This piece I'm forwarding below from today's Observer, which persuasively
argues that the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was deliberate,

a) the risks the most powerful capitalist nation on earth is prepared to
take to get its way;

b) the lies it (and its lapdog English accomplices) are prepared to spread
to cover up the reality of the action;

c) the lack of international coordination (ie trust and harmony) within
NATO and other imperialist alliances, not just at diplomatic level but even
within the command structure of military operations;

d) the fact that the Chinese were quite right to treat the action as a
deliberate act of war, and that in retrospect their reaction was
exceedingly mild (fairly reflecting the contradictory position and
interests of the Chinese bureaucracy in a workers state well on its way to
capitalist restoration).

In sum, that for imperialist policy the end justifies the means, and the
means include acts of war without declaration of war and barefaced lies
about such deliberate acts of policy, not only to the public but also to
ostensible allies at all levels.

This should remind us yet again that this kind of action and cover-up has
been deployed constantly by the imperialists and is still being deployed by
them and will be deployed by them as long as they are in a position to do
so, not just against "military" targets but against social targets (where
the bloody Indonesian counter-revolution of the 1960s is just one example)
and against labour targets (where busting unions and workers'
organizations, for instance in Central America, or McCarthyism in the US
are massive examples). The extent of such actions is purely dictated by
expediency. The costs (in terms of credibility, legitimacy, political risk
etc) are weighed against the benefits (in terms of weakening the enemy).
Sometimes it's done as pinprick work, taking out individuals or small
groups, sometimes it's massive, but it's always there and should never be
forgotten. TV, the movies and popular culture keep reminding us, day after
day, untiringly, but of course in their distorting mirror the end
justifying the means is always good. It's "us" against "them", and the "us"
(in fact the "US") is always good (well, almost always -- occasionally
flashes of scepticism are put in to reflect the huge and growing crisis of
legitimacy that has been racking imperialist governance for decades now).

And where labour is concerned, we should remember the (obviously denied)
influence this kind of policy imperative has on the leaderships of
imperialist (ie US, British, French, German, etc) labour organizations that
are in the mainstream, whether national or international, trade union or
political, reactionary or ostensibly progressive.

But we should also remember that part of the expediency that dictates the
extent of dirty work that actually gets carried out, and a big part, is the
balance of social forces. The mainly unacknowledged social power of the
organized working class puts pressure on imperialist policy-makers to
exercise extreme care in the dirty tricks they choose to set in action.
Exposure entails definite risks of removal from office and privilege, and
less clearcut risks of shame and humiliation. Although the history of Nixon
should at the same time keep us clear on the extent to which the system
looks after its own. Clinton was effusive at the "great man's" funeral
after all about how much he had learnt from him, and the send-off was a
national event. If it had been the funeral of a pariah, it would have been
more like Mozart's, the anonymous dumping of a "nobody" in a hole in the




The Chinese embassy bombing

Truth behind America's raid on Belgrade

The US claimed it was a tragic blunder. But the pinpoint accuracy of the
attack was in fact a deadly signal to Milosevic: seek outside help in
Kosovo at your peril

Sunday November 28, 1999
The Observer

On May 7 this year the B2 - at $44 billion the world's most expensive plane
- took off from Whiteman air force base in Missouri, its sleek black belly
loaded with missiles, destined for Belgrade. It flew high across the
Atlantic and Western Europe before opening its bomb doors over the Adriatic
releasing the most accurate air-drop munitions in the world - the JDAM
flying bomb.

The JDAM uses four adjustable fins to control its position, continually
checked and re-checked by fixes from seven satellites. It is so precise a
weapon it is
accurate to a range of less than two metres.

The bombs carried on that B2 rained down over the Serb capital and rocketed
towards their target - the southern end of the Chinese Embassy - demolishing
the office of the military attache and killing three `journalists'. But the
midnight strike was so precise the embassy's north end was untouched,
leaving the
marble and glass of the front entrance and the ambassador's Mercedes and
four flower pots unscathed.

The CIA, US State Department and British Foreign Office claimed the strike
had hit the wrong building. It was, they regretted, a terrible mistake.
America's trillion-dollar arsenal had been deployed, the target had been
selected by an intelligence analyst using out-of-date maps. The strike on
Chinese Embassy came at a bad time for Nato's campaign against Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic. Mistaken attacks on convoys of defenceless
refugees had dented Western public opinion's belief in the rightness of the
war; now the US war machine had hit the most diplomatically sensitive target
possible - by mistake.

But as mobs stormed the US and British Embassies in Beijing, and Chinese
President Jiang Zemin refused to take President Bill Cliton's phone calls,
entirely different story was being revealed on the other side of the world.

At the Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) in Vincenza in northern Italy,
British, Canadian and French air targeteers rounded on an American colonel
the morning of 8 May. Angrily they denounced the `cock-up'. The US colonel
was relaxed. 'Bullshit,' he replied to the complaints. `That was great
targeting ...
we put two JDAMs down into the attache's office and took out the exact room
we wanted ... they (the Chinese) won't be using that place for rebro
(re-broadcasting radio transmissions) any more, and it will have given that
bastard Arkan a headache.'

Last month The Observer raised the first serious challange to the official
version of events and claimed the embassy was targeted directly. US
Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright described it as `balderdash'. Since then, as this
paper's journalists have continued to pursue the story, more witnesses have

The true story - though it is being denied by everyone from Albright,
Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and CIA director George Tenet down - is that
Americans knew exactly what they are doing. The Chinese Embassy in Belgrade
was deliberately targeted by the most precise weapons in the US arsenal
because it was being used by Zeljko Raznatovic, the indicted war criminal
better known as Arkan, to transmit messages to his `Tigers' - Serb death
squads -
in Kosovo.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack there were some among non-US staff
who were suspicious. On 8 May they tapped into the Nato target computer and
checked out the satellite co-ordinates for the Chinese Embassy. The
co-ordinates were in the computer and they were correct. While the world
was being told
the CIA had used out-of-date maps, Nato's officers were looking at evidence
that the CIA was bang on target.

Five weeks ago The Observer reported evidence gathered from sources within
Nato - serving military officers who would be instantly sacked if named. Our
account was denied by the CIA, by Albright and by Cook, who said there was
not a `shred of evidence to support this rather wild story'.

The Observer has gone back to its original sources, and also spoken to
other serving officers, from Nato colonels to intelligence officers to a
military officer
with the rank of a general. All are in agreement. The Chinese Embassy was
deliberately bombed.

According to one of these sources, it was the fact that the embassy was
being used to rebroadcast signals for Arkan and his White Tigers that swung
argument to hit the embassy. `The fact that it was an operating base for
Arkan, an indicted war criminal, was something that convinced the Americans
strike. Had it just been a transmitter for the VJ (the Yugoslav Army), they
might have held off.'

Arkan's spectre had come to loom large over the conflict in Kosovo.
Indicted for his role in organising death squads in the war in Bosnia, his
precise role in
Kosovo is still not clear. But investigators working for the International
Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague had good reason to
suspect that Arkan's death squads were playing a murderous role in
Operation Horseshoe, Milosevic's plan to ethnically cleanse Kosovo of its
Albanian population.

But whether the signals intercepted were those of Arkan and his thugs or
simply the Yugoslav army and police - both also implicated in atrocities in
- one thing now is clear. Nato was convinced that some of the radio
broadcasts they were picking up were coming from within the Chinese Embassy

The subject of intense speculation at the time, it is only now that The
Observer has been able to confirm this. Confirmation of the Chinese
assistance to the Yugoslav war effort came in Paris last week. A senior
French Defence Ministry official said bluntly that the building attacked on
7 May had
been targeted precisely because it had been rebroadcasting Yugoslav signals
- although the French insist they were never told the building was the

`Not one of us had ever imagined this target could have been the embassy.
We had been told simply that it was a military target that had been
transmitting signals to the Yugoslav army from its basement. It had been
described to us as a communications target that would be taken out.' The
however, are increasingly suspicious of what the Americans really knew. The
same source continues: `What the Americans really knew, I wouldn't like to

It is not only The Observer's Nato witnesses who have blown a hole in the
CIA's original story - as rehearsed by Albright and Cook - that the embassy
bombed by mistake because the agency used old maps of Belgrade to work out
its target list. This is a cover story which nearly all experts, including
one's of
America's most eminent China hands, Ezra Vogel, have judged not credible.
The US's own National Imagery and Mapping Agency describes the wrong map
story as `a damned lie'.

The claims made by the CIA's director George Tenet to the Congressional
Select Committee on Intelligence on 22 July have come under renewed
scrutiny -
and been found wanting. Tenet told the US Congressmen there were no visible
signs that the building was an embassy, no flags and no insignia. But
photographs taken in the immediate afermath of the attack show a different
story. These pictures show the Red Flag at the main gate and two hoardings
covered in Chinese script on the side of the building. The embassy was
clearly marked by a sign in Serb saying `Ambasada Narodne Republike Kine'
of the People's Republic of China) - stark evidence that the CIA chief was
not telling the whole truth.

Equally compelling is the fact that the location of the Chinese Embassy in
soulless new Belgrade was hardly a state secret.

Opposite the Park of Peace and Friendship, the Chinese Embassy at Number 3
Cherry Blossom Boulevard stands mangled by missiles at one end; almost
untouched at the other. The sheets that were knotted together to form
makeshift escape routes for the diplomats, journalists, spies and other
trapped inside still hang from the holes that were once the embassy's
smoked glass windows, trailing between the white blinds and straggly
curtains that still flap in the wind.

The reception room is still there, laid open to the elements by the bomb
that sliced away its outer wall on the building's south side. Its
reproduction Louis
XIV sofa set stands under a row of gilded chandeliers and faces a hole the
size of a crater in the adjacent building that was once the Chinese
home. That room and those sofas were familiar to Belgrade's diplomatic
corps, who regularly met US diplomats at receptions in the building.

Officially the CIA's expla nation for hitting a building, well known to its
diplomatic corps, is this: it used a flawed technique for locating the
building they
were supposed to bomb - an arms agency headquarters.

It is a version of events that no longer appears to stand up to scrutiny.
For not only were the embassy co-ordinates in the Nato computer, as the air
discovered, but the Chinese Embassy, as has been confirmed to The Observer,
had long been a prime target for Western intelligence, and would therefore
have been extremely well identified.

The reason for the scrutiny was that for years the Chinese Communist regime
has been co-operating with the Serbs in building up its military capability.
The eyes and ears of the Western world - the US's National Security Agency
and Britain's own GCHQ - were watching and listening.

And there was another issue, as a Nato air controller involved in the
campaign made clear. `The Chinese Embassy had an electronic profile, which
Nato had
located and pinpointed.' According to this source, that data was forwarded
to the joint intelligence operational centre at Mons, the headquarters of
Nato in
Europe. While initial scrutiny by US military and civilian officials showed
that the area was part of a park owned by a Yugoslav army officers' fund,
recent maps provided by the Europeans showed the clear location of the
embassy. It was on the banned list, according to a senior officer, and
needed approval
from the US Commander-in-Chief, Bill Clinton, to have it removed from that
list and designated as a target.

It is this issue that has become the most contentious one between the US
and its European Nato allies, especially France: that America was ordering
outside of Nato's joint command structure that it kept from its fellow
combatants. This month this issue surfaced in a bitter exchange between the
countries: France accusing America of running missions behind its back
while America accused the French government of putting Nato pilots' lives
at risk by
vetoing targets. French officials in the United States - at the UN and in
Washington - say privately that their government was `wary in the extreme'
at the
way targets were chosen by Nato during the Kosovo conflict.

`US Air Force and intelligence services had a direct hot line to the Nato
planners in Brussels, but they were making their own selections,
irrespective of the
joint consultative process,' complained a French diplomat at the UN mission
in New York.

Another was more forthright, stating that there was still `very great
scepticism' among French diplomats at the CIA's explanation of an erroneous
`We still have an open mind,' said one official, `and there is still reason
for us to believe that China's role and position in the Balkans could have
led to an

Asked what could have been the motives for a deliberate attack, the
official replied: `The possibility that the Chinese were helping the
Yugoslavs in a number
of ways, including militarily, and concern among American intelligence that
China was indulged in a wholesale espionage against America.'

What is clear, however, from The Observer's sources is that the Combined
Air Operations Centre at Vincenza was not informed of the targeting plan
for the
embassy because `all operations with stealth aircraft and other special
systems were kept strictly close to the chest by the Americans ... they
only told us
after the event.'

The question now remains why America might have risked such a controversial
attack. `The aim was to send a clear message to Milosevic that he should not
use outside help in the shape of the Chinese,' said a Nato intelligence

One source, a senior Nato air force officer, said: `I would lay money that
the Chinese civilians killed by the bombing were intelligence officers. The
Americans knew exactly what to hit and how to do it ... far from not
knowing the target was an embassy, they must have been given architect's

An intelligence expert told The Observer: `If it was the wrong building,
why did they use the most precise weapons on Earth to hit the right end of
`wrong building'?'

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