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['Obligatory Bash' examines the (il)logic of a 'Toronto Star' story. Though 'Obligatory Bash' was written in November 1999, we think it applies as well today - Emperor's Clothes.]
When speaking of the Serbs it is considered proper to say something negative. More than one thing is optional. But one is obligatory.
This is not due to prejudice, as some maintain. Nor, as Jared Israel and others insist, does it result from an organized effort to demonize the Serbs because they have been and still are the main force in the Balkans resisting Great Power (German and now US) Imperial domination.
It is Etiquette.
In the West, when invited to a bash (or party) that one wishes not to attend, one must lie: "I'd love to go; I wish I had known sooner..."
Why must one lie?
Silly question. It's obligatory.
Similarly, with the Serbs. Even if a newspaper, let us say the Toronto Star, should happen to report that there is overwhelming evidence that there is no evidence that Serbian troops committed atrocities in Kosovo - even if said newspaper article should suggest to any functioning mind that the media tales of widespread Serbian atrocities, now revealed to be false, must therefore have been fabricated by some living beings - even then said newspaper must add: "There's no question that atrocities were committed in Kosovo, overwhelmingly by the Serb forces." ('Toronto Star,' November 3, 1999)
No question? Even though one is reporting that half the charges are based on misinformation (that is, lies) one must state, without restriction of evidence, that the other half of the charges is true? Doesn't this contradict every rule of normal reasoning?
It does. But giving Serbs the benefit of normal reasoning is just not done.
So it should come as no surprise that Richard Gwyn writes in the Toronto Star: "There's no question that atrocities were committed in Kosovo, overwhelmingly by the Serb forces."
What is surprising is that earlier in his article, Mr. Gwyn reports that scores of forensic experts - the FBI, Royal Mounties, Scotland Yard, Spanish police, French police, German police, Italian police - in fact all the police except Hercule Poirot - report finding no bodies to report. Indeed, the Spanish forensic experts left Kosovo early, in disgust. As Gwyn's Star article points out, this means the whole "genocide" justification for bombing Serbia was false. And Gwyn raises - as a real possibility - that the mass murder stories "may have been a grotesque lie concocted to justify a war."
So far, good for him.
Now you, dear reader, might think Mr. Gwyn would take the next step. You might expect him to suggest, at least as a possibility, that other media stories of Serbian atrocities might also "have been a grotesque lie concocted to justify a war." For instance, you might expect him to suggest that maybe it was NATO's bombs (and the KLA's orders) and not Serbian atrocities that caused Albanians to leave Kosovo during the bombing.
After all, the charge that Serbian atrocities drove the Albanians out comes from the same folks who gave us the mass graves stories, which Mr. Gwyn now says are false, and possibly "a grotesque lie concocted to justify a war."
If a witness gives testimony; if his testimony is used to demonize a people; if he trumpets his testimony from every TV station and newspaper, insisting it is absolutely true; if we then examine half of said testimony and if we find that the half of his testimony which we have examined is false - shouldn't we doubt the truthfulness of the half which we have not yet examined?
Gwyn says NATO and the media were "honestly" mistaken or "grotesquely" spreading lies (how does one spread grotesque lies mistakenly?) about mass graves. Shouldn't he take the next step and suggest that the rest of the anti-Serb stories may be "grotesque lies" too?
Mr. Gwyn does not take the next step. Instead, he asserts, as an article of faith, that the forced-exodus stories are true. Having asserted, on faith, that the ethnic Albanians were driven out by Serbian forces, he adds, "obviously, these forces, [were] acting on Milosevic's explicit orders."
"Obviously"? Why "obviously"? Remember all we have to go on here is the word of the mass media which Mr. Gwyn admits has lied ("honestly or "grotesquely") about Serbian forces. Not only are we supposed to accept, based on the word of the mass media, that crimes have occurred - but we are to blame these "crimes" on Milosevich. This is amazing stuff.
And now comes the coup de grace. Mr. Gwyn adds: "Acts like these are inexcusable."
One could say: writing like this is inexcusable. Really, why must Mr. Gwyn mix honest reporting and vicious trash? Why?
Silly question. It's obligatory.
Further reading -
1) Two very good background pieces on
the so-called civil wars in Yugoslavia are: 'German and U.S. Involvement in the Balkans' by T.W. Carr, at
2) 'The International Monetary Fund And The Yugoslav
Elections' by Michel
Chossudovsky and Jared Israel. This article has been
reprinted around the world. It documents the connection
between the G-17 economists, the present Serbian regime,
and the nation-destroying International Monetary Fund and
World Bank. It can be read at
On Nov. 3, 1999, Richard Gwyne wrote, in the 'Toronto Star:'
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