I find it significant that the main reason NATO bombed Kosovo refugees is that after several passes the pilot determined that it was the occupants of those vehicles who were setting the villages on fire.

This claim was made by various officials after NATO pilots were criticized for mistaking tractors for tanks. "Remember," the officials said, replaying the tape of the pilot's narrative, "that this was the reason why the pilot choose to bomb the vehicles." The pilot told how he observed the vehicles moving from village to village setting houses on fire. It was in this context where he confused tractors for tanks.

Somebody ought to tell the Kosovars (the KLA) that while burning their villages to frustrate Yugoslav police may have propaganda value, it also puts them at risk for NATO attack. Not only do KLA actions kill and injure Kosovars, they also allow the Yugoslavs to depict NATO as blundering terrorists. In the long-term, this is not good for NATO's mission. Obviously, NATO and the KLA need better coordination.

Another example of the disorganization of the events in Yugoslavia is the refugee crisis. As I noted elsewhere, there was better preparation for Woodstock than for the events being held at the borders of Albania and Macedonia. Of course, the images of this crisis itself has substantial propaganda value. It is what is getting the citizens of the United States behind ground troops. There is reason to suspect that in this instance disorganization is not entirely unintentional.

The most recent justification for bombing Kosovo refugees is testament to the hegemony of a media frame; when propagandists without fear use to justify their actions events that raise serious questions about what is actually happening on the ground in Kosovo you know elites believe they have the masses enthrall.

Andy Austin

Inside the Guardian there have been a small amount of encouraging articles, which have criticised NATO propaganda and rejected charges of genocide directed towards Serbia.

However the problem is that these articles are usually located nowhere near the front page and are posted specifically as an "alternative view" to the papers main bias.

I was also disappointed (though not really suprised) that Channel 4 News and BBC's Neswnight (which are both if not more liberal, then at least more intelligent than the main news programmes) both are coming out with the exactly same stuff as the official NATO/CNN line, albeit in more detail than others.

The problem is that a "consensus" affect is being built up by the bourgeoisie press which makes that anyone who denies that air-strikes are necessary are half-crazed anti-Albanians. This is nothing new, but certainly more people are resisting the flow than in the Gulf War, probably because the nation in question is European (and former war ally). This certainly makes a difference to the reporting.

There was an article in "The Times" (I believe) that was positively indignant that middle class Kosovans were being forced to flee their homes. They had a comment from an Kosovan computer programmer, who said something along the lines of "This doesn't happen to people like us. This only happens in Africa"

Although this is a dubious differentiation ("It's okay when African peasants are slaughtered by the thousand, but when good ol' white computer programmers are targeted - that's different!") it could also make building an anti-war movement easier. The stereotype of Arabic people is enforced that they are excitable and sub-human monsters. It is difficult to project the same image on the Serb's, but as Louis Proyect pointed out, it is always assumed that the Slav's are the "worst kind" of European (in Anglo-Saxon eyes), probably followed by Latins, Celts and Jews.

Hopefully people will start to see through this sort of drivel, when they see (and hear) of the "acceptable civilian casualties" that NATO inflicts upon Serbia (the destruction of a civilian train in particular). This will help to build a strong anti-war movement, which might also be able to oppose sanctions + bombing against Iraq.

b.t.w : The original post in this thread said that 15,000 people marched against NATO and were opposed by about 200 pro-NATO demonstrators. The ever reliable BBC said it was 2,000 and 400 respectively.

Darien Lineham

Unlike America the hegemon, whose news shows mention every disturbance in the world because it's all potentially something we might butt our noses into.

Fat chance that the US media pays attention to every disturbance in the world. I heard the other day that there are more US journalists covering the NY Mets than cover the entire continent of Africa. A good part of why the US government has gotten away with committing and supporting so many atrocities is that the illustrious Fourth Estate is much more likely to spend its time worrying about who slobbed the President's knob than trying to find out what's going on in the world.

Those disturbances that make it on the news are there for different reasons, but there are also plenty of disturbances that don't make the news. This is either because they concern "useless" people in "unimportant" places, or because they are crimes carried out by US clients. A lot of Americans know about disturbances in Tibet, but how many know about butchers like Jonas Savimbi?

Pretexts for intervention hardly require any local disturbance at all. They can be manufactured out of the faintest of traces--like traces of chemicals that might be precursors to nerve gas (among other things) outside of a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan.

Saul Thomas

If there is evidence that NATO is using cluster bombs that needs to be heard and documented. This Serbian chauvinist academic however appears negligent about evidence and sources. If NATO with all its armaments is spreading terror including with cluster bombs, against Serbians, how come that the hundreds of thousands of refugees are Albanian not Serbian? ... By contrast listen to this brave statement of position by marxists forwarded by Darian Linehan. Note the possibility that there may be a coup in Montenegro, and the comrades responsible for this statement may be putting their lives at risk. [NB it is from the BBC but who is to say that Jay Moore's selection is more objective...

If the BBC post I fwd'd was genuine, then I think that the Montengran Communists were critical of the sort of slogans as "We shall kill the Albanians", etc. Comrade John Lancy posted on a similar subject.

At meetings of Hindus/Indians in Illford, London, there is often progressive domestic demands (improved housing, anti-racism, better education, etc). However when ever the debate switches to the "home country" it suddenly becomes amazingly reactionary. The same people who were talking about anti-racism in Britain start gleefully considering a war against Pakistan (not all - just some), and "India for the Indians (Hindu's)", etc.

As Carrol Cox pointed out, this sort of feeling is inevitable amongst ethnic groups who feel they are alone. If we abandon them, this feeling will get worse, and combined with economic problems in Russia might become "kill all non Orthodox/non-Slavs" or something along those lines. Even if everything on the bourgeoisie news services is true (which is doubtful), someone has to speak up for the Serbs. If the Kosovons have NATO, who do the Serbs have? If we leave them isolated then any anti-war movements will become even more reactionary.

On the subject of crimes against Serbia, the second report I posted from the BBC Monitoring Service detailed how a bomb hit Bulgaria. According to the usual NATO propaganda, their bombs NEVER miss, are guided by laser sighted technology, etc...

The bomb in Bulgaria missed by at least 25 km. This leads us to one of two conclusions: 1. They were aiming at Bulgaria. 2. They are lying about the accuracy of their bombs.

The whole NATO effort has been to destabalise the Balkans. As the report I posted said - the President of Bulgaria actually said that the only way to get security was via. NATO. After this latest crisis, NATO will probably have the membership applications of a whole new wave of nations - which is further designed to shift the balance of power further against Russia. It will also create a few more republics who will be economically and militarily dependent on NATO/the US. Handy for the next war against the Arabs/Russians huh?

If the Americans REALLY cared about the fate of the Kosovons, Iraqi people (not to mention the millions of poor people in America) or indeed anyone else they've bombed - they wouldn't attack them. They would build them up a'la Japan and Germany. But is that really going to happen? No, it's not. At best, Eastern Europe has a Latin-America style existence ahead of it, under US/European hegemony - the "lucky" states will be the ones which can produce U.S. training shoes, or electrical appliances at slave labour wages.

Darian Linehan