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Wars, lies and 'mass rape' charges

Lavender & red, part 115

Published Dec 2, 2007 10:06 PM

Unsubstantiated imperialist media accusations of systematic mass rape became the “weapons of mass destruction” pretext for the breakup of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, orchestrated by the United States and Germany. But it was NATO armies and their fascist hirelings that brought systematic sexual violence—including mass rape of women and girls.

Rape and sexual exploitation are a feature of imperial warfare.

The Pentagon and CIA have long trained torturers to use rape, gender degradation and sexual humiliation as violent weaponry—from the School of the Assassins to Abu Ghraib to Guantánamo.

An unusually clear view of the imperialist troop indoctrination that rape is a “spoil,” a “right” taken through the patriarchal conquest of empire, appeared in a series of still pictures in the July 6, 1997, German newspaper Bild am Sonntag. The photographs showed German soldiers in battle fatigues during a break from training for their military mission against the former Yugoslavia. They were staging simulated rape, torture and noose lynching of civilians.

U.S. and German imperialism bankrolled neofascist forces in Croatia and Bosnia and in Serbia’s Kosovo province. Rape is a terror weapon in the arsenal of fascist violence, which targets oppressed nationalities, ethnicities, religions, sexes, gender expressions and sexualities.

The actions of private mercenary armies, like DynCorp commandos, are subject to even less scrutiny than Pentagon troops. These privately owned “foreign legions” have been assured of virtual immunity from prosecution.

Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill wrote in November 2005, “DynCorp employees in Bosnia, where the company plays a major policing role, have engaged in organized sex-slave trading with girls as young as 12, and DynCorp’s Bosnia site supervisor was filmed raping a woman.”

A company whistleblower, whom DynCorp initially fired but eventually settled with, filed a suit that described “coworkers and supervisors literally buying and selling women for their own personal enjoyment, and employees would brag about the various ages and talents of the individual slaves they had purchased.” (CommonDreams.org)

U.S.-NATO industrialize mass rape

In Kosovo, capitalist profiteers literally established large-scale mass rape as a profit-generating industry.

“The first case of sex-slave trafficking came to light in October—four months after NATO-led peacekeepers entered the province,” revealed a Washington Post report on April 24, 2000.

Even the Post’s preservation of imperialist double speak—”peacekeepers”—cannot obfuscate the consequences of capitalist reconquest: “Kosovo, which had some local prostitution but no trafficking problem before the peacekeepers arrived after the Kosovo war ended last June, is just another new market.”

NATO troops, including from the U.S., were customers.

The Post article elaborated that in the prior decade, “Hundreds of thousands of women from the former Soviet republics and satellites have been trafficked to Western Europe, Asia and the United States.”

They were tricked into travel or kidnapped from Moldavia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania. The Post reported that the women and girls were repeatedly raped and beaten to break their resistance to enslavement.

While some people forced into prostitution industries are paid at least a small sum, these women and girls were bought and sold like chattel.

The procurers, the Post article stated, “work under the protection of major crime figures in Kosovo, officials said, including some with links to the former anti-Serbian rebel force, the Kosovo Liberation Army.”

The U.S. and Germany armed and equipped the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) against the Yugoslav government. The New York Times—which supported the war to break up Yugoslavia—nevertheless reported on March 28, 2000, that many of the leaders of the KLA trace their roots to a fascist unit set up by the Italian occupiers during World War II.

Yet while the U.S. and Germany had spent a decade bankrolling fascist groupings to destabilize the former socialist Yugoslavia, the imperialist propaganda machinery slandered the Serbs as fascists.

How PR firm pulled off ‘Big Lie’

Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels built the German imperialist media blitzkrieg on the “Big Lie”—the premise that any lie or distortion can be publicly accepted as truth if it is broadcast loud enough and frequently enough.

James Harff, director of the Ruder Finn Global Public Affairs public relations firm, adds, “Speed is vital. ... It is the first assertion that really counts. All denials are entirely ineffective.”

Harff knows what he’s talking about. The Washington-based firm of Ruder Finn was hired to handle public relations and win support for the breakaway Yugoslav republics of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzogovina and the opposition in Kosovo.

Harff did an interview in April 1993 with Jacques Merlino, associate director of French TV 2. Harff boasted about how his firm had developed an ad campaign designed to make the Serbs appear to be fascists.

Harff said his proudest achievement in this effort was, “to have managed to put Jewish opinion on our side. ... 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 the Bosnians. Our challenge was to reverse this attitude and we succeeded masterfully.”

Harff bragged: “We outwitted three big Jewish organizations—the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress. In August, we suggested that they publish an advertisement in the New York Times and organize demonstrations outside the United Nations. That 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.”

Harff added, “By a single move we were able to present a simple story of good guys and bad guys which would hereafter play itself. ... Almost immediately there was a clear change of language in the press, with use of words with high emotional content such as ethnic cleansing, concentration camps, etc., which evoke images of Nazi Germany and the gas chambers of Auschwitz. No one could go against it without being accused of revisionism. We really batted a thousand in full.”

Merlino asked, “But between 2 and 5 August 1992, when you did this, you had no proof that what you said was true.”

Harff put it all out on the table when he concluded, “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 are professionals. We had a job to do and we did it. We are not paid to moralize.”

For more information read part 114 of Lavender and Red at www.workers.org and “NATO in the Balkans” (International Action Center, New York: 1998).

Next: Pentagon did not wage war on Afghanistan to “liberate” women and same-sex love.

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