Written by: Andy Wilcoxson


Russian Senator, Nikolai Ryzhkov concluded his testimony at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic on Tuesday. Russian Army General, Leonid Ivashov took the stand as a defense witness following Ryzhkov.


Ivashov was the head of Russia’s Defense Ministry's Central International Military Cooperation Directorate, at the time of the Kosovo war.


Ivashov was in charge of following the situation in Kosovo for the Russian Government. In that capacity he had detailed and confidential information coming from intelligence sources, contacts with senior military officials of other countries and meetings of the Russia-NATO Council. He also had contacts with the Yugoslav military leadership, and met seven times with Slobodan Milosevic.


Plan Before Pretext


General Ivashov testified that NATO had a plan to attack Yugoslavia before the war broke out in Kosovo in 1998. According to his testimony, in 1997, the US National Security Council had already made a plan to attack Yugoslavia.


Ivashov testified that the US/NATO plan relied heavily on psychological operations. He said that these “PsyOps” included disrupting the peace negotiations, discrediting the Yugoslav and Serbian leadership, and encouraging terrorism in order to promote Kosovo’s secession from Yugoslavia.


General Ivashov said that the psychological operations activities were carried out precisely inline with the U.S. military doctrine laid out by the U.S. Army field manual # FM 33-5 regarding psychological operations.


According to Ivashov’s testimony, NATO began the physical preparations for its aggression against Yugoslavia in early 1998. He said that this preparation included the repositioning of U.S. spy satellites, the massing of NATO troops in the Balkans, and the construction of airfields and other logistical centers in Macedonia and Albania.  


The Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) as A Smokescreen


General Ivashov testified that the Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) was a smokescreen to cover-up preparations for the NATO aggression.


According to General Ivashov, the chief of the KVM, Mr. William Walker was responsible for submitting inaccurate reports to the OSCE. Ivashov said that Walker and the KVM leadership ignored information coming from non-NATO verification members. He testified that Walker and the KVM leadership did not include important information provided by Russian, Finnish, Ukrainian and Swedish verification members in the final reports submitted to the OSCE in Vienna.


Ivashov testified that some verification members from NATO countries were using their presence in Kosovo, as a cover to gather intelligence for the aggression. He said that they would mark down the coordinates of potential targets and transmit that information back to NATO.


According to General Ivashov, William Walker frequently met with the KLA. He also said that KLA terrorist provocations increased dramatically during the time that the KVM was present in Kosovo. He added that Walker’s meetings with the KLA were most frequent immediately prior to the NATO bombing, and subsequent withdrawal of the KVM.


Ivashov described a meeting that he had with Walker on February 12th 1999. At that meeting Mr. Walker expressed his view that NATO bombing was unavoidable and that “Serbs have no business being in Kosovo.”


Milosevic asked Ivashov if Russia had any information regarding Walker’s statement about a massacre at Racak. Ivashov responded that the Russian Government had collected forensic data and conducted interviews with the population of Racak, and that this information indicated Walker’s statement to be false.


The KLA as A Terrorist Organization


General Ivashov told the tribunal that the KLA is a classical terrorist organization. He said that the international drug Mafia heavily finances the KLA, providing as much as 45% of the money for weapons acquisitions.


Ivashov testified that the KLA’s attacks were not solely limited to non-Albanians. He said that Albanians also fell victim to the KLA’s terrorism.


Ivashov testified that Adem Jasari forced Albanian-Catholics to join the KLA against their will, and had them killed if they refused. He said that in some cases, the KLA even kidnapped its member’s families in order to prevent desertion.


General Ivashov said that the KLA frequently employed the use of human shields. He said that they would base themselves out of areas where there was a concentrated civilian population and that in some cases they would take civilians as hostages and use them as human shields.


Ivashov testified about meetings that he had with leaders and diplomats from Islamic countries. He said that the Government of Iran gave him information about the KLA, which showed that the KLA had links to the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization and the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan.


The KLA’s Relationship with NATO


General Ivashov said that the KLA conducted its activities in concert with NATO, and that the KLA’s activities included psychological operations aimed at encouraging the Albanian population to flee from Kosovo.


Ivashov testified that the KLA possessed sophisticated weaponry from NATO countries. These weapons included night vision, hi-tech sniper rifles, and missile launchers.


He said that the KLA was in frequent contact with NATO during the bombing, and that the KLA assisted NATO in intelligence gathering and the selection of targets.


General Ivashov testified that British intelligence, in particular, used the KLA as a vehicle infiltrate Kosovo, gather information, and conduct operations.


Ivashov corroborated the testimony of earlier defense witnesses and testified that the American defense contractor MPRI recruited mercenaries to fight for the KLA.


The witness also testified that he had given detailed information to Wesley Clark about the locations of KLA arms depots, smuggling routes used by the KLA, and the locations of 11 KLA training camps. Adding that Clark ignored this information, and pretended not to have adequate intelligence assets to verify it.


Ivashov said that NATO used the KLA as a vehicle to destabilize Kosovo, so that it could have a pretext to bomb Yugoslavia and establish its military bases there.


The witness also told the court that former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had personally promised Kosovo Liberation Army leader Hashim Thaci that there would be a referendum on independence for Kosovo if the KLA agreed to NATO troops being deployed in the province.


Actions of the Serbian and Yugoslav Forces


In view of the numerous meetings that Ivashov had with the military leadership of Yugoslavia, and with President Milosevic personally, he was in a good position to speak about the actions of the Yugoslav forces.


Ivashov testified that all efforts were made to protect Kosovo’s civilian population. He said that the Yugoslav Army was given orders not to fire on civilians, even if the KLA was among them, and that the Army was required to notify the civilian population before any impending combat operations.


Ivashov said that no major paramilitary formations existed on the Serbian side. He said that there were small, disorganized paramilitary groups, but that the Serbian and Yugoslav authorities frowned upon them.


General Ivashov testified that Yugoslav troops were massed in Kosovo as a response to the NATO troops that had massed on the borders of Kosovo in Macedonia and Albania.


He testified that the Yugoslav and Serbian authorities had no plan to harm the Albanian population, or to expel them from Kosovo.


General Ivashov said that the NATO bombing was the cause of the mass-exodus of Kosovo’s population in 1999, and that the exodus was not limited only to Albanians. Ivashov said that the Albanian Diaspora has even confirmed to him that the people fled Kosovo to escape the NATO bombing.


Ivashov testified that he never heard, in any of the meetings that he had with Serbian and Yugoslav leaders, about any plan for a Greater Serbia. He said that the only plan he had information about is the plan for Greater Albania.


Ivashov met with Milosevic on seven different occasions. He said that Milosevic’s objectives as far as Kosovo was concerned were to restore peace, and to develop industry and education in the province so that the economic situation could improve.


Ivashov is expected to conclude his testimony on Wednesday when he will be cross-examined by Mr. Nice.



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