In Brussels on Wednesday NATO's Supreme Commander General Wesley Clark admitted that an air campaign against Yugoslavia was never going to stop the ethnic cleansing of the Kosovars.
In a forthright affirmation of NATO's intentions in Yugoslavia, Clark said they had known for a long time of President Milosevic's plan and that NATO would continue to attack and degrade his forces.
At the daily NATO press briefing spokesman Jamie Shea told of new reports that Serb security forces were systematically destroying all official records of the Kosovar population in an attempt to completely disenfranchise them as a people.
For the first time since the beginning of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia over a week ago, the Supreme commander of the offensive has publicly admitted that an air campaign was never going to stop the killing of Kosovars on the ground.
In a heated exchange with a French journalist at NATO headquarters General Wesley Clark said that NATO had known of Milosevic's plan to eradicate the ethnic Albanian population.
He also confirmed that NATO strategists were aware that a plan was being hatched even during the fruitless Rambouillet peace talks.
Clark said the bombings would only be able to degrade the Serb forces that were committing the rout of the Kosovar people, but it would not be able to stop the atrocities.
"This is a huge anti-humanitarian juggernaut put together by President Milosevic and his military police leaders and is designed to change the demographics of Kosovo."
Q. (French journalist) Yes but that's happening because you are bombing
"No, no, no, that's not what's happening at all. This was a plan......it's not a consequence, it's the opposite. This was a plan that was put together six months ago or longer. I know this plan because they've described it to me"
Q. So you knew the plan ?
"Of course we knew this plan"
Q. (French journalist) Why didn't you bomb if you knew the plan ?
"Listen to me,this was a plan to ethnically cleanse Kosovo and get rid of the Albanian population, are we going to stand for that ? Is France going to stand for that ? I don't think so. Now we warned President Milosevic that if he did this he would be severely hurt. We said we would attack, disrupt and degrade his armed forces and police, we're going to hurt him. But can you stop it on the ground ? No, you can't stop paramilitary actions from the air, we all knew that, but as the plan began to unfold during the Rambouillet talks, during the Rambouillet talks, when he continued to bring forces into the situation there, when he continued to fight and aggravate and start the operations against the KLA, we watched as his plan began to take form."
SUPERCAPTION: General Wesley Clark, Supreme Allied Commander
At the daily NATO briefing in Brussels spokesman Jamie Shea said refugees fleeing into Macedonia had told OSCE monitors there that the Serbs were destroying all officials records of the Kosovar people.
Refugees, who are interviewed on arrival as a matter of course, said Serb police were burning everything from birth certificates to property deeds.
This sinister process, he said, would effectively wipe away any reference to the Kosovar people from the history books, and moreover make any future repatriation near impossible.
"We have also received more reports in the last 24 hours of what I called the other day "Identity Elimination". The Yugoslav forces, so we are learning, are destroying the archives of the Kosovar people - property deeds, marriage licences, birth certificates, financial and other records, public records are being systematically destroyed. This is a kind of Orwellian scenario of attempting to deprive a people and a culture of the sense of past and a sense of community on which it depends."
SUPER CAPTION: Jamie Shea, NATO Spokesman
Cockpit videos show direct hits on fuel dumps and ammunition assembly areas.
The NATO campaign is in it's eighth day and the air strikes are now concentrating on tanks and troops.