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New revelations are further proof of US/NATO war crimes

10 May 2000

International Action Centre

New revelations that NATOís high-altitude bombing of Yugoslavia was far less successful than claimed at the time, are further proof of U.S. war crimes against Yugoslavia, said Sara Flounders, national co-director of the International Action Center on May 10.

This will provide additional evidence for the International War Crimes Tribunal we will hold in New York June 9-10 to try U.S. and NATO political and military leaders for war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace, Flounders said.

Newsweek magazine had gotten hold of an internal U.S. Air Force report showing that only 58 of NATOís so-called high-precision strikes hit their targets. This compares with 744 NATO claimed at the end of the bombing campaign.

The claims of high accuracy with little harm to civilians, said Flounders, was just another in the long line of lies NATO spokespeople used to justify massive attacks on civilian targets in Yugoslavia.

A special investigation team from the U.S. and other NATO air forces searched Kosovo on foot and by helicopter. U.S. top officers boasted that NATO forces had disabled "around 120 tanks", "about 220 armored personnel carriers" and "up to 450 artillery and mortar pieces" in 78 days of bombing.

The investigators reported instead that NATO hit just 14 tanks, 18 APCs and 20 artillery and mortar pieces, less than one tenth of NATO claims. These figures are quite close to the losses Yugoslav forces reported at the end of the war. NATO dismissed the Yugoslav report as "disinformation" at the time.

The investigators found out that U.S. and NATO high-altitude air power was effective chiefly against civilian targets. It was the bombing of cities and power stations that most damaged Serbia.

Flounders noted that the report, made last summer, had never been made public. A second report, which reported hits closer to NATO and the Pentagonís boasts, was then used.

The Newsweek article avoided the implications that the U.S. and NATO commanders violated the rules of war by striking civilian targets, said Flounders. Instead, it pointed to the efficacy of striking the civilian infrastructure of a country, which in the case of Yugoslavia includes hundreds of schools, dozens of hospitals and almost every major industry. In effect it advocates new war crimes.

Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark had drawn up the original charge sheet against NATO leaders, which added up to 19 charges. Charge number 9, said Flounders, was Attacking Objects Indispensable to the Survival of the Population of Yugoslavia, including depriving the population of Yugoslavia of food, water, electric power, food production, medicines, medical care and other essentials to their survival, [by engaging] in the systematic destruction and damage by missiles and aerial bombardment of food production and storage facilities, drinking water and irrigation works for agriculture, fertilizer, insecticide, pharmaceutical, hospitals and health care facilities, among other objects essential to human survival.

The NATO commanders, fearing the complete failure of their campaign against the Yugoslav military, concentrated on hitting civilian targets, said Flounders. This is clearly a war crime, and we will prove this before the world on June 10.

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