A new American lie about Serbs is born on July 4th. How appropriate.

Longtime AP reporter Mike Corder has pulled a fast one. And if it weren’t for the eagle eyes of reader/source Nikole, this would have gone unnoticed, quietly entering the lexicon of inverted Balkan truths: those ugly things done to Serbs that have been turned around by the press to be remembered as Serbs doing them to others.

It’s not as bad as the disemboweling of Serbian women by Bosnian Muslims, which the world is repeatedly told by mainstream news reports that Serbs did to Bosnian Muslims, but it’s in the same tradition.

Please read the bold-print sentence in the following report written by Mike Corder, with contributions from AP (or remedial?) writers Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Serbia, Amer Cohadzic and Sabina Niksic in Sarajevo and Toby Sterling in Amsterdam:

Mladic disrupts war crimes court, gets ejected

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - He put on a cap, defying the rules of the courtroom. He gestured to the packed public gallery despite a judge ordering him not to. He threatened a boycott because his chosen lawyers weren’t there.

A belligerent Ratko Mladic repeatedly disobeyed and shouted at judges Monday during an arraignment at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal. Finally, the former Serb general was thrown out of the hearing and the court entered not guilty pleas on his behalf to 11 charges of masterminding the worst atrocities of the Bosnian war.

The 69-year-old’s courtroom theatrics came at the start of a solemn week for survivors of the massacre he is accused of orchestrating - the killing of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in 1995 in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica.

Mladic’s actions in court drew anger from survivors of the 1992-95 Bosnian war and raised the prospect of another turbulent trial at the U.N. court that may offer victims more heartache than justice.

Mladic had threatened to boycott Monday’s hearing, only his second public appearance since Serbia extradited him to The Hague in May, because the court had not appointed Belgrade attorney Milos Saljic and a Russian lawyer to represent him.

Shortly before guards escorted Mladic from court, he shouted at Presiding Judge Alphons Orie, “You want to impose my defense. What kind of a court are you?”

He continued yelling in Serbian, “You are not allowing me to defend myself. … You are not allowing me to breathe.”

At his first hearing in June, Mladic enraged war survivors in the public gallery by looking at them and drawing his finger across his throat.

In Bosnia, hundreds of people gathered in the main square of the capital, Sarajevo, to watch a live broadcast of the hearing, cheering and shouting, “The monster is gone,” as Mladic was escorted from the courtroom.

Now let me ask: Who remembers reading in June about Mladic “drawing his finger across his throat”? Isn’t that the sort of kernel that the press people live for, and jump to disseminate? Yet if you do a search, there is no mention of it — anywhere. It mysteriously just appears in this July report as having happened in June.

But look what does come up when searching for news about the June hearing. And it’s also from the AP, so these “AP” writers couldn’t even check their own archives:

Frail but defiant Mladic refuses to enter plea to ‘obnoxious’ genocide indictment

By Arthur Max (June 3)

…Wearing a peaked cap, he saluted the gallery with his left hand through bulletproof glass. Observers stood and strained to see Mladic, clearly thinner and weaker than when he led the Bosnian Serb army.

Two UN guards helped Mladic to his feet when the judges entered the courtroom, and he saluted them as well. With his right arm apparently impaired, a guard had to help him put earphones over his head to hear the Serbian translation. When he responded to questions from the judge, his speech was slow and slightly slurred.

Mladic declined to enter formal pleas to the 11-count indictment, but admitted no guilt. “I defended my country and my people,” he said, before presiding judge Alphons Orie cut him short.

Mladic told the three-judge panel he is “a gravely ill man,” but he remained alert throughout the hearing, nodding or shaking his head as Orie spoke. He seemed confused as Orie read a summary of the 38-page indictment, and said he had been unable to read the thick file of legal documents he was given after being extradited from Serbia on Tuesday.

“I would like to read these obnoxious charges levelled against me,” he said. “I need more than a month for these monstrous words. I have never heard such words.”

Orie scheduled a new hearing for July 4. If Mladic again refuses to plead to the charges, “not guilty” pleas will be entered on his behalf.

As the hearing ended, rape victim Bakira Hasecic shouted from the gallery: “Monster man. Butcher.”

Kada Hotic, who has relatives who were killed at Srebrenica, said Mladic taunted her when she threatened him.

“I told him he will pay the price for murdering my son,” she said, adding that she drew her finger across her throat. Mladic could not hear her, but she said he gestured back, holding his thumb and forefinger close together to indicate she was insignificant.

“And I said, ‘No, you are this small,’” she said.

Mladic’s family said after his arrest last week that he had suffered two strokes during his years in hiding. He was given a medical examination after his transfer to the UN detention unit at the seaside suburb of Scheveningen, and doctors declared him healthy enough to appear for his arraignment.

Tribunal spokeswoman Nerma Jelacic said the tribunal’s medical officer had not found any evidence of “life threatening illnesses.” She said his frailty was “due to the neglect of his health during his years as a fugitive.”

At the end of the 1 hour, 40 minute session he seemed stronger and more defiant than at the start.

“I want to live to see that I am a free man,” he told the judges. “I don’t want to be held and helped to move as if I were a blind man. I can walk on my own and if I cannot, then I will ask to be helped. I don’t want to be helped unless I ask for it, because I am Gen. Mladic and the whole world knows who I am.”

He repeatedly referred to himself as “general,” while the court pointedly addressed him as “Mr. Mladic.”

Sitting in the gallery, Munira Subasic, of the Mothers of Srebrenica Association, wiped away tears and hid her face in her hands as Orie read details of the Srebrenica killings.

“Happy to be here to see, once again, the bloody eyes of the criminal who slaughtered our children in 1995,” she said earlier. “And I am sad because many mothers didn’t live to see this — mothers who found bones belonging to their children, buried them without heads and hands, and the only wish they had was for him to be arrested.”

The fierce loyalty Mladic commanded during the war was undiminished in the former Bosnian Serb stronghold of Pale, in mountains close to Sarajevo.

“He was an honest and dignified officer, who taught us to defend our land and our people,” said Novica Kapuran, a decorated Serb war veteran. “He never told us to kill anyone, to slaughter anyone. Even when we captured a Muslim soldier, he used to tell us to hand him over to intelligence services, so this guy could be exchanged.”

(That fact has been corroborated ad nauseum by international organizations, officials, history books, and on occasion even the anti-Mladic media.)

But my point is this: The Associated Morons at the AP took a threatening gesture by a Muslima whose jihadi son was killed either as a POW or, more likely, in combat while trying to break through to Muslim-held territory after killing one or two Serbs of his own (as many of the escaping Muslims had done) — and projected it onto the more love-to-hate character in this drama. Mirroring the way the pack media’s reporting was done all thoughout the 90s that got us here in the first place.

Picking up the AP report and repeating Corder’s false statement about the finger across the throat were the following:

Forbes.com: Mladic disrupts Hague court, gets not-guilty pleas

Washington Times: Disruptive Mladic removed from court hearing

Toronto Star: Shouting, chaos, then kicked out: Mladic war crimes trial continues

Canada’s CBC News: Mladic disrupts Hague court, gets not-guilty pleas

If anyone feels like compiling a list of letters addresses for these publications and the AP, I’ll post them. The AP needs to be called on this, and let those media outlets subscribing to its service know that it does things like this. Even though false reporting about a Serb will induce shrugs and puzzlement over any outrage, it will at least establish a pattern, so that the next time AP writers pull something like this — on someone or on a group other than Serbs — there might be some accountability.

This incident echoes the way the media distorted and mistranslated what Slobodan Milosevic said in that famous “nationalist speech,” as the press dubbed it to permanent effect, in Kosovo Polje in 1987. (There, Milosevic responded to a man who told him the police were beating people to keep them away from the hall where Milosevic was speaking that “they shouldn’t beat you.” But various media including documentary films have him saying — as part of his speech rather than outside afterwards in response to someone — that “Nobody will beat you again!” That is, turning a statement of sympathy into something that could be portrayed as a threat. Another example is mistranslating Milosevic’s national agenda to a “nationalist” agenda.)