Mowing Embassies (was sowing dragons)

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Tue Apr 11 09:12:21 PDT 2000

JKSCHW at wrote:

>Sort of. The NYT story says it was deliberate, but blames the decision on a
>mid-level flunky who allegedly used outdated maps. Did the Euro stories say
>the real decision was made knowingly at the top? --jks

This is from the Observer, October 17, 1999. - Doug

At 12:47 PM +0100 10/17/99, Jim heartfield wrote:
>Nato bombed Chinese deliberately
>Nato hit embassy on purpose
>Kosovo: special report
>John Sweeney and Jens Holsoe in Copenhagen and Ed Vulliamy in Washington
>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
>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
>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 NATO.
>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 officers.
>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
>Jim heartfield

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