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How to lie with (or without) statistics
An examination of Patrick Ball’s indictment of Milosevic

Historical and Investigative Research - rev. 14 March 2006
by Francisco Gil-White




Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic has been accused of war crimes. He was illegally abducted from Serbia, where the Supreme Court had ruled against his extradition, and made a prisoner of the UN, at The Hague, Netherlands. There, the illegally constituted ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia), also known as the Hague Tribunal, is prosecuting him.

The first and most important allegation is that he supposedly carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Albanian civilians in Kosovo. In support of this allegation, Hague prosecutors have submitted the work of one Patrick Ball, who claims to have demonstrated, with a statistical analysis, the justice of the charges against Milosevic.

Patrick Ball demonstrated no such thing.

We shall get to that shortly. But first, let us ask, who is Patrick Ball? The American Association for the Advancement of Science explains that Patrick Ball:

1) "is Deputy Director of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Human Rights Program."

2) "Since 1991, he has designed information management systems and conducted quantitative analysis for large-scale human rights data projects for truth commissions, non-governmental organizations, tribunals and United Nations missions in El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, South Africa, and Kosovo."

3) "His 1997 Ph.D. dissertation 'Liberal Hypocrisy and Totalitarian Sincerity' examined the roots of the non-governmental human rights movements in Ethiopia, Pakistan, and El Salvador.

4) "AAAS has published two previous books by Dr. Ball: Who Did What to Whom? Planning and Implementing a Large Scale Human Rights Data Project (1996), and State Violence in Guatemala, 1960-1996: a Quantitative Reflection (1999, with Paul Kobrak and Herbert F. Spirer)."[1]

It is obvious from the above list that Patrick Ball is considered a leader in the application of science to questions of human rights abuses around the world, and it seems he has a hand in deciding "who did what to whom" (it's the title of his book) in just about every conflict.

This is cause for considerable worry.

As this piece will show, Patrick Ball’s own data directly contradict the hypothesis that Milosevic’s government carried out an ethnic cleansing campaign against Albanian civilians in Kosovo. In other words, when Mr. Ball concludes that there was such an ethnic cleansing campaign, he is doing so in defiance of his own analysis. This does not inspire confidence in the various ongoing efforts to assign blame around the world (listed above), and which feature Mr. Ball’s work rather prominently.

The problems with Patrick Ball’s Kosovo study are dramatic and obvious on first inspection.

(1) He did not test as a hypothesis the claims of the defense.

(2) He used the most tainted data possible.

(3) Despite using such data, he was unable to put anything together that even remotely indicts Milosevic. On the contrary, Mr. Ball's analysis, on the face of it, suggests that Milosevic's claims are true.

(4) But since the claims of the defense were not even included as a hypothesis, that Milosevic's version of events might be what really happened was not even possible as a conclusion in Mr. Ball's fatally biased study.

That Hague Tribunal prosecutors should accept this, and pretend that it convicts Milosevic, demonstrates what the Hague Tribunal really is: a kangaroo court.

Ball left one relevant hypotheses out of his analysis

Patrick Ball’s study is entitled “Policy or Panic: The Flight of Ethnic Albanians From Kosovo.” You may read it here:

The title suggests that there are two hypotheses: ‘policy’ and ‘panic,’ and that Ball’s study will determine which is best supported by the data. Ball’s Executive Summary says what the labels ‘policy’ and ‘panic’ stand for.

[Quote from Patrick Ball Begins Here]

“Why did hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians leave Kosovo from late March to mid-May 1999? Were they fleeing conflict between Yugoslav troops and the Kosovo Liberation Army, were they moving to escape NATO air attacks, or was their departure the result of a campaign of ethnic cleansing?”

...During the conflict many arguments were advanced about why the Kosovars were leaving their homes. Yugoslav officials contended that Albanian Kosovars[2] were fleeing NATO bombs. Other analysts posited that people were escaping fighting between the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and Yugoslav government forces. These explanations imply that Kosovar Albanians were motivated to leave their homes by their own fear or panic. Meanwhile, NATO officials argued that Yugoslav forces were subjecting Kosovar Albanians to a systematic policy of “ethnic cleansing,” a euphemism for the forced eviction of an ethnic group.

There are several potential methods for adjudicating between these contending explanations...”

[End Quote]

Patrick Ball says that “many arguments were advanced” but in fact he lists only two:

(1) PANIC. Albanians were fleeing in fear because of the fighting in Kosovo (whether because of NATO bombs or fighting between the Yugoslav army and the KLA -- or both); or else

(2) POLICY. Albanians fled because, as NATO alleges, the Yugoslav forces under Milosevic’s command carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing.

Either-or. And Mr. Ball proposes to adjudicate between the two.

But nothing in nature limits the number of possible hypotheses to two. And Patrick Ball is supposed to be a scientist. Hence, one expects that he will put on the table all of the relevant and obvious hypotheses. But he hasn’t. Incredibly, the claims of Milosevic’s government that the Albanians were chased out of Kosovo in an organized campaign that used both KLA intimidation and NATO bombs in order to blame the Serbs for fictitious ethnic cleansing -- these claims are not even included for consideration. Here is Milosevic repeating the argument in court:

[Quote From ICTY Transcript Begins Here]

PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC: The movement of Albanians from Kosovo was of strategic importance for the Clinton Administration to win the support of the media and public opinion, [in order to give the appearance of] confirmation [for their allegations against the Serbs] and justification for what they were doing... I wish to underline that under the threat of bombs, more than 100.000 Serbs also fled Kosovo. And this is an official figure of the International Committee for the Red Cross in Geneva...

...simultaneously with the fierce bombing, the KLA terrorists forced all Albanians that did not leave Kosovo upon their orders and the requests of NATO and under pressure of leaflets and horrific round-the-clock bombing. So they referred to all these Albanians who did not leave Kosovo as traitors because they betrayed the wartime concept which should have created the illusion of an exodus of the population before what you are referring to as the Serb forces. Simply the allegations of Albright... of Serb deportations needed to gain confirmation. And there were hundreds of cameras waiting at the borders to examine the witnesses of alleged Serb misdeeds and to perform that part of the media war.[3]

[End Quote]

Milosevic's point about the phony interviews of Albanian refugees at Kosovo’s borders is well documented. As Daniel Pearl (since murdered) and Robert Block explained in The Wall Street Journal:

“The KLA helped form the West’s wartime image of Kosovo.  International human-rights groups say officials of the guerrilla force served on the Kosovo-based Council for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms, whose activists were often the first to interview refugees arriving in Macedonia.”[4]

In other words... None of the Western reporters or human rights activists at Kosovo’s borders, who stood anxiously by, shoving their microphones between arriving Albanian refugees and their ‘interpreters,’ spoke Albanian. If Westerners believe there was ethnic cleansing against Albanian civilians, this is because KLA personnel told Western reporters and activists at Kosovo’s borders that the refugees were saying precisely this.

Can we believe the KLA?

Well, first of all, no interpretation of a conflict should ever be based only on what one side says. And that's the first problem, because Western reporters were not interviewing Albanians who fled north to Serbia (yes, many Albanians fled north to Serbia, and more on this below). Hence, the only refugees 'interviewed' by the mainstream Western press were those 'interviewed' with the help of KLA 'interpreters.'

The second problem is that the KLA did not care for the welfare of Albanian civilians. On the contrary, it killed many Albanians loyal to Yugoslavia for the crime of not cooperating with the KLA’s racist campaign of terror against Kosovo Serbs. Whenever it did so, it boasted about it. Here is an example from 1998:

“The clandestine Albanian separatist movement Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) has vowed 'multiple vengeance for the innocent deaths' in the Serbian region's central Drenica area, in a statement published Wednesday…The UCK, a group that wants the province to secede, has claimed responsibility for numerous deadly attacks against Serbian civilians and Albanians loyal to the Belgrade regime.”[5]

The meaning of this should be reflected upon. If the KLA was attacking Serbian civilians and Albanian civilians loyal to Belgrade, then it was a terrorist organization.[5a]

Why did the KLA attack Serbian civilians? Because it is a racist organization that wanted to cleanse Kosovo of all non-Albanians. It also attacked Roma (Gypsies) and Jews. These terrorists attacks started a long time ago. A country study of Yugoslavia published by the US Army in 1982 reported that:

“the trickle [of Serbs leaving Kosovo] became a stream, not just of former civil servants and intelligentsia, but of farmers apprehensive of the growing Albanian nationalist fervor”[5b]

Remember: the above was written in 1982. Kosovo Serbs had been fleeing Albanian secessionist terror for quite some time. This is the reverse of what we were told by NATO and the media. It was the Serbs in Kosovo who were being persecuted and oppressed by the racists among the Kosovo Albanians.[5c]

But if the KLA's propaganda was that it was defending Albanians, why did it attack Albanian civilians loyal to Belgrade? Because it wanted secession, and this required silencing Albanians who wanted to remain Yugoslav citizens. The KLA was not defending Albanians; on the contrary: it was murdering them.

All of this prompted a military reaction from the government in Belgrade, whose responsibility was to protect Serbian, Albanian, Roma, and Jewish citizens in Kosovo from the KLA thugs.

Given this conflict between the KLA and the Yugoslav government, it is obvious that the KLA had an interest in making Milosevic's forces look bad. Thus, if the interviews of Albanian refugees were interpreted for Western reporters by KLA personnel, this is the most tainted kind of data possible. 

Another point to reflect upon is this. If "Albanians loyal to the Belgrade regime" threatened the KLA so much that it directed special violence against them, and if the KLA boasted publicly about these killings (as a message to other Albanians) then such loyally Yugoslav Albanians existed in considerable numbers. But this completely contradicts the idea that the Yugoslav government was persecuting Albanians.[6] If it had been, there wouldn't have been many Albanians loyal to Yugoslavia, and the KLA would scarcely have worried about them.

And if loyal Yugoslav Albanians were numerous, this makes another point: in order to get them to flee Kosovo, a campaign of intimidation by the KLA would have been necessary, which is precisely what Milosevic claimed in court: that the KLA intimidated Albanians with violence so that they would leave the province, as part of a fraudulent effort to blame the Serbs for ethnic cleansing. The KLA’s control over the media situation at Kosovo’s borders rounded out this strategy.

As further documentation of this view of things, Milosevic submitted in court a flyer that instructed Albanians to leave the province of Kosovo, and which bore the seal of the KLA and Ibrahim Rugova’s signature (Rugova was one of the main secessionist Albanian leaders).[7] Emperor’s Clothes has published an interview with an Albanian who fled to Belgrade during the bombing, escaping the campaign of intimidation that the KLA directed at Kosovo Albanians in order to make them flee.[8]

Milosevic also alleged that there was close coordination between NATO and the KLA to try and provoke Belgrade into violent reactions against Albanian civilians (in which they did not succeed), and to orchestrate the exodus of Albanians out of Kosovo in order to blame the Serbs for supposed ethnic cleansing, and to make way for the entry of KLA and NATO troops.[9]

Much evidence supports Milosevic’s claims about collusion between NATO and the KLA in provoking an Albanian exodus. For example, it is well known that NATO bombed large convoys of open tractors carrying Albanian civilians who were returning to their homes.[10] Open tractors with civilians on them cannot be confused with a military target, and since it was returning Albanians who were bombed, this sent a very clear message to those who were not incinerated: don’t you dare come back; get out of Kosovo.

Moreover, this sort of thing would be in keeping with other evidence of collusion between NATO and the KLA to set up spectacular deceptions with the objective of blaming the Serbs for atrocities which never happened. To give just one example, it is well documented that the CIA cooperated intimately with the KLA in hoaxing the so-called Racak ‘massacre.’ This ‘massacre’ that never happened became NATO’s public excuse to start bombing the Serbs![11]

Now, of course, the claims made by the former Yugoslav government, repeated in court by Milosevic, don’t have to be accepted as correct a priori. The evidence should be examined to see whether the version defended by Milosevic’s government has merit. It is a hypothesis, and it should be tested along with the others, because the point is to find out what happened. Or isn’t it? Well, apparently not for Patrick Ball, whose study does not even mention, let alone test, the claim made by the defense!

What does this suggest? It suggests that Patrick Ball may be a NATO propagandist. Only someone uninterested in the truth, and with zero concern for justice, would fail to consider as a hypothesis the claims of the defense, because putting it on the table is obviously required. There is an international trial going on, after all, and the question is terribly important, because the allegations have to do with supposed war crimes. If the claims put forward by the defense are not considered, then Mr. Ball’s study convicts Milosevic long before Ball comes to any ‘conclusions.’

In court, Slobodan Milosevic cross-examined Patrick Ball on this question. The exchange is stupefying.

[Quote From ICTY Transcript Begins Here]

PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC: ...is it clear to you that, in this war, NATO and the KLA were acting with the same objective in mind? Did you give any thought to that?

PATRICK BALL: I did not give any thought to that idea.


JUDGE MAY: ...Now, the question appears to be this: Were there, in your view, other matters or did you consider other possible causes for, it seems to be, the refugee flight, namely, propaganda and threats of the KLA?

PATRICK BALL: This was an occasional topic of discussion among my co-authors and myself. We did not consider the effect.


PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC: ...I'm also talking about threats that were not empty threats only, because the KLA killed many Albanians as well in order to discipline them...

JUDGE MAY: ...Did you consider threats made by the KLA?

PATRICK BALL: No. We considered it unlikely...

PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC: So this has no effect, propaganda, calls, threats, orders issued by the KLA to the population to leave the territory. Is that the way it is in your opinion? Or the media war either that was part of this war as well?

PATRICK BALL:  As I said and I think as is clear from the report, we did not consider these hypothesized causes presented by the question in a direct way.


PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC: ...are you aware of the columns of Albanian refugees who were returning to their villages after the bombing, and they were bombed along the way by NATO as they were returning? Do you think these were messages as well, that orders had to be carried out, that Kosovo had to be left?


PATRICK BALL: There were some incidents of that kind reported in the Yugoslav government and press sources. We counted them in our data.

[These incidents were reported not just “in the Yugoslav government and press sources” but all over the world, and they became a major scandal that NATO publicly ‘apologized’ for.[13] -- HIR]

PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC: I am asking you about the effect of such a message, when a column of peasants who are going back to their village are bombed and at the same time there are orders and requests put through the media that Albanians should leave Kosovo. Did you take that into account as an effect of this message or did you only add up the persons killed by NATO in these columns?

PATRICK BALL: We did not take that into effect...


PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC: Did it cross your mind that... the appearance of refugee columns were preplanned and organized in advance in order to create an impression around the world that they were a product of an ethnic cleansing campaign, and other things that you are claiming, rather than the war in all its complexity, as is obvious?

PATRICK BALL: ...on your new question, did it occur to me that this was preplanned, the answer is no.[12]

[End Quote]

Unbelievable. Patrick Ball confessed repeatedly, under cross examination, that not one of the claims made by the Yugoslav government -- that is, not one of the claims made by the defense in the Milosevic trial -- had even been considered in his study.

Methodological problems

What data did Patrick Ball use? His report states:

“This report is based on administrative records maintained by Albanian government officials who registered hundreds of thousands of Kosovar Albanians as they passed through the small border post near the village of Morina between March and May 1999.”

In other words, these data come from the same Albanian government that cooperated with NATO’s attack because it has an interest in prying Kosovo away from Serbia. This is what one might call a biased source...

Even worse: the compilation of those records at the Albanian border were supervised by NATO’s own ‘civil emergency unit’ (and it was NATO that bombed Serbia, recall). As reported by the Associated Press in March 1998:

"NATO agreed today to provide more money and technical aid to help Albania monitor its border with Yugoslavia's troubled Kosovo province, but called any talk of sending troops premature. NATO also is activating a civil emergency unit to help Albania and neighboring Macedonia cope with any influx of refugees from Kosovo, officials said."[14] [my emphasis]

And in mid-1998 (a year before NATO's bombing) it surfaced, again in the Associated Press, that the CIA was working extensively in Albania, especially in the north, where the KLA had its bases of operation.

“The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is operating in Albania, helping rebuild the country’s internal security capability, the head of the Albanian Secret Service was quoted Thursday as saying.

In an interview with the independent newspaper Shekulli, Fatos Klosi said that relations between his Albanian Secret Service, or SHIK, and the CIA 'were intensified in the last months' and that 'CIA specialists' were operating in the country.

'They even have offices in the north,' he added, referring to the area near the border with Yugoslavia's Kosovo province, where the Kosovo Liberation Army [KLA] maintains sanctuaries.”[15]

In addition, after the NATO bombing stopped, soldiers and paramilitaries from Albania swarmed all over Kosovo and carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Serbs, Roma, and Jews -- and, not insignificantly, against the numerous Kosovo Albanians who were loyal to Yugoslavia. All of this under the watchful eyes of NATO! This was testified to by the president of the Jewish community in Pristina (the capital of Kosovo):

[Quote From Emperor’s Clothes Interview Begins Here]

JARED ISRAEL: But you are saying they have sent in Albanians in large numbers from Albania?

CEDDA PRLINCEVIC: This is a pogrom toward non-Albanian population all around Kosovo area, Djakovica, Pec, Kosovska, Microvica, all over Metohia. Metohia and Kosovo both.

JARED ISRAEL: But it is not being done by the local [Kosovo] Albanians?

CEDDA PRLINCEVIC: Yes, the foreign Albanians. They differ in language. A different dialect. All over Kosovo it is the same situation. I cannot give 100% that it is done exclusively by Albanians from Albania.[17]

[End Quote]

How does it look, in light of all this, that Patrick Ball should rely primarily on data gathered by the Albanian government? Well, not very good...

Patrick Ball also states about his report:

“The report also examines other official records of refugee movements as well as surveys conducted in refugee camps in Albania, Macedonia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.”

Now, there is an important omission here, because no Albanians who fled Kosovo into Serbia made it into Ball’s data set. Those who consume only NATO propaganda for ‘news’ don’t know this, but many Albanians were fleeing north, to Serbia, because they knew this was the safest place.

How do we know this? One dramatic piece of evidence comes from an article published in The Daily Telegraph, after the bombing, by a puzzled David Millward, who reported on just how eager Albanians were to leave Kosovo and go...to Belgrade:

“Ethnic Albanians are eager to move to Belgrade from Kosovo, despite the presence of Nato troops in the province.

A noticeboard at the Yugoslav capital's only mosque is crammed with slips of paper from Kosovars offering two or, in one case, three flats in Pristina for one in Belgrade.”[18]

Notice that this is after NATO ‘won,’ which, as Millward points out, means that NATO troops were all over Kosovo. And yet the Albanians whom NATO had supposedly started a war to protect felt safer with the Serbs -- the same Serbs who had supposedly been trying genocidally to cleanse them from the province.

Naturally, this was enough to make poor Mr. Millward dizzy, so he scratched his head and proclaimed it all a great ‘paradox’:

“The ease with which the Muslims live in Belgrade is one of the paradoxes of a country that has been ripped apart over the past decade by ethnic conflict.”

Mr. Millward is insisting on NATO’s interpretation of events no matter what contrary evidence surfaces. If you do that, then, certainly, things will seem terribly paradoxical.

NATO claimed up to 500,000 Albanian civilian deaths by Milosevic’s forces, but The Hague’s forensic investigators could not find even one of the bodies?[19] Paradox. The Serbs are the heroes of WWII, the only ones to die in the hundreds of thousands because they chose to defend their Jewish compatriots, when they could have done otherwise, but according to NATO they became ‘the new Nazis’?[19a] Paradox. Milosevic (the ‘new Hitler,’ says NATO) supposedly whipped up the Serbs into a murderous frenzy and started a race war, but in fact his speeches call for tolerance and unity and read as if they were written by Martin Luther King or Gandhi?[20] Paradox. Milosevic, says NATO, organized an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Albanians, but these latter want to escape Kosovo to go live in Belgrade? Paradox.

But the paradoxes can easily be made to disappear if only we allow ourselves to grow skeptical of NATO’s official story. The Serbs are not the new Nazis. They are what they always have been: the Serbs, moral heroes with a staunch and unique tradition of ethnic and religious tolerance that even NATO’s attack could not shatter, as the surprised Mr. Millward documents. There was no campaign of ethnic cleansing by the Serbs against their neighbors. If there had been, naturally, Kosovo Albanians would not have been jumping over each other to go to Belgrade after the bombing. Were Jews rushing back to Berlin after 1945?

But we were talking about Patrick Ball. The fact that Kosovo Albanians were desperate to get themselves out of Kosovo and to Belgrade after NATO’s bombing naturally means that any Albanians who were able to do this during the bombing did the same. Emperor’s Clothes has testimonies from Albanians who fled to Belgrade during the bombing.[21] And yet Patrick Ball did not use any data concerning Albanians who fled north to Serbia. Rather, he uses ‘data’ only from refugees who fled to the Albanian part of Macedonia, to Albania, and to Bosnia-Herzegovina. In other words, Mr. Ball was careful to use ‘data’ only from refugees who went to places where NATO and its allies (the terrorist KLA, and the Bosnian Islamists[22]) could control the interviews, as we saw above.

Mr. Ball explains the point of his study:

“Unlike previous analyses which have relied exclusively on refugee testimonies, this study...breaks new ground for human rights analysis by contextualizing the claims made by witnesses with analysis of objective administrative data.”

In other words, Mr. Ball is supposed to be comparing what the refugees supposedly said with the supposed data about their movements. And this is what he concluded:

“...the mass exodus of refugees from Kosovo occurred in patterns so regular that they must have been coordinated. In the context of qualitative accounts given by refugees, the most likely explanation for the migration is that Yugoslav authorities planned and implemented a centrally organized campaign to clear at least certain regions of ethnic Albanians.”

If we make believe that Mr. Ball makes a logical argument above, then what do we have?

First, we have the context provided by what the Albanian refugees said through... through whom? Through interpreters provided by the terrorist KLA. Aha. To complement that, we have the “objective administrative data” gathered by... by whom? By the Albanian government which hosted the CIA trainers of the KLA, and which invited NATO in to oversee the gathering of the data, afterwards sending soldiers and paramilitaries to help out with the KLA’s racist campaign of murder in Kosovo. Yes. And since, according to Mr. Ball, these two sources of data agree with each other, he concludes that the Serbs were bad.

Did you swallow?

Even if the two sources of data agreed with each other, since they are both tainted beyond belief, there would be no reason to take Mr. Ball's analysis seriously. However, incredibly, the data do not even agree with each other and therefore undermine rather than support Mr. Ball's conclusions! This will be examined below.

(And Mr. Ball is not even making a logical argument, and I shall examine this below as well.)

Problems with reasoning

Let us take another look at the paragraph quoted above:

“...the mass exodus of refugees from Kosovo occurred in patterns so regular that they must have been coordinated. In the context of qualitative accounts given by refugees, the most likely explanation for the migration is that Yugoslav authorities planned and implemented a centrally organized campaign to clear at least certain regions of ethnic Albanians.”

What is the premise, here? Mr. Ball is quite sure that the refugees were leaving Kosovo in regular patterns. And so he concludes that "they must have been coordinated." Then he further concludes that the most likely explanation for such regular, coordinated movements, is that the “Yugoslav authorities planned and implemented a centrally organized campaign to clear at least certain regions of ethnic Albanians.”

Is this latter conclusion reasonable?

Well, what did NATO allege that the "centrally organized campaign" of the Yugoslavs was supposedly like? According to Mr. Ball himself:

“This report compares the refugee flows to the location and timing of NATO bombings and mass killings allegedly carried out by Yugoslav forces.” [my emphasis]

So NATO accused the Yugoslav government of carrying out a "campaign to clear...certain regions of ethnic Albanians," which the Yugoslavs supposedly did by resorting to "mass killings." Indeed, it was precisely by alleging mass killings orchestrated from Belgrade that NATO claimed justification to intervene in Kosovo. And according to NATO these weren't just any mass killings: it alleged that as many as 500,000 Albanian civilians were being slaughtered.[22a]

Now, are such spectacular mass killings the sort of thing that will produce a "mass exodus of refugees...in patterns so regular that [one concludes] they must have been coordinated"? Why that is absurd. What planet is Patrick Ball from?

If Albanians were fleeing in terror ahead of mass killings, then there was bound to be much disorder. Different individuals make all kinds of different decisions when faced with imminent death, precisely because the prospect of imminent death makes it difficult for them to organize for the purpose of reaching orderly, coordinated decisions. Hence, since Mr. Ball claims that Albanians were streaming out of Kosovo in regular and coordinated movements, what hypothesis would this support? Wouldn't it support Milosevic’s claim that they were herded out as part of an organized NATO/KLA effort of cajoling, threats, and intimidation (and only occasional NATO bombing if they dared return to their homes)?

No, says Mr. Ball. If people come out of Kosovo in regular and therefore clearly coordinated movements, the most likely explanation is...that they are fleeing mass killings!

Suppose that Mr. Ball's data had revealed instead that people were streaming out chaotically. What would Mr. Ball have concluded? My guess is that he would have concluded something like this: "The arrival of refugees at the border was so disorderly and chaotic that it suggests they were fleeing a terror campaign of mass killings."

But all of the nonsense we have been considering so far pales next to this gem, which is Mr. Ball’s concluding paragraph in his Executive Summary:

“The findings of this report suggest that the refugee flows do not necessarily follow sequences of mass killings. As with bombing, mass killings occasionally coincided with heavy refugee flows. However, there are many areas from which many refugees departed but where there were no massacres, and there are other areas in which mass killings were committed yet from which there were relatively few refugees. Finally, this report finds that NATO’s bombing was tactically ineffective at stopping the forced eviction of Kosovar Albanians. While NATO bombing was not the cause of the mass migration, neither did the bombing stop Yugoslav forces from driving hundreds of thousands of Kosovar Albanians from their homes.”

This is quite a whopper. The entire paragraph is a version of the “do you still beat your wife?” argument -- also know as the logical fallacy of “affirming the consequent.”

If I ask you, in public, “Do you still beat your wife?”, anybody who overhears my question will think it is an established fact that you beat your wife. Why? Because it is only possible for you to still be beating your wife if you have beaten her in the past. It is a sly maneuver, but naturally asking a question this way does not establish that the person so accosted has indeed been beating his wife: the one asking the question could be a malicious liar.

Now consider Ball's first sentence:

“The findings of this report suggest that the refugee flows do not necessarily follow sequences of mass killings.”

What is he saying? That refugee flows sometimes, but only sometimes, follow sequences of mass killings. Which means he is saying that mass killings definitely occurred. For, you see, the only way that refugee flows can sometimes follow mass killings is if mass killings occur in the first place. But whether any mass killings occurred is what is in dispute, and Ball has no evidence that they did. Neither does anybody else.

I will expand on this a bit because it is a very important point.

I emphasize: nobody has produced evidence that the Yugoslav government carried out mass killings in Kosovo. Nobody. NATO has been incapable of producing even one body of an Albanian civilian murdered by Milosevic’s forces.[23] In a normal world, one usually concludes that if there is no evidence for an allegation, then those accused are innocent. But the point of the Hague Tribunal is simply to convict Milosevic, come what may, so when evidence cannot be found, something else must be tried. No bodies? No problem. Patrick Ball will do ‘statistics’ about refugee movements to try to ‘infer’ the supposed mass killings from them. If this were not so serious, the absurdity of 'proving' mass killings by looking at population movements -- because no bodies were found -- would be funny.

Patrick Ball’s nonsense job was to argue for mass killings on the basis of a presumed consistent coincidence between the allegations of mass killings on the one hand, and the timing of refugee movements on the other. But he was unable to show any such consistent coincidence, as he confessed himself:

"... [alleged!] mass killings occasionally coincided with heavy refugee flows. However, there are many areas from which many refugees departed but where there were no [alleged!] massacres, and there are other areas in which [alleged!] mass killings were committed yet from which there were relatively few refugees."

In a normal world, Patrick Ball would look at his data, and conclude that it does not support the idea that there were mass killings. (And this is a double whammy, given that the only reason Mr. Ball was asked to do this study in the first place is that no physical evidence of mass killings whatever has turned up.)

But this is not a normal world.

Mr. Ball should have said that that the allegations of mass killings only occasionally coincide with heavy refugee flows. And then he should be concluding that this radically weakens the accusations that there were any mass killings at all. Since no bodies were found, there simply is no case against the Serbs.

But of course, if one assumes from the beginning that mass killings occurred, and the evidence be damned, then it certainly won't matter whether the allegations of mass killings and the refugee movements match up. And, indeed, it doesn't seem to matter to Mr. Ball. But then we hardly need Mr. Ball to run any statistics...

It appears that, just as the Hague Tribunal is not there to find the truth, but to convict Milosevic in spite of the truth, Mr. Ball's role is to conclude that there were mass killings, even if his spectacularly tainted data cannot -- despite this -- produce the match between allegations of mass killings and population movements that would at least be consistent with the accusation.

And this all demonstrates something else: Mr. Ball’s study was never peer reviewed in proper fashion. When there is proper peer review for a statistical study, the fact that one obvious hypothesis was not considered is cause for automatic rejection. Beyond this, as we have seen, the problems with Ball's sources of data and with his mode of reasoning are obvious, and an insult to anybody with normal intelligence. If there had been proper review of Mr. Ball's study, it never would have seen the light of day. That Mr. Ball should be the Deputy Director of the Science and Human Rights Program of something calling itself the American Association for the Advancement of Science is a scandal.

The world we live in was described years ago, by George Orwell. Everything has become its opposite.


Footnotes and Further Reading

[2] ‘Kosovar’ is a term invented during the Kosovo conflict. It did not exist before. It is used extensively by NATO officials and their propagandists in the media, and also by their academic stooges such as Patrick Ball. Since ‘Kosovar’ is made to stand for ‘Kosovo Albanian,’ the whole point is to make it seem as though Albanians are the rightful and traditional inhabitants of Kosovo. From this point of view the expression ‘Albanian Kosovar’ makes no sense, because Kosovar itself is already supposed to stand for Kosovo Albanian, such that, when Patrick Ball says ‘Albanian Kosovar’ he is saying ‘Albanian Kosovo Albanian,’ and when he says ‘Kosovar Albanians’ he is saying ‘Kosovo Albanian Albanians.’ This is a common mistake which results from the fact that ‘Kosovar’ is a word that did not exist before and hence even NATO propagandists have trouble keeping it straight. In any case, the traditional inhabitants of Kosovo are Serbs. Kosovo is the cradle of Serbian culture, where the Medieval Serbian state first arose. Until the genocides committed against Kosovo Serbs in the 20th c., the province had a Serbian majority.

For documentation on this, read:

"The Serbs Were Not Oppressing the Kosovo Albanians... Quite the opposite"; Historical and Investigative Research; 14 March 2006; by Francisco Gil-White

[3] ICTY Court Transcript for Friday, 15 February 2002; pp.321 - 322

[4] The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 1999. "War In Kosovo Was Cruel, Bitter, Savage; Genocide It Wasn’t." by Daniel Pearl and Robert Block

[5] Agence France Presse,  March 04, 1998,  International news,  243 words, "Albanian separatists vow 'multiple vengeance'"

[5a] In 1998 US special envoy to the Balkans Robert Gelbard “condemned the actions of an ethnic Albanian underground group Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) which has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on Serb targets. ‘We condemn very strongly terrorist actions in Kosovo. The UCK is, without any questions, a terrorist group [my emphasis],’ Gelbard said.” From: Agence France Presse, February 23, 1998 22:24 GMT, SECTION: International news, LENGTH: 631 words. HEADLINE: Washington ready to reward Belgrade for “good will”: envoy

[5b] Nyrop, R. F. (1982). Yugoslavia: A country study. Headquarters, Department of the Army, DA Pam 550-99: American University. (pp. 67-68)

See also:

"The Serbs Were Not Oppressing the Kosovo Albanians... Quite the opposite"; Historical and Investigative Research; 14 March 2006; by Francisco Gil-White

[6] On the question of how Albanians were treated in Kosovo, consult":

"The Serbs Were Not Oppressing the Kosovo Albanians... Quite the opposite"; Historical and Investigative Research; 14 March 2006; by Francisco Gil-White

[7] ICTY Court Transcript for 6 May 2002; pp.4341 - 4347.

[9] ICTY Court Transcript for 6 May 2002; pp.4341 - 4347.

[10] "Real Civilian Casualties vs.The Freezer Truck Hoax"; Historical and Investigative Research; 23 Septempber 2002; by Francisco Gil-White & Jared Israel

[11] "THE ROAD TO JENIN: The Racak 'massacre' hoax, and those whose honesty it places in doubt: Helena Ranta, NATO, the UN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, The Associated Press, and Human Rights Watch." Historical and Investigative Research; October 2005; by Francisco Gil-White

[12] ICTY Court Transcript for 14 March 2002; pp.2271 - 2278.

[13] "Real Civilian Casualties vs.The Freezer Truck Hoax"; Historical and Investigative Research; 23 Septempber 2002; by Francisco Gil-White & Jared Israel

[14] Associated Press Online, March 11, 1998; Wednesday, Domestic, non-Washington, general news item, 806 words,  AP Top News at 5 p.m. EST Wednesday, March 11, 1998, LAURA K. BARGE

[15] Associated Press Worldstream, August 13, 1998; Thursday, International news, 472 words, Albanian official reportedly admits CIA operating in the country, even in [the north], ARLINDA CAUSHOLLI , TIRANA, Albania

[17] "Driven from Kosovo!: Interview with Chedomir Prelinchevich, Chief Archivist of Kosovo and leader of the Jewish Community in Pristina, capital of Kosovo province (Serbia)"; Emperor's Clothes; 9 September 1999; Interviewers: Jared Israel and Nancy Gust

[18] The Daily Telegraph, UK; Muslims seek a haven from hatred in Belgrade; August 10, 1999; By David Millward in Belgrade. Full text below:

ETHNIC Albanians are eager to move to Belgrade from Kosovo, despite the presence of Nato troops in the province.

A noticeboard at the Yugoslav capital's only mosque is crammed with slips of paper from Kosovars offering two or, in one case, three flats in Pristina for one in Belgrade. There are an estimated 200,000 Muslims in the Yugoslav capital which has been a haven from the bloody inter-communal strife that has beset first Bosnia and then Kosovo, with little more than a handful of incidents since the start of the Nato bombardment.

Most are employed in blue collar jobs. Many have lived in Belgrade for decades and are located throughout the city. There is not a Kosovar or Muslim "ghetto".

Imer Mehmet, 50, left Pristina 32 years ago and is now one of about 50,000 Kosovars living in Belgrade. He said: "Everything here has been fine; I haven't had any problems. I have friends who are Serbs, my children go to school with Serbian children. I really could not go anywhere else."

Another Kosovar, Farzi Zeneli, 53, who has lived in Belgrade for more than 40 years, also doubted the wisdom of the bombing which, he said, had soured relations with the Serbs. He said: "I didn't have any problems, but I know some people who did and it has made things worse for some of us in Belgrade."

The two men were among about 1,000 Muslims who packed into weekly prayers in the mosque in Dorcol, the oldest part of Belgrade. The ease with which the Muslims live in Belgrade is one of the paradoxes of a country that has been ripped apart over the past decade by ethnic conflict.

But even under Tito the Yugoslav capital was a law unto itself. Renowned for its tolerance, Belgrade was a cosmopolitan city where cafe society flourished; and the tradition has continued.

Even if many Serbs in the city regard the KLA in Kosovo as the devil incarnate and tacitly condone ethnic cleansing, the idea of turning on their near neighbours is regarded as anathema. Belgrade once had 274 mosques and the only surviving one is not big enough for the Muslim community's needs, according to Imam Mustafa Jusufspahic, 29.

He said: "Yes, we have problems, but they go back to the time of Tito rather than Milosevic." The war was difficult, however. "The Kosovars are our brothers in religion, but the Serbs are our brothers in blood."

The mosque itself did not escape unscathed. Mr Jusufspahic recalled: "There were difficulties with hooligans and skinheads. They threw stones at the building, which was perhaps understandable at the time."

There was also a grenade attack at 3am. The explosion shattered glass, and the white walls of the mosque annexe are still pock-marked from the shrapnel.

But these incidents were isolated. Mr Jusufspahic said: "My view is that the religious leaders in Belgrade did their job well and behaved responsibly."

Once the Nato bombardment started, the Muslims in Belgrade found themselves as vulnerable as their Serb neighbours. Mr Jusufspahic said: "The bombardment did not make a distinction between the different religious groups. Nato was acting as if it was still the 19th century rather than approaching the beginning of the 21st."

But he believes the bombardment may have brought the two communities in Belgrade together. "We were in the same boat," he said.

[19] “THE FREEZER TRUCK HOAX: How NATO framed the Serbs”; Historical and Investigative Research; 2 December 2005; by Francisco Gil-White

[19a] At the height of World War II, in 1943, Ruth Mitchell wrote a book entitled The Serbs Chose War to document and celebrate the valiant fight of the Serbs against German Nazism, and against Nazi allies within Yugoslavia. In her book she reproduces in full a letter

"...written by a Jewish physician, a professor in the Department of Medicine in the University of Belgrade, to a friend in London on his escape from Yugoslavia in 1942. As the writer is a Jew, for the sake of relatives who remain in Yugoslavia his name cannot be used."

This letter tells a remarkable tale of Serbian moral bravery. Here it is:

[Text Of The Letter Begins Here]

“In Yugoslavia there were 85,000 Jews, including Jewish émigrés from Germany, Austria, Poland and Czechoslovakia. Thanks to the Serbs, the Yugoslav Jews had succeeded in saving and rescuing many of their compatriots from Germany and German-occupied countries. Service rendered and assistance given to Jews by Yugoslav consular officials in Austria and Czechoslovakia has specially to be recognized. Of the total number of Jews in Yugoslavia about 7,500 were refugees.

“After the [Nazi invasion in 1941]...the Jews came under the rule of various regimes, including Pavelich's 'Independent Croatian State'.

“The 'solution' of the Jewish question in the Independent Croatia devolved upon the Croatian Ustashis. [This was the clerical-fascist regime set up in Croatia with Nazi approval.] In Serbia, however, the Jewish problem was not dealt with by the Serbs themselves. This the Germans reserved for themselves. There are special reasons for this. When they occupied Serbia, the Germans did not find any anti-Semitic feeling in the country. They could not persuade either the local population or the local authorities to take any anti-Semitic measures.

“The fact that Nedich [the Serbian quisling government, installed after the Nazi invasion] twice demanded from the German commanding officer in Serbia and the Banat that he and his government should be given the right to settle the Jewish problem, against whom no drastic measures should and could be taken in Serbia, shows the feeling of the Serbian people toward the Jews. The following reasons were given by Nedich to the Germans for this demand. If the Germans wanted the Serbs to calm down, it would be of first importance to stop the terrible persecution of the Serbian Jews. The Serbian people could not and would not accept such treatment 'of their compatriots of the Jewish religion.' The Serbs consider Jews as their brothers, only of a different religion. The answer which Nedich received from the Germans regarding this demand was 'that the Serbs have not attained a culture to the degree necessary to enable them to deal with the Jews. We ourselves shall settle the Jewish question in Serbia.'

“With regard to anti-Semitism, Yugoslavia can be divided into two parts, i.e., districts where this feeling was latent, and Serbia, where, it can be said without any exaggeration, anti-Semitic feeling has never had any root.

“During Yugoslavia's twenty-three years of existence, Serbia has always professed the free democratic tradition existing in the former Kingdom of Serbia. There in the nineteenth century, and later in the twentieth, the Jews always had full civic rights and complete equality with their Serbian compatriots. This equality was not only granted in various constitutions of the Kingdom of Serbia and later of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, but it was also a true expression of the relationship between the Orthodox Serbs and the Jews in their everyday contact. This friendly and amicable relationship also existed in the economic, financial, and political life in Serbia. The small group of Jews living in Serbia gave their contribution towards the cultural and political life in Serbia's struggle for the formation of a state of South Slavs. The Jews had in Serbia members of Parliament. In Serbia's struggle for liberation, the Jews gave their contribution. Several were awarded the Karadgeorge Star for bravery in the battlefield - equivalent to the British V.C.

“About a year before Yugoslavia was attacked by Germany, by pressure from the Reich and in their attempt to suit their policy to the dictators, the Tsvetkovich-Machek Government passed the first anti-Semitic measure in Yugoslavia. The Government was not unanimous on this point. Dr. Koroshets, leader of the Slovenes, upheld the measure as Minister of Education. Serbian cabinet ministers, however, including the Minister of War, refused to apply the act. The application of it was confined to the Ministry of Education, under the Slovene, Dr. Koroshets, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, under the Croat[ian], Dr. Andres.

“In all the schools and universities, numerous restrictions were applied by circular, but in Serbia, Serb teachers and professors succeeded in avoiding or sabotaging the regulations.

“In this regard Serbia completely differed from Croatia under Dr. Machek and the district governor or Ban, Shubashich. In Croatia anti-Semitism was inherited from Austria-Hungary. Anti-Semitic centers had always existed. Dr. Shubashitch's Croatia had even prepared elaborate laws and regulations just before the war broke out in Yugoslavia in 1941. A large part of the industries in Jewish hands in Croatia was to be confiscated and nationalized. Anti-Semitism was particularly stressed in Croatia by the right wing of Dr. Machek's Croatian Peasant Party.

“This report could be divided into two parts - the first beginning with the entry of German troops into Belgrade in April 1941 to the beginning of August 1941; the second from the middle of August 1941 until the closing down of the office of the 'Jewish section' late in 1942. The section was closed because there were no longer any Jews in occupied Serbia. During the first stage the Jews were tortured, persecuted, maltreated, taken for forced labor. Well-known Jews and Serbs were taken to German concentration camps. Women of the intelligentsia class were forced to clean latrines in the German barracks, to clean floors and sweep streets under the supervision of the S.S. troops. They were made to clean the windows of high houses from the outside, and several of them lost their lives through falling down. Jewish girls were violated and taken to 'Militar-Medi'. Already during the first stage the Jews were deprived of all their property and most of them were evicted from their homes.

“In the second period male Jews were sent to concentration camps. But quite a number of men and young Jews succeeded in escaping to the villages, where they lived with Serbian peasant families. A number later joined the guerrillas. A considerable number of youths from the Jewish Zionist organization, which co-operated with the Serbian organizations for the preparation of resistance, actively helped the guerrilla fighters. Many collected hospital material for the guerrillas or posted anti-German posters in Belgrade streets. The name of Almozmo, a schoolboy of ten, the son of a well-known Belgrade dispensing chemist in Peter Street, should be mentioned. He threw bombs at two armored German cars and a tank in Grobljanska Street in Belgrade and blew them up. His elder brother, a medical student, is still fighting in Bosnia, in spite of the order that the mayor and members of the rural councils would be shot if such cases were discovered in their villages.

“Some forty of my relatives were shot in Belgrade by the Germans. I am, however, very proud to say that today two small relatives of mine, one of five and one of seven years of age, whose parents were shot by the Gestapo, are being hidden by two Serbian mothers.

“No German measures in Belgrade were able to upset the friendly relations between the Serbs and Jews. During the forced-labor period Serbs talked to their Jewish friends in the streets even in front of the German soldiers and police. During the period well over 300,000 Serbs were massacred by the Croat Ustashi in Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Lika and some 60,000 shot by the Germans in Serbia, during the period when Serbian students and peasants were hung in the main square in Belgrade, the Serbs of the capital had sufficient courage to protest publicly their indignation at the treatment of the Jews.

“When Jewish women were transported in lorries to the concentration camps, Serb shopkeepers in the streets through which these processions passed closed their shops and their houses, thus expressing not only their protest, but also emphasizing the fact that the entire population of Serbia, yesterday and today, does not and cannot participate in the extermination of their Jewish neighbors.

“The example of the Serbian people with regard to the Jews is unique in Europe, particularly in the southern part of the continent. In spite of intensive German propaganda in writing and through the wireless, the Serbs remained unaffected. When we consider what happened to the Jews in neighboring countries, in the "Independent State of Croatia," Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria, the Serbian example shines out.

“Today there are no more Jews left in Serbia, except some children hidden by the Serbs and those fighting along with the Serbs in the forests. I saved my own life thanks to my Serbian friends. I was saved from certain death. Serbian peasants and my other friends also saved from death my only son, who was on several occasions sought by the Gestapo in Belgrade.

“It is my desire as a Jew and as a Serb that in free democratic countries where Jews are still enjoying full freedom and equality they should show gratitude to the Serbian people, pointing out their noble acts, their humane feelings, and their high civic consciousness and culture....

“I cannot conclude this report without mentioning how the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Patriarch Gavrilo, and his clergy tried to save Serbian Jews and Gypsies. Up to the present day the Germans have massacred I70,000 Gypsies, men, women, and children, in Serbia and the Banat. Serbian Orthodox priests and the Serbian peasantry risked their lives not only to save ordinary Jews and their children but also to save those Gypsies and their children. Today the chief rabbi of Yugoslav Jews lives in America. He was saved from the Gestapo, being smuggled out from Serbia from monastery to monastery by the Serbian clergy. He was handed over by one Serbian church to another, by one Serbian priest to another until he was passed on to Bulgarian territory. There, with the assistance of the Orthodox Bulgarian clergy, some of whom were his personal friends, he arrived at the Turkish frontier.”

[End Quote]

SOURCE: The Serbs Chose War, by Ruth Mitchell, Garden City Publishers, New York, 1943, (pp.260-264)

[20] "How Politicians, the Media, and Scholars Lied about Milosevic's 1989 Kosovo Speech: A review of the evidence"; Historical and Investigative Research; 8 September 2005; by Francisco Gil-White

[21]  "A stranger in Belgrade: Interview with Agim K."; Emperor's Clothes; 3 June 2000; by Tanya Djurovic

[22] "the Bosnian Islamists..."

If you have been affected by the constant repetition in the mass media that Alija Izetbegovic, the leader of the Bosnian Muslim faction that fought the Bosnian Serbs, was a tolerant multiculturalist, then you probably have never heard Izetbegovic and his followers referred to as "the Bosnian Islamists." The following piece is the antidote:

"WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN BOSNIA? Were the Serbs the criminal aggressors, as the official story claims, or were they the victims?"; Historical and Investigative Research; 19 August 2005; by Francisco Gil-White

[22a] The Boston Globe,  April 20, 1999, Tuesday, City Edition,  NATIONAL/FOREIGN; Pg. A1,  974 words,  Up to 500,000 unaccounted for in Kosovo; Missing men feared dead, US reports; CRISIS IN KOSOVO; Kornblut reported from Albania. Material from the Associated Press and Reuters was used in the preparation of this article.,  By Bob Hohler and Anne E. Kornblut, Globe Staff.

[23] “THE FREEZER TRUCK HOAX: How NATO framed the Serbs”; Historical and Investigative Research; 2 December 2005; by Francisco Gil-White

















































































































































































































































































































































































































































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