All filmed yesterday in Edinburgh, and Glasgow respectively, and thanks to Les Scott for assistance!
All filmed yesterday in Edinburgh, and Glasgow respectively, and thanks to Les Scott for assistance!
On Brexit day – here’s a special playlist with all my Brexit video reportage in one place – well over 100 videos –
Today is, of course, Brexit day, in all the UK, and I’ve just come back from Scotland, filming reportage there on the independence referendum, and wrapping up filming on upcoming documentary ‘Brit in Crimea (on his holidays)’.
As you will all be aware, the last week saw a terrorist attack in London, with the loss of four lives, and over 40 injured. In the first instance, I’d like to say a huge thanks to all of those of you who expressed your condolences. I was fairly nearby at the time, and rushed to the scene to film live reportage. Actually I’ll be doing a special, extended report on it over this week.
And it will be my final reportage before leaving London, for the next period of work. I’ve lived in this city for some 16 years, well remember the 2005 terrorist attack here, so of course, this new attack resonates, it’s painful. Yet, I also must compare it with my time as a correspondent in Donbass, and I remember at times days on end with death tolls higher than that of London on March 22nd, and no international outrage, pray for Donbass and on…
In modern times, London has survived the IRA, July 7th and now last Wednesday’s terrorist attacks, but there’s no question that almost all living in London, even the UK, have no idea what people in Donbass have been through. On the recent March for Europe, in London, I asked this man, from twin city of Donetsk, Sheffield, about Donetsk – he believed it to be in Russia –
I covered the March for Europe extensively, all my video reportage from there, here, 35 video interviews in total –
Interesting how many pro-EU marchers believe that the EU has ‘brought peace’, when of course last week marked 18 years since the EU-backed bombing of then-Yugoslavia. I wrote an article about that here, on the Truth Speaker, and thank you for the strong response to that! To make no mention of the EU-instigated war we all know too well about, in Donbass, where Patrick Lancaster reports today, as a woman killed by Ukrainain shelling.
Before returning, which I’ll do via the Netherlands, among other countries, I made this video for the MH17 investigation team:
As for now, I’m preparing to leave the UK to return to Donbass, via a number of locations en route interesting for reportage. There’s a lot of that coming up, and there will be another newsletter soon.
Meanwhile, all the best, as ever, and forever thanks for your support of my work (for details on how to support, click here).
Here are all my video interviews from the London March for Europe, 2017, on Saturday, March 25th –
18 years ago today, began something that I, as a British person, feel ashamed of our involvement in, to this day. Operation ‘Noble Anvil‘, the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, which began on March 24th, 1999. It began after NATO’s claim that the Albanian population in Kosovo were being persecuted by Yugoslavian (FRY) forces, and that military action was needed to stop this.
NATO attempted to gain authorisation from the United Nations Security Council, but were opposed by Russia and China, meaning they launched the operation, which it decribed as ‘humanitarian intervention’ themselves – involved countries being NATO members Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States. It was NATO’s first action against a sovereign nation.
Here’s a look at what some sources say about events of 18 years ago:
The attacks started on March 24, 1999, lasted 11 weeks, and according to various sources, resulted in the deaths of between 1,200 and 2,500 people.
The 78-day bombing campaign caused severe damage to infrastructure, business facilities, schools, health care institutions, media outlets, monuments of culture.
Video of the time:
The attacks started a little before 20:00 hours, on the order of then NATO secretary-general, Javier Solana. The Yugoslav government declared a state of war the same night.
NATO’s campaign, that was referred to as aggression by the federal government, but also by numerous legal experts, came after the failed negotiations to solve the crisis in Kosovo, held in Rambouillet and Paris in February and March 1999.
There is different data on the material damage caused by the bombing, with then authorities assessing it at around 100 billion dollars, and seeking compensation from NATO members.
A group of economists known as G17 assessed it at 29.6 billion.
The bombing ended on June 10, 1999, with the adoption of Resolution 1244 at the UN Security Council.
As I was tweeting about this, some from Serbia expressed their own sentiments:
And as for Nis, this from the site ‘There Must be Justice’.
On that certain day, NATO aircrafts dropped United Nations forbidden mass-killing cluster bombs over two civilian neighborhoods in Serbian second major city of Nis. “Targets” were people at the marketplace, and city’s central civilian hospital. 15 people have died, more than 60 injured. Among them, also my teacher of literature, elder woman aged over 60. My parents have been in one of the bombed streets just 10 minutes before the bombings, so I guess they were lucky.
More from Twitter, where today evoked strong emotions:
And indeed, no one has ever been brought to justice for the NATO attacks. Who is ultimately responsible? Here, CNN, writing about US Secretary of State at the time, Madeleine Albright.
The Kosovo conflict is often referred to, by both her fans and foes, as Madeleine’s War. n a literal sense, of course, that’s not true these days. Now that it’s become an armed conflict, she plays a supporting role to the President, National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, Defense Secretary Bill Cohen and the military brass.
In March 1999, at the direction of the United States of America, NATO engaged in its first act of illegal aggressive war, beginning what can only be called the “dark age of intervention” in which we are living today. The fact that NATO was allowed to get away with the aggression on Serbia and Montenegro emboldened US/NATO and the US military industrial intelligence banking complex and since that day, under a doctrine of Responsibility to Protect, Humanitarian Interventionism, Preventive War and then the all encompassing “War on Terror”, US/NATO have proceeded to destroy country after country and do away with leaders that they have not found to be submissive enough to their will.
This aggression resulted in the loss of 4,000 human lives, including 88 children, and 10,000 people were severely wounded. Over two third of these victims were civilians. How many human lives have been lost in the meantime due to the consequences of weapons with depleted uranium, as well as of remaining cluster bombs, will hardly ever be established.
Breaching the basic norms of international law, its own founding act as well as constitutions of member countries, NATO was bombing Serbia and Montenegro during 78 days continuously destroying the economy, infrastructure, public services, radio and TV centers and transmitters, cultural and historical monuments. NATO bears responsibility for polluting the environment and endangering the health of present and future generations. Economic damage caused by the aggression is estimated at over USD 120 billion. War damage compensation has not yet been claimed, and judgments ruled by our court, by which the leaders of aggressor countries were convicted for the crimes against peace and humanity, were annulled after the coup d’état in 2000.
One of the most controversial incidents of the 78-day campaign, the bombing of the Radio Television of Serbia headquarters. Here, Wikpedia:
The NATO bombing of the Radio Television of Serbia headquarters occurred on 23 April 1999, during the Kosovo War. It formed part of NATO’s aerial campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and severely damaged the Belgrade headquarters of Radio Television of Serbia (RTS). Other radio and electrical installations throughout the country were also attacked. Sixteen employees of RTS died when a single NATO missile hit the building. Many were trapped for days, only communicating over mobile phones. The station returned to the air 24 hours later from a secret location.
The BBC covered this at the time, putting the strong accent on justification of the attack, with several sources referenced giving explanations for the bombing, yet only one source condemning.
Nato has defended its bombing of Serbia’s state television station, saying it was a legitimate target and a “ministry of lies”.
International condemnation of NATO’s actions of 1999 has only increased over time, leading the BBC to take a more circumspect tone, albeit not retracting earlier statements. From 2015 –
In 1999, Serbia and Kosovo were engaged in a conflict over independence.
Another hugely controversial incident came on May 7th. Here, Wikipedia –
On May 7, 1999, during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia (Operation Allied Force), five US JDAM guided bombs hit the People’s Republic of China embassy in the Belgrade district of New Belgrade, killing three Chinese reporters and outraging the Chinese public. According to the U.S. government, the intention had been to bomb the nearby Yugoslav Federal Directorate for Supply and Procurement. President Bill Clinton later apologized for the bombing, stating it was accidental. Central Intelligence Agency director George Tenet testified before a congressional committee that the bombing was the only one in the campaign organized and directed by his agency, and that the CIA had identified the wrong coordinates for a Yugoslav military target on the same street. The Chinese government issued a statement on the day of the bombing stating that it was a “barbarian act”.
Here, an interesting article from Reddit, title – The CIA intentionally bombed the Chinese embassy in 1999.
On May 7, 1999 an American B-2 bomber dropped 5 guided munitions on the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. The attack killed three Chinese nationals. The United States government has always maintained it was an accident.
I believe that at least some people in the CIA knew the target was actually the Chinese embassy and wanted it to be attacked. We have no 100% solid proof of this, but put enough evidence together and I believe it goes beyond a reasonable doubt.
The official account of the bombing from the U.S.’s perspective is fairly straightforward. The CIA wanted to target a Yugoslav arms agency. Due to out of date maps / mapping errors the Chinese embassy was attacked instead. No harm was meant, these things happen in war, etc, etc.
Their are a number of problems with this story.
In addition the CIA itself admitted it had up to date maps. http://cjonline.com/stories/072399/new_ciaembassybomb.shtml
Former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana ordered military action against Yugoslavia following a failure in negotiations on the Kosovo crisis in France’s Rambouillet and Paris in February and March 1999.
NATO’s decision was officially announced after talks between international mediators – known as the Contact Group – the Yugoslav government, and the delegation of Kosovo Albanians ended in a deadlock. Belgrade refused to allow foreign military presence on its territory while Albanians accepted the proposal.
Back then, Slobodan Milosevic‘s forces were engaged in armed conflict with an Albanian rebel group, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which sought the province’s separation from Yugoslavia. Former US President Bill Clinton’s special envoy to the Balkans, Robert Gelbard, had earlier described the KLA as “without any questions, a terrorist group.” (The KLA was later repeatedly accused of being involved in the organ trafficking of Serbs in the late 1990s.)
However, despite not announcing the link officially, NATO entered the conflict on the side of the KLA, accusing Serbian security forces of atrocities and “ethnic cleansing” against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. The main objective of the campaign was to make Milosevic’s forces pull out of the province. The fact that there was violence on both sides of the confrontation was ignored both by allied governments and Western media – which stirred up public anger by focusing only on Serbs’ atrocities and being far less vocal regarding abuses by Albanians.
“All efforts to achieve a negotiated political solution to the Kosovo crisis having failed, no alternative is open but to take military action,” Solana said on March 23, 1999. “We must halt the violence and bring an end to the humanitarian catastrophe now unfolding in Kosovo.”
Racak massacre controversy
An incident involving the “mass killing” of Albanians in central Kosovo’s village of Racak – a KLA stronghold – became a major excuse and justification for NATO’s decision to start its operation. Serbs were blamed for the deaths of dozens of Albanian “civilians” on January 15, 1999. However, it was alleged that the accusations could have been false and the bodies actually belonged to KLA insurgents whose clothes had been changed.
A central role in labeling the events in Racak “a massacre” belonged to William Walker, who headed the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission. He visited the site shortly after the incident and made his judgment.
“[Walker] arrived there having no powers to make conclusions regarding what had happened,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazenta paper in November last year.
Yugoslav authorities accused Walker of going beyond his mission and proclaimed him persona non grata, while Western leaders were infuriated over the Racak incident.
“And some time later the bombing started,” Lavrov recalled, adding that the situation in Racak became the “trigger point.”Moscow insisted that an investigation should be carried out. The EU commissioned a group of Finnish forensic experts to prepare a report on the incident. Later, the European Union handed it over to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Lavrov said. The full version of the document has never been made public, said the minister, who was Moscow’s permanent representative to the UN between 1994 and 2004.
“But parts of the report leaked and were quoted in the media saying that [the victims] were not civilians and that all the bodies found in Racak were in disguise and that bullet holes on clothes and bodies did not match. There was also no one who was killed at short range,” Lavrov said. “Even though I’ve repeatedly raised this issue, the report itself still has not been shown.”
NATO halted its air campaign with the signing of the Military Technical Agreement in Kumanovo on June 9, 1999, with the Yugoslav government agreeing to withdraw its forces from Kosovo. On June 10, 1999, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1244 to establish the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
A couple of things to note about this recent reportage – I added a few of my favourite songs to accompany it, however due to YouTube policies, this means, for their own reasons, that the reportage isn’t playable on some devices, so, to be sure of watching it, best on a computer!
Also, just in case you fancied a break from my music, perhaps even adding your own, I left a few seconds quiet in the middle. Here’s the reportage!
It’s been both a week of intense activity in Donbass – from the first coal, and not only, trading with Russia, new DPR-designed roadheaders (I’ve been covering that all on my Twitter), and, sadly, continued Ukrainian shelling (see Patrick Lancaster, on the scene, for full coverage of that).
Also, I can say it’s been a week of some nostalgia for myself, as this week, 3 years ago, I’d set off from Odessa to see the situation in the east of Ukraine, as it was then, for myself. Driving, sleeping in the car for a few hours many nights to save time, covering as much ground as possible and, for my own embryonic YouTube channel as it was, filming reportage of things, just as they were! This week I did a few pull-togethers of reportage, here on the Truth Speaker, of things as they were –
Of course, looking back to Latvia, from 2016, it’s a difference form of ‘nostalgia’ – I’d gone to spend a month reporting from Latvia, yet on the 3rd day, the authorities objected to my coverage of the march there honouring Nazism, deported me, banned for 3 years.
Here is my reportage from that day, March 16th, 2016 –
They then pursued me with various letters describing my ‘misdemenours’ (in Latvian, so I really had no idea what they were saying), culminating in an 8-page document, which, after listing all my supposed wrong-doings (I asked people at a march honouring Nazism why they were doing that), then said they wanted 150 Euros from me!
Things all got a bit surreal on March 16th itself, when Ukrainian media, and not only, wrote the story of my being detained, and deported, at the Waffen SS veteran march, as if it had been March 16th, 2017 rather than 2016! Groundhog Day…
This led to my receiving a lot of worried messages, and my own wondering if this was Latvia’s latest attempt for 150 Euros from me!
As it was, I was far away from Latvia. And indeed, being a tourist – in London, no less, and here I present you with my latest reportage from there, as a ‘DPR tourist’, no less, featuring a couple of special guests!
There’s a bit more to come from the UK, not only London, and then, I’ll be on the road back to Donbass, via some interesting places en route!
Once more, a massive thanks to all of you who support my work, and make all kinds of reportage possible, in all kinds of places! The main thing is, it’s always independent, objective, and completely crowdfunded! To be a part, click here –
Of course, your support also goes towards here, the Truth Speaker, and the many articles, providing information, debunking fakes, as here –
‘Russian Tanks in Ukraine’: Tony Blair’s ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ for our times
And don’t worry, none of your support goes towards propping up the Latvian economy 😉
Look out for lots more to come soon! Best for now!