By Pilger, John
New Statesman (1996) , Vol. 128, No. 4436
The justification for Nato's attack on Serbia, now the outright terror bombing of civilians, was the Serbs' rejection of the "peace accords" drafted at Rambouillet in France in February. The precise terms were never made public, with the British media generally accepting the word of the Foreign Office that the west's aim was to bring peace and autonomy to Kosovo.
This is the big lie of Tony Blair's "crusade for civilisation". Anyone scrutinising the Rambouillet document is left in little doubt that the excuses given for the subsequent bombing were fabricated. The peace negotiations were stage-managed, and the Serbs were told: surrender and be occupied, or don't surrender and be destroyed. The impossible terms, published in full in Le Monde Diplomatique, but not in Britain, show that Nato's aim was the occupation not only of Kosovo, but effectively all of Yugoslavia.
Nothing like this ultimatum has been put to a modern, sovereign European state. Of all the Hitler and Nazi analogies that have peppered the west's propaganda, one is never mentioned - Hitler's proposal in 1938 to the British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, that Germany occupy Czechoslovakia because ethnic Germans there had been "tortured", "forced to flee the country" and "prevented from realising the right of nations to self-determination". As a cover for German expansion, Hitler was laying the basis for a "humanitarian intervention", whose fraudulence was no greater than Nato's cover for its own worldwide expansion.
Take chapter seven of the Rambouillet accords. Headed "Status of Multinational Military Implementation Force", it says a Nato force occupying Kosovo must have complete and unaccountable political power, "immune from all legal process, whether civil, administrative or criminal, [and] under all circumstances and at all times, immune from [all laws] governing any criminal or disciplinary offences which may be committed by Nato personnel in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia . . . Nato personnel shall enjoy . . . with their vehicles, vessels, aircraft and equipment, free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including associated airspace and territorial waters."
Propaganda is not overlooked. The government of Yugoslavia "shall, upon simple request, grant all telecommunications services, including broadcast services, needed for [the occupation], as determined by Nato. This shall be free of cost." And the ideological basis for the occupation is left in no doubt. "Nato is granted the use of airports, roads, rail and ports without payment of fees, duties, tolls or charge. The economy shall function in accordance with free market principles."
No government anywhere could accept this. It was a deliberate provocation. …