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Untold Stories of U.S./NATO War
The mainstream media in the United States were aware that the Pentagon and NATO were releasing biased and false information regarding the war in Kosovo yet they continued to pass on the information to the American public as if it were gospel.
"...the media were once more asked to sort out a few kernels of facts from a barrage of distortions and half-truths from government information manipulators...baloney-ladened military briefings in Brussels...cryptic shows at the Pentagon," reports Senior correspondent for Newsdays Washington Bureau, Patrick Sloyan. Writing in Junes American Journalism Review, Sloyan went on to describe how the elite of U.S. media complained to President Clinton, but failed to use their power to challenge the government.
That the U.S. military and NATO kept the American public propagandized and ignorant about our most recent war is a well-known fact among mainstream correspondents. Foremost in the undercovered or ignored categories, but widely covered in Europe, were: " extensive civilian deaths (2,000+); massive damage to non-military civilian facilities in Serbia; the use of illegal cluster bombs and depleted uranium munitions; Devastating environmental pollution was created by the bombing and burning of refineries and chemical plants."
The deliberate destruction of public utilities left many Serbians without power, water, and heating. Yet the Pentagon persisted in saying they were attacking only legitimate military targets.
According to the London Daily Telegraph of July 22, 1999, "NATOs bombing campaign against Yugoslavia had almost no military effect on the regime of President Milosevic." Based on a NATO inquiry the bombing "failed to damage the Yugoslav field army tactically in Kosovo while the strategic bombing of targets such as bridges and factories was poorly planned and executed." The U.S. bombed cardboard tanks, wooden missile carriers, and phony blackened roads wasting thousands of tons of bombs on false targets.
Le Nouvel Observatoeur (7/1/99) in Paris described how NATO initially thought that two days of bombing would be enough and that Milosevic would capitulate quickly. But as the bombing dragged on the U.S. began hitting targets not envisaged by NATO plans. A senior French military official was quoted as saying, "The USAF refused to abide by phase one, two, and three. It intended to hit military and political targets everywhere." Another French official added, "We were on the verge of an open clash with Washington."
Widely reported in Europe was the fact that 20 high-ranking judges of the Greek Council of State openly condemned the NATO attacks calling them violations of international law, and polls showed that in Greece 95 percent of the people opposed the bombings. NATO forces were repeatedly hindered as they passed through Greek soil. Greek resisters changed the road signs in Thessaloniki so that a convoy of NATO armored-vehicles lost its way and ended up in a vegetable market instead of at the Greco- Macedonian border.
The U.S. government felt that foreign press coverage was so out of control that it became necessary to permanently create a new International Public Information Group (IPI), made up of top military, diplomatic, and intelligence officials, to coordinate U.S. resources to "influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals (Washington Times 7/28/99)." IPI would attempt to squelch or limit uncomplimentary stories regarding U.S. activities and policies reported in the foreign press. IPI would use governmental resources to repress foreign news stories that may reach the American public.
The U.S. government already uses private public relations consultants to spin and distort news stories on a daily basis to favor specific ideological perspectives. How far will the mainstream media in the U.S. be willing to go in ignoring this issue? Z
Peter Phillips is an associate professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University and director of Project Censored.