sebastian.luetgert on Mon, 18 Oct 1999 05:17:24 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> fwd: The Observer: Nato bombed Chinese deliberately

newsUnlimited / The Observer

        Nato bombed Chinese deliberately

        Nato hit embassy on purpose

        John Sweeney and Jens Holsoe in Copenhagen and Ed Vulliamy in

        Sunday October 17, 1999

        Nato deliberately bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during
        the war in Kosovo after discovering it was being used to
        transmit Yugoslav army communications.

        According to senior military and intelligence sources in Europe
        and the US the Chinese embassy was removed from a prohibited
        targets list after Nato electronic intelligence (Elint) detected
        it sending army signals to Milosevic's forces.

        The story is confirmed in detail by three other Nato officers -
        a flight controller operating in Naples, an intelligence officer
        monitoring Yugoslav radio traffic from Macedonia and a senior
        headquarters officer in Brussels. They all confirm that they
        knew in April that the Chinese embassy was acting as a 'rebro'
        [rebroadcast] station for the Yugoslav army (VJ) after alliance
        jets had successfully silenced Milosevic's own transmitters.

        The Chinese were also suspected of monitoring the cruise missile
        attacks on Belgrade, with a view to developing effective
        counter-measures against US missiles.

        The intelligence officer, who was based in Macedonia during the
        bombing, said: 'Nato had been hunting the radio transmitters in
        Belgrade. When the President's [Milosevic's] residence was
        bombed on 23 April, the signals disappeared for 24 hours. When
        they came on the air again, we discovered they came from the
        embassy compound.' The success of previous strikes had forced
        the VJ to use Milosevic's residence as a rebroadcast station.
        After that was knocked out, it was moved to the Chinese embassy.
        The air controller said: 'The Chinese embassy had an electronic
        profile, which Nato located and pinpointed.'

        The Observer investigation, carried out jointly with Politiken
        newspaper in Denmark, will cause embarrassment for Nato and for
        the British government. On Tuesday, the Queen and the Prime
        Minister will host a state visit by the President of China,
        Jiang Zemin. He is to stay at Buckingham Palace.

        Jiang Zemin is still said to be outraged at the 7 May attack,
        which came close to splitting the alliance.The official Nato
        line, as expressed by President Bill Clinton and CIA director
        George Tenet, was that the attack on the Chinese Embassy was a
        mistake. Defence Secretary William Cohen said: 'One of our
        planes attacked the wrong target because the bombing
        instructions were based on an outdated map.'

        Later, a source in the US National Imagery and Mapping Agency
        said that the 'wrong map' story was 'a damned lie'.

        Tenet apologised last July, saying: 'The President of the United
        States has expressed our sincere regret at the loss of life in
        this tragic incident and has offered our condolences to the
        Chinese people and especially to the families of those who lost
        their lives in this mistaken attack.

        Nato's apology was predicated on the excuse that the three
        missiles which landed in one corner of the embassy block were
        meant to be targeted at the Yugoslav Federal Directorate for
        Supply and Procurement, the FDSP. But inquiries have revealed
        there never was a VJ directorate of supply and procurement at
        the site named by Tenet. The VJ office for supplies - which
        Tenet calls FDSP - is some 500 metres down the street from the
        address he gave.. It was bombed later.

        Moreover the CIA and other Nato intelligence agencies, such as
        Britain's MI6 and the code-breakers at GCHQ, would have listened
        in to communication traffic from the Chinese embassy as a matter
        of course since it moved to the site in 1996.

        A Nato flight control officer in Naples also confirmed to us
        that a map of 'non-targets': churches, hospitals and embassies,
        including the Chinese, did exist. On this 'don't hit' map, the
        Chinese embassy was correctly located at its current site, and
        not where it had been until 1996 - as claimed by the US and

        Why the Chinese were prepared to help Milosevic is a more murky
        question. One possible explanation is that the Chinese lack
        Stealth technology, and the Yugoslavs, having shot down a
        Stealth fighter in the early days of the air campaign, were in a
        good position to trade. The Chinese may have calculated that
        Nato would not dare strike its embassy, but the five-storey
        building was emptied every night of personnel. Only three people
        died in the attack, two of whom were, reportedly, not
        journalists - the official Chinese version - but intelligence

        The Chinese military attache, Ven Bo Koy, who was seriously
        wounded in the attack and is now in hospital in China, told
        Dusan Janjic, the respected president of Forum for Ethnic
        Relations in Belgrade, only hours before the attack, that the
        embassy was monitoring incoming cruise missiles in order to
        develop counter-measures.

        Nato spokesman Lee McClenny yesterday stood by the official
        version. 'It was a terrible mistake,' he said, 'and we have
        apologised.' A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in London said
        yesterday: 'We do not believe that the embassy was bombed
        because of a mistake with an out-of-date map.',3879,92747,00.html

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