The Guardian

The Guardian September 13, 2000


Culture and Life

by Rob Gowland

Clans and cover stories

Last week, the same week the Guardian ran an article on media 
complicity in NATO's lying propaganda about Yugoslavia, the Dateline 
program on SBS featured a heavily promoted story about the gathering of a 
Montenegrin "clan" that opposed independence for the Yugoslav republic. It 
was an interesting item, in more ways than one.

Montenegro's regional government has been energetically wooed by the West. 
If it would only declare its independence from Yugoslavia, like the other 
republics did, then IMF loans, corporate investment, NATO aid would come 
pouring in.

Unfortunately (for the West), the bulk of the population don't want to 
split away.

And the leaders of the Republic aren't too sure that if they did make the 
break they wouldn't find themselves fairly quickly replaced by others even 
more sympathetic to the needs of Western business interests.

Dateline's story focused on the curious (for Dateline's pro-
NATO reporter) phenomena of Montenegrins supporting President Slobodan 
Milosevic, the bogey man of the Western media.

A preference for maintaining the integrity of Yugoslavia rather than opting 
for pro-Western, "pro-democracy" independence was presented as a strange 
act, explicable only by allusion to their status as a "clan".

"Clan" in this context was clearly meant to evoke images of Sicilian-style 
Mafia clans.

This would fit in with the image of President Milosevic and his wife 
assiduously promoted for the last six months or more by the psychological 
warfare section of the Pentagon and dutifully echoed by the Chanceries of 
Western Europe.

According to this propaganda line, the Milosevics are gangsters who preside 
over a corrupt and murderous regime beside which Don Corleone's family 
appears almost angelic.

Showing a "clan" in Montenegro supporting President Milosevic only 
"confirms" the accuracy of NATO's propaganda.

The genuine drug-running, gun-running Albanian mafia clans of neighbouring 
Kosovo have never been highlighted in the capitalist media, which preferred 
to maintain the laughable fiction that these drug dealers  not to mention 
operators of extortion, protection and prostitution rackets  were 
actually on the side of freedom and democracy.

Directly or indirectly, the Dateline item was a product of this psy-
ops campaign.

The real story in the item, however, was not so much its propaganda content 
as why it appeared now. After all, there have been no reports of Serbian 
"ethnic cleansing", no attacks by the Yugoslav army on the "freedom 
fighters" of the KLA. Quite the reverse.

The only reports of "ethnic cleansing" for almost a year now have been of 
Serbs and Gypsies (Roma) killed or driven out of Kosovo by Albanian 
terrorism, their homes and public buildings burnt down, their churches and 
memorials destroyed. All done under the protection of NATO.

Meanwhile, the lies told to make the world accept the air war on 
Yugoslavia, the thousands  tens even hundreds of thousands  supposedly 
slaughtered and buried in mass graves, thrown down mineshafts, etc, have 
been totally exposed.

Even the US puppet "war crimes" tribunal in the Hague has had to quietly 
admit that there is no evidence to support the ethnic cleansing-massacres 
tales.

Strangely, the exposure of that massive, organised campaign of lies is not 
deemed a newsworthy story, certainly not as newsworthy as the original 
lies. Not by a long chalk!

Instead, the campaign continues. Only it has now shifted its focus away 
from "Milosevic the mass murderer" to "Milosevic the gangster dictator".

And the reason for that is that NATO failed to achieve its objective in 
last year's war: the removal Yugoslavia's democratically elected President 
and the total disintegration of the country. For months, observers around 
the world have been warning that NATO plans to resume the war.

Two options are being canvassed by the US with its allies (and with 
neighbouring countries like Bulgaria which would play a vital role as a 
launching pad for a US strike into Yugoslavia): one is an internal "revolt" 
(read CIA-funded coup), the other is the secession of Montenegro, which 
would provoke a very convenient civil war for NATO to intervene in.

Last month, CIA Director George Tenet visited Bulgaria. Officially, he was 
there to discuss organised crime and narcotics.

However, Tenet spent a combined total of only 20 minutes at the 
headquarters of the National Security Service and the National Service for 
Combating Organised Crime.

The Bulgarian media revealed that two subjects dominated Tenet's real 
discussions: the proposed oil transit pipeline from the Caspian Sea 
(through the territory of the former Yugoslavia) and toppling the regime in 
Belgrade.

Sofia's Monitor reported that "A strike against Belgrade is 
imminent", adding, "Bulgaria will serve as a base." 

The Italian army recently signed a lease contract to conduct training 
exercises beginning in October at the Korean training ground in southeast 
Bulgaria. The French army signed a similar agreement, in which French 
soldiers and tanks will train in central Bulgaria from October 11 to 
December 12.

Talks are also underway for the US military to lease the Shabla training 
grounds in northeastern Bulgaria. It was also recently announced that the 
British aircraft carrier HMS Invincible is to be redeployed to the 
Adriatic over the next few months  in support of a potential conflict 
over Montenegro.

The Dateline story looks more and more like part of a typical Anglo-
US disinformation campaign.

Back to index page