Accuracy in Media

      A confrontation between Serbia and the U.N. criminal court for Yugoslavia gives the major media another opportunity to set the record straight about the hoax which started the war on Yugoslavia. The so-called Racak massacre, supposedly committed by Serbs against Kosovo Albanians, gave Bill Clinton and NATO the excuse to start the war. The U.N. court indicted then-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes, with Racak being one of them. But the new democratically-elected Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica is resisting cooperating with the tribunal and is refusing to turn over Milosevic for trial.

      One reason is that Kostunica doesn’t want a foreign body interfering in Yugoslavia’s internal affairs. But another reason is that Kostunica doubts the evidence. He has publicly stated that the killings at Racak were staged to look like a massacre to embarrass Yugoslavia, and he has cited the work of Finnish pathologists who investigated the deaths.

      The pathologists have now prepared an article about their findings. A Berlin paper says the Finnish investigators could not establish whether the victims were civilians, where they were from, or how they had been killed. BBC News in Britain, which says it has read the article, reports that the findings are inconclusive. “In fact,” it says, “there is nothing in the article that would either implicate or exonerate Serbian forces in the Racak incident. Instead, its three authors…repeat the findings of their group’s preliminary report, published in March 1999…”

      But enough evidence now exists to prove that the so-called massacre was a hoax. People certainly died in Racak, after a confrontation between Serbian security forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army. An Associated Press camera crew was invited by the Serbs to videotape the assault on Racak, a KLA stronghold. This film showed no massacre and no bodies. But the KLA gathered up some bodies and laid them out for other journalists to see and photograph. Film of this spectacle was then shown to the world as evidence of a massacre. However, a close analysis of this film itself raised doubts. There’s no indication that the men were even shot there; there’s no significant amount of blood in the area, even though there were numerous head wounds and even a decapitation.

      A French reporter who fell for the ruse later wrote a story admitting that he had been duped by the KLA. But here, in the United States, the myth persists. News organizations continue to refer to the “Racak massacre,” as if it has been established beyond reasonable doubt. A recent Chicago Tribune report speculated on whether new fighting in Kosovo might provoke the Serbs into a “Racak-style retaliation.”

      The real story is who was behind the hoax, and who pushed the U.S. and NATO into this war. U.S. diplomat William Walker was on the scene at the time, claiming the Serbs were guilty of “a crime against humanity.” The Sunday Times of London has published the claim that Walker was working with the CIA, which was reportedly assisting the KLA. This is yet another reason why President Bush should clean out this intelligence agency.

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