Technologies To The People on Fri, 16 Apr 1999 08:52:41 +0200

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Syndicate: Bombing civilians

	BRUSSELS, Belgium, April 15 (UPI) -- NATO has confirmed it mistakenly
bombed a civilian vehicle in a convoy Wednesday in Kosovo and played a
tape of the report by the pilot of the plane that dropped the bombs.
	NATO officials said the pilot, whose name is not being released, spent
25 minutes over the area in western Kosovo where the attack occurred,
watching a pattern of burning villages from north to south around the
town of Djakovic.
	The pilot said: ``I worked various targets throughout the morning with
not a lot of success due to weather. Near the town of Dakovica, I saw
what looked to be an internally displaced persons convoy on the west
side of town.''
	The pilot said he flew north and saw a village that was on fire and
appeared to be nearly burned out. Moving south, he saw a series of
villages also on fire, progressively fresh, indicating whoever was
burning them was also moving north to south.
	The pilot said, ``The picture I'm building that the MUP and VJ
(Serb-led Yugoslav forces) are methodically working themselves from the
north to south through villages, setting them ablaze and forcing them
out of the villages.''
	The pilot was flying an F-16 at 15,000 feet.
	He said he came upon a three-vehicle convoy he believed to be military
-- ``uniformly shaped, dark green vehicle, looked like deuce and half
(2.5 ton) troop-carrying vehicles'' -- about a kilometer southeast of
the damage, apparently about to set fire to another house.
	NATO said the pilot's wingman also confirmed the target.
	The pilot made several passes over vehicles to insure they were in fact
military vehicles. He said: ``I roll in on two passes, both with
eyeballs and targeting pod, (infrared) picture....I make a decision at
that point these are the people responsible for burning down the
villages I've seen so far.''
	He continued: ``I execute a laser-guided bomb attack, destroying the
lead vehicle. From there my wingman is low on fuel, so we end up
	The pilot passed the targeting and threat information on to his
replacement, who then bombed another group of three, apparently military
	The pilot explained, ``He now spots three large trucks in the middle of
the housing area next to where we just attacked, and he proceeds to
execute a buddy lase attack on these vehicles.''
	A ``buddy lase attack'' means one aircraft lased, or emitted a laser
light, the target, and another released the bomb.
	The first bomb, at least, apparently hit a tractor carrying refugees.
	In Washington, U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen said the pilot was
taking anti-aircraft artillery fire and possible shoulder launched
missiles during the course of the attack.
	NATO spokesman Brig Gen. Giuseppe Marani said: ``After they were
attacked probably the best information (as to their identity) we have
was what's on television.''
	No explanation was made how the pilot could have mistaken a tractor for
a 2.5 ton military truck, except he was operating from a high altitude
and did not have independent information on the target beyond what he
was observing.
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