British Newspaper: Chinese Embassy Attack Deliberate

Jay Moore pieinsky at
Sun Oct 17 06:14:04 MDT 1999

Nato bombed Chinese deliberately
Nato hit embassy on purpose

John Sweeney and Jens Holsoe in Copenhagen and Ed Vulliamy in Washington
The Observer
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 transmitters.

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

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 map.'

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