Lord Gilbert - UK Defense Minister
NATO Deliberately Provoked A Fight With Serbia And There Was No Genocide In Kosovo
"My boss told me that I had seen every
single piece of paper on Kosovo that he had. I am not at all sure that was the case. I am
not accusing him of falsifying events, his memory may have been faulty, he may not have
known what I saw and what he saw, but still he assured me of that. I did also see the
reports, for example, on all the conversations between the Prime Minister and President
Clinton and Mr Chirac and Mr Schroderbar only one weekend when things got a little
rocky between Downing Street and the White House and there were telephone calls which, of
course, were not circulated.... I think certain people were spoiling for a fight in
NATO at that time..... If you ask my personal view, I think the
terms put to Milosevic at Rambouillet were absolutely intolerable; how could he
possibly accept them; it was quite deliberate. That does not excuse an awful lot of other
things, but we were at a point when some people felt that something had to be done, so you
just provoked a fight....The use of the word 'genocide', which came up very often, I
thought was quite misplaced because I do not think Mr
Milosevic, whatever else he was doing, was engaged in genocide...."
THE RT HON LORD GILBERT, British Junior Defence Minister During The Kosovo Conflict
Evidence To House of Commons Select Committee On Defense, 20 June 2000
|House Of Commons Select Committee on Defence Minutes of Evidence
Examination of witness (Questions 1080 - 1092)
TUESDAY 20 JUNE 2000
THE RT HON LORD GILBERT
[Extracts - Note: **** represents censored redacted text]
1037. Thank you for those remarks. John, we are coming to the
conclusion of our public hearings into the Lessons of Kosovo with the Secretary of State
tomorrow. Really we have a whole series of disparate questions, we have not got any set
formally, we will just play it as it comes. I know you were pretty active during the
conflict, so the first easy question is what did you do in the war, Dr Gilbert?
1043. John, we are on public record now. We are on record but you can delete
what you want to delete.
1044. You can tell us privately.
1045. We need to hear it.
1052. The policy changed later on. Do you think it was rather too
1053. Not in this inquiry.
1054. What is that called again?
1055. Hear! Hear! How stupid.
1080. Two questions [for Lord Gilbert]. Getting back to these possible invasion routes, there was a former CIA Director whose name escapes me who argued that going through Hungary was a way to go and presumably Austria would have been relatively supportive given its EU position......
1084. The second point is about the KLA. Various things have come to us in this
evidence we have taken so far. My impression is that a relatively well armed uniformed
force came from virtually nowhere and all
the questions we have asked about that in the past people have put a block on, it is as
though "we do not talk about that"
or "we do not have a view about that". I am interested to know what level of
co-ordination there was in terms of the ground offensive by the KLA in the way that was
all happening and also really how much support was being given from NATO countries,
particularly the United States, to the KLA.
1085. There are a lot of Albanians outside.
1086. What about what General Naumann
told us when he was here two weeks ago? He said that he believed as the Chairman of the
Committee that Milosevic, despite a bit of to-ing and
fro-ing around the edges, had honoured the October Agreement by removing his troops from
Kosovo and then the void was filled by the KLA going in and committing atrocities and
abuses against the Serbs which then left Milosevic in the precarious position of either
sitting back and allowing that to continue or to react. The suggestion he was putting
forward was that the KLA manufactured the final NATO involvement there by taking that line
when they did. If that was the case, did no-one see that coming?
1087. Was the conflict avoidable?
1091. Can I ask one further question for you on the press
conferences, bearing in mind how awful it was in the Falklands. Was that one of the more
successful aspects of the campaign?
1092. Thank you so much, John. You have the perfect liberty to make Nixon-like
deletions [from your evidence]. Even if you do, it has been very, very helpful, thank you
"The trigger for the US-led bombing of
Yugoslavia in 1999 was, according to the standard western version of history, the failure
of the Serbian delegation to sign up to the Rambouillet peace agreement. But that holds
little more water than the tale that has Iraq responsible for last year's invasion by not
cooperating with weapons inspectors. The secret
annexe B of the Rambouillet accord - which provided for the military occupation of the
whole of Yugoslavia - was, as the Foreign Office minister Lord
Gilbert later conceded to the defence select committee,
deliberately inserted to provoke rejection by Belgrade. But equally revealing about the west's wider motives is chapter four,
which dealt exclusively with the Kosovan economy. Article I (1) called for a 'free-market
economy', and article II (1) for privatisation of all government-owned assets. At the
time, the rump Yugoslavia - then not a member of the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO or
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development - was the last economy in
central-southern Europe to be uncolonised by western capital. 'Socially owned
enterprises', the form of worker self-management pioneered under Tito, still predominated.
Yugoslavia had publicly owned petroleum, mining, car and tobacco industries, and 75% of
industry was state or socially owned. In 1997, a
privatisation law had stipulated that in sell-offs, at least 60% of shares had to be
allocated to a company's workers. The high priests
of neo-liberalism were not happy. At the Davos summit early in 1999, Tony Blair berated
Belgrade, not for its handling of Kosovo, but for its failure to embark on a programme of
'economic reform' - new-world-order speak for selling state assets and running the economy
in the interests of multinationals. In the 1999 Nato
bombing campaign, it was state-owned companies - rather than military sites - that were
specifically targeted by the world's richest nations. Nato only destroyed 14 tanks, but
372 industrial facilities were hit - including the Zastava car plant at Kragujevac,
leaving hundreds of thousands jobless. Not one foreign or privately owned factory was
bombed. After the removal of Slobodan Milosevic, the
west got the 'fast-track' reforming government in Belgrade it had long desired. One of the first steps of the new administration was to repeal the
1997 privatisation law and allow 70% of a company to be sold to foreign investors - with
just 15% reserved for workers. The government then
signed up to the World Bank's programmes - effectively ending the country's financial
The Spoils of Another War
Guardian, 21 September 2004
"For amid the present furore over
the no-show of Iraqi WMDs, let us remember that in Kosovo our humanitarian Prime Minister
dragged this country into an illegal, US-sponsored war on grounds which later proved to be
fraudulent. In 2003 Tony's Big Whopper was that Saddam's WMDs 'could be activated within
45 minutes'. In 1999 it was that Slobodan Milosevic's Yugoslavia was 'set on a
Hitler-style genocide equivalent to the extermination of the Jews during World War
Two'..... In fact, the Yugoslavs had by February 1999 already agreed to most of the
autonomy proposals and had assented to a UN (but not Nato) peacekeeping team entering
Kosovo..... It was the unwelcome prospect of
Milosevic signing up to a peace deal and thereby depriving the US of its casus belli that
caused Secretary of State Albright, with the connivance of Cook, to insert new terms into the Rambouillet accord
purposely designed to be rejected by Belgrade. Appendix
B to chapter seven of the document provided not only for the Nato occupation of
Kosovo, but also for 'ounrestricted access' for Nato aircraft, tanks and troops throughout
Yugoslavia. The full text of the Rambouillet document was kept secret from the public and
came to light only when published in Le Monde Diplomatique on 17 April. By this time, the
war was almost a month old...The Kosovan war was, we were repeatedly told, fought 'to stop
a humanitarian catastrophe'. 'It is no exaggeration to say that what is happening is
racial genocide' - claimed the British Prime Minister - 'something we had hoped we would
never again experience in Europe. Thousands have been murdered, 100,000 men are missing
and hundreds forced to flee their homes and the country.' The Serbs were, according to the
US State Department, 'conducting a campaign of forced population movement not seen in
Europe since WW2'....With public support for war faltering, and a Downing Street spokesman
talking of a 'public-relations meltdown', it was time for the Lie Machine to go into
overdrive.... To date, the total body count of civilians killed in Kosovo in the period
1997-99 is still fewer than 3,000, a figure that includes not only those killed in open
fighting and during Nato air strikes, but also an unidentified number of Serbs. Clearly it
was an exaggeration - of Munchausenian proportions - for the Prime Minister to describe
what happened in Kosovo as 'racial genocide'. In both Kosovo and Iraq, the government's
war strategy seems to have been threefold:
1. In order to whip up public support for war, tell lies so outrageous that most people will believe that no one would have dared to make them up.
2. When the conflict is over, dismiss questions about the continued lack of evidence as 'irrelevant' and stress alternative 'benefits' from the military action, e.g., 'liberation' of the people.
3. Much later on, when the truth is finally revealed, rely on the fact that most people have lost interest and are now concentrating on the threat posed by the next new Hitler.
An admission of the government's culpability for the Kosovan war only slipped out in July 2000, when Lord Gilbert, the ex-defence minister, told the House of Commons that the Rambouillet terms offered to the Yugoslav delegation had been 'absolutely intolerable' and expressly designed to provoke war. Gilbert's bombshell warranted scarcely a line in the mainstream British media, which had been so keen to label the Yugoslavs the guilty party a year before."
How the battle lies were drawn
Spectator, 14 June 2003
NATO Fraud - There Was No Genocide In Kosovo
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