Hey, Let's Shoot The Messenger!

by Gilles d'Aymery

August 6, 2001

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"Closed people leading closed organizations wrap themselves in fears. Being out to get enemies, they need to create enemies to get. Having created enemies, they then fear those enemies. Closed people leading closed organizations close themselves ever tighter into a raging paranoia -- always fully justified to themselves, however specious, even silly-appearing to others."
--Milo Clark

On July 25, 2001, we received an e-mail from Ljubica Gojgic, the reporter for the Yugoslav magazine NIN (1) we referred to in our July 23 article, The Fabrication and Dissemination of Deception. Ms. Gojgic takes exception on the suggestion we made that she possibly was the author of the compendium of articles we were analyzing in our piece and, as we said, that she had quote possibly (unconfirmed) also written for Danas unquote. The disparaging tone of, and the contradictions encompassed in her e-mail are instructive. We are reproducing it below and add a few comments.

Dear Sir,

In your "analysis" from June 23, 2001 you mentioned my name together with a dozen of journalists and media whose articles you don't like (as if it meters [sic] to anybody!). Though I don't think people like you are worth spending time on, I've decided to send this note anyway.

Yes, my name is Ljubica Gojgic.

Yes, I am with NIN newsmagazine.

No, I am not the author of the HLC report.

No, I have never written for Danas.

Since you write about fabrication of the facts I thought you should know that.

Sites like yours (a rat.com would me [sic] more appropriate considering the content) don't surprise me anymore. Internet has its limits, I guess. You can't stop people from displaying anything they want without any fear of legal consequences. People like you, quasi analysts, worn out communists and faceless intellectual perverts, who hide behind the global network, make me really sick. Unfortunately my country gives you a fine pretext to exercise your oral exhibitionism in fighting the fights you haven't had courage for at home and on time. Hopefully the damage that you create "while trying to explain things and, Heaven forbid (!), defend the Serbs" will remain among those who surf the Internet (I've heard that your hero Slobodan Milosevic also has the access to it).

To conclude, if there is anything about the Serbs I don't like, that's the fact that they let global "think-tanks" "help" them (on the other hand who [sic] do you stop people like you). From the very first moment YOU (regardless how you call yourselves: OSCE, NATO, UN, White House or "independent analysts") came to our once peaceful region, we've experienced nothing but misery. You've contaminated, physically and mentally, everything you laid your hands on and you still have the nerve to "analyze" things and criticize people who are trying to repair the damage you've created. Do not expect to hear from me again!

Ljubica Gojgic

By the way, since you expressed certain interest in my professional biography let me help you with some more details, which I am sure you'll abuse just as you did previously with the semi-information you found about me. So far, I've written for the Wall Street Journal (USA), Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (USA), Europ (France), News (Austria), Examiner (Ireland). And I intend to continue.


Our initial reaction was a mixture of amusement and bafflement. Okay, we asked rhetorically, so what? We often receive thoughtful e-mails criticizing an article, correcting a factual error or expressing strong disagreement with the opinions expressed by some of the authors whose work is published on Swans. We always try to respond with a thank-you note and a word of appreciation as, for goodness sake, there are still people out there who form their own opinion. They must be acknowledged and cherished. We also get our share of hate mails that we largely ignore for we are not in the enemy-creation business. But we rarely, if ever, receive a diatribe filled with slander and contradictions from a main media journalist.

There is a well-known rule of thumb in "Officialdom:" The main media simply ignores alternative news and authors. As Milo Clark explains, "Governments and corporations are aware that 'free speech' is a necessary irritant easily countered by rather simple alternatives. 1) Media control within the family or the conspiracy of shared assumptions works pretty well. 2) Let those so minded babble all they want, nobody of consequence is paying attention anyhow."

Ms. Gojgic broke this rule, an intriguing occurrence for a journalist who spent six months last year polishing up, honing her journalistic skills with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette thanks to the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowship (AFPF) program, as we reported in our piece. We'll revisit the AFPF in a moment.

Shoot the messenger

However, Ms. Gojgic did learn a couple of lessons. First, she did not address the issue that was the theme of the article - how deception is created by obscure organizations financed by powerful western interests and recycled and disseminated by the main media. It's an important issue because The New York Times did recycle the story of the refrigerated truck last Tuesday, July 21, on page A3 with an article signed by Carlotta Gall. Regrettably, Ms. Gojgic ignored the matter at hand in her e-mail.

On the other hand, the second lesson she appears to have learned to perfection is to attack, to slander, to calumny the author in order to discredit him, as well as all other "dissenters." To dissent, says the dictionary, is to differ in opinion or feeling, to refuse to conform to the authority (the official line). As far as we know dissenters are hardly found on the map of Officialdom! Again, Milo Clark: "I have made the point before that we no longer need Brown Shirts or Gestapo or other repressive organs of government to control a vast population. Media control does it for the vast majority. For the few who may choose other hallucinogens, the systems of control are in place and operative. Mostly, dissidents are easy to ignore up to a point. Cross that point and bingo, there are many ways short of repressive force to blunt and close down. Character assassination and credit demolition are perfected arts."

Jared Israel of Emperor's Clothes has often written about this demolition technique. See, in particular, his analysis in respect to Srebrenica, The New York Times and its mouthpiece David Rohde -- a timely issue since the Kangaroo court in The Hague has just sentenced General Radislav Krstic to 46 years in prison (if all you know about Srebrenica comes from Officialdom then a visit to Israel's work on this issue will bring you a different perspective; a perspective that is utterly ignored by the main media).

Character assassination and credit demolition are perfected arts, indeed.

Shoot the medium

Ms. Gojgic's attack against the Internet should not surprise anyone. Albeit the Net has been overtaken by commercial interests it still remains the most logical and affordable venue for expressing dissension (and the most threatening to the present order). Actually, it's the only remaining venue in an age when any opinion that strays from the official line is afforded no space whatsoever in the main media (and is faced with overwhelming repressive forces in the streets). Whether you read The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post or The Washington Times, the stories are direly alike. The Nation could merge with The National Review and readers would blend, noticing no fundamental variation in the story line! The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is no exception as you will see later.

The other day, we asked a young scientist who has contributed essays to Swans,"... Why do you choose Swans -- a very small, and many would say insignificant, site -- to publish your views? Indeed, don't you think that the possibility of being even slightly associated with a publication that is espousing views that are largely ignored and repeatedly discredited by 'officialdom' may harm your promising career?" The young man answered: "I disagree. The key problem with officialdom is its marked disconnection with the populace, with the majority of people who have no voice and no say in matters of global importance. Such matters, when constrained to 'scholarly' journals, are kept consistently out of reach from most people, and so most persons are actively marginalized from the discussion. I'm strongly against that sort of inequality."

A sign of youth possibly, of idealism, certainly; but it also tells us that the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI) should not be a priority. Intelligence and character are just around the corner, in Main Street, America and everywhere else in the world. Just check the Internet! Beside pornography, commercial take-over and government interference and control (Echelon, etc.), there is intelligence out there and the Internet is an extraordinary tool for people who want to see farther than the box in their living room rehashing the same story line day after day, year after year. It's no less "faceless" than the other tools of communications. It's a neutral tool that can be used or misused like any other means of communication.

Certainly Ms. Gojgic can understand this.

Addressing Ms. Gojgic's demeaning description of Swans is not worth cluttering our limited space on our Internet Service Provider's web server. Whether Swans is a "rat.com" inhabited by "quasi analysts, worn out communists and faceless intellectual perverts, who hide behind the global network," is up to her discretion and we are not in the retribution, tit-for-tat business either. She obviously has spent little or no time finding out about Swans, its collective of writers and our five-year publication stretch.

But there is something worth demystifying and that would be her correlation between the "worn out communists" and their "hero," Slobodan Milosevich.

Shoot the "Commies"

Herman de Tollenaere, an expert in the study of Theosophy and its links with neo-fascists movements around the world, posted the following on a mailing list in March 2000: "I want to raise this discussion beyond personal exchange between Michael and me. It is about a bigger point, of 'Leftists' ' more well known than people on this list, open or de facto support for NATO; therefore uniting with both 'moderate' [Aznar; Margaret Thatcher] and 'far' Rightists [Turkish Gray Wolves in the government, to Jörg Haider in Austria, to the Vlaams Blok in Belgium, one of the KLA's sources of money; I fear the Vlaams Blok may also be in government soon; they already are a conduit for Belgian taxpayers' money to the KLA].

Apart from the Blairite-B 52 liberal 'left,' small minority groups/individuals claiming to be Leftist, or more specifically, Marxist [some historically 'Stalinist,' some 'Trotskyist'] raised the slogan 'Arm the KLA' during the NATO/Yugoslavia war; attacking the anti-war movement on this. Some combined this with open cheering for the NATO bombs [Vanessa Redgrave; Dutch ex-Maoist, Green Left parliamentary party leader, Paul Rosenmöller; the 'News and Letters' tendency wanting a 'revolutionary war party' and shouting 'Fascists!' on the street at their 'fellow Trotskyists' of the maybe 5.000 times bigger British Socialist Workers Party]. Some were uncommittal on the NATO bombs, while marching along in demonstrations with Union Jacks, NATO and US flags [Workers Liberty; mainly British]. Some [German Enver Hoxhaite Stalinists; the United Secretariat of the Fourth International; one of many Trotskyist Fourth Internationals; some of their non-leadership members in France oppose their policy on this] made both anti-NATO bombs and pro-Arm the KLA statements. The French Communist Party leaders did not say 'Arm the KLA.' However, they used their 'Neither NATO nor Milosevic' slogan as an excuse to keep on sitting in the government which kept bombing [the point, of course, is: whatever you may say about Milosevic, he was not in the FRENCH government. THEY were. They still are.]

As a member not of any party or would be party, (2) I reserve the right to strongly oppose this. They should stop closing their eyes to what the NATO/KLA alliance REALLY does to the civilian population of Kosovo and surroundings [including to the big majority of Kosovo Albanian civilians, who DO NOT support the KLA. However, they don't have the US made arms and NATO support. A Kosovo Albanian worker who wants to protest that he works WITHOUT WAGES gets a KLA rifle butt in his back now. The Western press praises this.] These so called 'Leftist' people's views now are somewhat similar to, in 1914, the Social Democrats [and Anarchist Kropotkin] going on the evils of the German empire: 'Poor Little Belgium!' [or evils of the Russian empire, in the German Social Democrats' case]. While then, as now: THE REAL ENEMY IS AT HOME."

Some readers may not be familiar with all these names and organizations. Suffice it to indicate that in the US, from The Nation to Michael Albert and Z Magazine (Noam Chomsky et al. who've long been marginalized by Corpocracy), the so-called "left" has been anti-Milosevich and anti-Serbia from very early on, thus joining The Wall Street Journal and the myriad Libertarian Internet sites in having their cake and eating it at the same time. Red shirts, brown shirts....old story!

Shoot your people

More importantly and disturbingly is Ms. Gojgic's paragraph about her criticism of her own people and that of the West as it shows how confused, hurt, and possibly manipulated, she is. Let's quote her again:

"To conclude, if there is anything about the Serbs I don't like, that's the fact that they let global 'think-tanks' 'help' them (on the other hand who [sic] do you stop people like you). From the very first moment YOU (regardless how you call yourselves: OSCE, NATO, UN, White House or 'independent analysts') came to our once peaceful region, we've experienced nothing but misery. You've contaminated, physically and mentally, everything you laid your hands on..."

One should regret the anti-Serbian arrow thrown directly by....a Serbian archer against her own people in a time of such travails. But it's her prerogative. That she associates Swans with OSCE, NATO, UN, White House or "independent analysts" only demonstrates again that she has not taken the time to do her homework. However, she is entirely correct when she states that, from the moment those entities, a.k.a. the West, got involved in the Balkans, "[they've] experienced nothing but misery," and the "once peaceful region" has indeed been "contaminated, physically and mentally, [by] everything [it] laid [its] hands on;" a case we have repeatedly made for over two years.

And, Ms. Gojgic is directly benefiting from the West...

Shoot the hands that feed you

Time to revisit the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowship (AFPF) program. As mentioned earlier and explained in our July 23 article, Ljubica Gojgic was a recipient of the AFPF. She spent the second half of 2000 in the USA and worked for five months at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette where she was assigned to the local (or city) desk. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is one of the financial supporters of the AFPF. Its publisher is William Block Jr. of Blade Communications Inc. (BCI). BCI also owns and operates Toledo, Ohio's newspaper, The Blade, as well as a handful of broadcast TV stations, cable service providers (including Ohio's Buckeye Telesystem), and a stake in the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team. The other current financial sponsors include, according to the AFPF's web site, in addition to the AFPF itself: "Chicago Tribune, San Antonio Express-News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The Washington Post - and from the Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation, the Freedom Forum and the Open Society Institute's 'Network Media Program'." The AFPF wants the visitor to know that it "receives neither government funding nor direction."

That the Open Society Institute is on the list will not surprise those of you who read our other July 23 piece, The Circle of Deception: Mapping the Human Rights Crowd in the Balkans.

The Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation was founded by Robert R. McCormick, who for 30 years until his death in 1955, ruled the roost at The Chicago Tribune, that he proclaimed the "World's Greatest Newspaper." (Please note that The Chicago Tribune is also a financial sponsor of AFPF.) McCormick was described by the author Richard Norton Smith in The Colonel: The Life and Legend of Robert R. McCormick (Houghton Mifflin) as a fervent conservative and a prototype reactionary. According to encyclopedia.com, under his rule, "The Chicago Tribune steadily and vehemently maintained an extreme right-wing position on various issues - it condemned labor unions and attacked the participation of the United States in world affairs." The South Carolina Military Academy (a.k.a. The Citadel) owns a Beach Club "named after the late Colonel McCormick, former publisher of The Chicago Tribune, whose abiding interest in The Citadel was manifested in wonderfully generous and tangible forms."

The Freedom Forum "was established in 1991 under the direction of Founder Allen H. Neuharth as successor to a foundation started in 1935 by newspaper publisher Frank E. Gannett." Allen H. Neuharth is the founder of USA TODAY. "Based in Arlington, Va., [it] is a nonpartisan, international foundation dedicated to free press, free speech and free spirit for all people."

So, AFPF is essentially funded by the news media in one way or another. Alfred Friendly himself was a wealthy newspaper man, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and former managing editor of The Washington Post.

These organizations have common threads. They are wealthy, they share the same vision of "democracy" and "free press," and they are well connected. Their respective founders (McCormick, Gannet, Neuharth, Soros (OSI)) are all very affluent and influential personalities either depicted as "conservatives" or "liberals" (American ideology has only one color, green) but sharing the same "values;" and the associated newspapers also have a commonality: They have shared a consistent anti-Serbian editorial line for the past decade. Nothing particularly striking in this except that Ljubica Gojgic treaded in those "enlightened" waters for at least six months, all expenses paid.

Example of "enlightened" editorial line

Take the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where Ms. Gojgic worked. Surf the site or search for Yugoslavia, Serbia, Kosovo, Serbs and Albanians. You will eventually find a Photo-Journal of December 1999 by Martha Rial, Post-Gazette Staff Photographer, with 14 pictures and a story line repeated over and over in the media during that period. Each picture and caption is worth a couple of minutes of your time. But one really reaches the pinnacle of "free press," "objective" journalism as defined by all the mentioned organizations. This picture shows a little boy and a man, in front of a house and next to an old abandoned and rusty car. Please, take the time to look at the picture BEFORE you read the caption. Look at the house and the car cautiously. Then read the caption. It reads: "ENVISIONING A BRIGHTER FUTURE- The ravages of the war in Kosovo are evident in the back yard of 5-year-old Lirim Lani's home outside Pec, where he stands with his great uncle. The home and car, a Citroen, were set afire by Serbian paramilitary groups during the war. The Lani family has lived on the land for 500 years. Their home was one of an estimated 70,000 homes that were damaged or destroyed during the war. Until their home is repaired, the family is living in a trailer and a tent on the property. The biggest challenge now for the international and humanitarian aid community is to get the population through Kosovo's long winter." Now, read the caption again and make sure you notice that the car and the house were set afire by Serbian paramilitary groups. Okay? Then, please look again at the picture c a r e f u l l y. Was the house burnt? Was the car burnt?

Propaganda: Propagation of a given doctrine or allegations reflecting its views and interests for the purpose of influencing actions of individuals or groups.

It's been going on for a decade and it continues. The story of the refrigerated truck that we were reviewing is just another episode in a long-running series and Officialdom has been running the show with a remarkable efficiency and great resources, both financial and human. That Ms. Gojnic may, consciously or not, be a participant in this stratagem can only be regretted.

Finally, Ms. Gojnic says she's "trying to repair the damage [we've] created." If her idea to repair the damage is to be associated with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette or The Wall Street Journal, or to write articles like this one, posted on the AFPF Web site, we certainly don't doubt her good intentions but we beg to differ. And the next time she deems fit to contact us - which in all likelihood is at best remote -- we wish Ms. Gojnic will address the issues instead of embarking on an empty diatribe. (3)  


1.  "NIN (the acronym stands for 'Nedeljne Informativne Novine,' the 'Weekly Information Newspaper') is," according to our Novi Sad correspondent, Stevan Konstantinović (translated by Alma Hromic), "one of the best news publications in Serbia. the paper is known as a mouthpiece of the liberal intelligentsia. In the time of socialism they were a favourite of the intellectuals, because they would print analytical texts not in the 'party line' of the then communist party of Yugoslavia. When Milosevic turned up on the scene most of the paper's coverage was supportive, although they later took a step away from his politics and took themselves out of the publication house of 'Politika' the main newspaper which was the spokesman for the Milosevic administration.

NIN is no stranger to the Serbian national interests, but they also propagate further democratization of the Serbian society and the betterment of the relationship with the EU while remaining relatively critical of the USA. On internal questions they support economic reform in which they appear to be sympathisers of prime minister Zoran Djindjic as well as the group of economic experts known as G17+ who include Miroljub Labus, the vice president of the federal government, and Mladjan Dinkic, the governor of the national bank. it is not so much a question of political but of a social program closeness. But even on this level, especially when it's a question of deviant behaviour, they do not lose their critical tone.

NIN's major rival in this sphere of news media is the weekly VREME, which is more pro-western and which, because of a smaller readership, is helped financially by the George Soros foundation."

You can find more historical information on NIN at http://www.cdsp.neu.edu/info/students/marko/nin/ninindex.html  (back)
2.  Neither is this author a member of any party or would-be party.  (back)
3.  Let the record show that we have inserted a note on July 28 in the incriminated article that fully stated Ms. Gojnic's clarifications regarding the HLC article and Danas. Perhaps Ms. Gojnic will recognize that this is far more than what The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette or any main media organizations would have done.  (back)


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Published August 6, 2001
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