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[Emperor's Clothes]

The 'Times' Spreads a Deadly Lie
by Jared Israel [2 April 2001]

Since Slobodan Miloshevich decided to voluntarily submit to what was, in his and many other people's opinion, a U.S.-ordered arrest, a new theme has emerged in the Establishment press. Put simply: "Mr. Miloshevich is suicidal." This is rather ominous. Mr. Miloshevich represents those forces in Serbia who wish to resist the U.S. This is a plain fact, irrelevant of whether one "likes" Mr. Miloshevich or "dislikes" him. That is why Senator Joseph Biden said, in Senate testimony a year and a half ago:

"The most likely thing to do is nail the son of a gun [Miloshevich] by literally going in and getting him and dragging him to The Hague. If we had a brain in our collective heads, that's what we would do; literally, not figuratively…

"It's amazing what a salutary impact that has upon extremes in countries....

"And that's why the single best thing we -- my dream is to visit Milosevic in prison. [Laughter.] I mean that sincerely. I'm not being facetious. Because you put Milosevic in prison, and things in the region will change drastically.

"If you said to me, 'You can leave him where he is or give him a plane ticket to take off to some -- like the former leader of Uganda, well, you know, we gave him -- what was his name? -- Idi Amin -- we can give him an "Idi Amin passport' and he would leave; I'd say no, leave him there, leave him there till we get him. Put him in jail…." (Senate Hearings on "Bringing" Democracy to Serbia, 29 July 1999,

The ideal scenario for the U.S. government would be to stage a show trial in which Mr. Miloshevich confessed that he was guilty of NATO's crimes.

The problem for the U.S. government is Mr. Miloshevich is a hard man to break.

I was part of a group of three people who spent two and half hours talking to President Miloshevich after we attended a conference in Serbia last week. He is tough-minded; he is "cynical" about U.S. Establishment intentions. (I put cynical in quotes because I think his assessment is accurate.) He is very calm. Most important, he is certain that the tide in Serbia is turning in favor of the Socialists and their nationalist allies. Frankly, in my conversations with ordinary people there, I had the same impression. But whether heis right or wrong, the point is - he is optimistic. Hopeful. Stimulated by discussion. Anxious to lead. Excited about the future. Not suicidal.

He is also very stubborn. That is a famous Serbian trait. The more you order a Serb to do something, the harder he or she resists. That's one of the reasons they drove the German Nazis crazy.

Precisely because the Socialist Party (SPS) is getting stronger and because Mr. Miloshevich and the Socialists are leading the resistance to U.S. domination, the U.S. government, which is plainly calling the shots in the current Yugoslav regime, may find it unfeasible to stage a Miloshevich show trial at the Hague.

Instead, they may choose to assassinate him.

Before you dismiss this thought out of hand, please recall whom we are talking about. The U.S. Establishment has continued to finance and train KLA terrorists while they committed the vilest crimes in Kosovo, southern Serbia and Macedonia. The U.S. supported the KLA while it drove 90% of non-Albanians from Kosovo. The U.S. Establishment intentionally bombed civilian trains, homes, Serbian Television, during the 1999 aggression against Yugoslavia.

For such people, morality is not an issue. Murder is a practical affair: will it help us or hurt us? That is the question.

And that is the problem with killing Miloshevich. They don't want to make him a martyr. Hence a cover story has been worked out and is being spread in the media. This cover story portrays Miloshevich as a nutty character prone to suicide.

This line appeared in today's 'New York Times'. Keep in mind that the 'Times' is not some ordinary newspaper. It is the closest thing to the official voice of the American Establishment. Hence today's article, which suggests that Mr. Miloshevich is suicidal, should be taken seriously.

The suicide argument is slipped into a piece about Miloshevich's arrest. From the start, the article is misleading. Consider the headline:

"Serb Authorities Arrest Milosevic to End Standoff"

With any given story, most people read only the headline. This headline clearly suggests that through the initiative of the DOS regime, a dangerous situation was peacefully resolved - "to end the standoff". That is, DOS was trying to avoid trouble whereas, by implication, Mr. Miloshevich was causing it.

What are the facts? It was the DOS authorities who sent jeeps with darkened windows, filled with armed men in black uniforms, to Mr. Miloshevich's house last week. It was they who refused to comment, saying they couldn't be bothered worrying about a few jeeps. Under those circumstances, wasn't it reasonable for Mr. Miloshevich and his supporters to believe he was about to be murdered? Then DOS mobilized hundreds, and then literally thousands of "special police" wearing ski masks and women's stockings over their heads. Eyewitnesses told this reporter that some of the "special police'' spoke a non-Serbo-Croatian language. These men were stationed all around Mr. Miloshevich's house and all over Belgrade. Wasn't this an extreme provocation? Why did the DOS regime do these things?

Was it because they had discovered Mr. Milshevich had committed some monstrous crime and so they just had to arrest him immediately?

First of all, that wouldn't explain the anonymous jeeps, would it? And second of all, during the stand-off, the news reports concerning the so-called charges against Mr. Miloshevich varied according to which spokesman for DOS was speaking to which Western news agency at what time. One police official named:

"Miodrag Vukovic said the original charges were abuse of power and corruption that cost the state close to $100 million, and that Milosevic would face a maximum five-year prison term if convicted." (My emphasis.)

Other DOS people said the alleged charges were far more serious.

The point is, given the inability of the DOS leaders even to agree on a specific charge or charges, why was it suddenly such an emergency to arrest Mr. Miloshevich? Doesn't it make sense that the urgency was not based on a need to achieve justice, but rather on a need to get Miloshevich behind bars or dead quickly, to meet a March 31st deadline set by the U.S. government?

That the U.S. government's preferred solution to the Miloshevich 'emergency' was to kill him and his staunchest supporters is suggested by the slew of news articles that suddenly appeared with title's like "Miloshevich: the Endgame" and "Slobo: the Final Act" and "Milosevic's Last Stand," and so on. Having vilified the Serbian people for so long, some folks could not avoid a certain enthusiasm over the prospect of the destruction of this symbol of stubborn Serbian resistance to American hegemony.

This DOS-created 'emergency' was in fact defused by Miloshevich. Even while Miloshevich was negotiating with DOS, DOS was, according to news reports, preparing to attack the compound and telling the press he would never surrender. But he did surrender, and voluntarily, "to end the standoff." It was they who tried to provoke civil war, and he who avoided it.

To be accurate, the 'Times' story should have had a headline that stated these facts, something like:

"Miloshevich voluntarily surrenders to DOS authorities to end standoff."

That has quite a different political impact, does it not?

Further down, the article gets to the point, which is suicide:

"Zarko Korac, a Serbian deputy prime minister, said this morning that Mr. Milosevic had waved his own gun during the discussion and had threatened to kill himself and his wife, Mirjana Markovic, and his daughter, Marija. Mr. Korac said Mr. Milosevic "was in bad shape" but had finally agreed to surrender to save lives.

"A senior Serbian government official said that Zoran Djindjic, the Serbian prime minister, had sent an emissary, Cedomir Jovanovic, who spent more than a day negotiating with Mr. Milosevic and his family. The official confirmed Mr. Korac's account, saying Mr. Milosevic's mood "swung wildly, and he talked about killing himself and his family."

Two things about these two paragraphs.

First, note that Zarko Korac is quoted, but we aren't told anything about him other than his current position in the DOS government. Since he is being cited as a source concerning Mr. Miloshevich's behavior, isn't it important for us to know a bit about him? Is he a neutral witness? Is he an enemy of Miloshevich?

Second, the 'Times' implies that Korac directly observed Miloshevich's allegedly wild behavior. This impression is strengthened in the second paragraph, which gives the impression that Mr. Korac's account was confirmed by Cedomir Jovanovic, who, the 'Times' tells us, attended the negotiations. But if you read the second paragraph carefully, you will see that the 'Times' never quotes Mr. Jovanovic. Indeed, the mention of Jovanovic's presence at the negotiations is irrelevant to the article - except insofar as it enhances the credibility of a certain (unnamed) "senior Serbian official" who, we are told, has "confirmed Mr. Korac's account, saying Mr. Milosevic's mood 'swung wildly and he talked about killing himself and his family.'"

Zarko Korac is no ordinary politician. He is quite notorious in Serbia. For a decade he's been appearing regularly on Western TV as an expert Yugoslav psychologist. Using those credentials, he repeats ad nauseum the charge that Serbs suffer from collective paranoia. They just THINK the U.S. and Germany have been financing terrorists in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. They just IMAGINE that NATO has targeted the Serbian people in its ongoing effort to destroy multiethnic Yugoslavia. They are under the ILLUSION that they've all been driven out of Kosovo, that they've been bombed with depleted uranium, that the Hague Tribunal was set up to destroy their leaders. So much paranoia; so little time.

This morning I spoke to a Socialist Party (SPS) spokesman, Vladamir Kershylanin. He checked with SPS leader Banislav Ivkovic, who was present throughout the negotiations.

Ivkovic says Zarko Korac did not take part. Not for a minute.

Thus the 'Times' is presenting a most damaging picture of Miloshevich's mental condition based on the testimony of a Miloshevich-hater who has made a living slandering Serbian culture, and who in any event did not observe Mr. Miloshevich during the negotiations. And then the 'Times' 'confirms' Korac's misleading statements by quoting an unnamed official who apparently also did not attend the negotiations. To top it off, the 'Times' 'quotes' this real or imaginary official in a sentence structured so as to mention the misleading fact that Cedomir Jovanovic was present at the negotiations, thus giving the hasty reader a false impression that he has been given an eye-wsitness account.

That's a lot of misinformation to squeeze into two little paragraphs, is it not?

If the 'Times' were trying to practice unbiased journalism, what might it have done different?

To start with, it should have told us something like this:

"Zarko Korac, a psychologist whose accusations about the paranoia of Serbian culture have made him a highly controversial figure in Yugoslavia, and who was not present, reported that Mr. Miloshevich acted unstable at the negotiations."

Then the 'Times' should have asked someone from Mr. Miloshevich's team to answer Korac's accusation. Wouldn't that be fair? You know, like, present both sides? Isn't that what NEWSpapers are supposed to do? Or am I being absurdly old-fashioned?

If the 'Times' had bothered to check with the SPS, they would have told the 'Times' what they told me this morning:

"In fact, Mr. Miloshevich was quite calm which is amazing given the threat to himself, his family and his supporters. Why is Mr. Korac, who was not present, telling these lies about Mr. Miloshevich's actions and mood? We fear this is an effort to create public opinion which views Mr. Miloshevich as suicidal. Then, in the likely eventuality that the DOS-controlled, or should we say the U.S.-controlled Serbian judiciary cannot break Mr. Miloshevich, thus making it impossible to stage a proper show trial, the regime will assassinate him in jail and say he committed suicide."

As is well argued elsewhere (see Diana Johnstone, Sven Olafsson and T.V. & Alida Weber) the attack on Miloshevich is an attack on the Serbian people. The best way to prevent the U.S. government from having him killed is to expose their media campaign to label him suicidal. Let us do whatever is possible to make the public aware that this is a cover story to allow assassination. And demand his release. His crime is resistance to aggression. Let us jail the real war criminals: Clinton, Blair, Albright, Fischer, Solana and Schroeder.

Further reading:

For ten years, the Western media has been telling us that Slobodan Miloshevich is a monster who makes Hitler-like speeches to whip Serbs into a frenzy of racism. If you would like to subject that accusation to a reality check, you may read his most talked-about (though never accurately) 'Speech at Kosovo Field' at

Concerning Zarko Korac.The archives of the Western Media are full of quotes from Dr. K, vilifying the Serbs. Here's a choice tidbit:

'The Daily Telegraph'

May 27, 1993

"Fruits of victory are bitter in the state of paranoia
"Immunised by history, Serbians believe the West has accepted the reality of the present front lines, where the suffering continues
By Patrick Bishop in Belgrade ... ...

"Zarko Korac, a psychologist and a leader of the Civic Alliance, said: 'This is a paranoid society.' His explanation of the extraordinary gap between the world's judgment of their behaviour and the Serbs' perception of themselves lies in history. 'They feel they have sacrificed so much in creating two Yugoslavias. In the First World War the main victims were the Serbian army. In the second it was the Serbians in the partisan forces. Now it is being taken away. "You feel bad. You're alone, you're economically destroyed, you've lost your ideology and your state. People get angry and frustrated. They start to regress. They revert to a primitive way of explaining the world. It becomes Us versus Them. You get the idea there's a conspiracy, but at the same time you get an inflated idea of your own importance: you must be very valuable if there's a conspiracy against you.'"

Immediately after the Yugoslav coup of Oct. 5, Korac was Koshtunitsa's special envoy to Croatia and Slovenia. Here is an 'Ap' dispatch that describes his work:

AP Worldstream
October 12, 2000

Kostunica's allies: Good relations with neighbors Yugoslavia's top priority

ZAGREB, Croatia

Restoration of good relations with other ex-Yugoslav countries against which Yugoslavia fought wars in the last decade are the top priority of the new Yugoslav President, Vojislav Kostunica, a senior aide said Thursday. Zarko Korac, who met Croatian government and Serb leaders here Wednesday, noted the significance of the fact that his first trip abroad was to Zagreb. He also said he would travel soon to Slovenia and Bosnia, which, together with Croatia, seceded from the former Yugoslavia in 1991-2.

''It's easy to make friends at a distance, but it's harder to do so in the neighborhood, particularly with regard to the past events,'' Korac said.

"Western governments have enthusiastically welcomed Kostunica's victory over Slobodan Milosevic. But Yugoslavia's neighbors have been more cautious, waiting to see whether Kostunica would distance himself from Milosevic's nationalist policies that fueled wars in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and later Kosovo. They also insist that Milosevic indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal for atrocities in Kosovo should be extradited to the tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, and that other Serb war criminals have to be prosecuted.

"Kostunica has ruled out Milosevic's extradition. Korac said Milosevic may be tried in Serbia, despite the tribunal's request for his extradition. ''There is a huge bitternes toward Milosevic in Serbia,'' he said. He nevertheless emphasized that only when war criminals are prosecuted that ''the war wounds will begin to be healed.''

"Meanwhile, Croatian government issued a statement saying the end of Milosevic's rule ''is a big and significant step, but it's only the first step.'' The new Belgrade government's ''recognition of Milosevic's regime's responsibility for the aggression and wars in Croatia and other ex-Yugoslav republics, would be of crucial importance'' for the future relations between the two countries, which recognized each other in 1998, the statement said. "

* [Note that Korac is described here as an aide to Koshtunitsa. Also note that with this foreign policy, Serbia would end up hobbled with war reparations and moral responsibility for the wars started by Croatia, Slovenia and the Bosnian Islamic Fundamentalists. A very important step is the arrest of Miloshevich by which act the DOS government in Belgrade has accepted the NATO line that Serbia is guilty for trying to hold Yugoslavia together.- JI]

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