In the sea of misinformation sloshing around the Western media during the Yugoslav civil wars, Serbs fared the worst. As a rule, they were accused even of atrocities that never happened, or were committed by others. The real truth would usually emerge several years later, from the mouths of international officials who at the time held important and responsible positions, wrote Nenad M. Stevanovic for “Patriot Magazin”.
American press and electronic media have “discovered” that the Serbs weren’t the “bad guys” to the extent the American reporters from the Balkans made them out to be.
Jack Kelly, a correspondent of USA Today, resigned because his employers decided he had deceived his editors and probably fabricated information in his reports from over 90 countries, including Serbia. The cause for investigating Kelly was his article, “UN: Reports connect Serbs to war crimes,” which Kelly filed from Belgrade on July 14, 1999.
In the article, Nelly said he talked to a human rights activist in Belgrade, who had allegedly received a confession from a Serbian soldier that he had orders to commit ethnic cleansing. Internal investigation established that Kelly never met the activist. Kelly claimed to have interviewed the activist, but as he could not find the translator who was supposedly present at the conversation to confirm the story, he asked a friend – also a translator – to lie to the editors and pass herself off as the witness. Kelly explained this fraud by “panic” that had seized him because of the investigation.
Reporters in CIA Service
When Serbs captured a British mercenary, Robert Allan Lofthouse, in February 1993 on Mt. Majevica, he confessed to Serb counter-intelligence agents that he had been in satellite communication with an American reporter. The reporter was Roy Gutman, former Reuters correspondent in Belgrade, later reporting for Newsday from Zagreb and Sarajevo. According to Lofthouse, the American told him he was a CIA agent “2-IC”.
Gutman’s first war report was in 1991. He filed a story from Herceg-Novi [Montenegro], reporting on the Serb destruction of Old Town Dubrovnik [Croatia] as if he witnessed it first-hand. He later reported the same way on Serb “massacres” and “mass rapes” in Bosnia.
Sources for his reports were the Islamic Community, Turkish-American Women’s Society, manager of Tuzla television Dr Arif Tanovic, and the mercenary, Robert Allan Lofthouse.
Another arrested reporter, American David Rohde, was deported from the Serb Republic in late 1995. As a correspondent of the Boston-based Christian Science Monitor, Rohde used CIA sources to locate places near Srebrenica where Muslims had supposedly been massacred.
Born in Hartford, Kentucky in August 1967, Rohde was “always there when America defended its national interests – Cuba, Syria, USSR, Estonia, and Bosnia,” say his parents, Harvey and Carol.
Pulitzer for a deception
Rohde came to the Serb Republic with falsified documents and no reporter card. His predecessor, Jonathan Landay, was expelled from Pale after he was caught sending information to the CIA. In Srebrenica, Rhode found “blood on the walls and scattered documents of the missing,” but no mass graves he was looking for at CIA’s behest. Having been presented as a “victim of the Serbs” upon returning to the US, Rohde received the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for his report on mass graves in Srebrenica (which he never found).
US Army analyst, Lt. Col John E. Sray wrote in his wartime diary that famous reporters Christiane Amanpour and Peter Jennings accepted Muslim propaganda as unvarnished truth, and sent anti-Serb reports from Bosnia.
Serbs were blamed for the atrocities in Vase Miskina street [breadline] and Markale [marketplace], where several dozen innocent civilians were killed. This led to sanctions against Serbia (from 1992 onward), and the bombing of Bosnian Serb military positions [in 1995]. Almost a decade later, then-UNPROFOR commander, UK General Michael Rose explained in his memoirs that Serbs were falsely accused, and that the fatal shells most likely came from Muslim positions in order to provoke a reaction of the West.
Concerning the 1993 massacre at the Sarajevo Markale marketplace, future US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright not only lied, but in her effort to deceive the world also declared the evidence “classified.” The evidence she tried to suppress has revealed beyond any doubt that Bosnian Muslims butchered their own people to win world sympathy. That lie has subsequently cost the Serbs thousands of innocent lives.
The Western public calmly ignores the fact that many Pulitzer laureates built their careers on Serb-slandering lies. Reporters of the British ITN, who shot the exclusive footage of “starving Bosniaks in Serb concentration camps,” did not confess until 1997 that the footage was a deception. CNN’s star reporter Christiane Amanpour often reported from Pale, claiming to be “live from Sarajevo,” and solicited outrage against the “Chetniks who raped 50,000 Bosniak women.” No one in the West seemed interested for the epilogue of such stories, such as the case of one of the allegedly “raped” Bosniak women, who was given asylum in Switzerland and there gave birth to an African baby. Similar monstrous lies were repeated during the Kosovo war, again demonizing the Serbs.
Walker’s Salvador Experiences
US Secretary of Defense William Cohen claimed to the world that Serbs had killed “100,000 Albanians” in Kosovo. KFOR has so far exhumed less than 3000 dead, one-third of which are Serbs.
The most grotesque lie was the staged “massacre” in Racak, in January 1999, when Serbs were accused of executing 45 Kosovo Albanians. That there was no blood at the alleged “murder scene,” and that US Ambassador William Walker [of the OSCE mission] three times prevented the Serbian forensic pathologist, Dr. Marinkovic, from investigating the scene, indicates that the justification for bombing [and invasion] of Serbia was nothing but a Big Lie.
Ambassador Walker told the media the purported massacre was “the most of horrific thing he has ever seen.” No one seemed to recall the fact that during Walker’s mandate in El Salvador [in the 1980s], the Death Squads decapitated thousands of victims. According to the testimony of priest Daniel Santiago, the heads would then be mounted on pikes. William Walker kept silent about these atrocities because the perpetrators were trained by the US and sponsored by the CIA.
Wesley Clark’s claim that NATO air force had “destroyed the Serb army” should also be counted among the lies of Western propaganda. It was debunked when several hundred undamaged Serb tanks left Kosovo. The truth was that during the 78-day bombing campaign, which cost American taxpayers tens of billions of dollars, only 13 Serbian vehicles were destroyed.
Reporting from Gorazde, writes Lt. Col. Sray, both Amanpour and Jennings claimed that “Serbs are devastating the town, house by house,” deliberately omitting the fact that Muslim troops had mined the houses and then left, abandoning their civilians. According to Lt. Col. Sray, CNN’s correspondents assassinated the character of General Michael Rose, accusing him of being a “Serb-lover.” Rose was also accused of surrendering Gorazde to Serbs, because he “did not want to defend a Muslim town.” After a fierce media campaign, the British general was forced to leave Sarajevo in disgrace.
“A Great Job”
“In the past three years, the [American] media has done a great job of buttressing the negative image of the Serbs and Serbia, so much so that on dozens of occasions it actually helped achieve political results that went a long way in inflicting deadly injury to the Serbs in Croatia, Bosnia, and in Serbia. In the end, unless the United States policy of ‘punish the Serbs’ – especially through sanctions against Serbia – is revised, it will have succeeded in its aim, namely, to destroy a country and demoralize a nation,” wrote in 1995 Norma von Ragenfeld-Feldman, a Ph. D in history, in the San Francisco magazine Unity Herald.