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NATO's Phase Three:

Limitless "Collateral Damage"

While in many aspects the following article represents the usual example of anti-Serb propaganda - shockingly it reveals the inner works of the Western "alliance." It also reveals that Albanian lives - as well as Serbian ones did not matter for those who planned this "humanitarian" war.

At the beginning stage the Western leaders expected that Albanian population of Kosovo would be slaughtered by the Yugoslav forces and were surprised that Albanians were simply let go. The Westerners consider such approach - "Milosevic's greatest mistake."

The article also reveals that "Phase Three" was about to be unleashed over the population of Yugoslavia. In that phase the "humanitarian" bombers gave themselves right of "LIMITLESS COLLATERAL DAMAGE."

The article persistently calls Milosevic - a despot - but actually clearly shows the Western leaders as (and in particular - the American leadership) as sloppy, stupid, blind, bloodthirsty war criminals they are.

Translated from French
[The comments in square parentheses are ours.]

Le Nouvel Observateur(Paris)
1 July 1999

Nothing Went According to Plan

Report by Vincent Jauvert

Now that the war is over, a dozen men who were at the heart of the Atlantic alliance's military and diplomatic machinery agreed to reveal many concealed facts about this conflict, whose intensity and duration nobody could have predicted. And they said enough to show that the war against Milosevic [read: against the Serbian people] did not go as NATO's spokesmen claimed during its 79 days.

We Thought Two Nights Would Be Enough

It emerges clearly from various sources that the alliance's diplomats and several of its political leaders believed that they could make Milosevic submit very quickly, after just a few strikes. "We thought that two nights of bombardments would be enough," one senior NATO diplomat said. For that matter, Bill Clinton has just admitted this for the first time: "I thought," he confided last Friday [June 25, 1999], "that Milosevic would give in after two or three days..."

Another diplomat in Brussels also made the following disclosure: "The initial strike plan -- the real one, the one that nobody talks about officially -- entailed first and foremost a warning blow: two nights of bombardments in all directions. Its aim was to persuade Milosevic within a matter of a few hours. The targets for those nights were more political than military (the outskirts of Belgrade, for instance.) They were negotiated directly with Clinton, Blair, Chirac, and their chiefs of staff, without anyone in NATO, apart from General Clark, knowing anything about it."

One NATO official commented: "They had Bosnia in mind, where Milosevic had collapsed very soon. Keep in mind that the resources deployed at the beginning were exactly the same -- 400 aircraft for some 50 targets." Another diplomat said: "The operation began on the evening of Wednesday 24 March. We thought that by Friday morning at the latest Milosevic would make it known somehow or other that he accepted the Rambouillet accord. We awaited a signal: a telephone call from the Yugoslav chief of staff, a meeting of the Belgrade parliament -- as happened two months later -- or who knows what else. But nothing materialized."

Diplomats Fooled Themselves

Why such bad forecasts? One senior NATO military official explained: "The politicians fooled themselves. They were trapped in a diplomatic funnel. They misinterpreted what happened at Rambouillet." According to several diplomats, the French, the Americans, and especially the British present at Rambouillet thought that the Yugoslav delegation was inciting them to move on to military action [wow!!!], that Milosevic was merely awaiting such an opportunity [sic!] in order to yield with honor. "They told us indirectly: the package (the agreement -- is good, but Milosevic must be able to show his public that he did his utmost to salvage Kosovo."

[Just consider this astonishing claim: The article wants us to believe that Yugoslav delegations have asked their enemy - "to move on to military action" -- i.e. to bomb their country!!!?? To commit mass suicide! How stupid should the Western readership be to believe this level of propaganda?]

Furthermore some intelligence services -- and especially Britain's MI5 -- had sources in the Belgrade despot's very entourage who "conveyed the same message: just a tiny push is needed to make Milosevic yield." [Hm?]

Fortunately Refugees Came [!!!!]

When, during the weekend following the initial strikes, thousands of Kosovar refugees appeared at the Blace and Morina border posts, the Western capitals were half surprised and half relieved [!!!!]. Surprised? One French intelligence service official said: "Our sources caused us to fear massacres among the civilian population, and we spoke about this to the political leaders on several occasions. But even in our most pessimistic scenarios we did not forecast the ethnic cleansing." [Massacres are less pessimistic than the "cleansing"!!!?]

What about the massing of troops along the Kosovo border a few days before the first strikes? "All the alliance's secret services had the same hypotheses: either Milosevic was preparing to counter a NATO intervention on the ground, or he was about to clear away the two or three main centers of the UCK (Kosovo Liberation Army) as soon as the bombardments began. Nobody imagined the deportations. It was a major failure of intelligence." The famous "horseshoe plan" presented by the Germans in mid-April as proof that the cleansing was premeditated was not discovered until after the war had begun, by Austrian agents. [And this is third time in this century that Austro-Germans wage a war against the Serbian people. So why believe them?] It was distributed only to some of the allied secret services within the framework of "Totem" exchanges.

Once their surprise had passed, it took the Europeans several days to realize what was really going on in Kosovo. "Neither the DGSE (General Directorate of External Security) nor the other services had any agents on the ground at that time," the same intelligence officer said. "The Helios (France's spy satellite) photographs did not show anything either. And the Americans were not saying what their own 17 reconnaissance satellites above the region revealed to them. [Some allies!"] We were in the dark. It was necessary to send in drones and reconnaissance aircraft very quickly."

Relief? One senior NATO official explained: "Following the fiasco of the lightning strikes [or in the original, Nazi German: Blitzkrieg], the refugees provided us with a new objective [the new excuse] for the war. That was crucial. Without them, we would have very quickly have cobbled together an agreement with Belgrade in exchange for an end to the bombardments. To allow the Kosovars to leave was Milosevic's greatest mistake." [They had to be slaughtered!? By whom? By Yugoslav Army? By NATO bombs?] One French military official asked: "Do you remember the little wounded 10-year-old Kosovar who was unable to save his little sister from the flames? Well, the evidence [sic!] of his pictures broadcast throughout the world was worth more than 50 divisions..."

Shameful Half-Day

What was to be done about the refugees? "For half a day, a shameful half-day," a diplomat in Brussels said, "the NATO countries hesitated: should we help them or not? There was a scandalous exchange of remarks about the advisability of abandoning them to their fate. Then, fortunately, they decided to establish the camps. [...To use the Albanian misery for propaganda purposes.] The democracies [should we call them that way?] did brilliantly in this respect!"

However, a few days later a similar debate ended differently: it concerned the provision of supplies to the refugees of the interior, the thousands of men, women, and children wandering the forests of Kosovo. "It was Chirac who broached this issue," a senior French military official recalled. "But NATO did not want to do it. Such operations would have upset the military campaign: transport aircraft would have to be protected, fly very low, and above all they would have occupied precious [sic!] air corridors. So the Americans claimed that it was impossible to know where the displaced persons were, that the food supplies could have benefited the Serbs... That was an ignoble episode in the humanitarian war." [Humanitarian?!!!] At last a single such operation was carried out: an Antonov aircraft laden with supplies and piloted by [worthless] Moldavians -- who were paid the earth -- overflew Kosovo, but the pilots were unable to deliver the crates to their proper destination.

Americans Hit Unplanned Targets

To contain General Wesley Clark and the Pentagon: this was the French political authorities' obsession throughout the campaign. "At the start we discovered from the radio and on CNN that the Americans had hit targets not envisaged by NATO plans." A senior French military official said. "The USAF refused to abide by phases one, two, and three. It intended to hit military and political targets everywhere." Another French official added: "We were on the verge of an open clash with Washington. Moreover, we had opted for a subtler strategy..."

[Our title: French spy on the American "ally"!]

It was decided in Paris to keep a close eye on the USAF. "Our drones, our Mirage IV reconnaissance aircraft, our AWACS, and our Helios enabled us to follow US operations very closely." A French official added: "There were other techniques for knowing where they [i.e. our "allies"] were making their strikes. For instance, the Americans often asked us to refuel them in flight. For this purpose they had to say where their aircraft were going." At the same time the USAF kept aircraft specially tasked with recovering any US pilots landing in Kosovo or Serbia. This salvage team also had to be kept fueled. The Americans entrusted this mission to French Puma helicopters. "In order for us to be able to do what was asked of us," sources in Paris explained, "the Americans had to give us some indications of their bombers' destination. This was very valuable information..."

Trials of Strength Between Clark and Elysee

After some 10 days the French showed Wesley Clark that they knew a great deal about the unauthorized strikes. They demanded the right to monitor USAF bombardments. In exchange they agreed to allow the Atlantic Council to approve phases "2 plus" and even "2 plus plus" -- that is, authorization to hit several civilian-type [!!!] targets. [Nice bargaining among the "allies".]

The trial of strength between Mons -- Clark's headquarters -- and the Elysee (French President's Office) began. Several times a day the French Defense Minister received a list of all the bombardments planned in the coming hours, including those carried out by the Americans. In the event of "contentious" targets, Jacques Chirac's personal chief of staff would be alerted, and often even Jacques Chirac himself. According to a US NATO official, "sometimes our aircraft would circle over their targets awaiting a go-ahead from Chirac. They would be refueled in flight, and when the Elysee said 'no' the pilots would return empty handed and maddened with rage."

It was Montenegro that France was particularly keen to spare. Apart from Podgorica airport, where Serbian MiGs went to seek protection, Jacques Chirac, in coordination with Lionel Jospin, rejected all targets on Montenegrin territory. "Ours was a very awkward position," a French official recounted. "From the very first days we had to persuade Clark not to bomb the Serbian navy moored near the Montenegro coast, and particularly two submarines that could threaten the allied forces in the Mediterranean. As you can imagine, it was not easy." France also opposed strikes against Montenegro's coastal defenses. It was special forces that put them out of action.

Last, and above all, Paris rejected the bombardment of the port of Bar, via which a large proportion of the fuel bound for the Serbian Army passed. "The Americans and British were shocked," a senior official in Paris said. "Not only did we refuse to touch that port, but for a long time we opposed any oil embargo on Serbia."

At the Washington summit at the end of April the French came under pressure. In order to dry up the flow of fuel they at last proposed strikes on the eight bridges that link Serbia to Montenegro. "But, strangely, one French general explained, "this 'caging' strategy was not fully implemented by Clark."

Then came the "battle of Belgrade." "Clark wanted to hit a maximum number of symbolic [???] targets in the Serbian capital," A NATO official explained. "And Paris did it utmost to prevent it." As we know, the Elysee would not agree to the destruction of the city's bridges. The Americans submitted their first request to hit the Serbian television building on 5 April. French chief of staff general Kelche immediately conveyed his reservations to Jacques Chirac and Lionel Jospin -- particularly on account of the presence of an Orthodox church at the foot of the tower. Paris did not yield until three weeks later. There were a dozen casualties.

"The French resisted for several weeks over the Milosevic mission, too, then they said 'yes,'" a NATO general said. "Phase three was TOTAL war," a French military official explained. "Without, or almost WITHOUT, ANY LIMITATION ON COLLATERAL DAMAGE..." Generals in Brussels claim that France's reservations prolonged the Kosovars' suffering by several weeks. Who knows? [So the author of the article says that Albanians sitting in refugee tents, safe in Macedonia and Albania were suffering - and it is pitty that NATO did not went to "Phase three" - THE UNLIMITED SLAUGHTER OF THE SERBS!!!? And it was a humanitarian war!? The Serbs are not human? Not part of Homo Sapiens species!? Nazism never changes.]

Public Opinion Needs To Be Worked on Too

Throughout the conflict political leaders feared losing the support of their public. Over the weeks NATO refined its communication strategy, which was very fragile to start with. "During the first few days we were unable to secure precise information from the military. WE HAD TO FABRICATE. It was terrible," a NATO official said. Then the machinery went into action. Each of the alliance countries received a confidential bulletin from Brussels with a view to coordinating national propaganda topics. "We had a fairly effective tactic for dealing with [so called] errors," a NATO general explained. "Most frequently we knew the precise causes and consequences of such actions. But in order to calm the public we would say that we were conducting an inquiry, that there were many hypotheses. We would only reveal the truth a fortnight later, once it no longer interested anyone. Public opinion needs to be worked on, too."

Milosevic's Stroke

Four rumors (at least) worried Western leaders to varying degrees. "First there was the announcement of the death of certain Kosovar leaders. This was simply a mistake on the part of Britain's MI6 and Germany's BND," a French secret service official explained. Next several intelligence agencies made it known to political decisionmakers that according to some of their sources Milosevic was seriously ill. He had supposedly suffered a stroke and would soon be going to China for treatment. Intelligence specialists examined the few video recordings showing the Serbian despot [sic]. They thought they could see a certain degree of stiffness in his right arm, which might have lent credit to the rumor. The rumor -- perhaps true -- is still circulating.

The bombing of the Chinese embassy obviously sparked all sorts of rumors. At the beginning the most persistent one was that there had been a conspiracy on the part of the Serbs, who supposedly "highlighted" the building at the moment a US B2 overflew it. After three days, on 11 May, to be precise, the French intelligence services made it known to the political authorities that they did not believe this. In the meantime the French military staff closely examined the list of targets "proposed" each day during the week preceding the error: "The coordinates of the embassy featured there several times. But always with the wrong identification. As far as we are concerned, that huge mistake really was a case of mistaken identity." One NATO general said: "As far as I know, the US maps were well up to date. In fact that evening Clark wanted to hit a 'mobile target,' that unfortunately passed in front of the embassy." Is this the truth? It remains a mystery... [Wow! A B-2 plane, constructed for NUCLEAR war, was sent all the way from a base in Missouri, USA to bomb a random mobile target!? These guys truly lie at random.]

Last -- and this is the unconfirmed report that most worried Western military leaders -- the Russians or Belarusians apparently supplied Serbia with a large quantity of antimissile batteries during the conflict. "This was the result of a top-secret barter," a French official said. "According to several diplomatic dispatches, the debris of an F117 brought down by the Serbian DCA was given to the Russians, who in exchange provided Belgrade with antiaircraft equipment."

Ground Invasion -- From North or South

A ground intervention, in the event of a clear failure of the aerial campaign, was discussed by political leaders on several occasions. But it was never on the agenda of the NATO Military Committee. In other words, it was never planned. Its use as a propaganda tool was discussed. From the beginning of April alliance leaders realized that doubts had to be kept alive in Milosevic's mind. Little by little, they decided to coordinate their statements to this end. "It was an entirely deliberate communication strategy," a NATO official explained. "At the Washington summit we decided not to intervene militarily [sic] but to suggest the contrary. This was a difficult exercise because we had to avoid frightening the most reluctant publics -- the Germans and Italians." A French diplomat added: "On several occasions Hubert Vedrine asked his British opposite number not to go too far." Of course several plans were drawn up. Before the Rambouillet negotiations the French military staff examined the issue, which was submitted to the Defense Council. The idea was for an intervention by 100,000 men. "But according to our forecasts there would have been considerable civilian losses," according to one of the people closely involved in the matter.

NATO bureaucrats envisaged two major scenarios for a ground intervention -- one from the South, via Albanian and Macedonia, and the other from the North, via Bosnia and Hungary. "According to our calculations," a NATO general said, "the former was much deadlier than the latter. But to have crossed the plains of the North would have meant taking Belgrade, which was not at all the stated purpose of the war." So Brussels worked chiefly on the former scenario, the southern one. "There were two versions," a military official explained. "There was 'Plan A,' involving 100,000 men and 'Plan a minus,' involving 70,000 men. It was the latter that we would probably have implemented if the conflict had gone on for too long." Too long? On 28 May in Bonn the British, French, German, and US defense ministers decided seriously to envisage such an operation "at the beginning of the summer." When exactly? "At the end of June or the beginning of July," a French official replied -- "that is, now."

(End quote)

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Last revised: September 2, 1999