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Letter Criticizing Emperor's Clothes on Yugoslav Elections, with reply
[Note from Emperor's Clothes. Prof. Hayden was active in opposing the bombing of Yugoslavia.]
Robert M. Hayden, Director
I have read with some horror the recent Emperor's Clothes analyses of the Serbian opposition.
As you know, I have no illusions whatever about the US Government and its intentions.
But I also have no illusions whatever about politics in Serbia, which I think I am in a better position to monitor than you are. Last I knew, you're not competent in Serbian, and I am; thus I monitor the original sources, which you can't do. And I've been doing this for a long, long time.
I would ask not only that you stop writing analyses stating or even suggesting that Kostunica and DOS are NATO stooges, but that you retract the ones that you have already sent out.
Emperor's Clothes editor Jared Israel replies:
Thank you for your note, which will contribute to the urgently needed debate on US interference in other countries' elections, economies, cultures, and mass media. . Here are some thoughts of mine about what you have written:
1) If the test of being right about Serbia were fluency in Serbo-Croatian, wouldn't all sides in Serbia be right?
2) The G-17, Otpor and other so-called "democratic activist" Websites post documents in English, and we have written about those documents. In addition, Emperors Clothes is flooded with information from people who speak many languages, including Serbo-Croatian. Our statements concerning the so-called student "activist" group Otpor and the so-called "Democratic Opposition" were preceded by many person-hours of discussion, involving some of the leading Serbian activists in the Diaspora. These people include recent supporters and friends of Kostunica who are distraught about what they hope is simply an error on his part: allowing himself to be used by US agents.
3) In any event, most of our conclusions come from US sources - written in English. Your argument is therefore with these sources. They include: Senator Joseph Biden, former special Envoy to the Balkans Gelbard, as well as officials of the National Endowment for Democracy. It is their publicly available (or, should I say, STILL publicly available!) testimony, indicating in shocking fashion that they finance and micromanage the Serbian opposition, that are the source of our conclusions. Therefore, if you want someone to stop saying the self-styled "Democratic" opposition is paid by the US, please contact the above. But perhaps that will not be necessary, for as the following excerpt from the Washington Post indicates, the National Endowment for "Democracy" has already concluded that they have been too open about the fact that they pay the "Democratic" opposition. The article is entitled: "$77 Million Helps Foes Of Milosevic" It is written by John Lancaster and appeared on Tuesday , September 19, 2000.
[Start of quote] '"There's a specific sensitivity because people assume we pick candidates,' the State Department official said. 'Our efforts don't do that. We just make sure there's an architecture for a fair election."'
[Quote continues] ''...Dismissing Serbia's charges of unwarranted interference in its internal affairs, U.S. officials say they are seeking only to level the playing field."
[Quote continues] "..Mindful of such risks, the endowment [National Endowment for Democracy or NED] recently stopped posting details of its Serbian program on its Web site. In a similar vein, a NED official smiled apologetically as he acknowledged that while information on grant recipients in Serbia is a matter of public record, he could not release such data without a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act ; a process that would extend long past Sept. 24." [End of quote, Washington Post]
3) You make no mention of the research reported in our latest article, which you can read at www.emperors-clothes.com/engl.htm I would urge you to read it. Before you suggest that we retract everything we have said, please provide evidence that we are wrong. Surely, since you are involved in a geopolitical research institute, you might even help us with information about government funding and meddling, information not available on the Internet. By the way, you may not be aware, but Kostunica apparently conceded we are telling the truth. It is reported today by Erlanger in the NY Times. First Erlanger quotes extensively from the Emperor's Clothes article to which I referred you (though he does not cite the source) and then he talks about Kostunica. As follows:
"Opposition leaders like Mr. Kostunica regard such tactics by the government as crass propaganda, but even he is skeptical of American intentions in paying for nongovernmental organizations, some of whom, he believes, are even unconsciously working for American imperial goals and not necessarily Serbian values."
Given this admission on Kostunica's part, given that the groups he is talking about comprise much of his coalition as well as his unofficial campaign "troops," the only thing left if he is indeed a man of honor is to withdraw on the grounds that his campaign is compromised by being based on groups that may be "unconsciously working for American imperial goals." But that's up to him. We only report the truth. Would you have us stop doing that?
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