Trifkovic Slandered by the Leading Serbian Daily "Politika"

By The Lord Byron Foundation
Thursday, 20 Sep 2012

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On September 20, 2012, the leading Serbian daily newspaper Politika published a prominently positioned op-ed article in the "Outside Views" section by Dimitrije Vojnov [L.], hitherto known as a minor actor and film critic. The article is criminally slanderous of Srdja Trifkovic.

Dr. Trifkovic, Executive Director of The Lord Byron Foundation, is Foreign Affairs Editor of  Chronicles, university professor, and a regular contributor to major global media outlets. The facts of the case are disturbing in the extreme, and are indicative of the diseased condition of the media scene in Serbia.

The title of the Politika article is "Mothers and Step-Mothers": . Here is the integral translation of the opening paragraphs: 

"The latest tensions caused by the movie which has blasphemously presented Prophet Muhammad lead us to re-examine the position of Islamic fundamentalism as the Holy Grail of the contemporary American policy, which conceals its true intentions behind the a-political formulae such as democracy, human rights, and global security.

"Some time ago in America, a story strongly resonated about the affair involving an interest group of political analysts gathered around certain companies and foundations whose members were given jobs to lecture on global politics at American military schools. It was subsequently established that they told the students that a war of civilizations was inevitable, that Christians will have to rise against Muslims, and that in that war the rules of warfare inevitably will have to be violated, that the massacres like Hiroshima and Dresden will be necessary, and that Islam needs to be cut at the root, with the demolition of Mecca included. When certain information about these lectures reached the public, the very top of the American state structure reacted and most of these lecturers were removed from their teaching posts.

"This story has been made particularly spicy by one detail, that as a guest-lecturer working together with them was a Serb, Srdja Trifkovic, thus establishing an interesting coalition between the Serbian Right and the American neoconservatives, which – having in mind recent experiences – seems perfectly natural…"

[The rest of the article is largely irrelevant to the incriminating introductory part.]

There are many questions which the author and Politika will have to answer:

  1. What “affair” is the author talking about, on the basis of what sources? Where exactly did the alleged affair "strongly resonate" -- in America, or for that matter anywhere else -- and when? "Some time ago" -- weeks, months, years, or decades ago?
  2. Which persons and/or institutions "at the very top of the American state structure" supposedly reacted to the "affair"?
  3. What are the “companies” and “foundations” financing the alleged project?
  4. Where was Srdja Trifkovic lecturing as a “guest-lecturer,” when, and for how long? What exactly were the location[s], institution[s], date[s], and audience[s] concerned?
  5. How much was Dr. Trifkovic paid for the "job" by the “companies and foundations” supposedly financing the project?
  6. What exactly was supposed to have been stated by Srdja Trifkovic in the course of those lectures?
  7. Was Trifkovic himself advocating the Hiroshima-Dresden solution to the Muslim problem? Was he guilty of doing so by allegedly having close association with the unnamed  "companies" and "foundations" advocating such solutions?
  8. What effect are these extremely serious, defamatory accusations – presented as fact – having on Trifkovic personally, and on his professional career as public affairs commentator, writer, editor, journalist, and educator?
  9. What are the implications of this article on Dr. Trifkovic's personal safety -- in the immediate aftermath of Benghazi -- in view of the fact that he is the only party named as a member of the alleged conspiracy to advocate genocidal mass murder of Muslims and the destruction of their holy places?
  10. What exactly is the “Serbian Right” and what defines Trifkovic’s supposed connection to it?

Dr. Srdja Trifkovic stands accused of belonging to some unnamed influential group, financed by unnamed corporations and foundations, which is actively advocating mass murder and genocide, and actively indoctrinating American military officers to act accordingly. This is the most serious accusation possible against any person. It is potentially ruinous of the accused party's personal and professional standing and reputation. It is an invitation to lynching, figuratively and literally. It is an attempt at character assassination that may result in personal assassination. Politika is practicing the journalistic equivalent of terrorism.

This matter will need to be resolved by the Serbian courts.

Politika has stooped to yellow journalism at its worst, combining conspiracy theorizing, lies, innuendo, and an invitation to Theo van Gogh-like execution. What makes the matter particularly sad is that Politika used to be a serious paper, commissioning articles from responsible authors, and being read by respectable people. This once-venerable Serbian institution has now sunk into the gutter. The slanderous attack on Dr. Trifkovic, based on outright fabrications, should be a long-overdue wake-up call to the shareholders who still hope that something may be salvaged from the ruins of "Politika's" reputation.

The facts of the case are simple:

  1. Dr. Srdja Trifkovic has never lectured at an American military institution.
  2. Dr. Srdja Trifkovic is not, and has never been, associated with any "company" or "foundation" organizing any lectures in any such institution, in the United States or anywhere else.
  3. Dr. Srdja Trifkovic has never advocated murderous violence against innocent civilians, Muslim or non-Muslim.
  4. Dr. Srdja Trifkovic is a determined critic of neoconservatism of long standing, and this fact is well known to the readers of "Chronicles" and many other publications.
  5. Dr. Srdja Trifkovic has no choice but to take "Politika" to court for publishing criminally slanderous, recklessly defamatory lies which are personally hurtful in the extreme, potentially life-threatening, detrimental to his reputation, and damaging to his ability to perform his professional duties.

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An afterthought: Why is the author referring to the video matter-of-factly as “blasphemous” (which authority has established it as such?) and to “the Prophet Muhammad” without qualification, rather than “the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad”? Is Muhammad’s status as a “prophet” an established fact for "Politika's" editors, beyond rational questioning, thus rendering any further qualification superfluous?