A TELLING INTERVIEW
HOW THE LIES OF WHAT IS HAPPENING IN YUGOSLAVIA WERE SPREAD
(OR: HOW TO FIDLE ON PEOPLE'S EMOTIONS)
BOOK REVIEW: Jacques Merlino: "Les verites Yougoslaves ne sont pas toutes bonnes
a dire" ("Yugoslav truths are not all good for telling") Published by: Albin Michel, Paris, 1993, pp. 127-129 ISBN 2-226-06663-2
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mr. Jacques Merlino a leading journalist of the
TV chain France 2
It is permitted to expel one people from the world community.
To define it like a pack of rapists and extremists having nothing to envy
to Nazis. It is permitted to raise the whole planet against this people,
to prepare them tribunal recalling that of Nuremberg, to elaborate plans
for military intervention and strategies for target bombardments. It is
permitted to chase their state from the United Nations and to submit Serbs
to the total economic embargo. This is permitted because that's what is
But, it is also permitted to think this fierceness lacks
distinction. That one people has never been guilty in its ensemble. That
one nation has history and memory. That media manipulations exist. And that
the emotion, overcoming the reason, is really a bad adviser.
This is permitted because it is the object of this text.
It goes against everyone who feeds international public opinion. It is exposed
to the criticism of those who don't want to change their decisions. It shows
usual weaknesses of free and serene reasoning in front of passion and madness.
To think counter-current is yet another tradition of French
thought, Voltaire's gift which is really precious. To doubt, isn't that the first condition for freedom?
But doubt is worthless if it remains only a mixture of
suspicion and prudence. It has to be overcome. And, that can be fulfilled
only by looking over the received ideas and by restarting the inquiry work
from the facts and crude documents. The task is tough and immense. It is
truly indispensable and urgent, if one is convinced that the actual outbreaks
can provoke a cataclysm overtaking faraway the poor Balkans.
There was Timisoara. Then was Gulf war. And came Yugoslavia. With the
same stereotypes, same simplifications, same exaggerations. This time, we
are concerned directly: European balance is in the game.
If it is confirmed that Germany is pulling strings behind the scenes
in order to increase its zone of influence, if it is accurate that a coup
is preparing in Moscow with fall of Yeltsin and arrival of national-communists,
if it is proved that the United States are pursuing goals other than humanitarian,
if it turns out that UN are victim of serious disfunction, that news agencies
have lost their impartiality, that free press is going to be darkened by
militant blindness and, after all, if it is proved that Vatican is more
powerful than others and that its interference in Yugoslav crisis is considerable,
then it is important to know how and by whom we are manipulated. Jacques
Merlino's inquiry explains why we arrived here and forces us to admit one
simple reality: the information is one arm of war, used like that by those
who are measuring its importance.
AN IMPORTANT EXCERPT (THE INTERVIEW):
The excerpt from the book is published in the following periodicals
(as far as I know, maybe elsewhere too):
- A Monthly Jewish Review - Midstream, New York, April
1994 (Under title: "Stopping the war in Yugoslavia", Author:
Dr. Yohanan Ramati)
- Intelligence Digest, Great Britain, February 4, 1994
(Under title: "Manipulating the media")
- Jewish Chronicle, Great Britain, December 10, 1993
(Under title: "The secret weapon? PR", Author Nora Beloff)
The following introduction to the interview is taken from the reference
#1 (Written by Dr. Yohanan Ramati, Director of the Jerusalem
Institute for Western Defense):
[Quote] The civil war in Yugoslavia continues, with untold suffering
on all sides. The media report the suffering of the Muslims in gruesome
detail. The suffering of Croats at Muslim hands gets little attention. THE SUFFERING OF SERBS IS IGNORED. So it will surprise
large sections of the American public that some 600,000 refugees from Croatia
and Bosnia have saught refuge in beliguered Serbia deprived of food and
fuel by UN dictate during the deadly winter.
The media in the Western world, the Muslim
world and Israel treats us to a regular dose of tearjacking hate propaganda.
We see women and children in Sarajevo - the Muslim quaters of Sarajevo -
with terrible wounds seeping blood and shattered limbs, to the accompaniment
of shells and small arms fire. We do not see the killing and maiming of
Serb women and children by Muslim fire in Bosnia or by Croat fire in Croatia.
And when Croat women and children are brutally murdered by Muslims, or vice
versa, the media response is sporadic and no conclusions are drawn.
THIS ORGANIZED ANTI-SERB AND PRO-MUSLIM
PROPAGANDA SHOULD CAUSE ANYONE BELIEVING IN DEMOCRACY AND FREE SPEECH SERIOUS
It recalls Hitler's propaganda against Allies in World War
II. Facts are twisted and, when convenient, disregarded. The selectivity
in reporting and comment is far too blatant to be accidental. The Western
governments do not control their media sufficiently to be responsible for
it. So who is? Who is bankrolling and masterminding the vast effort to destroy
a people the United States, England and France have no reason to hate in
order to establish a second Muslim state in a Balkan province where Muslims
Part of the answer is provided by a
REVEALING INTERVIEW by Mr. James Harff (director of Ruder & Finn Global
Public Affairs) given to Mr. Jacques Merlino in Paris in October 1993. Ruder
& Finn are public relations company, currently registered as foreign
agents. Here are Harff's statements, slightly abbridged.
[End of quote from the periodical and beginning of the quote from the book:]
Harrf: For 18 months, we have
been working for the Republics of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well
as for the opposition in Kosovo. Throughout this period, we had many successes,
giving us a formidable international image. We intend to make advantage
of this and develop commercial agreements with these countries. Speed is
vital, because items favourable to us must be settled in public opinion.
THE FIRST STATEMENT COUNTS. The retractions have no effect.
Question: What are your methods
Harff: The essential tools
in our work are a card file, a computer, and a fax. The card file contains
a few hundred names of journalists, politicians, academicians, and representatives
of humanitarian organizations. The computer goes through the card files
according to correlated subjects, coming up with very effective targets.
The computer is tied into a fax. In this way, we can disseminate
information in a few minutes to those we think will react (positively).
Our job is to assure that the arguments for our side will be the first to
Question: How often do you
Harff: Quantity is not important.
You have to intervene at the right time with the right person... ...
Question: What achievement were you most proud of?
Harff: To have managed to put Jewish opinion on our side. This was a sensitive
matter, as the dossier was dangerous looked from this angle. President Tidjman
was very careless in his book "Wastelands of Historical Reality".
Reading this writtings, one could accuse him of of anti- semitism.
In Bosnia, the situation was no better:
President Izetbegovic strongly supported the creation of a fundamentalist
Islamic state in his book "The Islamic Declaration". Besides,
the Croatian and Bosnian past was marked by a real and cruel anti-semitism.
Tens of thousands of Jews perished in Croatian camps. So there was every
reason for intellectuals and Jewish organizations to be hostile towards
the Croats and Bosnians. Our chalenge was to reverse this attitude. And
we succeded masterfully.
At the beginning of August 1992, the New York Newsday came
out with the affair of (Serb) concentration camps. We jumped at the opportunity
immediately. We outwitted three big Jewish organizations - B'Nai Brith Anti-Defamation
League, the Jewish Committee, and the American Jewish Congress. We suggested
to them to publish an advertisement in the New York Times and to organize
demonstrations outside the U.N.
This was a tremendous coup. When the Jewish organizations
entered the game on the side of the (Muslim) Bosnians, we could promptly
equate the Serbs with the Nazis in the public mind.
Nobody understood what was happening in Yugoslavia. The
great majority of Americans were probably asking themselves in which African
country Bosnia was situated. But, by a single move, we were able to present
a simple story of good guys and bad guys, which would hereafter play itself.
We won by targeting Jewish audience. Almost immediately
there was a clear change of language in the press, with the use of words
with high emotional content, such as "ethnic cleansing", "concentration
camps", etc. which evoked images of Nazi Germany and the gas chambers
of Auschwitz. The emotional charge was so powerful that nobody could go
Question: But when you did
all of this, you had no proof that what you said was true. You only had
the article in Newsday!
Harff: Our work is not to verify
information. We are not equipped for that. Our work is to accelerate the
circulation of information favorable to us, to aim at judiciously chosen
targets. We did not confirm the existence of death camps in Bosnia, we just
made it known that Newsday affirmed it.
you aware that you took on a grave responsibility?
Harff: We are professionals. We had a job to do and we did it. WE ARE NOT PAID TO BE MORAL.
Related but not from the book (Epilogue of a sort):
New York Times ad published on Sunday, March 20, 1994, section E: "WHAT
BEING JEWISH MEANS TO ME" Featuring... ...Mr. David Finn. CEO (Chief Executive Officer), Rudder - Finn, International Public
Relations, photographer, writer, painter.
The first sentence from the ad: In my family, being Jewish has always
meant devotion to study and commitment to
Later on: (Quote:) When weighing the MORAL consequences of business decisions,
for example, the Ethics Committee of our public relations firm seeks knowledge
councel to guide our thinking. I will always remember how some years ago
a proffessor at the Seminary helped us make the decision to resign the sizeable
Greek tourism account after three colonels siezed power and installed a
military dictatorship. (End quote).
The truth belongs to us all.
.Feel free to download, copy and
Egyptian Military Officers Executed by Israeli Army in 1967
Reprinted with permission from The Washington Report on Middle
East Affairs, May/June 1996
USS Liberty: Did Israel commit one war crime to hide another?
By James M. Ennes, Jr.
on U.S.S. Liberty Memorial Pages, March 27, 1998
Washington Report readers know the story well. In 1967 on the fourth
day of the Six Day War,
the armed forces of Israel attacked the American intelligence ship USS Liberty
for 90 minutes in
international waters in broad daylight following several hours of close,
Thirty-four men died, 171 were hurt, and the ship was so badly damaged that
it had to be
The government of Israel has lied about the circumstances ever since,
telling a story markedly
different from that told by American survivors. Congress has refused to
demonstrably false account, even though the State Department's own analysis
finds the Israeli
story to be untrue.
Yet the most pressing question remaining from that infamy is not whether
the attack was
deliberate. That was settled long ago for most reasonable people. The question
is why Israel
risked its cozy relationship with America by killing American seaman on
the high seas.
Indeed, spokesmen for Israel use that question in Israel's defense. Why,
they ask, would Israel risk
alienating its American friends?
So why did Israel attack? Intelligence analysts and others have long
supposed that Israel attacked
to prevent the ship from reporting the impending invasion of the Golan Heights,
despite cease fire pleas by the United States. Israel's defenders reject
Recent reports in the Israeli and Egyptian press suggest another powerful
According to eyewitness accounts by Israeli officers and journalists,
the Israeli Army - the army
that claims to hold itself to a higher moral standard than other armies
- executed as many as 1,000
Arab prisoners during the 1967 war.
Historian Gabby Bron wrote in the Yediot Ahronot in Israel that he witnessed
executing Egyptian prisoners on the morning of June 8, 1967, in the Sinai
town of El Arish.
Bron reported that he saw about 150 Egyptian POWs being held at the El
Arish airport where
they were sitting on the ground, densely crowded together with their hands
held on the back of
their necks. Every few minutes, Bron writes, Israeli soldiers would escort
an Egyptian POW from
the group to a hearing conducted by two men in Israeli army uniforms. Then
the man would be
taken away, given a spade, and forced to dig his own grave.
"I watched as (one) man dug a hole for about 15 minutes," Bron
wrote. "Afterwards, the (Israeli
military) policeman told him to throw the shovel away, and then one of them
leveled an Uzi at him
and shot two short bursts, each of three or four bullets."
Bron says he witnessed about ten such executions, until the grave was
filled. Then an Israeli
Colonel threatened him with a revolver, forcing him to leave the area.
USS Liberty was nearby
As those executions were underway, America's most sophisticated intelligence
Liberty, was less than 13 miles from El Arish.
We were close enough to see the town mosque with the naked eye. With
binoculars we could
make out individual buildings and might have seen the executions if we had
looked in the right
Could our operators have heard voice radio messages revealing these killings?
Did senior Israeli
officers sanction the murders, or did they learn of them? How would they
have reacted to the
knowledge that USS Liberty was nearby and might have heard incriminating
Would they have been desperate enough to attack an American ship?
The Liberty attack was a war crime
The attack on USS Liberty was itself a war crime. US Navy Commander Walter
Jacobsen, a Navy
Legal Officer then doing graduate work at George Washington University,
extensive legal analysis of the attack.
His conclusion, reported in the Winter, 1986, Naval Law Review, was that
several aspects of the
attack violated provisions of the Geneva Conventions -- war crimes. Specifically,
Jacobsen found that the attack was not legally justified, that it constituted
an act of aggression
under the United Nations Charter, that the use of unmarked aircraft, the
wanton destruction of life
rafts in the water, the jamming of international radio distress frequencies,
and the failure of the
torpedo boat commanders to render immediate assistance to a disabled and
helpless enemy were
all violations of international law.
US refusal to investigate violates Geneva Conventions
For years, USS Liberty survivors have asked Members of Congress to investigate
circumstances of the attack.
The Israeli version is untrue. We did fly a flag. We did identify ourselves.
We were in international
waters. They did not stop firing after seeing our flag as they claim, but
continued to fire for
another 40 minutes. The attack lasted 75 minutes and was not brief or accidental
as Israel claims.
We did not "attempt to hide" or escape when detected, as Israeli
has charged. These things are
easy to prove.
More important are the war crimes discussed by Commander Jacobsen. These
things should have
been investigated in 1967. Yet U.S. officials have ignored the offenses
for 29 years, refusing to
investigate or even to acknowledge them.
That refusal is itself a crime. The United States, as a signatory to
the Geneva Conventions of
1949, is "under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have
committed, or to have ordered
to be committed" violations of the conventions, and to see that violators
are brought to trial.
There are no exceptions. War crimes reported to government officials
must be investigated and
Yet even this is ignored by U.S. officials. Liberty survivors for many
years have reported the
crimes committed against us and have requested an appropriate investigation.
Despite the law, our
complaints are ignored. No investigation of these charges has ever been
Recently Liberty's Joe Meadors, a former president and chairman of the
Association, has filed formal complaints with the House and Senate Ethics
members who have ignored our complaints.
To no surprise, these complaints, too, are being ignored.
Navy Refusal to investigate violates Navy Regulations
When the Liberty was attacked, Captain Joseph Tully in the aircraft carrier
received the ship's call for help and immediately sent jet aircraft to her
assistance. Tully's jets were
recalled almost immediately by orders from Washington. As a result, American
jet fighter support
was withheld for more than 90 minutes. By then the damage was done and 34
men were dead or
Had those aircraft been sent, they would probably have arrived before
the torpedo boats started
their part of the attack. At least 25 lives could have been saved.
We survivors have tried for 29 years to learn why we were denied the
immediate air support that
we were promised in case of trouble. There are no answers. The Navy still
will not even admit
that help was not sent, even though one of the aircraft carrier commanders
has offered to testify
that he was forbidden to help us.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice, the body of law that governs every
provides that "Any person subject to this chapter who before or in
the presence of the enemy . . .
does not afford all practicable relief and assistance to . . . troops, vessels,
or aircraft of the armed
forces . . . when engaged in battle . . . shall be punished by death or
such punishment as a court
martial may direct."
That provision was clearly violated when Liberty's air support was withheld.
Yet the Navy will
not even admit that we were not defended.
George Orwell suggested in 1945 that some animals are more equal than
other animals. Some
countries, too, it would seem.
James Ennes retired from the Navy in 1978 as a lieutenant commander
after 27 years of enlisted
and commissioned service. He was a lieutenant on the bridge of the USS Liberty
on the day of the
attack. His book on the subject, Assault on the Liberty (Random House, 1980),
is a "Notable
Naval Book" selection of the U.S. Naval Institute and was "editors
choice" when reviewed in The
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If you wish to read a review of "The Fateful Triangle" click this
link. The article is about one-half way down on the page, entitled "The
Fateful Triangle" ...
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