Became the New Hitler
The demonization of
Milosevic and the Serbian people beginning in the early 90s
was partially accomplished by the efforts of Ruder Finn Global
Public Affairs, a Washington-based public affairs firm, to accomplish
this spin for their clients the Republic of Croatia, the Republic
of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Albanian opposition that hoped to
win independence for Kosovo.
The usual CIA propaganda
tricks of endlessly repeated lies, faked pictures, and orchestrated
demonstrations were used. Speed is vital, James Harff,
Ruder Finns director, explained on French TV in April 1993,
it is the first assertion that counts. All [subsequent] denials
are entirely ineffective.
He further boasted of
having managed to put Jewish opinion on our side. This was
a sensitive matter, he added, as the dossier was dangerous
. . .the Croatian and Bosnian past was marked by real and cruel
anti-Semitism. Tens of thousands of Jews perished in Croatian camps
[during the Ustasha rule, 1941-1945], so there was every reason
for intellectuals and Jewish organizations to be hostile toward
the Croats and the Bosnians. Our challenge was to reverse this attitude
and we succeeded masterfully.
At the beginning
of July 1992, New York Newsday came out with the article
on Serb camps We jumped at the opportunity immediately. We outwitted
three big Jewish organizations the Bnai Brith Anti-Defamation
League, the American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress.
In August, we suggested that they publish an advertisement in the
New York Times and organize demonstrations outside the United
That was a tremendous
coup. When the Jewish organizations entered the game on the side
of the [Muslim] Bosnians, we could promptly equate the Serbs with
the Nazis in the public mind. Nobody understood what was happening
in Yugoslavia. The great majority of Americans were probably asking
themselves in which African country Bosnia was situated.
By a single move
we were able to present a simple story of good guys and bad guys
which would hereafter play itself. We won by targeting the Jewish
audience. Almost immediately there was a clear change of language
in the press, with the use of words with high emotional content
such as ethnic cleansing, concentration camps, etc. which evoke
images of Nazi Germany and the gas chambers of Auschwitz. No one
could go against it without being accused of revisionism.
The interviewer commented,
But between 2 and 5 August 1992, when you did this, you had
no proof that what you said was true. All you had were two Newsday
Our work is not
to verify information . . .. Harff answered. Our work
is to accelerate the circulation of information favorable to us,
to aim at judiciously chosen targets. We did not confirm the existence
of death camps in Bosnia; we just made it widely known that Newsday
affirmed it. . . . We had a job to do and we did it. We are not
paid to moralize.
[NATO in the Balkans,
New York: International Action Center, 1998, pp 54-56, 188-189,