The post-truth era – when it really began
Those who were shocked by the referendum vote to leave the EU and by the election of Donald Trump have attributed their disappointment to a “post truth” style of politics. The reverse, I suggest, is the case. However imperfectly, a majority of voters grasped that the long-accepted “liberal” narrative was simply untrue.
Increasing suspicion of the official line on anything was massively increased by the revelation of the untruth of Tony Blair’s and the US government’s claims about “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in Iraq. But the organs of disinformation had rather a successful practice run in 1999 over the invasion of Yugoslavia. This was so effectively promoted in the mainstream British media as to have quite a high public approval rating. Tony Blair was always aware of the tremendous electoral boost which the “Falklands Effect” had given to Mrs. Thatcher and this was the closest he came to achieving it. Of course, the Falklands war was about repelling a genuine invasion of British territory and liberating its inhabitants from a truly fascist regime. Yugoslavia was very different, as I pointed out in the following article from 1999, to which I have added a few notes with benefit of hindsight.
NATO’S MALIGN METAMORPHOSIS TO AGGRESSOR
by Edward Spalton published in Freedom Today, October 1999
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has undergone a profound change, says Edward Spalton. In its new association with the EU , he argues, NATO is no longer a purely defensive alliance but a force which may be used for forcing questionable western values on other states.
When the troubles first started in Yugoslavia, reporting was fairly even-handed. The atrocities of all sides were shown. Gradually the media became gleichgeschaltet (as Dr. Goebbels would have put it) or “on message” as New Labour would have it: only the Serbs were demonised then. The defining moment was Germany’s recognition of Croatia before any of the normal criteria for full diplomatic relations existed – settled government, recognised frontiers etc. The rest of the EU states, having vigorously opposed such a move, shuffled into line as part of the EU Common Foreign Policy. From this point the waters became ever muddier.
The Bosnian and Kosovo tragedies followed as night follows day.
As the intervention developed, the UN dropped out and NATO changed its character utterly, in contradiction of its own charter.
In concert with the developing Western European Union (the supranational armed forces of the European Union) it ceased to be a defensive alliance, protecting the sovereignty of its members and became an imperial entity, waging its first war of conquest.
The American, British and mainland Western European peoples have not yet fully grasped the enormity of this metamorphosis. Yet they are all now pieces in the Great Game being played with their countries by the unaccountable, undemocratic, supra-national new agencies of New NATO and the EU.
Throughout the past 50 years until very recently, there were few institutions which seemed more beneficent and protective than NATO. It was a purely defensive alliance in which members agreed to come to each other’s aid if attacked. Just how they did that was up to them. Most came into the NATO command structure, but the French left it, knowing that the rest would still come to their aid: having their cake and eating it as usual.
Nonetheless it kept the Soviets from carrying out Mr. Kruschev’s stated intention: “We will bury you”. The Marshals of the Red Army, who frequently proclaimed their indifference to the prospect of countless millions of casualties, were deterred by the clout of this united front, backed by the might of America and steadfastly supported by Britain and Canada. Mainland Europe owes Old NATO two generations of peace and deliverance from totalitarian rule.
This was nothing to do with the European Union, which did not exist when NATO was formed. From its inception the EU worked to destroy the sovereignty of European democracies (rather more effectively than the Red Army, as it turned out).
NATO was often cited as an example of “pooling” sovereignty, as in the EU, but this was never true. It was an organisation of sovereign states co-operating under international law for a limited purpose. It contained provision that states might leave by giving notice to other members (unlike the EU). There was no NATO Commission and there were no NATO Directives over-ruling members’ domestic laws.
Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has changed its character beyond recognition. It is no longer purely defensive but has arrogated to itself the right to go adventuring in other states. At its 50th anniversary celebrations, Tony Blair proclaimed a new doctrine which would justify NATO invading territory from the Atlantic to the Urals and beyond in defence of “peace” “democracy” “stability” or “human rights”. More or less any state in the world of second rank or less could qualify for the treatment, if it was not in the good books of Tony and his cronies.
He has also linked Britain’s NATO contribution with the Western European Union (WEU), a hitherto shadowy organisation which is now defined as the EU wing of NATO. Under the guise of closer co-operation, this is nothing less than the creation of an EU army, navy and air force. British forces will still wear British uniforms for the time being, but their command will be so integrated with the WEU as to be beyond control or recall by Parliament.
General Naumann, Supreme German Military Commander, gave a strong hint of WEU and New NATO thinking when he said “German troops will be engaged for the maintenance of the free market and access without hindrance to the raw materials of the entire world”. The implication is that if the entire world does not agree, so much the worse for it. We have ways of making you trade!
Tony Blair demonstrated his contempt and disregard of Parliament during the Kosovo war. William Hague made little enough objection although Madam Speaker said a few choice words. Those EU states with traditional, constitutional or treaty obligations of neutrality, Sweden, Finland, Austria and Ireland, are being railroaded into associate WEU/NATO membership through an initiative called ” Partnership for Peace”. This is Euro-Newspeak for “Command Structure for War”. WEU institutions contain no provisions permitting members to leave.
The atrocities of the various sides in the break-up of Yugoslavia were very similar. The leaders of Croatia and Bosnia, maintained in power by WEU/NATO, are both on record calling for genocide. They practised it vigorously when they had the chance. In this respect there is no difference between them and Milosevic. Yet only the Serbs were castigated. WEU/NATO succeeded in managing the media with frightening totality to minimise the atrocities of its clients.
The policy of New NATO and Germany in particular was to break up the Yugoslav state in which the Serbs were the senior partners rather as England is in the UK. Following the footsteps of pre 1914 Austro-German policy, this was the active aim of Germany from the early Eighties and they persuaded the Americans to their view.
Anti-Serb bias is profoundly ingrained in the psyche of southern and central Europe. Before he concocted his own racial theories, Hitler, like any other Roman Catholic Austrian subject would have imbibed the officially approved attitude that Orthodox Serbs were “worse than Protestants”. The Nazis later recruited Roman Catholic and Muslim Slavs (Croatians and Bosnians, genetically indistinguishable from Serbs, as well as Muslim Albanians) as honorary Aryans in elite, volunteer Waffen SS units. The Orthodox Serbs always remained SlavUntermenschen. Recent events reflect the continuance of this mindset in a hardly less overt form. Today’s government of Bosnia resurrected the name of one SS unit the Handzar Division. It provides the life guard for the President.
Collaborating wartime states like Slovakia and Croatia were clerico-fascist in nature, supported both by the local church hierarchies and by the Vatican.
Cardinal Stepinac, wartime Archbishop of Zagreb, wrote exultant reports to Pope Pius XII of of the hundreds of thousands of forced gun-point conversions of Serbs in Croatia. His clergy were active as concentration camp commanders and extermination squad leaders, dealing with those stubborn Serbs who refused to become Roman Catholics and thus “de-Serbed”
Yet the present Pope has set in motion the beatification of this gruesome character. John Paul II has apologised for the Roman church’s failure to speak up for Jews. Yet, despite his oft-expressed wish for reconciliation with the Orthodox churches, he shares the Roman blind spot with regard to the holocaust of Serbs, Jews and gypsies, carried out in his predecessor’s name and full knowledge within living memory.*
There are plenty of extant photographs of the papal legate to Nazi Croatia giving the fascist salute to parades of the Ustache, a force whose methods revolted even the SS. They were at work under clerical management well before Germany issued its Europe-wide Directive for the Final Solution of racial problems.
The achievement of an ethnically and religiously purified state of Croatia had to wait until 1995 when NATO’s “Operation Storm” caused the expulsion of all the Serbs from the Krajina region.
Warren Christopher of the US State Department callously remarked that this ethnic cleansing of Serbs had “simplified ” the Croatian situation. Compare this with the rightful humanitarian concern for other racial groups which suffered similarly. The West took a very different attitude to the no less appalling Serbian attempted “simplification” of Kosovo. Serbs, it seems, don’t count.
More recently Clare Short, British minister for overseas aid, said that the Serbs fleeing Kosovo were not refugees at all, but “people who had decided to move”. They were therefore unworthy of humanitarian aid as a lesser breed, outside her much publicised, caring compassion for humanity in general. The politically correct Ms. Short would not dare to display such racist bias against a minority at home.
This attitude to Serbs persists today, mostly unthinkingly but sometimes it is startlingly explicit. Among the most bloodthirsty advocates of condign punishment and all-out war on Serbia was an influential member of the European parliament, one Dr. Otto von Habsburg, heir presumptive of the former Austrian Empire, a blast from the past with malice aforethought, long matured! The terms of the Rambouillet agreement were just as extreme as the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia which touched off the Great War in 1914. The terms were quite impossible of acceptance and designed to be so.
A wiser leader than Milosevic might have preserved the Yugoslav federation, but the plans of the separatists and their backers had been long laid. They were also supported by aid and arms for the Bosniaks, Croats and Kosovo Liberation Army from the arsenal of the former East Germany and elsewhere. Germany trained and equipped the KLA from at least 1996 much more munificently than Colonel Gadaffi ever supported the IRA. Prior to this the unrest in Kosovo had been at a lower level than in Northern Ireland, as measured by reported deaths. Germany ensured a big enough conflict in Kosovo to provide a pretext for intervention.
The EU and the Americans had decided that a group of small, tractable, client states in the Balkans was preferable to a strong Yugoslavia, capable of self-defence. These statelets also provide economic Lebensraum for the EU. The treaties ending this phase of the Balkan wars are quite explicit in this respect. The new states must follow EU-decided economic policies, regardless of the wishes of the inhabitants. So the British people, unknown to themselves, have become accomplices in the creation of an old-style continental land empire with far more than its share of disputed frontiers and ethnic conflicts.
“Divide and rule” has long been a favoured maxim for imperial powers. We are experiencing the same principle applied to ourselves, as Britain too in this country is balkanised into regions.
While we owe a debt of gratitude to Old NATO for past services, New NATO and its associated EU organisations are profoundly inimical to freedom, as we have always understood the term. New WEU/NATO is no friend to a sovereign Britain nor to a sovereign anywhere else. From drinking the euro-federalist potion, Dr. Jekyll has become Mr. Hyde in the person of George Robertson. (The NATO Secretary General of the time).
I am indebted to many people who gave information, encouragement and comment upon drafts of this article. Among them are Rodney Atkinson, Jim Bogusz, Andrew Bond, Ron Dorman, Hugh Meechan, John Ryan, Simon Stoker and Dusan Torbica. All errors and infelicities of expression are entirely my own.
* Courageous individual Catholics, lay and clerical, performed many acts of mercy at great risk. They appealed in vain for Archbishop Stepinac to denounce the terror. Official Church publications of the time show beyond all reasonable doubt that the Croatian hierarchy was politically committed to fascism, genocide and forced conversions
Note December 2016
With benefit of hindsight, I should have included more about the Muslim aspects of the war in Bosnia where the Americans winked at the importation to Europe of Jihadi warriors, the same sort of people whom they sponsor today in Syria. I also gave far too much credence to NATO’s blackening of the character of Slobodan Milosevic, the Serb leader (“The Butcher of the Balkans”). Very, very quietly in July 2016 the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia exonerated him from complicity in the atrocities in Bosnia – 1,303 pages into the 2,590 page verdict on Radovan Karadzic. Milosevic died in custody before the verdict in his case had been delivered. So, in the Western propaganda myth, he “escaped justice”. PLEASE SEE ATTACHED REPORT ON TRIAL.
I consulted widely amongst colleagues in the independence movement because 1999 was the year when UKIP first gained its three seat foothold in the European parliament. The party was not successful in the East Midlands where Hugh Meechan was first candidate and I was second. Some people felt the article might make UKIP appear to be anti-Catholic. Hugh’s advice was particularly useful. Not only was he a barrister, able to weigh the evidence on which I had based the article, but he was also a devout Roman Catholic. He neither suggested nor requested alterations but I did insert the footnote after consulting him. Sadly, Hugh died of cancer in 2000, a great loss to UKIP and the independence movement. At his insistence, his funeral service was conducted in the Latin rite.
The Balkan territorial settlement, enforced at Western gunpoint, remains in shaky, unstable existence. Croatia is now an EU member state. Parliament decided that the war against Yugoslavia was “illegal but legitimate”. Because of highly effective propaganda, the war was the nearest New Labour came to achieving a popular “Falklands effect” like Mrs. Thatcher, something Tony Blair was very keen to emulate. General Naumann was made an honorary KBE.
Subsequent NATO “humanitarian interventions” in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have been uniformly unsuccessful and the Western proxy wars in Ukraine and Syria have not prospered either. Public trust in propaganda for such enterprises was fatally undermined by Tony Blair’s lies about “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in Iraq.