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Context of 'January 16, 1999: US Diplomat Claims Massacre of Albanians; Foreign Press Disputes Allegation'

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The US and NATO provide the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) with arms and training. [Wall Street Journal (Europe), 11/1/2001]

Entity Tags: Kosovo Liberation Army

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, Kosovar Albanian Struggle

The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) invites foreign journalists to the scene of an alleged Serb massacre of some 45 Albanians in Raqak, Kosovo. Later, at 12 noon, the Kosovo Verification Mission leader, US diplomat William Walker, leads another group of news reporters to the scene. The story makes international headlines and is later used to justify NATO bombings. The New York Times will call this the “turning point” in NATO’s decision to wage war on Yugoslavia. But the claim that a massacre occurred is quickly called into question. It turns out that an Associated Press television crew—at the invitation of Yugoslav authorities—had filmed a shootout the day before between the Yugoslav police and fighters with the KLA at the location where the alleged massacre took place. They say that upon arriving in Raqak most of the villagers had already fled the expected gun battle between the KLA and the police. They also report that they did not witness any executions or massacres of civilians. Furthermore, after the firefight, at about 3:30 p.m., the Yugoslav police announced in a press conference that they had killed 15 KLA “terrorists” in Raqak. And then about an hour later, at 4:40 p.m., and then again at 6 p.m., a Le Monde reporter visited the scene and reported that he saw no indications that a massacre of civilians had occurred. Finally, the foreign journalists escorted to Raqak by the KLA found no shell casings lying around the scene. “What is disturbing,” correspondent Renaud Girard remarks, “is that the pictures filmed by the Associated Press journalists radically contradict Walker’s accusations.” Belarussian and Finnish forensic experts later investigate the claims but are unable to verify that a massacre actually took place. [Le Monde (Paris), 1/21/1999; Le Monde (Paris), 1/21/1999; Covert Action Quarterly, 6/1999]

Entity Tags: William Walker, Kosovo Liberation Army

Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks, Complete 911 Timeline, Kosovar Albanian Struggle

The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) says it will send representatives to the peace talks in Rambouillet, France on February 6 (see February 6-23, 1999). Representing the KLA, will be Supreme Commander Hashim Thaci, also known as “The Snake,” and four other Kosovars, all militants. [BBC, 2/3/1999] On Febuary 4, the Yugoslav government (essentially Serbia) agrees to join the peace talks. [US Information Agency, 4/13/1999]

Entity Tags: Hashim Thaci, Kosovo Liberation Army

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, Kosovar Albanian Struggle

The US State Department temporarily suspends cooperation between the Bosnian army and the US private mercenary company MPRI. No official reason is given, but media reports indicate that the Bosnian Muslims being trained by MPRI were caught sending weapons to Muslim rebels in the regions of Kosovo and Sandzak in Serbia. Supposedly, millions of dollars of weapons were smuggled to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in Kosovo. [BBC, 4/5/1999; Progressive, 8/1/1999; Center for Public Integrity, 10/28/2002]

Entity Tags: US Department of State, Bosnian army, Kosovo Liberation Army, Military Professional Resources Inc.

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, Kosovar Albanian Struggle

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