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NATO used speeded-up film to excuse civilian deaths in Kosovo

Thursday, January 6 10:13 PM SGT

NATO used speeded-up film to excuse civilian deaths in Kosovo:

BERLIN, Jan 6 (AFP) -
Videotape shown by NATO to explain the killing of at least 14
civilians aboard a train on a bridge in Serbia last April was shown
at triple its real speed, the German daily Frankfurter Rundschau
reports in its Thursday edition.

The alliance had sought to excuse the killing of the civilians by
saying the train had been traveling too fast for the trajectory of
the missiles to have been changed in time.

NATO warplanes fired two missiles at the 50 metre (yard)-long bridge
over the Juzna Morava River at Grdelica Klisura, some 300 kilometers
(180 miles) south of Belgrade on April 12 during its campaign to
force Belgrade's troops to leave Kosovo.

NATO's supreme commander in Europe, US General Wesley Clark, shortly
afterwards showed two videotapes of the train appearing to be
traveling fast on the bridge, and said it had then been impossible
to alter the missiles' trajectories.

The Frankfurt newspaper said the two videotapes were both shown at
three times normal speed.

A spokesman for NATO'S military command in Mons, Belgium,
acknowledged in a telephone interview with AFP that those images had
been altered by "a technical problem."

The footage, recorded by a camera installed in the warhead of one of
the missiles that destroyed the bridge and train were altered during
the process of being copied for screening, said the spokesman.

He said NATO was aware of the problem since last October but did not
consider it "useful" to disclose it.

The Frankfurt newspaper said the US air force, which carried out the
bombardment, had not noticed for some months that the tape had been
speeded up, and also attributed it to a technological error.

"We did not deem it useful to go public with this information after
we noticed it," the newspaper quoted a US air force spokesman in
Europe as saying.

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