The western propaganda and brainwashing of the population is so widespread and the populace so completely under control that even when presented with concrete undeniable facts that run counter to the official narrative the majority of people still refuse to believe. This has made it a literal information war when it comes to the situation in Ukraine and even the simple fact that there was never an “invasion” of Ukraine by Russia, something egregiously and erroneously reported by the western media, is almost impossible to counter. Russia has not now or ever “invaded” Ukraine or the Crimea, there has been a contingent of Russian troops supporting the Black Sea Fleet there for decades. That is the simple fact.
This is John Robles, you are listening to part 1 of an interview with Viseslav Simic, a Professor and Doctoral Candidate at the Technology Institute in Monterrey, Mexico. You can find the rest of this interview on our website at voiceofrussia.com.
Robles: How are you this evening?
Simic:I’m very well, thank you. It is beautiful here, in Mexico.
Robles: I’m sure it is. It is spring here in Moscow, so maybe it will be beautiful here soon. Very ugly situation in Ukraine, a lot of media manipulation going on, you as an expert on Serbia on that side of the divide, I was wondering if you could tell us some of the ways that the media is manipulating the narrative with regard to Ukraine, and what’s going on? And what are the reports like in Mexico? What is the reaction from your students and from people over there regarding what is going on with Ukraine? And if you could sum up the outright media lies that are going on and being spread.
Simic:Yes, I’m very glad to be on your program again. It is a great honor, and …
Robles: Nice to have you.
Simic:I can state that here it’s not in the news that much. Obviously they always talk about Ukraine but it is all basically Western or US news repeated and very carefully selected so that we have here a situation where really good students who are interested in the international relations, who are studying geopolitics, are asking me – “why did Russia actually invade Ukraine”? And how much more territory is left to be conquered by Putin?
Robles : They say invade?
Simic:Yes, they said that it was an invasion, that the troops are in Ukraine. Obviously there are Russian troops.
Robles: Though they’ve been there for over two decades.
Simic:Yeah, but they omit that part. So it looks like they just came in. The same thing that has happened in Yugoslavia, when Yugoslavia was falling apart when they say ‘Serbian troops are in Slovenia, Serbian troops are in Croatia, there are Serbs in Bosnia’. Obviously there were Serbs everywhere because it was a country of all these people at the same time and troops were deployed disrespectfully of their ethnic background to all the republics.
The same thing is here, things that were agreed upon officially, and it’s an international treaty which gives the right to Russian troops to be there – it is presented as an occupation and an invasion, or rather an occupation following an invasion, by Russian military crossing the border and taking over the land in Ukraine.
So it is a very difficult thing to explain to people, especially people who are not involved in international relations, who don’t have some basic knowledge of geography. It is very difficult to actually explain to them what Ukraine means (‘Ukraina’), and that there are many Ukraines in former Yugoslavia that every other piece of land in former Yugoslavia is called ‘kraina’, we called it ‘kraina’, not ‘ukraina’ and that it is the basically the same meaning.
And I keep showing them on the map in my classes, and I can see the Mexicans actually being very interested but the Western students I have their eyes blaze over, they turn off their brains and they just keep telling me: ‘You are saying this because you are Serbian and we don’t believe that’. And then they quote to me some news from their respective countries, believing completely in those while it is obviously propaganda and I can rebuff all of these with facts, with maps, with history but it is so difficult to get through to a typical average westerner, that it is just amazing how brainwashed they have become and how non-thinking these creatures have become.
I have to say that it is really puzzling and it is very sad thing. Once you face those people who are basically very intelligent and very interested in things, but they just refuse to see what their side is doing. When you bring it up they say it is only because you are pro-Russian or you are Serbian. So they dismiss all of these things and then they claimed that anything that comes from the Russian side is propaganda, while their own is always truth and it is all about democracy and fighting for human rights. It is just unbelievable how these things work out.
Robles: It is part of their brainwashing and the programming that starts in first class in the United States.
Simic:I have noticed that with some members of my family, where their are kids, who were born in the US, they just cannot comprehend, they have direct family experience, their grandparents on both sides, in many cases not only one side, both parents are Serbian, they speak Serbian at home, they have Serbian friends, they hear all these things and yet they stepped in, these little kids who are first or second grade, they step in to a conversation and they tell their parents, their friends that they are speaking lies and that they are anti-American if they even mention something, and I have witnessed this many times. So this is unbelievable. One of my friends actually he pulled out his kids from an American kindergarten and elementary school, and he enrolled his kids into a Japanese school and they are big totally different kids now.
Robles: I see. Now people who know both sides of the story, right, they know that everything is being manipulated and controlled and there is no real true information coming out, especially with regard to Ukraine. And this has been I think thrown in the world’s face. Is there anything we can do?
Simic:If you are doing it in the West, it’s going to be very difficult because especially in the United States, I know how difficult it would be in Western Europe, in the European Union, but in the US if they declared you a foreign agent then you would have lots of difficulties. And anything similar, when Putin tried to do something like they do in the United States, on a daily basis, he was declared a dictator and it was an anti-democratic practice.
So in the US it is very difficult but it is possible, but it requires lots of money and lots of guts by the people who would be involved in it, because you would be basically seen as an enemy of the state and would face harsh consequences. I know this from personal confessions in many cases, by many people, my many friends who are really wonderful people, very honest and they know things and they feel things differently but they tell me openly: ‘We would lose our job, we are going to be fired, we would never advance in our career, we would lose our scholarships, we would lose our research money’. And they just keep quiet, so hoping that someday something will happen that they can actually change the situation.
Many of them are writing personal diaries and keeping information in their own computers, and personal archives, but once, only when it is public, when it is organized, when there is an institution that can be trusted and that will be permanent it will be possible to change something. As long as it is all of these blogs and individual people who popped up from time to time, when they get sick, or they go on a trip or they have a child, or something happens in their life, then they are off for weeks and that information inflates people’s interest and it is good, it is necessary, thank God for the Internet at least we have some information. But we need institutions, we need some big names, we need something that’s like your own organization that we are using right now where people can go all the time, it is updated, it is properly done, professionally done. It is very difficult.
Just a reminder you are listening to an interview with Viseslav Simic.
Robles: WikiLeaks should have been that organization for example, but look what happened to WikiLeaks? They were completely demonized, poor Julian Assange is still trapped in an embassy, even though he has asylum, he can’t leave there. Everybody that is associated, or has been associated, with WikiLeaks is on some sort of NSA or CIA man hunt or watch list, even just simple users. And WikiLeaks was not a small organization, it was quite a large one and they weren’t even based in the United States, so I would say this would be impossible in the United States, and what you just said, as I understand, I just wanted you to vocalize this one more time- basically the truth is an enemy to the US government.
Robles: It has gotten to the point where they are doing things that are so illegal and so egregious that any kind of truth is their enemy. And anyone who wants to speak the truth is instantly an enemy of the state, right?
Simic:Yeah. It is not only those things that they are doing are illegal, there are many things that are illegal that many governments do because the circumstances, by the time you changed the law it would be too late. It is not only that it is illegal, it is criminal. It is deadly, it is lethal and it is not punished. It is not even recorded, it is not even presented. We are missing all of these things, like right now, because if Ukraine, we don’t know in many other places, there is no knowledge of what is going on in Kosovo for example, or in Bosnia, where there are people detained, beaten up, attacked and arrested.
There are people on hunger strike right now like Oliver Ivanovic, a leader of the Serbs from Kosovo, who is not one of the favorites for the Serbs because he kind of betrayed from our point of view and sided with the West, and this is how he was repaid. He was even put on the list to be elected on the elections in Kosovo, that he basically recognized the existence of the Albanian government there and the legality of it, and then he was repaid by being detained, put in a solitary confinement and he is now on hunger strike, I don’t know, maybe for a week already. He is basically dying and there is no news about him anywhere. I tried to contact some organizations that worry about human rights, even some of my students, but they said they are busy with something else. But I’m sure if it were the case of a Muslim from the Balkans being kicked behind by a Serb, then it would be on the front page right away.
So lots of stuff is being done while this crisis is going on and the truth is the biggest enemy of these countries, of these governments actually. It’s not even fair to talk about the United States as a country because these poor people, most of them have no clue of what is going on in their own country, not talk about Ukraine, Kosovo, Venezuela or anywhere else. It is a specific gang of people who are going around the world, accusing everybody of being criminal and dictators while they are doing the same thing. I mean, look at this – they are accusing Yanukovich of being on the side of the oligarchs. Who is more on the side of the oligarchs than Obama for example, who gave trillions and trillions and trillions of dollars to a very small group of people who actually caused the crisis, who created all this mess, and then money the public money goes to them, and everybody thinks it is for the good of the country, it is very patriotic and it is beautiful.
So everything is twisted, everything is upside-down. We are living in a very, very difficult situation, difficult times, and I think that it is coming up to this point where something will have to happen. They decided that they will take over everybody and everything, and use drones to kill us while we are talking like this for example or something will have to happen and at least some parts of the world will become free and normal at a very high price and later at a very difficult duty to prevent any crossover from the other side because it will be used against that country or those people like in Ukraine, Russia or Venezuela right now. I have students from Venezuela – friends from there – who are telling me that it is basically on the verge of civil war just as Ukraine.
Robles: Just a few minutes ago the Venezuelan authorities, this came in on the news wires, they called the US government ‘the master mind of violence all over the world’, and they dismissed US Vice President Joe Biden’s statements about this situation in Venezuela. What he was saying was that they were ‘concerned over the use of law enforcement during anti-government protests’, the same thing they were saying in Ukraine and everywhere else.
Now they are so concerned, but when American law enforcement is beating people that are just sitting there, locking people up without giving them any sort of rights to a phone call. I mean, basically conducting secret arrests. Any time, and this happens every day, every time some American policeman shoots and kills some usually black or Latino or minority person, they get off with a slap on the wrist and nothing ever happens to them and this happens again and again and again. But that is ok.
Can you talk about some of the ways that they demonize countries like they did to Serbia, and of course we can go down a very long list of demonized and destroyed countries starting with Serbia, starting with Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, etc, etc, Syria, the attempt there, etc. Can you talk about that?
Simic:Yeah. Well the thing is, that really saddens me is, that in the end we are seen like Serbians are seen as enemies of the Muslims, and that we hate Muslims, which is not the case. Maybe some individual people do it, and in individual cases when they hate each other, but in general I think most people in Serbia realize that it is … we are the same victims on both sides who are then made to hate each other and waste our energy instead of uniting and fighting somebody who is actually causing all of this.
But it is a typical story everywhere. I remember when the war in Yugoslavia broke out all three sides basically had the same curse that said something like, if you hate somebody you say: ‘May God make Christiane Amanpour reports from in front of your house’, which meant that your house to bombed or destroyed and then she will come like a vulture immediately and report from there.
Today it is ‘May Americans or John Kerry express concern about your case’. Which means you will end up in prison or being beaten up, and then be the most viewed video on YouTube or something like that, unfortunately. Though it is kind of sarcastic, we have grown to see things in a sarcastic way, and then that is kind of like a self-defense mechanism when you are helpless and totally lost because we are not a big power or any power at all of any kind in this case today. But it is done everywhere, and Americans can do whatever they please, nothing really happens.
You were listening to part 1 of an interview with Professor Viseslav Simic, a Doctoral Candidate at the Technological Institute in Monterrey, Mexico and a Professor at that institution. You can find the rest of this interview on our website at voiceofrussia.com. Thank you very much for listening and as always I wish you the best wherever you may be.