January 22, 2009 (the date of publication in Russian)

Mikhail Yambayev


Playing off Albanian gangsters as victims of genocide, the US created a pretext for annihilation of Yugoslavia


January 15 is the tenth anniversary of the most cynical provocation of Western intelligence services that created a pretext for NATO's aggression against the United Republic of Yugoslavia.

The event of that day became known in global mass media as the "Racak massacre" – the reported extermination of forty ethnic Albanian civilians in Kosovo by the Yugoslavian military.

In fact, the village of Racak had served by that time as a base for one of the brigades of the irregular Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK), named Agim Celej-Coli. From this foothold, fighters frequently launched terrorist raids, targeting state servicemen and policemen of both Serbian and Albanian origin.

After the assassination of local police officer Svetislav Pesic, whose auto was attacked from an ambush on January 10, 1999, a special unit of Yugoslavian police undertook an anti-terrorist operation.

At that time, Belgrade tried to attract attention of international observers to UCK's terrorist activities. A team of EU representatives, as well as mass media, were informed about the planned operation in Racak. Arriving on several jeeps, the team, including Reuters and AP correspondents, stopped in several kilometers away from the village.

The armed clash between a special unit of Yugoslavian police and the UCK paramilitary lasted for sixteen (!) hours. Eventually, the policemen left the place. For some reason, the joint security cordon of police and military was suspended. Shortly after that, a team of foreigners collected the dead bodies from the area and threw them down into a ravine. On the next day, the place was visited by William Walker, head of the international observing mission. He was followed by a crowd of TV journalists. Posturing before the heap of dead bodies, Mr. Walker called General Wesley Clark, Commander of NATO forces in Europe, saying: "There was a mass murder here in Racak. I am standing here among corpses." That was the starting point for an international political campaign against Belgrade that later justified the secession of Kosovo which subsequently became the major military base of the United States in Southern Europe.

Days after Walker's TV opportunity, Washington Post published a "revealing" report of journalist Geoffrey Smith. Referring to intelligence sources, the author quoted an eavesdropped phone talk, in which Nikola Sajinovic, Deputy Prime Minister of Yugoslavia, allegedly instructed Gen. Sreten Lukic, commander of Yugoslavian police in Kosovo, to "cover up traces" of murder of civilians in Racak.


The episode in Racak subsequently became a major argument for a new Washington's campaign against "Serbian fascism" and a brutal assault of NATO on Yugoslavia. On March 19, 1999, days before the bombings, US President Bill Clinton declared: "I have to remind about the tragic developments in Racak, where innocent people, women and children, were dragged out of their homes to a hollow, where they were forced to stand on their knees and then killed. They were exterminated not for some wrongdoings but just for their origin".

The following NATO intervention dubbed "Merciful Angel" killed thousands of Yugoslavian civilians and inflicted irreparable damage to the nation's economy. In the midst of air attacks, in May, the International Tribunal in The Hague accused Yugoslavia's President Slobodan Milosevic of organizing an "ethnic cleansing" in Racak:

"Approximately (sic) on January 15, at early morning, the Serbian military entered the village and started a search in homes. Villagers who tried to hide were killed at the place. A group of 25 men tried to hide in one of the houses but the military found and seized them. The men were beaten, and then dragged to the nearest hill and executed. In general, around 45 civilians were killed". The published list of "executed Kosovars", exterminated allegedly for their ethnic origin, included one woman and a 14-year-old teenager.

When Slobodan Milosevic was given away to the tribunal, mass media reported that a key witness would appear and testify about the phone talk between Sajinovic and Lukic. The witness never appeared.

Eventually, on October 2003, the Tribunal accused four Yugoslavian generals of military crimes in Racak. Official charges were brought against Nebojsa Pavkovic, Vladimir Lazarevic, Vlastimil Djordjevic and Sreten Lukic.

Between January and June 1999, Mr. Pavkovic commanded Yugoslavia's Third Army, Mr. Lazarevic headed the Pristina Corps, Mr. Djordjevic chaired the Ministry of Interior's Department of Public Security, while Mr. Lukic was in charge of the Interior's contingent in Kosovo, being later elevated to the post of Deputy Minister.

The indictment, signed by O-Gon Kwon, a judge from South Korea, laid responsibility on the four generals for the "crimes against humanity" committed in the period between January 1 and June 20, 1999. During this time, they allegedly assassinated and abducted Kosovars, forcing 800,000 of the local civilians to leave their homes in Racak, Bela Crkva, Mala Krusa, Suva Reka and other villages (in fact, most of the civilians tried to escape from NATO bombs and UCK terror).

During the trial, Milosevic exposed the lie about the so-called "massacre in Racak" that was one of the major charge counts. In March 2003, he exposed Helena Ranta, a Finnish forensic expert, of manipulating facts and presenting her personal opinion instead of official conclusions of the earlier established international expertise commission. He claimed that Ms. Ranta's evidence served as an immediate pretext for the NATO air assault on Belgrade.

A press release, published by Ms. Ranta, chair of the EU group of experts, was subsequently published as an official report of the group. The press release described the 40 persons, whose bodies were "discovered" in Racak, as peaceful civilians.

"They cannot be peaceful civilians at least for the reason that the same expert group found traces of powder on the hands of 37 of them", Milosevic said. He also indicated that 23 of the killed men wore Austrian boots that UCK was then supplied with. Milosevic added that these men, according to the forensic findings, were killed from a distance of 150-100 m, while Ms. Ranta ranted that they were killed at point-blank range.


Addressing Ms. Ranta, Slobodan Milosevic claimed that with her press release she deliberately or occasionally mislead the public and provided a pretext for an international military intervention in Yugoslavia. "The press release, expressing not more than your personal view, substantiated the war for the official purpose of protecting ethnic Albanians", he said. Ms. Ranta objected that her activity cannot be associated with the NATO operation, as Finland was not a NATO member. "This is even worse", Milosevic said.

In her memoirs published in October 2008, Helena Ranta confessed of having forged the evidence on the clash in Racak under pressure from the officials of Finland's ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as from William Walker.

In his article published in Politika daily, Belgrade, Prof. Dusan Dunic, a forensic expert who took part in the investigation of the developments in Racak, claimed that Ms. Ranta's memoirs contain only a part of truth. "I believe that our state has a right to ask Ms. Ranta who particularly pressured her Ц Mr. Walker, head of the so-called group of observers, or anyone else. Like in the case of the memoirs of ex-Hague Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte, the Government should establish a special investigative commission and officially demand her testimony".

According to Mr. Dunic, the cooperation of Finnish and Serbian forensic experts was successful and fruitful. Meanwhile, Ms. Ranta's manipulations could be noticed from the very beginning. She frequently made phone calls, reporting about the details of the findings to unidentified officials.

"In the Forensic Institute in Pristina, we carried out autopsy of forty dead bodies, one of them female. The conclusions of Serbian and Finnish specialists were identical. However, before the official results were going to be published, Ms. Ranta launched a press conference. Looking nervous, she emphasized that she was expressing her personal opinion. At this moment, Mr. Walker seized the mike from her hands and declared that Ms. Ranta has found the proof that the Racak case was a deliberate murder of civilians.

"Meanwhile, her Finnish colleagues had found out that the so-called civilians were equipped with warm underwear. They wore trousers upon sweat pants and underpants. That means that they had stayed for a long time outdoors, and not in homes", Dunic emphasizes.

According to Dunic, the tribunal disposed this evidence. "I've never seen their official conclusion. The fact is, however, that the materials on the Racak episode were subsequently withdrawn from the case of Milosevic, as well as from the case of Milan Milutinovic and other generals", he indicates.


Speaking to Russian TV journalist Yevgeny Baranov, expert Helena Ranta admitted that William Walker "was embarrassed with the results of the expertise". She also acquainted Russian journalists with the original conclusion of the military forensic expertise that had never been published. "Today, I am ready to speak about the results of the investigation", she says. But "today" is irreversibly late.

One more member of the forensic expertise team, Prof. Vujadin Otasevic, is not surprised with Ms. Ranta's testimony on the pressure exerted on her by William Walker, then-head of the OSCE mission in Kosovo and Metohija.

"I was sure she would repent sooner or later", he says. "When you are dealing with autopsy, you can't hide truth for ever", Otasevic said in his interview to Politika daily on October 23, 2008. A year before, this expert and his colleague Slavisa Dobricanin published a research entitled "Kosovo. The voice of the victims", describing the Racak episode in details.

"The truth about Racak is already revealed. This last repenting statement of Helena Ranta confirms that Yugoslavia's special police was slanderously accused of executing civilians in this village. Now, everybody in the world has to realize Ц though too late Ц that it was an armed clash of Albanian terrorists and the state security forces", he says.


That was already after the "judicial killing" of Slobodan Milosevic. While he was alive, he continued to resist and even successfully counterattacked.

In April 2004, during a cross-interrogation of the abovementioned forensic expert Slavisa Dobricanin, Mr. Milosevic repeatedly proved that the Albanians, killed in Racak, represented a paramilitary squad and were not at all "peaceful civilians", as Western human right advocates reported Ц with reference to intelligence sources.

Addressing the expert, the tribunal's judge inquired whether the only teenager, found dead among UCK fighters, was a peaceful civilian. The witness replied that in Albanian families, boys of this age are regarded as adults and use weapons. Answering the same question for the second time, the witness said, "I can't tell you anything definite except that the age, in this case, does not mean much".

During this interrogation, Mr. Milosevic provided convincing evidence that at least 30 males, whose bodies were found in Racak, were in the lists of UCK fighters.

On January 23, 2006, after a six-week break in the Tribunal's proceedings, the trial was continued. This time, Milosevic's defense attorneys invited Milan Kotur, a retired colonel of the Yugoslavian Popular Army, who commanded the ground forces of the Pristina Corps in 1998-1999, being responsible for connections with the OSCE mission in the region.

Milan Kotur testified that the Army strictly complied with the conditions of the Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement signed in October 1999: the number of the military in Kosovo was reduced to the level preceding the clashes with UCK. The fighters were defeated before the mission arrived, but after the army pulled out, the movement used this situation for reorganization, returning to its combat site.

According to Serbian philologist and journalist Irina Antanasievic, in the period between January 1 and December 31, 1998, Albanian terrorists committed 1129 attacks on servicemen and civilians in the relatively small region of Kosovo and Metohija. 115 police servicemen were killed, 216 injured, 187 wounded and 15 abducted. Among civilians, 187 persons were killed, 158 injured, 878 wounded, and 292 were missing. This dry statistics reflect hundreds of human tragedies.

In 1998, UCK occupied the town of Orahovac for several days. The same happened with the village of Opterusa. That was more than a chain of terrorist acts: that was a war against statehood of Yugoslavia. Mass media were then silent.

It is rarely mentioned, even in Serbian media, that the consolidation of Kosovars into a nation was achieved by means of coercion, blackmail, and racketeering. In case you don't pay a tax for "free Kosovo" ranging from 100 to 10,000 German marks, you are regarded a traitor and treated like a Serb. The toll of the "peaceful" year 1998 included 77 Albanians and 46 Serbs, while in 42 cases, the origin was not identified. Similarly, number of missing persons included 173 Serbs and 100 Albanians.

Asked whether the OSCE mission itself complied with the Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement, the witness said that the team "did not always behave correctly": it was spectacularly more sympathetic to UCK. He illustrated his statements with the example of Racak in January 1999. According to Kotur, the Yugoslavian army, the police and the OSCE mission had struck an agreement that forbade any comments before a joint investigation of a particular case, but William Walker and his deputy John Drevenkievic violated this agreement in the Racak case.

"They described the event in this village as a mass murder of innocent civilians, organized by the army and police. In fact, Drevenkievic just did not know what had happened. He asked me on January 15 about the developments in Racak, and I answered that it had been a counter-terrorist police operation. He told me that five or six persons were killed there, not mentioning about teenagers at all. However, on the next day he officially claimed that the murder affected women and children. "He told me about his decision to travel to Racak along with Walker in order to speak about this aloud. I tried to dissuade him from going there before the investigation publishes its judgment. But he told me that Walker was already in Racak".


Meanwhile, the tenth anniversary of the clash in Racak was celebrated in the independent Kosovo in its own style. On January 15, President Fatmir Seidiu and Prime Minister Hasim Taci declared that Kosovo "will never forget the massacre in Racak". Officials reiterated the version of a mass murder of civilians. "The Serbian military made Kosovo a scorched land, destroying over 130,000 homes, a lot of mosques, and killed 13,000 peaceful Albanians".

In his turn, Hasim Taci, the former chieftain of separatist fighters, claimed that "the Racak massacre accelerated the diplomatic and military measures against the Milosevic regime". Thus, he actually admitted that the alleged massacre was in fact a bloody performance staged after an armed clash by Western intelligence services that backed UCK. This masquerade was utilized for the destruction of Yugoslavia that still continues. Clinton's cronies, invited to the new US Democratic administration by Barack Obama, are likely to leave nothing of Serbia except reference in textbooks of history.

The commemoration ceremony in Pristina that looked rather like a holiday of the subject of the event that opened the road to the half-NATO, half-gangster quasi-independence, was concluded with Taci's expression of gratitude to William Walker, who "had chosen the side of truth", as Mr. Taci put it. Mr. Walker, the real hero of the event, received a special award, the "Gold Medallion of Humanism" from Taci's hands.

See also Alexander Rublev's article THE EMPIRE OF LIE. Part 1. STOLEN IMAGES

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