All brasscheck.com dispatches on the US-led
attack on Yugoslavia are available, complete
with index, at http://www.brasscheck.com/yugoslavia
Please inform your friends, colleagues, and
others who you think might care.
May 31, 1999
"Goebbels... was using my book 'Crystallizing Public
Opinion' as a basis for his destructive campaign
against the Jews...Obviously the attack on the
Jews of Germany was no emotional outburst of
the Nazis, but a deliberate planned campaign."
- Edward Bernays, US inventor of modern corporate
public relations, "The Biography of an Idea: Memoirs
of Public Relations Counsel Edward L. Bernays"
"We are professionals. We had a job to do and we did
it. We are not paid to be moral"
It should be clear to anyone who has done even the
slightest research on the subject that there are very,
very few true journalists practicing in the world today.
Most reporters simply repeat what they are told by
authorities and their "investigations" are usually
little more than elaborations of the currently
fashionable party line.
For those who have tried to battle it, the thick wall of
prejudice against the Serbs generated by the mainstream
western news media has been all but insurmountable.
No atrocity is considered beyond them and if there
is no evidence readily at hand, manufacturing it is
considered acceptable. No punishment - ruining their
food and water supplies, destroying their hospitals
and clinics, murdering their children - is considered
One question rarely asked is who starts these fashions?
When the fashion is to slander one group to the point of
death, answering this question is particularly urgent.
The question of the origin of the current hate speech
campaign against the Serbs is answerable. Like many
'crystallized' public opinions, it was engineered by
professionals who spend their lives creating images
for public consumption. (The book "Toxic Sludge is
Good For You" by Stauber and Rampton, Common Courage
Press, is an excellent introduction to the mechanics
of how the public is "sold" ideas.)
The key procedures usually take place in the
office of a US public relations company. Since
World War One, there has been a great deal of
cooperation between those in public relations
(PR), the military, intelligence agencies and US
Surprisingly, it is not that difficult to discover
the seed of a manufactured idea. Public relations executives
are, like everyone else, fond of their "accomplishments"
and often can be found bragging about them.
In 1993, French TV journalist Jacques Merlino published
a book entitled: "Les verites Yougoslaves ne sont pas toutes
bonnes a dire" - "Yugoslav truths are not all good for telling"
Reviews of this book have appeared in:
1.A Monthly Jewish Review - Midstream, New York, April 1994
("Stopping the war in Yugoslavia", Author: Dr. Yohanan Ramati)
2.Intelligence Digest, Great Britain, February 4, 1994
("Manipulating the media")
3.Jewish Chronicle, Great Britain, December 10, 1993
("The secret weapon? PR", Author Nora Beloff)
In his book, Merlino included an interview with James Harff,
director of Global Public Affairs for Ruder & Finn, a top 15
US public relations firm. The interview, which was conducted in
October of 1993, follows:
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.
Question: What are your methods of operation?
Harff: 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.
Question: How often do you intervene?
Harff: Quantity is not important. You have to intervene
at the right time with the right person... ...
Question: What achievement were you most proud of?
Harff: To have managed to put Jewish opinion on our
(Croatian and Bosnian) side. This was a sensitive matter,
as the dossier was dangerous when looked at from this angle.
President Tidjman (Croatia) was very careless in his book
"Wastelands of Historical Reality". Reading this writings,
one could accuse him 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 challenge was to reverse this attitude. And we succeeded
At the beginning of August 1992, 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 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 thereafter play by 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
evoked images of Nazi Germany and the gas chambers of
Auschwitz. The emotional charge was so powerful
that nobody could go against it.
Question: But when you did all of this, you had no proof
that what you said was true. You only had the article in
(Editor's note: The Newsday article was based on a
photo staged by a British 'journalist' and contained
a number of extreme falsehoods.)
Harff: 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.
Question: 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."
One important questions not answered by this interview:
Who directed Croatian, Bosnian, and Kosovar separatist
movements - all of which have the creation of an "ethnically
pure" state as one of their core tenets - to hire this
obviously capable firm.
"Our work is not to verify information...Our work is to
accelerate the circulation of information favorable to
And who, exactly, is the destruction of Yugoslavia
To quote Noam Chomsky, who provided this analysis
years before Yugoslavia was in the news:
"The West has a plan for (Eastern Europe) - they want
to turn large parts of it into a new, easily exploitable
part of the Third World."
A report from San Francisco:
"Today I was part of a group of people that filled
the Golden Gate Bridge walkway from end to end as a
public demonstration calling on NATO to stop
bombing in Yugoslavia.
EarIy on, I met up with a group of Quakers from
Santa Rosa, CA, led by Russ & Mary Jorgensen and
followed them. One was an 85-year-old woman using
a metal walker. She walked two-thirds of the way
across the bridge until the San Francisco-side met
up with the people walking from the Marin County
side. And then she walked back to San Francisco!
If I hadn't seen her I wouldn't have believed it.
People in wheelchairs can rest in the chair, but
the bridge has no places to sit at all, so this woman
was on her feet pushing the walker for two or three
hours... Several television camera crews were out, but I
have no idea how many people it takes to fill the bridge
from end to end, holding hands. Only time will tell if
the print media will cover this..."
- Roy Birchard
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