|NOW IT CAN BE TOLD - that the "genocide" and "holocaust"
charges against the Yugoslavian government and the Serbs
were deliberate falsifications. This is the first
(published) Canadian journalist to have actually put
together the findings from various independent sources
that have travelled on the Internet for a couple of
Toronto Star November 3, 1999
NO GENOCIDE, NO JUSTIFICATION FOR WAR ON KOSOVO
Richard Gwyn email: email@example.com
IN THE GENOCIDE of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo by the
forces of Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic, the worst
incident occurred at the Trepca mine. As reported by
American and NATO officials, large numbers of bodies were
brought in by trucks under the cover of darkness. The
bodies were then thrown down the shafts, or were disposed
of entirely in the mine's vats of hydrochloric acid.
Estimates of the number of dead began at 1,000.
That was six months ago, in the middle of the war
undertaken to halt what both U.S. President Bill Clinton
and British Prime Minister Tony Blair called ``a human
catastrophe.'' Estimates of the number of ethnic
Albanians slaughtered went upward from 10,000 - U.S.
Defence Secretary William Cohen put the count at 100,000.
Three weeks ago, the International Criminal Tribunal for
the former Yugoslavia released the findings of Western
forensic teams investigating the horror at Trepca. There
were not 1,000 bodies down the mine shafts at Trepca,
reported the tribunal. There were not 100 bodies there.
There was not one body there, nor was there any evidence
the vats had ever been used to dispose of human remains.
Shortly afterward, the tribunal reported on its work at
the most infamous of all the mass graves of ethnic
Albanians, at Ljubenic near the town of Pec. Earlier,
NATO officials had said 350 victims had been hastily
buried there by the retreating Serb forces. There were
not 350 bodies at Ljubenic, though. There were five. So
far, not one mass grave has been found in Kosovo, despite
four months' work by forensic teams, including experts
from the FBI and the RCMP.
This discovery - more accurately, this non-discovery -
first was made public three weeks ago by the Texas-based
intelligence think tank, Stratfor. Stratfor estimated the
number of ethnic Albanian dead in Kosovo at 500. Last
weekend, the story was broadcast for the first time by
the TV Ontario program Diplomatic Immunity. (Last
Sunday's New York Times was still using the ``10,000
The story has begun to appear in European newspapers.
Spain's El Pais has quoted the head of the Spanish
forensic team, Emilo Pujol, as saying he had resigned
because, after being told to expect to have to carry out
2,000 autopsies, he'd only had 97 bodies to examine, none
of which "showed any signs of mutilation or torture.''
Because 250 of 400 suspected mass graves in Kosovo remain
to be examined, it's possible that evidence of mass
killings will yet be found. This is highly unlikely
though, because the worst sites were dug up first.
No genocide of ethnic Albanians by Serbs, therefore. No
``human catastrophe.'' No ``modern-day Holocaust.'' All
of those claims may have been an honest mistake. Equally,
they may have been a grotesque lie concocted to justify
a war that NATO originally assumed would be over in a day
or two, with Milosevic using the excuse of some minimal
damage as a cover for a surrender, but then had to fight
(at great expense) for months.
There's no question that atrocities were committed in
Kosovo, overwhelmingly by the Serb forces, although the
ethnic Albanian guerrillas were not innocent. Quite
obviously, these forces, acting on Milosevic's explicit
orders, carried out mass expulsions of people,
terrorizing them and destroying their homes and property.
Acts like these are inexcusable. That they occur often in
civil wars (far worse are being committed by the Russians
in Chechnya), is irrelevant to their horror. But they
have nothing to do with genocide.
No genocide means no justification for a war inflicted by
NATO on a sovereign nation. Only a certainty of imminent
genocide could have legally justified a war that was not
even discussed by the U.N. Security Council.
No genocide means that the tribunal's indictment of
Milosevic becomes highly questionable. Even more
questionable is the West's continued punishment of the
Serbs - the Danube bridges and the power stations remain
in ruins - when their offence may well have been
stupidity rather than criminality.
The absence of genocide may mean something else,
something deeply shaming. To halt the supposed genocide,
NATO bombed targets in Serbia proper. Because of
``collateral'' or accidental damage, such as the bombing
of a train, some 500 civilians were killed (Belgrade
claims almost 1,000 deaths). NATO very likely killed as
many people as were killed in Kosovo.
The number of these dead isn't large enough to justify
NATO's actions being called a ``human catastrophe.'' But,
unless proof of genocide can be produced, NATO's actions
were clearly a moral catastrophe.