As it turns out, the SGB was the source of articles appearing at Palluxo.com, a news portal otherwise dedicated to "all things Apple." It wasn't a case of "iJihad", after all.
The outrageous statement of Mustafa Ceric I blogged about last weekend, claiming that Bosnian Muslims and Jews had a "joint experience of persecution," was posted on the SGB on March 28. Another article that appeared on Palluxo, about the "victims of Serb terror" is on SGB as well, with pictures.
Why would the SGB try and feed its propaganda through a third-party portal? Well, Palluxo promises: "Your press release will appear in Google News immediately" (emphasis added). And so they do! Yet Palluxo's contact page explicitly states that "All submissions will be manually reviewed. Submissions without contact details will not be published." Granted, though they say anything "Apple-centric" will be published for free, they don't explicitly exclude other topics - yet there is nothing else on that site that is not actually related Apple products, except for the "Srebrenica genocide" propaganda. Interesting.
But the hows and whys of Muslim propaganda getting published on an Apple-related news portal are less interesting than the content of that propaganda. Not only is it seeking to equate the Serbs with Nazis by imagining parallels between the Bosnian War and the Holocaust, it also claims that the Serbs were the real thing - actual allies of the Nazis in WW2, who persecuted Jews with enthusiasm.
To someone wholly ignorant of the Balkans, such as the bulk of the Western public, this twisted argument might make sense. People don't just turn into Nazis overnight, there has to be a background to it, right? And if one proceeds from a premise that the Serbs committed genocide in recent years, then the claim they had committed genocide before seems all the more plausible. Except the premise is completely wrong - and the very people advancing this propaganda are doing it to hide their own Nazi connections!
In the early 1990s, the Croatian government and the Izetbegovic regime in Bosnia sought help from American PR agencies in order to not just demonize their Serb adversaries, but cover up their own links to the events of WW2. Croatian president Franjo Tudjman was a Holocaust revisionist and an apologist for the Ustasha regime, which began the mass slaughter of Serbs and Jews in April 1941 and whose brutality horrified even Hitler's envoys in the Balkans (Neubacher, von Horstenau). Alija Izetbegovic, the supposedly "multiethnic democrat," was an active member of Muslim Youth, an organization that during WW2 supported the Ustasha regime. (At the time, Muslims were considered "Croatian brothers.")
With all this in mind, the PR companies proceeded to actively target the Jewish public opinion:
"...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 challenge was to reverse this attitude. And we succeded masterfully." (James Harff or Ruder Finn, 1993 interview)
A transference took place: the real Nazi connections of Muslims and Croats (and later Albanians) became the fabricated Nazi connections of the Serbs. It was the Jews and Serbs who found themselves targeted by the Nazis and the Ustasha, while Muslims and Croats (and Albanians) did the persecuting. But the mass murder of Serbs in WW2 was kept under wraps by Yugoslav authorities after 1945, as it would have unraveled the fictitious history of "brotherhood and unity" which they used to run the country. As a result, the mass extermination, displacement and forced conversion of Serbs under the Ustasha regime remains virtually unknown in the West.
On May 1, the SGB published an excerpt from "Serbia's Secret War," a 1997 propaganda pamphlet allegedly written by "Dr. Philip J. Cohen," accusing the Serbs of being Nazi allies in WW2, persecuting the Jews, and then covering all of it up with a massive propaganda effort. One doesn't have to be a psychologist to recognize projection here.
Advertised as relying on sources "previously unknown in the West," the book received a lot of attention. There is just one small problem (in addition to it being completely false, that is): Cohen, a dermatologist, is not a historian, and speaks not a shred of Serbian, Croatian, or "Bosnian." How could he have written this book?
The obvious answer is, he couldn't. Serbian-American historian Carl Savich argues that the real author of "Serbia's Secret War" was Croatian propagandist Ljubica Stefan, and that Cohen (as well as David Riesman, who wrote the prologue) were recruited to give the Croatian propaganda a Jewish face. Not only was this supposed to be more effective in targeting the Jewish public opinion, but any criticism of the book could be dismissed as anti-Semitism.
Savich's argument is compelling. Compare, for example, the claims made here (site run by a Croatian propagandist), crediting Ms. Stefan, with those made on the SGB and quoted from "Cohen's" book. Identical!
It is revolting enough that propaganda has distorted the reality of recent Balkans events to suit today's political agendas. But the fact that propagandists, PR specialists and hack "historians" have twisted Balkans history from WW2 to portray the actual victims of genocide (the Serbs) as perpetrators thereof... now that's just plain horrifying.
Update (May 6, 2009): As if on cue, Marko Attila Hoare appears on (the new, redesigned) Palluxo to defend Official Truth (as established by him and his family). All of the things he cavalierly dismisses as fabrications are either true, or he's phrased them as to be straw men. But hey, don't listen to me: read his defense of Franjo Tudjman! I won't waste my breath debating this lowlife, except to point out that his academic credentials tell more about the pathetic state of higher education in the West than about his "expertise" as a historian or anything else.
Update 2 (May 7, 2009): And here's another "Hot Topic" feature promoting "Serbia's Secret War" by Ljubica Stefan - erm, Philip Cohen. I think it can be safely assumed that Palluxo is fully in service of propaganda interests represented by Hoare and the SGB.
A very good blog, and an incisive analysis of the propaganda coup that the Croats and Bosnian Muslims scored over the Serbs of Yugoslavia during the latest war.
I have maintained all along that the Serbs themselves have done a rather poor job of not only turning the tables on the Croats and Muslims, but also of defending themselves.
Believing that the truth will, in the final analysis, triumph clearly did not pay of. If the Serbs expect to outlive the pyramids it might, but holding one's breath is not advisable.
At the risk of appearing to be an apologist for Yugoslavia I do wish to state my reservation about your stating:
"But the mass murder of Serbs in WW2 was kept under wraps by Yugoslav authorities after 1945, as it would have unraveled the fictitious history of "brotherhood and unity" which they used to run the country. As a result, the mass extermination, displacement and forced conversion of Serbs under the Ustasha regime remains virtually unknown in the West."
"Brotherhood and Unity" may have been a cagey construct that could be consumed while fresh of the press. Most reasonable people did, and do, see its limitations. I do, however, think that you overstate when you say that Tito government kept under the covers Ustasa atrocities against the Serbs. Jasenovac monument was built in the sixties. Major memorial services, and tributes to the victims of the place, took place every July 4th. (I attended one such somberly festive event in 1969.)
You are probably right that the West knew little about the horrors the Serbs experienced during WWII. But to put the preponderance of the blame for that on the Yugoslav government, is too unbalanced.
After all it is a credit to the Serbs themselves that they sought not to profit from their own tragedy.
Simon, the trouble with Tito's regime was that it had people divvied up into three neat categories: Occupiers (Germans, Italians, Hungarians, Bulgarians), "people's liberation army" (themselves) and "domestic traitors", a category into which they lumped everyone else. So the Ustasha found themselves in the same category with the Vichy-like Serbian government of General Nedic, or the objectively pro-Nazi Ljotic movement (which had negligible numbers), or the Albanian Balli Kombetar, or the Waffen SS units - and Gen. Mihailovic's Royal Homeland Army (a.k.a the "chetniks"), which was not allied with Hitler. In fact, the Nazi bounty on Mihailovic was the same as the bounty on Tito.
To legitimize their power, the Communists asserted moral equivalence between all these groups. So for Ustasha atrocities to be acknowledged, one had to declare the royalists just as genocidal. Modern Croatian propaganda uses these Communist tropes, in an effort to blacken the Serbs so much that no one would listen to their counter-arguments - but more importantly, I suppose, that no one would believe Serb stories of Jasenovac, Stara Gradiska, and other places of horror.
This is an important point you make:
"Bosnia sought help from American PR agencies in order to not just demonize their Serb adversaries, but cover up their own links to the events of WW2."
This is an example of a phenomenon defined in a recent study "The Unbanality of Genocidalism" at http://www.swans.com/library/art12/ajokic02.html as "genocidalism" in its two forms in the following way:
(i) The purposeful neglect to attribute responsibility for genocide in cases when overwhelming evidence exists, and as (ii) the energetic attributions of "genocide" in less then clear cases without considering available and convincing opposing evidence and argumentation. We may call the first manifestation "genocidalism of omission," while the second represents the genocidal use of the word "genocide" or "genocidalism of commission."
The relationship between the two forms of genocidalism is interesting and exactly reflects your point in the quote above:
If we were to explore the relationship between the two manifestations of genocidalism we would find out that the latter often functions in the way that strengthens the former. Namely, the outcome of a genocidal use of "genocide" may lead to omission of attributing appropriate responsibility for genocide in some related cases.
Besides the example of the 1990s Bosnia, the article mentions the similar dynamics between genocidalism of commission (with respect to Hutu) and genocidalism of omission (with respect to Tutsi) in the case of 1990s Rwanda.
He who controls the present... It won't be long until MSM starts to make "revelations" that Croats, Muslims and Shqiptars fought for the Allies all along. Or perhaps they claim they already did, under the guise of Partizans? In any case, Serbs are evil incarnate and shall remain so. How much that is a result of inaction among the Serb diaspora we might never know.
"...He who controls the present... It won't be long until MSM starts to make "revelations" that Croats, Muslims and Shqiptars fought for the Allies all along. Or perhaps they claim they already did, under the guise of Partizans? In any case, Serbs are evil incarnate and shall remain so. How much that is a result of inaction among the Serb diaspora we might never know...."
The Serb diaspora is not so much inactive as it is misguided. It has become the proverbial tail that wags the dog. At least American Serb diaspora is the group that the Serbs of former Yugoslavia can do without. Through various organisations in the USA it has accomplished absolutely nothing in Washington that benefits the Serbs back home. On the other hand they have (successfully?) meddled in the the politics and elections, consistently supporting the politicians and parties that succeeded at losing Kosovo.
The link to the piece having previously appeared on the Srebrenica Genocide Blog no longer takes the reader to an article on Palluxo, but simply leads to the site's main page. That's a shame, because I was curious about the authorship of the piece, attributed on Palluxo to one "Avraham Yehoshua", dateline Jerusalem, whose name has never been used in connection to this content in the past.
The "Avraham Yehoshua" byline can still be found in repostings of the Palluxo piece. Yehoshua is the name of one of Israel's most celebrated novelists: has he been asked whether he is actually the author of an article having appeared without his name back in 2007 on the SGB, or whether he has ever agreed to have his name associated to this?
I have a feeling that if someone asked Mr. Yehoshua he would be outraged at this abuse of his name.
Hey there GF
I read the most recent article on Palluxo and actually submitted a response to the nutjobs there who are attempting to revise history (under the name LMN II, USA). Just before I came on here to read your blog I attempted to check it out again to see if there was any response to my small commentary and now I cannot access the article in any way shape or form (so much for the concept of free speech, I guess they didnt want the oh-so ignorant masses to start thinking for themselves and learn the REAL truth). What's more alarming to me is how ignorant so many people are regarding the history of the Balkans, especially my own countrymen, and for any of them to regurgitate such propaganda without even attempting to learn the truth borders on plain stupidity. Steve Jobs and Co. needs to stick with what they know best, computers, and stay the hell out of the history business altogether.
I don't know if Palluxo is officially related to Apple in any way, so I'm hesitant to chalk this up to Jobs & Co. They do make some mighty fine computers, including the one from which this blog is posted.
I also got an automated response from them, thanking me for linking (!?) but not really saying how the SGB stuff made it on there.
Sorry if slightly off the above topic, just caught this 2'41":
Johan, yes, slightly off-topic, but proving one of the points I've been making here and on my Serb-language blog, "Sivi Soko": some people still revere Yugoslavia, for both right and wrong reasons. Without coming to terms with what it really was, seeing both the shiny and the grimy side of it, we cannot hope to work our way out of the current state of affairs. This doesn't mean blaming Tito for everything - just as it doesn't mean blaming Milosevic for everything, or even the quisling regimes that replaced him - just assessing his legacy as impartially as possible.
Needless to say: Hoare and his pal(s) at the Srebrenica Genocide Blog (SGB) don't believe in earnest discourse.
The latter has blocked out reasonably presented views running counter to the pro-Bosnian Muslim nationalist view. On the other hand, it has posted comments like "I hate Serbia."
Hoare pretty much carries on in the same manner. His analytical ability is overly ideological and marked by hypocrisy and ignorance.
If he is ignorant then he wouldn't be a hypocrite. If he is a hypocrite then he wouldn't be ignorant.
I recently wrote on a forum that mainstream Muslim mentality is the result of conditioning to which another Serb described the Muslims' use of the word "genocide" (another other words and phrases) as a "defence mechanism".
I feel that the same thing is happening (or has already happened) outside the Balkans which is why it is so difficult to create any form of dialogue. Which means that there will never be reconciliation and that the people of the Balkans are pushing for and being pushed into an eventual war of annihilation (where Serbs would be the biggest victims) which will make them nostalgic for the last war.
"...Tudjman had fought as a Yugoslav Partisan during World War II, against the Croat Ustasha fascists; his ‘anti-Zionist’ views concerning Israel and Palestine should be attributed not so much to any right-wing Croat nationalist tendencies on his part, but primarily to his formation as a Yugoslav general under Josip Broz Tito’s fiercely pro-Arab and anti-Israeli Communist regime, with its close links to Nasserite Egypt and the Non-Aligned Movement..."
Tito's Yugoslavia was among the first states to have recognized Israel after WWII. Yugoslav Foreign Minister at the time was Jewish, Moshe Pijade.
Attributing to Tudjman antisemitic views as a product of Tito policies is anachronistic. Tudjman was purged well before the emergence of the non-Aligned movement and Tito-Nehru-Nasser-Sukarno powerhouse. Even after the first non-Aligned Movement conference in Belgrade (1961?), Yugoslavia maintained relations with Israel, which were broken only after the 6-Day War in 1967.
Mr. Hoare's theory cannot be taken seriously.
Deucaon, Hoare is neither an ignoramus, nor a hypocrite. He twists the facts to suit his arguments, and he's consistently anti-Serb.
As for that war of annihilation... Between Pavelic and Tudjman, there are almost no Serbs left in Croatia. If Izetbegovic fils and Ceric-effendi have their way, they will be gone from Bosnia, too (but I don't see that happening without a fight, and I'm far from certain its outcome would be as they wish).
Ordinary Croats want Vojvodina and parts of Bosnia. Ordinary Shqiptars want parts of Serbia, Montenegro, Greece and Macedonia. Ordinary Muslims want all of Bosnia and parts of Serbia. So far Balkan politicians haven't been the instigators of policy but merely popular figureheads of the general consensus. Also, little to no effort has been made to give Serb owned land in Krajina, FBIH and Kosovo back to Serbs. I fear that if Serbs all over the Balkans aren't given the "right to keep and bear arms" then Serbdom won't be more than a ghetto in Belgrade. Too bad America has never "exported" said ideal. There'd probably be less atrocities and wars in the world if that was the case.
On the hypocrisy and ignorance points vis-a-vis Hoare, I very respectfully beg to differ.
Hoare's views have at times been been hypocritical. The way he utilizes the "genocide denier," term includes being comparatively lax on Turkish officials in the way they formally view what happened to the Armenians.
Hoare's characterization of Russian and Serb leaders relative to how he has described Pakistani and Turkish ones is another highlight of warped comparative politics.
His Greater Surbiton blog comments on a number of issues, which reveal ignorance.
That said, it's also not incorrect to say that he has a calculatingly demagogic side, which no doubt leaves out certain views that get in the way of his preferred spin.
Gray Falcon makes a good point about paper credential academics like Hoare, who will get soundly debunked when kept out of a shielded environment and met with earnest folks who know better.
For some detailed commentary about Hoare, see the columnist section of http://www.serbianna.com and read my piece entitled "The Former Yugoslav Commentary." As I communicated to Susan Richards of the British based Open Democracy, my piece on Hoare is (IMO) far more scholarly than his hack attacks on others at his blog.
Palluxo is anti Serb, it is part of the same axis that connects the neo ustasha and Bosniak organizations, the old Ustasha ties still bind.
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