The room is filled with the
bodies of children killed by Nato in Surdulica in Serbia. Several are recognisable
only by their sneakers. A dead infant is cradled in the arms of his father.
These pictures and many others have not been shown in Britain; it will
be said they are too horrific. But minimising the
culpability of the British state when it is engaged in criminal action
is normal; censorship is by omission and misuse of language. The
media impression of a series of Nato 'blunders' is false. Anyone scrutinising
the unpublished list of targets hit by Nato is left in little doubt that
a DELIBERATE TERROR CAMPAIGN is being
waged against the civilian population of Yugoslavia.
hospitals and clinics and at least 200 nurseries, schools, colleges and
students' dormitories have been destroyed or damaged, together with housing
estates, hotels, libraries, youth centres, theatres, museums, churches
and 14th-century monasteries on the World Heritage list. Farms have
been bombed, their crops set on fire. As Friday's bombing of the Kosovo
town of Korisa shows, there is no discrimination between Serbs and those
being 'saved'. Every day, three times more civilians are killed by Nato
than the daily estimate of deaths of Kosovans in the months prior to the
The British people are not
being told about a policy designed largely by their government to cause
such criminal carnage. The dissembling of politicians and the lies of 'spokesmen'
set much of the news agenda. There is no sense of the revulsion felt throughout
most of the [Western] world for this wholly illegal action... and for the
bellicose antics of Blair, Cook and Robertson, who have made themselves
into international caricatures.
'There was no need of censorship
of our dispatches. We were our own censors,' wrote Philip Gibbs, the Times
correspondent in 1914-18. The silence is different now; there is the illusion
of saturation coverage, but the reality is a sameness and repetition and,
above all, political safety for the perpetrators.
days before the killing of make-up ladies and camera operators in the Yugoslav
television building, Jamie Shea, Nato's man, wrote to the International
Federation of Journalists: 'There is no policy to attack television and
radio transmitters.' Where were the cries of disgust from among
the famous names at the BBC, John Simpson apart? Who interrupted the mutual
back-slapping at last week's Royal Television Society awards? Silence.
The news from Shepherd's Bush is that BBC presenters are to wear pinks,
lavender and blues which 'will allow us to be a bit more conversational
in the way we discuss stories'.
Here is some of the news they
leave out. The appendix pages of the
Rambouillet 'accords', which have not been published in Britain, show
Nato's agenda was to occupy not just Kosovo, but all of Yugoslavia. This
was rejected, not just by Milosevic, but by the elected Yugoslav parliament,
which proposed a UN force to monitor a peace settlement: a genuine alternative
to bombing. Clinton and Blair ignored it.
Britain is attacking simultaneously
two countries which offer no threat. Every day Iraq is bombed and almost
none of it is news. Last week, 20 civilians were killed in Mosul, and a
shepherd and his family were bombed. The sheep were bombed. In the last
18 months, the Blair government has dropped more bombs than the Tories
dropped in 18 years.
is suffering significant losses. Reliable alternative sources in Washington
have counted up to 38 aircraft crashed or shot down, and an undisclosed
number of American and British special forces killed. This is suppressed,
Anti-bombing protests reverberate
around the world: 100,000 people in the streets of Rome (including 182
members of the Italian parliament), thousands in Greece and Germany, protests
taking place every night in colleges and town halls across Britain. Almost
none of it is reported. Is it not extraordinary that no national opinion
poll on the war has been published since April 30?
'Normalisation,' wrote the
American essayist Edward Herman, depends on 'a division of labour in doing
and rationalising the unthinkable, with the direct brutalising and killing
done by one set of individuals... [and] others working on improved technology
(a better crematory gas, a longer burning and more adhesive Napalm). It
is the function of experts and the mainstream media to normalise the unthinkable
for the general public.'
week, the unthinkable will again be normalised when Nato triples the bombing
raids to 700 a day. This includes blanket bombing by B-52s. Blair and Clinton
and the opaque-eyed General Clark, apologist for the My Lai massacre in
Vietnam, are killing and maiming hundreds, perhaps thousands, of innocent
people in the Balkans. No contortion of intellect and morality, nor silence,
will diminish the truth that these are acts of murder. And until there
is a revolt by journalists and broadcasters, they will continue to get
away with it. That is the news.