There was Timisoara. Then was Gulf war. And came Yugoslavia. With the same stereotypes, same simplifications, same exaggerations. This time, we are concerned directly: European balance is in the game.
If it is confirmed that Germany is pulling strings behind the scenes in order to increase its zone of influence, if it is accurate that a coup is preparing in Moscow with fall of Yeltsin and arrival of national-communists, if it is proved that the United States are pursuing goals other than humanitarian, if it turns out that UN are victim of serious disfunction, that news agencies have lost their impartiality, that free press is going to be darkened by militant blindness and, after all, if it is proved that Vatican is more powerful than others and that its interference in Yugoslav crisis is considerable, then it is important to know how and by whom we are manipulated. Jacques Merlino’s inquiry explains why we arrived here and forces us to admit one simple reality: the information is one arm of war, used like that by those who are measuring its importance.
AN IMPORTANT EXCERPT (THE INTERVIEW):
The excerpt from the book is published in the following periodicals (as far as I know, maybe elsewhere too):
The following introduction to the interview is taken from the reference #1 (Written by Dr. Yohanan Ramati, Director of the Jerusalem Institute for Western Defense):
- A Monthly Jewish Review – Midstream, New York, April 1994 (Under title: “Stopping the war in Yugoslavia”, Author: Dr. Yohanan Ramati)
- Intelligence Digest, Great Britain, February 4, 1994 (Under title: “Manipulating the media”)
- Jewish Chronicle, Great Britain, December 10, 1993 (Under title: “The secret weapon? PR”, Author Nora Beloff)
[Quote] The civil war in Yugoslavia continues, with untold suffering on all sides. The media report the suffering of the Muslims in gruesome detail. The suffering of Croats at Muslim hands gets little attention. THE SUFFERING OF SERBS IS IGNORED.
So it will surprise large sections of the American public that some 600,000 refugees from Croatia and Bosnia have saught refuge in beliguered Serbia deprived of food and fuel by UN dictate during the deadly winter.
The media in the Western world, the Muslim world and Israel treats us to a regular dose of tearjacking hate propaganda. We see women and children in Sarajevo – the Muslim quaters of Sarajevo – with terrible wounds seeping blood and shattered limbs, to the accompaniment of shells and small arms fire. We do not see the killing and maiming of Serb women and children by Muslim fire in Bosnia or by Croat fire in Croatia. And when Croat women and children are brutally murdered by Muslims, or vice versa, the media response is sporadic and no conclusions are drawn.
THIS ORGANIZED ANTI-SERB AND PRO-MUSLIM PROPAGANDA SHOULD CAUSE ANYONE BELIEVING IN DEMOCRACY AND FREE SPEECH SERIOUS CONCERN.
It recalls Hitler’s propaganda against Allies in World War II. Facts are twisted and, when convenient, disregarded. The selectivity in reporting and comment is far too blatant to be accidental. The Western governments do not control their media sufficiently to be responsible for it. So who is? Who is bankrolling and masterminding the vast effort to destroy a people the United States, England and France have no reason to hate in order to establish a second Muslim state in a Balkan province where Muslims are MINORITY?
Part of the answer is provided by a REVEALING INTERVIEW by Mr. James Harff (director of Ruder & Finn Global Public Affairs) given to Mr. Jacques Merlino in Paris in October 1993. Ruder & Finn are public relations company, currently registered as foreign agents. Here are Harff’s statements, slightly abbridged.
[End of quote from the periodical and beginning of the quote from the book:]
Harrf: For 18 months, we have been working for the Republics of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as for the opposition in Kosovo. Throughout this period, we had many successes, giving us a formidable international image. We intend to make advantage of this and develop commercial agreements with these countries. Speed is vital, because items favourable to us must be settled in public opinion. THE FIRST STATEMENT COUNTS. The retractions have no effect.
What are your methods of operation?
The essential tools in our work are a card file, a computer, and a fax. The card file contains a few hundred names of journalists, politicians, academicians, and representatives of humanitarian organizations. The computer goes through the card files according to correlated subjects, coming up with very effective targets.
The computer is tied into a fax. In this way, we can disseminate information in a few minutes to those we think will react (positively). Our job is to assure that the arguments for our side will be the first to be expressed.
How often do you intervene?
Quantity is not important. You have to intervene at the right time with the right person… …
What achievement were you most proud of?
To have managed to put Jewish opinion on our side. This was a sensitive matter, as the dossier was dangerous looked from this angle. President Tidjman was very careless in his book “Wastelands of Historical Reality”. Reading this writtings, one could accuse him of of anti- semitism.
In Bosnia, the situation was no better: President Izetbegovic strongly supported the creation of a fundamentalist Islamic state in his book “The Islamic Declaration”. Besides, the Croatian and Bosnian past was marked by a real and cruel anti-semitism. Tens of thousands of Jews perished in Croatian camps. So there was every reason for intellectuals and Jewish organizations to be hostile towards the Croats and Bosnians. Our chalenge was to reverse this attitude. And we succeded masterfully.
At the beginning of August 1992, the New York Newsday came out with the affair of (Serb) concentration camps. We jumped at the opportunity immediately. We outwitted three big Jewish organizations – B’Nai Brith Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Committee, and the American Jewish Congress. We suggested to them to publish an advertisement in the New York Times and to organize demonstrations outside the U.N.
This 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. But, 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 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 evoked images of Nazi Germany and the gas chambers of Auschwitz. The emotional charge was so powerful that nobody could go against it.
But when you did all of this, you had no proof that what you said was true. You only had the article in Newsday!
Our work is not to verify information. We are not equipped for that. 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 known that Newsday affirmed it.
Are you aware that you took on a grave responsibility?
Harff: We are professionals. We had a job to do and we did it. WE ARE NOT PAID TO BE MORAL.
Related but not from the book (Epilogue of a sort):
New York Times ad published on Sunday, March 20, 1994, section E: “WHAT BEING JEWISH MEANS TO ME” Featuring… …Mr. David Finn. CEO (Chief Executive Officer), Rudder – Finn
, International Public Relations, photographer, writer, painter.
The first sentence from the ad: In my family, being Jewish has always meant devotion to study and commitment to ETHICAL BEHAVIOR!
Later on: (Quote:) When weighing the MORAL consequences of business decisions, for example, the Ethics Committee of our public relations firm seeks knowledge councel to guide our thinking. I will always remember how some years ago a proffessor at the Seminary helped us make the decision to resign the sizeable Greek tourism account after three colonels siezed power and installed a military dictatorship. (End quote).