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[Emperor's Clothes]


An Open Letter to Peter Phillips

Dear Peter,

I am writing regarding your email note about the Media Conference this weekend sponsored by PROJECT CENSORED, which publicizes stories suppressed by the mass media. Like so many people, I feel your group has made a big contribution to exposing propaganda lies. I am writing because your latest email suggests a move in the opposite direction, particularly as regards that most strategic and treacherous issue: Yugoslavia.

We at Emperor's Clothes were honored that PROJECT CENSORED awarded two of our writers a prize for the exposť "The International Monetary Fund And the Yugoslav Elections" ( ). We are honored that you mentioned us for first publishing in English Abe de Vries' exposť of the CNN/ARMY psy-ops connection.

Now, concerning your unfortunate email.

It lists the panels offered at your Conference. One is called "War and Peace - What the News Media Don't Report" - an important subject. It seems this panel will be dominated by Justin Raimondo and Stephen Zunes, two writers who parrot the latest Washington/mainstream media line on Yugoslavia, albeit dressed up in the clothing of dissent.

In your email you said Emperor's Clothes is "an important real news publication." Thank you, but while we do sometimes report the news, we mainly print analytical articles and critiques of media lies, especially concerning Yugoslavia. If we had been asked, we could have recommended people to speak on the "War and Peace" panel. But we were not asked.

So we have Raimondo and Zunes, unopposed.

Stephen Zunes wrote:

"While the U.S. government crows about the downfall of Slobodan Milosevic, it doesn't deserve much of the credit. As the new Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica put it, 'The Americans assisted Milosevic not only when they supported him, but also when they attacked him. In a way, Milosevic is an American creation.'"

Note that Zunes strikes a dissenting pose, denying Washington 'credit.'

Ahh, credit.

Washington doesn't give a damn about credit. Washington only gives a damn about people accepting what Zunes is saying: that the Belgrade coup was a democratic rebellion, irrelevant of the fact that Washington deployed within Yugoslavia an apparatus relatively larger than the US Democratic and Republican parties put together, irrelevant of the money Washington pumped into the pockets of the "opposition" - relatively more money than was spent on all the US presidential elections since 1792, combined.

Behind Zunes' dissenting pose lurks Washington's core message: Milosevic was a dictator overthrown by a spontaneous rebellion.

Ignore the fact, which is thoroughly documented, that Washington organized and financed a network of a hundred "civil society" and "independent media" groups who were ordered to support each other and instructed in how to spread lies in order to demonize Milosevic's forces and destabilize Yugoslavia.

Ignore the fact, which has been admitted in the 'NY Times' and 'Washington Post', that Washington shipped this independent opposition "suitcases full of cash" - isn't it amazing? You get "suitcases full of cash" from an enemy power but you're still independent! Sort of like a virgin whore.

Ignore the reality that before the Oct. 5th coup, most Yugoslav media was financed from Imperial forces abroad (mainly out of the USA) and that it was anti-government.

Ignoring all this, Zunes puts forth the very lies that you rewarded Emperor's Clothes for exposing. We have shown:

1) Milosevic's government functioned through a parliamentary coalition - if anything, his government was too tolerant. His government could legitimately have jailed the Fifth Column opposition for accepting tens of millions of dollars in illegal, enemy money. (After all, their Washington paymasters did bomb Yugoslavia with radioactive weapons, didn't they? Taking Washington's money involved more than a simple bribe. It was treason.)

2) The Oct. 5th coup was modeled after Mussolini's Fascist March on Rome

3) The key force behind the coup was Wall Street

4) The program of the coup's leaders, which program is now being implemented, was to impose draconian economic measures, including the destruction of farms and industry, sky high prices, an end to subsidies for 1,000,000 refugees, and the further breakup of Yugoslavia and its two remaining Republics into tiny protectorates, controlled by Washington, London and Berlin. All this is documented. (On the above four points, see FURTHER READING at the end)

Zunes is not only dishonest, he is unoriginal. His argument has been put forward by other writers at Z magazine, but Z is not the origin. Long before, this line was espoused by Srdja Trifkovic. Trifkovic was trained as a propaganda writer at Voice of America, the CIA-connected radio network. He is now an employee of the Rockford Institute, which has the dubious distinction of advocating the resurrection of the Southern Confederacy

Isn't it striking that Zunes, associated with the Z-magazine Left, espouses the nonsensical arguments of Trifkovic, a figure on the sinister Right, namely that "the-U.S.-has-created-Milosevic-and-is-threatened-by- the-current-Belgrade-regime-because-it-represents-the-people" - ?

Does jailing Milosevic and denying him medical treatment for a heart condition that appeared only after he was arrested - is this supposed to show that Milosevic is Washington's boy, as Zunes and Trifkovic suggest? Is the fact that the current Belgrade authorities had Milosevic arrested to meet a U.S. deadline another example of how the U.S. "fears" the 'independence' of the Belgrade authorities? (U.S. Balkans diplomat Richard Holbrooke wrote in the April 8th 'NY Times': "The arrest of Mr. Milosevic resulted from American pressure". )

Amazingly, the views of Trifkovic and Zunes are also put forth, though more shrilly, by Justin Raimondo, also on the panel. Raimondo is sort of a neo-conservative dressed up in anti-Interventionist clothing.

In a recent post to the Antiwar Forum, Justin Raimondo wrote that former Yugoslav President Milosevic should be "executed for murder, treason, and racketeering."

In another forum post, Raimondo, who apparently developed his elegant style as a ghost writer for the Black-, Jew- and red-baiting politician, Pat Buchanan, answered the rhetorical question: "What should Kostunica do?" as follows: "1) Shoot Milosevic. 2) Forget about Kosovo. 3) Forget about the Republika Srpska [the Bosnian Serb Republic]. 4) Privatize everything, abolish regulations..."

Raimondo shamelessly claims these positions represent support for Serbian sovereignty and opposition to NATO! The idea is: Give up everything, then you'll have a 'pure' Serbian state. Sure you will. Just like the pure Serbian state under the Ottoman Empire. Belgrade plus ten farms.

Raimondo ignores the immense suffering caused by the U.S.-installed regime. This includes: a 60% drop in the economy; confiscatory taxes within Serbia (not just in Kosovo! Raimondo who 'hates' taxes ignores the fact that his boys in Belgrade are taxing cell phones at a higher rate than Milosevic once taxed houses!); and the arrest of Milosevic and scores of Serbian politicians, soldiers and ordinary citizens whose 'crime' is resisting Washington.

The U.S. Senate's Serb-basher-in-chief, Joseph Biden, argued that only by first jailing Milosevic could Washington hope to break Serbian resistance and consolidate control in the Balkans, e.g., in Kosovo and the Bosnian Serb Republic.

Now that Milosevic is in jail, Raimondo says: "Kill him!" - and, Raimondo thoughtfully adds, the Serbs should give up Kosovo and the Bosnian Serb Republic.

The day after the 'NY Times' told the world the lie that Milosevic is suicidal, Raimondo dutifully produced a column parroting this line, and worse. He wrote: "According to Steve Erlanger, writing in the Sunday New York Times, old Slobo was waving a gun around during the negotiations, threatening to kill himself. Too bad he didn't follow through." (For an expose on the suicide lie that Raimondo finds so appealing, see "The 'New York Times' Spreads a Deadly Lie" at )

Raimondo ridicules writers who continue to defend Serbia against the Washington-controlled Belgrade regime. Writers who refuse to spout the made-for-dissent varieties of Washington propaganda.

For example, Raimondo has attacked the courageous writers, John Laughland and especially George Szamuely. These men apparently annoy Raimondo because their work gets into major newspapers. Raimondo calls Szamuely's dazzling writing "pro-communist drivel."

Raimondo is employing an old McCarthyite dirty trick, often used by his hero, Pat Buchanan: smear your opponent as a commie, even if the description is ridiculous, as it happens to be with Szamuely and Laughland, both of whom are reformed cold warriors.

Raimondo has nothing but praise for the obedient regime Washington has bought and paid for in Belgrade. He has endorsed the jailing of Milosevic, openly ordered by Washington and which involved unidentified thugs with women's stockings pulled over their faces who beat unarmed witnesses and fought the Yugoslav Army. These stocking-heads were heard speaking English.

Raimondo is 1000% for Serbian sovereignty BUT wants Serbia chopped up, the elected head of state shot, and Serbian industry - built by the sweat of millions - turned over to leveraged buyout hustlers from the States.

But the Serbs are notoriously hard to push around. Yugoslavs, including the huge Socialist Party, several large nationalist parties and millions of ordinary people, are resisting the Belgrade regime. The country is riddled with strikes. For instance, recently 6000 workers at the Zastave auto plant sat-in and took over the plant to resist Belgrade's efforts to close it and hand it over to the Western thieves, laying off the workers.

This Saturday the Socialists have called their fourth weekly mass demonstration. This one will be near the Zastave auto plant. They are demanding Milosevic be freed and are urging workers to seize any factory that Belgrade tries to close, in order to prevent Belgrade from handing these factories over to foreign crooks. Hopefully, soon the socialists and various nationalist parties will organize joint actions.

Why has the U.S. mass media gone to great lengths to demonize little Serbia and its leaders?

Because Yugoslavia is strategic to U.S. Imperial expansion. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. Establishment has gone into high gear. It is trying to reduce the former Soviet Union to a series of tiny, U.S.-controlled territories.

To make this possible, the U.S. wants to first turn the Balkans into another Afghanistan. That is why Washington continues to fund and deploy the fascist/terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army, presently employed in Macedonia and inner Serbia. The Serbs, fiercely resistant to foreign domination, must be broken as a political force. That is only possible if huge numbers of people are killed or jailed. The country must have a weak-and-Washington dominated government that lets Washington's secessionist killers from Kosovo and other parts of Yugoslavia terrorize the people. Then Yugoslavia would present no obstacle to Washington's plan to escalate "low intensity war" against the big prize: the former Soviet Union.

As the late Sean Gervasi commented, the U.S. is attempting a 19th century colonial power grab in a 20th century world full of nuclear weapons. This U.S. war - for what has been happening in the Balkans is part of one continuous war - could easily evolve into nuclear war. As Mr. Gervasi said, this is an insane policy, but it is the insane policy of the American Establishment.

How does a government sell the public an insane policy? The public must be brainwashed with monster lies about "the ruthless dictator and murderer Milosevic" and "fascist Serbian war crimes"

But there is a problem for the Establishment. Lies can be exposed. That is the lesson Washington learned the hard way from the war in Vietnam. In the early 1960s, it appeared that the U.S. public was so anti-communist that Washington could do nothing, could carry out no war of aggression so atrocious as to produce public outrage.

Wrong! A critical-minded student movement developed, focused on the exposure of lies about Vietnam. The key strength of that movement was that it did not let itself be suckered into attacking the victim of Washington's aggression.

At first those of us in the student movement who said, "There is nothing to negotiate! U.S. Out of Vietnam Now!" were isolated, even on campus, but our influence grew because we relentlessly exposed lies and hypocrisy. The news that Washington was lying spread. By the early 1970s, the mighty U.S. Army was so 'infected' with antiwar ideas that soldiers rebelled against fighting the Vietnamese. (This is not hyperbole. I saw it happen.)

To prevent a repeat of this kind of disaster, the Empire needs the help of two-faced writers, on the Left and on the anti-interventionist Right. These people may criticize the Establishment over secondary matters in order to establish their credibility among their target audience, which is people who are suspicious of Washington's intentions. And they must project an image of ideological conviction. That is precisely what Zunes and Raimondo do. Perhaps during the PROJECT CENSORED "War and Peace" panel, Zunes and Raimondo will entertain the audience with some credibility-enhancing diversion, a little spirited "Z-mag vs.-Buchanan fight", you know, like TV wrestling. This sort of thing makes it harder for people to notice that Z mag and Raimondo are saying the same things about Yugoslavia.

Interestingly, both Raimondo and Z magazine enthusiastically supported the 'Serbian student group,' Otpor - this despite widespread reports that Otpor was a classic CIA-type front. That it was created by spreading vast amounts of Western cash among jobless Yugoslav youths who had fallen for the lure of the false and seductive images of America, broadcast constantly by the U.S.-financed 'independent' media.

In the Spring, 2001 issue of 'News and Information', a publication of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an official U.S. agency set up by Congress in 1983 to take over certain functions of the CIA, it is admitted that the NED funded Otpor since August, 1999. That is, as soon as the U.S. stopped bombing Yugoslavia, the Washington bureaucracy went into high gear setting up the Fifth Column infrastructure needed to pull off a coup d'ťtat. Emperor's Clothes will soon publish extensive excerpts from the NED 'News and Information' bulletin. It is most educational.)

Writers like Raimondo and Zunes perform a service that Washington's mainstream media simply cannot provide. They strike a dissenting pose on Left and Right and in doing so set the apparent limits of debate. That is, they appear as the angry extremes and since these 'extremes', criticizing Washington from Left and Right, nevertheless agree with each other and with Washington that Milosevic is a monstrous criminal - how can anyone doubt it? (To further confuse people whose instinct is to doubt Washington's good intentions, both the Raimondo Right and the Z magazine Left criticize Washington for 'trying to take the credit' for overthrowing Slobo. This compounding of disinformation is enough to make your head spin.)

Who cares if these guys say "Clinton is a war criminal" as long as they also say "Milosevic is a war criminal" or at least "a criminal".

Washington does not worry about being criticized. Washington worries about being confronted with a non-sectarian movement, that is, one that is not hung up on proving it is Left or Right, that opposes Washington's strategically crucial (albeit insane!) plans for the Balkans, Yugoslavia in particular. Washington does not want 'critics' saying it is behind KLA attacks on Macedonia and Serbia; it does not want them saying it is using the Yugoslav government to destroy Serbian and Yugoslav sovereignty; it does not want them saying the attacks on Milosevic are lies aimed at justifying U.S. crimes against humanity, past, present and future.

A movement that did say those things might influence millions of people. Washington needs to have potential dissenters inoculated against precisely such dangerous thoughts. A very common way to inoculate is to give the patient a mild case of the disease. If you want to keep people from thinking, "The U.S. is attacking Milosevic because he symbolizes resistance to Imperial control," the best way is to tell them "Washington is bad because throughout the 1990s they opportunistically worked with the bloody dictator, [or criminal, or whatever] Milosevic."

People who have bought into the demonization of Washington's targets will not go out and try to organize a mass movement to defend those targets, like the movement we organized in the middle of the fiercely anti-communist 1960s. No young person is going to start a movement about Yugoslavia if they are sold on the lie that the Serbs elected some fascist monster who deserves to be shot.

Do Zunes and Raimondo say bad things about Washington? Maybe they sometimes do, but that's no big problem for Washington. After all, Washington has not been laid-siege-to by hundreds of armed gangsters with stockings over their faces on orders from a foreign Imperial power; Washington has not been bombed with depleted uranium and suffered attack by a racist movement, raised by that foreign Imperial power - while being itself accused of racism; Washington has not been lied about in the entire Western mass media for ten years to justify a war of aggression which is only getting worse; Washington is not the jailed leader of a people, whose demonization is critical to prevent the development of a movement among ordinary Americans to help defeat outrageous aggression from - Washington!

Zunes and Raimondo can say bad things about Washington 'til the cows come home as long as they also demonize those Serbian leaders who have stood for independence, who have resisted Washington's continuing attack on the Balkans. Because by combining a seeming attitude of antagonism toward Washington, while making venomous and contemptuous attacks on Milosevic and other Serbian patriots, they do what Washington needs: prevent the development of a mass movement that might actually hinder Washington's attack on the Balkans.

PROJECT CENSORED was harshly criticized last year in certain 'alternative media' circles for not taking a 'balanced view' about Yugoslavia. For being 'too political'. For not 'setting high enough' standards of documentation for articles on Yugoslavia that received awards. These attacks were focused on an award given to Diana Johnstone, who was ludicrously accused of being an 'apologist for Milosevic'. Some of these attacks came from circles that provide money for 'alternative media'.

By featuring Raimondo and Zunes, who on the issue of Yugoslavia criticize Washington in a manner that defends its key propaganda points - with Raimondo in addition being an outright McCarthyite - is PROJECT CENSORED replying to these criticisms? Is it transmitting a signal that PROJECT CENSORED is willing to play ball? Is it surrendering to pressure on the key question of Yugoslavia?

Those who engage in political self-neutering always rationalize the procedure by telling themselves it's gotta be done to cover the bottom line, or due to hard political realities, or whatever. "You gotta do what you gotta do." Excuses are like elbows: Everybody's got them.

But Peter, this isn't a game.

What is the meaning of an "alternative media" that, in order to make its way, assists the U.S. Empire in its key strategic goal of attacking Yugoslavia and the Slavic world?

This is the issue I should like to raise, for your consideration, and for public discussion as well.

Jared Israel
Editor,, Emperor's Clothes


On the U.S. creation of a Fifth Column apparatus, which was financed from Washington, and which was trained to work as a team in Washington's interests, and which ultimately grabbed power in Yugoslavia on Oct. 5th, see the following two articles:

* "Kostunica says some backers 'unconsciously work for American imperial goals,'" at - this has the "suitcases full of cash" quote from 'NY Times'.

* "The Nuts & Bolts of a Scam...How the U.S. has Created a Corrupt Opposition in Serbia" at This article includes quotes from Sen. Biden about the importance of jailing Milosevic.

On the terror that followed the Oct. 5th coup, one of several articles: "These Djindjic People are Brownshirts" at

On the so-called 'Democratic Opposition's' economic reform plan (dictated by Washington and Wall Street through Yugoslavs associated with the World Bank and the IMF) to introduce severe 'economic medicine', devastating the conditions of working people, see 'Everything We Wrote Comes from Official Sources' by Michel Chossudovsky and Jared Israel at

On the effort to break Serbia into tiny pieces, see
'* Intellectuals Wanted * High Pay - Good benefits * Kill countries'

On the evidence that, at the same time that 'Z magazine' and its arch foe, Justin Raimondo, were enthusing (in remarkably similar language!) over Otpor - there were widespread reports that Otpor was made in USA, see ''Bulgarian paper says: 'CIA is tutoring Serbian group, Otpor''' at

On the fact that before the Oct. 5th coup Serbian mass media was dominated not by the government but by its critics, see Media In Serbia by Diana Johnstone at

For details of the attack on Milosevic's house, which assault resembled a cross between a weird gangster movie and a bad farce, see: "Possible Attack on Milosevic" and 'Civilian Defenders of Miloshevich Break Through Police Lines' at

To read George Szamuely on the Milosevic arrest, see "Free Milosevic, Jail Eagleburger, Zimmerman (etc.)..." at

Regarding the link between the Oct. 5th coup and Mussolini's March on Rome, see the British Helsinki Human Rights Group report on Serbian elections at

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[Emperor's Clothes]