TRUTH IN MEDIA EDITORIALS

A Sneak Preview of an Upcoming Beograd.com Column

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For December 26, 2000

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Part I of a Two-Part Series 

How Washington Bought Yugoslav Presidency

By Bob Djurdjevic

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NOTE TO BEOGRAD.COM READERS: This is the first of a two-part series of columns on Yugoslav affairs.  Even though they were written in mid-December, and some segments long before then, this columnist has held them back from publication until after the Dec. 23 Serbian elections.  That’s because his intention is not to play into partisan politics, but to help the Beograd.com readers learn the full truth and see the big picture from a strategic, geopolitical perspective.

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Good speakers follow the golden rule of speechwriting- tell them what you’re going to tell them; tell them; and then tell them what you’ve told them.  As a public speaker and columnist, I try to do the same.

I told the Beograd.com readers last summer that the September 24 Yugoslav elections would be a Serb “demo farce,” with Vojislav Kostunica starring as a naïve Don Quixote, while, in fact, acting as a Trojan Horse bought and paid for by Washington.  I told you as the Serb “Ostrich Revolution” was unfolding, complete with destruction of electoral ballots, that it was a foreign-orchestrated coup d’etat.  And I repeated that when Kostunica started to reverse himself following his electoral “victory.”

And now (in early December), just as I was about to sum up what I’ve been telling you all along about DOS and Kostunica, lo and behold the Washington Post did it for me.  Yes, that “liberal” establishment mouthpiece; the America’s penultimate authority on the imbroglio at the DC bordello, told the truth about how Washington bought the Yugoslav presidency for $41 million.

The innocuous sounding headline of the Post’s Dec. 11 article, “U.S. Advice Guided Milosevic Opposition,” was a guise for its devastating content.  Devastating for Kostunica, an erstwhile Serb “nationalist,” now a mere Washington puppet.  Devastating for DOS - the Washington-funded and organized Democratic Opposition of Serbia, now the new Yugoslav regime.  Devastating for “Otpor” (Resistance), an ostensible “student” movement, also financed and run by the U.S. government. 

In short, the Post confirmed all our suspicions, and put a very explicit price on the Yugoslav presidency and Kostunica’s betrayal of his erstwhile ideals:

“The U.S. democracy-building effort in Serbia was a curious mixture of secrecy and openness. In principle, it was an overt operation, funded by congressional appropriations of around $10 million for fiscal 1999 and $31 million for 2000.”

The Post also paints a picture of Kostunica, DOS and Otpor as nothing more than U.S. marionettes.  Even the very lines they mouthed off during the election campaign were scripted by their Washington puppeteers:

"According to Stevanovic, the (DOS) coalition marketing expert, EVERY WORD of the opposition's one-minute and five-minute core political messages used by opposition spokesmen across the country was discussed with U.S. CONSULTANTS and tested by opinion poll. Coalition candidates running for the Yugoslav parliament and tens of thousands of local government positions received extensive training on how to stay "on message," answer journalists' questions and rebut the arguments of Milosevic supporters.” (emphasis added).

Here are some other excerpts from the Post report:

“Twenty (Serb) opposition leaders accepted an invitation from the Washington-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) in October 1999 to a seminar at the Marriott Hotel in Budapest, overlooking the Danube River. The key item on the agenda: an opinion poll commissioned by the U.S. polling firm Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates.

The poll reported that Milosevic had a 70 percent unfavorable rating among Serbian voters. But it also showed that the big names in the opposition--men such as Zoran Djindjic and Vuk Draskovic--were burdened with negative poll ratings almost as high as Milosevic's.  Among the candidates best placed to challenge Milosevic, the poll suggested, was a moderate Serbian nationalist named Vojislav Kostunica, who had a favorable rating of 49 percent and an unfavorable rating of only 29 percent. […]

Kostunica's selection as the opposition presidential candidate in August was shaped, in large measure, by the opinion polls. "The polls showed that Kostunica could defeat Milosevic in the easiest possible way," recalled Dusan Mihajlovic, leader of the New Democracy party, one of 18 political parties that made up the coalition. Part of Kostunica's APPEAL, the polls showed, was that he was widely perceived as ANTI-AMERICAN. Because he was an outspoken critic of the NATO bombing of Serbia, it was difficult for the Milosevic government to label him a Western stooge or a traitor to Serbian interests.” (emphasis added).

In other words, Kostunica was chosen as presidential candidate by the U.S. opinions pollsters hired by Washington to act in Washington’s best interests.  And he was picked as such because he APPEARED to be anti-American.  In other words, he was chosen as a Trojan Horse whose purpose was to dupe the Serbian people. 

“Kostunica was also the one opposition leader strongly opposed to accepting U.S. campaign assistance. "I was against it, never got any myself, and thought it was unnecessary," he said in an interview.

To many opposition activists, KOSTUNICA’S DENIALS RING A LITTLE HOLLOW. While it is true that his own party, the Democratic Party of Serbia, rejected anything that smacked of U.S. aid, his presidential campaign BENEFITED ENORMOUSLY from the advice and financial support the opposition coalition received from abroad, and particularly from the UNITED STATES.” […] (emphasis added).

Not only did Kostunica’s words “ring hollow’ to “many opposition activists,” this writer has said it in several of his Beograd.com columns, too.  You judge a man by the company he keeps, not just by his words, I tried to forewarn the Serbs.

But the Washington Trojan Horse strategy evidently worked.  The Serbs fell for it - line hook and sinker.  But not without some additional illegal arm-twisting - both domestically (in Serbia), and by foreign powers: 

“The lead role was taken by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the government's foreign assistance agency, which channeled the funds through commercial contractors and nonprofit groups such as NDI and its Republican counterpart, the International Republican Institute (IRI).

While NDI worked closely with Serbian opposition parties, IRI focused its attention on Otpor, which served as the revolution's ideological and organizational backbone. In March, IRI paid for two dozen Otpor leaders to attend a seminar on nonviolent resistance at the Hilton Hotel in Budapest, a few hundreds yards along the Danube from the NDI-favored Marriott. […]

Over the next three months, millions of "Gotov je" stickers were printed on 80 tons of imported adhesive paper--paid for by USAID and delivered by the Washington-based Ronco Consulting Corp.--and plastered all over Serbia on walls, inside elevators and across Milosevic's campaign posters. Printed in black and white and accompanied by Otpor's clenched-fist emblem, they became the symbol of the revolution. […]

An iron rule for both the coalition and Otpor was never to talk about Western financial or logistical support. To have done so would have played straight into the hands of the Milosevic propaganda machine, which routinely depicted opposition leaders as "traitors" or "NATO lackeys".”

Incidentally, Otpor’s clenched fist on a black shirt, a cross between communism and fascism, is a perfect symbol of the New World Order.  And no wonder, since it was created in Washington, the capital of the NWO Evil Empire.  Perhaps the truth and liberty-loving Americans and other people around the world should paint a TARGET sign right over top of it.  At least that’s a symbol of genuine resistance to foreign aggression that originated in Belgrade, and spread like wildfire around the globe last year, inspiring patriots world over into action in defense of the truth and liberty.

Pointing out the plain truth like that, helps explain some virulent verbal attacks on anyone telling the truth during the Serb election campaign, including on this writer, who publicly and frequently called Kostunica, DOS and Otpor by their real names - Washington “lackeys” or “quislings.”  (For the rest of the Post story click on: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A18395-2000Dec3.html).  As he did Milosevic over 10 years ago. 

That’s because parallels and similarities between the current situation in Serbia and that in 1989-1990 are inescapable.  Serbia is again in love, but with a different man and for different ("liberal") reasons.  So watch out!

In late May 1989, this writer went back to his native Belgrade for the first time after a 20 year-voluntary exile from Yugoslavia’s communist government.  He returned to the U.S. from a weeklong trip with mixed emotions about the “progress” being made in what was back then still a communist society. 

What follows are excerpts from my original reports about Slobodan Milosevic, written in 1989 and 1990 respectively.  It was then that I first compared the then beloved Serb leader to Tito, Hitler and Stalin.  Here is, for example, what he wrote on July 23, 1989:

“It seems to me as if the Serbs in Yugoslavia are now living in a time capsule.  As if they are frantically trying to make up for the last 45 years of their history of which Tito’s (communist) anti-Serbian policies have deprived them…

In other words, the Serbs are in love; in love with their heritage, and in love with their new leader - (Slobodan) Milosevic. 

That’s wonderful.  And dangerous, too.  Just ask a teenage girl…

By the way, that’s also how Americans felt about George Washington after the Treaty of Paris (1783) restored our own hard-fought-for rights of which a British dictator (George III, the king) had deprived them.

Indeed, euphoria that follows liberation can be as intoxicating as the first love.  But ‘love is blind,’ as they say.  And (without intending any harm to the handicapped) - who wants to follow a blind person?

Now fast-forward to October 2000 and substitute Vojislav Kostunica for Slobodan Milosevic.  Then rewind and replay the above tape.  Amazing similarity, isn’t it?

At the time (back in 1989-1990), Milosevic was so popular in Serbia (much more than Kostunica is today) that this writer suffered the wrath of even his own family over the above comments.  Thus he felt the need to explain and defend his stance in the Aug. 6, 1990 and Sep. 22, 1990 letters that follow:

ONE YEAR LATER…

PHOENIX, July 31, 1990 - During the 12 months since my “Marketing of Serbia” essay was written (on July 23, 1989 - see above), I have been trying to figure out if Slobodan Milosevic was a. was a Communist masquerading as a Serbian nationalist, or a Serbian nationalist masquerading as a Communist. 

After my meeting with him last January (1990), I was leaning toward the latter possibility.  But after my visit to Belgrade in June (1990), during which I saw what was billed as “the first opposition parties’ rally in 45 years” - after Milosevic’s sudden call for a referendum in late June; after his Hitler-like dissolution of the Kosovo parliament; and after his election as president of the ‘new’ Socialist Party of Serbia - I don’t think that there is much room for doubt left.  He may be a genuine Serbian nationalist. But so was Hitler - a genuine German nationalist!

In other words, Milosevic seems to be first and foremost a dictator, now masquerading as a democracy-loving socialist - so as to keep his job!

“Serbia is still led by retreads from the Communist Party who have neither moral nor practical authority to carve ‘a place under the sun,’ for our people,” agreed (the late) Dr. Milorad Draskovic of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

[…] But the game is far from over.  For one thing, Milosevic et. al. still control the media.  Which gives them a powerful edge over the opposition.  I witnessed myself a lack of objective reporting on Belgrade TV and in the daily newspapers about what happened on June 13 (1990).  I was there, at the opposition rally.  The main challenge that the opposition parties face, as I see it, is to get the media to tell their side of the story.  Which will be difficult…

Second, we are yet to see a credible opposition leader in Serbia. If the right-wing extremists and the thugs they brought along to Trg Republike (a Belgrade square where the rally was held) on June 13 were to take over the government, we, the Serb émigrés, would stand to lose our homeland twice.  Once to the Communists, the second time to the white Serbian supremacists.  There are only two places where such people belong - in (the civilized) opposition, or in jail.  Most of them probably the latter (TiM Ed.: Arkan and his gang were among them, if my memory serves me right).  For, if they were to be elected, we would have one gang of hooligans replacing the other. […]

ONE WEEK AFTER THAT…

Excerpts from a fax to a potential employee from Serbia

PHOENIX, August 6, 1990 - Earlier today, I had a long telephone conversation with BJ (this writer’s ‘brother’ in Serbia).  He told me that I stood alone in the family with my views about Serbian politics.  Even my sister, he said, was supportive of what Slobodan Milosevic has done.  [Later on, my late father also chastised me verbally over the same issues].

As my “employee-to-be,” you should know that “standing alone” - is not an unfamiliar position for me.  Just ask Jon, Nancy, Doug… etc.  In fact, that’s how the people who are ahead of the trends are perceived - by definition!

[requoted the above July 1989 excerpt here]

Upon hearing me object to Slobodan Milosevic’s closing down some Albanian newspapers (in Kosovo), BJ asked me today I would approve of certain California papers’ right to continue publishing their views if they were advocating their state’s secession from the U.S.?  Or that of Ireland from the U.K.?

“Of course, I would,” I replied.  (I would not necessarily agree with them but) “what do you think that ‘freedom of speech’ means?”

“Well, not in the Balkans, it doesn’t,” BJ said.

Speaking for myself, I am getting a little tired of hearing that democracy is just fine “except for the Balkans”- the theme of some of my Serbian friends and relatives.  Either you’re pregnant or you’re not.  Either you’re civilized, or you’re not. 

If Serbia were not (civilized), it would not matter one iota if Slobodan Milosevic, or Brana Crncevic (back then a close aid to, and supporter of, Milosevic), or some other turkey was its leader, would it?  They would not, and should not, deserve support of any democracy-loving people. […]

“Democracy is the worst political system,” said Winston Churchill, “except for all other political systems.”

P.S.  By the way, I do not think much of the anti-“non-Serbian” hatred propaganda which the Slobodan Milosevic/Communist-controlled “Politika” (Serbia’s biggest daily paper) seems to be whipping up day after day, either.  In fact, it makes me sick… Have the Serbs not learned yet that it is in wisdom, not in emotion, that their salvation will be found?

Well, 10 years later, have the Serbs found wisdom, or are they in love again?

For the answer to that question… read my next week’s column - Listen Not to What They SAY, Watch What They DO.

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To read a "sneak preview" of Part II, click here.

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Bob Djurdjevic, founder of TRUTH IN MEDIA of Phoenix, Arizona, is an internationally published author, e-mail: publisher@truthinmedia.org 

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