In a recent interview conducted by WND’s Geoff Metcalf, British conservative journalist Peter Hitchens referred to his country’s prime minister, Tony Blair, as a “hole in the air.” Perhaps nothing has better illustrated the aptness of the description than the latest propaganda episode launched by some in the British establishment media, through which Serbia, Yugoslavia and the new regime in Belgrade were to be sucked into the British premier’s void. For, there is little doubt that such a well-orchestrated effort did not originate from the highest levels of government itself.

Namely, in the wake of the latest bombing of Iraq, the London Independent claimed that the “Kostunica government provided vital information on Saddam’s upgraded air defenses before last week’s US-British raid.” Similar “information” could be gleaned from the Daily Telegraph and The Times of London. The gist of the stories was that the new regime in Belgrade has decided that it was time to demonstrate renewed allegiance to the West — not only by breaking off previous military cooperation with Iraq but also by passing information about the fiber-optic radar systems provided to Baghdad by the horrid old Milosevic regime.

Thus, like a criminal who has decided to go straight, the Serbs have decided to rat on their former buddies, the Iraqis, so that the (global) cops would go easy on them. And, indeed they would, for now, as a result, NATO has started “considering the possibility” of allowing Yugoslav forces to patrol the buffer zone between Serbia-proper and NATO-“pacified” Kosovo and actually have a say in their country’s own internal security. Even better, British and Serbian troops might even patrol this dangerous piece of land together!

Wonderful story, with several morals: that even the worst offenders (the Serbs, naturally) can repent, that the magnanimous NATO Forces Of Good are both generous and forgiving, and that the New World Order has efficient mechanisms for reintegrating into its global society previous troublemakers who have decided to turn a new leaf.

Wonderful story indeed, with only one thing going against it: it’s an absolute fabrication.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Vojislav Kostunica’s cabinet “resolutely denied these accounts.” What’s more, the Yugoslav president “condemned the air strikes against Iraq” and underlined that Yugoslavia’s principled position was that “the politics of sanctions and military retaliation cannot solve a single problem in the world.” It should be added that Kostunica expressed these views as he met with Samir Sadhoun, the Iraqi ambassador in Belgrade.

Some of the Belgrade media that carried the president’s denial noted that none of the stories in the British press had offered any proof for their claims, which were attributed to unnamed “senior defense officials” and other similarly trustworthy characters.

But, as any good propagandist knows, the job has been done, the story has gone out, and very few are going to read the denial. And, besides the previously outlined pedagogic value, there are added benefits for the perpetrator of the falsehood.

For one, Yugoslavia’s status as victim of an illegal bombing (whose loudest proponent, even more than Bill Clinton was Tony Blair) has been relativized. For, not only has the victim extended his hand to his assailant, he has identified with him, he has put himself on the same moral plane by joining him in his deeds. In fact, the former victim is being made deplorable, for he is indirectly aiding the very actions (bombings) against which he previously bitterly and seemingly rightly complained. And might not this also deflate the resistant spirit of all those for whom Yugoslavia has been one of the chief symbols of the struggle against the New World Order? The list of potential benefits seems endless.

And this approach will gain in importance in the newly developing global moral landscape. As it becomes more and more difficult to conceal that behind the noble-sounding rhetoric, accompanying the new march eastward lies a value no higher than “might-makes-right” — the Beast of the New World Order will be forced to justify its raw power projections by making its opponents increasingly contemptible and base. Those that grovel, those that have no pride, deserve no sympathy. That will probably be the new direction taken by the media spinmasters as they try to whip up support for further forays into various nations’ sovereignties. “Humanitarian bombings” will give entirely way to “Hate Weeks.” And this is, of course, where institutions such as the Hague “war crimes tribunal” come in. They first humiliate a country by forcing it to turn its own citizens over to an outside authority, then the trumped-up charges are supposed to whip up all the hate required at a specific moment.

In any case, the battle here is not over. So, being well aware that the falsehood has been irretrievably launched, it is nevertheless with a sigh of relief that we can report from Belgrade that Serbia and Yugoslavia have not, for now, at least officially, lost their soul. This has nothing to do with being for or against Saddam Hussein. It has everything to do with not being sucked into Tony’s Hole. Here, two plus two are still four.

Aleksandar Pavic in Belgrade has covered Yugoslavia’s historic election and its dramatic aftermath for

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.