Top: Jewish Atrocities: Egyptian Officers Massacre in 1967
A TELLING INTERVIEW
BOOK REVIEW: Jacques Merlino: "Les verites Yougoslaves ne sont pas toutes bonnes a dire" ("Yugoslav truths are not all good for telling") Published by: Albin Michel, Paris, 1993, pp. 127-129 ISBN 2-226-06663-2
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mr. Jacques Merlino a leading journalist of the TV chain France 2
It is permitted to expel one people from the world community. To define it like a pack of rapists and extremists having nothing to envy to Nazis. It is permitted to raise the whole planet against this people, to prepare them tribunal recalling that of Nuremberg, to elaborate plans for military intervention and strategies for target bombardments. It is permitted to chase their state from the United Nations and to submit Serbs to the total economic embargo. This is permitted because that's what is done.
But, it is also permitted to think this fierceness lacks distinction. That one people has never been guilty in its ensemble. That one nation has history and memory. That media manipulations exist. And that the emotion, overcoming the reason, is really a bad adviser.
This is permitted because it is the object of this text. It goes against everyone who feeds international public opinion. It is exposed to the criticism of those who don't want to change their decisions. It shows usual weaknesses of free and serene reasoning in front of passion and madness.
To think counter-current is yet another tradition of French thought, Voltaire's gift which is really precious. To doubt, isn't that the first condition for freedom?
But doubt is worthless if it remains only a mixture of suspicion and prudence. It has to be overcome. And, that can be fulfilled only by looking over the received ideas and by restarting the inquiry work from the facts and crude documents. The task is tough and immense. It is truly indispensable and urgent, if one is convinced that the actual outbreaks can provoke a cataclysm overtaking faraway the poor Balkans.
There was Timisoara. Then was Gulf war. And came Yugoslavia. With the same stereotypes, same simplifications, same exaggerations. This time, we are concerned directly: European balance is in the game.
If it is confirmed that Germany is pulling strings behind the scenes in order to increase its zone of influence, if it is accurate that a coup is preparing in Moscow with fall of Yeltsin and arrival of national-communists, if it is proved that the United States are pursuing goals other than humanitarian, if it turns out that UN are victim of serious disfunction, that news agencies have lost their impartiality, that free press is going to be darkened by militant blindness and, after all, if it is proved that Vatican is more powerful than others and that its interference in Yugoslav crisis is considerable, then it is important to know how and by whom we are manipulated. Jacques Merlino's inquiry explains why we arrived here and forces us to admit one simple reality: the information is one arm of war, used like that by those who are measuring its importance.
The excerpt from the book is published in the following periodicals (as far as I know, maybe elsewhere too):
The following introduction to the interview is taken from the reference #1 (Written by Dr. Yohanan Ramati, Director of the Jerusalem Institute for Western Defense):
[Quote] The civil war in Yugoslavia continues, with untold suffering on all sides. The media report the suffering of the Muslims in gruesome detail. The suffering of Croats at Muslim hands gets little attention. THE SUFFERING OF SERBS IS IGNORED. So it will surprise large sections of the American public that some 600,000 refugees from Croatia and Bosnia have saught refuge in beliguered Serbia deprived of food and fuel by UN dictate during the deadly winter.
The media in the Western world, the Muslim world and Israel treats us to a regular dose of tearjacking hate propaganda. We see women and children in Sarajevo - the Muslim quaters of Sarajevo - with terrible wounds seeping blood and shattered limbs, to the accompaniment of shells and small arms fire. We do not see the killing and maiming of Serb women and children by Muslim fire in Bosnia or by Croat fire in Croatia. And when Croat women and children are brutally murdered by Muslims, or vice versa, the media response is sporadic and no conclusions are drawn.
THIS ORGANIZED ANTI-SERB AND PRO-MUSLIM PROPAGANDA SHOULD CAUSE ANYONE BELIEVING IN DEMOCRACY AND FREE SPEECH SERIOUS CONCERN. It recalls Hitler's propaganda against Allies in World War II. Facts are twisted and, when convenient, disregarded. The selectivity in reporting and comment is far too blatant to be accidental. The Western governments do not control their media sufficiently to be responsible for it. So who is? Who is bankrolling and masterminding the vast effort to destroy a people the United States, England and France have no reason to hate in order to establish a second Muslim state in a Balkan province where Muslims are MINORITY?
Part of the answer is provided by a REVEALING INTERVIEW by Mr. James Harff (director of Ruder & Finn Global Public Affairs) given to Mr. Jacques Merlino in Paris in October 1993. Ruder & Finn are public relations company, currently registered as foreign agents. Here are Harff's statements, slightly abbridged. [End of quote from the periodical and beginning of the quote from the book:]
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 side. This was a sensitive matter, as the dossier was dangerous looked from this angle. President Tidjman was very careless in his book "Wastelands of Historical Reality". Reading this writtings, one could accuse him of 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 chalenge was to reverse this attitude. And we succeded masterfully.
At the beginning of August 1992, the 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 (Muslim) 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 hereafter play itself.
We won by targeting 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 Newsday!
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.
New York Times ad published on Sunday, March 20, 1994, section E: "WHAT BEING JEWISH MEANS TO ME" Featuring... ...Mr. David Finn. CEO (Chief Executive Officer), Rudder - Finn, International Public Relations, photographer, writer, painter.
The first sentence from the ad: In my family, being Jewish has always meant devotion to study and commitment to ETHICAL BEHAVIOR!
Later on: (Quote:) When weighing the MORAL consequences of business decisions, for example, the Ethics Committee of our public relations firm seeks knowledge councel to guide our thinking. I will always remember how some years ago a proffessor at the Seminary helped us make the decision to resign the sizeable Greek tourism account after three colonels siezed power and installed a military dictatorship. (End quote).
Washington Report readers know the story well. In 1967 on the fourth day of the Six Day War, the armed forces of Israel attacked the American intelligence ship USS Liberty for 90 minutes in international waters in broad daylight following several hours of close, low-level reconnaissance. Thirty-four men died, 171 were hurt, and the ship was so badly damaged that it had to be scrapped.
The government of Israel has lied about the circumstances ever since, telling a story markedly different from that told by American survivors. Congress has refused to question Israel's demonstrably false account, even though the State Department's own analysis finds the Israeli story to be untrue.
Yet the most pressing question remaining from that infamy is not whether the attack was deliberate. That was settled long ago for most reasonable people. The question is why Israel risked its cozy relationship with America by killing American seaman on the high seas.
Indeed, spokesmen for Israel use that question in Israel's defense. Why, they ask, would Israel risk alienating its American friends?
So why did Israel attack? Intelligence analysts and others have long supposed that Israel attacked to prevent the ship from reporting the impending invasion of the Golan Heights, then imminent despite cease fire pleas by the United States. Israel's defenders reject that explanation.
Recent reports in the Israeli and Egyptian press suggest another powerful possibility.
According to eyewitness accounts by Israeli officers and journalists, the Israeli Army - the army that claims to hold itself to a higher moral standard than other armies - executed as many as 1,000 Arab prisoners during the 1967 war.
Historian Gabby Bron wrote in the Yediot Ahronot in Israel that he witnessed Israeli troops executing Egyptian prisoners on the morning of June 8, 1967, in the Sinai town of El Arish.
Bron reported that he saw about 150 Egyptian POWs being held at the El Arish airport where they were sitting on the ground, densely crowded together with their hands held on the back of their necks. Every few minutes, Bron writes, Israeli soldiers would escort an Egyptian POW from the group to a hearing conducted by two men in Israeli army uniforms. Then the man would be taken away, given a spade, and forced to dig his own grave.
"I watched as (one) man dug a hole for about 15 minutes," Bron wrote. "Afterwards, the (Israeli military) policeman told him to throw the shovel away, and then one of them leveled an Uzi at him and shot two short bursts, each of three or four bullets."
Bron says he witnessed about ten such executions, until the grave was filled. Then an Israeli Colonel threatened him with a revolver, forcing him to leave the area.
USS Liberty was nearby
As those executions were underway, America's most sophisticated intelligence platform, USS Liberty, was less than 13 miles from El Arish.
We were close enough to see the town mosque with the naked eye. With binoculars we could make out individual buildings and might have seen the executions if we had looked in the right place.
Could our operators have heard voice radio messages revealing these killings? Did senior Israeli officers sanction the murders, or did they learn of them? How would they have reacted to the knowledge that USS Liberty was nearby and might have heard incriminating radio traffic?
Would they have been desperate enough to attack an American ship?
The Liberty attack was a war crime
The attack on USS Liberty was itself a war crime. US Navy Commander Walter Jacobsen, a Navy Legal Officer then doing graduate work at George Washington University, conducted an extensive legal analysis of the attack.
His conclusion, reported in the Winter, 1986, Naval Law Review, was that several aspects of the attack violated provisions of the Geneva Conventions -- war crimes. Specifically, Commander Jacobsen found that the attack was not legally justified, that it constituted an act of aggression under the United Nations Charter, that the use of unmarked aircraft, the wanton destruction of life rafts in the water, the jamming of international radio distress frequencies, and the failure of the torpedo boat commanders to render immediate assistance to a disabled and helpless enemy were all violations of international law.
US refusal to investigate violates Geneva Conventions
For years, USS Liberty survivors have asked Members of Congress to investigate the circumstances of the attack.
The Israeli version is untrue. We did fly a flag. We did identify ourselves. We were in international waters. They did not stop firing after seeing our flag as they claim, but continued to fire for another 40 minutes. The attack lasted 75 minutes and was not brief or accidental as Israel claims. We did not "attempt to hide" or escape when detected, as Israeli has charged. These things are easy to prove.
More important are the war crimes discussed by Commander Jacobsen. These things should have been investigated in 1967. Yet U.S. officials have ignored the offenses for 29 years, refusing to investigate or even to acknowledge them.
That refusal is itself a crime. The United States, as a signatory to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, is "under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed" violations of the conventions, and to see that violators are brought to trial.
There are no exceptions. War crimes reported to government officials must be investigated and perpetrators tried.
Yet even this is ignored by U.S. officials. Liberty survivors for many years have reported the crimes committed against us and have requested an appropriate investigation. Despite the law, our complaints are ignored. No investigation of these charges has ever been held.
Recently Liberty's Joe Meadors, a former president and chairman of the Liberty Veterans Association, has filed formal complaints with the House and Senate Ethics Committees against members who have ignored our complaints.
To no surprise, these complaints, too, are being ignored.
Navy Refusal to investigate violates Navy Regulations
When the Liberty was attacked, Captain Joseph Tully in the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga received the ship's call for help and immediately sent jet aircraft to her assistance. Tully's jets were recalled almost immediately by orders from Washington. As a result, American jet fighter support was withheld for more than 90 minutes. By then the damage was done and 34 men were dead or dying.
Had those aircraft been sent, they would probably have arrived before the torpedo boats started their part of the attack. At least 25 lives could have been saved.
We survivors have tried for 29 years to learn why we were denied the immediate air support that we were promised in case of trouble. There are no answers. The Navy still will not even admit that help was not sent, even though one of the aircraft carrier commanders has offered to testify that he was forbidden to help us.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice, the body of law that governs every military person, provides that "Any person subject to this chapter who before or in the presence of the enemy . . . does not afford all practicable relief and assistance to . . . troops, vessels, or aircraft of the armed forces . . . when engaged in battle . . . shall be punished by death or such punishment as a court martial may direct."
That provision was clearly violated when Liberty's air support was withheld. Yet the Navy will not even admit that we were not defended.
George Orwell suggested in 1945 that some animals are more equal than other animals. Some countries, too, it would seem.
James Ennes retired from the Navy in 1978 as a lieutenant commander after 27 years of enlisted and commissioned service. He was a lieutenant on the bridge of the USS Liberty on the day of the attack. His book on the subject, Assault on the Liberty (Random House, 1980), is a "Notable Naval Book" selection of the U.S. Naval Institute and was "editors choice" when reviewed in The Washington Post. top of page
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