Skip to comments.Milosevic: U.S. Was Ally of Al Qaeda in Kosovo
Posted on 02/15/2002 10:57:49 AM PST by konijn
Milosevic: U.S. Was Ally of Al Qaeda in Kosovo
February 15, 2002 12:59 PM ET
By Andrew Roche
THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Slobodan Milosevic told his war crimes trial on Friday "genocidal" U.S. forces had been the unwitting ally of Osama bin Laden in Kosovo, and demanded Bill Clinton and other Western leaders come to testify.
Bin Laden's al Qaeda was "one of the fundamentalist groups which sent a unit to fight in Kosovo" alongside Muslim Kosovo Albanians aided by the United States against Serb forces in 1998-9, the fallen Yugoslav leader told The Hague tribunal.
"The attacks on New York and Washington show what the terrorism you sponsored looks like when it turns against you," he said in a speech that ranged across centuries of history and much of the globe, and exhausted court interpreters.
Milosevic, 60, was extradited from Belgrade seven months ago to a jail cell in The Hague. On Tuesday his trial began for crimes against humanity in Kosovo in 1999 and in Croatia in 1991-2, and for genocide in the 1992-5 Bosnian war.
Prosecutors have this week portrayed him as prime mover in a decade of massacres, torture, mass rape and expulsions by Serbs.
In a second day of reply to prosecutors' opening addresses, he blamed the carnage entirely on his Balkan enemies and NATO. Echoing the language of his indictment, he said the West itself had committed "genocide and crimes against humanity."
"I'm asking what kind of tribunal this is, if you refuse to try people for these crimes by the leaders and armies of NATO countries," a coolly pugnacious Milosevic told judges.
On the fourth day of what is forecast to be a marathon case, he insisted the hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians who fled Kosovo in 1999 during the NATO air war against Yugoslavia had been driven out not by Serbs but by their fellow Albanians.
The guerrilla Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) "referred to all Albanians who did not flee Kosovo as traitors," he said, creating an "illusion of exodus." "There were hundreds of cameras waiting at the borders to show alleged Serb misdeeds."
The motive was to justify NATO's attack, said Milosevic, showing the court pictures of carbonized bodies of civilians killed by NATO bombs in Kosovo and the rest of Serbia in 1999.
CHINESE EMBASSY BOMBING
NATO missiles destroyed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, in what Washington insisted was a mistake by Central Intelligence Agency target planners using an outdated map.
"It is quite clear that (former U.S. president) Clinton wanted to go down in history as the first man to bomb Chinese territory by bombing the Chinese embassy," Milosevic said. "This was no accident."
Milosevic accused Germany of setting out to destroy old communist Yugoslavia by its support for Slovenian and Croatian independence, and by secret backing of Albanian "terrorists."
"The German intelligence service rallied up criminals from all over Europe. They were pushed to Kosovo," he said.
Bin Laden, meanwhile, used anarchic Albania as a launchpad for violence in the Balkans and elsewhere in Europe, he said.
Some Muslim "terrorists" in Kosovo, had they not been jailed by Serbia, would now be "going in chains to Guantanamo Bay" from Afghanistan instead, the white-haired Milosevic insisted.
"While Americans transport al Qaeda terrorists to Guantanamo...at the same time they demand all Albanian terrorists be freed from prisons in Yugoslavia," he added.
The involvement in the Balkans of Mujahideen guerrillas from Arab states and Afghanistan is well-documented, and U.S. agents followed the trail of bin Laden and his followers in Albania and Kosovo itself, before the September 11 attacks.
Accusing NATO of the use of especially lethal cluster bombs, he showed the court a photograph of a Serb woman killed while plowing her field and corpses of children in pajamas.
"This is an example of bestiality, targeting people in this way," he said, adding NATO bombed at night to maximize deaths among sleeping civilians. He showed pictures of shattered hospitals, an old people's home, buses, houses and workplaces, some strewn with charred and bloodied bodies.
After NATO occupied Kosovo in June 1999, they allowed Serbs to be killed or forced out by Albanian "terrorists" and "savages." More than 100 Serb Orthodox churches were razed in a campaign he likened to Taliban destruction of Buddhist statues.
Kosovo, seen by Serbs as a historic heartland, was now run by an "Albanian drug mafia" and the sex-slave trade, he said.
CALLS CLINTON, ALBRIGHT, BLAIR, SCHROEDER
"I am going to call witnesses here and I want it to be possible to question Clinton and Albright and Kinkel and Schroeder and Kohl and Dini... Kofi Annan... Blair," he said, listing Western and U.N. leaders involved in Balkan peace talks.
Milosevic wants them to testify that the West used him as a peacemaker in the Bosnian war before turning against him.
Under the tribunal's procedures Milosevic is expected to produce a list of witnesses he wants called. The three judges have the final say on whether witnesses are subpoenaed.
The reformist Yugoslav government, which handed Milosevic to The Hague, on Friday called his testimony "disgusting." But the Russian parliament branded the tribunal a "political" court which had failed to charge NATO states for atrocities.
During his afternoon speech, Milosevic compared Clinton's strategy in fighting the Kosovo war to that of Adolf Hitler's: to establish a strategic base from which to attack Russia. He described the policy the Austro-Hungarian empire had adopted toward the territories of the crumbling Ottoman empire in the 19th and 20th centuries, that of keeping Serbia weak and the Balkans divided, he said. Presiding Judge Richard May urged Milosevic to slow down so interpreters could keep up.
Dressed in a navy suit and a tie in the red, blue and white Serbian colors, Milosevic sits flanked by seated guards in a courtroom sealed off from the public gallery by a bullet-proof glass wall and equipped with computer screens and cameras.
Milosevic is conducting his own defense, after refusing to appoint counsel or enter a formal plea on the grounds the court has no right to judge him, but is advised by Belgrade lawyers.
Judges have entered not guilty pleas on his behalf and appointed three lawyers as "friends of the court" to ensure he gets a fair trial. The "friends" on Friday appealed for judges to give him leeway in the length of his address, and he was allowed to continue on Monday until 1 p.m.
Milosevic could face life in prison if convicted at the end of an epic trial some expect to last at least two years.
ICC statute is based on ICTY statute and includes legal nonsense such as anonymous witnesses, double jeopardy, evidence not accessible to defence team etc.
As of MIlo claims, he could say that Sun rises on the East and sets on the West and it would be dismissed.
The best thing is to use it as a road map and check yourself. KLA, US and OBL