WHY the Chinese embassy (hard to believe but true…)


Jan Slakov

Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 09:13:40 -0700 (PDT)
From: MichaelP <•••@••.•••>
Subject: It's the MAPS, stupid

Jared [see below] seems to have worked to determine why the Chinese Embassy was
bombed, and the related lies, suggests that it was a deliberate aim at
Chinese Journalist -I'll remind y'all Mr Fisk suggests (INDEPENDENT May
13) that Milosevic was the potential target.

As to the lies, it's clear that the journalist corps has some
responsibilty - It took Mr. Jared several days to produce this analysis
of an ever-changing story. No one at the NATO press conferences was
able/capable of penetrating the lies instantly, and no one in the press
bureaux did it or could have done it in a timely manner.

Cheers for the internet 



Dear reader,
Feel free to distribute this in any way you wish.
Jared  Israel  •••@••.••• 


Opponents of the war against Serbia argue that much of what passes for
news these days is really a kind of war propaganda, that NATO puts out
misinformation and the media disseminates the stuff uncritically.

A case in point is the coverage of the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in
Belgrade.  I download wire service reports from the AOL world news
database (accessible at aol://4344:30.WORLD.338815.464449182 if you are an
AOL member.  This allows me to see exactly how wire services and
newspapers change the news from hour to hour.  Very instructive for
studying how misinformation is disseminated.

Studying misinformation is a special interest of mine. If you'd like to
see some of my previous work in this area, send me a note and I'll email
you The Emperor's Clothes, which analyzes how the NY Times misinformed its
readers about the bombing of a Sudanese pill factory in August, 1998.

Before we examine the news coverage of the bombing of the Chinese Embassy,
let me recount a very interesting report from a Chinese intellectual,
currently at Harvard's Kennedy Institute, who spoke on May 8th at the
weekly Boston anti-war rally (held at 3:00 every Sat. in Copley Square).

The man had conferred with people overseas and thus had direct knowledge
of the attack on the Chinese  Embassy.  He said three missiles had struck
the Embassy compound, hitting three apartments where one or both adult
family members was a journalist.  The missiles apparently carried a light
explosive charge.

Why NATO Targeted Chinese Journalists

Why, asked the speaker, did all three missiles strike journalists'

Clearly, he said, the goal was to punish China for sympathizing with the
Yugoslav people against NATO.  More specifically, the intention was to
terrorize Chinese newspeople in Yugoslavia, thus silencing yet another
non-NATO information source.

Does that seem too nightmarish to be true?  Keep in mind, NATO has
consistently bombed Serbian news outlets with the stated intention of
silencing sources of "lying propaganda." Why would it be so far-fetched
for them to do the same to Chinese newspeople?

Perhaps NATO wants to silence ALL non-NATO reporting on the war, even at
the risk of starting World War III.

Or perhaps NATO, or a part of NATO, such as the U.S. government, wants to
provoke a fight with China before China gets too strong to be crushed?

Let's take a look at the "news" coverage.


NATO spokesman Jamie Shea's first response to the Embassy bombing was a)
to apologize and b) to explain that the NATO missiles had gone astray.
NATO had intended to hit a building across the street, a building that
houses what SHEA called the "Federal Directory for the Supply and

Said Shea:  "'I understand that the two buildings are close together."'
(Reuters, May 8)

(If they ever catch the terrorists who bombed the US Embassy in Kenya and
bring them to trial, could their legal team utilize the Shea Defense which
consists of 
a) first you say I'm very sorry and 
b) then you say you meant to blow up the building across the street?) 

But getting back to the "news" -- according to Jamie Shea the Chinese
Embassy is close to the "Federal Directory for the Supply and
Procurement."  But the Chinese Embassy is in fact located in the middle of
a park in a residential neighborhood and: 

"The embassy stands alone in its own grounds surrounded by grassy open
space on three sides.  Rows of high-rise apartment blocs are located 200
(600 feet) metres away and a line of shops, offices and apartments sits
about 150 meters (450 feet) away on the other side of a wide tree-lined
avenue, [called]...Cherry Tree Street." (Reuters, 5/8) 


Apparently realizing that a "Federal Directory for the Supply and
Procurement" would not be placed in an apartment complex -- or on a 1000
foot lawn - NATO spun a new story a few hours later: 

"Three NATO guided bombs which slammed into the Chinese embassy in
Belgrade overnight struck precisely at the coordinates programmed into
them, but it was not the building NATO believed it to be. 

'They hit bang on the three aim points they were given,' a military source

[NATO military spokesman General Walter] Jertz declined to say what sort
of weapon hit the Chinese embassy, except that it was 'smart' or guided
munitions and not free-fall bombs. He denied planners were 'using old
maps, wrong maps.'" (Reuters, May 8) 

OK.  Three smart missiles or bombs hit the three locations they were
supposed to hit.  It was a misidentified target.  And the Pilot(s) wasn't
misled by old or bad maps. 

On the face of it, what is the likelihood of NATO picking target
coordinates that just happen to coincide with three apartments occupied by
journalists?  I mean, one computer-guided bomb destroying a journalist's
home would not be unlikely.  But three hitting three journalists' homes? 


In the same Reuters story, another expert suggests it would be highly
unlikely for NATO to make the kind of mistake Jertz is suggesting: 

"'Target identification and pilot preparation would have been extensive in
this case, because of the military importance of the intended target and
because Belgrade is heavily defended by Serb forces,' [Air Force Maj. Gen. 
Charles Wald, a strategic planner for the Joint Chiefs of Staff] said at a
briefing for reporters. 

'`'The way targeting works ... the higher the threat, the more valued the
target, the more time you would study it.  The more time you have to study
it, the better,' Wald said." 

Based on what Wald is saying here, isn't it pretty much unlikely that an
embassy would be mistaken for a "Federal Directory for the Supply and


Which brings us to yet another problem.  Because in the same MAY 8 Reuters
Story the name of the place which NATO intended to bomb mysteriously
changes -- not once but twice.  Read the following quote from General
Jertz carefully: 

 "Careful to avoid making excuses, NATO military spokesman General Walter
Jertz said NATO went after the target because it thought it was the
weapons warehouse of the Federal Directorate for Supply and Procurement. 

 'The information we had was that in this building was the headquarters of
the Directorate, and we have no evidence that we were misled,' he said." 

 So now the thing they thought they were bombing was:

a) the Federal Directory for the Supply and Procurement;

b) Weapons warehouse of the Federal Directorate for Supply and
Procurement;  and

c) the headquarters of the Directorate.

 No wonder they couldn't be misled.  They couldn't even name the place. 


NATO's next spin-control effort was an attempt to simplify things. 
Retelling the story again a bit later on the 8th, AP reported that: 

"The precision-guided weapon that hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade
apparently did just what it was told. .." 

One weapon.  That does make things more believable, unless of course the
reader has seen the previous stories that refer to Three missiles.... 

Since few people read multiple news stories about the same topic, and even
fewer read them carefully, moving from three to one missile is a pretty
safe gambit.  But the problem still remains: how could NATO targeteers,
pouring over their maps, not notice the label CHINESE EMBASSY on a
building they were planning to bomb? 


NATO's answer: switch positions on the map question. 

What was the source of "the erroneous B-2 bomber attack, which dropped
several satellite-guided bombs on the embassy"? 

Here's the latest explanation: 

"In mistakenly targeting the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade Friday night,
U.S. intelligence officials were working from an outdated map issued
before China built its diplomatic compound several years ago, American and
NATO authorities said yesterday. 

'The tragic and embarrassing truth is that our maps simply did not show
the Chinese Embassy anywhere in that vicinity,' a senior NATO official
said." (Washington Post, May 10) 

Let's consider the implications of what we've just read. 

First, the Post accepts without question NATO's assertion that the embassy
bombing was accidental.  Indeed the Post doesn't mention the highly
newsworthy fact that the news media stories are so mutually contradictory. 
Doesn't that tell us something about these news agencies, about their
attitude toward NATO and this war?  That they are really part of NATO's
public relations effort, dutifully reporting whatever they are told
without pointing out the implications of NATO's ever-evolving

Second, the claim that using "old maps" was the problem flatly contradicts
an equally confident assertion made about 36 hours earlier by NATO'
spokesman, General Jertz. You remember: "He [that is., Gen. Jertz] denied
planners were 'using old maps, wrong maps.'" (Reuters, May 8) 

Third, consider the phrase "outdated map issued before China built its
diplomatic compound several years ago." This clearly refers to PAPER maps. 

Now is it believable that NATO would be working off old paper maps of
Belgrade?  What's the matter, they can't afford computers? They have no
technical staff?  We are after all talking about the combined armed forces
of the U.S. and most of Europe. The whole focus of their attack on Serbia
is aerial bombardment. Aerial bombardment depends primarily on maps and
intelligence. Doesn't it fly in the face of rudimentary common sense --
indeed of sanity -- to believe that this military force would have
anything but the most sophisticated mapping facilities, updated with
satellite photos and local intelligence reports hourly, all of it in
computerized war rooms with giant screens, scores of technical personnel,
etc., etc. 

And isn't it equally obvious, that that one thing such an armed force
would have at its finger tips would be exact information about sensitive
installations -- such as diplomatic facilities -- precisely to make sure
they did not get bombed. 

Unless of course NATO wanted them to be bombed. 

And of all the diplomatic facilities in all of Yugoslavia, wouldn't the
one to which NATO would pay the most attention be the Chinese Embassy in
Belgrade - both because of China's immense world-importance and because it
is Belgrade's chief ally. 

Of course NATO had up to date maps of the area around the Chinese Embassy. 
And of every square inch inside the Embassy as well. 

Fourth, since NATO claims it decided to bomb the Embassy because of what
the targeteers saw on these "old maps" -- just what did the targeteers
see?  We are told they didn't see the Embassy.  Did they see something
else they wanted to attack and destroy?  Just what was this something
else?  Was it a building which housed some military facility?  In the
middle of a 1000 foot lawn in a residential section of the city?  And if
there is such a map with such a building, why doesn't NATO produce this
ancient document, and show it to us? 

And fifth -- did you notice we're talking about multiple missiles again? 


According to NATO there were three --

 NO, there was only one smart bomb that hit the Chinese Embassy by mistake
because it missed a building across the street that houses the "Federal
Supply and Procurement Office" --

 NO, that wasn't the problem.  The missiles (because we're back to three
missiles again)  didn't miss -- they hit right on target except it turned
out the target was all wrong, it wasn't the Federal Supply and Procurement
Office at all, it was the Chinese Embassy and somehow the targeteers got
it all confused but one thing is definite: the mix-up was not the result
of using old maps. 

 But that's not right either because if a target is important a great deal
of care is taken, and given that this was such an important target, even
more care would be taken to make sure it really was the a) Federal
Directory for the Supply and Procurement and

 NO, that should be the b) Weapons Warehouse of the Federal Directorate
for Supply and Procurement,

 NO, that isn't right either it wasn't just a warehouse, it was the c) 
HEADQUARTERS of the Directorate and -

 NO!  Forget everything I've said so far.  It was the maps. The maps were
very old so you couldn't tell that the building on that site was an
Embassy.  And there were three missiles, of course -- who ever said
anything about there only being one? 


 This writer has just spoken to a Serbian gentlemen whose family lives a
few blocks from the Embassy.  He says the Embassy was built 4 or 5 years
ago and that prior to the building of the Embassy, the only thing there
was: a park. 

A park: tress and grass... 

Therefore the notion that NATO could possess a map drawn before the
Chinese Embassy was built which showed any building occupying the land on
which the Embassy now stands is simply impossible.  There was nothing
there but trees and grass. 

Therefore NATO is lying. 

And since NATO is lying, we are left with the Chinese gentleman's
explanation.  It is the only one that makes sense.  NATO deliberately blew
up three apartments inhabited by Chinese journalists in the Chinese
Embassy.  This was a high-tech execution.  What will NATO do next? 

(Note to reader: If you wish to see the complete text of the articles I
have quoted from, drop me a line and I'll be glad to send them to you. 
•••@••.••• ) 

Best regards,
Jared  Israel  •••@••.•••

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