|The Other Side of the Story
Chapters 2 & 3
This ought to be enough to unequivocally answer the question of who initiated the use of force in Kosovo-Metohija. Attacks on VJ units apparently had the goal of forcing and accelerating its logical response, which was to be used by separatist and Western propaganda as evidence that a mass Albanian uprising was underway in Kosovo-Metohija, which rightfully expected NATO aid.
Therefore, in the first half of 1998 (from the end of February to mid-July), the VJ did not take offensive actions against the KLA, nor did it have paramilitary formations under its command, then or ever. The Armys general position on volunteers and possible emergence of militias was clear in the Directive of the Joint Command for Kosovo-Metohija of July 1, 1998. Among other things, it prohibits enlistment of volunteers on any basis or ethnicity, into these units, meaning the units belonging to the Joint Command for Kosovo-Metohija.
Finally, we point out that federal police never took part in fighting the Albanian terrorists, contrary to allegations in the Indictment.
Paragraph 26 of the Indictment says: In response to the intensifying conflict, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed Resolution 1160 in March 1998 condemning the use of excessive force by Serbian police forces against civilians and peaceful demonstrators in Kosovo, and imposed an arms embargo on the FRY. Six months later the UNSC passed Resolution 1199 (1998) which stated that the deterioration of the situation in Kosovo, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, constitutes a threat to peace and security in the region. The Security Council demanded that all parties cease hostilities and that the security forces used for civilian repression be withdrawn.
COMMENT: In responding to this Paragraph, we cited the numbers of KLA attacks on Serbian police forces, the VJ and civilians (on an average, three attacks per day) during February and March 1998, resulting in dozens of killed and wounded among civilians, police and military personnel.
The extent of these attacks is convincingly documented by the Interior Ministrys report to the Serbian government on March 10, 1998, on the topic of counter-terrorist activities in Kosovo-Metohija, stating, among other things:
Terrorist attacks in the region of Srbica, which for many months have endangered the security of several roads, led to numerous civilian casualties, and jeopardized the safety of citizens of all ethnicities, created a need to re-establish full control of the roads in this area through the use of police outposts. Adem Jasharis terrorist group tried to interfere with this operation on February 28, attacking police patrols and killing four, while wounding two officers. Sixteen terrorists were killed in a battle with this group. In the early morning hours of March 5, a terrorist group attacked another police patrol near the village of Donje Prekaze. After police returned fire, the terrorists retreated to their base and dug in at the Jashari family farm in that village... engagement with the terrorists lasted for 27 hours, with a total of 51 casualties. Unfortunately, it was later established that Jashari family members were among them. Terrorists physically prevented them from leaving the farm, despite the police invitation. The Interior Ministry expresses regret and bitterness that these victims were a direct consequence of cruelty and ruthlessness of Albanian terrorists. The police could not have known how many, if any, civilians were detained by the terrorists, since dozens of civilians did respond to the police invitation to evacuate the village. The fact that he personally shot his nephew to prevent him from surrendering testifies to Adem Jasharis cruelty. Two officers lost their lives in this action, and seven were seriously injured.
Here is a calendar of the KLAs terrorist attacks on Serbian police in late February and early March 1998:
February 28: in the village of Liposane, around 12:30, terrorists ambush an MUP vehicle and open fire with assault rifles; several kilometers ahead, terrorists ambush the backup MUP force, shooting up a Lada-Niva 4x4 vehicle; two officers are killed, two injured. Around 14:00, MUP special forces arrive, extracting the wounded officers and pursuing the terrorists. After the ambush, the terrorists retreat towards Gland Selo, battling the MUP, which is in pursuit. Three terrorists are killed, and three more wounded. For many hours, terrorists retreat towards the villages of Poljanci, Sirez and Gradica, where the battle continues. After a battle with the terrorists, MUP forces capture three Albanians in camouflage uniforms. In the village of Vrbovac, they find a vehicle used to transport weapons and ammunition to terrorists in boxes marked humanitarian aid. Fighting goes on throughout the night of February 28-March 1. One police officer is wounded and later dies. Terrorists open fire on an MUP observation helicopter with automatic weapons and a Zolja RPG launcher. One officer is killed, another injured;
March 1: Police force the terrorists to retreat towards Poljance, with sporadic fire by the fleeing terrorists;
March 5: At dawn, in the village of Lausa, a group of terrorists attacks a police patrol, wounding two officers. Reinforcements arrive and the battle moves towards Donje Prekaze and Gornje Prekaze. Women, children and the elderly villagers are evacuated. Terrorists are forced to scatter, carrying off their dead and wounded into the nearby woods. Two officers are killed and four injured. Twenty terrorists are killed. Eight terrorists surrender, emerging from a well-camouflaged bunker. Three large bunkers are discovered overall, two with medical equipment and one filled with ammunition, weapons and demolition explosives, which also served as the command center. Among the terrorists killed in Donji Prekaz are terrorist leader Adem Jashari (age 43) and Rexhep Sellami (age 29). Both had been sentenced in absentia to 29 years imprisonment.
March 6: Terrorists retreat towards the Albanian border, into Klina and Djakovica municipalities. They attack another MUP patrol near the village of Josanica.
Before the first significant counter-terrorist action by security forces in the villages of Lausa, Gornje Prekaze and Donje Prekaze (March 5, 1998) neither the U.N. Security Council (UNSC), not any other international body acted in any way to stop the terrorist acts of the KLA. All attempts to have the Security Council issue even a formal communiqué condemning KLA terrorism, or declare this paramilitary wing of the Albanian separatist movement a terrorist organization, were systematically blocked by the United States (three times in one month, in one instance). This impotence of the Security Council before American obstruction was publicly called a disgrace by the chairman, Brazilian Ambassador Salma Amorim. Nor did U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan ever bother to visit this region and personally ascertain which side was responsible for the intensifying conflict.
As soon as the terrorists suffered their first crushing defeat at the hands of the police, however, (in the battles of Lausa and Prekaze), a Security Council session was called immediately and the UNSC Resolution 1160 condemned the police for excessive use of force, against, as the Indictment alleges falsely, civilians and peaceful demonstrators in Kosovo. The only civilian casualties in those battles were those kept by Adem Jasharis terrorists as human shields in their fortified compound.
Six months later, in the same manner and with the same reasons, the UNSC issued its Resolution 1199, qualifying the deteriorating situation in Kosovo as a threat to peace and security in the region. This resolution was also passed at the insistence of the United States, in its interest and on its behalf. Therefore it is necessary to be reminded of some significant events that took place between July and September 1998, before Resolution 1199.
Early in this period, the situation in the province could already be qualified as dramatic, especially in the municipalities of Pec, Klina and Decani. Police forces, which had battled terrorists almost every day for months, taking casualties, were significantly weakened and unable to successfully counter the increasing numbers of KLA terrorists. At that point, the Supreme Defense Council of the FRY decided that Pristina Corps units should begin offensive counter-terrorist operations, aid the police forces in destroying terrorist flashpoints and establish order in the province.
This decision was motivated by the following:
(1) at the time (mid-July, 1998), the KLA controlled over 50% of Kosovo-Metohija territory, including all the routes from Kosovo into Metohija, except for the Urosevac-Strpce-Prizren highway;
(2) the size of KLA forces was estimated at some 25,000 well-armed terrorists, concentrated around Drenica, Malisevo and Jablanica;
the highest concentration of terrorists was in: Salja (ca.
2,500 armed terrorists), Zicevica (2,000), Drenica (3,500),
Suva Reka (3.000), Orahovac, (1,500), Glodjane (3,000),
Junik, (2,000), Zur (1,500), Jablanica (3,000) and Rugovo
(1,500). In each one of those towns the "KLA"
had a headquarters that directed terrorist actions and
the arming of local villages. There were three regional
HQs (Drenica, Jablanica and Malisevo), and the KLAs
general HQ was in Malisevo. At this time, the terrorists
had started adjusting their organizational structure, and
were about to form units of higher order (a division in
Drenica, for example).
Intervention by the Pristina Corps, i.e. a general counter-offensive against the terrorists, scuttled the organizational efforts of the terrorists and the establishment of a supply corridor with Albania, on the route Jablanica-Junik-Jasici, as well as the creation of a compact territory bordering Albania, in the area of Decani-Jablanica-Drenica-Salja.
Following the decision of the Supreme Defense Council, the Pristina Corps devised a plan for comprehensive counter-terrorist operations, which lasted a total of 65 days (July 25 September 29, 1998). Battle action reports estimated that over 20,000 terrorists were neutralized during the operation:
The counter-terrorist operation also had the following political results:
a) It stopped the mass influx of weapons and equipment from Albania as well as the infiltration of terrorists and the establishment of a corridor with Albania;
b) The further rise of terrorism in Kosovo-Metohija was stopped, the terrorists subdued and prevented from promoting of the KLA as a legitimate armed force of the separatist movement;
c) Terrorist forces were scattered and the territory they held was splintered. All headquarters were eliminated, and all the roads in Kosovo-Metohija secured;
d) In the aftermath, Albanian civilians who fled the terrorist pressure and combat operations near their homes were returned to their homes or taken to refugee accommodations.
However, all of that is described in Paragraph 26 as the deterioration of the situation that constituted a threat to peace and security in the region, which caused UNSC Resolution 1199.
The FRY was forced in September 1998 to halt its counter-terrorist operations before their completion, though blackmail and pressure (which we will address in our response to Paragraph 27).
One would expect that the Bush administrations decision to blacklist the KLA (June 2001) would spur the analysis and reassessment of the long-term support and protection the U.S. government gave this terrorist organization. But since the reassessment of this relationship would drag out many other skeletons from the previous (Clinton) administrations closet among which would certainly be the staged massacres in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war (breadline, marketplace I and II, and others), as well as Ambassador Walkers fabrication of the Racak incident into a pretext for aggression against the FRY it is more probable that the current administration will experience short-term memory loss and behave as if nothing had happened.
Paragraph 27 of the Indictment says: In an attempt to diffuse tensions in Kosovo, negotiations between Slobodan MILOSEVIC, and representatives of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) were conducted in October 1998. An Agreement on the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission was signed on 16 October 1998. This agreement and the Clark-Naumann agreement, which was signed by Nikola SAINOVIC, provided for the partial withdrawal of forces of the FRY and Serbia from Kosovo, a limitation on the introduction of additional forces and equipment into the area, and the deployment of unarmed OSCE verifiers.
COMMENT: This paragraph mentions nothing about events that preceded the Milosevic-Holbrooke negotiations in early October 1998. As mentioned earlier, the VJ Pristina Corps forces conducted joint operations with Serbian police from July to September 1998, destroying terrorist cells throughout Kosovo-Metohija. At that point, the United States government, through NATO, had issued an ultimatum demanding that all operations of the VJ and the Serbian police against Albanian terrorists cease immediately, and threatening aggression against the FRY. This was a serious threat to FRYs security.
The Milosevic-Holbrooke talks took place in this atmosphere of pressure. Because of the very real threat to FRYs security, substantial concessions to American demands were made:
1. counter-terrorist operations were halted before the final destruction of terrorist organizations was achieved;
2. a political approach to resolving the Kosovo-Metohija situation was accepted;
3. violence and terrorism were condemned as acts contrary to international norms;
4. it was agreed that every solution of the Kosovo-Metohija problem would respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the FRY;
5. every solution had to respect the equality of all citizens and all minorities residing in Kosovo-Metohija;
6. the future of Kosovo-Metohija was to be equality, integration, economic prosperity and tolerance;
7. local self-government in Kosovo-Metohija had to conform to the legal systems of Serbia and FRY, as well as international standards;
8. self-government would be practiced through the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government;
9. ethnic communities would have additional rights for the sake of preserving their ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic identity, in accordance with international standards;
10. local police will be established as part of the political agreement;
11. no person would be criminally prosecuted for the conflict in Kosovo, except for crimes against humanity and violations of international law, for the sake of full equality. Full and unhindered access would be allowed to foreign experts, including forensic pathologists, which would cooperate with state investigators;
12. for the purpose of one-time sentence reduction, the authorities would reassess sentences against members of ethnic communities in Kosovo-Metohija convicted of crimes motivated by political violence.
However, the statement of NATOs Secretary-general, Javier Solana, immediately after the agreement was signed, revealed the true extent of the U.S. and NATOs commitment to a peaceful resolution of the Kosovo-Metohija crisis, and their readiness to use force in order to establish a military presence in the area.
Parallel to the OSCE Verification mission, Solana had said, NATO will be a key element in verifying President Milosevics readiness to keep his word... NATO will carefully watch the area of Kosovo from the air, and constantly maintain the threat of force... it will remain ready and willing to intervene militarily if the agreement is not respected.
Surely it was after consultations with NATO that Austrias foreign minister Wolfang Schuessel requested the following day that the Alliances air patrols be extended over the entire territory of Yugoslavia, and demanded additional guarantees for OSCE Verifiers.
It was proven later that the arrogance of NATOs secretary-general and Austrias foreign minister had been grounded in the fact that the decision to attack the FRY had already been reached at the time. All that the Alliance was waiting for was a convincing pretext to start the aggression without a decision by the Security Council.
Retired German general Heinz Loquai (Berliner Zeitung, June 1999), later stated that before air strikes against the FRY, a good chance for a peaceful resolution in Kosovo-Metohija had been missed due to the biased, dismissive and one-sided position of most countries in the Alliance in favor of the Kosovo Albanians and against the Serbs.
According to Loquai, the United States had a firm intent to intervene militarily long before Rambouillet. Ambassador Walkers order at the end of January 1999 to prepare for the evacuation of the OSCE verifiers proves that the Kosovo dice were loaded. The OEBS mission was not yet complete, and there was obvious evidence that even its incomplete presence reduced tensions in the field.
This is demonstrated by Pristina Corps HQ orders (classified, #880-349 of October 23, 1998):
Based on the orders of the Third Army (classified, #168-319, of 23 October, 1998) and with the purpose of fulfilling Pristina Corps' (PrK) obligations from the agreement about OSCE and NATO's Verification Mission, in Kosovo-Metohija (K-M),
1. On October 24, 1998, return Task Force BG-15-1 from the village of Obrandza near Podujevo to the garrison K. Junaci in Pristina. Departure from the current position to start at 0900 hours, to be completed by 1500 hours on October 24, 1998 at the latest.
2. Redeployment shall proceed along the route Obrandza - Podujevo - Milosevo - Pristina.
3. 15th Armor Brigade HQ will make all the preparations for a planned, organized and secure redeployment, along with the necessary security during the march.
4. Commanders of BG-15-1 shall be aided in preparation and organization of the march, with the Task Forces own units handling the security of the column on the march.
5. Before departure, inspect all combat and other vehicles. Do not transport personnel in malfunctioning vehicles.
6. Before departure, perform a weapons check and retrieve all equipment and weapons deployed in the field. Upon arrival at the garrison, retrieve ammunition issued to enlisted men and officers. Through another weapons check, verify that no ammunition was missed.
7) In case of a deteriorating situation in K-M, stay on alert for intervention in areas under threat; this will be regulated by separate orders.
8) Submit a report on the completion of this assignment by 1700 hours on October 24, 1998, as part of the regular battle report.
[signed] Commander, Lt. Gen. Nebojsa Pavkovic
Only three days later, the terrorists abducted and murdered the deputy council chairman of Kosovo Polje municipality, Zvonko Bojanic. On New Years Eve, the terrorists continued their actions in the Podujevo municipality, first murdering Security Service inspector Milic Jovic by shooting him in the back on his way to work. Then they murdered Milovan Radojevic (age 65) at his doorstep in the village of Obradze, near Podujeva. He was murdered with his wife forced to watch, only because they were the last Serbian family remaining in the village. During Radojevics funeral, the terrorists shot at the mourners as well.
The first police casualty after the arrival of Walkers Verifiers was Nenad Stankovic, murdered in the village of Dragobilje on October 16. The following day, October 17, three officers were killed on the Pristina-Malisevo highway near the village of Orlate: Zivorad Kostic, Dejan Jakovljevic and Goran Markovic. One of the Walker Verifiers turned over a witness of this crime to the terrorists, and the witness was only returned because of the Yugoslav governments insistence and under public pressure.
On the same day, the terrorists ambushed and shot Olivera Simic of Klina, on the Pristina-Pec highway, injuring her seriously. By sheer chance, her three children, also in the car, were not injured. All of these crimes did not bother U.S. Ambassador [Christopher] Hill, who met with KLA representatives in Dragobilje (near Orahovac) on two occasions, November 6 and November 17.
The next criminal attack on the police took place on November 9, when officers Ilija Vujosevic and Dejan Djatlo were murdered near Malisevo. Some ten days later, officers Zoran Vrbaski and Janos Cizmadija were murdered in the village of Prilep near Decani. On December 11, terrorists murdered a local constable, Uka Mustafa, in the village of Babaj Bosku near Djakovica. On December 28, three officers were wounded in an ambush near Podujevo, and on January 8, 1999, three officers were murdered near Suva Reka: Milos Stevanovic, Dragan Tomasevic and Goran Boskovic. Since the terrorists attacked with RPGs, four more officers were injured, as well as two Serb and two Albanian civilians. In this period, two Tanjug journalists and eight VJ soldiers were abducted by the terrorists.
Paragraph 28 of the Indictment says: Although scores of OSCE verifiers were deployed throughout Kosovo, hostilities continued. During this period, a number of killings of Kosovo Albanians were documented by the international verifiers and human rights organisations. In one such incident, on 15 January 1999, 45 unarmed Kosovo Albanians were murdered in the village of Racak in the municipality of Stimlje/Shtime.
COMMENT: The claim that scores of OSCE verifiers were deployed throughout Kosovo is false. There were hundreds of them. As we said before, the Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement stipulated the deployment of 2,000 OSCE verifiers in the province. By the end of 1998, 1,400 of them were deployed.
In accord with the agreement, the VJ (Pristina Corps) units were withdrawn to garrisons, and Serbian police were pulled back to their stations. Army and police Special Forces, deployed in Kosovo-Metohija for counter-terrorist operations (July-September 1998), pulled out of the region and returned to their bases. The Yugoslav side fully complied with its obligations from the Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement, and was prepared to peacefully resolve the crisis in this southern Serbian province.
Albanian terrorists, however, used the benevolence and good will of the OSCE mission leader, Ambassador William Walker, to reorganize, regroup and regenerate after the defeats they suffered between July and September 1998, and continue their terrorist activities.
Effects of both the Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement and NATOs promised surveillance of events in Kosovo-Metohija are best demonstrated by the following statistics: from the day the agreement was signed till the end of January 1999, over 500 terrorist attacks by the KLA were registered in Kosovo-Metohija; in the same period, 35 villages were ethnically cleansed of Serbs and Montenegrins. During just the first 11 days of 1999, the KLA launched 80 terrorist attacks against the VJ, police and civilians, killing six civilians. Four police officers were killed, and another ten injured.
Evidently encouraged by the withdrawal of the Special Forces and the VJ, and the arrival of Walkers Verifiers, starting October 13, 1998 the Albanian terrorists committed new, more widespread and brutal crimes. The number of crimes from this period is a significant part of the total for 1998, which amounted to 1,854. Casualties from these attacks were 284 dead and 556 wounded, including 115 dead and 399 wounded police officers.
Most horrendous of all the crimes the terrorists committed during Walkers mission was the murder of four Serb youths at café Panda in Pec, on December 14, 1998. This deed demonstrated that Walkers KVM, instead of reducing tensions between Serbs and Albanians, preventing terrorism and securing peace for all residents of Kosovo-Metohija, managed to stoke the fire of Albanian terrorism with the obvious intent of provoking NATO intervention.
Paragraph 28, among other things, alleges: a number of killings of Kosovo Albanians were documented by the international verifiers and human rights organisations. It would be nice if the Indictment mentioned on what basis the KVM documented a number of killings of Kosovo Albanians. The Verifiers gave absolute preference to staying in Albanian homes during their mandate. When hiring translators, the Verifiers were again biased in favor of the Albanians. Therefore, the information about a number of killings of Kosovo Albanians was received from the Albanians. Additionally, the Indictment lists not a single example or piece of evidence that Albanians were murdered during the KVMs stay in Kosovo-Metohija. The only incident cited is Racak..
Since the powerful Western propaganda turned the casualties suffered by the terrorist KLA in fighting the Serbian police in this Albanian village into a false proof of atrocities against innocent Kosovo Albanians, this case certainly deserves an exhaustive review.
The alleged massacre of innocent Albanian civilians in Racak is only the last in a long line of recognizable scenarios already seen in separatist armed rebellions throughout the former SFRY over the course of the past decade, from Slovenia to Kosovo-Metohija. Most of them were staged by American experts for covert operations (black ops). Because this publication is limited in space and scope, we cannot mention all of them. We will, however, indicate a few.
- Firing on the helicopter transporting the French President Miterrand on the approach to the Butmir Airport, Sarajevo, in June 1992;
- Moslem shelling of Sarajevo on August 17, 1992, timed to coincide with the visit of British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd.
- Detonation of explosives set in front of TV cameras at the Sarajevo cemetery on August 4, 1992;
- Murder of U.S. journalist and producer David Kaplan on August 13, 1992;
- Downing of the Italian G-222 cargo aircraft en route to Sarajevo on September 3, 1992 and an attack on a U.N. food convoy several days later;
- The attack on U.N. headquarters of General Morillon (as he called it, a deliberate attack);
- The murder of civilians in a breadline in Vase Miskina Street, Sarajevo (May 29, 1992), and the even more mysterious explosions that killed people at the Markale market in February 1994 and August 1995 in the same city.
The large number of casualties stands as an indictment of those who staged these crimes, deliberately exposing hundreds of men, women, children and the elderly to grave danger for the sake of maniacal political and propaganda goals.
Despite the vast experience of those who staged such bloody provocations, there is no perfect crime. Thus none of the above-mentioned scenarios were executed so perfectly as to be believed absolutely and forever. It is simply impossible to force all the conspirators, witnesses and observers to lie, say they saw things they did not see, keep silent about what they did see, or cover up expert reports forever. This was the fate of many reports about the cited terrorist provocations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and even Kosovo-Metohija. Both then and now, powerful and well-paid contacts of high-ranking U.S. officials managed to either cover up the accurate reports about these events, or provide false testimony expecting, perhaps, that all will be forgotten with the passage of time. Expert reports on the Markale massacre were thus hidden in the files of the UN Security Council, just as the Finnish forensic experts report on Racak was hidden in the vaults of ICTY. European Commissioner for foreign relations Chris Patten thinks that the Finnish autopsy report according to which the Serb forces did not commit a massacre in that Kosovo village, should not be made available to the public, in order to avoid direct interference in the ICTYs investigation!
So what really happened in Racak on January 15, 1999?
A routine police patrol was ambushed by the KLA terrorists on January 14, killing officer Svetislav Prsic. The following day, January 15, 1999, a reinforced unit of the Serbian police followed the terrorists trail and launched a successful operation that inflicted great casualties on the terrorists. The unit had previously infiltrated the empty KLA fortifications (capturing the terrorist guard and obtaining from him all the warning signals), thus establishing a great advantage over the terrorists. Firing from up close, from the well-prepared entrenchments, they prevented a group of some 40 armed terrorists from deploying into the trenches from a nearby farmhouse, where they had slept to avoid the cold night temperatures. However, the police could not remain in the village due to heavy fire from terrorist positions on the nearby hills. William Walker and Pristina district attorney Danica Maksimovic came to the village the following day. Walker immediately made a statement (January 16, 1999): From what I personally saw, I do not hesitate to describe the crime as a massacre, a crime against humanity, nor do I hesitate to accuse the government security forces of responsibility. This verdict, before any of the experts could investigate the scene, was followed by the decision of the U.S. government and NATO to attack the FRY.
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