WHAT REPORTERS KNEW ABOUT KOSOVO TALKS -- BUT DIDN'T TELL 

Was Rambouillet Another Tonkin Gulf?

The revelation that American reporters knew about a U.S. strategy
to create a pretext for NATO's war on Yugoslavia - but did not report
on it  - raises serious questions about the independence of
mainstream news organizations.... More reporting is needed on the
origins of this war, as well as the opportunities for peace that may
have been overlooked."

... a senior Administration official told media at Rambouillet: 
"We intentionally set the bar too high for the Serbs to comply. They
need some bombing, and that's what they are going to get."

===============================================

http://www.fair.org/press-releases/kosovo-solution.htm

June 2, 1999

 New evidence has emerged confirming that the U.S. deliberately set
out  to thwart the Rambouillet peace talks in France in order to
provide a  "trigger" for NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia.

 Furthermore, correspondents from major American news organizations
 reportedly knew about this plan to stymie the Kosovo peace talks,
but  did not inform their readers or viewers.

 FAIR's May 14 media advisory, "Forgotten Coverage of Rambouillet
 Negotiations," http://www.fair.org/press-releases/kosovo-solution.html asked whether
the media had given the full story on Rambouillet. News
 reports almost universally blamed the failure of negotiations on
Serbian  intransigence. The headline over a New York Times dispatch
from Belgrade  on March 24 - the first day of the bombing - read
"U.S. Negotiators Depart, Frustrated By Milosevic's Hard Line."

 But the evidence presented in "Forgotten Coverage" suggested that it
was  U.S. negotiators, not the Serbs, who blocked an agreement.

 Now, in the June 14 issue of the Nation, George Kenney, a former
State  Department Yugoslavia desk officer, reports:

 An unimpeachable press source who regularly travels with Secretary
of  State Madeleine Albright told this [writer] that, swearing
reporters to  deep-background confidentiality at the Rambouillet
talks, a senior State  Department official had bragged that the
United States "deliberately set  the bar higher than the Serbs could
accept." The Serbs needed, according  to the official, a little
bombing to see reason.

 In other words, the plan for Kosovo autonomy drafted by State
Department officials was intentionally crafted to provoke a rejection
from Serb negotiators. In his Nation article, Kenney compares this
plan to the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

 Providing further confirmation of Kenney's account, Jim Jatras, a
 foreign policy aide to Senate Republicans, reported in a May 18
speech at the Cato Institute in Washington that he had it "on good
authority"  that a "senior Administration official told media at
Rambouillet, under  embargo" the following:

 "We intentionally set the bar too high for the Serbs to comply. They
 need some bombing, and that's what they are going to get."

 In interviews with FAIR, both Kenney and Jatras asserted that these
are  actual quotes transcribed by reporters who spoke with a U.S.
official.  They declined to give the names or affiliations of the
reporters.

 The revelation that American reporters knew about a U.S. strategy to
 create a pretext for NATO's war on Yugoslavia - but did not report
on it  - raises serious questions about the independence of
mainstream news organizations.

 More reporting is needed on the origins of this war, as well as the
 opportunities for peace that may have been overlooked.

 This release will be updated as new information becomes available.

 This media advisory was written by FAIR media analyst Seth Ackerman
 ( mailto:SAckerman@fair.org ).


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