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 »  Home  »  Media Watch  »  (E) Lies about VUKOVAR on BBC and reply by B. Gallagher
(E) Lies about VUKOVAR on BBC and reply by B. Gallagher
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  11/25/2001 | Media Watch | Unrated
(E) Lies about VUKOVAR on BBC and reply by B. Gallagher
Misinformation on BBC and reply to the BBC by B. Gallagher 
 
Here is the full correspondence I have had with the BBC, including their 
comments: 
 
 
Thank you for replying. The reason you can't find the reference (nor the bit 
about the woman giving a Nazi salute) is because the items has been amended, 
as you probably are aware. Sadly, I kept no copy. 
 
 
However, the original report is still on your website at: 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1662000/1662480.stm 
 
And it says this: "A candlelit vigil took place on Saturday night at 
Vukovar's hospital from where hundreds of patients, mostly soldiers, were 
taken away and killed in November, 1991. " 
 
and again "While hundreds of hospital patients, mostly soldiers, were 
executed, the rest of the remaining inhabitants were forced to march to the 
next Croat-controlled town" 
 
So yes, an attempt was made to play down the civilian deaths. 
 
Also, Ms Kroeger said 
 
"The town had a majority Serb population." 
 
 
Completely untrue. It does however, tie in with Serb propaganda of the time 
that parts of Croatia are 'really' Serbia. 
 
 
The fact that some 22, 500 Croats and non-Serbs were forced out of Vukovar 
and thousands of civilians were killed was also not mentioned. Which would 
put into context the Mayor's remarks. 
 
 
Anyone unfamilar with the situation would think that "mostly soldiers" died 
at Vukovar and that Croats are preventing Serbs from returning to their city 
where they were the "majority". 
 
 
Croat bashing? Yes it certainly is. What next from the BBC? Serbs the true 
victims of Srebrinica? 
 
 
On the second item 
(http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1662000/1662896.stm), 
which was later revised to omit the "mostly soldiers" drivel, unusual 
attention is paid to Croat "neo-Nazis". This staggering quote appears: "The 
relationship between Croatian nationalism, Nazi sympathisers and the war 10 
years ago is an uneasy one." 
 
 
Would you say such a thing if a small group of British National Party 
supporters appeared at Remembrance day ceremony? I suspect not. The quote 
clearly implies that patriotic Croats - "nationalists" - have fascist 
leanings and the war in 1991 was something to do with Croat fascists. 
 
 
Is it a coincidence that the same line was given by the Serbs in 1991? 
Indeed, the hospital atrocity at Vukovar and the destruction of the city was 
justified in precisely those terms. The crass insensitivity of Ms Kroeger's 
comments beggars belief. If the BBC were covering a Holocaust remembrance 
ceremony, would you include Nazi propaganda drivel about Jews bringing about 
German decline etc etc. Quite rightly you would not. The BBC are happy 
however to lend credence to the sick excuses the Serbs gave for their crimes 
against Croats. 
 
 
I invite you to examine the following line from the Hague Milosevic 
indictment for crimes in 
Croatia.(http://www.un.org/icty/indictment/english/mil-ii011008e.htm) 
 
 
"26 m) controlled, contributed to, or otherwise utilised Serbian state-run 
media outlets to manipulate Serbian public opinion by spreading exaggerated 
and false messages of ethnically based attacks by Croats against Serb people 
in order to create an atmosphere of fear and hatred among Serbs living in 
Serbia and Croatia. The propaganda generated by the Serbian media was an 
important tool in contributing to the perpetration of crimes in Croatia. " 
 
 
The propaganda mentioned was of the "Croats are fascists" variety. 
Milosevic, you will note, was also charged for the hospital crime at Vukovar. 
 
 
How fascinating that the BBC are mouthing similar sentiments to Milosevic's 
propaganda machine from 1991. The insensitivity of the BBC is beyond compare. 
 
 
So yes, the BBC do indulge in Croat bashing. And has a pro-Serb streak. 
Certainly, if Mr Milosevic read those two items I am sure he would have 
toasted to Ms Kroeger's good health. 
 
 
I also believe the BBC's - frankly sick - reporting on Vukovar requires wider 
attention. I do not pay my license fee for such drivel. 
 
 
Yours faithfully 
 
 
Brian Gallagher 
 
 
  
 
NewsOnline <newsonline@bbc.co.uk> wrote: 
 
I am unable to see the reference to which you refer, that the victims were 
"mostly" soldiers. I am also unable to accept your assertion that we are 
pro-Serb, or indulging inC roat-bashing. It is not the way we operate and I 
am disappointed that you should think it is. 
 
Regards 
 
 
BBC News Online 
 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/ 
 
-----Original Message----- 
 
From: Brian Gallagher [mailto:brigall@yahoo.co.uk] 
 
Sent: 18 November 2001 19:55 
 
To: NewsOnline 
 
Subject: "Croat town remembers fall" 
 
 
 
Dear Sir 
 
 
Re: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1662000/1662896.stm 
 
 
I wish to complain about the above story by Alix Kroeger. 
 
 
I note that the earlier version of the story, to which I had telephoned a 
complaint to your duty office earlier today has been changed. 
 
 
The earlier version, amongst other things, had the utterly obscene remark 
that Vukovar had a majority Serbian population prior to the war. That was of 
course, a complete untruth. It's rather like saying Belgrade has a majority 
Croat population. A mistake, or a bit of Serbian propaganda? And where was 
the apology for such an insensitive comment, to which I think the city of 
Vukovar deserves? 
 
 
Your updated version is little better. Ms Kroeger correctly points out that a 
massacre occurred at the hospital in Vukovar. But then makes the claim that 
the victims were "mostly soldiers". Of course, that in itself is crime, but 
the reality is that a great deal of civilians were murdered in that episode. 
Here are two extracts from the International War Crimes indictment on the 
matter (http://www.un.org/icty/indictment/english/mrk-ii951107e.htm) 
 
 
8. On the afternoon of 19 November 1991, JNA units arrived at Vukovar 
Hospital and took control of it. Those inside offered no resistance. Early 
the following morning, Major SLJIVANCANIN ordered the nurses and doctors to 
assemble for a meeting. While the medical staff was attending this meeting, 
JNA and Serb paramilitary soldiers hurriedly removed about 400 men from the 
hospital. Among those removed in this way werenglishemrk> htmiehtm, hospital 
staff, soldiers who had been defending the city, Croatian political 
activists, and other civilians. By the time the medical staff meeting with 
Major SLJIVANCANIN concluded, the soldiers had removed almost all of the men 
who were at the hospital. 
 
 
and: 
 
 
14. Of the 300 men taken from Vukovar Hospital on the morning of 20 November 
1991, 261 remain missing. All of these men were alive after the end of 
hostilities in Vukovar, and all of these men were taken under JNA guard first 
to the JNA barracks and then to the Ovcara farm. They have not been seen 
alive since that time. 
 
 
There is nothing in the indictment about "mostly soldiers" being the victims. 
 What is it Ms Kroeger knows the War Crimes Tribunal does not? 
 
 
Furthermore, how is it that Ms Kroeger completely fails to mention that the 
three men indicted by the Tribunal are at large - and protected - in Serbia? 
 
 
How is it also that the deaths of thousands of Croats - and others, such as 
Hungarians - slaughtered during the Serbian assault on Vukovar was not 
mentioned? It was not just the hospital massacre. This was a war by the 
Serbs against civilians, not soldiers, as Ms Kroeger implies. 
 
 
Ms Kroeger also points out that one individual gave a Nazi salute. Given 
that no-one else apparently did, what was the point of mentioning it? To 
imply many Croats are fascists? Given that the justification used by the 
Serbs to destroy Vukovar and commit various massacres including the hospital 
slaughter was precisely that, Ms Kroeger's comments were wholly unnecessary, 
crass and insensitive. I find it remarkable that the BBC is utilising 
Serbian propaganda techniques from 1991. 
 
 
The piece conveys a number of messges. That what happened at Vukovar was one 
massacre of "mostly soldiers" - implying that civilians did not overly suffer 
and were not targeted by the Serbs - and that many Croats are fascists. 
 
 
Vukovar was one of the most appalling atrocities of the twentieth century. A 
crime by the Serbs against Croat civilians and indeed, humanity. Thousands of 
civilians died and many more lost their homes. 
 
 
Trust the BBC to play that down and turn a memorial to what happened into a 
Croat bashing item. 
 
 
I would be interested in your comments. 
 
 
Yours faithfully 
 
 
Brian Gallagher 
 
 
Here is the full correspondence I have had with the BBC, including their 
comments: 
 
 
Thank you for replying.The reason you can't find the reference (nor the bit 
about the woman giving a Nazi salute) is because the items has been amended, 
as you probably are aware. Sadly, I kept no copy. 
 
However, the original report is still on your website at: <A 
HREF="http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1662000/1662480.stm 
 
">http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1662000/1662480.stm</A> 
  
 
And it says this: "A candlelit vigil took place on Saturday night at 
Vukovar's hospital from where hundreds of patients, mostly soldiers, were 
taken away and killed in November, 1991. " 
 
and again "While hundreds of hospital patients, mostly soldiers, were 
executed, the rest of the remaining inhabitants were forced to march to the 
next Croat-controlled town" 
 
So yes, an attempt was made to play down the civilian deaths. 
 
Also, Ms Kroeger said "The town had a majority Serb population." Completely 
untrue. It does however, tie in with Serb propaganda of the time that parts 
of Croatia are 'really' Serbia. The fact that some 22, 500 Croats and 
non-Serbs were forced out of Vukovar and thousands of civilians were killed 
was also not mentioned. Which would put into context the Mayor's remarks. 
Anyone unfamilar with the situation would think that "mostly soldiers" died 
at Vukovar and that Croats are preventing Serbs from returning to their city 
where they were the "majority". Croat bashing? Yes it certainly is. What 
next from the BBC? Serbs the true victims of Srebrinica? 
 
On the second item (<A 
HREF="http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1662000/1662896.stm 
 
">http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1662000/1662896.stm</A> 
), which was later revised to omit the "mostly soldiers" drivel, unusual 
attention is paid to Croat "neo-Nazis". This staggering quote appears: "The 
relationship between Croatian nationalism, Nazi sympathisers and the war 10 
years ago is an uneasy one." 
 
Would you say such a thing if a small group of British National Party 
supporters appeared at Remembrance day ceremony? I suspect not. The quote 
clearly implies that patriotic Croats - "nationalists" - have fascist 
leanings and the war in 1991 was something to do with Croat fascists. 
 
Is it a coincidence that the same line was given by the Serbs in 1991? 
Indeed, the hospital atrocity at Vukovar and the destruction of the city was 
justified in precisely those terms. The crass insensitivity of Ms Kroeger's 
comments beggars belief. If the BBC were covering a Holocaust remembrance 
ceremony, would you include Nazi propaganda drivel about Jews bringing about 
German decline etc etc. Quite rightly you would not. The BBC are happy 
however to lend credence to the sick excuses the Serbs gave for their crimes 
against Croats. 
 
I invite you to examine the following line from the Hague Milosevic 
indictment for crimes in Croatia.(<A 
HREF="http://www.un.org/icty/indictment/english/mil-ii011008e.htm"> 
http://www.un.org/icty/indictment/english/mil-ii011008e.htm</A>) 
 
"26 controlled, contributed to, or otherwise utilised Serbian state-run media 
outlets to manipulate Serbian public opinion by spreading exaggerated and 
false messages of ethnically based attacks by Croats against Serb people in 
order to create an atmosphere of fear and hatred among Serbs living in Serbia 
and Croatia. The propaganda generated by the Serbian media was an important 
tool in contributing to the perpetration of crimes in Croatia. " 
 
The propaganda mentioned was of the "Croats are fascists" variety. 
Milosevic, you will note, was also charged for the hospital crime at Vukovar. 
 
How fascinating that the BBC are mouthing similar sentiments to Milosevic's 
propaganda machine from 1991. The insensitivity of the BBC is beyond compare. 
 
So yes, the BBC do indulge in Croat bashing. And has a pro-Serb streak. 
Certainly, if Mr Milosevic read those two items I am sure he would have 
toasted to Ms Kroeger's good health.I also believe the BBC's - frankly sick - 
reporting on Vukovar requires wider attention. I do not pay my license fee 
for such drivel. 
 
Yours faithfully 
 
Brian Gallagher 
 
 
NewsOnline <newsonline@bbc.co.uk> wrote: 
 
I am unable to see the reference to which you refer, that the victims were 
"mostly" soldiers. I am also unable to accept your assertion that we are 
pro-Serb, or indulging in Croat-bashing. It is not the way we operate and I 
am disappointed that you should think it is. 
 
 
Regards 
 
BBC News Online 
<A HREF="http://news.bbc.co.uk/">http://news.bbc.co.uk/</A> 
 
-- 
From: Brian Gallagher [mailto:brigall@yahoo.co.uk] 
Sent: 18 November 2001 19:55 
Subject: "Croat town remembers fall" 
 
</DIV> 
 
Dear Sir 
 
Re: <A 
HREF="http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1662000/1662896.stm 
 
">http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1662000/1662896.stm</A> 
 
I wish to complain about the above story by Alix Kroeger. 
 
I note that the earlier version of the story, to which I had telephoned a 
complaint to your duty office earlier today has been changed. 
 
The earlier version, amongst other things, had the utterly obscene remark 
that Vukovar had a majority Serbian population prior to the war. That was of 
course, a complete untruth. It's rather like saying Belgrade has a majority 
Croat population. A mistake, or a bit of Serbian propaganda? And where was 
the apology for such an insensitive comment, to which I think the city of 
Vukovar deserves? 
 
Your updated version is little better. Ms Kroeger correctly points out that a 
massacre occurred at the hospital in Vukovar. But then makes the claim that 
the victims were "mostly soldiers". Of course, that in itself is crime, but 
the reality is that a great deal of civilians were murdered in that episode. 
Here are two extracts from the International War Crimes indictment on the 
matter (<A HREF="http://www.un.org/icty/indictment/english/mrk-ii951107e.htm"> 
http://www.un.org/icty/indictment/english/mrk-ii951107e.htm</A>) 
 
Brian Gallagher 
distributed by CROWN (Croatian World Net) - CroworldNet@aol.com 
 
  
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