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Rumors of Fraud
by Jared Israel (9-30-2000)
[Emperor's Clothes]

Rumors abound, anti-Yugoslav rumors. At the moment the rumors are not officially anti-Yugoslav; they are anti-Milosevich. But isn't it odd that the same newspapers and politicians who made "Serb" a curse word now speak with warmth of saving those same Serbians from Mr. Milosevich? British Foreign Minister Robin Cook waxes poetic in his appeal to Milosevich:

" honest with your people, do not cheat them. Get out of the way and let Serbia out of the prison into which you have turned it.'' (Quoted in Foreign Office News, )

Is this the same Cook who 18 months ago dropped anti-personnel bombs on Serbian outdoor markets? Was that for their own good? And what about the ten years of sanctions which have killed thousands by preventing Yugoslavia from importing medicine? (In case the Yugoslavs didn't notice they couldn't import medicine, Cook's heroic pilots bombed the main Yugoslav medical factory at the start of last year's "war.") The European Union has even banned Yugoslavia from importing spare parts to fix the bridges and hospitals NATO bombed last year. Cook is behind that ban as well. Being loved by Mr. Cook is dangerous.

Let's drop the baloney, shall we? The US and British leaders are trying to install a 'Yugoslav' government comprised of people in their pay. To this end the US and British governments (and servile media) have been accusing the people whom they want to get out of government (for whom the code word is 'Milosevich') of election fraud. No proof of fraud is offered, to be sure, but when has their ever been proof of Serbian misdeeds? The charges are not proved; they are repeated.

The problem is, repetition works. That of course is why the media employs it. The Nazis were pioneers in this area. They realized that if you took a simple point, without too much explanation, and repeated it enough times, it would stick in people's minds. So in this case, "election fraud, Milosevich is trying to steal the election" is repeated constantly no examples. No examples are given, not even false examples. It isn't necessary.

Case in point: I just received an email with an article on the Yugoslav elections by Chris Marsden and Tony Robson from something called the World Socialists. The article has some good analysis, but it also includes several unsupported slurs against the Serbian government; slurs because they are stated if they were proven fact, but without any proof. Why do people insist on affirming completely unproven speculations as if they were proven facts?

Marsden and Robson offer the following to show that the Yugoslav government has employed fraudulent election practices:

"The government's election commission also demanded that voters show their marked ballots to officials before placing them in the box. "

The writers suggest that this was intended to intimidate voters by violating their privacy. The charge is as follows: you vote for Kostunica; the election commission looks at your vote; you get in trouble.So you don't vote for Kostunica.

The only prolbem is, it didn't happen. Though the identical charge was repeated many times in the Western press, it isn't true. Wouldn't it be appropriate for fellows who want to write about the Yugoslav elections to either a) investigate, as in talk to someone who was there to observe or b) say nothing? Especially for fellows like Marsden and Robson who are criticizing US foreign policy. Especially when it is obvious that the Western media is repeating "election fraud" like a mantra. Shouldn't that make critics of U.S. foreign policy suspicious?

I just interviewed Marjaleena Repo, a Canadian peace activist. She is well known in Canada and her integrity is unchallenged. She was one of the 200-plus international observers during the Yugoslav elections. She told me that neither she nor any of the other peace activists, parliamentarians and scholars who monitored the election saw or heard of a single instance of election fraud. None. The monitors were treated with courtesy by the Election Commission. They were not micro-managed. She and a Professor of Balkan Studies from Canada interviewed a top Kostunica aide, Vladeta Jankovic. Jankovoic a) confirmed that the opposition does take vast amounts of U.S. money but said that this was OK because "we need it" and b) repeated the charges of election fraud. He saw no hypocrisy in being paid by a hostile foreign power while accusing one's domestic opponents of fraud. Asked for examples of fraud during the vote he offered nothing specific.

According to Ms. Repo, Yugoslav election law is both stricter and more strictly enforced than Canadian law. Opposition representatives are present at every level, from the national Election Board to the polls. Ballots are counted on the spot. The count must be signed by both sides.

As for the "they looked at the ballots " charge - it is not true. It was repeated by the Western mass media a thousand times but it is still not true.

Here's what actually happened, as explained prior to the election by the Yugoslav Election Commission:

[Start of quote from Serbia Info] "Belgrade, September 24 - The Yugoslav Central Electoral Commission, at yesterday's session, presided by Borivoje Vukicevic, reviewed several problems from its field and issued further instructions on the eve of tomorrow's voting.

"The Yugoslav Central Electoral Commission informs public about foreign factors who lead subversive activity against FRY, and that a plan has been hatched to sabotage and compromise the presidential election in FRY. They have prepared a number of ballots for the presidential election, which their stooges among the Yugoslav people should drop in the ballot boxes, folded inside the regular ballot papers.

"They planned it, because, under election rules, in case there is a single ballot in a box more than there were voters at that particular polling station, the polling must be declared invalid.

"In this way, a couple of hundred individuals could invalidate the will of hundreds of thousands.

"The Yugoslav Electoral Commission has therefore, at yesterday's session, decreed that the invigilators at the polling stations must check that the ballot paper of each voter in the presidential election is a single paper, with nothing folded in it.

"The check will be made by each voter marking the ballot, folding it and then handing it over to an invigilator to see that it is a single paper, while not violating the secrecy of the voting, and then dropping it in the box.

"The Commission appealed to the people to respect the reasons that have made this kind of control necessary." [End quote from Serbia Info]

[By the way, an invigilator is a guardian or chaperon. Posted at ]

Note that the Yugoslav statement is business-like; it is an attempt to let people know why annoying procedures will be necessary at some polling places. Not one newspaper or TV station in the West reported this explanation, even to argue against it. (Confirmed by Lexis-Nexis search) But the mass media did report the rumor that secret police types were reading people's ballots to intimidate Kostunica supporters. Ms. Repo said the elections were conducted courtiously and honestly. Too bad the Western media isn't.


Further reading:

The International Monetary Fund And The Yugoslav Elections' by Michel Chossudovsky and Jared Israel. Summarizes devastating effects of World Bank/IMF intervention in several countries. Discusses link between Western financial takeover and social-political destruction.

'How the U.S. has Created a Corrupt Opposition in Serbia'
By Jared Israel, Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, Karen Talbot, Nico Varkevisser and Prof. Petar Maher.

''Kostunica says: some backers "unconsciously erve Amercan Imperial goals" with comments by Jared Israel and Max Sinclair. "Suitcases full of [US] cash" go the opposition, says the 'Times.'

'Emperor's Clothes Interviews Radio B292'
Revealing interviews by Jared Israel with two staff members at the U.S.-paid "independent" radio station in Belgrade.

'Criticism of Emperor's Clothes on the Yugoslav Elections, with Reply'
Prof. Robert Hayden & Jared Israel

'Will the US Get Their Money's Worth in Yugo Elections?' by George Szamuely at

'U.S. Law Passed by House of Representatives on Funding Yugo Opposition and Harsh Terms for Lifting Sanctions'

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[Emperor's Clothes]