[Note: This piece has been sent to Canadian and International newspapers
and will be travelling on the Internet as well. Feel free to copy and
The Yugoslavian government has just expelled some journalists from NATO
countries from its territory. This is deplored by the media as
“censorship,” but in some of us it has created a strange sense of
relief: perhaps now there will be a ceasefire in the 10-year
disinformation campaign about the Yugoslavian conflict in general and
the Serbs in particular. Or at least the “journalists” (few actually
deserve the name) have to declare that what they are talking about is
unverified rumour and hearsay since they are nowhere near the scene. Up
to this point they have been able to create the false impression that
they have witnessed the events they report on.
The Western media's relentless demonization of the Serbs of Yugoslavia
has, however, produced a very predictable (and no doubt, wished-for)
result: a truly genocidal assault on the Serbian people by Western
military might, Canada to its eternal shame participating, breaking
every relevant international covenant and treaty.
The pack-journalism over the last ten years has also succeeded in
hoodwinking many Canadians into thinking that what is at stake is the
good-riddance of a Serbian Hitler who has attempted a "final solution"
of sorts on assorted ethnic groups in Yugoslavia. A lot of
well-intentioned people are cheering the bombing of yet another pariah
nation into the Stone Age. With the accumulated effects of media
rumour-mongering and willful disinformation, who can blame these folks
for their barely controlled blood thirst? After all, because Hitler
wasn't stopped in time, millions perished in concentration camps, goes
the heart-felt argument.
Yet the labelling of Yugoslavia's Serb leaders as Hitlers — and the
Serbs themselves as brutal, subhuman monsters — is a familiar trick from
recent history. It has been perpetuated by the various hired hands, PR
firms, who have worked overtime for the various ethnic groups pushing
for secession which would utterly destroy the once well-functioning,
multi-ethnic Yugoslavian federation and replace it with small
nation-states which ethnically cleansed themselves (Croatia, for
instance, expelled between 500,000 and a million Serbs from its
territory.) The media has merely carried the message of these "hidden
hands" of the Balkan conflict.
The world was shocked to find out that a PR firm, Hill and Knowlton, had
manufactured the "incubator babies" incident in Kuwait which
precipitated the Gulf War: Iraqi soldiers ripping Kuwaiti babies out of
incubators in a genocidal fashion. Phony eywitnesses to this atrocity
tearfully testified in front of U.S. politicians and the media, adding
to public support for the subsequent bombing of Iraq and contributing
hugely to the demonization of the Iraqis, leaders and citizens alike.
Even Amnesty International was taken in by the falsehood, which was
later exposed as such, but only after the military damage was done.
Yet the shock of being duped soon wore off and gullibility returned. In
no time another American PR firm, Ruder Finn, working for the Croatian
and Bosnian separatists, publicly bragged that it had been able to turn
world opinion against the Serbs. In April 1993 on French television,
James Harff, the director of Ruder Finn, described his proudest public
relations effort as having "managed to put Jewish opinion on our
[Croatian and Bosnian] side." This was a "sensitive matter," he added,
as "the Croatian and Bosnian past was marked by real and cruel
anti-semitism. Tens of thousands of Jews perished in Croatian camps...
Our challenge was to reverse this attitude and we succeeded masterfully.
At the beginning of July 1992, New York Newsday came out with the
article on Serb camps. We jumped at the opportunity immediately. We
outwitted three big Jewish organizations.... That was a tremendous coup.
When the Jewish organizations entered the game on the side of the
[Muslim] Bosnians we could promptly equate the Serbs with the Nazis in
the public mind. Nobody understood what was happening in Yugoslavia....
By a single move, we were able to present a simple story of good guys
and bad guys which would hereafter play itself. We won by targeting the
Jewish audience. Almost immediately there was a clear change of language
in the press, with the use of words with high emotional content such as
ethnic cleansing, concentration camps, etc, which evoke images of Nazi
Germany and the gas chambers of Auschwitz. "
The PR firm was piling hoax upon hoax. The famous story of Serb
concentration camps was built on a photo of a gaunt man surrounded by
others, staring at the viewer from behind barbed wire; surely an image
to chill one to the bones. It took years before a German journalist
Thomas Deichman, in an article titled "The picture that fooled the
world," described how the famous photo was staged by its takers, British
journalists, who were photographing the inhabitants from inside barbed
wire which was protecting agricultural products and machinery from theft
in a refugee and transit camp; the men stood outside of it; and at no
time was there a barbed-wire fence surrounding the camp. But by that
time the image had done its deed, terminally slamming the Serbs as
genocidal mass murderers.
There are countless other stories, all deliberately maligning the Serbs
to further the ends of military intervention. These stories and photos
of "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing" (a la Hitler) in a civil war, in
which Serbs are guilty as sin and others are their innocent victims, are
repeated ad nauseam by western reporters without the slightest evidence,
and have provided the ground for the public's (hopefully only temporary)
acceptance of the illegal and brutal war against the sovereign nation of
Yugoslavia. They continue after NATO's bombing began, unabated, with new
absurdities such as the suggestion that the Serbs are really bombing
themselves! Perhaps in the war crimes court there will soon be a place
for journalists and PR firms who with their inflammatory reporting and
fraudulent actions cause wars to begin. THE END
MARJALEENA REPO is a free lance writer with a special interest in
justice issues. She is also the national organizer of Citizens Concerned
About Free Trade, an organization concerned about the survival of the
Canadian nation. She lives and works in Saskatoon and Toronto (Canada).
She can be reached at (416)466-6533 or (416)922-STOP (7867), by e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org This article can be found on the CCAFT website,
PROTEST THIS UNJUST AND ILLEGAL WAR!
(In Canada) WRITE LETTERS postage free to Prime Minister Jean Chretien,
Ottawa, Ont., K1A016. You can reach him by phone at (613)992-4211, fax:
(613)995-0101 and by e-mail at email@example.com. All of Canada’s opposition
parties support NATO aggression toward Yugoslavia. Voice your protest to
them too! Call Reference Canada toll-free at 1-800-667-3355 for tel.,
fax and-mail addresses for Preston Manning (Reform), Alexa McDonough
(NDP), Joe Clark (PC) and Gilles Duceppe (BQ). Also, keep writing
letters to the editors and call in on open line shows — every expression
of protest will add up until we have a flood.
For reliable information on the situation in Kosovo and Yugoslavia visit
the websites of the International Action Centre, http://www.igc.org, an
organization headed by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, a
long-standing critic of U.S. foreign policy, the Transnational
Foundation for Peace and Future Research, http://www.transnational.org,
a Swedish organization dedicated to conflict resolution (you can read
the whole text of the Kosovo “peace agreement” on this site), and the
publication CovertAction Quarterly, http://www.covertaction.org.
CITIZENS CONCERNED ABOUT FREE TRADE/CAMPAIGN FOR CANADA
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