BFP Exclusive- The Southeast European Times: The US Military Propaganda Operation in the Balkans

The Cracks in the US-Balkan Imperial Enterprise Are Already Showing

Under the innocuous and neutrally-sounding name of the web-based newspaper Southeast European Times, the US military is running a large propaganda operation in the Balkans. Its aim is to distort and twist the media interpretation of the political, economic and social events in order to make it fit with the interests of the US-NATO military industrial complex in this part of the world.

The Southeast European Times presents itself as "a news and information website covering the Balkans featuring current events, business, diplomacy, film, tourism, sports and science".[1] It claims that its goal is to "offer accurate, balanced and forward-looking coverage of developments in Southeast Europe". [2]

However, its coverage is neither accurate nor balanced and it is forward-looking only in the sense of helping make the Balkans even more under the thumb of the US and its allies in NATO. As can be expected, it whitewashes the mission of its main financial sponsor, the US military's European command (EUCOM), claiming that EUCOM's purpose is to "promote stability, cooperation, and prosperity in the region".

The truth, alas, is exactly the opposite. The presence of the large contingents of the US military in Europe, especially since the fall of the Berlin Wall, has stunted the independent European political and economic development and prevented the formation of a politically and economically unified continent, one Europe "from the Atlantic to the Urals", which is an age-old dream of many Europeans, but which goes against the interests of the Anglo-American banking and industrial war machine.

Instead of helping cooperation and stability, the US military, hiding behind the protection of extraterritoriality, has colonized Europe with its network of military bases and intelligence structures and severely punished all those political and economic actors who tried to emancipate Europe from the US tutelage. The secret terror operations by the Gladio networks in almost all European countries offer ample proof of that.

I first became aware of the existence of the Southeast European Times in 2009 when one of their journalists contacted me for a commentary on the Russian presence in Montenegro. At the same time, obviously having heard of my status as a geopolitical analyst, he also offered me to become his source of information on Montenegro. When I received the questions, I was surprised by the wealth of concrete information on the Montenegrin-Russian relations and the questions' general drift toward portraying the government of Russia and its officials in a negative light. When I replied with what I thought was a fair and objective assessment of the situation which pointed out both the advantages and disadvantages of the Russian involvement and asked to authorize the article before the publication, the journalist got upset and refused to let me do so.

In the end, my commentary was shortened, the gist of its main points remaining, and I never heard from the journalist again, even though he had promised to contact me frequently. In fact, I heard neither from him nor from his colleagues, except once for a brief statement on the Montenegrin EU integrations. And yet, during this same period of time, the analysts affiliated with the US-supported NGOs as well as the officials of the US-puppet government of Montenegro have been cited hundreds of times.

For the sake of closer analysis, let's for instance take a recent article having to do with one of the most important geopolitical goals of the US Balkan foreign policy: the imposition of NATO membership on all the Balkan countries.

On November 20, 2014, the Southeast European Times correspondent from the Montenegrin capital Podgorica, Drazen Remikovic published an article entitled "NATO praises Montenegro military reforms". [3] This article is nothing but an one-sided and biased account of the Montenegro-NATO relations.

First of all, it says nothing at all about the wide public opposition to NATO membership. Secondly, it cites only two sources. The first source is the official spokeswoman of the Montenegrin Ministry of Defense and the second is Aleksandar Dedovic, former US-affiliated military specialist from the Afghan and Iraq wars, now the director of the NGO Alpha Centre, whose programs are in part funded by the US Embassy and the NATO's Department of Public Diplomacy. Dedovic is known as one of the foremost advocates of the Montenegrin NATO membership. However, in the article, his NGO is presented solely as dealing with general "security issues", thus obscuring from the readers Dedovic's real allegiances.

Moreover, at the very end of the article, the author engages in yet another attempt to manipulate his audience. He cites the opinion survey from March 2014 (more than eight months ago) which shows that supposedly 46 percent of the Montenegrin population supports NATO membership. However, nowhere does he inform his readers that this opinion survey was paid for by the government of Montenegro (which aggressively campaigns for NATO membership) and that there have been several opinion surveys completed since March by reputable public opinion pollsters which show a much lower level of public support (around 35 percent).

This article is just one example of the general paradigm of the Southeast European Times brand of journalism. Take any article, be it on Serbia, Moldova or Ukraine, and you will find the same: the choice of US-NATO affiliated sources together with corrupt government officials and never any voice of dissent.

This is of course far from the promised "accurate and balanced" treatment, but it is very revealing of the way the US military is promoting peace and stability in the Balkans. Considering the amount of their outright lies and covert destabilization campaigns, it is no wonder that the cracks in their Balkan imperial enterprise are already showing.

I think it is safe to say that no amount of propaganda, whether through the Southeast European Times or other similar well-financed media outlets, will be able to cover up the truth from the Balkan peoples for much longer. However, it will take the appearance of a new and appropriate political leadership for them to start resisting and taking their countries back from the claws of a militarized US-NATO Empire.

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Filip Kovacevic, Boiling Frogs Post contributing author and analyst, is a geopolitical author, university professor and the chairman of the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro. He received his BA and PhD in political science in the US and was a visiting professor at St. Petersburg State University in Russia for two years. He is the author of seven books, dozens of academic articles. He has been invited to lecture throughout the EU, Balkans, ex-USSR and the US. He currently resides in San Francisco, and can be contacted at fk1917@yahoo.com

Notes:

1. www.setimes.com

2. http://www.setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/en_GB/document/setimes/footer/about/about

3. http://www.setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/en_GB/features/setimes/features/2014/11/20/feature-01

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