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Stretch The Truth -Spin The War By Rick Stengel
MSNBC Contributor www.msnbc.com 4-20-99
NEW YORK - Truth, as the old saying goes, is the first casualty of war. It is also the lifeblood of democracy. An untruth, even in time of war, is a far more dangerous fatality in a democracy than in a dictatorship. Democracy is fueled by openness and candor; dictatorships are founded on lies. Truth is always a casualty in totalitarian states; it ought never be a casualty in a democracy, even in time of war. Especially in time of war.
* When Gen. Wesley Clark declared last week that the bombing of Kosovar civilians on a road north of the town of Djakovica was the work of Serbians who were trying to blame it on NATO, it was a statement unworthy of a democratic alliance. It was a statement very nearly the equivalent of the Orwellian untruths of Slobodan Milosovic.
* When Jamie Shea, NATO,s glib spokesman, admitted that one of the several mistaken NATO attacks on civilians is 'the one we own up to' and that the deaths were the result of 'collateral damage,' it was a statement unworthy of a democracy.
* When NATO broadcast an interview with an American pilot and allowed journalists to assume that he was the pilot that mistakenly bombed the convoy, it was a deception that was almost the equal of Milosovic's reign of lies.
NATO and the U.S. Defense Department have subsequently tried to rectify their errors, but the stories offered a frightening insight into the accuracy of the news we are getting. We have seen plenty of stories about the fact that Serbians are the victims of 'black propaganda,' that they are not told of the atrocities that their leaders are committing in their name, that they do not know what is going on in their own nation. While undoubtedly true, those stories are part of our own peculiar propaganda, propaganda that is designed to generate support for the war and animosity for the Serbs.
CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED
The NATO press operation seems to have a different level of candor than Americans are used to. The fidelity of the NATO spokespeople is to military secrecy, not democratic openness.
The origin of propaganda in this century began with World War I, when British and American posters depicting atrocities by the bloodthirsty 'Hun' were designed to sway mass opinion against Germany. They did so. Such public relations are necessary in a democracy. For in a democracy, leaders rule - or make war - with the consent of the governed. They must implicitly obtain our consent before sending our boys into battle. Consent, these days, is measured by opinion polls. For the government to obtain a favorable poll number, we must be persuaded that the government is doing what is right, just, and the American way.
That is why our opponents are always demonized and made into the moral equivalents of the worst fiend we know, Adolf Hitler. That is how American public opinion is mobilized. Saddam Hussein was virtually the anti-Christ himself. Now Slobodan Milosovic is the new great Satan. If our opponents are always evil, then we must always be on the side of the angels.
A democracy should never fight lies with lies. The other side of the propaganda equation is the sanctification of the refugees. They are pictured on television and in magazine in soft-focus images, with the camera dwelling on the most comely young women, the saddest old men, and the most fetching children. These pictures have mobilized public opinion in favor of military action and they even persuaded that great humanitarian Michael Jackson into writing a song for the refugees because, as he said, he could not watch them on television without crying.
I don't mean to suggest that Milosovic is a good guy. Or that he isn't responsible for a great calamity, or that he is not what many insist on calling a war criminal. Or that the refugees are anything other than innocent victims. I don't wish to suggest there is a moral equivalency between the Serbs and ourselves. But a democracy has higher standards.
President Clinton says we are fighting for democracy in Kosovo. We must show our antagonists how democracy works. We must live up to the standards we are seeking to impose. Democracy means openness. A totalitarian leader uses any means to persuade, any means to retain power. In order for us to function as a democracy, we must make informed decisions. And that information must be truthful, otherwise our consent is being obtained by chicanery. There's nothing democratic about that.
TRUTH OR LIES
Spinning a war should be a war crime. The NATO press operation seems to have a different level of candor than Americans are used to. The fidelity of the NATO spokespeople is to military secrecy, not democratic openness. That is unfortunate. I saw Christiane Amanpour the other night on CNN saying that everyone was 'spinning' this story. Spinning is just a euphemism for lying, a euphemism that tries to make the lying seem not as egregious.
Spinning a war should be a war crime. One of the reasons Americans turned against the war in Vietnam was because they realized they had been lied to about it from the very beginning. Perhaps if the government had been more honest, public opinion would have been different. A democracy should never fight lies with lies.
Rick Stengel is senior editor at Time magazine and a regular contributor to MSNBC on the Internet.
-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), April 21, 1999
Plotting The War Against Serbia - An Insider's Revelation
The original text, posted in German, can be found at the PDS site: http://www2.pds-online.de/bt/themen/99041303.htm
PLOTTING THE WAR AGAINST SERBIA: AN INSIDER'S STORY
1. Personal Preliminary Remarks
2. About the current lies told by [Chancellor] Schroeder, [Defense Minister] Scharping, and [Foreign Minister] Fischer
3. CIA covert action aimed at dismembering Yugoslavia
Personal Preliminary Remarks:
This text I am giving to a Catholic priest, who is a member of the Order for Peace [Ordensleute f|r den Frieden] here in Germany. I am doing so while maintaining confessional confidentiality, and divulging no information as to my identity. He will transmit this text on my behalf to those who need to know the truth.
I hold a high-security post in the government apparatus in Bonn, and for reasons of conscience can no longer remain silent. The facts that I am about to divulge are, for the better informed, examinable and verifiable.
Both the entire NATO propaganda staff as well as the Infernal Trio, Schroeder, Scharping and Fischer, here in Germany are unabashedly lying to the public with nearly every "fact" they present about the Balkans War, while a willing media pack is keenly spreading these lies, unverified, as gospel truth.
About the current situation:
The Federal Government knows the true reasons why the people are fleeing and is cynically playing with the calculated misery of the refugees in the border regions of Kosovo, in order to maintain an image comparable to WW II deportations and "ethnic cleansing".
Neither the military intelligence arm of the Bundeswehr nor that of the NATO have at their disposal photographic evidence, intelligence knowledge, indications and proof leading to the conclusion that there is systematic expulsion or deportation of refugees by the Yugoslav special forces, army or police. According to internal acknowledgement of the defense ministry the reasons for flight are more or less equally distributed:
(1) Excess on the part of Yugoslav soldiers and police force, often triggered in part by KLA attacks carried out under cover of Kosovo- Albanian civilians. Information is on hand that Yugoslav soldiers caught looting are summarily court-martialed;
(2) The results of the NATO bombing, such as the lack of potable water in nearly all cities of Kosovo and general devastation;
(3)Understandable fear of getting caught in the crossfire between the KLA, the Yugoslav military, and NATO attacks;
(4) Constant spreading of panic and horror stories in the broadcasts of dozens of small KLA, NATO or Albanian shortwave radio stations located in the mountains, alongside the propaganda broadcasts of the KLA over Radio Tirana;
(5) Pillaging bands of the Albanian mafia, who with their weapons stolen during the Albanian civil war, extort money, search abandoned houses for anything of value and then burn the houses down to create political effect;
(6) KLA irregular troops, who have declared a "general mobilization" and are forcing every available man into their military service. Those objecting are submitted to grave physical abuse and released only upon paying a ransom, and having sworn under threat of vendetta, not to tell the truth but to tell family and the media that they had been mishandled by Serbs.
(7) The announcement by the KLA that NATO will inevitably have to carry out a ground attack and that this attack is imminent.
Some sectors of NATO welcome the mass exodus of refugees. The military in Germany favorably greeted the Pentagon's April 5,  commentary to the effect that when all had fled, Kosovo could be carpet bombed with no restraint.
The German government knows that there are no concentration camps, that no houses where marked with "S" by Serbs. This, as well as the news that people are not being detained in a stadium in Pristina, was reported by representatives of the catholic church in Pristina in a direct telephone conversation with employees of the German government. Still Scharping is spreading these lies.
The German government is also aware that on the borders American and European private media are offering up to US $200,000 for video footage of massacres - real or posed.
NATO and the German army are logistically supporting the KLA. Food, uniforms and instructors are furnished mainly by the Bundeswehr as well as the USA. All KLA commanders are in constant radio contact with NATO.
NATO ground forces are already operating doing reconnaissance inside Kosovo. They are German and US units whose task is to detect and give the coordinates of ground targets. Furthermore, NATO officers are functioning as liaison commandos for the KLA. The contacts that were necessary for this mission were established by US and German officers, in violation of their mission as OSCE observers, preceding NATO-attacks. Here the German parliament is being as much taken for a fool as the general public.
With the deployment of German Tornado aircraft, our Defense Minister has chosen to premeditatedly violate the Geneva Convention and other international laws of warfare. This applies to the targeting and destruction of the military hospital in Belgrade, as well as the attacks carried out against the Danube bridges and among other things, the disturbance/interruption of the continuation of international traffic on the Danube between Regensburg and the Black Sea, which also Germany as a bordering state to the Danube has guaranteed under international law to protect.
The Chancellor and Foreign Minister knew from the outset that no Yugoslav government could ever sign the occupation statute, as it appeared in articles 6, 8 and 10 of Annex B of the Rambouillet Treaty. Both understood clearly that this would mean the end of Yugoslavia as a sovereign state. War was therefore inevitable.
Experts of the Justice Ministry poked fun at these passages, these clauses NATO would give NATO the rights of a medieval robber-knight throughout the whole of Yugoslavia. Furthermore, according to Filippo di Robilant, the Italian legal advisor at Rambouillet to Rugova, the moderate Kosovo-Albanian, Rugova only signed after he was given assurance by Robin Cook, that NATO would attack exclusively military targets and that measures would be taken to safeguard the civilian population in the whole of Yugoslavia.
Code named "Roots" - a covert action under which the CIA prepared the war - the objective is the destruction of Yugoslavia though loss of Kosovo, Montenegro and Vojvodina.
Under the "Roots" operations, the USA has since the beginning of the first term of Clinton's Administration been working - in close collaboration with Germany - on this covert action of the CIA and the DIA, and supported by the German secret service. The objective of "Roots" is the military and ethnic destabilization of Yugoslavia, the last bastion of resistance in the Balkans.
The objective of "Roots'" is the dissociation of Kosovo as the principal source of raw materials for Yugoslavia though a comprehensive autonomy, by Albanian annexation or total independence; the secession of Montenegro, its the only remaining access to the Adriatic, and the dislocation of Vojvodina the "bread basket," and another source of raw materials for Yugoslavia leading to the total collapse of Yugoslavia as a viable, industrial state.
Behind this action is Germany's and the USA's fear that Yugoslavia will ally itself with Russia and other former Soviet states once Yeltsin is replaced by communist and nationalist forces in the near future. [ ... ]
-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), April 22, 1999.
Yeltsin - Russia Will Not Allow West To Defeat Milosevic And Control Yugoslavia
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin warned the West on Monday he would not allow it to defeat President Slobodan Milosevic and establish control over Yugoslavia.
Yeltsin, speaking hours before a scheduled telephone conversation with U.S. President Bill Clinton, said Moscow could not ditch Milosevic whom the West has accused of war crimes. "Bill Clinton hopes that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic will capitulate, give up the whole of Yugoslavia. We will not allow this. This is a strategic place," Itar-Tass news agency quoted Yeltsin as saying.
Clinton had asked for the telephone call to seek a solution to the crisis in Yugoslavia, which NATO has been bombing for nearly four weeks to end what it calls Belgrade's attempt to empty the southern Serbian province of Kosovo of its ethnic Albanian majority.
The 19-nation alliance, which celebrates its 50th anniversary with a Washington summit on Friday, called off most of its air raids overnight because of bad weather.
Alliance military briefers were expected on Monday to make public video recordings they hope will clarify a NATO strike against a convoy in Kosovo in which civilians may have died.
A NATO source said a briefing had been prepared by Brigadier General Daniel P. Leaf of the 314th Fighter Wing at Aviano, Italy and was expected to be presented at the daily briefing on air operations at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Serbian media allege that more than 80 people were killed in a deliberate "atrocity" by NATO pilots attacking convoys in south-central Kosovo last Wednesday.
Kosovo Albanian guerrillas pleaded on Monday for NATO air strikes to save thousands of cold and hungry refugees, trapped in the mountains of central Kosovo, from Serbian shelling. A Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) official said some 40,000 refugees sheltering in the Berisha mountains had come under heavy fire since Sunday.
The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Monday Yugoslav forces appeared to be turning back ethnic Albanians trying to leave the country. UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski said the flow of refugees from Kosovo into Albania had stopped overnight. Refugees had also stopped coming into Macedonia and Montenegro. "The Serbian border is, allegedly or reportedly, formally open but no one's crossing, which makes us believe that the Serbs are basically stopping people and preventing them from reaching the border," Janowski told a news briefing in Geneva. "We are extremely concerned, since the people are terrified," he said. "We are absolutely sure that it's not that the people turned around themselves. They are being forcibly prevented from leaving Kosovo."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair vowed to force Milosevic to pull his troops out of Kosovo and return the province to "the people to whom it belongs." "You will be made to withdraw from Kosovo," Blair said in speech addressed to Milosevic.
Yeltsin, whose earlier attempts to mediate in the conflict have failed, met security officials on Monday, including Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and newly appointed Kosovo envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin, to work out Russia's strategy.
Russian news agencies quoted Yeltsin as saying that during his conversation with Clinton he would reiterate Moscow's call for a halt to NATO air strikes to allow more talks. Interfax news agency quoted Yeltsin as saying Russia would exercise "restraint" in handling the Kosovo crisis, but it would maintain close ties with Milosevic. It quoted Yeltsin as saying: "We simply cannot ditch Milosevic. We want to embrace him as tight as possible."
Russia has bitterly denounced NATO air strikes but made clear it will not get drawn into the conflict militarily. Tass said Yeltsin said Russia would not send warships to the Adriatic Sea.
Washington said it had the support for the war from the states surrounding Serbia, to which hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians have fled. "All of the leaders made clear that they stand behind what NATO is doing, that President Milosevic is isolated and that his brutality and repression will not go unanswered," a spokesman said of Clinton's telephone calls to Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania and Romania.
Yugoslavia severed diplomatic relations with Albania on Sunday, accusing it of siding with NATO.
Blair, addressing what he described as a simple message to Milosevic, said on Monday an international military force "will go in to secure the land for the people to whom it belongs." "The dispossessed refugees of Kosovo will be brought back into possession of that which is rightfully theirs. Our determination on these points - the minimum demands civilization makes - is absolute," he said.
Hundreds of thousands of refugees have streamed out of Kosovo since to escape Yugoslav forces. But those unable to cross into neighboring countries have taken to the hills of central Kosovo. "There is no escape for anyone from this area," Sokol Bashota, a member of the KLA General Headquarters, told Reuters. "They are coming at us from three directions and there are Serb forces in place to the south in the Klecka area. We are trapped here and we need NATO's help," he said by telephone.
Western diplomats said the KLA wanted NATO to divert air power to knock out Serbian artillery and drop food and medical supplies to refugees facing starvation and epidemics. "The KLA is asking why can't Serbian heavy weapons be taken out when it has been reporting their positions to NATO for weeks," said a Western military observer who asked not to be named. "They think it's all very well to blast bridges and oil refineries in Novi Sad but their struggle to shield ethnic Albanian villagers from Serbian attack would be more effective if NATO focused on hitting the Serbs in Kosovo," he said. Novi Sad is the capital of Serbia's northern province of Vojvodina.
France is pushing for airdrops to the refugees, Defense Minister Alain Richard said on Monday. He made clear they must be carried out by NATO because of the air cover needed to protect low- and slow- flying transport planes.
Possible tougher action against Yugoslav armor in Kosovo could come soon when U.S. Apache attack helicopters reach Albania. U.S. forces stepped up shipment of military hardware to Tirana on Sunday in preparation for the arrival of the Apaches.
-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), April 22, 1999.
From capitol hill blue...
Pentagon tells Clinton to prepare for a long, costly, bloody war in Kosovo
By DOUG THOMPSON
Senior Pentagon officials have warned President Clinton his Kosovo war is destined to turn into a long conflict that could end up costing the United States more than $100 billion along with hundreds - - perhaps thousands -- of American casualties, military sources say.
Budget planners are also warning Clinton that a prolonged, expensive war could wipe out the federal budget surplus, threaten the solvency of Social Security and plunge the country into a recession.
Although Clinton is asking Congress for $5.9 billion in emergency spending for the Kosovo war, the real cost will be more than 20 times that.
"Current projections have the air war lasting at least through the end of this year with no resolution," says one Pentagon planner. "Virtually every scenario that is presented to the President concludes the military goals are not achievable without a commitment of ground personnel and even that does not ensure success."
Among the projections presented to the White House:
A combined air-ground campaign lasting two-to-five years at a cost of more than $100 billion;
Increased American casualties in a ground conflict ranging from "several hundred" to "several thousand;"
An increasing possibility that some NATO allies(such as France and Italy) could drop out of the coalition, leaving the U.S. and Britain to fight the war alone;
An increasing possibility that Russia could enter the war on Yugoslavia's side;
No guarantees that, even with ground troops, the war could be won. Military experts dismissed claims by deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbot Sunday that the Kosovo war is winnable in the air.
"Talbot is spinning," says intelligence analyst Sander Owen. "The White House was told from the beginning this thing couldn't be won in the air."
Owen said the US has few options left.
"The US is facing an increasing number of options that offer little chance for victory and increase the potential for a prolonged, expensive conflict," says Owen. "This is turning into Bill Clinton's Vietnam."
At the Pentagon, however, senior military officers often refer to the Kosovo war as a "classic FUBAR by a REMF" (which in military jargon stands for "Fucked Up Beyond All Repair by a Rear Echelon Motherfucker").
"From the beginning, the pros told the White House that their plan was flawed and unwinnable," says Former Navy Capt. Al Simonson. "The administration was convinced Yugoslavia would fold. The Pentagon brass knew better, but the President wouldn't listen."
Capitol Hill Blue has also learned the Office of Management and Budget has told the White House that paying for the Kosovo war could wipe out the budget surplus and threaten the strong economy that has protected Clinton through his many scandals.
"The real fear is Social Security," says one budget analyst. "This war could put the program in real danger."
Budget projections also warn the war could fuel inflation, which has been under control since the Reagan administration, and drive the country into a severe recession.
"In bad times, war can rescue a stagnant economy," says economist Adrian Carpenter. "But it can also have exactly the opposite effect when the economy is strong."
-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), April 22, 1999.
This will get nasty, I do not want My Son's Inlaw to be sent in to a MEAT GRINDER. Spent My youth 1966/1967 in Grinder. All this is not good.. Wake UP THIS WILL HURT BIG TIME.
-- NOT ANOTHER (mE@t.GrINdeR), April 22, 1999.
Jamie Shea and General Wesley Clark struck me right off the bat as some very scary bastards. Consciously or not, they are definitely having their strings pulled by the Brotherhood of the Elite. At some point in the future when we reflect on what these guys are doing and where it has taken us, I have a feeling it will make Hitler and Milosevic look like puppy dogs.
-- @ (@@@.@), April 22, 1999.
I watched maddie being questioned by congress this morn. She stumbled through every hard ? and they let her. They want this war also.
-- R. Wright (email@example.com), April 22, 1999.
Andy, thanks for the posts. More confirmation of long-standing CIA involvement in Kosovo, fomenting a regional war for their bankster masters. This growing debacle may have all the ingredients to be "Bill Clinton's Vietnam," but I think this is another clear example (as are all modern 'conflicts') of Chomskian 'policy disconnected from politics,' by which is meant that the elites no longer give a hoot for the polity. What do they care for actual public opinion (as opposed to the conjured data they present as 'polls.') The CIA has been fomenting this since 1994, arming and training the KLA. The central question,which I don't know the answer to (gasp) is Why? Why do the Money Whores want war in the Balkans? Do they actually want war with Russia? One could argue that the Whores have been busy during the same time period wrecking any vestige of the Russian economy. Do they seek a nice conventional war to boost share prices of armaments manufacturers? Or something more: the spark to ignite a situation of global chaos that will demand global cures, meaning global authoritarianism run by a self-appointed elite answerable to no one?
-- Spidey (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 22, 1999.
Do they qNT WAR WITH rUSSIA - CHECK OUT YESTERDAY'S WORLDNETDAILY - i HAVEN'T READ IT MYSELF YET.
Oops, cap key off, I wish I had the answers, I certainly have my hunches, however I have no doubt whatsoever that the puppetmasters will be introducing the changes they have planned for us in 2000. The question is will Russia/China allow this to play out? Use it or lose it time. The Russians may have the last laugh after all - I just don't know here. It could be first strike time. The US won't be and is not ready.
-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), April 22, 1999.
In the Yugoslavian War, the American people are getting what they deserve for putting up with Clinton and all of his lies. To paraphase the greatest person of the twentieth century, Winston Churchill,
He lied about Monica, he lies about Y2K, he is lying about the war, he will never stop lying.
When the GIs start getting killed and their bodies secretly discarded, when the world collapses due to Y2K, we can look into the mirror and see the real enemy.
-- Angry at Clinton (email@example.com), April 23, 1999.
Insiders in Yugoslavia have stated that 90 NATO troops have been killed...I have seen nothing of this on mainstream western press or out of DeeCee....S'pose?
-- Donna Barthuley (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 23, 1999.
10 days ago I siad the same thing, specifically by a, whether it happend a month ago, next month x 10, or the month after x 1,000...
I don't chuck around figures lightly.......
-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), April 23, 1999.
"God, it's getting so serious out there. I just hope it doesn't go nuclear." - Former Pentagon worker Monica Lewinsky's analysis of the Kosovo crisis.
-- B (email@example.com), April 23, 1999.
Check this out, another independent investigation
WASHINGTON, April 21 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a statement by President Clinton, released today by the White House:
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
I welcome the Intelligence Community's Damage Assessment on the "Implications of China's Acquisition of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Information and the Development of Future Chinese Weapons" and the review of the damage assessment by a panel of independent experts led by Admiral Jeremiah, as requested by the House Select Committee, chaired by Congressmen Cox and Dicks. I appreciate the careful analysis by the intelligence community and the independent panel, as well as their efforts to make as much information as possible available to the public on this crucial issue.
The findings of the damage assessment underscore the need to implement fully the Presidential Decision Directive I issued in February 1998 to strengthen security and protections at the U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories. I commend Secretary Richardson for his efforts in this regard and look forward to the review of lab security I requested by the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, chaired by Senator Warren Rudman.
Measures to protect sensitive nuclear weapons information must be constantly scrutinized, whether this information is at the National Laboratories or at other U.S. Government institutions. Therefore, I am asking the National Counterintelligence Policy Board to assess potential vulnerabilities at other institutions associated with nuclear weapons besides the National Laboratories and to propose any concrete steps that may be appropriate to strengthen protections against efforts by China and other countries to acquire sensitive nuclear weapons information.
I have also asked DCI George Tenet to review the recommendations made by Admiral Jeremiah on intelligence collection and resources and to act promptly on these recommendations.
Do you think he gets what happened?
-- R. Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 23, 1999.
What a world. Seems we now have people getting their assessment of our military situation from such reputable sources as Monica Lewinsky and Matt Drudge. We might as well burn the constitution and follow whatever it says in the National Enquirer.
-- @ (@@@.@), April 23, 1999.