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Being Walter Duranty

The War Street Journal Invents Kosovo


Lies about Kosovo are nothing new. For almost two decades now, there’s hardly been any truth in reports that have reached the Western public concerning this southern province of Serbia now posing as an independent state. The 1988 constitutional reforms designed to rein in Albanian separatism were presented as “stripping against Ottoman invaders was routinely claimed to have been a call for hatred, nationalism, or violence – but never actually quoted. And with good reason – because it was nothing of the sort.

Lies ramped up in 1998, as the terrorist gang calling itself the “Kosovo Liberation Army” (KLA) emerged, targeting police officers, postal workers and fellow Albanians who would not “contribute” to the cause. Media in the West claimed the KLA were “freedom fighters” from Serbian “repression.” In reality, they were fighting for an independent Kosovo ruled by Albanians, and eventually an “ethnic Albania” encompassing Albania proper, and parts of Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece.Events from 1998-99 ought to be familiar to the readers of this column: the Rambouillet “peace plan,” the Racak “massacre,” and finally the “humanitarian bombing” of Serbia that went on for 78 days. Lies piled up sky-high: hundreds of thousands of Albanians supposedly shot, or raped, or burned in ovens, or thrown down mine shafts… Each and every one was later revealed as complete and utter fabrication, only to be shrugged off by their authors, who would go on to make new claims shortly thereafter.

The “peace” that came in June 1999 was nothing of the sort; hundreds of thousands of Kosovo’s Serbs, Roma, Turks, and other communities fled for their lives as the triumphant KLA took over under NATO’s aegis. Thousands of homes put to the torch, ancient churches and monasteries dynamited, entire families massacred, everyone else’s property looted – these grisly facts of “liberation” were dismissed in the West as “revenge attacks.” Revenge for what?

Paradise Imagined

The Wall Street Journal’s opinion pages can be considered the norm when it came to the Western media coverage of Kosovo. Serbs were always and ever evil, wrong and deserving of everything that happened to them. Albanians were virtuous victims who deserved “freedom” and statehood, laws and logic be damned. Never mind that it was WSJ’s Daniel Pearl who criticized the propaganda about “genocide” in Kosovo and debunked the Trepca Mine myth. The cognitive dissonance between the news and opinion in the “War Street Journal” has been a fact for quite some time.

It is not surprising, therefore, that WSJ’s travel writer Stan Sesser chose to follow the editorial page’s tack, rather than the Pearl’s. Sesser’s June 27 article, titled “Europe’s Unlikely Charmer,” is about as facetious as Kosovo stories get, and par for the course at WSJ.

Only someone who knows nothing about the region could ever describe Kosovo as a “paradise,” affordable or not. Yet that is how Sesser begins his story.

Sure, the streets may be filthy and the towns squalid, but everything is just hunky-dory in the “newest nation on Earth.” He leaves out the fact that Kosovo’s recent declaration of independence is hotly disputed by Serbia and another 150-odd nations, choosing instead to say that Kosovo “is currently recognized by more than 40 countries, including the U.S. and most European Union members.” Well, hey, if Washington and Brussels say something is OK, that’s surely so!

Sesser says he never once felt threatened – once he was identified as an American, anyway. Had he been identified as a Serb, or a Slav of any kind, Sesser would have been fortunate to escape the fate of Valentin Krumov. This Bulgarian UN employee was shot in broad daylight on a Pristina street for giving the time to an Albanian bystander in “what sounded like Serbian.”

Walter Duranty was a US journalist who served Joseph Stalin as an agent of influence, whitewashing Stalin’s crimes, from the repression of dissidents to the Ukrainian famine.


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