On May 8 1999, three laser-guided smart bombs were dropped onto the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Three Chinese citizens were immediately killed, one reporter, and a married couple working in the embassy. The bombs were aimed directly at the building, there was no doubt about it. The entire structure was destroyed. The US, boasting the most advanced military technology in the world, performed two mis-hits in a week (the other was on a passenger train full of refugees).

Then came the excuses. When NATO was asked why this happened, their explanation was "the use of old and inaccurate maps." Apparently, the Chinese Embassy was mistaken for the Yugoslav Directorate of Supply and Procurement, a military target. When asked if NATO was even aware of the locations of the several foreign embassies in Belgrade, the capital of Yugoslavia, Major General Walter Jertz replied in a hostile tone: "Of course we are."

A slight contradiction there. A day later, the story was changed to "a 'review of procedures' had identified a 'mistake' in the target selection process", whatever that is supposed to mean. To me, and the billion other Chinese people in China at the time watching this (don't say my news is censored, I had uncensored, satellite CNN), this just sounded like pure gibberish designed to confuse us. After reading the statement on the internet (because the NATO spokesman was mumbling too quickly for me to understand), what they meant was "the extensive process in place to select and validate targets did not correct the original error."

So they admit it was their human error! Then why does the press in America, over every headline, louldy proclaim it to be an "accident"? How's that for selective censorship.

Then came the claim of CIA culpability. "Stale information" was the term used. This is also laughable, as the Chinese embassy has been in the same place for 4 years. Its site was clearly marked on tourist maps that are on sale internationally. The embassy was well known to many journalists, diplomats and other visitors to Belgrade. Its address is listed in the Belgrade telephone directory. For the CIA to have made such an elementary blunder is simply not plausible.

In addition, they are saying you're supposed to believe the absurd claim that such an error went unchecked through an exhaustive target selection, verification and authorization process. Published accounts indicate that targets are largely identified by the US military, sometimes using information supplied by the CIA as part of its validation process. Targets are nominated at the Aviano airforce base in Italy, verified at NATO headquarters in Belgium, designated on lists sent to the Pentagon for confirmation and then sent to Washington and other NATO capitals for authorization. By some reports, President Clinton personally approves targets in Belgrade.

In an age where spy satellites can zoom in on a golf ball on Earth, this is their excuse. Please, spare me your bullshit.

Even more infuriating, as a Chinese, was the way the American media treated the whole deal. They were obviously give orders to say it was an "accident", despite admitting their fault. The American people were gullible enough to believe this. Better yet, where the Chinese rioted in front of the American embassies in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, when I read an issue of Time Magazine a week late (again, uncensored, my family gets Fed-Ex delivery), they managed to twist it around into this connotation (this was the gist of the article): "Chinese mobs attack the innocent American embassy for someone else's mistake".

What is this? Our embassy was bombed to the fucking ground, yours received a bad new paint job. It was your mistake, you admitted it. In fact, the Chinese authorities made certain that no American would be harmed. My dad, as part of the expatriate business community in Shanghai, was cordially invited to the new Sheraton Hotel in China, where they were told, "Its springtime, go play some golf.... it will pass." The riots were to allow the Chinese to let out steam. But no, the American media uses it to depict them as mobs out for blood revenge. This is the censored American media at its best. This is what they do:

  • Tell people what they want to hear, not what really happened
  • It is never America's fault
  • They were commies so we can bomb them (incidentally, as soon as the bombing occurred, there was a new awareness of China's human rights record. Isn't that interesting? Maybe they should at least try to mask their timing.)
  • Twist, manipulate, sidestep, avoid, or outright lie to the people, because it sells better

    Of course, most Americans don't give a shit. I understand. If you don't care, then don't say anything about it. I mean, not a single, fucking word. But no, so many Americans in Cornell, when the issue comes up (as it so often does because I am Chinese), defend America with their well-worn, press-issued explanations. When I proceed to rip their arguments apart, they always fall back onto this old phrase: "We have the nukes, so we do what we want." Yeah, right. That made a whole lot of sense.

    While everything points to a pre-meditated attack, it is entirely conceivable that President Clinton had no knowledge of the plan. Given the Byzantine nature of the struggles between the White House, the Pentagon, the CIA and other elements within the US political and military establishments, it is quite possible that the bombing was designed to embarrass the Clinton administration, escalate the war and pursue an even more militarist agenda. Sections of the military have hardly disguised their loathing for Clinton.

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