This piece also appears on today's Guardian's Comment Is Free site.
How much do you know about Slobodan Milosevic, the recently deceased former pPresident of Yugoslavia?
Here's 10 statements that we've all heard many times in the western media these last seven days. But which of them are true and which are false?
1 Milosevic was a dictator.2 He was a Serb nationalist.3 He was responsible for the break-up of Yugoslavia.4 His 1989 speech at Kosovo Polje was a nationalist rant that inflamed ancient ethnic hatreds.5 He started four wars.6 He was responsible for the massacre at Srebrenica7 He ordered a systematic programme of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.8 He was toppled by a "democratic revolution" in 2000.9 The trial at The Hague had produced evidence of his guilt.10 He will be mourned by "only a few".
How many do you think are true? Seven, eight- all of them?The answer is zero. Every single statement is untrue.
Milosevic the dictator? He won three democratic elections in a country where 21 political parties freely operated.
Milosevic the Serb nationalist? www.slobodan-milosevic.org has an exhaustive collection of his speeches going back to the mid 80s and, although you'll find much pro-Yugoslavia socialist sentiment in them, you won't find any Serb nationalism.
Milosevic, the man responsible for the break-up of Yugoslavia? This too is false; he was the most pro-Yugoslav of all the leaders of the republics and was not even leader of Yugoslavia when Slovenia and Croatia became the first republics to break away.
Milosevic, the inciter of ancient ethnic hatred at Kosovo Polje? All you have to do is to read the English translation of the speech. "More and more successfully citizens of different nationalities, different faiths and races are living together. Socialism, in particular, being a progressive and just democratic society, should not allow people to be divided by national or religious identity" - if that's a Serb nationalist rant then my name is Jose Mourinho.
Milosevic the warmonger? He wasn't even in charge of Yugoslavia when Slovenia and Croatia broke away, and the conflict in Bosnia was caused by the US ambassador Warren Zimmerman's last-minute intervention to persuade the Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic to renege from the 1992 Lisbon agreement, which provided for the peaceful division of the republic. As for the Kosovo conflict, we already have British defence minister Lord Gilbert's admission that at the Rambouillet peace conference the west deliberately produced a document whose terms were so onerous that they knew the Yugoslav delegation would not be able to sign it.
Milosevic and Srebrencia? An official and exhaustive Dutch government report found no evidence of political or military liaison with Belgrade concerning the killings.
Milosevic and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo? General Geza Farkas, the ethnic Hungarian former head of security in the Yugoslav army, testified at The Hague that, far from ordering ethnic cleansing, Milosevic issued all Yugoslav army commanders in Kosovo with a document explaining international humanitarian law and ordered them to disobey any orders which contradicted it in their military conflict with the western-backed terror group the Kosovan Liberation Army.
Milosevic, the leader who was toppled by a "democratic revolution" in 2000? Again, a fiction. Milosevic lost power in a coup d'état, orchestrated and funded by the US, who bankrolled the anti-socialist opposition to the tune of $70m. The western-backed candidate, Kostunica, scored 48.96% in the first round of voting, but, rather than wait for the second round, his supporters, with the west's backing, decided to take the law into their own hands and storm parliament.
Milosevic, the man who The Hague tribunal had proved was a war criminal? Again, untrue. By the time of his death, over 100 prosecution witnesses had been called at the trial, not one of them testified that Milosevic had ordered war crimes. Justice was certainly denied by Milosevic's untimely death - but not in the way the New World Order would like us to believe.
Finally, Milosevic, the man whom few will mourn? There can be very few people who believe this lie after the huge turnout for Milosevic's funeral ceremony in Belgrade on Saturday. Milosevic was mourned not just in Serbia, but throughout the world: in China, Africa, Asia and South America, as a hero of the anti-imperialist, anti-globalist struggle. "I say: rest in peace my friend, Milosevic; be happy. You surpassed this cruel, corrupt, hypocritic world" - the tribute not of a Serb nationalist, but Sridhara Senarath of Colombo, Sri Lanka, as posted on the BBC Newsblog. When the BBC said: "Few will mourn Milosevic" - it should really have said, "Few will mourn Milosevic in the west's corridors of power."
If you tell a lie enough times, it becomes accepted as truth, said Joseph Goebbels. In its coverage of the death of Milosevic, the western media has done the Nazi minister of propaganda proud. In order to cover up the Nato powers' complicity in the criminal dismemberment of Yugoslavia - and the war crimes committed in the Balkans, the west's media has not been content to tell just the one lie about Slobbo, but 10.
NEIL CLARK 2006