Truth in Media Global Watch Bulletins

logolittle.jpg (9114 bytes)

TiM GW Bulletin 2000/10-7

Oct. 19, 2000

TiM Poll: Has Kostunica Changed Already?

New "Rockford Files:" A Grand Deception

Constitutional Lawyer Who Doesn’t Respect the Constitution; Croat President to Serbia: Cough Up and Pay Up!; Why 10,000 Nis Gypsies Voted for Kostunica; A Special TiM Survey: Prices in Yugoslavia Triple Since the Election



Chicago                  1. New “Rockford Files:” A Grand Deception

Belgrade                2. Constitutional Lawyer Who Doesn’t Respect the Constitution

Budapest               3. Croat President to Serbia: Cough Up and Pay Up!

Phoenix                  4. TiM Poll: Has Kostunica Changed Already?

Nis                          5. Why 10,000 Nis Gypsies Voted for Kostunica  

Belgrade                6. Prices in Serbia Triple: New Government Blames the Old Oct. 22, 2000

Ottawa                   7. Re. New “Rockford Files:” “I Am with You All the Way”Oct. 22, 2000

Zemun                    8. Re. New “Rockford Files:” Serb Reader Questions Our SanityOct. 22, 2000


1. New “Rockford Files:” A Grand Deception

CHICAGO, Oct. 18 - The popular 1970s James Garner TV series, “Rockford Files,” has resurfaced in a new ignominious edition at the Rockford Institute of Chicago (okay, Rockford, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, if you want to split hairs).  But instead of the tough and smart private investigator portrayed by Garner, this episode, titled “A Grand Deception” in the TiM version, stars scholars with PhD’s from respected academic institutions, who have turned out to be overzealous supporters of the new Yugoslav president, Vojislav Kostunica.

Remember the infamous Bill Clinton January 1998 videotaped statement - “I did not have sex with that woman?”  Remember his subsequent retraction thereof and apologies to his family, to the nation and to the world?  Well, can you imagine a media outfit running the original news clip after Clinton’s reversal, pretending to be current news? 

Perhaps if Herr Goebbels were in charge of it.  Or Slobodan Milosevic’s RTS (state-owned Serb TV).  Or the NATO “lie and deny” news spinners, such as Jamie Shea et. al.  But not if it were a responsible media outfit, right?

Well, that’s basically what Srdja (a.k.a. "Serge") Trifkovic and Tom Fleming, of the Chicago-based Rockford Institute, did when they posted on Oct. 11 at their web site what they claimed to be an “exclusive” article by the new Yugoslav president, headlined “SERBS AND THE WEST: THE ROAD AHEAD” (see

As you saw in the latest TiM Readers Forum (see “SERBIA - You’ve Gone a Bit Crazy!” -, we asked Trifkovic, whom this writer knows very well, the following question:

“Hi, Srdja.  When did Voja (Kostunica) actually write this?  I don't see any references in his piece to current events, so my hunch is it might have been before the elections?  Or maybe even before he had become a DOS candidate?  Or maybe even before that, when he was still the "good old Kostunica?"

If so, why did you not publish the dateline, instead of making it seem as if it was written on Oct. 11, 2000?  Also, why is there a Rockford Institute copyright shown at your web site, if Kostunica did indeed write this - whenever he may have done it?”

We never got a reply.  And no wonder…

For, it turns out the article was an edited version of a presentation Kostunica made on Jan. 25, 2000 at a conference in Belgrade which carried the same theme as the article’s title - “SERBS AND THE WEST,” according to the information we have just received from a TiM reader in Canada.  But as you can see, there is no mention of either the conference or the January date in the above version of the piece.  The Rockford Institute presented Kostunica’s comments as if they were fresh off the press as of Wednesday, Oct. 11. 

Why is that significant?  Because Kostunica of Jan. 25, 2000 and Kostunica of Oct. 11, 2000 are as different as night and day.  They are totally different personalities.  Back in January, Kostunica had not yet started to cavort with proven western quislings, such as Zoran Djindjic, for example, who ran Kostunica's campaign. 

Which is why in this writer’s books, Kostunica of Jan. 25 was a friend and the “good old Kostunica,” as we put it in our letter to Trifkovic. Kostunica of Oct. 11 was a former friend.

The closest Rockford Institute came to telling the full truth about the piece was elsewhere at their web site, where they boasted about the “exclusive” Kostunica article.  After quoting the new Yugoslav president, they said his remark came at a conference “earlier this year” (highlighted in “red” below):



If the 'democracy' in today's post-democratic societies is controlled, then the so-called democracy in the post-communist societies that have been grudgingly allowed into the First World is controlled even more stringently, in fact dictated from the outside," said Yugoslavia's newly-elected president, Vojislav Kostunica, at a conference earlier this year attended by our team (Tom Fleming, Srdja Trifkovic and Chris Check).   Dr. Kostunica warned that "legal forms have special importance in various peace agreements that constitute the pax Americana.  Those agreements introduce into the rule of law everything that is opposed to the rule of law: voluntarism, insecurity, arbitrariness."  For an exclusive insight into the political thinking of the new leader in Belgrade who is also an old friend of The Rockford Institute, click…” ( ).

Amazingly, not only have many gullible Serbs fallen for this Rockford trick, but even Boris Berezovsky’s flagship Moscow daily, “Nezavisimaya Gazeta,” took the bait.  Here’s another boastful comment from the Rockford web site about it:

“President Kostunica's article "Serbs and the West," exclusively posted on this site on October 11, proved to be a real scoop. The latest prominent publication to reprint it, crediting it to us, was Russia's most prominent daily "Nezavisimaya Gazeta" of October 13.  If you can read Russian, press…” (

At that URL, the “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” refers to another event staged by the Rockford Institute in Chicago during the Yugoslav election campaign - on Sep. 9, 2000.  Here’s a part of their announcement about it, which also comes from the Rockford web site (the Kostunica reference was again highlighted in ‘red’ by TiM):

“Saturday, September 9, 2000, 7:30 PM


YUGOSLAV ELECTIONS: End of Serbia’s Agony?

Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, Redwood Drive, Chicago (off JFK, 3 miles from O’Hare)

Presentation will include a videotaped statement by Dr. Vojislav Kostunica, Presidential Candidate of the United Democratic Opposition in Serbia, on the future relations of the future democratic Serbia and the Western world. Presenters will also make special reference to the looming crisis in Montenegro.” (

The Rockford announcement also says that the admission charge of “$20 includes dinner - donations welcome.”

Now, that “videotaped statement” which the Rockford Institute screened on Sep. 9, 2000, wouldn’t happen to be the Kostunica presentation from that Jan. 25, 2000 conference in Belgrade, would it?  And the basis of the alleged Oct. 11 Kostunica article?

If so, you’ve got to hand it to the Rockford folks for their recycling skills.  As to their morals and journalistic ethics, here’s what we said in response to that Canadian TiM reader who told us about Kostunica’s Jan. 25 speech:

“No wonder Srdja (Trifkovic) buttoned up about the whole sordid affair when I questioned him. What they did at the Rockford Institute with that speech-cum-article reeks to high heaven.  In my books, that was GROSSLY UNETHICAL in every respect, not only in a journalistic sense. 

Frankly, I am amazed.  I thought I knew Srdja and Tom (Fleming).  I have had pieces published in the CHRONICLES, too, as you probably know.  Had I known what I know now, I would never have allowed them to run them.” 

For those TiM readers who are not familiar with Trifkovic and Fleming, here’s what they say about themselves at the Rockford web site:

“Thomas FLEMING - Editor, Chronicles Magazine, PhD in Classics, University of North Carolina, President of The Rockford Institute, Author, The Politics of Human Nature and The Conservative Movement, Taught at several universities in the U.S. and Italy, Mencken Prize for Journalism laureate, Founder and past president, The John Randolph Club, Widely published author, essayist and social critic.

Srdja TRIFKOVIC - Executive Director, The Lord Byron Foundation, BA, University of Sussex; PhD, University of Southampton, Foreign Editor, Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, BBC, London, 1980-86; Voice of America, Washington, 1986-87, Belgrade correspondent, U.S. News & World Report, 1989-91, Visiting Scholar, Hoover Institution, California, 1991-92, Chief of cabinet for Prince Alexander (1992), Real estate inside salesman and University of St Thomas, Houston (1996-97), Rose Hill College, Aiken, SC (1997-99), Political consultancy (Bosnian Serb Republic-Karadzic 1993-95, and Plavsic 1997-98), Public affairs analyst specializing in E. Europe and the Balkans.”

(TiM Ed.: The TiM editor has filled in the above items highlighted in “red” which Trifkovic has chosen to omit from his CV).

As to the Rockford Institute, here’s what its web site says about its values and what it stands for:

“The defense of the family;

The promotion of liberty;

The decentralization of political and economic life;

The celebration of the literary and artistic inheritance of our civilization;

The adherence to Truth, revealed through Scripture and tradition.”

Feel free to let us know how well you think the Rockford Institute has adhered to its core values in the case of their Kostunica piece. 

For our money, with journalistic ethics of such “friendly” media (“the new leader in Belgrade is also an old friend of The Rockford Institute,” according to a quote at its web site), Kostunica doesn’t need any adversarial press.  For, his well-intentioned comments from nine months ago are now also  tarred with the same brush.


2. Constitutional Lawyer Who Doesn’t Respect the Constitution

BELGRADE, Oct. 17 - Throughout the Yugoslav election campaign, sympathetic western media have depicted Vojislav Kostunica, the DOS candidate, as a Serb politician who may be lacking charisma, but who is a constitutional lawyer with strong beliefs in democracy and the rule of law.  Evidently many Serbs bought into this pitch, too.

Kostunica was sworn in on Oct. 7 at a joint session of both chambers of the Yugoslav Federal Parliament held at the Sava Center in Belgrade.  Reading his solemn oath, he said:

"I swear to respect and implement the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the federal laws, to safeguard the sovereignty, independence and integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, to contribute to the exercise of human and civil rights and liberties, and to discharge the rights and duties of president of the Republic honorably and responsibly."

Less than 10 days later, Kostunica broke his oath of office.  He made some remarks about a possible referendum in Montenegro which were unconstitutional, according to a  TiM reader who is also a lawyer in Serbia.

So what did Kostunica say? 

On the eve of his first visit to the secession-minded Montenegro as Yugoslavia’s new president (Oct. 17 - as you could have also seen in the Latest News Flash at our web site), Kostunica said:

"I have always spoken out in favor of a referendum on Montenegro which would show the wishes of the people in each of the two federal entities to live in a common state". He [Kostunica] added that he would "accept and support a referendum in even just one of the two entities, Montenegro."

About which our legal expert in Serbia commented:

“These are tragic and stupid statements. Mr. Kostunica, as the president of Yugoslav federal state, has no right to speak like that. If not as a politician, then as a constitutional lawyer, he should know that the Constitution of a federal state should and can be altered only as provided by the Constitution (TiM Ed.: i.e., not by a referendum).

Concretely, it is provided by articles 139-142 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. All other ways (TiM Ed.: including such referendums) are unconstitutional.”

This source added that he knows of no state whose constitution provides for some of its entities to secede by a simple majority vote.

Kostunica’s stated intent to agree to a referendum in Montenegro, which would violate the Yugoslav Constitution, may have been an act of appeasement to the Milo Djukanovic government that has been signaling now for a long time that its ultimate goal is independence.  But as you saw from our today’s Latest News Flash, the ploy didn’t work.  Kostunica was snubbed by Djukanovic during his Oct. 17 visit.

“Efforts by Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica to form a federal government on Tuesday bogged down as Montenegro's independence-minded leadership refused to sign up to a new administration,” the Agence France Presse reported from Podgorica. 

Djukanovic had made clear to Kostunica his reasons for keeping his distance during the first official meeting of the two leaders, the statement from his office said.  The main reason was Podgorica's belief that the federal elections that brought the new parliament - and Kostunica - to office were in his view illegal (which is what TiM also said - see Toward Another "Red October", Sep 8, 2000  and No Vote Is Better Than Fraud Vote, Sep. 12).  Djukanovic said it cannot join a federal government formed from such polls.

Both leaders remained tight-lipped after the meeting, and Djukanovic's office restricted itself to a terse statement. “The rebuff will come as a blow to Kostunica,” the AFP said.


TiM Ed: All this wrangling about secessions and referendums brought back some old memories to this writer.  During a February 1992 meeting with Warren Zimmermann, former U.S. ambassador to former Yugoslavia, at his office at the U.S. embassy in Belgrade, one of the topics of our  conversation was the idea of a referendum to decide on the secession of the Serbian Krajina from Croatia, and/or on bringing the monarchy back to Serbia.  At the time, the Croatian war had just ended with a so-called Vance peace agreement, which ushered foreign troops under the UN blue helmets for the first time to the Balkans since the end of WW II.

Dr. Milan Babic was president of Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK) back then, the name of the territory the Serb minority in Croatia controlled.  At first a Milosevic man, Babic was starting go show some backbone at the time, balking at the deployment of the UN troops, among his other objections.  So Zimmermann had been urging Milosevic to remove Babic from power (which is what eventually happened).

Anyway, Zimmermann, a Yale graduate, argued vehemently against referendums of any kind - both on whether or not to return the monarchy or on the RSK secession from Croatia.  He said that such direct democracy was a bad idea.  And he cited James Madison in support of that. 

"James Madison once said that referendums are a bad thing, as is all this direct democracy," is a direct Zimmermann quote from this writer’s diary notes.

(If you want to understand why Madison may have said that, check out the TiM article about the Origins of the Electoral College in the U.S.  Basically, he and the other Founding Fathers didn't think much of democracy. Period. Because they didn't trust the masses to make wise decisions.  That's why they created the Electoral College to elect the President, modeling in on the College of Cardinals that elects the Pope).

Yet until such time that their men gained power in Serbia, Washington had been encouraging Djukanovic’s independence ambitions.  So, what's sauce for a goose, evidently isn't sauce for the gander.

But now that Kostunica has become president, it’s a different story.  While he is prepared to violate the U.S. Constitution and allow Montenegro to hold a referendum, the Clinton administration is reportedly AGAINST it, and have let Djukanovic know that.  Two probably reasons for it.

(1) Because they know the referendum would probably fail (see Seventy Percent of Montenegrins Are AGAINST Secession, Sep. 10), and then Montenegro would be PERMANENTLY attached to Yugoslavia - something Washington doesn’t like want to see.

(2) Because this could set a dangerous precedent elsewhere in the world (think of the Basques, Kurds, , Scots, Walloons… etc.).

It is also interesting that the Clinton administration officials have said this week, probably for the same reasons as (2) above, that they would like Kosovo to remain within Yugoslavia (something that the UN Resolution 1244 also provides), but elevate its status to a third constituent republic like Montenegro (rather than just a province). 

This could also help Kostunica save face in light of Kosovo’s de facto partition from Serbia.  But the idea is certain to be opposed by the Kosovo Albanians, who are even more hell bent on independence that is the Djukanovic Montenegro government.

Either way, regardless of who gets elected to the White House on Nov. 7, the President is going to have his hands full in the Balkans, and not just in the Middle East.


3. Croat President to Serbia: Cough Up and Pay Up!

BUDAPEST, Oct. 18 - It didn’t take long for the vultures to start circling over the heads of the new Yugoslav government.  During his two-day visit to Hungary, Croatian President, Stipe Mesic, urged Yugoslavia's new authorities to strengthen democracy, allow war criminals to be brought to justice and to pay war damages, the Agence France Presse reported on Wednesday (Oct. 18).

"For us the war with Serbia is over. Now it is Serbia's turn to answer the questions that interest us," Mesis told reporters in Budapest.

Serbia has to be committed to cooperating with ex-Yugoslav states, and it has to make it clear that it did not see the Serbian minorities beyond its borders as means of conquering foreign territories, he added.

"We cannot speak about normal relations if war criminals who are responsible for the bloodbaths of Vukovar or Srebrenica, are walking free in Serbia," Mesic said. Croatia wants Yugoslav war criminals to be tried individually before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) individually.


TiM Ed.: Way to stir up Kostunica/DOS pot!  Cough up the alleged "war criminals" to the Hague,  and pay up war reparations to Croatia!  Not only is Washington presenting the new Yugoslav government with its diktats, now even its satellites in the Balkans are trying to dictate to Belgrade what it shall do.

Meanwhile, no one is talking about the much more significant amount (about $30 billion) of war reparations that are due to Serbia, as a result of the NATO 1999 bombing.  And to the Bosnian Serb Republic and the Republic of Serb Krajina, because of both the NATO 1995 bombing, and the American-assisted Croat-Muslim "Storm" operation the same year, in which over 250,000 Serbs were driven from their ancestral homes.

Will the real Kostunica please stand up again, and bring up these issues, instead of sweeping them under the rug, as he is supposedly bringing Serbia "back to Europe" - evidently with a noose around her neck?


4. TiM Poll: Has Kostunica Changed Already?

PHOENIX, Oct. 18 - Well, now that two weeks have elapsed since the Serb “revolution” on Oct. 5, it may be a good time to take a pulse of the TiM readers’ opinions on how the new Yugoslav president has done so far in keeping his election promises.  If you wish to participate in the latest TiM poll, just click here, or on the TiM poll link at our home page.  Here are the survey questions:

Q: During the election campaign, Vojislav Kostunica has vowed he would never let power change him.  Has he kept his promises?

    Yes. He has kept all his promises.

    No. He has reversed himself a few times.

    He has changed only on small issues.

    He has changed on important issues.

    Don't know.

Just remember what we had pleaded before - please do NOT vote more than once.  We depend on the honor and integrity of the TiM readers if we are to bring you some meaningful poll results.


5. Why 10,000 Nis Gypsies Voted for Kostunica

NIS, Oct. 16 - We received an interesting message on Monday (Oct. 16) from the publisher of the popular web site about a curiosity to do with the electoral results in Serbia’s third largest city - Nis.  The comment had the subject line, “Not a Joke!”  Here’s what it said (in translation from Serbian):

“Upon a careful examination of the electoral results in Nis, authorities have determined that the entire Gypsy colony there (some 10,000 votes) voted for Kostunica.

Reporters were intrigued by this disclosure, and decided to visit the Gypsy neighborhoods on Oct. 15.  In an interview with the Gypsy “king” (the head of the colony), the journalists learned that he had ordered all of his subjects to vote for Kostunica.  His reason?  ‘Because he is a good and honest man who has made so many good and positive films about the Gypsies’.”


TiM Ed.: By now, we suspect that many of our Serb readers are rolling with laughter.  Why? Because of a case of mistaken identity.  The person the Gypsy “king” had in mind when he gave the order to vote for Kostunica was (Emir) Kusturica, a famous filmmaker, originally a Bosnian Muslim from Sarajevo who had declared himself a “Yugoslav;” the man who has raked in numerous awards for his movies, including the Golden Palm at the Cannes film festival.  Gypsies were indeed featured in many of Kusturica’s films.

Kostunica - Kusturica… get it? 

So stand by for “Kusturica for president” in the next elections?  Or at the very least, for the next Gypsy “king?”  


6. Prices in Serbia Triple: New Government Blames the Old Oct. 22, 2000

“Masses go hungry in the old system because of shortages.  Masses go hungry in the new system because of prices they cannot afford.” (TiM Bulletin 2000/10-7, Oct. 22, 2000)

BELGRADE, Oct. 22 - This weekend, we received the following article written by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, a Canadian economist who should be no stranger to longtime TiM readers (see "The Natives Are Getting Restless" - Chossudovsky; Fallon - Jan. 30, 1999, among some of his past contributions to TiM).  His Oct. 19 piece was titled “Kostunica Coalition Triples Prices, Blames Milosevic.”  Here are some excerpts from it:

"Immediately after taking the office, the new government shall abolish all types of subsidies. This measure must be implemented without regrets or hesitation, since it will be difficult if not impossible to apply later, in view of the fact that in the meantime strong lobbies may appear and do their best to block such measures... This initial step in economic liberalization must be undertaken as a 'shock therapy' as its radical nature does not leave space for gradualism of any kind." (From the G-17 'Program of Radical economic Reform' )

The Kostunica government has already started to implement deadly IMF 'economic medicine'. The first step consisted in lifting price controls on basic consumer goods, fuel and services. Prices have increased, as much  as three times, causing extreme hardship for Yugoslav working people.

The country had been impoverished by years of economic sanctions, not to mention the IMF reforms applied in 1989-90 before the break-up of federal Yugoslavia. But a system of State subsidies and price controls nonetheless prevented a total collapse in the standard of living, such as occurred in neighboring Bulgaria.

 That system of price controls is now being disbanded by the DOS semi-government on orders of the International Monetary Fund (IMF):

"…When Kostunica supporters forced out most managers in state-owned shops and factories and put their own people in charge, that system of controls collapsed and prices immediately shot up. The cost of cooking oil has more than tripled since last Friday, when Milosevic announced that he was stepping aside... The prices of sugar and cigarettes are about to jump again. After Kostunica's supporters forced out Milosevic-era factory directors, the new ones are moving quickly to make their plants more profitable. ('Los Angeles Times', October 15, 2000)

To make sure the government could not finance subsidies, the G-17 economists forcefully took control of the Central Bank and immediately imposed a freeze on money creation ("printing of money"). This held up the outflow of cash which the government needed to sustain price controls on basic consumer goods.

At first, the DOS announced that 'removing controls' was a great achievement. And the Western media applauded Kostunica's determination, presented in sharp contrast to the supposedly devious Milosevic:

"One of the ways Milosevic tried to buy support among his impoverished people was by using price controls to keep down the cost of basic foods such as milk and cooking oil." ('Los Angeles Times', October 15, 2000).

According to interviews we did with Belgrade residents today, the price of milk has almost doubled from 8 to 14 dinars per liter, largely affecting children; cooking oil has more than tripled, from 13.5 to 55 dinars; sugar has gone from 8 to 45 dinars. These interviews confirm the earlier 'Los Angeles Times' report.

 Shoppers are commenting, "Ahh, democratic prices!" The Serbian use of black humor masks rising anger among ordinary people.   Faced with this simmering rebellion, Kostunica supporters, including the G-17 economists, have performed a dazzling flip:

"The new leadership [meaning Kostunica's DOS coalition] has accused Slobodan Milosevic's supporters of trying to causing chaos on the markets with a sudden liberalisation, which they say could undermine the fledgling democracy. The Serb republic's government, still dominated by Milosevic loyalists, has started allowing the liberalization prices of basic  goods that had been state-controlled. But reformists said the liberalization could cause suffering among a population used to state-fixed prices, and some even called for the government to regain control of part of the market." (AFP 16 October 2000)

The western media, which just a few days earlier congratulated Kostunica for removing price controls, now uncritically trumpets the line that it's all Milosevic's fault:

"'This decision by the Serbian government is a kind of shock therapy,' said Branko Radulovic of the G-17, a group of economists close to the opposition Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS). 'These measures will cause a lot of suffering among the people,' Radulovic warned.

"G-17 director Mladjan Dinkic went further. The move was an 'attempt to create chaos on the market and provoke anger among the people directed at the DOS,' he said.  "'This revenge by the government will not succeed, but if an interim expert government is not formed soon we will have a lot of trouble controlling prices'.”

"To counter this 'sabotage' Dinkic said he favored a 'return to regulations of prices for certain basics as well as imports of cheaper equivalents from abroad to tackle unjustified price hikes.'" (AFP 16 October 2000).

For the full text of Prof Chossudovsky’s article, check out [Emperor's Clothes].


TiM Ed.: Given the charges and countercharges being levied between the new and the old government in Yugoslavia about the economic situation in Serbia, the TiM editor has solicited input on this topic from a number of our contacts in Serbia.  We’ve received numerous replies and comments from our trusted sources in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis, the three largest cities in Serbia.  What follows is a representative summary of their factual input (such as the old versus current prices), and their perceptions of what is really happening and who is really to blame for the soaring prices.

Text Box:  First of all, Prof. Chossudovsky was basically correct when he asserted that the prices in Serbia have about tripled since before the Sep. 24 elections. In our sample of seven basic necessities, the average price hike was 205% (see the table below and the chart).

But his assessment as to who is to blame for that, summed up in his headline, Kostunica Coalition Triples Prices, Blames Milosevic,” isn’t shared by the TiM sources.  Most of the people who wrote back to us did, in fact, blame the old government for the current high prices.  And not just Milosevic; also Vojislav Seselj and his Radical Party ministers who were in coalition with Milosevic’s SPS and the JUL (extreme leftist) party in the old government.

“Until just a day or so ago, the Serbian government (as opposed to the federal Yugoslav government) had monopoly on prices and price controls of essential articles, such as gasoline, food, transportation, etc.,” writes Smiljana Jovetic Weber, one of our Belgrade sources.  “The ministers in charge of price controls were from the Radical Party (whose leader) Vojislav Seselj is one of the vice presidents who signed the decree to lift the price controls.”

Miss Weber explains that prior to the Yugoslav federal elections (on Sep. 24), all these prices of essential articles were under government price controls.  As a result, the producers were forced to sell their products at ludicrously low prices, and farmers were starting to destroy their livestock, since they could not make any money from it.

After last week’s resignation by the Serbian prime minister, Mirko Marjanovic, the “government has practically fallen apart, but DOS has not yet fully taken ontrol of the key ministries,” Miss Weber says.  This is expected to take place next week, as a new transitional government is formed, which will perform the caretaking role until the next Serbian elections that have been called for December 23.

Miss Weber’s opinion was echoed by several other TiM correspondents from Serbia. 

“In my opinion, the prices would have gone through the roof even without the DOS’ involvement,” said Zeljko Veselinovic, a TiM source from Nis who runs southeast Serbia’s popular web site CentNet - 

Mr. Veselinovic, who provided to TiM some of the crucial photographic evidence of the devastating Nis bombings by NATO during last year’s war, also offered an interesting perspective on the Internet pricing in Serbia.  He said an hour’s worth of Internet connect time costs about 20 dinars (about 2/3 of DEM, or $0.30). “Which is about the same as one-quarter of a ‘burek’ (a popular Serb pastry snack),” he adds. 

Why compare the Internet to “burek?”  “Because people have to eat first, then connect to the Net,” Mr. Veselinovic elaborated.  He wasn’t trying to be funny, either, as best as we can tell.

As most Serbs these days, Mr. Veselinovic did complain about the frequent power outages, which obviously affects his Internet more than just an average household.  In fact, just as we were trying to test the above URL, we could raise it - probably for the same reason - no electricity in Nis at the moment.  (So a fair warning to other TiM readers who may try access the CentNet site).

Another TiM reader in Belgrade (who asked to remain anonymous, but whose identity is known to TiM), was outraged, both by the pricing of electricity, and the outages:

“As we speak electricity price has gone up - publicly by only 25 %. But power cuts are daily occurrence. It has never been so acute before. Not even in the last years bombing. It is disturbing to know it started so early this year! In the last few years - we've had that problem only during extremely cold periods - and October can hardly be characterized as such!”

But Dejan Veselinovic, another TiM source from Belgrade whom the TiM reader may recall both from the days of the NATO bombing, and from his recent reports about the Serb “revolution,” saw a silver lining around the pricing cloud:

“However, my local butcher had almost nothing two weeks ago, and today, his shop is overflowing with meat,” Mr. Veselinovic said.  This poses a very philosophical dilemma - keep the artificially low price, and have nothing for everybody, or allow the price to go up as it must, and allow at least some to have it, although that aggravates social differences?”

To which the TiM editor replied:

“This sounds EXACTLY like the Bulgarian experience, as described in Blagovesta Doncheva's letter to TiM (in case you've missed it, you may reread the "Washington Finances Serb Opposition" piece, Item 5).  Here's to abundance of meat in Serbia that few people can afford!

By the way, I don't see a philosophical dilemma here at all, Dejan.  It's a typical globalist lose-lose proposition to the masses.  It's been tried and proven in many countries around the world.  Masses go hungry in the old system because of shortages.  Masses go hungry in the new system because of prices they cannot afford.”

And it’s the same story wherever globalism treads in the world, not just in the newly conquered countries, such as Yugoslavia (for additional example, check out the “Global Affairs” TiM Bulletins Index).


TiM Ed.:  And now, here’s a table or recent Yugoslav price changes that the TiM editor has compiled based on the input from the TiM sources in Serbia:

Table 1











as of Oct. 20, 2000





















Exhange rate - 1 US$:










Exhange rate - 1 DEM:


dinars (had been up to 42 dinars)





Average monthly salary:


DEM (210 dinars)














Qty. Avg.










Salary Buys

Old Price











(per day)


















































Cooking oil




































Public transport












Daily paper

















































Source: Truth in Media, Phoenix Arizona (based on feedback from Serb readers)





7. Re. New “Rockford Files:” “I Am with You All the Way”Oct. 22, 2000

OTTAWA, Canada, Oct. 20 - We received the following letter from Geoffrey Wasteneys, a TiM reader from Canada, who commented both about our recent story “New ‘Rockford Files: Grand Deception” (see Item 1 of this TiM Bulletin), and about Prof. Chossudovsky’s article:

“Re. Trifkovic/Fleming: I am with you all the way…I was glad to get your letter.”

To which the TiM editor replied:

“Glad to hear someone is.  I am not with me myself all the way - on this one.  I was SO disappointed when I figured out that Srdja (Trifkovic) and Tom (fleming) were out to deliberately mislead people.”

Mr. Wasteneys then continued with his comments about Prof. Chossudovsky’s pricing analysis::

“It’s going to be a difficult time.  Chossudovsky's article is frightening.

In contrast to the USSR, it will not be the old Nomenclatura that will get the plums (Plums are a staple product of the country, aren't they?), although there will be some rats. A whole round of nascent Quislings will get the advantageous positions.

That was the way Milosevic got his job in a State Enterprise in the first place, through the influence of his wife's uncle, an old friend of Tito.  Not through real merit.

When we hear of "Government by experts " it is important to know who gauges their expertise. "Quis custodit custodiens"? (“Who will guard the guards?”).

If all subsidies are abolished, who will feed the unemployed?”

Geoffrey Wasteneys, Ottawa, Canada


8. Re. New “Rockford Files:” Serb Reader Questions Our SanityOct. 22, 2000

ZEMUN, Serbia, Oct. 21 - As a contrast to Mr. Wasteney’s remarks, we received the following reaction to the same “Rockford Files” article from Item 1 above.

Dear Bob, Your animosity towards the people who finally overthrew the Milosovic gang is mean spirited and destructive. Your attack against Trifkovic and Fleming is totally negative and nihilistic.

What are you really suggesting with your unfounded criticism of Kostunica--a return of Milosevic and his totally corrupt family? Your so-called "Truth In Media" is rapidly losing credibility among your readers. Cut the negativism and give us some positive thinking for a change.

Instead of standing behind the Serb democrats you seem determined to turn your readers against any movement towards reform. Your line about Serbia's future resting with Russia and Belorussia must make any intelligent reader question your sanity. Belorussia!

For God's sake, give us a break! If you are so determined to seek the truth then print this message. I am confident many of your readers share my views.”

Slobodanka Kos, Zemun, Serbia


To which the TiM editor replied:

“Thanks for your feedback, Ms. Kos.  I find it curious that you have found our truthful and factual criticism of the Trifkovic/Fleming deception "mean spirited and destructive," but have not said anything against the deception itself? 

This reminds me of a summation by a famous trial lawyer who addressed the jury with the following remarks: "And those, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, are the opinions upon which I based my facts."  :-)  [I know, it's not funny, is it, to see oneself in the mirror like that?]

Fear not for my sanity, Ms. Kos, but for those of the Serb ostriches who voted for yet another, tighter, noose around their necks.  I also used to get letters like yours in 1990, when I first criticized Milosevic.  "The more the world changes, the more it is the same."

Enjoy your new "freedom" while it lasts!”


TiM Ed.: The only thing we can now add to the above comments is that far be it from “losing credibility among the TiM readers,” as Ms. Kos, an evident fan of DOS [it even rhymes!  J ] had surmised, our tough stance for the truth and liberty (meaning Serbia’s sovereignty in this case) and against western “demo farce” and interference, seems to have boosted the number of the Truth in Media visitors at our Web site to the levels we have not experienced since end of the NATO bombing last summer.

So we wish to thank all Truth in Media readers, both those who receive our e-mail updates, and those who read the TiM Bulletins on the Net, for their trust and support.  And by all means, keep those letters coming, whether critical or approving, as you see fit. 

Feedback: Home:logolittle.jpg (9114 bytes) Search:

Also, check out... Djurdjevic's WASHINGTON TIMES columns:  "Christianity Under Siege," "Silence Over Persecuted Christians", "Chinese Dragon Wagging Macedonian Tail,"  "An Ugly Double Standard in Kosovo Conflict?", "NATO's Bullyboys", "Kosovo: Why Are We Involved?", and "Ginning Up Another Crisis"

Or Djurdjevic's NEW DAWN magazine columns: "Anti-Christian Crusades," "Blood for Oil, Drugs for Arms", "Washington's Crisis Factory,"  and "New Iron Curtain Over Europe"