Double-crossed by NATO?

A retired Russian general made some explosive allegations last weekend about the NATO attack on Serbia five years ago. It was obvious that in June 1999, NATO double-crossed Yugoslavia and Russia, occupying Kosovo despite the terms agreed in the Kumanovo armistice; they never seriously intended to honor the agreement, or even UNSCR 1244. Now retired Russian general Leonid Ivashov claims his team had negotiated the original armistice, far more favorable to Yugoslavia, only to see it betrayed by a Yeltsin crony close to the Americans.
Now, the agreement he describes looks rather unlikely to have been accepted by NATO. Consider this, however. Russian troops arrived in Pristina shortly before NATO occupiers and the KLA. Someone in Moscow who ordered the deployment must have known or assumed that a deal was made with NATO to include a Russian presence. Yet not only did NATO block reinforcements for those troops, but General Jackson was given orders to shoot at the Russians by his mad superior, Wesley Clark. So either the Russians assumed too much, or there really was a deal, and NATO reneged on it once in a position of strength (i.e. in Kosovo, with the Yugoslav forces gone). Given NATO’s record of trickery, the latter is more likely. Which means that if Ivashov is right, NATO was prepared to agree to anything so long as it could get troops into Kosovo, and planned the treachery in advance.
Ivashov’s statements, reported by Belgrade daily “Politika,” can be read in Serbian here.
Here is a translation, for English-speakers: Continue reading “Double-crossed by NATO?”

Refugees of Fallujah

Jo Wilding speaks in Baghdad with several of the refugees from Fallujah.

    “This is my honeymoon,” Heba said, in the crowded corridor of bomb shelter number 24 in the Al-Ameriya district of Baghdad. Married just under a month, she fled Falluja with her extended family. “There were bombs all the time. We couldn’t sleep. Even if you fell asleep, nightmares woke you up. We just gathered the whole family in one room and waited.

    “It is better here than in Falluja. We hear bombs but they are far away and not so many. But there is no water in here: we have to go outside for water for drinking, cooking and washing ourselves and our clothes and we buy ice. There is no fridge, no fans, no air conditioning, no generator and only one stove for us all. We have to go to the garden for a toilet and that’s a problem at night. Everyone has diarrhoea from the ice that we bought.

    “Now I am a bride but I couldn’t bring any of my clothes.” As if there would be any privacy anyway, the 88 members of 18 families piled on mattresses in the long narrow passage from the door to the kitchen at the end … read more

FOIA Photos from Dover AFB

Russ Kick of the Memory Hole says:

>>> Since March 2003, a newly-enforced military regulation has forbidden taking or distributing images of caskets or body tubes containing the remains of soldiers who died overseas. [read more]

Immediately after hearing about this, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the following:

All photographs showing caskets (or other devices) containing the remains of US military personnel at Dover AFB. This would include, but not be limited to, caskets arriving, caskets departing, and any funerary rites/rituals being performed. The timeframe for these photos is from 01 February 2003 to the present.

I specified Dover because they process the remains of most, if not all, US military personnel killed overseas. Not surpisingly, my request was completely rejected. Not taking ‘no’ for an answer, I appealed on several grounds, and—to my amazement—the ruling was reversed. The Air Force then sent me a CD containing 361 photographs of flag-draped coffins and the services welcoming the deceased soldiers.casket05.jpg

Score one for freedom of information and the public’s right to know.

Further info:

“Curtains Ordered for Media Coverage of Returning Coffins”

The first three photographs to break the embargo

Link via Cursor

LCpl. Boudreaux, Again

I promised to keep you posted, no matter how tedious this becomes. Salon weighs in with a review of the controversy (you’ll have to watch an ad to get access), as well as some useful ruminations on visual propaganda and the believe-what-you-want culture of the internet. Of course, that culture is hardly unique to the internet; old media have been peddling manipulated and decontextualized photos forever, usually of atrocities supposedly committed by the Hitler of the Week. Remember this gem from the war on Serbs? (Remember when Charles Paul Freund was more than a warbot?)