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.

Croatia Suffered Genocide And Prevented It In Bihac!

Vukovar, Croatia 1991 Serb Chetnik and Serb-led Yugoslav army march into Vukovar singing: "Slobo, Slobo (as in Slobodan Milosevic) send us some salad, there will be meat, we'll slaughter the Croats" (BBC newsreel screenshot)

Vukovar, Croatia 1991
Serb Chetnik and Serb-led Yugoslav army
march into Vukovar singing:
“Slobo, Slobo (as in Slobodan Milosevic) send
us some salad, there will be meat, we’ll slaughter
the Croats” (BBC newsreel screenshot)

 

Croatian Cultural Council, on its Croatian Weekly portal has published an article written by dr Slobodan Lang in relation to the Croatia Vs Serbia genocide lawsuit and case currently being heard in the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

I have translated that article into English and bring it to you with the hope that it will increase your understanding of and knowledge about what Croatia had to endure during the Serb aggression of 1990’s. This is important for the whole of the humanity, for the world simply needs to cease saying “Never again (genocide)” while real threats of new genocide loom before us – it must punish the states whose policy was to employ genocide in order to take over territory of another sovereign state.   Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb) B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

By dr Slobodan Lang,
Hrvatski Tjednik (Croatian Weekly), 10 March 2014

In its defence from Serb aggression Croatia has achieved a greater success in the prevention of genocide than anyone else in history. Genocide is the gravest of crimes among people. Its intentions are to kill, or at least deport a certain population from a territory in which it has jointly lived be it through aggression or conquest. The Convention on the prevention and punishment of genocide was passed in the night before the Universal Declaration of Human rights was adopted.

However, that was after the Holocaust had already happened. The entire humanitarian activity in WWII was weak and the new rules for the future were brought about on the basis of the experience of failure rather than success. The problem of genocide was avoided for many years, usually with the words “Never again”. It was the 1990’s wars of Serb aggression that prompted the world to confront itself with crimes against humanity and genocide. Again because of punishment, and not prevention.

The world has not solved the question of genocide: intent, prevention, stopping, judgment and punishment. The truth about genocide is the question and responsibility of the world. It is necessary to punish that which is done, but the most important thing is to contribute to the prevention of future genocide, anywhere in the world, using the new knowledge and experiences. For this reason, the primary task of the trial of Croatia’s lawsuit against Serbia for genocide, which commenced at the beginning of March, is to contribute to a better future world, and not just convict the evil that has already occurred.

It is difficult for me to write this text, but I must and I want to pass onto you the ideas and the experiences I carry with me. In order to achieve something one needs to have ideas, one needs to mobilise a group to join in and, to personal danger or risk, one needs to organize and implement an action, for which one hopes will be accepted by the people, and the desired results will be achieved.

Only through such jointly utilised ideas, actions, courage, influence and change in the way of life results are achieved in any sphere: humanitarian, economic, political … and so too in the sphere of prevention of genocide.

It’s difficult for me to write because I carry the painful inheritance of the Holocaust in my own family.

I have turned it into the post-holocaust with the aim to turn the Jewish suffering from hatred, persecution, camps, theft, ignorance and killing into the future strengthening of the prevention from such crimes for any nations. It’s difficult because I do not feel the awareness of the whole depth and the whole suffering of the people in today’s leadership of Croatia. I do not know that they had participated as war veterans, or even in the civilian actions in the defence of Croatia.

I listen to them as they attempt to explain the suffering, genocide, and so the Holocaust at well, as the suffering of some other people from the past who don’t concern us and for whom too much money or emotion shouldn’t be spent. I do not feel the presence of a soul in the Croatian leadership.

Likewise, I think that today’s Serbia and Serbs have not at all confronted themselves with their responsibility and are attempting to escape into a concept of equal guilt, into the forgetfulness of the past and into the well known phrase “who, on earth, pushed us into a feud” (‘tko nas, bre, zavadi‘). I feel an inadequate wish and will from the Serbian leadership, intelligence, Church, and consequently in their people to stop being a nation of hate and inequality and to start being a nation of tolerance and good. Such conditions make it most difficult for the International community and court to come to the truth and bring about a just ruling.

Nevertheless, the truth that in its defense from Serbia’s aggression, Yugoslav People’s Army and the rebel Serbs, Croatia had successfully prevented, stopped and warned about the danger of genocide, is very important. Croatia is responsible towards the whole world and towards its own people, its future and towards all the suffering victims as well as all war veterans to demonstrate and show to the ICJ court in The Hague why and how it defended itself and why and how it prevented the crimes of genocide while defending itself from the aggression that had as its aim the conquering of parts of Croatia by use of excessive military destructive force and by causing the Croats to flee their homes (in order to save their bare lives) through perpetration of the worst imaginable crimes (murder, rape, torture, incarceration in concentration camps).

This is the first time that a world court considers a lawsuit of one state accusing another for having perpetrated an aggression with the aim of taking away the conquered territory through the perpetration of crimes against the nationally undesirable population, using hatred, destruction, ethnic persecution – in short, genocide. The International court in The Hague had in the genocide case of Bosnia and Herzegovina Vs Serbia avoided to deliver a clear decision on guilt in its judgment, but it had in an unambiguous manner condemned Serbia for not preventing the genocide in Srebrenica.

Sparked by this decision, I wrote an open letter (3 November 2012) to the president of Serbia asking him to seek the release of Croatian Generals Gotovina and Markac from the Hague, to state how the Operation Storm prevented genocide in Bihac and, as a state condemned for not having prevented genocide to call for a world summit on the prevention of genocide. But he did not reply to my letter. Does he understand at all that my letter was an offering of the hand of the future to him, to Serbia and to Serbs?

In the modern times, the idea of hatred, inequality and violence was set in motion in 1986 by only 15 SANU Academics (Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts). They wrote the following in their Memorandum: “The achievement of equality and independent development for the Serbian people have a deeper historical sense. For less than fifty years, in two consecutive generations, twice exposed to physical destruction, forced assimilation, religion change, cultural genocide, ideological indoctrination, devaluation and denial of own tradition under the imposed complex of guilt, intellectually and politically disarmed, the Serbian people have been exposed to most difficult of temptations, which have surely left traces in the spiritual state, which, at the end of this century of great technological advances in human intellect, should not be ignored. If the Serbian people count on its future in the family of cultured and civilised people of the world they must receive the opportunity to once again find themselves and become a historical subject, to renew their conscience of their historical and spiritual being ...”

Slobodan Milosevic became their entrepreneur. He firstly maimed Serbia and the Serbian people by turning them into a nation of hate. Just as Hitler did against the Jews, he started with initiating hatred and actions against Albanians within Serbia. After that he went forth with the aggression and rebellion in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The attacks always followed the same pattern: excessive military artillery shelling against all buildings regardless of what they were, which resulted in enormous destruction and numerous civil casualties.

Many survivors fled and found shelter in the surrounding areas. After conquering the areas, armed soldiers, volunteers from Serbia and the local Serbs looted, burned the houses, chased people away, killed and raped. Therefore, cleansing had been implemented. Unlike this pattern, Croatia’s defence had from its first day emphasised antifascism and rejected crimes and hatred.

The Serb aggression was based upon the attitude that hatred and genocide are worthwhile, that they are the path to the realisation of Greater Serbia. The people were to follow and accept such a leader and leadership. The Croatian defence leaned upon the good and upon tolerance as the path toward realising the freedom of Croatia and Croats. The people decided for responsibility of freedom at the referendum. The whole nation had linked itself into one so that it could defend the Homeland and the homes.

The civilian initiatives (Wall of Love, Convoy Libertas, emigrants …) were in 1991 the greatest force in the Croatian defence. The mere defence of Vukovar was, in fact, an attempt to prevent that which was to happen after the conquest: killing of patients, rape of women, torture, looting, taking to the concentration camps, persecution, only because they are Croats. There were more and more veterans every day. And so it was all until the victorious Operation Storm with which the Croatian army had prevented genocide in Bihac, in August of 1995.

I do not know how Croatia will present itself at the court in The Hague, I do not know how the politicians will trade among themselves either in secret or publicly nor do I know what the final court verdict will be. But I do know that the Serbian aggression was made up of the plan to conquer by employing hatred and crimes all the way to the full genocide. I know that the Croatian defence, despite all the sufferings, had prevented this in Croatia. The Homeland war, therefore, contains more experience in the prevention of genocide than any other war in the world. Judge Theodor Meron, with his origins, his experience and knowledge had recognised this, made a judgment and freed Gotovina and Markac.

How much of this do the Croatian political leadership and defence understand? When you read this you will know one more thing that is of worldly importance: how our Croatia was created and defended. Be justifiably proud of the past, but it needs to be passed onto the future of the world as well as into the success of today’s Croatia.
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slobodan-langAbout dr. Slobodan Lang. Born to Jewish family 8 October 1945 in Zagreb, Croatia. Physician, author, writer, politician and former personal adviser to the first Croatian President dr. Franjo Tudjman. His paternal grandfather Ignjat was the president of the Jewish community in Vinkovci (Croatia) and his grandmother Terezija was a housewife. In 1941 Catholic priest Hijacint Bošković, distinguished Dubrovnik and Croatian Dominican, was engaged in an extraordinary attempt to rescue the Langs from Nazi persecution. Bošković traveled from Dubrovnik to Vinkovci with a special permit that allowed him to relocate the Langs to Dubrovnik. Langs grandfather refused to leave, saying that he “was the president of Jews in peace and he will stay one in the war”. Both of his grandparents were killed in the concentration camp during the Holocaust. He graduated at the University of Zagreb School of Medicine and is a specialist in social medicine. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slobodan_Lang)

 

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