BOSNIA: HOW THE STATE DEPARTMENT AND MEDIA
HAVE FAILED AND MISLED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
Special thanks to my "Chicago connection" for sending a videotape
of a public access program, "Broadsides", which was taped on June
6, 1995. Host is Mr. Sherman Skolnick of the Citizens' Committee
to Clean Up the Courts; co-host is Mr. Robert E. Cleveland, an
attorney and associate of Mr. Skolnick. Guests are James Nagle,
an attorney with the law firm of Querry & Harrow, Andrew B.
Spiegel, also an attorney, and Mike Pavlovic, a Serbian-American.
Pardon spelling errors. If you know the correct spellings, please
let me know.
Contact info: Andrew B. Spiegel, PO Box 396, Wheaton, IL 60187
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ANDREW SPIEGEL [continues]:
What's happening now [June 1995] is, the U.N. wants to divide up
Bosnia, to separate Bosnia. To give the Serbs a portion of the
country, the Bosnians a portion of the country...
On what legal basis? You're an expert in International Law. On
what basis is the U.N... I mean, did they pass something in the
General Assembly or the Security Council?
They've passed numerous resolutions in the Security Council.
In other words, dividing up somebody else's sovereignty. It would
be like the United Nations saying, "You know something? Come to
think of it, Indiana should merge with Illinois." I mean, what
right would the United Nations have to tell these people what
they should merge and un-merge?
Well, they're trying to broker a peace. And the fact of the
matter now is that the Republic of Srpska controls 70 percent of
the territory of Bosnia. They control 70 percent not because they
invaded or they occupied it, but because the Serbs were farmers
and owned most of the land. The Muslims worked in the cities. So
they didn't *own* big tracts of land.
The Zepa area: the news media has told us that that was
"ethnically cleansed" -- that it was a *city* that was
"ethnically cleansed" by the Serb army. 40,000 Muslims, the news
media tell us...
And that's a lie? That's a lie they're telling us?
That's a lie: that 40,000 Muslims were forced out of the city of
Zepa. We went to the front lines. We saw Zepa. And it's not a
city, it's not even what they call a town. It's a tiny village.
The Zepa *area*: there are 4 or 5 Muslim villages. The total
Muslim population there, in those villages, today, is
approximately 6 thousand. And they're still living there!
Mike, from your standpoint, what has the American media and the
American State Department done in failing the American people?
(Some of us go even one step further and say they have *lied* to
the American people.) But what is it that has happened?
The biggest problem that we have with media in America and
American government: that they involve over there and they don't
want to solve the problem. *I* believe myself that we can solve
the problem without killing. Every day: killing and killing and
killing. We can stop this. And because of *that* reason, America
should negotiate. Sit around table with President Karadzic and we
come to some solution. I know one thing: when we want to make
some deal, we negotiate. And negotiate and negotiate.
Does *our* President Clinton want peace over there? Or let me put
it as a cynical question: do they need a war there to divert from
domestic problems? (Of which we can spend the whole hour talking
about *that*: Whitewater and the whole list, all the way to the
I don't think that they need that.
President Karadzic faxed this peace offer to President Clinton
April 22nd. There was no response. *I* faxed it to President
Clinton again on May 25th. There was no response. Jim talked to
the man at the Bosnia desk of the State Department -- when was
that? May 25th?
This was the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. The news stories
were just coming back that the Serbs in Bosnia were holding U.N.
hostages. And I asked him if he was aware of the letter from
President Karadzic proposing a permanent peace. And I don't want
to say I was stonewalled, but the impression that *I* was left
with was that this individual was more in touch with getting home
for a picnic than he was with...
So in other words, the State Department and the White House did
not treat you like "semi-diplomats", like a "Jimmy Carter type"
that'd make peace over there. In other words, your peace mission
was not encouraged?
Obviously Jimmy Carter is a former president of the United
States. We're just private citizens, going over there on our own
time, on our own dime, without being paid, to try to offer a
solution that hasn't been brought forth before to bring peace to
Let me ask a question that puzzles me: you helped President
Karadzic write this letter of April 22nd wherein he tells
President Clinton he wants peace. Is that right?
And it was sent on that same day to President Clinton.
Which was a bad day. I'll tell you why. But go ahead.
Well, aside from that. Now you must know that, in my opinion,
there isn't anything that goes on in this country that the CIA or
some intelligence organization in this country knows about. And
if you were over there and you met with the president of this
country and he wrote such a letter -- did they ever ask you when
you came back about anything? Like a de-briefing or what happened
No, we weren't ever de-briefed. And obviously, we met with the
president [of Srpska], we met with his cabinet, we met with the
leaders of the military. We sat down. We ate with these people.
We talked with them. And, if nothing else, I would at least
expect *someone* from the State Department to at least sit down
with us, to pick our brains to find out what these people were
What's your explanation why there was no de-briefing? Nobody,
when you came back, asked you "what" or "when"?
Not only did they not ask us...
Did you make some effort to contact these people?
We made a substantial amount of effort. In fact...
What? You wrote or faxed the State Department and the White
Yeah. In fact, we faxed our complete story of our delegation to
Dave Merrick(sp?) of ABC News. (He's the Nightline reporter that
covers Bosnia.) We faxed it to his home and to his office.
And what happened?
We faxed it to CNN Live. No response.
We faxed it to WBBM: News Radio 78, Chicago. No response.
We faxed it to the Chicago Tribune, the reporter that wrote one
of the stories that was just in the paper about the Bosnian
crisis. No response.
The only one that wrote about it was the suburban paper, the
Daily Herald. Right?
The Daily Herald has covered it. The Palatine Countryside has
covered it. The Glen Ellyn News has covered it. The Quincy
What explanation have you formed, from trying to deal with them:
faxing them, talking with them? What is your opinion as to why
they gave you the cold shoulder?
My opinion is this: people at the State Department say Karadzic
has lied so many times before that we can't trust him. And my
response to that is, before we commit 25 thousand, 50 thousand
eighteen to nineteen-year-old boys over there, I think we owe it
to them and their families to at least go over there and address
the letter where he's discussing peace.
In terms of Karadzic "lying" to these people: I think that the
U.S. and other countries are under the mistaken impression that
Karadzic is a dictator. I think the U.S. government has dealt
with him and expected that he has the final say in everything.
But what they don't, maybe, not realize is that Karadzic has a
parliament, he has a vice-president, and that he does not have
the final say.
[...to be continued...]