Kosovo Revisited: Spies, Spooks and Censors

During the Kosovo war the lies of NATO were broadcast all over the world and supinely accepted by the “mainstream” media as the fountainhead of truth; indeed, those lies were embroidered, elaborated on and systematized into a full-blown delusional system, a mass hallucination generated by the Western media in which the Serbs were depicted as “Nazis,” Milosevic was branded another “Hitler,” and the supposedly victimized Kosovar Albanians were cast as the victims of a new Holocaust. A year later, the truth is not only leaking out – it is pouring out, in torrents, as NATO’s lies are exposed and debunked. To begin with, it turns out that the alleged “Holocaust” that was supposed to involve as many as 100,000 Kosovar victims never happened: instead, the number of pre-war casualties – Albanian and Serbian combined – totals no more than 2100. Thanks to journalists such as John Laughland, writing in the London Spectator, the truth is now being recognized by those who still care about such things.THE NEW RADICALS

But as situation in Kosovo threatens to veer out of control, and the rabidly nationalistic and totalitarian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) launches a campaign to provoke a military conflict with the Serbs and drag in the US, the War Party is launching a counteroffensive – and the first victim was an idiosyncratic British publication known as LM. Formerly associated with a leftist group, and once known as Living Marxism, the magazine was renamed and revamped as the utter cluelessness of the world’s last remaining orthodox Marxists became all too apparent. While the original Marxist doctrine was supposed to lead to the withering away of the State, Marxism in power had always led to the expansion and glorification of the State. Far from withering away, it grew exponentially whenever socialists came to power – including in their own country. In light of this, the editors declared their new program: to uphold human freedom as an ideal, a concept based on a “confident individualism.” Bypassing the Marxist vision of a socialist dictatorship – one that would gradually (and counterintiuitively) decrease its own power until the State was just a memory – they recaptured what they thought of as the original anti-statist conception of the Marxist idea and reinvented the idea of what it means to be a radical. Their new mission was to oppose the tyranny of “official and semi-official agencies” and challenged the whole Blairite system of surveillance, stigmatization, and repression: “from the police and the courts to social services, counselors and censors.”


In short, LM began to develop a libertarian approach to the British predicament. They also became a painful thorn in the side of the Blairites, as articulate critics of Britain’s evolution into the dictatorship of the Third Way, with its “hate speech” laws, its attempts to demonize and silence all internal opposition, and its swaggering imperialism. The Blairites really began to take notice, when, in 1999, Britain’s Channel 4 broadcast “Against Nature,” a three-hour documentary exposing the wacko environmentalist nostrums that have infected the British elites. As one outraged account of the program by leftist George Monbiot – posted on the UK’s Urban75, the most pretentiously hip rad-lib lefty-trendy site on the world-wide web – puts it, the editors and supporters of LM were given a platform to argue:

“that greens are not radicals, but doom-mongering imperialists; that global warming is nothing to worry about; that “sustainable development” is a conspiracy against people; while germline gene therapy and human cloning will liberate humanity from nature.”


Heaven forfend! How dare anyone suggest that animal rights terrorists who destroy AIDS laboratories and threaten the lives of dedicated scientists are anything but noble defenders of cuddly wuddly rabbits and cute little white mice! Cultural commisar Monbiot gleefully reports that

“The Independent Television Commission, reviewing Against Nature in response to hundreds of complaints, handed down one of the most damning rulings it has ever made: the programme makers ‘distorted by selective editing’ the views of the environmentalists they interviewed and ‘misled’ them about the ‘content and purpose of the programmes when they agreed to take part.’ Channel 4 was forced to make a humiliating prime time apology.”


In the Orwellian nightmare world of Tony Blair’s Britain, a polemical documentary that advances unpopular truths is “reviewed” by an “Independent Television Commission” that seems not to be independent of elite opinion, and has the character of a semi-official agency of government. If not, then who “forced” Channel 4 into making “a humiliating apology”?


Against Nature enraged the UK’s rad-libbers, but LM‘s unrelenting opposition to the Kosovo war, and especially its exposure of the propaganda of the War Party, really had them frothing at the mouth. For it was LM that exposed one of the prime pieces of war propaganda, a famous photograph of an emaciated man standing behind barbed wire that was published all around the world as “proof” that the Serbs were running concentration in Bosnia and that a new Nazism was rising from the grave. We have published the photo before, on our front page, along with LM‘s devastating expose of how it was faked by the photographers of ITN, Britain’s no-so-Independent Television Network.


In 1992, on assignment in Bosnia, a film team led by Penny Marshall was on the last leg of an assignment to cover alleged Serbian “concentration camps” in the Serbian areas of Bosnia: so far, they had come up with nothing, but at the last possible moment stumbled on a convincing (and seemingly fool-proof) way to fake it. In a small village that housed a refugee center, they stopped to take photographs. By coincidence, a Serbian film team was also there, no doubt to find images that matched their own propaganda purposes, showing well-treated uncomplaining refugees, free to leave at any time, in what looked to be an ordinary facility, clean and orderly, bearing not the least resemblance to a concentration camp.


Ah, but the eye of the camera sees only what it wants to see, and, if what it chooses to see isn’t really there – well, then, there are ways to get around that.. In the pages of LM, German journalist Thomas Deichmann described how Penny Marshall and her fellow fabricators of war propaganda went around the camp, apparently not finding anything useful – with the Serbian cameramen filming their every move. The film exists, and in it one can clearly see that what Deichman maintained in his piece – that the ITN crew had faked the photo – was nothing but the unvarnished truth. As Deichman described the scene:

“To film these refugees, Marshall and her cameraman Irvin entered a compound next to the camp area. Inside this small compound [was] a kind of garage shed, an electricity transformer station, and a brick barn. Before the war, horticultural products could be bought there and tractors and construction machinery had been housed in the barn. To protect all this from thieves, the compound area of approximately 500 square metres had been fenced-in with barbed wire a couple of years before. The erection of the barbed wire fence had nothing to do with the refugees, the camp or the war. When Marshall, Williams and Vulliamy entered the compound next to the camp, the barbed wire was already torn in several places. They did not use the open gate, but entered from the south through a gap in the fence. They approached the fence on the north side, where curious refugees quickly gathered inside the camp, but on the outside of the area fenced-in by barbed wire. It was through the barbed wire fence at this point that the famous shots of Fikret Alic were taken.”


It was the perfidious Penny and her ITN minions who were inside the barbed wire, not the refugees. This confirmed the suspicions of those who doubted the veracity of the ITN photo to begin with, suspcions aroused by the curious fact that, in the phony photo, the refugees are shown standing on the side of the fence where poles hold up the enclosure. But fences, as a rule, are fixed to poles from the outside. A strange discrepancy, which led Deichman to investigate further. The existence of the film, and a trip to the site, confirmed that ITN, far from reporting news, has instead functioned as an integral part of the NATO lie machine. “Independent” Television Network my eye!


But how do we explain the emaciated condition of Mr. Alic, who was made famous by this classic forgery? I mean, that guy looked like he hadn’t had a square meal in months, if not years – right? Again, appearances are not always reality – often they turn out to be the exact opposite. For it turns out that Mr. Alic’s condition was the result of childhood tuberculosis. As Jared Israel relates in an excellent piece we ran the other day,

“Filming from inside the barbed wire, Marshall asked if anyone spoke English. One man replied, Yes. Marshall spoke to him. Are you a prisoner? No, said the man; we’re refugees. Marshall was clearly impatient. She pressed the man to criticize the Serbian officials. The man insisted: the Serbs treat us well; they give us food; the only problem is the weather is too hot. Much too hot. Then Marshall spotted a tall, emaciated man. What is wrong with that man, she asked. The Bosnian refugee shrugged, said something about it being personal. (In fact the emaciated man’s appearance resulted from having had tuberculosis as a child.)”


Penny Marshall is a shameless liar, a paid lackey of the War Party who, not all that long ago, would have been kicked out of every association of professional journalists and shunned by all reputable news organizations for the rest of her miserable life. Her name should by now have become a synonym for the practice of forgery and the art of the finely calculated deception: in a better world, when someone “pulls a Penny” on you, you’ve been had. But not anymore.


Instead of being held up as textbook examples of former journalists devolved to the level of professional liars, Penny and her crew were held up as the wronged parties in a libel suit brought against LM by corporate giant ITN. Under the peculiarities of British libel law, LM and its editors were held to be guilty unless and until they could prove otherwise. Their expert witnesses were not allowed to testify, and the judge was openly biased in his remarks to the jury. Unable to submit much evidence, hamstrung and vilified in the leftist media as rabid right-wingers, the editors and publishers of LM were bankrupted and closed down by the Blairite thought police, using British libel law as a bludgeon to beat them into silence. The editors, for their part, are unrepentant:

“The only thing this court case has proved ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ is that English libel law is a disgrace to democracy and a menace to a free press. As libel defendants, we were assumed to be guilty unless we could prove our innocence. The court threw out all of our expert witnesses, including John Simpson of the BBC and a leading QC. The judge’s summing up was so one-sided that it made ITN’s overpaid barrister redundant. And even though the central fact in our article concerning the position of the barbed-wire fence in relation to the journalists has never been seriously challenged, we could not win because the law demanded that we prove the unprovable. We apologize for nothing.”


The ITN libel suit brought out the best of the intellectuals in defense of free speech: the LM defense fund was endorsed by more than 150 prominent authors, journalists, artists and lawyers. A petition in defense of free speech was signed by Doris Lessing, Fay Weldon and Auberon Waugh. Harold Evans, the former Times and Sunday Times Editor, and William Boyd, the author, have denounced ITN’s decision to sue as a serious threat to the freedom of the press. But we didn’t hear much about it in America; it was vaguely explained away as having something to do with jolly old England’s eccentric libel laws. You know those Brits: I mean, what about that Oscar Wilde? And then there’s the David Irving case. What won’t they do for a dramatic courtroom scene, complete with bewigged barristers and a slightly dotty old geezer of a judge: see any episode of Rumpole of the Bailey, the popular BBC serial. But more than the propaganda value of ITN’s victory in court is the value of the precedent it sets – and the message it sends. The LM-ITN case is a warning to others. The British elites are saying to the few dissidents still resisting Blairization: “If you think you’re going to challenge us, expose our lies, and get away with it you are very much mistaken – we will smash you, bankrupt you, and perhaps jail you, in time, if you don’t come around – or shut up.”


This is what we are up against, not only in Great Britain but worldwide. In Bosnia, NATO shuts down radio and television stations guilty of “hate speech,” i.e. any speech that makes the historic claim of Serbian nationalism as the most victimized of all the Balkan peoples. In Kosovo, NATO troops stand by as Serbian Orthodox churches burn, their relics defiled, and Serbian monuments are pulled down by screaming KLA-led mobs. Serbs are murdered in the streets for speaking their own language. These are not acts of hate, you see, but of love, NATO-style.


In the US, of course, they can’t get away with anything quite as blatant as the shutdown of LM – at least, not yet. But they are working on it, believe you me, with “hate speech” regulations on campus and a privatized Thought Police that demonizes all dissent, on the right as well as the left, as “extremist” and beyond the pale. This was the case with the Kosovo war, the Gulf War, and, indeed, every war throughout American history. You’ll note that it is never the proponents of mass murder and all-out war who are given the “extremist” treatment, but only the opponents of said policy who are so characterized, all the way back to the Copperheads of the Civil War era. American opponents of World War I were lynched by quasi-governmental bodies, tarred and feathered, and their publications banned and burned. The America First opponents of US entry into World War II were vilified as pro-Nazi by left-wing journalists and their allies in British intelligence, both of whom proliferated in the America of the 1930s. The Vietnam war saw outright repression of a domestic antiwar movement on a scale not seen since the turn of the century, with opponents vilified by government officials and set up for violence and repression by government agents. The Gulf War saw the first wave of an ongoing smear campaign against Patrick J. Buchanan, the journalist and commentator turned presidential candidate who stood virtually alone in opposing George Bush’s war for the President called “a New World Order.” Buchanan was smeared relentlessly for months, but came out not only unscathed but bold enough to launch his first presidential campaign, under the slogan: “When I raise my hand to take that oath of office, your New World Order comes tumbling down!”


The Kosovo War is no different: opponents of this latest folly were derided as “isolationists” and written off as little more than shills for Belgrade. But as virtually everything critics of the war predicted – chaos in Kosovo, the dictatorship of the KLA, the mass murder and ethnic cleansing of the remaining Serbs, the spread of instability into surrounding areas such as Macedonia – has come to pass, it is getting more and more difficult for the War Party to maintain the fiction of their own righteousness. Their last resort is simply to shut down their opponents, by whatever means necessary.


Another method is to infiltrate the media with government agents. According to a shocking report by Geoff Metcalf in WorldNetDaily, based on a report by Abe de Vries on Emperors-Clothes.com, US Army personnel attached to the psychological operations division were employed at CNN during the Kosovo war. Army spokesmen openly admit that their “psyops” people had penetrated the CNN newsroom in Atlanta: Metcalf quotes one Major Thomas Collins as saying that it was all part of a perfectly innocent “Training With Industry” program. These “trainees” “worked as regular employees of CNN,” according to Collins. “Conceivably, they would havE worked on stories during the Kosovo war. They helped in the production of news.”


Government employees disguised as “journalists” are hardly an unknown species. The boundaries between the two professions grow blurrier with each passing year, a phenomenon we might call the Sidney Blumenthal Syndrome. And while not directly on the government payroll, the rest of the journalistic pack might as well have been for all the critical perspective they brought to the machinations of the Clinton administration in wartime. CNN”s coverage was the worst, hewing so closely to the government line that the two seemed interchangeable – and now we know why. But two can play the secret agent game, a point brought home by a surprising – and encouraging – recent report in a German newspape. . . .


While Western media outlets have reported official suspicions of a spy in the house of NATO, the latest news is that the spy was an American. The German newspaper Tageszeitung reports that it has been contacted by an American officer who said he passed information to Belgrade because NATO’s attack on a sovereign nation was illegal, immoral, and essentially a “blackmail ultimatum” delivered to the Yugoslavs by the US and its allies before the conflict – an accurate description of the Rambouillet proposal, in which NATO demanded complete access to all of Yugoslavia by its military forces. This mole is highly placed at NATO headquarters, and was able to reveal top secret air tasking orders, essentially instructions on where and when to bomb selected targets. The Serbian armed forces were able to move their military assets around based on this advance information: thousands of Serbian lives were saved through the courage, conscience, and conviction of this unknown hero (or heroine).


If this be treason, then let the patriots of the New World Order make the most of it. As the US rampages through the Balkans, and throughout the world, imposing its will on conquered peoples and interceding in every dispute, the key to stopping it is rebellion in the ranks of the imperial army. That was the undoing of Rome, and of the Russian Czars: their soldiers would no longer fight, and instead turned the guns around – or, in the case of the Unknown Hero of the Kosovo war, turned the tables. Among the biggest opponents of the President’s Kosovo policy are to be found in the US military, which resents being used as a global crisis response team. This is a fruitful area for the antiwar movement to develop its most important contacts: right inside the US military machine. Even now, the NATO-crats are getting ready for the next phase of the Kosovo war, and the propaganda machine of the War Party is kicking into high gear: meanwhile, in Washington, Pentagon spokesman Kennth Bacon admits that there were “some security problems” in the early stages of the war, to which one can only add: you ain’t seen nothin’ yet – we hope!

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of Antiwar.com, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].