Implicit in this approach is the notion that criminal investigation should be conducted by disinterested parties with a goal of finding out if there has been a crime and discovering the truth, not in concocting a case to destroy some enemy.

Aside from whether this standard is actually applied in the U.S. legal system (a highly debatable point) shouldn't we insist it be applied when dealing with alleged mass crimes possibly implicating a government and an entire people? Or should such investigations be launched only as needed to justify NATO policy? Should guilt then be decided by a hostile US press with government officials making prejudicial statements before the fact? Should the evidence be the testimony of 'witnesses' supplied by the US side in a vicious war, 'witnesses' who testify in secret, 'witnesses' who are never cross-examined by the accused?

The use of these Inquisitorial methods of proof rebounds, proving that NATO (that is, the US government) and the media are trying to railroad the Serbian people.

Every time an accusation is made, two parties go on trial: the accused and the accuser. For if an accusation can be shown to be false, then the question must be asked: was it made with malicious intent? Was it perhaps cooked up to divert attention from and/or justify some other crime, some greater crime? Some crime, perhaps, committed by the accuser? (see note 3 at end)

The Spanish forensic scientists and policemen quoted in El Pais have done us all a service. By denying NATO's charges they have indicted NATO. In doing so they have risked NATO's wrath - and their careers - to tell the truth.

Their decency gives one hope.

-- Jared Israel 10-7-99



Note 1: First hand reports of KLA terror

* For an interview with the leader of the Jewish community in Pristina, Kosovo, click here: 'Driven from Kosovo: Jewish Leader Sees NATO Complicity' or go to:

*For an eye-opening report on a recent 2 week trip through Kosovo, click here: 'To Kosovo & Back' or go to:

* For an interview with Kosovo Albanians who led opposition to the KLA and have been forced out of Kosovo by threat of death, click here: 'Kosovo Albanians - The Other Side' or go to:

Note 2: KLA Woman's Story Exposed as Lie

* Regarding the sheer unreliability of anti-Serb atrocity stories, see "
Conned in Kosovo: a CBC reporter's dilemma," at

Note 3: Analyses of NATO 'mass grave' and 'atrocity' claims

* 'Were NATO's mass grave pictures faked?' by Jared Israel or go to:

* For articles refuting NATO's Srebrenica massacre story, go to

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