Magazine article The Progressive

Blown Coverage

Magazine article The Progressive

Blown Coverage

Article excerpt

Remember the NATO bomb that blew up a passenger train on a bridge in Yugoslavia, killing at least ten civilians?

Well, the video of it you may have seen on TV was a distortion.

The bombing occurred April 13 during the Kosovo war. The Pentagon film was sped up by almost three times when it was aired. This conveniently supported the claim of Wesley Clark, Supreme NATO Commander, who said at a much-publicized press conference at the time, while rolling the accelerated tape:

"All of a sudden, at the very last instant, with less than a second to go, he [the pilot] caught a flash of movement. Look very intently at the aim point, concentrate right there [Clark pointed to the cross hairs aimed at the bridge], and you can see how, if. you were focused right on your job as pilot, suddenly that train appeared."

But evidently, the train didn't appear so suddenly, and the pilot had more than a second to react.

I spoke with Lieutenant Colonel Vic Warzinski, a Pentagon public relations officer, on January 14 about the matter.

"There was really no intention to deceive," Warzinski says.

Here's his explanation:

"When we struck the bridge, we were in a rush to get the gun camera footage up to shape, so we used an intelligence product that is usually run at twice the normal speed so they can process it faster. They then loaded it up to the Web, and the Web had a feature that sped it up further. In real time, the film took fifteen seconds, but when played at NATO headquarters, it appeared as though it Matthew. Rothschild is Editor of The Progressive magazine. took about six seconds."

When the Pentagon becomes the producer and the film editor in the newsroom, it's hard to separate fact from fiction. The train bombing was a serious public relations mishap for the Pentagon and for NATO. …

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