The west's aggression in the Balkans is clear, but the bombardiers in Britain's liberal press stay silent

At the recent British press awards, there was no prize for news management. This was a pity, as this branch of journalism has pulled off some great scoops lately, keeping important stories out of the news or shifting their emphasis away from the truth. Take the custard-pieing of Clare Short. Not itself a significant event, it was certainly newsworthy, considering the wider issues. Moreover, videotape and photographs were distributed widely. A few months ago, when Ann Widdecombe was pied, most of the papers ran the picture, even though it was indistinct. And Tony Blair's tomato-ing and Nick Brown's receipt of a chocolate eclair were covered.

But Clare Short is one Cabinet minister too far. She has to be protected; her value to new Labour is that some people in the party's grass roots still believe she is one of them. She was pied as she was telling an audience at the University of Bangor heart-breaking stories about the world's poor and how the World Bank and other pillars of globalisation were their saviours. She is, after all, not only Secretary of State for Globalisation, or International Development, as new Labour prefers, but a governor of the World Bank.

Short's first reaction to her pieing (the pie had been baked to a new recipe called Short-crust Bananas Turnover, to mark her abandonment of any political principles and her embrace of new Labour) was to shout at the camerawoman: "Stop that woman. Don't let her get that film out." The film did get out, but Short's news managers were quickly on to editors, raising the question of "permission to film the meeting". At the meeting, the author and environmentalist George Monbiot had tried to distribute lists of questions, challenging Short's and Blair's policies. These were snatched by a security guard, who said that he was under instructions from a Labour Party official. The videotape did slip on to Sky News, but the BBC and ITN showed nothing. The Daily Mail ran a short piece on page 31, and the Guardian a single paragraph on page 10. There were no pictures.

It is this ability to influence, control and ultimately distort the coverage of events that distinguishes new Labour. Indeed, Blair must be delighted at the continuing suppression of the truth about his and Bill Clinton's killing and maiming of thousands of civilians in Yugoslavia two years ago, many of them children, caught in the open and mutilated by cluster bombs.

Last year, the War Crimes Tribunal for the Balkans received international forensic evidence that showed that 2,700 bodies were buried in Kosovo, and that they had been killed over a period of two years. "Genocide it was not," said the Wall Street Journal, suggesting that the western media had fallen for one of the modern era's great propaganda coups. The figures promoted by the US and British governments, from "100,000 young Albanians missing presumed killed" to "a reliable estimate of 10,000 killed by the Serbs", were inventions, most likely supplied by the Kosovo Liberation Army, which, as we now know, has been run by the CIA.

The bombardiers in Britain's liberal press are still silent, including those who denounced "Serb evil" and demanded apologies from the opponents of the bombing "when the mass graves are opened". Their silence has barely broken as more than 100,000 Serb civilians and Roma have been ethnically cleansed from their homes in Kosovo. Under Nato occupation, Kosovo has been turned into a crime state, a centre for drug running; and now the CIA's private army is attacking Macedonia. Last week, the Macedonian government reported that commanders of the National Liberation Army, an offshoot of the KLA, were trained by the British SAS and the Parachute Regiment. A British officer has reportedly confirmed that the KLA commander Adem Bajrami and another who is responsible for running weapons into Macedonia were taught by British soldiers in secret training camps in northern Albania during 1998 and 1999.

On 21 March, Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ordzhonikidze, told the UN Commission on Human Rights that the Nato attack on Yugoslavia "served as a catalyst for human rights violations and led the [Albanian] extremists to believe that they can reach their selfish goals [of a greater Albania] by terrorist acts on the one hand and unscrupulous manipulation of public opinion on the other".

The current manipulation of public opinion aims to cause western governments and the western media to start talking up ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Macedonia and the disproportionate use of force against a minority. This worked successfully as a justification for bombing Serbia and Kosovo. But it's not working now - not yet. Those the Guardian now condemns as Albanian extremists, like other famous CIA and SAS trained armies, are not doing as they are told, and their worried western benefactors are moved to condemn them for "destabilising" a region that Nato has already destabilised. It is all reminiscent of Milosevic, formerly the west's man, not doing as he was told.

Yugoslavia was an imperfect but peaceful federation until the Americans and the European Union, especially the Germans, decided it did not fit their post-cold-war order. Once the International Monetary Fund was called in to destroy the Yugoslav economy, opportunists such as Milosevic could raise the flag of ethnic nationalism, and a decade of bloodshed in the Balkans was assured. The Balkans are seldom reported that way. Rather, their people "have a history of killing each other". Set against the news management of the west's true role in their suffering, the suppression of Clare Short's embarrassment is small pie indeed.

John Pilger, renowned investigative journalist and documentary film-maker, is one of only two to have twice won British journalism's top award; his documentaries have won academy awards in both the UK and the US. In a New Statesman survey of the 50 heroes of our time, Pilger came fourth behind Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela. "John Pilger," wrote Harold Pinter, "unearths, with steely attention facts, the filthy truth. I salute him."