America: A Beacon, Not a Policeman       America: a Beacon, not an Empire

NATO/Washington LIES about Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans

Conservatives For Peace .  Homepage  a.k.a. Americans Against World Empire

The First Casualty of War is alwasy the Truth      

Remembering the Biggest Lie  "In 2000, the International War Crimes Tribunal announced that the final count of bodies found in Kosovo's "mass graves" was 2,788. This included Serbs, Roma, and those killed by "our" allies, the Kosovo Liberation Front. It meant that the justification for the attack on Serbia ("225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59 are missing, presumed dead," the U.S. Ambassador-at-large David Scheffer had claimed) was an invention."

NATO in Kosovo -- Success or War Crime  by Jon Basil Utley --Hearings on war including various speakers on lies and distortions

Kosovo Talking Points for Talk Radio

A 2004 Analysis of Attack on Serbia  what's known now

How NATO Sold War --Jamie Shea describes his PR expertise

No Cleansing of Kosovans by Serbs before US Bombing  German Government Report.  This means U.S. attack triggered the Albanian expulsions.

Depleted Uranium Shells--toxicity in Europe--Cancer and Gulf War Syndrome--Fisk on DP residue killing in Iraq

Bush 2 on Kosovo---Wolfowitz got him to support bombing

Gen. McCaffrey's Lies about Iraq Slaughter after Cease Fire--

Latest Reports and Wrap-up of NATO & Washington Lies About Expulsions

Summary of NATO Lies  lots of information and links

Numbers were best available, officials say (See also London Daily Mail on "mindboggling scale of lies" about Kosovo)
By Steven Komarow, USA TODAY

Many of the figures used by the Clinton administration and NATO to describe the wartime plight of Albanians in Kosovo now appear greatly exaggerated as allied forces take control of the province.

"Yes, there were atrocities. But no, they don't measure up to the advance billing," says House intelligence chairman Porter Goss, R-Fla.

Instead of 100,000 ethnic Albanian men feared murdered by rampaging Serbs, officials now estimate that about 10,000 were killed.

600,000 ethnic Albanians were not "trapped within Kosovo itself lacking shelter, short of food, afraid to go home or buried in mass graves dug by their executioners" as President Clinton told a veterans group in May. Though thousands hid in Kosovo, they are healthy.

Kosovo's livestock, wheat and other crops are growing, not slaughtered wholesale or torched as widely reported.

Kenneth Bacon, spokesman for Defense Secretary William Cohen, says the best estimates available were used.

He says Cohen was right to compare Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic to a World War II Nazi. His forces burned houses and made 800,000 Albanians flee for their lives, he says.

And if other war crimes turn out less than expected, "I don't think you can say killing 100,000 is 10 times more morally repugnant than killing 10,000," Bacon says.

Then why exaggerate? "In order to justify this thing, they needed to tap that memory of the Holocaust," says Andrew Bacevich, professor of International Relations at Boston University.

Meanwhile, food and medical aid programs in Kosovo are taking a back seat while the United Nations rushes to assemble a police force.

The "missing men" -- young Albanians who were believed killed -- are home with no jobs. NATO forces are struggling to keep them from seeking retribution.

The changing numbers in the province raises questions. Goss, who opposed the bombing campaign, says the administration deliberately emphasized the most dire reports. "There is a credibility question with President Clinton and his administration on these matters," he says.

Mike Hammer, spokesman for the National Security Council, says there was no effort to mislead. The administration found that "as you go through a campaign like this, there is a great deal of uncertainty."

Even lower numbers justify action, he says. "We needed to move because of the campaign of ethnic cleansing that could not be allowed to stand."

Paul Risley of the U.N. tribunal that indicted Milosevic says the portrayal of Kosovo as a wasteland shows the lack of good information during the war. "This was a trip-up of the Western media and the Western governments."



The NATO bombing of Yugo slavia must stop, the moderate Kosovo Albanian political leader Ibrahim Rugova told journalists
in Pristina Wednesday_. Rugova was speaking at his home in the Kosovo capital after reports that he was in hiding and his
house had been destroyed.
[Agence France-Presse, March 31]

U.S. diplomatic and Kosovo Alban ian sources on Wednesday contradicted an earlier claim from NATO that two prominent
Koso vo Albanian leaders were summarily executed by the Serbs.
[MSNBC, March 31]

A football stadium in the Kosovo capital Pristina stood empty Wed nesday, one day after reports that Serbian forces were
herding ethnic Albanians there in an apparent prelude to a massacre. An AFP report er who visited the site said the stadium,
whose galleries can host some 25,000 spectators, was completely empty and there were no signs of any mass groupings.
[Agence France-Presse, March 31]

Mirvei, a tall Albanian woman clutch ing her four-month-old baby, looked bewildered when asked if Serbian troops had driven
her out. "There were no Serbs," she said. "We were frightened of the bombs." _ Red Cross officials say many of the most
recent arrivals [in Macedonia] intend to return to Kosovo as soon as the NATO bombardment stops.
[London Sunday Times, March 27]
Richard Poe
July 9, 1999

Press reports assure us that we have won a great victory in Kosovo. They say that Clinton’s air campaign has crippled Milosevic and compelled him to accept our terms. They say that mass graves of innocent civilians are turning up all over Kosovo -- somber testimony to Serb brutality and to the righteousness of our cause.
But how much of this is true? Sadly, we have no way of knowing. In Kosovo, as in other matters, American journalists have long since demonstrated their inability -- or perhaps unwillingness -- to distinguish between fact and White House spin.

Let’s start with the alleged success of the air war. During the fighting, NATO claimed to have wiped out 122 Yugoslav tanks and more than 220 troop transporters. But these figures now appear to have been grossly inflated.

"I do not believe these figures at all,” said a military expert in Paris who would not give his name, in a July 2 bulletin from Agence France-Presse. "If we had smashed as many tanks as NATO said, we would see them.”

In fact, very few damaged or destroyed vehicles have been found in Kosovo. The Serbs evidently fooled our airmen into attacking false tanks made from wooden frames covered with tarpaulins or plastic sheeting.

NATO commander Wesley Clark publicly admits that the Serbs "did skillfully deploy lots of decoys.” Yet the U.S. media have largely ignored this story.

How about Milosevic’s alleged surrender? Again, it appears to be fantasy. After two and a half months of fighting, Milosevic agreed to essentially the same terms that he had already accepted before the bombing started.

Back in March, Milosevic agreed to grant autonomy -- but not independence -- to Kosovo and to allow a partly Russian UN peacekeeping force to patrol the province. But NATO wanted more.

An appendix of the Rambouillet agreement required that NATO troops be granted "free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout FRY (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia).” NATO forces would be free to use any Yugoslav street, airport or port without charge, and would have the right to commandeer any land or facilities "as required for support, training and operations.”

In short, NATO was demanding a military occupation of Yugoslavia. Milosevic rejected this, along with NATO’s demand for international deliberations on Kosovar independence. So Clinton started bombing.

The peace agreement struck June 3 yields both points to Milosevic: No Kosovar independence, no NATO troops in Serbia.

"Well, so what?” defenders of the war will counter. Milosevic was committing genocide. We had to do something. Even if the war ended in a stalemate, our decision to fight was still morally sound.

But was it? German government investigators have found no evidence of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo before the onset of NATO bombing.

"Even in Kosovo an explicit political persecution linked to Albanian ethnicity is not verifiable...” said one report, quoted in the April 24, 1999 issue of the German newspaper Junge Welt. The report concluded that Serb security forces were targeting KLA guerrillas and collaborators but apparently not innocent civilians.

What about the 100,000 - 500,000 Kosovar men allegedly missing and feared killed? USA Today reported on July 1 that U.S. officials have now lowered that figure to 10,000. Further reductions seem likely.

Then there are the mass graves. It was the discovery of one such grave in January that triggered NATO intervention. When 45 bodies were found near the town of Racak, a U.S. media blitz accused the Serbs of slaughtering innocent civilians.

NATO commander Wesley Clark personally confronted Milosevic with photos of the victims. "This was not a massacre,” Milosevic cried. "This was staged.”

The New York Times reported this exchange on April 18, 1999, three months after it occurred, but unfortunately failed to explain to readers that Milosevic was probably telling the truth.

By the time that article was written, the Los Angeles Times, Le Monde, Die Welt, the BBC, and others had already raised doubts about the alleged massacre. Forensic investigators had concluded that the bodies were probably those of KLA guerrillas killed in action. The bodies appear to have been dressed in civilian clothes, then shot additional times and cut with knives several hours after death, in order to simulate a brutal massacre.

In view of the Racak hoax, it would seem wise to reserve judgment about the flood of reports now pouring out of Kosovo concerning mass graves. Many atrocities have undoubtedly occurred, on both sides. But there is little evidence that Serbia has behaved more villainously than its adversary, the KLA.

Since 1993, Clinton has presided over the systematic dismemberment of Yugoslavia, piece by piece. He has armed and supported one rebel leader after another, including Franjo Tudjman, the accused war criminal whose Croatian forces "ethnically cleansed” 300,000 Serbs from Krajina in 1995.

Clearly, there is a purpose behind Clinton’s policy, and just as clearly it has nothing to do with defending human rights. But what that purpose is we are not being told. Until we learn to question our leaders and probe their motivations, we can only look forward to more and deadlier foreign adventures in the future. __________________________________________________________________

Richard Poe is a freelance journalist and a New York Times best-selling author. His latest book is Black Spark, White Fire (Prima, 1998).


Some cracks in the media propaganda front: reports of grossly exaggerated atrocity stories in Kosovo
By Barry Grey
6 July 1999
Back to screen version

In recent days scattered reports have emerged in the American media of the inflated and misleading character of claims by US officials of Serb atrocities against the Kosovan Albanians. On June 28 the Detroit Free Press carried an article by foreign correspondent Lori Montgomery, datelined Prizren, which bore the headline, “Rapes not a policy in Kosovo: Assaults were individual acts by Serbs, evidence indicates.”

The article stated: “Western officials have accused Serb soldiers of raping ethnic Albanian women as a tool of war. Although numerous credible accounts detail attacks by Serb soldiers, it now appears that rape was rarely systematic and that allegations of ‘rape camps' and ‘rape hotels' will never be proved...

“Along Kosovo's Albanian border, where US officials alleged in April that Serb soldiers were raping and killing women at an army base near the southwestern town of Djakovica and in a hotel in the western city of Pec, few signs of sexual abuse could be found.”

Three days later USA Today carried the front-page headline, “Kosovo's plight exaggerated.” The article began: “Many of the figures used by the Clinton administration and NATO to describe the wartime plight of Albanians in Kosovo now appear greatly exaggerated as allied forces take control of the province.” It cited House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss, a Republican critic of the US-NATO war, who said, “Yes, there were atrocities. But no, they don't measure up to the advance billing.”

The article went on to note that US claims of up to 100,000 murdered ethnic Albanians have been replaced by official estimates of 10,000. It debunked a statement made by Clinton to a veterans group in May that 600,000 ethnic Albanians were “trapped within Kosovo itself, lacking shelter, short of food, afraid to go home or buried in mass graves dug by their executioners,” noting that thousands of Kosovars did indeed go into hiding during the war, but there is no evidence they were starving or without shelter. The article further said Kosovo's livestock, wheat and other crops were not destroyed by Serb forces, as had been widely reported.

That evening NBC Nightly News carried a segment by foreign correspondent Andrea Mitchell on the same theme. Mitchell characterized the war-time reports of Kosovan deaths as a “gross exaggeration” and said officials now estimate the civilian death toll in Kosovo since the onset of NATO bombing last March 24 to be between 3,000 and 6,000.

These reports have been simply ignored by the “newspapers of record”—the New York Times and the Washington Post—which enthusiastically backed the bombing of Yugoslavia and retailed the government claims of mass murder, rape and genocide that were used to justify the war and manipulate public opinion.

Significantly, none of the American officials who responded to the USA Today and NBC News defended the veracity of their earlier claims. Instead, they passed off the flagrant inaccuracies as honest and unavoidable mistakes. State Department official James Foley told NBC News that the government had no choice but to base itself on refugee accounts. Mike Hammer, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told USA Today there was no effort to mislead. The Clinton administration found that “as you go through a campaign like this, there is a great deal of uncertainty.”

There was, of course, nothing “uncertain” about the reports of mass killing and rape given out by President Clinton, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Secretary of Defense William Cohen and a host of lesser officials. These were presented to the American people and international public opinion as facts, not speculation.

Kenneth Bacon, spokesman for Defense Secretary Cohen, told USA Today that the “best estimates available” had been used. He defended the comparisons between Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Hitler, adding, “I don't think you can say killing 100,000 is 10 times more morally repugnant that killing 10,000.”

This cynical bit of moralizing is typical of the official campaign waged in support of the war. From the outset those prosecuting the bombing sought to intimidate and stifle opposition by depicting critics of NATO as defenders of Milosevic and “ethnic cleansing.” But Bacon's response begs the question: if the issue is purely one of abstract morality, and the scale of atrocities is not important, why the systematic resort to exaggeration and falsification?

One of those interviewed on the NBC news segment, former Democratic Congressman Lee Hamilton, while no less cynical, was a bit more forthright. He explained there was always a tendency in war to demonize the enemy so as to whip public opinion into line.

Clinton's own statements during and after the war make clear that what is involved in the official presentation of events in Kosovo is not “making the best estimates available,” but using the vast resources of the government and a pliant media to mislead the public into thinking Serb atrocities were on such a order—reaching the level of genocide—as to justify the aerial destruction of power plants, oil refineries, bridges, water supplies, schools, hospitals and even television headquarters, and the killing of thousands of civilians.

Within days of the onset of NATO bombing, Clinton described the ensuing Serb attack as an attempt to wipe out the Kosovan Albanian population. In a radio address from the Oval Office on April 3 he said the “cold clear goal” of Milosovic was to “keep Kosovo's land while ridding it of its people.” Twelve days later he told the American Society of Newspaper Editors that Milosovic was “determined to crush all resistance to his rule even if it means turning Kosovo into a lifeless wasteland.”

On May 5, in a speech at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany, he added to the list of Serb crimes the setting up of concentration camps, something that never occurred. In a Memorial Day address on May 31 he compared Milosevic to Hitler, saying his government “like that of Nazi Germany rose to power in part by getting people to look down on people of a given race and ethnicity, and to believe they had... no right to live.” On June 11, on the eve of the deployment of NATO troops into Kosovo, Clinton described the actions of the Serbs as “an attempt to erase the very presence of a people from their land, and to get rid of them dead or alive.”

Since the withdrawal of Serb forces, Clinton's rhetoric has become, if anything, more unrestrained. Even as NATO was quietly lowering its estimates of ethnic Albanian deaths, Clinton repeatedly said the evidence of death and destruction in Kosovo was “even worse than we imagined.” In a June 20 interview on Russian television he said, “We were only trying to reverse ethnic cleansing and genocide.” Two days later, in a speech to KFOR troops in Macedonia, he spoke of “young girls [being] raped en masse.”

In his White House press conference of June 25, Clinton all but declared that the continued rule of Milosevic would signify the collective guilt of the Serb people in the atrocities carried out against the Kosovan Albanians. Justifying his opposition to Western aid for the reconstruction of Serbia, he said, “And then they [the Serbs] are going to have to decide whether they support his leadership or not; whether they think it's OK that all those tens of thousands of people were killed and all those hundreds of thousands of people were run out of their homes and all those little girls were raped and all those little boys murdered.” (Emphasis added)

The function of such exaggerated and often unsubstantiated atrocity claims, relentlessly repeated and reinforced by the most sophisticated, modern techniques of media manipulation, is to overwhelm the critical faculties of the public. The aim is not so much to convince as to benumb and bully, and thereby obtain, if not active support, at least passive acquiescence.

However the falsification is not simply a matter of exaggerated atrocity stories and statistics. There were, after all, terrible crimes committed against innocent Kosovars, and on a large scale. At least as decisive in the US war propaganda is the removal of the events in Kosovo from their real context, and the erection of a completely self-serving and distorted version of recent Yugoslav history. Only on such a basis could the violent and tragic events in Kosovo be attributed to the evil motives and machinations of one man, the new Hitler, Slobodan Milosevic, and the role of the United States and the other imperialist powers be whitewashed.

According to Clinton and his NATO allies, all of the tragedy and turmoil of the past decade in the former Yugoslavia are the result of Milosevic's grand design to forge a Greater Serbia at the expense, even the destruction, of the Croats, Bosnian Muslims and Kosovo Albanians. That Milosevic is a Serb nationalist, and that Greater Serbian chauvinism is a reactionary political force, are truisms. This, however, is only one part of the picture.

What is left out is the disruptive and destructive role played by US-dominated financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund, which imposed austerity and capitalist market policies on Yugoslavia throughout the 1980s, driving up unemployment and poverty and undermining the economic foundations of the federated Yugoslav state. These policies encouraged the growth of nationalist tendencies among all ethnic groups.

In 1991 and 1992 the European powers and the US supported the secession of three Yugoslav republics—Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia—without allowing any expression of the will of the Yugoslav people as a whole, or any negotiations with Belgrade to secure the rights of large Serb minorities in Croatia and Bosnia. These suddenly found themselves stripped of their constitutional guarantees and ruled by hostile nationalist regimes. As many had predicted, the inevitable result was an eruption of civil war.

The Croatian nationalism of Tudjman, Muslim nationalism of Izetbegovic and Albanian nationalism of the Kosovo Liberation Army are no less intolerant and reactionary than the politics of Milosevic. In the successive civil wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo, all sides have resorted to methods of “ethnic cleansing,” not simply the Serbs.

What set Milosevic up for demonization and destruction, however, was the conclusion reached by the United States that Serb nationalism cut across its strategic interests in the Balkans. Thus Washington came to support, financially, politically and militarily, the nationalist cliques in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo as instruments of its policy directed against Serbia. In Kosovo this first took the form of covert CIA support for the KLA, which began several years ago to wage an armed struggle for the secession of the province from Serbia.

This is the real context within which the US decided to go to war. The US-NATO bombing, on top of the ongoing struggle between Belgrade and the KLA, created the conditions for the eruption on a mass scale of Serb violence against Albanians, and the reprisals by Albanians against Serbs which have followed the withdrawal of Yugoslav forces from Kosovo.


    The International Criminal Tribunal investigating Serbian crimes is moving away from the body business. Why the need for bodies when we have "eyewitnesses?"
That approach certainly worked for a very famous tribunal. Some of the "eyewitnesses" are not performing well, however. Here is a significant passage from the following article:

As an Albanian man said, whose daughter had admitted lying to the American TV channel CBC when she claimed that her sister had been killed by the Serbs: 'Against the Serbs, you had to fight in every way, even with propaganda like this' - a thought with which Alastair Campbell is unlikely to disagree. The story about Rajmonda avenging the death of her sister by indiscriminately killing Serbs had been beamed around the world at the height of the conflict. As a friend of the family said, 'If this small lie ... made some kind of impact on what Western countries did in Kosovo, then it's worth it.' Of the impact such stories had, there can certainly be no doubt whatever; their veracity, however, is a different matter.

    I doubt whether the justification of lying for the "good cause" will be used by the International Criminal Tribunal and the Establishment media. But it is true that the "good cause" of multiethnic democracy in Kosovo has triumphed. I mean you now have the ethnic Albanians living among the dead bodies of Serbs and Gypsies. And in some places in the US, the dead are allowed to vote.
                                                    Steve Sniegoski
Foreign Affairs Opinion (Published)
Source: Spectator (UK)
Published: Week of 25 October 1999 Author: John Laughland
Posted on 10/28/1999 15:00:04 PDT by Gael
Contrary to propaganda, mass graves in Kosovo are a myth, says John Laughland

IT was a lonely job, being Prime Minister, Tony Blair told the Labour party conference. He had sleepless nights. Sometimes, he said, there were 'life and death decisions to take'; which delicate hint is the closest he has so far come to taking the credit for having fought the war against Yugoslavia - and no wonder. He must realise that Kosovo has not proved to be his Falklands. This is not least because, as the province continues to languish in corruption and chaos, it is now obvious that Mr Blair's crude Manichaeism during the war was very wide of the mark. But maybe his insomnia is also connected with the fact that the extravagant claims then made for Serb evil are now proving difficult to substantiate.

On 16 May, the US defence secretary William Cohen said that Yugoslav army forces had killed up to 100,000 Albanian men of military age. This number was declared missing, the refugees having all claimed that their menfolk had been separated from them as they fled Kosovo. Tony Blair himself implied that the numbers might be even higher when he wrote in the Times on 5 June, 'We must be ready for what we know will be clear evidence of ... as yet unknown numbers of people missing, tortured and dead.' On 17 June, the then minister of state in the Foreign Office, Geoff Hoon, announced that some 10,000 people had been killed in more than 100 massacres but added, 'The final toll may be much worse.'

As journalists followed Nato troops into the province, the newspapers were strewn with maps showing scores of mass graves. There was particular excitement when 'the biggest mass grave ever' was announced to have been discovered in Ljubenic. It was said to contain 350 bodies, a figure which was blazed across the world's media. Reporting was markedly less energetic however, when the true figure turned on to be only seven. Billed as the 'biggest mass grave in Kosovo', Ljubenic was in fact not a mass grave at all. Similarly, on 11 October, a spokesman for the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague announced that no bodies or bones had been found in the mines at Trepca in northern Kosovo: rumours had been circulating in Kosovo that Serbian forces had dumped the bodies of as many as 700 Kosovars into its shafts.

Various experts have confirmed that the more extravagant claims were fantasy. In August, Pdrez Pujol, a Spanish forensic expert, told El Pais, 'I have been reading the data from the UN. They began with 44,000 deaths. Then they lowered it to 22,000. And now they're going with 11,000. I look forward to seeing what the final count will really be.' The chief Spanish inspector, Juan Lopez Palafox, added, 'They told us that we should prepare ourselves to perform more than 2,000 autopsies. The result is very different. We only found 187 cadavers and now we are going to return [to Spain].' Later the same month, a German doctor who had spent the war in the Stenkovac refugee camp in Macedonia cast light on the allegation that all the men of military age in Kosovo had been murdered. He told Die Welt, 'It was very surprising that a large number of journalists either could not or would not perceive the majority of the people in the refugee camps were men of military age. It was always represented as if there were no men in the camps at all. Even when the journalists were told this they refused to take account of it.'

So what is the final body count? A senior intelligence source in Croatia insists that, with 20 forensic teams active in Kosovo throughout the summer - some 500 professional criminologists altogether - the total number of bodies exhumed in Kosovo to date is 670. Yet, as a matter of policy, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia refuses to play the numbers game.

One might consider the Tribunal's coyness justified, since forensic investigations and autopsies are serious matters which take time. But such judicial circumspection was notoriously thrown to the wind on 22 May 1999 when the Tribunal issued its highly politically charged indictment of Slobodan Milosevic and other Yugoslav leaders at the height of Nato's war. That indictment listed the names of hundreds of Albanians allegedly murdered by Serbs: it is not clear why the Tribunal's rules of evidence are different from what they were five months ago.

Paul Risley, the spokesman for the Tribunal's prosecutor, vehemently denies a recent report by a Texas-based think-tank, Stratfor, that the number of bodies discovered to date is in the hundreds. Yet he confirms all the other data, which include the revelation that a whole string of sites where atrocities were allegedly committed have revealed no bodies at all. Risley also concedes that the number of 'mass graves' - i.e. single trenches into which numerous bodies have been thrown - is 'not very many'. However, while refusing to give a body count, he insists that the Tribunal's overall findings are consistent with the figure of 10,000 given by Geoff Hoon in June and that the autopsies indicate execution.

The main problem is that the Tribunal cannot be considered impartial. It has invested too much of its own credibility as an institution in the indictment of the Yugoslav leaders, and its efforts are overwhelmingly devoted to substantiating that charge. Meanwhile, the ethnic cleansing and racial murder of Kosovo Serbs and gypsies by Albanians has been quietly proceeding under its very nose. Only two weeks ago, a Bulgarian UN official was mistaken for a Serb in Pristina and promptly beaten and murdered by Albanians. Despite reassurances given at the time of the massacre of 14 Serbs near Lipljan in July, and despite the fact that Kosovan towns are littered with death notices of Serb civilians killed during the war and in the KLA insurrection which preceded it, no indictment of the KLA leaders by the Tribunal has been forthcoming. It is even less likely that it will bring war-crime charges against Nato itself, even though several groups have called for Nato to be prosecuted. It is difficult to see how the Tribunal could confidently affirm in May, from the safety of its offices in The Hague, that Serb leaders were personally teleguiding massacres, while it has been unable to investigate the KLA's role in murdering Serbs and gypsies after the war at a time when Tribunal investigators were actually physically present in Kosovo itself.

Suspicion must therefore remain. As an Albanian man said, whose daughter had admitted lying to the American TV channel CBC when she claimed that her sister had been killed by the Serbs: 'Against the Serbs, you had to fight in every way, even with propaganda like this' - a thought with which Alastair Campbell is unlikely to disagree. The story about Rajmonda avenging the death of her sister by indiscriminately killing Serbs had been beamed around the world at the height of the conflict. As a friend of the family said, 'If this small lie ... made some kind of impact on what Western countries did in Kosovo, then it's worth it.' Of the impact such stories had, there can certainly be no doubt whatever; their veracity, however, is a different matter.

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