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22 Apr, 2019 23:57

When ‘threatened’ media cheer arrests & bombing of journalists on ‘wrong’ side

When ‘threatened’ media cheer arrests & bombing of journalists on ‘wrong’ side

Even as journalists in the West claim to be under attack, they mock and deride their jailed colleague Julian Assange – and forget they applauded the US bombing of their colleagues in Serbia exactly 20 years ago.

Rather than apologize for years of frankly fraudulent“bombshell” reporting flogging the bogus ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theory, the mainstream US media have chosen to claim they are the real victims here, citing a Reporters Without Borders (RSF) report pointing the finger at US President Donald Trump for creating a “climate of fear.”

“It's never been a more dangerous time to be a journalist, and press freedom has never been under greater attack than it is now,” Rebecca Vincent, head of the UK bureau of RSF, told CNN.

Where were these paladins of press freedom when a NATO missile destroyed the building of Radio-Television Serbia (RTS) on April 23, 1999, killing 16 staff members and injuring another 16? Funny you should ask.

On the night of the bombing – April 22 in the US – the Overseas Press Club was hosting its 60th annual awards dinner, and cheering the speech by US diplomat Richard Holbrooke, who praised their role in the NATO war against Yugoslavia that had been going on for a month by that point.

In the speech, Holbrooke praised the bombing of RTS as “an enormously important and, I think, positive development.” He said CNN executive Eason Jordan had personally informed him of the strike, adding “I believe everything CNN tells me.”

During that war, CNN had also told its audience that the Yugoslav government was committing “genocide” against the peaceful ethnic Albanians in the Serbian province of Kosovo, and that NATO’s campaign was legitimate and legal. Literally none of this was true. Along with other mainstream Western outlets, CNN parroted NATO’s line that RTS was part of the “command and control” network of the Yugoslav military and an important player in the “propaganda war” on ethnic Albanians, and thereby a legitimate target.

The US-funded UN war crimes tribunal (ICTY) declared the bombing “legally acceptable,”agreeing with NATO that targeting the RTS “for propaganda purposes was an incidental (albeit complementary) aim of its primary goal of disabling the Serbian military command and control system.”

When confronted by some actual reporters in 2004, General Wesley Clark – who commanded the bombing – said he “personally called the CNN reporter and had it set up so that it would be leaked,” arguing that it was the Yugoslav government’s fault the RTS staff died, for not evacuating them from under the NATO bombs.

Also on rt.com If Trump wants to disarm Russia, he should un-recognize Kosovo

Six RTS employees who tried to sue NATO over the bombing at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) were told in 2001 that their case was inadmissible. In 2009, Amnesty International pointed out that no one had been punished for the bombing. Adding insult to injury, the US-backed government installed in Serbia through the 2000 “color revolution” imprisoned RTS general manager Dragoljub Milanovic in 2002, for failing to evacuate the building.

We don’t have to go back 20 years, however, to find examples of journalists embedded with the US establishment and its instruments of power acting like hypocrites while claiming righteous victimhood. Less than two weeks ago, as British police dragged Julian Assange out of the Ecuadorian embassy, a veritable who’s who of Western media divas competed in insulting the WikiLeaks founder and declaring him “not a real journalist.” One wonders if that’s despite of, or because of, WikiLeaks having a record of 100 percent accuracy for everything they’ve published.

Assange is currently languishing in the prison called “British Guantanamo,” awaiting his extradition to the US on charges of hacking classified military and diplomatic documents. Among those documents was “Collateral Murder,” the video of US military helicopters killing two Reuters correspondents in a July 2007 airstrike in Baghdad.

Instead of thanking Assange, mainstream Western journalists are participating in his character assassination with the same kind of zeal with which they cheered Holbrooke’s news about the RTS bombing. After all, in this brave new world they’ve taken upon themselves to create, it matters less what is done than who is doing it to whom.

Nebojsa Malic, RT

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.