Psychological Operations and Information Warfare Against Croatia and Croats – Part II

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Guest Post
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.

 

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Reference/source notes:

(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/.

 

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Nest Post: Psychological Operations and Information Warfare Against Croatia – Part III: “Wartime Foreign Information Warfare against Croatia, Croats and the Truth”

Related Post: Psychological Operations and Information Warfare Against Croatia – Part I

 

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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.

 

 

Psychological Operations and Information Warfare Against Croatia and Croats – PART I

 

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Guest Post
By Ante Horvat

While much has been written about the various phases and techniques about the endless information war being waged against Croatia and Croats – the most seminal works being from Admiral Davor Domazet Loso, Dr. Miroslav Tudjman, and the late and extremely great Dr. Jerry Blaskovich and Michael McAdams, with Dr. Philip J. Cohen receiving a highly honorable mention – there are many aspects of this topic that still need more intensive examination, most importantly, the post-war to ongoing operations against Croatia and Croats.

Propaganda – the backbone of psychological operations and information warfare – itself has several definitions, the most applicable to Croatia’s case is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement institution, nation, etc.

While examples of negative anti-Croat propaganda date back even to the Thirty Years War, the first (and still ongoing) anti-Croat propaganda campaign originates from the racist and imperialist Nacertanije (Outline) by Ilija Garasanin, Serbia’s then Interior Minister, which made the creation of Greater Serbia state policy.

This policy was supported by the continuation of propaganda against Croatia and Croats for the following century and a half in official, civic, academic, media and diaspora publications, statements, and media in Serbia and amongst Serb communities outside of it, as well as by sympathetic governments, academic, politicians, political movements and media professionals in Europe and across the globe – to and include in and from Croatia. The role of foreign actors in this psychological war and information war is entrenched in geopolitical interests of outside actors in shaping coverage inside and outside of Croatia and the wider region, and the world regarding information on Croatia.

The revelations regarding the Serbian Academy of Arts and Science’s (SANU) Memorandum II, in addition to Serbia’s obscene, revisionist counter-suit at the International Court of Justice is a clinical case study example of ongoing anti-Croat propaganda – and a compilation of the state-academia-media-Church-judiciary inculcation of Serbian neurotic and psychotic syndromes as a peacetime (and wartime) long-term strategy.

In addition to grasping Croatia’s long history, the key to understanding – and debunking – anti-Croat propaganda is the understanding techniques of its utilization in print, radio, TV, film and online texts.

To do so, one must familiarize themselves with logical fallacies, as they are the foundation of and method for propaganda dissemination; the reason is that every government since 2000 in Croatia has shown themselves to be unwilling to challenge the psychological and information warfare campaign against Croatia and Croats.

The Five Phases of Information Warfare Against Croatia and Croats

There were five major phases of the information war against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Croats: from Nacertanije to the so-called Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (or “Yugoslav” kingdom), the SCS / “Yugoslav” kingdom phase, WWII, Communist Yugoslavia phase, the Homeland War phase, and post-Homeland War phase, which is ongoing.

The first phase focused on mobilizing all pillars of Serbia’s statehood and the general Serbian population to support such an endeavor, while mobilizing international support at the diplomatic and political playing fields, to do so. Croats were, according to the greater Serbian narrative, not a state-building people if they could even be considered Croats and not “Catholic Serbs.” The fact that Croats fought for the Austro-Hungarians in WWI meant that they needed to be punished (that Serbs West of the Drina also fought for Austria Hungary as they were mobilized along with their Croat and other non-Serb neighbors, was ignored). The creation of the first “Yugoslavia” was the fruit of their endeavor.

To ensure Serbian supremacy and to see through the military and cultural imperialism (subsidized by land, bank, business and factory seizures in Croatia, as well as the economically devastating farcial Crown to Dinar exchange rate, all enforced through Serbian state-sponsored terrorism), the Karadjordjevic regime saw to it to sack journalists and editors who would not tout the Yugoslav (code for Serbian) line – culminating with the banning of what little was left of any free press with the declaration of the ‘royal’ dictatorship in 1929. With no free media inside of Yugoslavia, that meant that there was no, or very little, critical coverage of greater Serbian imperialism outside of Yugoslavia that could lead to any change in state or international policies towards it.

Croats should have been, according to the Belgrade narrative, happy that they were with fellow Southern Slavs and never forget their siding with the “Huns.” Those who weren’t happy were separatists and terrorists.

Following the German invasion (and the Army of Yugoslavia, Serbian Gendarme and Chetnik massacres that preceded, coincided with, and followed the German invasion, which lasted until the end of WWII) Croatia found itself on the side of the Axis, as no Western democratic power offered Croats any independence outside of a “Yugoslav” framework.

By ending up in the Axis camp, Croatia found itself in a information vacuum – one controlled by the exiled Serbian regime through its network of diplomats and agents in the West, in particular the UK and US, engaged in a frenzied (many times, beyond science fiction) propaganda campaign against Croatia and Croats (until war’s end). This was coupled with the role of some within the international left, including the massive web of Soviet agents and or sympathizers, particularly in the West in academia and media, who continued the negative framing of anything and everything Croatian as being for a free Croatia meant that one was against any Yugoslavia, in particular, Tito’s Communist Yugoslavia.

WWII’s end did not change the situation. Anything and everything Croat was equated with the Ustasha regime and its crimes (both real, exaggerated and entirely imagined) inside and outside of Tito’s Yugoslavia, which the post-WWII international order was pleased with – especially after the Tito-Stalin rift and the creation of the Non-Aligned Movement. Bleiburg massacre was repressed, and the repressions of the Communists were covered as if a necessary matter-of-fact issue necessitated by security. Yugoslavia was multiethnic and the Communism there was allegedly “softer” than in the USSR and Eastern Bloc, so it wasn’t all that bad and should have been left to go on according to the media and diplomatic master narrative of Western democracies.

The simple truth is that Croatia was not viewed as anything important enough to defend, even rhetorically, by the West during the Cold War due to geopolitical realities. Croats were yet again conspiratorial separatists if not genocidal Ustasha maniacs hell bent on exterminating all Serbs if they raised their voice – and not what they really were: people who wanted a free, democratic nation as promised by Wilson’s Fourteen Points, simply opposed to a criminal one-party Communist dictatorship that systematically repressed and robbed them in a dystopian police state. This of course, was not only the narrative reserved for Croats within Tito’s fantasy state, but also for those living and residing in the West.

 

Next Post: Psychological Operations and Information Warfare Against Croatia and Croats – PART II

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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.

Serbian ousted Monarchy on the rise: Will Serbia rehabilitate WWII war criminal Draza Mihailovic and author of Chetnik movement program to create ethnically clean Serbian state?

Lewiston Evening Journal 5 February 1946

Daytona Beach Morning Journal 12 June 1946

According to media reports The Supreme court of Serbia will, tomorrow Friday 23 March, rehabilitate Serbian war criminal Dragoljub Draza Mihailovic, leader of Serbian Chetnik forces in World War II. This move will cancel the 1946 conviction and consequent death sentence after which he was executed by the Yugoslav Communist authorities. The application for rehabilitation was lodged by the war criminal’s grandson Vojislav Mihailovic, Serbian Liberal Party and some organisations and individuals. Their arguments rest on their theories that the court was biased, that Mihailovic was not given the right to defend himself and that he was served with criminal charges only a week before the start of his trial.

Croatia’s government has not reacted to this apparently imminent rehabilitation – odd, bizarre, shameful, unacceptable, disappointing!

However, upon being questioned about it on Croatian radio last Monday president Ivo Josipovic said:

Draza Mihailovic is a war criminal from WWII. We know what evils Chetniks perpetrated. I cannot remember any battle in which they seriously fought against occupation forces (Nazi Germany), but I can remember the battles in which they fought together with the Ustashi against the Partisans. I can also remember that they retreated with other defeated forces towards Austria.”

Again, the Croatian government and the president are walking on eggshells when it comes to commenting on events in Serbia. One would have expected a great deal more in the line of condemnation and protest from them against the attempts to rehabilitate the Chetnik leader – Chetnik murderous movement that had set in its goal an ethnically clean Greater Serbia for King and Country!

Croatian government and president, former Communists, have always been only too ready and too loud in protecting, often unreasonably, the image of their Yugoslav Communists when it comes to, for instance, pursuits against WWII Communist crimes. God forbid if anyone in Croatia even thought of rehabilitating a former Ustashi!

Croatian Podravka organization for Homeland War Veterans, Invalids and Widows have expressed bitterness and are stupefied by the fact that war criminal, general Draza Mihailovic is to be rehabilitated.

If that happens this will be nothing else but the return of Serbia into the early 1990’s days which brought the aggression against Croatia. Serbs are constantly complaining and protest only when at some concert a youth wearing a T-shirt with letter ‘U’ printed on it, criticize the Croatian government and others for not resisting harder ‘ustashi’ marks, although there is no Ustashi movement in Croatia. Among everything else the most concerning is the fact that Belgrade newspapers feature some known Serbian historians who stress out that Mihailovic’s rehabilitation has an enormous meaning for Serbian people and that it shows that Serbia has chosen the right path”, said Mladen Pavkovic, the president of the organization.

We seek from the Croatian government, especially from the Ministry of War Veterans, to firmly and with all democratic means resist this mad deed, and we hope that the leaders of the Serbian Democratic Party (in Croatia), Milorad Pupovac and Vojislav Stanimirovic, and they should have been the first, will raise their voice against the return of Chetnik movement in Serbia. Pupovac is the one who first raises his voice if anyone paints graffiti on a Serb monument in Croatia, and he and his followers are keeping quiet as if this has nothing to do with them. In this way they silently support the rehabilitation of the war criminal Mihailovic and are causing enormous damage not only to Croatians but also to the Serbians who have accepted Croatia as their own country,” Pavkovic continued.

According to demographic estimates made by Vladimir Zerjavic, economist and United Nations expert, the Chetniks had murdered about 20,000 Croatians in former Yugoslavia. Most of these murders occurred in areas occupied by Italian Fascists. Italian Fascists were the best allies to Serbian Chetniks and indeed, the history records that Chetniks fled from Yugoslavia after WWII in masses, fearing revenge killings from victorious Communists.

Very briefly down memory lane:

The Windsor Daily Star, 6 April 1946, p.5: Speaking in the British Parliament on February 22, 1944, the then Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, said: “General Mihailovic, I much regret to say, drifted gradually into position where his commanders made accommodations with Italian and German troops…”

In September 1941 Mihailovic sent his Program of the Chetnik Movement to London, to the exiled government of Kingodm of Yugoslavia. The goal was to create an ethnically clean Serbian state. Of course, Draza Mihailovic and Chetniks in Serbia were Royalist forces, Mihailovic was the Army Minister of King Peter Karadjodjevic’s government in exile.

I cannot shake off the firm belief that it’s no accident but a political treachery that this rehabilitation of Chetnik war crimes comes at the time when Serbian Prince Karadjordjevic has well settled back in Serbia, having returned from decades in exile. Indeed, it’s blatantly clear that the WWII Chetnik movement program, accepted by the Serbian royal government in exile, in London, in 1941, that had set itself the ideal of  creating an ethnically clean Serbia (just like the Nazis did for Germany) is not dead and buried but very much alive and kicking on “all fours”, claiming a theory as fact that the history was unfair – i.e. that 1946 court in Belgrade did not give the war criminal enough time to prepare his defence.

So, if this trick works for the Serbs then the flood gates to revisit judicial history must be opened for everyone in the world. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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