clintons bosnia
© US Army Staff Sgt. Johancharles V. BoersThen First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton visiting US Army 'Eagle Base', Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, December 22, 1997.
It becomes a little less difficult to determine whether we have been informed correctly about Yugoslavia. Did they have a right to present the Nato war as "humanitarian"? Did the Great Powers have secret strategies? Were there media lies told and war propaganda spread?

We recommend that you take this brief Media test in order to have a clear view, and to test how your media is going to inform you in current and coming wars.

Media Quiz

How good is our information on the destruction of Yugoslavia?

1 Did the war begin in 1991 with the secessions of Slovenia and Croatia?
O Yes O No O Don't know

2 Did Germany deliberately provoke the civil war?
O Yes O No O Don't know

3 Did the US really remain 'passive and disinterested' during this war?
O Yes O No O Don't know

4 Did the World Bank and the IMF help destroying this country?
O Yes O No O Don't know

5 Did the media give a phony image of 'our friends' Tudjman & Izetbegovic?
O Yes O No O Don't know

6 Did the media hide the essential history and geography of Bosnia?
O Yes O No O Don't know

7 Was the topic 'Serb aggressors, Croat and Muslim victims' correct?
O Yes O No O Don't know

8 Did Serbia initiate a program of ethnic cleansing?
O Yes O No O Don't know

9 Did the media correctly report on Srebrenica?
O Yes O No O Don't know

10 Were the first victims of the war killed by the Serbs?
O Yes O No O Don't know

11 Was the famous image of the 'concentration camps' false?
O Yes O No O Don't know

12 Were we given the true stories on the three large massacres in Sarajevo?
O Yes O No O Don't know

13 Was the largest ethnic cleansing of the war committed by the Croat Army?
O Yes O No O Don't know

14 Did the US use depleted uranium weapons also in Bosnia?
O Yes O No O Don't know

15 Was the war against Yugoslavia the US's 'only good war'?
O Yes O No O Don't know


1. 1991 or earlier?

Did the war begin in 1991 with the secessions of Slovenia and Croatia?

NO. In 1979, the BND (German CIA) sent a team of secret agents to Zagreb. Mission: to support Franjo Tudjman, a racist who actively promoted ethnic hatred and did all he could toward the break-up of Yugoslavia. Germany supported and financed this Croatian Le Pen, and sent him arms before the war.

To what end? Berlin never acknowledged the existence of the unified Yugoslav state which had courageously resisted German aggression in the two world wars. By once more breaking Yugoslavia into easily dominated mini-states, Germany sought to control the Balkans. An economic zone it could annex in order to remove it from local authority, to export German products to it, and to dominate it as a market. And a strategic route toward the oil and gas of the Middle East and the Caucasus. In 1992, the Bavarian Interior Minister declared: "Helmut Kohl has succeeded where neither Emperor Guillaume nor Hitler could." (see the parallel maps 'Yugoslavia in 1941 - in 1991′, Liars' Poker, pp 68-69)

2. German will?

Did Germany deliberately provoke the civil war?

YES. At the beginning of the Maastricht Summit in 1991, German Chancellor Kohl was alone in wanting to break up Yugoslavia and precipitously to recognize the 'independence' of Slovenia and Croatia, in defiance of both International Law and the Yugoslav Constitution. But the rise of German power would impose this madness on all its partners. Paris and London fell right in line.

Comment: It's very unlikely that Germany took the lead on this: it was even more of a US vassal state back then that it is today. However, as we've seen with respect to Ukraine, US and EU goals aren't always the same.

According to The Observer of London: "Prime Minister Major paid dearly for supporting German policies toward Yugoslavia which all observers said precipitated the war."

In effect, all the experts had warned that this 'recognition' would provoke a civil war. Why?

1. Nearly every Yugoslav Republic was a mix of diverse nationalities. Separating the territories was as absurd as dividing Paris or London into ethnically pure municipal districts.

2. By favoring the neo-fascist Tudjman and the Muslim nationalist Izetbegovic (who had in his youth collaborated with Hitler), it was certain that panic would be provoked among the important Serb minorities who had lived for centuries in Croatia and Bosnia. Every Serb family had lost at least one member to the horrible genocide committed by the fascist Croats and Muslims, agents of Nazi Germany in 1941-45.

Only Tito's Yugoslavia had been able to bring about peace, equality and coexistence. But Berlin, then Washington, wanted once and for all to break this country they saw as being 'too far to the Left' (see question 4).

3. A passive USA?

Did the US remain 'passive and disinterested' during this war?

NO. Lord Owen, special European Union envoy to Bosnia, and later a well-placed observer, wrote in his memoirs: "I greatly respect the United States. But in recent years (92-95) this nation's diplomacy has been guilty of needlessly prolonging the war in Bosnia."

What was its aim? While the Germans were busy taking control of Slovenia, Croatia and, eventually, Bosnia, Washington put pressure on Izetbegovic, the Muslim nationalist leader in Sarajevo: "Don't sign any peace agreements proposed by the Europeans. We will win the war for you on the ground." Washington then prolonged for two years the horrible suffering inflicted on all the people of Bosnia.

By what means?

1. Setting aside all the advantages Berlin had gained in this strategic region of the Balkans.
2. Dividing and weakening the European Union.
3. Installing NATO as the Continental European policeman.
4. Restricting all Russian access to the Mediterranean Sea.
5. Imposing its military and political leadership on all the other wars being prepared.

Because the war against Yugoslavia was at the same time a non-declared war against Europe. After the fall of the Berlin wall, US strategies were geared toward stopping, at all costs, the emergence of a European superpower. So everything was done to weaken Europe militarily and politically.

4. World Bank & IMF

Did the World Bank and the IMF help destroying this country?

YES. In December 1989, the IMF imposed draconian conditions on Yugoslavia which forced liberal prime minister Markovic to beg for aid from George Bush Sr. This 'help' was aimed at destabilizing and bankrupting all large state-owned businesses. The World Bank dismantled the banking system, laid off 525,000 workers in one year, then ordered the immediate elimination of two out of every three jobs. The quality of life fell dramatically.

These policies and the growing incidence of work stoppages in solidarity with displaced workers in all the Republics heightened the contradictions among the leaders of the various Republics to whom Belgrade could no longer provide financing. To get themselves out of this mess, the leaders had to resort to divisive tactics and invested greatly in nationalist hatreds. This war was ignited from abroad. Like so many others.

The war against Yugoslavia was a war of globalization. All the great Western powers sought to liquidate the Yugoslav economic system which they found too Leftist: with a strong public sector, important social rights, resistance to the multinationals... The real reason for these various wars against Yugoslavia can be read in this reproach (this threat?) from the Washington Post: "Milosevic was unable to grasp the political message of the fall of the Berlin wall. Other Communist politicians accepted the Western model, but Milosevic went the other way." (4 August 1996).

5. "Our friends"

Did the media give a phony image of 'our friends' Tudjman & Izetbegovic?

YES. The hyper-nationalist Croat and Muslim leaders were presented as the pure victims, great anti-racist democrats. But their past as much as their present should have alerted us:

When he took power, Franjo Tudjman declared: "I'm happy my wife isn't a Jew or a Serb." He hurriedly renamed the streets that had carried the names of antifascist partisans, reinstated the money and the flag of the old genocidal fascist regime, and changed the Constitution in order to run off the Serbs.

Comment: Why that sounds remarkably similar to what happened in Ukraine after the US coup d'état-disguised-as-revolution...

During his 1990 electoral campaign, Izetbegovic reissued his 'Islamic Declaration': "There can be neither peace nor coexistence between the Islamic religion and those social and political institutions that are non-Islamic." He set up a corrupt and mafia-ridden regime based primarily on the lucrative black market and the hijacking of funds from international aid. He called for assistance, with Washington's blessings, from Islamic mercenaries, most notably from al Qaeda.

Once the war had started, serious crimes were committed by all three camps, but by hiding these histories, the situation was rendered incomprehensible.

6. History & geography

Did the media hide the essential history and geography of Bosnia?

YES. We were made to believe that the Serbs were the aggressors, that they had invaded Bosnia from outside its borders. In reality, three national groups had been living in Bosnia for a long time: the Muslims (43%), the Serbs (31%), the Croats (17%). And one should not forget that 7% of 'Yugoslavs' were born of mixed marriages or preferred to eschew narrow national identities.

Dividing Bosnia according to nationalities, as the EU did, was absurd and dangerous. Because this diverse population was completely intermingled: the Muslims lived primarily in the cities while the Serbs and Croats made up the peasantry and were dispersed throughout the sub-regions. Bosnia could not be divided without civil war.

In fact, the Serbs of Bosnia did not fight to invade the territories of 'others', but to save their own lands and establish corridors of communication between them. It was an absurd and bloody situation, with all the ravages of a civil war, but this civil war was provoked by the great powers.

7. "Good guys" and "bad guys"

Was the presumption of "Serb aggressors, Croat and Muslim victims" correct?

NO. In command of the UN forces in Bosnia from July 1993 to January 1994, Belgian general Briquemont was well placed to declare: "The disinformation is total (...) Television needs a scapegoat. For the moment, there is complete unanimity in condemning the Serbs, and that in no way facilitates the search for a solution. I don't think one can view the problem of ex-Yugoslavia and of Bosnia-Herzegovina only from the anti-Serb angle. It is much more complicated than that. One day in the middle of the Croat-Muslim war, we gave some information on the massacres committed by the Croatian army. An American journalist said to me: 'If you give out that sort of information, the American public won't understand anything.'"

It is not a question of denying the crimes committed by the Serb forces. The ideology one finds in the writings of Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic is extremely right wing. But in reality, after the break-up of Yugoslavia, on all sides, certain criminal and political forces used the methods of war to seize territory and riches. In the three camps - Croat, Muslim and Serb - militias committed grave crimes. To the detriment of all the people. Thus, in August 1994, the Muslim nationalist leader in Sarajevo, Izetbegovic, attacked the Muslim region of Bihac, controlled by Fikret Abdic, who had distanced himself from Izetbegovic and wanted to live in harmony with his Serb and Croat neighbors. In this offensive, Izetbegovic was aided by six US generals.

Remaining silent to the crimes of 'our friends' but demonizing whoever resists us is classic war propaganda. Numerous media lies were totally fabricated by a US public relations firm, Ruder Finn. Colleagues of the famous Hill & Knowlton, who created the media lie about Kuwaiti incubators stolen by the Iraqis.

8. "Ethnic cleansing"?

Did Serbia initiate a program of ethnic cleansing?

NO. If one believes that ethnic cleansing was actually the program of 'the dictator Milosevic', one has to admit that this program was sadly ineffective. Because throughout the war years and still today, one of every five inhabitants of Serbia is a non-Serb. In Belgrade there are and have always been many minorities living without any difficulty: Muslims, Gypsies, Albanians, Macedonians, Turks, Hungarians, Gorans . . .

In reality, contrary to the image given by the press, Serbia is today the only state of the ex-Yugoslavia, along with Macedonia, that remains 'multinational'. On the other hand, all the NATO protectorates - Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo - practiced an almost total ethnic purification.

Milosevic objected to the excesses committed by the Serb militias in Bosnia. His wife made several declarations against them. An embargo was even applied by Serbia against Karadzic. Certainly, part of Serb public opinion was influenced by racist nationalism. But this was due precisely to Germany and the great powers having plunged the country into civil war and thus into hatred.

9. Srebrenica

Did the media correctly report on Srebrenica?

NO. First element. Even if it's a matter of condemning abominable crimes, historical truth - necessary for reconciliation - is not served by the propagandistic processes that unreflexively use the term 'genocide', by the obfuscation of the fact that that some of the victims died in combat or by the systematic exaggeration of the numbers. Inquests have determined that many of the 'victims' were found some months later voting in subsequent elections or even taking part in other battles with Izetbegovic's army. This information was and remains obscured. We won't here go into the argument over numbers which only serious historians will be able to sort out definitively.

Second element. Why did the media hide the events essential to an understanding of this drama? In the beginning, this region was inhabited by Muslim AND Serbs. The latter were run off in 1993 by an ethnic cleansing committed by the Muslim nationalist troops of Izetbegovic. French general Morillon, who commanded the UN force there, charges: "On the night of the Orthodox Christmas, the holy night of January 1993, Nasser Oric led raids on Serb villages. . . . There were heads cut off, abominable massacres committed by the forces of Nasser Oric in all the neighboring villages." (Documents of information from the French National Assembly, Srebrenica, t 2, pp. 140-154) The desire for vengeance does not excuse the crimes committed later. But why systematically hide the crimes of 'our friends'?

Third element. Like other so-called demilitarized 'safe havens', Srebrenica was in reality an area used by the forces of Izetbegovic to regroup, the UN protecting them from total defeat. Astonishingly, Oric's troops retreated from Srebrenica just a week before the massacre. French general Germanos: "Oric had widely declared that they had abandoned Srebrenica because they'd wanted Srebrenica to fall. The 'they' was Izetbegovic."

And why? It is interesting to return to a curious UN report, written a year and a half earlier by Kofi Annan: "Izetbegovic had learned that a NATO intervention into Bosnia was possible. But it would happen only if the Serbs forced their way into Srebrenica and massacred at least 5,000 people [sic]." A massacre predicted a year and a half before it happened! (UN Report of 28-29 November)

General Morillon also informed us that "It is Izetbegovic's people who opposed the evacuation of all those who had asked to be taken out, and there were many." His conclusion: "Mladic fell into a trap at Srebrenica."

10. First victims

Were the first victims of the war killed by Serbs?

NO. June 28, 1991, the Slovenian police executed (at least) two unarmed soldiers of the Yugoslav national army who had surrendered at Holmec, a post on the Austrian border. This was acknowledged by the newspaper Slovenske Novice. It has also been 'established from the very beginning' that three soldiers of this same Yugoslav army were executed at a post on the Italian border after surrendering themselves. (Facts and testimony reported to the ICY at The Hague, cfr Forgotten Crimes, Igor Mekina, AIM Ljubljana, 11/02/99).

11. Concentration camps?

Was the famous image of the 'concentration camps' false?

YES. Fabricated by Bernard Kouchner and Médecins du Monde, this image showed some 'prisoners' held, seemingly, behind barbed wire. One of them had terribly protruding ribs. Kouchner had pasted beside the photo a guard tower from Auschwitz and the accusation 'mass extermination'. To hammer home the message "Serbs = Nazis". He thus abetted a campaign of demonization launched by the US public relations firm Ruder Finn.

Comment: A doubly gross distortion when we consider that Serbs were anti-Fascist during WW2 AND were slaughtered in a REAL genocide at Croatia's Nazi 'Auschwitz of the Balkans'. Bernard Kouchner, listed In 2010 by the Jerusalem Post as "the 15th most influential Jewish person in the world", ought to have known that. But then, his fellow traveller Bernard Henri-Levy also appears to have a soft spot for fascists...

BHL at Euromaidan in Kiev

But the whole thing was faked and taken from a report by British TV channel ITN. The trickery became obvious when one viewed the footage shot at the same time by a local TV news crew. In reality, the British camera had been deliberately placed behind the two lonely strands of barbed wire that formed a fence surrounding an old enclosure for farming equipment. The 'prisoners' were on the 'outside' of the barbed wire. Free because they were refugees in this camp to escape the war and the militias who would force them to fight. In the complete film, the only prisoner who speaks English declares to the ITN journalist three times that they are being well treated and are safe. The man with the protruding ribs (gravely ill) was called to the foreground when all his mates looked to be in too good a shape. Kouchner's montage was a gross falsehood. (Cfr Liars' Poker, p. 34)

There certainly were camps in Bosnia. Not for extermination, but rather for the preparation of prisoner exchanges. Violations of Human Rights were committed here. But why were the UN reports on this subject hidden from us? They accounted for six Croat camps, two Serb camps and one Muslim camp.

12. Sarajevo

Were we given the true stories on the three large massacres in Sarajevo?

NO. Three times Western public opinion was shocked by these terrible images: dozens of victims blown to bits in front of a bakery or in the marketplace of Sarajevo. Immediately the Serbs were accused of having killed civilians by bombarding the city. This despite numerous contradictions in official communications.

But never was the public informed of the results of inquiries made outside the UN. Nor of the reports which accused the forces of president Izetbegovic. Furthermore, high Western officials knew about them but kept them carefully hidden. It was only much later that the editor-in-chief of the Nouvel Observateur, Jean Daniel, admitted: "Today I have to say it. I heard, in succession, Edouard Balladur (French Prime Minister at the time), François Léotard (Minister of the Army), Alain Juppé (Foreign Minister) and two 'high-ranking' generals, whose confidence I will not betray by naming them, tell me (. . .) that the shell fired on the marketplace was itself also from the Muslims! They would have brought carnage upon their own people! Was I afraid of this observation? Yes, the Prime Minister answered me without hesitating... "(Nouvel Observateur, August 21, 1995)

Why these manipulations? As if by chance, each massacre took place just before an important meeting to justify some Western measures: an embargo against the Serbs (92), a NATO bombing (94), a final offensive (95). NATO and Izetbegovic applied an essential principle of war propaganda: justify the offensive with a media lie, a 'massacre' to shock public opinion.

The official version of the siege of Sarajevo hides several points:

1. The Serb forces certainly committed serious crimes. But the civilians who wanted to flee through a tunnel that permitted them to leave the city were stopped by the Izetbegovic regime. He wanted to maximize the clientele for his black market, hijacking international aid money.

2. It was especially important to present a black and white image of a victim people and their aggressors. In reality, even in Sarajevo, Izetbegovic's snipers regularly killed the inhabitants of Serb sections of the city without anyone ever speaking of it.

3. Some equally grave atrocities went down, for example, at Mostar. But here they were due to fighting between the Croat and Muslim forces who had long before run off all the Serbs.

13. The largest "cleansing"

Was the largest ethnic cleansing of the war committed by the Croat army?

YES. On August 4, 1995, a hundred thousand Croat soldiers, a hundred and fifty tanks, two hundred troop transports, more than three hundred pieces of artillery, and forty missile launchers attacked the Serb population of the Krajina. More than 150,000 Serbs were forced to leave this region which they had inhabited for centuries. The worst atrocities of the war were committed: the Croat forces killed the elderly who could not flee, and burned 85% of the abandoned houses.

Clinton called the offensive 'useful'. His Secretary of State said: "The retaking of the Krajina could lead to a new strategic situation which might be favorable for us." Worse yet: the United States advised Croatia in carrying out its offensive, according to an admission by the Croatian foreign minister. Furthermore, it was Washington that took charge of the 'democratic' training of this army. (Liars' Poker, pp. 193-194)

14. Uranium Bombs

Did the US use depleted uranium weapons also in Bosnia?

YES. At an international conference, "Uranium, the victims speak", organized in Brussels in March 2001, a Bosnian doctor presented a Bosnian Serb forest ranger, a victim like many others of multiple atypical and fast moving cancers. after having been exposed to DU in areas of US bombardment.

A Bosnian health official laid out some statistics: the population of a Serb neighbourhood of Sarajevo bombed by US planes in 1995, (a population later expelled from that city), showed a five-fold increase in various types of cancer.

The weapons using depleted uranium allowed the US - but also France and Great Britain - to get rid of waste materials from their nuclear plants. These by-products seriously pollute the earth as well as the underground water table, causing cancer, leukemia and monstrous birth defects (including babies born to contaminated GIs). In short, use of these depleted uranium arms transformed several countries into nuclear waste dumps for eternity. (video and brochure "Uranium, the victims speak").

15. The only "good war"

Was the war against Yugoslavia the US's only good war?

NO. The United States tried to make-believe that it had fought a humanitarian war. And to present itself, for once, as a defender of Muslims. But in reality Washington and Berlin provoked this war. Deliberately. In the selfish interest of conquering certain strategic objectives: the economic colonization of the Balkans, gaining control of the routes for transporting oil, and the fight for world domination.

Comment: ...and they could only do it when they did it because Russia was in turmoil. THIS is why Putin said the collapse of the USSR was "the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century"; it unleashed the US Empire's fury on more people the world over than ever before.

The USA has never fought a humanitarian war. And it was not the fireman in this war against Yugoslavia, it was the firebug. It was the most guilty of inflicting suffering on all the people. The USA can not be, on the one hand, the friend of the Muslims in the Balkans, and, on the other, their worst enemy in Palestine and Iraq. The US is the Muslims' enemy everywhere.

And the most dangerous enemy of all the people of the world. It threatens Syria, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and some day even China. Because its war strategy has no other goal than to maintain an unjust economic order, to dominate and exploit every country on earth to the end of further enriching a small handful of super-billionaires.

This is why it is so important to unmask all the media lies and to make the truth known about the war against Yugoslavia: It was a war of aggression.

mordor washington dc
In conclusion, an appeal.

We will not give you a 'score' to evaluate the degree to which you have suffered from media manipulations. That would be indecent. During this decade, too many innocents suffered and suffer still because of the disinformation orchestrated by the great powers in order to advance their imperialist domination.

And other people, closer to you, or yourself perhaps, have suffered another injury: knowing what was traumatizing you behind these orchestrated lies, but not being able to do anything about it. Such was the powerful indoctrination of the public consciousness.

The answers that we set forth here are the results of long research, which took a great deal of time and required detailed investigation to break out the truth. We would like only to show you that it is possible for each of you to escape the media's hypnotic spell meant to make us accept the unacceptable.

What to do? It's not enough, after the lies of each conflict, to say: "Never again!" We must search without ceasing to understand what is truly at stake economically and strategically in each war. To yank the curtain on the puppeteers who pull the strings from off-stage. To organize collectively, to investigate more rapidly. And to spread more widely the results of these 'media quizzes'.

You can help reinforce the effects of the media quiz by contacting us. We must never become inured to this horror and cynicism.
About the author

Michel Collon is the author of Media Lies and the Conquest of Kosovo, NATO's Prototype for the Next Wars of Globalization. He organised a network of civil observers in Yugoslavia and in Iraq and is a member of the anti-imperialist conference Axis for Peace. Visit his website here.