Borba100 at Borba100 at
Sun Sep 26 18:23:17 MDT 1999

Spanish experts see no Serbian genocide in Kosovo
by Pablo Ordaz

commentary by Jared Israel (revised 9-26-99)

[The website encourages everyone to reproduce
the following report in full including this note.]

The following article from El Pais (The Country), a mainstream Spanish
magazine, is most important. For months we've been barraged with stories
claiming Serbs killed thousands of ethnic Albanians and dumped them in mass
graves in Kosovo. Recently I did an internet search for newspaper articles,
appearing in the past 90 days, and including the words 'Kosovo' and 'mass
grave.' The report came back: 'More than 1000 - too many to list.' I had to
limit the search to articles in the NY Times and even then came up with 80,
nearly one a day.

It has been a giant air balloon of anti-Serbian publicity, but now comes the
pin: Spanish forensic experts, just back from Northern Kosovo where, they
were told, they would have to inspect the worst Serbian atrocities, found no
mass graves and no evidence of torture.

We received this article at 11 PM on 9/23 and had a translation the next
morning thanks to Herb Foerstal in the U.S. The translation was then checked
for accuracy, again on no notice and within a few hours, thanks to Julio
Fernández Baraiba in Argentina.

Below is the English translation of the article from El Pais, followed by

El Pais

by PABLO ORDAZ in Madrid

Spanish police and forensic experts have not found proof of Genocide in the
North of Kosovo. Prisoners [in the prison in] Istok were shot after the
bombardment of NATO.

Crimes of War - yes, Genocide - no. This was definitely shown yesterday by
the group of Spanish experts formed by officials from the Scientific Police
and Civilian Forensics that has just returned from Istok, the Zone in the
North of Kosovo under the control of the Legion. {Spanish Legion? - EC} 187
cadavers found and analyzed in 9 villages were buried in individual graves,
oriented for the most part toward Mecca out of respect for the religious
beliefs of the Albanian Kosovars and without sign of torture. "There were no
mass graves. For the most part the Serbs are not as bad as they have been
painted," reflected the forensic official Emilio Pérez Pujo.

That was not the only irony. Also questioned were the successive counts that
are being offered by the "allies" on the tragedy of Kosovo. "I have been
reading the data from UN said Pérez Pujol, Director of the Forensic
Anatomical Institute of Cartagena. "And they began with 44,000 deaths. Then
they lowered it to 22,000. And now they're going with 11,000. I look forward
to seeing what the final count will really be." The Spanish Mission which
should now submit a report to the International War Crimes Tribunal in The
Hague, left from Madrid in the beginning of the month of the August with the
feeling that they were going on a road to hell. "They told us that we were
going to the worst zone of Kosovo. That we should prepare ourselves to
perform more than 2000 autopsies. That we would have to work until the end of
November. The result is very different. We only found 187 cadavers and now we
are going to return," explained the chief inspector, Juan López Palafox,
responsible for the Office of Anthropology and Scientific Police.

The forensic people, as well as the police, applied their experience in
Rwanda in order to determine what occurred in Kosovo at least in that section
assigned to the Spanish detachment and they were not able to find evidence of

"In the former Yugoslavia," said López Palafox, "crimes were committed, some
no doubt horrible, but they derived from the war. In Rwanda we saw 450
corpses of women and children, one on top of another, all with their heads
broken open." The Chief Inspector added that in Kosovo, on the contrary, they
had found many isolated corpses. "It gives the impression that the Serbs gave
a choice to the families to leave their homes. If some member of the clan,
for whatever reason, decided to remain, upon returning they were found dead
from a shot or by whatever other method." {our emphasis}

One of the members of the Spanish mission shed light on events in the Istok
prison, bombed at the end of May by NATO planes. The work, directed by López
Palafox and Pérez Pujol was aimed at solving the following mystery: who
killed the more than 100 prisoners - the bombs of NATO or the bullets of
Serbian soldiers? The answer, according to the preliminary studies, is clear.
Some of the cadavers analyzed had shrapnel wounds and therefore clearly
appeared to have been killed by the bombardment. But others died of clear
clean bullet wounds, perhaps from the bullets of machine guns. The most
likely thesis is that after the bombardment, the prison inmates tried to flee
and were shot by Serbian guards.


by Jared Israel

I've been reading mass grave stories in the New York Times for most of a day.
I hope to do a detailed analysis soon. Meanwhile, here are a few observations:

* You would expect these stories to be horrifying. What is surprising is that
they are so repetitious - using the same phrases - that reading them is

* The articles are often written in semi-fictional style, as in "A cap lay on
the ground, stained bright red. 'Who would believe the Serbs would do this?'
asked the gaunt Albanian. A tear trickled down the old man's cheek." This
kind of writing encourages the reader to suspend disbelief, as one does when
reading a short story, to accept emotionally charged statements as true.

* Evidence, if any, is anecdotal; sources are vague.

* The discovery or even the rumor of a grave is cited (often in a press
conference by some authority figure) as proof of Serbian atrocities.

These 'atrocities' are then discussed in great, though entirely speculative,
detail. Trial by media. It is enough to make you gaga, especially when you
read such 'news' for hours at a time. The mental equivalent of smog.

* Arguments are circular. A supposed mass grave is discovered. Assumptions
are (publicly and loudly) made about the unopened grave: the dead bodies will
be Albanians; they will be civilians; they will turn out to have been killed
by Serbs; the Serbs will have been soldiers or policemen. These speculations,
once uttered, become part of the record, to be cited in later articles as
proven fact.

The Spanish experts were told they would find 2000 bodies. They found 187.
That is about 10%. Many of the 187 died when NATO bombed a prison or,
apparently. afterwards, trying to escape. The war crime involved here is
NATO's: it is a crime of war to bomb any nonmilitary target, let alone a
prison, the ultimate sitting duck.

The Spanish forensic scientists speculate that the remaining cadavers were
Albanian civilians killed by Serbian troops or police. If these speculations
are correct, these people could be victims of Serbian war crimes. That's
about 100 people, 5% of the promised 2000.

In considering this 5%, I suggest we adopt a cautious approach.

Every official in a NATO country is under pressure to parrot the NATO line.
Nevertheless these Spanish experts aired their reservations publicly. Note
that when they discussed the individuals with bullet wounds they made clear
they were speculating:

"It gives the IMPRESSION that the Serbs gave a choice to the families to
leave their homes. If some member of the clan, for whatever reason, decided
to remain, upon returning they were found dead."

Of course, one can only get the impression that these people were shot by
"the Serbs" for refusing to leave their homes if one accepts that they were
members of families whom "the Serbs" had ordered to leave. But how could the
scientists know this? They could only 'know it' from witnesses.

The El Pais story says nothing about witnesses, so now we must speculate;
fortunately we do know a few things.

First, Kosovo is under a reign of terror by the Kosovo Liberation Army, with
NATO's blessing. At the end of this commentary we list a few articles
documenting that reign of terror, including first hand accounts. (See note 1
at end)

Second, both NATO and the KLA have a strong interest in proving that the
Serbian government had a policy of genocide against Albanians. NATO needs to
prove this because the existence of Serbian genocide was NATO's justification
for bombing Yugoslavia for 78 days. The KLA needs to prove it because Serbian
genocide is the KLA's justification for driving Serbs and "Gypsies" out of
Kosovo. As Sam Berger put it, speaking for NATO and the KLA:

All across Kosovo, we see reminders that America and our allies did the right
thing in taking a stand against ethnic cleansing…. The Serb forces
responsible for the violence are gone…But there is also tremendous sadness --
from the pain of remembering and the devastation left behind by Milosevic's
campaign of hate. And in many victims there is rage, a desire for justice,
and sometimes revenge. (Foreign Policy Adviser Sandy Berger, "Remarks to
Council on Foreign Relations", July 26, 1999)
In this remarkable speech Mr. Berger is a) giving the KLA the green light to
attacks Serbs because it's all quite understandable considering the
"tremendous sadness" and "victims" consumed with "rage" and b) making the
purpose of the war crimes investigations perfectly clear. The purpose is NOT
to discover the truth. It is unnecessary; Mr. Berger proclaims the truth in
advance of discovery. Rather the purpose is to provide "reminders that
America and our allies did the right thing."

Thus the investigation is controlled by the two most interested parties, NATO
and the KLA. Their control includes not only the handling of evidence but the
recruitment and preparation of witnesses. Obviously such witnesses can be
either agents of the KLA or under KLA domination. Any witness providing
testimony disliked by the KLA would be risking his or her life. And as a
recent story in the mainstream media suggests, the KLA considers lying a
perfectly legitimate weapon in winning international support. (See note 2 at
end) So much for the witnesses.

And then there is the problem of the graves. The Spanish experts say the
cadavers were found in individual graves, not mass graves. That is thoughtful
of the Serbs. And even more thoughtful: the graves were "oriented for the
most part toward Mecca out of respect for the religious beliefs of the
Albanian Kosovars…"

This is curious. I have read many newspaper articles which argue that Serbs
are hostile to Albanians because they're (mostly) Muslims. That supposedly
motivates the (allegedly) anti-Albanian atrocities. The Serbs say they don't
hate anybody, that they have been fighting to preserve a multiethnic society
against a terrorist assault by a racist faction among ethnic Albanians - a
faction backed by the U.S. and Germany.

Let's assume the newspapers are right. So first Serbian troops murdered these
100 Albanians out of religious hatred - and then they buried the Albanians
facing Mecca out of religious respect. Isn't this rather strange behavior?

Perhaps the Spanish experts were lied to. Perhaps they were shown the bodies
of KLA troops who died fighting the Yugoslav army; hence the bullet wounds
(inflicted in battle) and the respectful burial (performed by the KLA army).
That at least would make sense.

There are many graves in Kosovo, too many. For a year and a half a fierce war
raged between KLA terrorists and the Yugoslav Army and police. Aside from
those who died in the fighting, we have credible evidence that the KLA
executed many pro-Yugoslav Albanians, as well as non-Albanians (who do not
necessarily differ from Albanians in appearance) not to mention Yugoslav
soldiers and policemen.

So, thousands of people died and were buried. The KLA has had a free hand in
Kosovo since early June, plenty of time to move bodies around, to dress dead
soldiers as civilians and to tutor 'grieving relatives' until they sound
believable. And despite all that the Spanish scientists, sent to the zone of
the worst Serbian atrocities, came back virtually empty-handed.

Some people ask: are you saying Serbs are incapable of committing atrocities?
No, as with all populations, some Serbian people are probably capable of
committing atrocities. But to go from this general possibility to the charge
that the Serbian armed forces systematically killed Albanian civilians (while
publicly arguing for multi-ethnic unity and indeed arming many Albanians
against the KLA) is to go quite a distance. Traversing it requires something:

American legal theory says a person is innocent until proven guilty. Inherent
to this approach is the notion that criminal investigation should be
conducted by disinterested parties with a goal of finding out if there has
been a crime and discovering the truth, not in proving a case to destroy some

Shouldn't we apply the same criteria when dealing with alleged mass crimes
possibly implicating a government and an entire people? Or should
investigations be launched only as needed to justify NATO policy? Should
guilt then be decided by a hostile US press with government officials making
prejudicial statements before the fact? Should the evidence be the testimony
of 'witnesses' supplied by the US side in a vicious war, 'witnesses' who
testify in secret, 'witnesses' who are never cross-examined by the accused?

The use of these Inquisitorial methods of proof rebounds, proving that NATO
(that is, the US government) and the media are trying to railroad the Serbian

Every time an accusation is made, two parties go on trial: the accused and
the accuser. For if an accusation can be shown to be false, then the question
must be asked: was it made with malicious intent? Was it perhaps cooked up to
divert attention from some other crime, some greater crime? Some crime,
perhaps, committed by the accuser?

The Spanish forensic scientists and policemen quoted in El Pais have done us
all a service. By denying NATO's charges they have indicted NATO. In doing so
they have risked NATO's wrath - and their careers - to tell the truth. Their
decency gives one hope.



Note 1: First hand reports of KLA terror

* For an interview with the leader of the Jewish community in Pristina,
Kosovo, go to: or if on
AOL  <A HREF="">Click

*For an eye-opening report on a recent 2 week trip through Kosovo, go to: or if on AOL  <A

* For an interview with Kosovo Albanians who led opposition to the KLA and
have been forced out of Kosovo by threat of death, go to: or if on AOL  <A
HREF="">Click here</A>

Note 2: KLA Woman's Story Exposed as Lie

Go to: * or if on AOL  <A
HREF="">Click here</A>

Note 3: Analysis of NATO 'mass grave' and 'atrocity' claims
* For 'Racak - The Impossible Massacre,' by Diana Johnstone go to: or if on AOL  <A

* For 'Were NATO's mass grave pictures faked?' by Jared Israel go to: or if on AOL  <A
HREF="">Click here</A>

For a detailed look at (and refutation of) NATO's most important massacre
story, 'Srebrenica: Three years and still waiting,' go to: or
if on AOL  <A
m">Click here</A>

If you're reading this article in a site other than and
would like to see other articles, please go to: or if on AOL <A
HREF="">Click here</A>

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