message from Veran Matic of Radio B-92


Jan Slakov

Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 16:07:25 -0600
From: Delongs <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Kosovo:   Radio B-92

Insider account of situation in Kosovo.

 Subject: Radio B92: West has washed its hands of the inhabitants

 From: Karl Waldron <•••@••.•••

 This note was sent to me this afternoon by VERAN MATIC,
editor-in-chief of Belgrade's banned Radio B92 and a leading peace
activist. He has won many international awards for media and democracy,
the latest being last year's MTV Europe "Free Your Mind" award. Early
this year he was named one of this year's hundred Global Leaders for
Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum.

 From: "Radio B92" <•••@••.•••
 To: "Karl Waldron" <•••@••.•••
 Subject: Re: The "Humanitarian" war
 Date: Wed, Mar 31, 1999, 12:52 pm

 Bombing the Baby with the Bathwater

 by Veran Matic

 Belgrade, March 30, 1999

 The air strikes against Yugoslavia were supposed to stop the Milosevic
war machine. The ultimate goal is ostensibly to support the people of
Kosovo, as well as those of Serbia, who are equally victims of the
Milosevic regime.

 In fact the bombing has jeopardised the lives of 10.5 million people
and unleashed an attack on the fledgling forces of democracy in Kosovo
and Serbia. It has undermined the work of reformists in Montenegro and
the Serbian entity of Bosnia-Herzegovina and their efforts to promote

 The bombing of Yugoslavia demonstrates the political impotence of US
President Bill Clinton and the Western alliance in averting a human
catastrophe in Kosovo. The protection of a population under threat is a
noble duty, but it requires a clear strategy and a coherent end game.
As the situation unfolds on the ground and in the air day by day, it is
becoming more apparent that there is no such strategy. Instead, NATO is
fulfilling the prophecy of its own doomsaying: each missile that hits
the ground exacerbates the humanitarian disaster that NATO is supposed
to be preventing.

 It's not easy to stop the war machine once its power has been
unleashed. But I urge the members of NATO to pause for a moment and
consider the consequences of what they are doing. Analysts are already
asking whether the air strikes are still really about saving Kosovo
Albanians. Just how far are NATO members prepared to go? What comes
next after the "military" targets? What happens if the war spreads? All
of these terrifying questions must be answered, although I suspect that
few will want to live with the historical burden of having answered

 The same questions crowded my mind as I sat in a Belgrade prison on
the first day of the NATO attack on my country. Whiling away the hours
in the cell I shared with a murder suspect, I asked myself what the
West's aim was for "the morning after". The image of NATO taking its
finger off the trigger kept coming to mind. I've seen no indication so
far that there is a clear plan to follow up the Western military

 My friends in the West keep asking me why there is no rebellion. Where
are the people who poured onto the streets every day for three months
in 1996 to demand democracy and human rights? Zoran Zivkovic, the
opposition mayor of the city of Nis answered that last week: "Twenty
minutes ago my city was bombed. The people who live here are the same
people who voted for democracy in 1996, the same people who protested
for a hundred days after the authorities tried to deny them their
victory in the elections. They voted for the same democracy that exists
in Europe and the US. Today my city was bombed by the democratic states
of the USA, Britain, France, Germany and Canada! Is there any sense in

 Most of these people feel betrayed by the countries which were their
models. Only today a missile landed in the yard of our correspondent in
Sombor. It didn't explode, fortunately, but many others have in many
other people's yards. These people are now compelled to take up arms
and join their sons who are already serving in the army. With the bombs
falling all around them nobody can persuade them - though some have
tried - that this is only an attack on their government and not their

 It may seem cynical that I am writing this from the security of my
office in Belgrade - secure, that is, compared to Pristina, Djakovica,
Podujevo and other places in Kosovo. But I can't help asking one
question: How can F16s stop people in the street killing one another?
Only days before the NATO aggression began, Secretary-General Solana
suggested establishing a "Partnership for Democracy" in Serbia and the
other countries of the former Yugoslavia to promote stability
throughout the region. Then, in a rapid U-turn, he gave the order to
attack Yugoslavia.

 With these attacks, it seems to me, the West has washed its hands of
the people, Albanians, Serbs and others, living in the region. Thus the
sins of the government have been visited on the people. Is this just?
There are many more factors in the choice of a nation's government than
merely the will of the voters on election day. If a stable, democratic
rule is to be established, and the rise of populists, demagogues and
other impostors avoided, the public must first of all be enlightened.
In other words there must be free media. NATO's bombs have blasted the
germinating seeds of democracy out of the soil of Kosovo, Serbia and
Montenegro and ensured that they will not sprout again for a very long
time. The pro-democratic forces in Republika Srpska, the Bosnian Serb
entity, have been jeopardised and with them the Dayton Peace Accords.
NATO's intervention has also given the green light for a local war
against Montenegro's pro-democracy president, Milo Djukanovic.

 The free media in Serbia has for years opposed nationalism, hatred and
war. As a representative of those media, and as a man who has more than
once faced the consequences of my political beliefs, I call on
President Bill Clinton to put a stop to NATO's attack on my country. I
call on him to begin negotiations which aim at securing the right to a
peaceful life and democracy for all the people in Yugoslavia,
regardless of their ethnic background.

 As a representative of the free media I know too well the need for
people on all sides of the conflict to have information. Those inside
the country need to be aware of international debate as well as what is
happening throughout this country. The international public needs the
truth about what is happening here. But in place of an unfettered flow
of accurate information, all of us hear only war propaganda - Western
rhetoric included. Of course truth is always the first casualty in
wartime. Here and now, journalists are also being murdered.

 Radio B92 is continuing its work as much as the circumstances of war
permit. It is continuing to broadcast news on the Internet at, via satellite and through a large number of radio
stations around the world which continue to carry its programs out of

 Veran Matic, Editor in Chief tel: +381-11-322-9109
 Radio B92, Belgrade, Yugoslavia fax: +381-11-322-4378

 Radio B92 Official Web Site ---

 From: Karl Waldron<•••@••.•••
 Subject: The "Humanitarian" war
 Date: Monday, 29 March, 1999 6:40 PM

 One wonders what has happened to the western governments' intelligence
(in both senses). It is clear that Milosevic could not have sold the
west's position at Rambouillet to his people and survived as President.
He has long proved that this survival is sole his raison d'etre so the
air-war became inevitable once the Kosovars signed up. There is
evidence that this scenario was put to the radicals in the KLA by the
moderates in order to bring the former "on-side".

 The error was thus in trying to impose rather than mediate a solution.

 What we have now is a potential - and wholly forseeable - disaster. It
seems pretty certain that NATO will not (and cannot) commit ground
troops against a hostile force. The upcoming US election will see to
that. Yet there will be pogroms, and rumours of pogroms, which cannot
be controlled from the air.

 The "war" in Kosovo - the one on the ground rather than the one in the
air - will be prosecuted by Serb irregulars - veterans of terror - who
will hold the urban areas and will prove to be brutal against ethnic
Albanians. The KLA are likely to hold the countryside and will be
equally brutal against the Serbs. Such 'troops' don't need tanks. All
they need is a gun, a can of petrol and a box of matches. There is a
paradigm shift as to what is acceptable. Every half-baked bitter and
drunken thug with a shotgun, a pistol or a knife 'joins up'.

 In 1991, I covered the flight of the Kurds from Iraqi Kurdistan to
Iran for which resulted in a million Kurds living under canvas.
Yesterday, the UNHCR and International Red Cross flew the tents to

 Diplomats are not particularly creative. I'm sure the "Safe Havens"
idea from Kurdistan will be resurrected. Once again we will start
drawing the ethnic maps.

 If Milosevic then signs on a personal basis as guarantor to a partial
Rambouillet for a limited area, what price Mr. Clinton's threat of
war-crime charges? The west probably has to maintain Milosovic in power
as the war has so enervated the liberal opposition that the best bet
for a successor in the newly radicalised Yugoslavia might prove to be
the (even more) arch-nationalist thug (and Vice President) Seselj.

 Thus by bombing we've alienated and radicalised the Yugoslav people,
virtually destroyed the Yugoslav opposition and given the extreme
nationalists an excuse to neuter the independent media; we've lost all
our independent observers and what little rule of law, and probable
common-decency survived to permit an admittedly imperfect and partial
peace in Kosovo has gone in favour of "law of the jungle justice" and
recrimination; we've displaced - at least temporarily - 500,000 people
now, potentially two million in the coming weeks; we've created a sore
in a notoriously unstable region which will probably suppurate for

 We've secured Milosevic another 10 years.

 And we've spent millions doing it.

 The only positive aspect is that, thus far, it has not "cost the
bones" of any NATO airman. Unfortunately, the bodies of the Kosovars
and Yugoslavians are already piled high.


 We are doing this for humanitarian purposes.

>  In the tradition of Henry Kissinger, Messrs. Clinton and Blair
> deserve

the Nobel Peace Prize.