By Ante Horvat
The drums of war began to sound again in Serbia following the SANU
Memorandum in 1986 following the death of the wartime and post-war criminal Josip Broz “Tito,” and this set a chain of events and actions by Serbia (and Milosevic’s Quislings in Croatia and B&H) resulting in the Homeland War in Croatia (the background and dynamics of which are covered in detail in this link). The prelude to the war and Western and international diplomatic, deep state, and media gatekeeper manipulation of the facts after war’s outbreak were outlined by Dr. Jerry Blaskovich.
Croatia at the onset of war was faced with:
- a) No international support except passive Vatican, German, Austrian and Hungarian support
- b) A hostile United Nations Security Council that forced the immoral arms embargo through, and
- c) A hostile right-wing (anti-Catholic) and left-wing (Socialist, Marxist and neo-Marxist) media as well as a Western mainstream media that was slavishly repeating Belgrade’s talking points as most journalists were not on the front lines, but in Belgrade being fed misinformation by Yugoslav People’s Army media officers, and Western diplomatic corps determined to keep Yugoslavia together.
The psychological and information war against Croatia took a new dimension during the conflict. In addition to blatant UN compromises with Milosevic’s Quislings, the creation of the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia provided a new means of attack for Serbia – reversing the (at least post-Markale massacre, bad press) tactical and strategic defeats at the hands of President Tudjman and Croatia’s police, military and intelligence through legal means, clouding the truth, chronological order of events, and facts by initiating investigations and premising cases on lies, manipulations and propaganda disseminated by Serbia’s intelligence, counterintelligence, military and state media.
This was coupled by massive financing by Western governments (and intelligence agencies) of the so-called non-governmental organizations, many times staffed by known Yugoslav regime sympathizers, collaborators and or intelligence agents, working with the UN, ICTY and international media by feeding them strategic propaganda, misinformation, disinformation, and outright lies and inventions – more or less, serving entirely as front groups with hidden salaries, donors, financial spending, and agendas.
The mere fact that Milosevic’s rise – and his and Serbia’s systematic violation of the SFRJ 1974 Constitution (Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia/SFRY), neo-Apartheid rule over Kosovo, and not entirely clandestine illegal arming of Serbian terrorists and paramilitaries in Croatia a full year before HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) was balloted to power and following suit in B&H as early as 1989 – was covered blithely, the illegal arming campaign not at all, with Milosevic even being hailed as a reformer in English-speaking media, demonstrates who and what the press, and governments of said outlets, were supporting in the fmr. Yugoslavia.
As Milosevic rose to power, he consolidated control of Serbia’s media. The media narratives that Milosevic’s media were repeating became staples of frames of reference Western and international media coverage. Rare, if at all, were Ustasha crimes (and the hyper-inflation of those crimes) committed during WWII absent from any coverage of Croatia 1989 – 1995. Meanwhile, the crimes of the proto-fascist Karadjordjevic regime, the genocide of Croats by Chetniks in WWII (as well as Tito’s genocide of Croats after WWII), and the systematic political disenfranchisement and discrimination against Croats, as well as the state-sponsored terrorism against them inside and outside of Tito’s “multi-ethnic Yugoslavia,” were almost never mentioned in any serious newspaper or television report the duration of the conflict in the West as context yet Jasenovac and real and imagined Ustasha crimes were almost a mandatory frame of reference and backgrounder.
The consistent diplomatic double-speak and equivocations by Western governments, diplomats and the UN and international organizations were not a coincidence – but a consistent policy that mirrored that which the SANU Memorandum II would reiterate years later, which was during the 1990s, through to today, regurgitated by mainstream media in said Western states, as well as their non-governmental organization (NGO) front organizations at home (which are always tied directly to said governments and political and economic elite power structures), in Croatia and its immediate neighboring states. Namely, the discredited canards of “ancient ethnic hatreds,” “warring sides” (and not naked Serbian aggression), and “all sides committing atrocities.”
The time-line and chronology of the so-called Yugoslav crisis in the late 1980s and through the democratic changes, and ultimately, war, were skewed entirely – not just by the parade of the obviously shameless Western government officials, diplomats and UN officials in massive conflicts of interest, like Lawrence Eagleburger, Brent Scowcroft, James Baker III, and General Lewis MacKenzie; nor by the at best lazy journalists who rarely ventured outside of Belgrade’s lavish hotels and Milosevic government and Yugoslav People’s Army press corps untruthful propaganda séances mislabeled as “news briefs,” but by the NGOs and the individuals and organizations that they subsidized, who these government officials, diplomats and journalists would in return cite as if they were independent actors and not controlled and subsidized actors with a foreign state-policy pushing agenda – with the goal of changing perceptions from the facts, to certain false, or at best partially true narratives suppressing important evidence that debunks the premise of the new narrative, with the explicit purpose of achieving political (and in a time of war, by default, military) objectives.
The enduring global reach of Milosevic’s propaganda, and the frequency of repetition of the propaganda points during and since the war – and the deafening silence by governments, NGOs and so-called liberal and progressive Croatian journalists – shows that despite the seminal study “Political Propaganda and the Plan to Create ‘A State For All Serbs:’ Consequences of using media for ultra-nationalist ends” by Professor Renaud de la Brosse, which was submitted into evidence at the Milosevic ICTY trial (i), the propaganda techniques and messages he debunked were, and remain, somewhat still widely accepted outside of Serbia (where they are holier than the Bible), but also in Croatia.
The reason is the perpetual repetition of those myths by nontransparent foreign and foreign subsidized NGOs and their media collaborators, along with foreign governments (and their media operatives and the NGOs they finance) working with or outright hiring former regime members and political and intelligence operatives.
(i) The five-parts are no longer available in PDF format as they were up to at least a year ago, but readers are redirected to http://hrp.bard.edu/slobodan-milosevic-trial-public-archive/.
Nest Post: Psychological Operations and Information Warfare Against Croatia – Part III: “Wartime Foreign Information Warfare against Croatia, Croats and the Truth”
About the author: Ante Horvat was born in the USA in 1970′s. He has recently moved to live permanently in Croatia and although spending most of his life in the USA he had made several temporary residence visits to Croatia during that time. His education and professional development in history and international relations also spans across the two continents. He is an active observer of and participant in the development of democracy in Croatia since the early 1990’s and its correlation with the developed Western democracies.