"Will the Real Nazis please stand up?"
By SUSAN BRYCE
For the last seven months we have been fed a diet of propaganda — the public relations of modern warfare — about Kosovo, that distant and foreign land, a province of Yugoslavia but now a ‘protectorate’ of the allied forces. A land where people — white people, doctors, lawyers and scientists — are being ‘ethnically cleansed’ by a ‘butchering modern day Hitler’. So far, the PR campaign (the spin as opposed to the facts) goes something like this….
practiced by Slobodan Milosevic is systematic and brutal, like the
extermination of Jews in Nazi Germany. Representing the people of the free,
In the final conflicts of the 20th century, public relations has become the politically correct term for propaganda, and while hundreds of noteworthy conflicts are being fought around the globe, NATO and US public relations experts have selectively focused our attention upon the ‘regime’ in Yugoslavia, and its leader, "that butchering modern day Hitler, Slobodan Milosevic."
The tactic of comparing
the enemies of the
The ghost of Adolf Hitler has been given a thorough airing in the Yugoslav crisis. The great irony is that those who condemn Milosevic as a modern day ‘Hitler,’ are themselves using the propaganda techniques that were refined and employed by the Nazis during World War Two.
"Propaganda is a weapon, and a frightful one in the right hands", said Adolf Hitler, in Mein Kampf. Explaining how this ‘weapon’ could be employed to win the hearts and minds of the masses, Hitler said propaganda must be limited to a very few points and a slogan, which must be harped upon until the last member of the public understands the point being made.
The war in
Humanitarian crisis, on
the other hand, is something that the
Up until the US/NATO
bombing on March 24th, there had been, according to NATO, 2000 people killed on
all sides, and a couple of hundred thousand refugees — indeed, a humanitarian crisis,
but also the type of crisis happening all over the world. It would be an
understatement to say ethnic cleansing is a tragedy, but it is happening, on an
equal to or greater extent, in other parts of the world as well as Kosovo. For
example, the crisis in Kosovo is numerically identical to the US State
Department figures last year which showed
Hitler said that harping
upon "very few points", would call the masses attention to certain
facts, processes and necessities. "The greater the mass that propaganda is
intended to reach, the lower the purely intellectual level of the propaganda
will be." We can see Hitler’s advice is working well: the media absorbed
with over-reporting of the refugee crisis, shuttle diplomacy and the triumphant
movement of NATO ground forces into
During the air war we were told over and over again, morning to night, with close to 100% unanimity thundering that US/NATO actions were necessary to "save lives". And thus, many people tended to believe their absurd claims, even though, with a moments reflection, the absurdity of such claims would be realised.
Many important facts have been under reported in the Kosovo crisis. Such facts include Viktor Chernomyrdin’s dire warning on 27th May that "the world has never in this decade been so close as now to the brink of nuclear war"; NATO's new interventionist role; the setback of Russia-US relations; China’s veto of the UN Security Council resolution on Yugoslavia; and shelving the ratification of the Russian/US arms limitation agreement START II.
Hitler maintained that
the "power to forget is enormous". Such forgetfulness is an important
propaganda tool in modern warfare. The Balkans, like
In his recent essay "Kosovo Peace Accord", Noam Chomsky notes that in the Yugoslav war the marching orders from Washington are the usual ones: "Focus laser-like on the crimes of today’s official enemy, and do not allow yourself to be distracted by comparable or worse crimes that could easily be mitigated or terminated thanks to the crucial role of the enlightened states in perpetuating them, or escalating them when power interests so dictate."
The war in
Had political conditions
dictated, the media could have presented the suppression of the Palestinian intifadah from 1987-91 or the massacres that
unfolded in Beirut in 1982, under the auspices of the Israeli state, in no less
inflammatory terms than the events in Kosovo. And what of the savageries
inflicted by the French on
Control of the Press
involves the capitulation or control of the press. Censorship of the press
during the Yugoslav crisis has been open and blatant, assisting in the
reportage of ‘very few points’. While the Nazis employed the tactic of shutting
any domestic press outlet that did not push the party message, NATO’s goal was
to shut down the press inside
Censorship occurred at
all levels during the Balkans conflict: from the ability of journalists to
report ‘in the field’, to Pentagon briefings and high level diplomatic
meetings. Many reporters have said access to the war zone was severely limited
by the dominant military force on the ground in
The press corps ‘trapped’ at NATO headquarters, and at the Pentagon, rarely tried to pin officials down on anything questionable or vague, and NATO spokespeople would typically obfuscate answers to journalists questions. The Web magazine GRIDLOCK and LOAD reports one such example from NATO spokesperson Jamie Shea, noted for his sometimes strange and confounding pronouncements, including this one made in late May:
I am confident of
success because all of those conditions for the defeat of the
In the arena of
diplomatic negotiations, information for the press was tightly controlled.
Following a meeting between Viktor Chernomyrdin, Finnish President Martti Ahtissari and
Cable News Network (CNN)
has played an important role in censorship of information during the Balkans
crisis. CNN has been criticised for anti-Belgrade reporting by its ‘star’
correspondent Christine Amanpour, whose marriage to
State Department spokesman Jamie Rubin is the source of constant speculation
Throughout the Balkans conflict, CNN (along with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)) has been the major source of televised footage aired in news broadcasts throughout the world. Critics have pointed out that with few exceptions, only successful and bloodless uses of weapons were broadcast on television. This censorship ensured that public support for the conflict continued. If the public saw real weapons killing real people, they might get squeamish!
of double speak laced the voice overs that accompanied television
footage: when NATO bombed civilians it was a "mistake", while the
Serbs carried out "atrocities." As NATO ground troops entered
In another blatant example of media suppresson, comments by Russian President Boris Yeltsin were censored. Speaking to an audience of Russian writers, Yeltsin described NATO actions as barbaric. He said that the unleashing of war on a sovereign state without Security Council approval could only be "possible in the time of barbarism". But Yeltsin's comments were quickly stifled. His minders went into full ‘damage control mode’. They requested that Reuters, who had videotaped his speech under a media pool agreement, refrain from distributing it. Reuters never aired the footage, but provided the US NBC News network with raw footage.
NATO’s real character, that of a barbarian force, has also been exposed in recent revelations by Spanish fighter pilots, who disclosed NATO’s intentions to level civilian infrastructure.
Speaking to the Spanish weekly Articulo 20, (No. 30, June 14, 1999) Spanish fighter pilots admitted that NATO deliberately attacked civilian targets and that the alliance was destroying Yugoslavia by bombing it with novel weapons, toxic nervous gases, surface mines dropped with parachutes, bombs containing uranium, black napalm, sterilisation chemicals, spraying poison on crops and using other weapons which "even we still do not know anything."
"The North Americans are committing there one of the biggest barbarities that can be committed against the humanity. Much and very bad things will be told in the future about what was happening there, because, by the way, judging by what we talked about with the British and German officers, it was designed in order to divide the Europeans and keep us subjected for many decades," one of the Spanish pilots stated.
The suspicions that NATO’s repeated bombings of civilian victims and non-military targets are not the result of war ‘errors’, were confirmed by pilot Captain Martin de la Hoz:
Several times our
Colonel protested to NATO chiefs why they select targets which are not military
targets. They threw him out with curses saying that we should know that the
North Americans will lodge a complaint to the Spanish Army, once through
In 1997, the
establishment journal Foreign Affairs published an article by Zbigniew Brzezinski titled
"The Geostrategy for
Brzezinski argued that a wider
NATO's actions in
In the wash up of the Balkans crisis, the IMF and the World Bank will assist in the ‘reconstruction’ of war torn Yugoslavia, which will repay its debt via abundant mineral resources, that include substantial deposits of lead, zinc, cadmium, silver and gold and an estimated 17 billion tons of coal reserves.
The Spin vs the Facts……
The air strikes prove that continual carpet bombing of civilians and vital national infrastructure will eventually bring the capitulation of the target country, and this strategy, including the use of depleted uranium weapons, will be employed in all future conflicts.
Operation Joint Guardian
will bring important rewards to the
On the dawn of the 21st century, we will work with our partners towards a new humanism, and a new world order. A world sponsored by our military and corporate interests, and the selective intervention of NATO and the United Nations.
Susan Bryce is an investigative journalist and researcher. Her interests include democracy and freedom, the technologies of political control, environmental health and global politics. She can be contacted at