Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Former Member of NATO Parliamentary Assembly Testifies That NATO Deliberately Targeted Civilians During Kosovo War
Written by: Andy Wilcoxson
The trial of Slobodan Milosevic continued on Wednesday with the conclusion of former RSK foreign minister Slobodan Jarcevic’s testimony.
Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff cross-examined Jarcevic on behalf of the prosecution on Tuesday.
During the witness’s re-examination, Jarcevic testified that Milosevic had nothing to do with the appointment or dismissal of Krajina-Serb officials. He said that officials were either elected directly by the people or appointed by the RSK assembly. He underlined that Belgrade never intervened in such matters.
Jarcevic confirmed that the Croatian authorities staged a fake attack on the Zagreb-Lipovac highway in order to give themselves a pretext to launch Operation Flash and carry out the ethnic cleansing of the Serbian population in Western Slavonia.
This fact first emerged during the testimony of Franjo Tudjman’s former cabinet chief Hrvoje Sarinic. Sarinic, while testifying as a prosecution witness at the Milosevic trial on January 22, 2004, admitted that on April 30, 1995 Tudjman approved a plan to stage a fake terrorist attack on the highway so that Croatia would have an excuse to launch Operation Flash.
This fact is important because it refutes testimony given by MilanBabic, which the prosecution relied on quite heavily for Jarcevic’s cross-examination. Babic testified that Milosevic created “parallel structures” within the RSK that were designed to provoke incidents that would precipitate Croatian war actions.
The logical question that arises is this: why did Croatia need to go out of its way to carry out a fake terrorist attack to justify Operation Flash if Milosevic was supposed to be using parallel structures to provoke real incidents? Seen through this prism, Babic’s claims just don’t add up.
Jarcevic called Babic’s claims “sheer nonsense” more than once during his testimony. During the cross-examination the prosecution made a big deal out of the fact that Serbia arrested and returned RSK soldiers that deserted to Serbia. For his part, Jarcevic confirmed that these soldiers were citizens of the RSK, and not citizens of Serbia.
In spite of the prosecution’s rhetoric, this situation is no different than the Canadian authorities returning American deserters to the U.S. Government. Just because the Canadian government returns American
deserters it does not mean that the Canadians are secretly controlling U.S. troops in the war in Iraq.
Following the conclusion of Jarcevic’s testimony, Alice Mahon took the witness stand. Ms. Mahon served as an MP in the British Parliament throughout the Balkan wars of the 1990s. She is member of Tony Blair’s Labour Party, and represented Halifax constituency. She also served as a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly representing Great Britain from 1992 until 2005.
As a former member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Ms. Mahon testified that the NATO air war against Yugoslavia was an illegal aggression. She said that it constituted a violation of the NATO Charter as well as a violation of the UN Charter.
She accused NATO of deliberately targeting civilians during the offensive. She based this conclusion on the civilian destruction she directly eye-witnessed in Yugoslavia.
She said that NATO was openly planning to attack Yugoslavia in mid-1998. She said that the plan to attack Yugoslavia was being widely and openly discussed inside of NATO at that time. It is worth noting that the earliest crime that Milosevic is indicted for in Kosovo is the alleged “massacre” at Racak in mid-January 1999. Therefore, the plan to attack Yugoslavia existed *BEFORE* the pretext that was offered to the public by NATO officials – namely that thebombing was NATO’s reaction to Serb war crimes.
Ms. Mahon testified that the bombing did absolutely nothing to help Kosovo’s civilian population. She traveled to Macedonia and spoke to OSCE/KVM observers only three weeks before the war and they told her that the situation was getting better and that there was no reason for NATO to attack.
She testified that the NATO bombing caused a mass-exodus of refugees to flee from Kosovo. She confirmed that both Serb and Albanian refugees fled from the bombing. The witness said that the NATO bombing – not alleged Serbian crimes — was the main reason why refugees fled Kosovo.
She cited KLA persecution as another reason why people fled Kosovo. She said that she had spoken to Kosovo-Albanian refugees who had fled to Belgrade in order to escape the KLA. She also said that a large number of Albanians live in Halifax (where she was an MP), and on one occasion an Albanian woman had a nervous breakdown in her office because the KLA was threatening her family in Kosovo.
The witness said that the Kosovo war transformed NATO from a defensive organization into an offensive organization. She testified that NATO was looking for an excuse to attack and that it created its excuse presenting an unreasonable ultimatum to Yugoslavia at Rambouillet.
The ultimatum that NATO gave Yugoslavia at Rambouillet was toeither accept a wholesale NATO occupation, or be bombed. Obviously, Yugoslavia couldn’t accept a wholesale occupation so NATO attacked.
Ms. Mahon said that the contents of the so-called “Rambouillet Agreement” were concealed from British MPs and NATO parliamentarians until April 1999 – one month after the bombing began.
She testified that she had received information that the CIA had infiltrated the OSCE/KVM, and that William Walker had staged the so-called “Racak massacre.”
She said that, prior to his role as KVM chief in Kosovo, Walker supported central-American “Contra” terrorists during the 1980s, and that he helped to cover-up the massacre of civilians in El Salvador.
Ms. Mahon was also critical of the Hague Tribunal. She said that she had presented several volumes of evidence detailing Croatian crimes against Serbs to Carla del Ponte, and that the OTP never reacted. She also reported speaking to a British policeman who had been hired to arrest ICTY indictees in Bosnia, she said that when she spoke to the officer he told her that he was only interested in arresting Serbs.
Ms. Mahon briefly commented on the role that the Western media played. She said that Western media systematically demonized the Serbs. She said that crimes allegedly perpetrated by Serbs received excessive media coverage, while crimes committed against Serbs received almost no coverage.
As for Milosevic’s role, she said that he tried to keep Yugoslavia together. She testified that she had not always held this view, but that she arrived at this conclusion by watching his trial in The Hague.
Mr. Nice briefly cross-examined her. The prosecutor insulted her and accused her of being biased, a charge which she strongly denied. She pointed out that she had been critical of Milosevic and the Serbian side on a number of occasions and that if Mr. Nice had read her parliamentary speeches then he would have known that.
The trial will resume on Tuesday, March 14th with the testimony of former Montenegrin president Momir Bulatovic.