Thursday, September 13, 2007

The truth, the half-truth, and none of the truth, part I

One of the favorite little "tricks" of the "Haters" is to take and post a factual (or partially factual) article quote or excerpt, leave out certain "inconvienent" little details, frame it with their own viewpoint, or some sort of emotionally charged (and generally both unsupported and unsupportable) statements in order to prejudice the reader, and present it to the reader as an accurate depiction of the situation being discussed.

As a part of one of her recent posts, La Julia quotes and links to a post that has nothing what soever to do with the bulk of the rest of her post, one from that ever-reliable bastion of objectivity, Free Republic (which should make it a priori suspect right then and there). The seven and a half year old post, made by a "freeper" who goes by the name "vooch", is of an article written by one Max Sinclair, and supposedly having it's origins at Columbia University. Now googling "Max Sinclair Columbia University" brings up for links to that same article on sites like Free Republic and But googling "Max Sinclair Kosovo" brings up a bunch of links to another of our old "friends", this time from the "left": Seems Max (whom I've as of this writing been able to find absolutely nothing about other than that) contributed about a half dozen plus articles to TENC (another reliable, objective source for analysis of Balkan activities, for sure!) back in the late 90's-early 2000's.

In any case, the Sinclair "article", a barely coherent piece of nonsense entitled "WAR CRIMES OF THE KLA AGAINST ALBANIAN LOYALISTS" (another google search that gave me no direct hits), evidently tries to accuse the KLA of engineering the whole Kosovar Albanian refugee crisis, in large part by ordering people out of their homes en masse at various and sundry times. Here's one particularly choice piece from that "article":

The tide of KLA induced refugees grew until it reached 160,000 as described by Lirak Qelaj. Qelaj acted in part as an information officer for Commander Remi and one of his jobs was to film the plight of displaced Albanian civilians with a video camera. Qelaj “disclosed that it was KLA advice, rather than Serbian deportations, which led some of the hundreds of thousands of Albanians to leave Kosovo” as reported by Jonathan Steele of the Guardian on June 30th.

Now contrast that with what the original whole of the article that cobbled "passage" came from from said:

"He also disclosed that it was KLA advice, rather than Serbian deportations,
which led some of the hundreds of thousands of Albanians to leave Kosovo.

"Nato bombing did eventually stop the Serbs moving their tanks around, but
it didn't happen at the beginning. The Serbs used 30 tanks in an operation
against us at Bradesh about a week after the bombing started. At that time
Nato was concentrating on hitting buildings and other fixed structures."

He denied that there was any direct air support for the KLA from Nato. The
Bradesh attack forced the ethnic Albanian force further back into the
hills. They had already had to give ground on the first day of the air

Mr Qelaj was based in the Lap region to the north of Podujevo, close to the
province's border with the rest of Serbia. Straddling the main road between
Kosovo and Serbia, it was heavily guarded by the Yugoslav army. He acted in
part as an information officer and one of his jobs was to film the plight
of displaced Albanian civilians with a video camera.

In one episode, around 160,000 displaced people were stranded near the
village of Kolic on the east side of the Pristina-Podujevo road. Once the
KLA had no more flour to give them "we urged the people to go on to the
main road and start walking to Pristina. We thought that if the Serbs had
lots of witnesses, it would be safer for the people."

The Serbs kept these ethnic Albanians camped on the road for two days, he
said: "Men were separated from women and we later found 80 bodies near
Kolic." Where were these bodies now? "We buried them in the mountains."

Later, about a month into the air raids, when the Serbs launched a new
offensive from Bajgora in the north of the Lap region, the KLA urged
another crowd hiding in the woods and numbering almost 60,000 to leave for
Macedonia and Albania. "We could no longer protect them," he said. "We had
to withdraw ourselves."

Interesting how Sinclair left out a few "little" details, and rearranged the reason that the KLA advised (not ordered) people to get out of a given area was because they could not guarantee that they would be able to protect Albanians living there from Serb troops and paramilitaries. Or that it was Serb forces, not the KLA, that forced the 160,000 refugees Sinclair mentions above to camp out in the open and in the cold, on a road, for two days, and that they KLA urged them to move towards Prishtina because they had run out of food to give them, and felt they stood a better chance against the Serbian forces if they were in the open, in a large group where the Serbs knew there would be witnesses should they try anything. Of course, Sinclair saw it a bit differently:

In Remi’s zone of operations alone, the KLA expelled 220,000 Albanians. This is keeping with the pattern Remi established prior to the bombing. Albanians were only worthy of decent treatment if they were actively supporting the KLA. Those who stood on the sidelines were to be used for propaganda purposes or worse.

One need only read in context the original piece to see both how ridiculous and how crass (both hallmarks of the Serb National(Social)ists and their supporters) this statement is. Urging people to abandon an area where they are in danger and to move to safe (or at least safer) territory is seen as "expelling" them (there is no objective evidence that Remi did any such thing before the bombing started, either), rather than a sensible attempt to save lives. Documenting on film the resulting migrations necessitated by the threat of assaults on villages by Serb forces is labeled as using people "for propaganda purposes or worse", rather than to document the results of the Serbian government's attempts to ethnically cleanse Kosova of it's Albanians. Further, there is nothing to suggest that the people in question were against the KLA or did not "actively support" them, and most certianly nothing to suggest that they were in any way loyal to Belgrade. And as civilians, well, usually by definition, "standing on the sidelines" in a conflict is what civilians do. But none of these facts matters to people like Sinclair, or the "freepers"....or La Julia, for that matter.


Fran├žois said...

This post is so good that I am saving it permanently here:
Of course no one could believe that the Kosovars fled their defenders or that they left their country, the enemy's main war aim, for mere propaganda purposes.
But there are always gullible people and No Serb Lie must be Left Behind.

Albiqete said...

Seriously this is a great post and should be published somewhere to show the way "Armiqt" manipulate the facts. I congratulate you peshkatari for the fine work. Lately I have very little time to post but I have made a habit to pass by your site. Again Congratulation

Albiqete said...

Here is a Wholeseler of lies

Anonymous said...

This is great! I am glad finally someone tears these liars' insidious propaganda to pieces. They are great at twisting, manipulating and taking things out of context. Frankly, those are their only tools for if they tried to show the truth they'd only have blood on their hands!