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September 1994.

Voice of America - a Croat PR?

Pamela Taylor
Voice Of America

Dear Pamela Taylor:

I have received the text of your program on Dubrovnik. The Voice of America has equaled Hitler's Radio. The death and resurrection of Dubrovnik are inventions: The Serbian Orthodox Church and Library received only slight shrapnel damage, despite Serbian claims that they were destroyed.(1) To most foreign tourists, Dubrovnik has been so successfully repaired as to give credence to Serbian claims that not all that much damage was done in the first place. These inventions, I'm sure, are not yours, but were concocted by the propaganda machine of your hosts. Was VOA lobbied by Ruder Finn or other PR firms? (2) Were you personally lobbied? By whom? When? You don't seriously believe the US State Department? When are you going to broadcast a retraction?

The same disinformation about Dubrovnik appeared in the German magazine der Spiegel, parroting Chancellor Kohl's Serbophobia. It also appears in letters to the editors of the San Francisco Examiner, Arizona Republican, New York Times.... In Travel & Leisure, September 1993, Martin Fletcher kicked off the "buy a tile" scam. Who wrote your text about "pink" tiles? Dubrovnik's fresh tiles in March 1992 were red. When did they turn pink? Elephants are pink.

What art historians who knew Dubrovnik before the war have you consulted to verify that what you were shown is restored or original? Try Curcic (Princeton). Go back with experts, and listen to some neutral testimony. You have broadcast the lies of a fascist government.

What is the name of the director of the restoration project? Did you interview him? Who were his workers and how many were they? What companies had the contract? Weren't you invited to witness the restoration in progress? Have you ordered any commercial satellite photos to ascertain the condition of Dubrovnik before, during, and after the "destruction"? What are the dates of the restoration work?

"Serb irregulars lobbed grenades" ? You did not write that text. A Croatian hand did. -- Do you know what English grenade means or Serbo-Croatian "granata"? The Serbo-Croatian translation of English grenade is rucna bomba. One indeed "lobs", or tosses, a grenade -- by hand; it's a hand grenade, get it? But the English translation of Serbo-Croatian granata is (artillery) shell.

The Stari grad "Old City" was never demolished, never burnt, never targeted, never restored. If the buildings "hardest hit" were the Synagogue and the Franciscan Monastery, that means the Old City was barely scratched. In their preparations for this PR stunt Croatian forces fortified the Franciscan Monastery with thousands of sandbags. Croatia planned the war. Before any fighting began Croatian units had turned this Domus Dei into a machine gun nest and mortar emplacement. The monastery cupola was perforated by a non-explosive round; the hole was patched by March 1992, when I saw it. No structural damage was done. Whose shell was it, Yugoslav navy or Croatian? Where are entry and exit points? The monastery lies between the battle stations held by Tudjman's Black Shirts and Paraga's HOS (Croatian Armed Forces). Damage to neighboring buildings was caused by fighting between those rival Croatian forces and the local police (MUP). The army, contrary to the paid propaganda, was not a Serbian army. The admiral in command was Stane Brovet, a Slovene. And it certainly was not the army of the Republic of Serbia. There was no such army then.

Croatia instigated the fighting around Dubrovnik, revealing the depths to which fascism can sink, the plan being to provoke the Yugoslav army into annihilating the Pearl of the Adriatic and trigger an indignant attack by "the West" on the Serbs. UNICEF condemned Croatia for preventing civilians from departing, holding them hostage, wanting them dead for their dirty PsyOps.

Your text falsely states that the library of the Serbian Orthodox church was only slightly damaged, and by artillery. These two fibs are probably not yours.

The Serbian Orthodox Library was gutted. On 25 March 1992 I filmed the empty shell. It was not hit by naval artillery. Adjacent buildings were unscathed. The interior was blown up and fire bombed by Croatian forces on the spot. The ruin was shown on Ted Koppel's Night Line, but by omission or design not identified. Viewers were left to draw their own conclusions.

Do you read Serbo-Croatian? Is the sign still there that I filmed on 25 March 1992, pointing to the building, across the way from the Serb church, it read "IKONE - ICONS"? Did they show you the unscathed icons and manuscripts from the undamaged library and the catalogue of holdings before the war? What building represented as such, if any, were you shown? Were the manuscripts and icons of the Serbian Orthodox Library destroyed or plundered? If the latter, where is the treasure now located? Has the building facing the facade of the Serbian church been rebuilt since 25 March 1992? If so, what are the dates of its reconstruction?

The Synagogue was not "heavily damaged". Damage to the Synagogue was infinitesimal, one small window pane broken by concussion, not by any projectile. Has that pane been replaced? Were you shown any ruined building as purportedly the Synagogue?

Was it across the street from the Serbian Orthodox Church? If so, you were shown the Library of the Serbian Orthodox Church. What was the damage to the roof of the Synagogue?

You didn't check out any of these details and just slipped your hosts' PR releases into your brief case when you thanked them for the nice lunch and trip to Ragusa(3) resurrecta.

The mayor wants no photo exhibit because the ample photographic record of the bangbang refutes his destruction story. To support the lie the mayor would need to be Spielberg and Hitchcock in one. The Croatian American weekly Zajednicar in fact printed a picture of another street in another town, destroyed in a battle started by Croatian terrorists to force out or kill off the local Serbs.

Move over, Janet Cook, for Pamela Taylor.

Yours truly,
J. Peter Maher, Ph. D.
Professor Emeritus Chicago IL

ENDNOTES: 1. Shrapnel is not any fragment, but a specific type of anti-personnel artillery shell that sprays the target, men, not buildings, with shot. (Named after its inventor General Henry Shrapnel (1761-1842) during the Peninsular War.)

2. Buy a Tile Fund, Rebuild Dubrovnik Fun, c/o Ruder Finn, 1615 M St NW, Suite 220, Washington DC 20036.

3. Latin name for Dubrovnik.

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First posted: December 2, 1997
Last revised: May 31, 2004