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Belgrade 1999 - Why The US bombed
By Yoichi Shimatsu
Twenty years ago amid the major crisis over NATO "protection" of the jihadist-led Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) with a bombing campaign against the Yugoslavia capital Belgrade, investigative journalist Yoichi Shimatsu exposed the CIA cover-up of the planning behind a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber airstrike against the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade on the night of May 7, 1999. In a newly released video marking the two-decade anniversary, he provides intricate details on that criminal CIA-USAF over-reaction to the vulnerability of stealth technology in the Yugoslav shoot-down of a F-117 fighter-bomber on the second night of the bombing campaign (March 27). The video includes a first-ever disclosure of how an innovative stealth-busting VERA "passive coherent localization" (PCL) radar system was smuggled from the Czech Republic into Belgrade by an arms dealer, enabling the Yugoslav air-defense brigade to track and target the "invisible" American aircraft.
Talking Points in the video
Tech Hubris: The total failure of radar-evading stealth technology on its first wartime mission was caused by the over-weening pride of the US Air Force in one of its costliest R&D programs. The myth of invincibility was shattered by stunning advances in radar research, which the USAF and CIA chose to ignore rather than admit an unexpected challenge from an emerging technology. This same habit of thinking "America as No.1 and Only" contributed also to the sudden collapse of Motorola in the global mobile-phone market and IBM as once-supreme computer maker, followed by the loss of US leadership in dozens of other industrial fields to foreign competitors. Instead of industrial complacency, Americans need to comprehend that international competition is a challenge that should lead to further research and application rather than end in denial or cheating with dirty tricks, as in Belgrade 1999.
Liar, Liar: President Bill Clinton claimed the embassy bombing, which killed 3 and injured more than 20, was an "accident", a term repeated by NATO chief Javier Solano, ally press spokesman Jamie Shea, and chorus of the Western news media. The White House, CIA and Pentagon attributed the "mistaken targeting" to "outdated maps" of Belgrade used during an airstrike against the Jugoslavia Hotel, where the pro-Milosevic Tiger militia was headquartered.
Anger in China: Huge protest marches pelted the US Embassy in Beijing, while the ambassador nervously burned sensitive documents in the fireplace of his official residence. The US Consulate in Hong Kong was likewise the site of protest in a rare show of solidarity between islanders and mainlanders. While the Chinese suspected a deliberate attack, they lacked the evidence to prove their case.
Fact-based Journalism: The big lie was caught out, however, by journalists Yoichi Shimatsu, then recently resigned from the Japan Times and appointed to the J-school start-up at University of Hong Kong; and Jens Holsoe, Kosovo correspondent with the Politiken newspaper in Copenhagen.
Shimatsu, then one of few online journalists, followed the daily NATO press briefings and spotted a news release from NIMA (National Imaging and Mapping Agency), a joint CIA-Pentagon cartography center, which stated that "recent reports of the inaccuracy of its maps are mistaken or exaggerated." Using a pay phone, he called a NIMA spokesperson who asserted that the "4-D digital spatial-temporal maps" were accurate to within 30 seconds of real time, meaning there was no possibility of error. His article, which ran in the Hong Kong Yazhou Zhoukan (Weekly News) broke the deadlock between Beijing and Washington, which was forced to admit wrongdoing to the Chinese, thereby opening the way toward a diplomatic resolution.
Holsoe, the most senior reporter in the press pool in Kosovo, was clued in by European military officers from NATO's Aviano Air Base in Vincenza, Italy, of their shock and anger at the USAF for using NATO as cover for a rogue USAF airstrike on the embassy in blatant violation of international law, diplomatic protocol and alliance rules. According to their account of the night of May 7, when news of the embassy bombing was picked up by the airstrike monitoring center at Aviano, the lone American officer jumped out of his chair and waved his fist while shouting: "We got them exactly as planned." The Europeans were stunned by his foreknowledge of the unauthorized target and his enthusiasm. Holsoe's article ran at Politiken and was picked by The Observer (London).
Diplomatic Gears: The Yazhou Zhoukan article prompted the White House to send the national economic adviser, Ezra Vogel, to fly to Hong Kong to negotiate a road map toward a bilateral settlement. In a dark lecture hall at the HK University of Science & Technology (HKUST), Vogel laid out an admission of guilt: "The B2 from Whiteman Air Base in Missouri released 5 JDAM 'smart bombs' targeted at the rear of the Belgrade embassy, 3 of them hitting target while two others went astray, one of these being a dud that failed to explode. He disclosed the massive protests in Beijing resulted in a split within the Executive Branch between hawks and doves, with the Pentagon and CIA arguing to keep stonewalling the critics with the "accident" claim while the State Department and Commerce urged an admission of guilt due to the risk of irreparable rupture in relations. In face of a deteriorating situation, Clinton switched sides, and agreed to send special envoy Thomas Pickering to Beijing to negotiate a phased resolution, which would include compensation for the victims. The protests ended.
Hunt for Facts: Shimatsu, who was then shuttling between Hong Kong and Tokyo, stopped at a major Japanese publishing house (for periodicals) to meet a senior editor who told him that a Japanese television crew posted in Belgrade had been the first news team to arrive at the embassy, about 12-14 minutes after the bombing, before the bombs detonated 20 minutes after the air raid. A citywide power blackout prevented videotaping but the Japanese crew saw several men wearing black ski masks shining a powerful flashlight into the basement of the wrecked rear section. Then exactly 19 minutes after the bombs hit, the leader shouted: "everyone go, go!" and the team crossed the fence and ran down the road as the four blasts shook the ground.
On the long train route to Serbia via Budapest, a British journalist told Shimatsu that a joint KLA-SAS (Kosovo Liberation Army - Special Air Service) commando team approached on foot the Chinese embassy (which adjoins a forested park) to focus laser beams on the back wall, guiding the sensor-aimed JDAM bombs directly to target. His account (thousands of miles from Tokyo) proved the detailed planning against target, eliminating an "accidental bombing" possibility without a shadow of doubt.
Stealth-busting Radar: On the second night of the NATO bombing campaign against Belgrade (March 27), a F-117 Nighthawk had been downed by a Pechora missile fired from a Yugoslav air-defense battery. Multiple detection systems were used to track the "invisible" plane, including Russian real-time satellite imaging; a MiG-29 circling high above Belgrade, conventional radar modified for longer wavelength, and a radical new networking system from a secretive source (which the CIA assumed without a shred of evidence might have been from China). According to the Serb commander, the plane was tracked by the modified radar and it was positively detected by conventional radar when the bomb bay opened, enabling beam reflection. For the US media, the story was the pilot's evasion of capture, whereas the Yugoslavs celebrated their triumph over the "invincible" invisible war machine.
Clandestine Transfer: The main points are revealed here for the first time ever to the public. The source of the anti-stealth VERA radar was the Czech Republic, which at the time was hostile to Serbia and its president Slobodan Milosevic and a loyal ally of NATO. The truck-mounted radar was acquired by an Israeli arms dealer based in Prague and Bratislava, Slovakia, with support from the Mossad, which accessed funding through the "blood diamond" trade. An estimated 6 trucks were purchased "for deployment in Israel" but then diverted to Belgrade. The trucks, in groups of three, emitted long-wavelength radar that "wraps around" flying objects and the EM outline is then picked up by the trucks. The partial images are reassembled by computers to form near-perfect images of the aircraft, all this happening less than one second to render a distinctive image of the moving stealth plane.
Hitting at the Chinese: Why was China singled out? There is the popular Chinese saying: "Kill the chicken to scare the monkey". China is a perfect diversion from the real culprit, which might be too influential and connected for public criticism.
Take today's Huawei case, for instance. The real offender involved in sanctions-busting is Samsung, which has a 51-percent majority share of the Iran phone market and also has the identical Phantom F-4 jets, vintage 1970s Shah of Iran, along with the capability of upgrading the avionic electronics, radar, missile guidance system and souped up jet components. By contrast, there has not been any American aircraft inside Mainland China since the P-40 Flying Tigers of WWII and the Curtiss Hawk III biplanes used in the 1937 air war against Mitsubishi bombers over Nanjing and Shanghai. Seoul is not hammered with accusations from Washington for its secret aid to Tehran because of its historic Koreagate Lobby founded by Tongsun Park and Rev. Sun Myung Moon, head of the Moonies, which keeps hundreds of Congressmen on its covert payroll and supplies many of these political scoundrels with Korean mistresses or toyboys.
Back in 1990, the Chinese Embassy was bombed as a warning to the actual culprit, Israel, for its clandestine military and intelligence support for Milosevic. Of course, Clinton and every other American president has lacked the honesty and guts to take on the Israelis because campaign donations from the Jewish Lobby. Israel's connection with Belgrade started with the Versailles Treaty that ended World War I with the creation of Yugoslavia from the bits and pieces of the Hapsburg and Ottoman Empires. In return the Yugos have consistently supported the creation of the State of Israel, which happened in 1949, and advocated for world Jewry.
Gutless Mainstream Media: Jens Holsoe visited Hong Kong to join Shimatsu at a press conference disclosing the known facts about the embassy bombing. The entire ostrich corps boycotted the event, including Reuters, CNN, AP, the South China Morning Post, AFP, et al, in an obvious intelligence-led operation against press freedom, considering the fact that Jens was the dean of the NATO press corps in Kosovo and Shimatsu was starting up a J-school in Hong Kong, hardly "conspiracy theorists" but fact-based old-school journalists. In the 20 years since the Belgrade Embassy bombing, these slaves of propaganda have yet to admit the facts of the case due to their cowardice and deceitfulness.
Death of a Hero: The icon of journalism in this episode is not Holsoe, Shimatsu or Takashi Morizumi, the outstanding Japanese news photographer, but Xu Xinghu, the reporter with Guangming Daily who was murdered in that B-2 airstrike on the embassy. One of a handful of Asians fluent in the Serbo-Croatian language, he drove around the Serbia and Kosovo countryside in his little Yugo sedan to report on the fighting and emerged as China's finest war journalist. His admiration for Yugoslavia was based on his amazement at its many ethnic and religious groups who had finally found a way through federation to cooperate and help each other in what historically were the killing fields between Christendom and Islam. On this 20th anniversary, a salute to a great human and outstanding journalist is due from all sides.
The Music: "Sky Pilot" by Eric Burden and the Animals (1968). While the lyrics are critical of sanctimonious military chaplains who encourage young fliers to kill and be killed in wartime, it became the anthem of youth opposition to carpet-bombing and napalm attacks on civilian areas during the Vietnam War.
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