No War Crimes Here

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Bridge over the Nishava River.  Photo: Gregory Elich.

As a member of a delegation documenting NATO war crimes in 1999, I visited Nish, the third largest city in Yugoslavia. NATO attacked this appealing old city on forty occasions, destroying approximately 120 buildings and damaging more than 3,400.

On the night of our second stop in Nish, we attended a meeting with university professor Jovan Zlatich. During the NATO war, Dr. Zlatich served as commander of the city’s Civil Defense Headquarters. In his discussion of the bombardment of Nish, he focused particular attention on the use of cluster bombs. Nish had the misfortune of being the target of several CBU-87/B cluster bombs, a weapon designed to open at a predetermined height and release 202 bomblets. These smaller bombs burst in a furious repeating series of explosions, spraying thousands of pieces of shrapnel over a wide area. Cluster bombs are anti-personnel weapons. While causing relatively minor damage to structures, they inflict frightful damage on human beings.                                                                  Read More »

Deindustrialization, NATO-Style

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Offices at Zastava forging plant.    Photo: Gregory Elich

One of the main features of NATO’s bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999 was the deliberate targeting of factories and manufacturing plants. As a member of a delegation travelling throughout Yugoslavia shortly after the end of the war, I could readily see that such targeting had been methodical and thorough. Wherever we went, there was no military value in the facilities that NATO chose to destroy. Indeed, the common criterion was that state-owned and worker cooperative factories and plants that supported many people were singled out. The apparent intent was to drive much of the population into destitution and make people more amenable to demands to install government eager to do the West’s bidding.

The largest and most significant factory complex in the Balkans was Zastava, producing over 95 percent of the automobiles operating in Yugoslavia. Centrally located in the city of Kragujevac, this diverse factory complex also manufactured tools and machinery.

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Anatomy of a Hatchet Job: Regarding Women Cross DMZ in CNN’s Situation Room

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A television news program opens with a clip of marching soldiers, an obligatory image when the subject is North Korea.  A voiceover intones: “A bold, ambitious plan apparently sanctioned by Kim Jong Un.  Is he in league with the women’s group to promote peace between North and South Korea?”

The program in question is the April 6th broadcast of CNN’s Situation Room, with Wolf Blitzer and Brian Todd.  The focus, an organization called Women Cross DMZ, and its audacious plan for thirty women peacemakers to walk across the demilitarized zone from North to South Korea in a symbolic gesture for peace.

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“The Whole Town Cried”