Echomaniacs: Alternative Media as Postmodern Propaganda pt.1
Transcript with notes and additional material:
Drawing out the complete inventory of mental effects caused by the Internet use is, understandably, still not entirely addressed problem. In order to modestly contribute to this endeavour, in this essay we’ll start on assumption that some of those effects are still far from being apparent, not only at the first glance, but even then when one is already deeply immersed in examining of the Internet mediated content: one is aware that something is not quite right with the whole thing, yet he still clings to a superficial understanding of the problem, usually along the lines of the critique of technological infrastructure in relation to human consciousness.
For example, it is not difficult to point out that the Web provokes short attention spans, simplistic “theories of everything”, inconstancy due to the ease of erasing the content, etc.
However, some of the more fundamental properties of this media still seem to remain submerged beneath the surface, thus making their effects all the more powerful.
Here we’ll attempt to shed some light on the matter and, hopefully, contribute to weakening of this hidden origin of peculiar mental confusion that has many forms, one of which goes under the label. “alternative media”.
The fact that nothing essentially based on Internet can’t last long makes the destructive effects of this phenomenon appear rather limited. What’s not limited, however, is its possible cause and this is what mainly interests us here.
This cause, we’ll define as the rule of immersion in the global, i.e. total, informational system, namely that by which immersion itself, if it is not checked by something that remains outside the system, has in itself to be global, i.e. total in spatial and temporal sense.
This means that, if you unconsciously interiorize above rule, you must follow it through to the letter; there is no partial information, there is only all information; there is no partial meaning, there is only all meaning.
In this sense, we are dealing with the perfect expression of the totalitarian system of propaganda in which all the nodes of the system are autonomous, but always processing information and creating meaning in accordance to a simple rule, thus indoctrinating themselves, with very little need for outside influence.
Every partial unit of knowledge (meaningful cluster of information), no matter what it concerns, needs to be incorporated into total system of faux knowledge possessed by the individual subject, i.e. node in the web representing an actual person or group thereof.
The cluster of these nodes creates “a community”, i.e. ecosystem that is by necessity periodically purged of information incongruent to its predefined meaning and, not seldom, the nodes carrying this information.
This is, more or less, what alternative media are.
Now, let us put some meat on the bones of this argument, so to speak, and proceed with illustrations.
On the ground reality and off the ground propaganda
Each one among the alternative media systems tends to develop a focus on one particular point of meaning, upon which it proceeds to build everything else up. In one previous essay we touched upon identity politics cluster, but even more interesting is the one built around the war in Syria and, generally, focusing on anti-West/anti-NATO “narratives”.
In contrast to “identity politics” systems, this batch of activists and “citizen journalists” provides us with just enough concrete historical data to demonstrate what we mean, because they claim to deal with “reality” rather than with ideas; moreover, their outlook is based on a claim that, contrary to “mainstream media”, they represent the true link to “on the ground” reality obfuscated by the “powers that be” and their “mainstream media”.
However, the thing that gives us a clue that people identifying with this system of meaning are not really interested in “peace”, “suffering Syrian children”, etc. is the fact that, for them, the reference point of the system serves much more ambitious – one could even say: religious – purpose. It must absorb all space and time, i.e. it must be true everywhere and at any time.
Concretely, this is displayed by the central idea of the entire conflict in Syria as one being initiated and conducted by “the West”, a monolithic, undifferentiated entity representing the generator of all evil happening in that country and the world at large, opposition to which must be, presumably, equally monolithic.
The West, so the story goes, illegally initiated the disintegration of the country in order to absorb it in its global system of enslavement, using proxy forces opposed only by the Syrian regime for which members of ecosystem are rooting as the sole agent that could stop the final catastrophe.
At first sight, this reductionist view of the turbulent Middle Eastern politics could be just one of the interpretations, explaining away the Manichean black/white outlook as a tactical expediency, perhaps even for the good cause.
However, it is not.
One of the heroines and structural focal points of this particular alt media system provides us with the clue about what exactly is going on:
The tweet refers to Vanessa Beeley’s blog where she reposted an article from one of the websites her home system recurs to as provider of information and meaning – Canada based website Global Research. It was written by Marcus Papadopoulos and is a standard piece of historical revisionism on war in the aftermath of dissolution of Yugoslavia, frequently promulgated by this website from its inception.
Although, from the point of view of historical reality, it has all the credibility of an average Turkish soap opera, from the point of reference of the system built around Beeley, it is in fact unavoidable and necessary.
Before we demonstrate how and why this is so, we’ll point out just how far removed from reality it is. For this purpose we’ll analyze the article and propaganda hooks contained therein.
If you’re in for some fun watch the expose on exceptionally sloppy propaganda piece on Yugoslavia
Some stupid thing in Balkan
The author reiterates the usual revisionist claim that the war of the Nineties was a ploy of “the West”, US and/or NATO and Britain (bold by KT):
“Whilst there are no golden ages, it is abundantly clear that the world today is in a very unhealthy state. From Eastern Europe to North Africa to the Middle East, countries, in recent years, have been severely destabilised, resulting in carnage and the destruction of hundreds of thousands of lives.
And at the heart of that destabilisation is American and British foreign policy.
But how have we arrived at this situation in the world today? And what are the roots of America and Britain’s ‘humanitarian intervention’?
A lot of people answer the above questions by citing the illegal American and British invasion of Iraq. Well, they are emphatically wrong.
What we are seeing today in, for example, Syria, has its origins in 1991. Because that year was a turning-point in geo-politics. It was the year that saw the dismemberment of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Yugoslavia was the first step in a series of Western interventions in the world, including Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine, and the West was able to successfully intervene in those countries because the Soviet Union is no more.”
This passage presents us with the basis of what nodes in the system Beeley belongs to refer back as the foundational “narrative”:
“The West” was able to create absolute evil because the good, i.e. Russia, in its quasi-imperial form of CCCP, was paralyzed.
Everyone even moderately familiar with the history of the breakup of Yugoslavia is at this point probably aware where the revisionist story will go. Yet now, when alt media system has been clearly constituted and differentiated, one doesn’t have to know anything to reach the same conclusion:
The author will claim that “West” destroyed (in Russian: destabilized) Yugoslavia by using its proxies (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosna), defeating the staunch but futile resistance of the “legal” regime embodied in Slobodan Milošević and JNA (Jugoslavenska narodna armija – Yugoslav People’s Army).
The systemic pattern is clear:
“Despite Yugoslavia having been a founding member of the United Nations, and despite its borders having been internationally recognised under international law, Germany and Austria encouraged secessionist movements in Slovenia and Croatia to declare independence from Yugoslavia, while America did the same in regard to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Those actions by Berlin, Vienna and Washington were a serious violation of international law, completely undermined the UN charter and destroyed the sanctity of internationally recognised borders. Furthermore, the illegal actions of those Western powers ignited the terrible wars which would follow in Croatia and Bosnia. As Lord Peter Carrington, the former chairman of the peace conference on Yugoslavia, argued: The actions of the American, German and certain other European governments “made it sure there was going to be a conflict” in the Balkans.”
For the moment we will put aside the fact that the only change in Yugoslav borders during the Nineties was the one enacted by violent actions of Republic of Serbia, something that is obvious from merely looking at the changes in the map of former Yugoslav region from the summer of 1991 onwards. Also we’ll omit the inquiry about context of the unreferenced Carrington’s quote, simply because that kind of argument is an example of vintage propaganda method, which does not interest us here.
On the other hand, quite significant detail for subject at hand is the presence of the one of those unavoidable buzzwords breezing throughout alt media system, i.e. the claim that alleged Western actions were illegal, presumably in defiance of “sovereignty”, “international law”, etc.
This is supremely important because legality/illegality is one of the symbolic Manichean opposites helping other nodes in the system to quickly recognize that “narrative” will fit their mental interface.
For this reason, there’s no need for the author to jeopardize his agitprop endeavour by going into details of what exactly was illegal in the dissolution of Yugoslavia, other than parroting the myth of “the West encouraging secession/igniting the war”, while in reality exactly the opposite was the case; appropriately so, because, if the reader would take some time to investigate the matter, the “narrative” would start dissolving before his eyes even from the introductory passages.
At this point we’ll do just that.
Legal murder of the country
Namely, when speaking of legality, chief among the causes of the dissolution of Yugoslavia was an attempt to bid for the reform of its Constitution on behalf of the Serbian communist leadership throughout early to mid Eighties.
It was initiated by the death of countries undisputed leader – Josip Broz Tito – and the crisis in SAP (“Savezna autonomna pokrajina” – “Federal Autonomous Province”) Kosovo that finally broke out into full public view in the form of mass protests on 2. April 1981, just months after Tito’s death, ending up in multiple dead and wounded among the Albanian protesters.
The Constitution of 1974 defined Yugoslavia as the Federation of “working people’s” Republics – de facto and de iure nation states – legally endowed with the right to self-determination, including secession. SAP Kosovo and Vojvodina were legally parts of the Republic of Serbia, but endowed with the high level of self-governance, which made them almost de facto Republics themselves.
Demographics of Kosovo, at the time of Tito’s death, can serve to display one of the basic reasons why this province had such large autonomy: the Albanians constituted 77,5% while Serbs and Montenegrians amounted to 13,3% of total population. The outbreak of the crisis pushed the Yugoslav authorities into a lukewarm attempt to address the matter to the satisfaction of both keeping Kosovo the part of Serbia and simultaneously – and almost impossibly, one might add, alleviating Kosovar’s plea for autonomy.
The Central Comity of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia proposed two equally ambiguous measures: to better integrate Kosovo’s economy into federal system – Kosovo was the poorest and the most dependant part of Yugoslavia – and to support the Serbian authorities in redefining the relationship of that republic with its two autonomous regions.
The second measure, one can state with a reasonable degree of certainty, was to become the nucleus of the dissolution of Yugoslavia.
Namely, Serbian appetites had shown to be far greater than merely achieving the firm grip over the autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina (engl. “Voivodina”) – they in fact included the complete domination over the entire Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia.
And, if that wouldn’t do, due to some objections other peoples might have over renouncing their legal autonomy, and to go on living in what would amount to “Serboslavia”, then the only path was war to unite all “Serbian lands”, i.e. parts of the other federal republics where Serbs live, into Greater Serbia which meant abolishing autonomy of two provinces, ejecting Slovenia from the Federation and ethnically bleach and carve up large portions of Croatia and Bosna.
There is no reliable evidence that this was a unilateral or monolithic policy of Serbian communist authorities at the early stage of the crisis, but it progressively crystallized into de facto the only path for Serbia by endeavours of Serbian nationalist intellectuals, party functionaries in Beograd and activists in Kosovo and, when Slobodan Milošević seized complete power in the Communist Party of Serbia in the late Eighties, the road towards war was already the easiest one – and therefore the only one – he was willing to take.
We will return to the detailed exposition of the development of the crisis in its initial stage: the so called “anti-bureaucratic revolution”.
However, at this point we are concerned precisely about the strict illegality of what Milošević and his accomplices were doing in preparation for war, and their simultaneous insistence on creating the smoke screen of legality; something that was exemplified by interesting event at the eve of the open armed conflict.
For this reason we will jump ahead to the culmination and resolution of Yugoslav constitutional crisis, i.e. to coup de grace he performed on Yugoslavia as a constitutional socialist federal republic.
What Milošević and his allies in Serbian and army leadership did was the final act of legal crisis that was somewhat obfuscated by other facets of Serbian campaign to violently transform Yugoslavia into its own image.
It was the inauguration of the new Constitution of the Republic of Serbia on September 28, 1990, full six months before both Slovenia and Croatia declared independence June, 25 1991.
The most accessible summary of the event that amounted to Serbia’s breaking up of Yugoslavia’s Constitutional unity, i.e. the illegal secession of this Federal Republic, available in English, is the one written by the late Serbian lawyer Srđa Popović (not to be confused with “professional dictator toppler” of the same name). Due to complex nature of his analysis which we can’t follow to the letter here, reader is strongly encouraged to read it in its entirety.
According to Popović, this act later figured as the cornerstone of the legal defence of the instigators of the war that followed it:
“‘The wars of the 1990s on the territory of the former Yugoslavia were caused by separatist efforts on the part of Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina unconstitutionally to separate from Yugoslavia, which the SFRJ Presidency tried to prevent by use of the JNA’s military power , in order to protect the country’s constitutional order and territorial integrity.’ This more or less is the basic argument of Milošević’s propaganda, which he used from time to time to justify his actions. This argument also formed the basis of his defence before the Hague tribunal. Lastly, this argument is a monumental falsity, the parapet behind which Serb nationalism hides to this very day: hailing Karadžić and Mladić as heroes, because they were only defending the Serb people, which the separatists were attempting to wrench from the Serbian motherland; and insisting on the assertion that Serbia was not involved in the war, and that the conflict was in the nature of a spontaneously created civil war in which the JNA was merely trying to separate the warring parties and protect the people.”
In his article Popović demonstrates, in strictly legal terms, how and why this cloak of faux legality was used. And he does this by applying to it Yugoslavia’s own laws:
“The falsity of this thesis can best be proved by a thought experiment in which we assume that the SFRJ (“Socijalistička federativna Republika Jugoslavija” – SFRY, KT) managed to survive (…) In the context of such an experiment, the role and activities of Slobodan Milošević, Borisav Jović and Veljko Kadijević (as well as many others who implemented their orders) would have qualified according to the laws of that very same SFRJ as high treason punishable by death.”
Before we proceed to depict the event that terminally and illegally dissolved the Yugoslav constitutional order, let us note few things about the implications that should already be apparent.
Interface, input and output
Papadopoulos and, by proxy, Beeley and her drone-like followers, already skipped the whole story about the legal crisis in Yugoslavia that preceded the war – a complicated affair as reader can already surmise – and just accepted the principle that the whole thing was simply and, likewise, vaguely illegal.
This is approximately a half of what they require for their “narrative” to work and, thus, to further integrate the reality tunnel they dwell in. The symbolic anchor for this is the buzzword “illegal”, of course, because it automatically implies the other half, i.e. it is habitually applied to all actions of the simple and vague “West”.
The paralogism that follows is easy to project: the dissolution of Yugoslavia was incited by the illegal acts of “the West” and its proxies “on the ground”, therefore imaginary “West” and its proxies in Yugoslavia amount to analogous, if not even the same, thing as in the context of Syria.
As everyone following alt media knows, the proxies in Syria are “Western funded terrorists”, sometimes referred to as “rats”, therefore: Slovenes, Croats, Bosnians and Albanians were also terrorists, presumably of some similar rodent variety.
This, interestingly enough, mirrors the language that war propagandist in Milošević controlled media used to incite frenzy in its consumers and there’s nothing peculiar about it, because, as we shall see further, the argument alt media uses to explain the war in former Yugoslavia is almost a verbatim appropriation of the basis of both moral and legal defence Milošević himself employed.
It is the argument, originally conceived, and quite successfully implemented, by murderers, to not only destroy their victims, but also to simultaneously lay all the blame for destruction on victims themselves.
While Papadopoulos writing is more likely an example of a low level piece of propaganda, of the variety that has been extensively refuted even from the Nineties, it’s channelling through Beeley, as a designated reference node in the system of alt media which encompasses the huge chunk of anti-Globalist motivated bloggers and “citizen journalists”, infuses a considerable degree of novelty into the affair.
While in pre-Internet age this kind of revisionism was a relatively fringe phenomenon, nowadays it begins to seriously rival the influence exercised by the mainstream media and academia.
It is my contention that this is not where novelty and danger end, however.
Far from it, the quantity of alt media nodes does not disclose, as some academic researchers foolishly think, the real quality of this influence.
Numerous critical observers fail to note that its purpose, from the standpoint of generations brought up by Internet, is not simply crackpot historical revisionism, coupled with likewise pots cracking activism.
It is – and this is somewhat more profoundly disguised – an expression of the necessity to maintain the integrity of functioning virtual knowledge system or “reality tunnel”; a new, and still unaddressed form of propaganda.
To be more exact and, consequently, quite blunt: it is aimed at dissolving history and the temporal dimension of ‘the past’ for the sake of the complete negative freedom of the virtual individual.
As such it is not merely the case of historical opinion or political activism that can be refuted – as it was refuted many times before – or denounced. It is the matter of survival for people who succeeded to partly identify with their virtual personas.
So the successful refutation would at the same time be a devastating blow to their basic self-identity.
Let us keep this in mind while we proceed to dismantle Papadopoulos pamphlet.
The trial that wasn’t
The indictment of illegality of the final reform of the Constitution of Serbia was, according to Popović, enacted to provide the faux legal basis to accomplish the following:
1. unconstitutionally and illegally to alter the national composition of the JNA, place the JNA under their (Serbian and JNA leadership, KT) effective control, and use it in the pursuit of the following aims:
- forcibly to overthrow the governments of Slovenia and Croatia;
- forcibly to overthrow by a military coup the highest federal governmental bodies – the Federal Executive Council (SIV) and the Presidency;“
- forcibly or by unconstitutional means to alter the borders of SFRJ, by excluding the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia from SFRJ by an unconstitutional order of the Presidency;
- forcibly or by unconstitutional means to change the borders of the Republic of Croatia, by instigating, and politically and militarily organising, an armed rebellion in Croatia;
which caused the death of a large number of people, placed human lives in danger, and was accompanied by great acts of violence and extensive destruction;
and by so doing they each individually, and collectively together, committed an extended criminal act on the basis of Article 136, para. 1, and of Article 116, paras.1. and.2,. in the most serious forms, punishable by Article 139 of the Criminal Code (Official SFRJ Journal, no. 44/76).”
Yugoslavia’s constitutional structure was an esoteric subject even for those who maintained it, so we won’t leave the reader without providing some context in advance.
According to the Yugoslav constitution the country was de iure Federation of Socialist Federal Republics, but de facto it meant that it was rather a confederation thereof, with large autonomies enjoyed by six Republics, including “the right to secession” (The Constitution of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Preamble). This meant that republican borders were legally inviolable, its respective Communist parties’ leaderships autonomous and, most importantly for the subject at hand, that the army was controlled on federal level by federal institutions.
One thing that was certainly not among the legal rights of individual Republics was the act of seceding from Federation while appropriating its funds and its army. And this is precisely what Serbia did:
“Article 72 specifies that Serbia is sovereign and independent:
‘The Republic of Serbia regulates and ensures: 1. The sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia, and its international position and relations with other states and international bodies.’
With this provision, Serbia ceased to be a member of the federation: it became an independent state, without any obligations towards the federation, a member of which it no longer was.
If this is so, and it is, then one should question the meaning of the provision of Article 135 para 1 of the Serbian constitution, which says:
‘The rights and duties which the Republic of Serbia, which is part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, has in accordance with this constitution, and which according to the federal constitution are realised in the federation, will be realised in accordance with the federal constitution.’
The meaning of this provision is that the independent Serbia, which has no obligations towards the federation, wishes to retain those rights that the federal constitution gave it when it was a member of the federation. The most important of these rights (which Serbia had in fact legally given up with its independence) are: 1. to participate in the work of the presidency of a state to which it no longer belonged; 2. to use the latter to retain control of the army; 3. to hide behind the Yugoslav name and ‘advocate Yugoslavia’s territorial integrity’; and 4. to claim the ‘right’ to a part of the federal cash box.
The meaning of the expression that the independent Republic of Serbia was ‘part of the SFRJ’ can be understood only as a claim devoid of all legal basis to continue to execute the rights which it used to enjoy as a member of the federation, even after it had constituted itself as an independent state, without having any obligations towards the SFRJ.
At the same time, this independent state, being ‘part of SFRJ’, managed to enter the monetary system of another state (SFRJ) and ‘borrow’ $1.4 billion unilaterally from its primary emission!”
As Popović demonstrates, Milošević and his cronies pushed the new Constitution in order to finally appropriate the control of the army once Yugoslav Federal Assembly was purged from representatives of other Republics – in the end only Serbia and Montenegro remained and that was the faux FRY that NATO finally bombed in 1999 – and retain the right to draw the significant amount of money supply from the Federal Bank to get them through the initial stage of the war by appeasing the voters in Serbia. More to the point: the money was used to finance salaries and pensions in economically crumbling Serbia in the wake of the first democratic elections when Milošević was to further legitimize his power.
We’ll let the defendant speak for himself …
… and let the “truther” and anti-imperialist take a good look in the mirror.
This was, as we indicated previously, only the final act of Milosević’s illegal campaign to consolidate his power in Yugoslavia by re-centralizing the country around Beograd, i.e. himself. This was impossible to do without dissolving or subverting the Constitution and the method he went about to accomplish it was substantially extra-institutional.
As Yugoslav laws didn’t allow for toppling the governing bodies of republics and autonomous provinces without broad consensus on Federal level and it was strictly impossible for one Republic to take this prerogative even on the level of autonomous provinces that were part of it, Serbian leadership in the late Eighties incited a series of controlled mass protests, not unlike “colour revolutions” alt media pundits foam about nowadays.
This was the so called “anti-bureaucratic revolution” also known as “happening of the people” (Serbian, “događanje naroda”) and “meetings of/for truth” (Serbian, “mitinzi istine”). They were “spontaneous gatherings” of people led by Milošević allied and partly controlled nationalist demagogues used to press communist authorities from Vojvodina and Montenegro out of office, while Kosovo was pacified by more direct, violent, means. The method was successfully applied for the first time in Vojvodina:
“The first target of Milošević’s attack was the easiest one: the leadership of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in Novi Sad. On October 05, 1988 some 70.000 protesters gathered shouting Milošević’s name and demanding to Vojvodina’s provincial party leadership to step down. Separated from the demonstrators by the police but constantly under barrage of coins, rocks and Yogurt packets (hence the later moniker “Yogurt revolution”), Vojvodina leadership desperately sought help from the Federal Party authorities, army and even begged Milošević to cancel the demonstrations. But no help came. (…) “yogurt revolution” had only bring another set of communists in power. They differed from their predecessors by the fact that they were loyal to Serbian leader”.
This was only the beginning. The same technique was applied in Montenegro, only one day later, but Montenegrian authorities succeeded in pacifying the crisis by strong police repression. They were toppled three months later, however, and replaced by Milošević’s men.
At about 1:10:00 Persecutor starts recounting Milošević’s rise to power and anti-bureaucratic revolution
The lukewarm reaction of Federal and other Yugoslav republics authorities only added fuel to fire, in the erroneous belief that Milošević will be satisfied by eventually absorbing autonomous provinces into unified Serbia. However, as should have been obvious from Montenegrian case, his appetite was considerably bigger.
In the years between Yogurt revolution and final dissolution of Yugoslav constitutional unity, this technique was poised to be exported into other Republics with the same end: either to topple the legal Governments or to incite the Serbian minorities into frenzy. In Croatian town of Knin, which was later to become the centre of fortified secessionist Serbian region in Croatia, Croatian authorities allowed and financed the “meeting of truth” on 08 – 09 July, 1989 hoping to appease Milošević by showing support for peaceful manifestation. However, it all spiralled into calls for violence and quite clear, and, in the years to follow ad nauseam repeated, shouts: “Ovo je Srbija!” (“This is Serbia!”). The message to Croats was clear and Milošević made sure that it sinks in.
The final limit of the “anti-bureaucratic revolution” was reached when an attempt to organize the “meeting of/for truth” on December, 01, 1989 in Slovenia was foiled by the resolute decision of Slovenian leadership to forbid it. This was an appropriate casus belli for Serbia, which imposed the embargo on Slovenian products, effectually dissolving Yugoslav common market.
An analysis of one among the nuttier Beeley’s afficionados as she spells it out like it is
This is, of course, only a brief survey of some of the illegal processes Milošević led Serbia committed in what was soon to become obvious preparation for armed conflict. In the part two we’ll further explore them in the light of Serbian military aggression westwards.
At this point it will suffice to point out the obvious: the catch phrase of “illegality” can hardly be applied to anything “West” did or didn’t do to Yugoslavia, since at this point neither it nor its supposed proxies had anything to do with it. The causes of dissolution were intrinsic, more precisely: those were mainly acts of Serbian leadership at the latest from 1987, and in the blatant disrespect for Constitution of Yugoslavia itself.
It can hardly be expected from an average Papadopoulos/ Beeley consumer to note that Yugoslavia was not dissolved in the conflict of nascent nationalist parties but in the conflict of the communist leadership of one Republic, which managed to appropriate the federal armed forces, and Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia itself.
Slovenian, Croatian and Bosnian non-communist leaders were late comers: half of the events described here happened before they were even close to being in power. But that’s, of course, rather immaterial for propaganda consumers and Papadopoulos’ article is in this respect really a text example how the process of indoctrination works: unreferenced body of text with catch phrases and simple “narrative” that fits consumer’s preconceptions is offered for easy consumption.
The irony lies in the fact that all that was described above, and much more, was not really a secret at the time when it happened and is, consequently, very well documented, because Milošević was in position of complete domination over lukewarm resistance of his opponents, with the notable exception of Slovenian leadership. Therefore he indeed endeavoured to intimidate by doing a lot of these acts in the open, more often than not clearly signaling that he is in control of the situation. We’ll conclude this part of our essay by pointing out the reason why this was so, i.e. why exactly was he so confident.
Well, for starters, because he knew he was giving Western leaders what they wanted.
One of the main reasons why Serbia had to retain the name of Yugoslavia while legally seceding from it was because the Western powers Papadopoulos points out as supposed destroyers of Yugoslavia expected it to be preserved and were prepared to go to any length to appease the leader who they saw as guaranteeing that there will not be any kind of secessionist moves on behalf of individual Federal Republics.
Milošević made sure to present himself as exactly the man they wanted and they took the bait – hook, line and sinker.
In order to wage war of conquest he had to at the same time preserve the image of himself and his home republic as only trying to protect Serbs in Croatia and Bosna and to provide an illusion of maintaining the Yugoslav unity. This image persisted in the minds of good deal of Western politicians – those proverbial “powers that be” that supposedly carved up Yugoslavia – even to mid-Nineties, despite all the carnage systematically enacted by Serbian forces. At the time of the events we just described this attitude was virtually unanimous and spearheaded by USA and UK diplomats and politicians, therefore the situation was diametrically opposite of what Global Research propagandist wants his consumers to believe.
As we will dwell into this further in the part two of this analysis, we’ll conclude this segment by pointing out the implications for our main topic.
Attentive reader should have already noticed that dissolution of Yugoslavia is not only quite dissimilar historical event to the current conflict in Syria, but also that the two could just be disparate: there’s a little in terms of historical similarities that could be applied to both without great deal of a stretch – after all, we can’t except “truthers” to claim that Syrian protests … err … “CIA/Western/Soroš/whatever funded destabilization events”, were organized by the regime itself.
The events are also different in diachronic sense. The context of the war in the aftermath of dissolution of Yugoslavia was literary worlds apart from the current moment in historical terms because, as we shall see in part 2, the lenient attitude towards Milošević which puzzled his opponents in Yugoslavia, was to the greatest extent conditioned by the international situation which made unified Yugoslavia, even by Milošević’s methods, a most appealing outcome for Western powers.
The only real connection that can be demonstrated as apparent is the imaginary one: the idea that Yugoslavia was dissolved in the same way propaganda consumers imagine Syria to be dissolved – i.e. by conscious and concentrated efforts of “the West”.
As we’ve already pointed out, this is by no means a novelty. This kind of misrepresentation of the death of Yugoslavia was popular mostly on the fringes of the radical Left in the West throughout the Nineties.
But now, with an advent of internet, the situation gains a new and rather sinister dimension: if tens, or perhaps even hundreds, of thousands of internet nodes take the reality of their favoured “narrative” as being the reality itself, then for them the dissolution of Yugoslavia happened exactly as the “narrative” tells it; these numbers, due to widespread distrust in the mainstream media and academia, could soon plummet into millions. And if this happens, the history will be rewritten not by the “powers that be” but by masses of people motivated to “own” their own truth.
This “truth” however implies the erasure of reality and could end up in the global system of propaganda where people literary manipulate themselves into living in the global echo chamber; alternative one, but echo chamber nonetheless.
One is tempted to say, they could use some new Milošević to lead them in their “anti-mainstream revolution”.
Moreover, it is astonishing to what extent these masses can be manipulated by conscious state and non-state actors, provided they don’t fit into enemy image of “the West”; Russia practically co-opted the most if not all politics focused alt media outlets, perhaps even without concentrated and conscious effort, simply by not being “the West” and providing their favourite talking heads with an airtime on RT or Sputnik.
This level of being manipulated far exceeds the manipulation we can observe enacted in uncritical mainstream media consumers, who at least have a recourse to fall back to some semblance of traditional authority when confusion sets in, if only to get a respite without resolving the problem. People like Beeley and her followers, however, cannot do that because they are in effect oblige to dissolve the ground at their feet by, as the RT by-line cynically states, “questioning more”; questioning truth when it does not satisfy their “own narrative” and self-righteousness.
To anyone living in a small and/or weak nation that has a misfortune of being caught in the crosshairs of those people it is obvious that they’re really concerned only with themselves, i.e. with their hatred towards their own place in the world: USA, Western Europe, etc. while the “suffering peoples” they supposedly care so much about that they tweet in their defence before every breath they take, are merely pawns in the game of grudges towards the prosperous, yet apparently void, Western world they live in.
Yet now, as it seems to me, there’s a new game in town, to move this even further. It is an attempt to liberate the present from the past; to dissolve this stubborn temporal category which confines our existence against our individual will into nothing.
And this, dear reader, could induce some serious consequences.
Just what those could be, we’ll try to point out in the next part of this essay.
 About the site’s founder Michel Chossudovsky and his participation in the making of the revisionist documentary “Weight of Chains”, see: http://politicsrespun.org/tag/konstantin-kilibarda/#sthash.roNnOomN.dpbs; also, Marko A. Hoare, “The Left Revisionists”.
 Hoare’s article is still one of the best summaries on the subject. For detailed information on entire scope of revisionist attempts from the Nineties onwards, one of the best online resources is Balkan Witness website.
 Politics of countries Papadopoulos incriminates with igniting the conflict were in fact unanimously in favour of preservation of unified Yugoslavia well into unfolding war, which, as we shall see, played perfectly into Milošević’s hands. Excellent treatise on international context of dissolution of Yugoslavia is Josip Glaurdić’s book Hour of Europe: Western Powers and the Breakup of Yugoslavia. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011.). Aside from providing the detailed overview and context of the crisis, it is mostly founded on primary sources – from extensive interviews with Western politicians and diplomats that were involved, original memoirs of Yugoslav politicians and newspaper/magazine articles from the Eighties not translated in English, to vast array of CIA and State Department documents. In the further text we’ll quote from the Croatian translation of the book. In this context it is also interesting to note that Georgy Soroš’s Open Society Foundation supported exclusively intellectuals and journalists of Leftist (not communist) or liberal pro-Yugoslav bent, i.e. those that harboured hopes for some new form of Yugoslav unity after the war, mostly through civil society, cultural and journalist cooperation. Anyone following alt media can rightly assume that their typical consumer would initially guess the precise opposite.
 http://www.worldstatesmen.org/Yugoslavia-Constitution1974.pdf. Actual text of the Constitution begins on pg. 50.
 Initially, those were student protests against bad conditions on campuses that quickly developed into all out protest over general political and economical situation in the province. See, Glaurdić, 13 – 14; for death toll among protesters see also, Branka Magaš Destruction of Yugoslavia: Tracking the Breakup 1980 – 1992. London: Verso, 1993, pg. 7, 16.
 See Constitution of SFRY, pg. 54.
 See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_history_of_Kosovo. The numbers quoted are from the 5th census of SFRY (1981.).
 Glaurdić, pg. 7.
 The first to use this phrase was Slovenian President Milan Kučan in conversation with US Ambassador Warren Zimmerman (1989): “Milošević is a demagogue with a gangster attitude. He is destroying everything that is good in Yugoslavia, most notably the tolerant attitude that made our lives together possible (…) We are moving towards democracy, while Milošević is moving away from it, towards some kind of “Serboslavija” (…) How are we going to join European Community or Council of Europe with this Kosovo albatros hanging around our necks? If we have to pass through Beograd to get into Europe, we will never get there.” See Warren Zimmerman Origins of the Catastrophe. New York: Times Books, 1996, pg.31.
 Milošević was in the eyes of his colleges primarily a model communist apparatchik. Before being pushed into politics, by patronage of his close friend and “kum” (the wedding best man, a social role that in Balkan makes two man practically family) Ivan Stambolić – whom he soon betrayed and shortly before his own downfall had assassinated, Milošević was a banker and for some time was the chief representative of Yugoslavia’s national bank – Jugobanka – in New York. His political career took off by being appointed head of the Belgrade communist party organization. In 1986 Stambolić personally promoted him into President of the Central Comity of the League of Communist of Serbia, despite considerable resistance of his peers. His Damascus moment happened when Stambolić sent him to prevent Serbian nationalist activists from Kosovo to march on Beograd in April of 1987. What happened instead was that Milošević took their side and was henceforth acclaimed leader (“Vožd”) of Serbian nationalist revolution, becoming eventually the President of the League of Communists of Serbia (8 may, 1989).
 One exemplary refutation of this kind of historical revisionism is Marko A. Hoare’s 4 part refutation of the book First do no Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia by David Gibbs. It more or less covers and refutes all the usual talking points of revisionists and represents the rare instance when revisionist conceded defeat, although without renouncing the refuted points.
 For detailed account of what was called by some Yugoslav media at the time “a heist of the century”, i.e. appropriating the federal monetary emission by Serbia, see testimony of then Yugoslav Prime Minister Ante Marković on Milošević trial before ICTY. In the aftermath of first democratic elections in Serbia (9. and 26. December, 1990), Milošević’s reform communists – Socijalistička Partija Srbije (Socialist Party of Serbia) won 48,1 majority. The contending parties, mainly Srpski pokret obnove (Serbian Regeneration Movement), 16,5 and Demokratska stranka (Democratic Party), 7,8 haven’t contested the aggressive politics towards neighbors, SPO even being far more radical in its rhetoric than SPS. In this sense, the whole body politics of Serbia was poised to aggressive war for enlarging its territory.
 The Kosovo leadership was forced to resign on November 17, 1988.
 Glaurdić, 30
 The date was probably picked for its symbolism because it commemorated the foundation of the first, unitary, Kingdom of Serbs, Croat and Slovenes. It was a clear message to Slovenes, fairly typical for political intimidation employed by Serbs at the time.
 For non-state actors from the far Right, see: https://libcom.org/library/investigation-red-brown-alliances-third-positionism-russia-ukraine-syria-western-left
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