Srebrenica: «War in the Balkans» – the Memoirs of a Portugese Peacekeeper I&II By Stephen Karganovic

July 16, 2017

 

The the tragic events in Srebrenica in July of 1995 are actual and in headlines today and probably during coming years too. The cause from my perspective may be related to four aspects

1st the ICTY process is focusing now to main political figures – Karadzig and Mladic – of Bosnian War and evidences from sides of prosecutor and defence are the core content of trial

2nd every year Srebrenica will be remaind as theatrical funerals of Bosnian Muslims – presumable victims – are taking place.

3rd Bosnia-Herzegovina as an artifical creature is searching some national identity, however ethnic tensions are rather increasing than opposite and politics is more going towards dissolution than unity.

4th Srebrenica is an example of intervention, or R2P context as well modern media war used more or less successfully in conflicts around the world during last decades.

Below is in-depth two-part review of a recently published book on the Balkan conflict by Portuguese General Carlos Martins Branco.  The review is created by Stephen Karganovic, the President of the Srebrenica Historical Project.  According Karganovic General Martins Branco is a major actor in the Srebrenica story, but thus far has been rather less familiar to the general public than he deserves to be. The general’s belated but frank memoirs and reflections on Srebrenica remove all doubt about his integrity, but we are all human after all. It is a well known phenomenon that many officials have felt more comfortable speaking out openly only after their retirement.

Karganovic concludes following:

Suffice it to say that as Deputy Head of the UN Observer Mission in the Balkans, General Martins Branco was ideally positioned to see many things that were hidden from public view and, more importantly, to receive field intelligence of a confidential nature on the most delicate matters. His extensive out-of-the-box analysis of Srebrenica is the result and it is also testimony to his personal integrity.

 

Srebrenica Historical Project

( http://www.srebrenica-project.com/ )

An excerpt from project’s mission statement:

Our broad purpose is to collect information on Srebrenica during the last conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, defined not as July 1995, but more broadly as 1992 to 1995. That means that we shall be creating a comprehensive and contextual, as opposed to a selective, record of the violence between the communities in that area during the conflict. We shall focus also on crimes committed against the Serb civilians not because we favor them but because so far they have been ignored. We wish to redress that balance, but we will not work under any ideological limitations. A corollary goal will be to launch something along the lines of the South African Truth and Reconciliation commission, with emphasis on truth as logically coming before and as a precondition to reconciliation. That is another reason we wish to do a great deal of empirical work on the neglected crimes against the Serbian population. We shall then proceed to explore reconciliations strategies. The fundamental objective of our project is to rise above politics and propaganda and to create a contextual record of the Srebrenica tragedy of July 1995 which can serve as a corrective to the distortions of the last decade and a half and as a genuine contribution to future peace.

Stephen Karganovic is the President of the Srebrenica Historical Project


«War in the Balkans» – the Memoirs of a Portugese Peacekeeper (I) by Stephen Karganovic

General Carlos Martins Branco is one of the most fascinating (and until quite recently also inaccessible) actors in the Srebrenica controversy. From his Zagreb vantage point as deputy head of the U.N. Protection Force (UNPROFOR) between 1994 and 1996, during the latter phase of the 1990s Yugoslav conflict as it unfolded in Croatia and Bosnian and Herzegovina, this Portuguese officer had privileged access to significant information. Confidential reports about the goings on in the field were crossing his desk. With first-hand information and further enlightened by discrete conversations with colleagues from various intelligence structures, Martins Branco was positioned ideally to learn facts which many officials would have preferred to cover up, and the media frequently ignored.

With a typically Latin emotional flair, refusing to remain silent as the «Srebrenica genocide narrative» was taking shape in the second half of the 1990s, Martins Branco published in 1998 an article provocatively entitled «Was Srebrenica a Hoax? Eyewitness Account of a Former UN Military Observer in Bosnia» In that early plunge into the toxic Srebrenica debate, Martins Branco ventured a number of critical questions concerning the notorious events in July 1995:

«One may agree or disagree with my political analysis, but one really ought to read the account of how Srebrenica fell, who are the victims whose bodies have been found so far, and why the author believes that the Serbs wanted to conquer Srebrenica and make the Bosnian Muslims flee, rather than having any intentions of butchering them. The comparison Srebrenica vs. Krajina, as well as the related media reaction by the ‘free press’ in the West, is also rather instructive».

Shortly after that expression of skepticism about the nature of the disputed events in Srebrenica, Martins Branco practically disappeared from view. Not physically, of course. He spent several years in Florence teaching at the European University Institute and preparing his doctoral dissertation. After that, in 2007 and 2008 he was attached by his government to NATO forces in Afghanistan in the capacity of media spokesperson for the Commander. From 2008 until recently, when he retired, General Martins Branco served as deputy director of the National Defense Institute of the Portuguese armed forces.

This impressive background, to which we may add the duty of head of the Intelligence Affairs Section of EUROFOR for Bosnia, Albania, and Kosovo from 1996 to 1999, bespeaks an elite and highly trained staff officer, with first-class intelligence capabilities and powers of observation.

Intrigued by Martins Branco’s out-of-the-box analysis of Srebrenica events, shortly after the founding of our NGO «Srebrenica Historical Project» we attempted to establish communication with him to see if he would share with us some of his exceptional information and insights. Our efforts were fruitless and correspondence with the general over the years came down mostly to an exchange of non-committal courtesies. Defense teams at the ICTY in the Hague, which endeavored to obtain him as a witness on their clients’ behalf, had no better luck. However, not very long ago General Martins Branco wrote to us seeking answers to some questions concerning Srebrenica. He mentioned that in November 2016 his memoirs were published in Portugal. That volume, which he kindly made available to us, encompassed the period of his service in the Balkans. It was entitled «A Guerra nos Balcãs, jihadismo, geopolítica e desinformação» [War in the Balkans, Jihadism, Geopolitics, and Disinformation], published by Edições Colibri in Lisbon.

As already seen numerous times with high-level officials, in this case as well open expression of intimate views and public disclosure of facts regarded of a delicate nature had to wait for retirement. In General Martins  Branco’s case, the wait was worthwhile. These fascinating recollections from the Balkan war theater consist of the insights of a Portuguese officer attached to UN forces into such episodes as the merciless expulsion, accompanied by mass killing, of the Serbian population of Krajina by Croatian forces. These outrages were orchestrated with the discrete backing of the NATO alliance, for which the author indirectly happened to be working at the time. Events surrounding Srebrenica in July 0f 1995 encompass another portion of his recollections. For the moment, we will focus on the latter and Martins Branco’s perception of the background and impact of the Srebrenica situation.

Already in his introduction to the chapters of his memoirs that deal with Srebrenica, Martins Branco questions the coherence of the prevalent view that it constituted genocide:

«General Ratko Mladic had made it known that he was leaving open a corridor for withdrawal toward Tuzla. With Mladic’s approval, about 6.000 persons took advantage of that opportunity. In a report by the Dutch Foreign Ministry it is noted that, according to UN sources, by August 4 a total of 35.632 displaced persons had made it to Tuzla, of whom between 800 and 1.000 were members of Bosnia and Herzegovina armed forces. Out of that total, 17.500 had been evacuated by bus». (Page 195)

The Portuguese general then continues:

«Srebrenica was portrayed – and continues to be – as a premeditated massacre of innocent Muslim civilians. As a genocide! But was it really so? A more careful and informed assessment of those events leads me to doubt it». (Page 196)

Martins Branco goes on to raise some pointed questions, and he does so purely in the capacity of a professional soldier:

«There are various estimates of the relative strength of forces involved in the Srebrenica battle. On the Serbian side, at most 3.000 fighters could have taken part. The number of armored vehicles is more difficult to determine, as stated at the beginning of this chapter. According to field reports, however, not more than six such vehicles were in motion at any given time. Though we lack reliable information about troop strength on the Muslim side, it is entirely probable that they numbered a minimum of 4.000 armed men, counting together Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina soldiers and members of the paramilitaries. According to some sources, they numbered up to 6.000. But for the purposes of this analysis, we will consider the 4.000 figure as credible». (Page 196)

The general then goes on:

«The topographical features of the terrain around Srebrenica, and Eastern Bosnia as a whole, are extremely rugged and hilly.  Crags, thickly forested areas, and deep ravines impede the movement of military vehicles while facilitating infantry operations. In relation to ground features, which beyond any doubt favor defenders, the numerical relationship of forces on the opposing sides suggests that Bosnian army troops had at their disposal more than sufficient manpower to put up a defense. They, however, failed to do that. Taking into account the numerical ratio of attackers to defenders, as we were taught at the military academy, for the attack to have any chance of success the number of attackers would have to exceed that of the defenders by a factor of at least three. In the case at hand, that ratio was more than advantageous to the defenders (4.000 defenders versus 3.000 attackers). In addition, the defenders had the additional benefit of knowing the landscape». (Page 196)

Martins Branco than asks one of the key Srebrenica questions:

«Given that military advantage favored the defense, why did the Bosnian army fail to put up any resistance to Serbian forces? Why did the command of the 28th Division of the Bosnian army – acting apparently contrary to its interest – fail to establish a defense line, as at other times it knew well how to do, as for instance during the April 1993 crisis? Why did Muslim forces in the enclave fail to act to regain control over their heavy weapons, which had been deposited in a local warehouse under UN’s lock and key? Was it no more than an oversight?» (Page 197)

As a supplement to these well-formulated questions, we may note that already on July 6, as the Serbian attack was commencing, the Dutch battalion command in Srebrenica let it be known to the 28th Division that it was free to retrieve its warehoused heavy armaments, if it so wished. That fact was revealed in the Dutch battalion «Debriefing», which came out in October of 1995. However, Muslim forces in Srebrenica inexplicably ignored this invitation, thus reinforcing the impression that – for political or other reasons – they lacked the purpose of militarily resisting the Serbian attack.

Which leads the author to the following reflections:

«Twenty years later, we still lack satisfactory answers to questions that seem crucial, assuming that we are seeking to find out what exactly happened. The passivity and absence of a military reaction on the part of Muslim forces in the enclave is in stark contrast to their offensive behavior during the preceding two years, which was manifested in the form of systematic slaughter of Serbian civilians in the villages surrounding Srebrenica». (Page 197)

The author then discloses an intriguing detail that was previously unknown even to this reviewer:

«Ramiz Becirevic [in command of the 28th Division in Naser Oric’s absence] initially issued an order for the heavy weapons to be collected. However, he cancelled it shortly thereafter, explaining that he had received a countermanding order. Who was the source of that order, and for what reason was it given? For the record, let it be noted that in the morning of July 6, as the Serbian attack was starting, acting on his own responsibility, the Dutchbat commander informed the leadership of the Bosnian army that the Serbs had ‘trespassed’ the enclave’s boundaries and that the UN would not be object should they come to retrieve their heavy weaponry that had been deposited in a local warehouse». (Page 197)

Pressing further his point about the enigmatic dissipation within the Srebrenica enclave of the will to resist, Martins Branco points out that Naser Oric, «the charismaticleader who very likely would have acted differently», was withdrawn from the enclave in April of 1995, never to return. He therefore goes on to ask some common sense questions:

«Was [Oric’s] return prevented by the Second Corps of the Bosnian army, of which 28th Division was part? What could have been the reasons for that? We still lack convincing answers to these questions». (Page 198)

«On the other hand», the Portuguese author continues with his detailed analysis of the suspicious train of events, «officials of the local SDA, the Party of Democratic Action that was in charge in Sarajevo, not only refused, citing strange reasons, to assist UN forces in evacuating Srebrenica, which is to say their own population and refugees from the surrounding villages who had taken shelter in the town, but they went even further by preventing them from fleeing in the direction of Potocari. Instead, they submitted to the commander of B Company [of the Dutchbat] a long list of demands, the fullment of which was insisted upon as the condition for their cooperation. The nature of these demands suggested the existence of a carefully elaborated advance plan which, however, did not mesh with the conditions that actually prevailed on the ground at that particular moment. At that point, there were only two issues which were of significance to the municipal president: one, the demand to the Military Observers on July 10 to disseminate to the outside world a report alleging the use of chemical weapons by Serbian forces, although that was not true; secondly, to publicly accuse the international media of spreading misinformation that Muslim forces were offering armed resistance, with an additional demand to the UN to also issue an official denial to that effect. According to him, Bosnian soldiers neither used heavy weapons, nor were they prepared to ever do so. At the same time, he complained about the lack of foodstuffs and the dismal humanitarian situation. The outline of an official narrative was becoming perceptible and it consisted of two messages: the absence of any military resistance and lack of food». (Page 198)

To put it in plain English, this elite NATO officer with excellent powers of observation and acumen for critical analysis «smelled a rat,» and he did so right from the beginning of the game. He does not say it outright in his memoirs, but it is strongly suggested that these doubts about the authenticity of the official Srebrenica narrative were proliferating in his mind in real time, as field reports accumulated on his desk in Zagreb.

Martins Branco then pops the logical question or, rather, he points his finger at one of the key incoherencies of the official account of Srebrenica events:

«A question mark could also be put over the complete absence of a military response of any kind by the Second Corps of the Bosnian army, whose zone of responsibility encompassed northeastern Bosnia, including Tuzla (where its headquarters was located), as well as Doboj, Bijeljina, Srebrenica, Zepa, and Zvornik. Bosnian army intelligence agencies, whose ear was constantly fixed on Serbian signal communications, were perfectly aware of the impending offensive operation. In spite of not at all being in the dark concerning the Serbs’ intention to attack, the Second Corps of the Bosnian army did not make the slightest move to weaken the Serbs’ pressure upon the enclave. It was a known fact that the Drina Corps, the Serbian army unit in whose zone of responsibility Srebrenica was located, was exhausted and that the attack on Srebrenica was made feasible only by scraping together forces withdrawn from other segments of the front, which naturally left in its wake many vulnerable points. Why didn’t the Second Corps undertake an attack along the entire front line with the Drina Corps, not merely in order to relieve the pressure on Srebrenica but also to exploit the Serbian forces’ temporary vulnerabilities in order to seize territory in areas that were left unprotected? Following the passage of twenty years, we still do not have the answer to this more than coherent and reasonable question». (Pages 198-199)

These are just some of the more important reasons leading a professional soldier to be skeptical of the general framework of the accepted Srebrenica narrative. As we will see in the next installment of this review, his more detailed analysis raises even more troubling questions.

«War in the Balkans» – the Memoirs of a Portugese Peacekeeper (II) by Stephen Karganovic

See Part I

In his memoir, «War in the Balkans», (1) retired Portuguese general Carlos Martins Branco, who was during the conflict in the Former Yugoslavia in the strategically important post of Deputy Head of Mission of UN Military Observers in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (1994-1996), recounts his knowledge of events that took place around Srebrenica in July of 1995.

In contrast to the fanciful tales of a bevy of dubious «experts», false witnesses, and outright propagandists, General Martins Branco reports facts as they were observed or collected by intelligence and other sources in the field. That information made its way through official channels to his desk in Zagreb, where the headquarters of the UN Observer Mission was located. Martins Branco’s facts and conclusions are hardly susceptible to off-hand dismissal. Excerpts cited below are on pages 201 – 206 of his memoir.

We will begin with the general’s conclusion challenging the received wisdom that Srebrenica was genocide and then work our way back from there:

«Had they entertained the specific intent to commit genocide, the Serbs would have blocked the enclave from all sides so that nobody could have managed to escape. Instead, they attacked from two directions, southeast and east, where they concentrated their assault forces, leaving open corridors for withdrawal toward the north and west (…) nor would they have planned the transportation of seventeen thousand women, children, and elderly, as occurred on July 12 and 13, which made it possible for about half the displaced persons to reach Federation territory. A great number of Srebrenica residents, who did manage to flee, found refuge in Serbia where they spent several years without being bothered by anyone. For the assertion of genocide to hold, it was necessary to conceal some inconvenient facts which were liable to compromise it».

Martins Branco does not deny that «the attack on Srebrenica resulted in many deaths». He notes, however, that «even after twenty years no one has managed to determine their number». (Actually, the Hague Tribunal has been attempting to make that determination but as a result of its lackadaisical efforts we now have, in various verdicts, five drastically varying figures the highest and the lowest separated by a gap of 4.000, all presumably reflecting the judicially ascertained number of executed victims.)

As «Srebrenica Historical Project» has been arguing for years, Martins Branco points out also a very important fact, namely the heterogeneity of the causes of death among the exhumed Srebrenica-related human remains. The author describes the forensic situation in the following terms:

«The causes of the deaths which occurred during and after military operations were various: combat between the two armies facing each other; combat between the Serbian forces and militants taking flight, who were joined by civilians; internecine warfare among fighters of the Bosnian army; and lastly executions of war prisoners».

As for the antecedents of the «magic figure of 8.000 missing (that was an initial Red Cross estimate) which ultimately morphed into an unchallengeable truth», the author says that at a certain point it became a «fact which it was forbidden to question, even before any proof was forthcoming». And he continues: «Woe unto him who would dare to challenge that incontrovertible truth. He will immediately be excommunicated and labeled a ‘genocide denier.’ The fact that 3.000 persons who had been declared missing found their way onto the voting rolls in the September 1996 elections had no impact whatsoever on the incessant repetition of the narrative about 8.000 dead. The media never expressed the slightest curiosity in the face of this and a number of other obvious incoherencies. It was easier to keep relentlessly repeating the genocide theory, which the mass media eagerly promoted. But regardless of the stubborn reassertion of that ‘truth’ it is worth recalling that between a media sound bite and a historical fact there continues to be a huge gap».

«How many prisoners were shot, and how many were killed in battle?», General Martins Branco raises one of the key questions. «We are quite far from having the answers, and I would say that we will have a difficult time ever finding them. It is much easier – and simpler – to talk about genocide».

The Portuguese officer nevertheless ventures to make some estimates of the possible number of war crime victims in Srebrenica in July of 1995:

«The execution by Serbian forces in Srebrenica and the environs of a considerable number of Muslim males – well informed sources cite the figure of 2.000 – among whom the majority were soldiers, was undoubtedly a war crime».

The number mentioned by Martins Branco is significant for a number of independent reasons. Firstly, because the same number of execution victims – 2.000 – is cited by another, no less respectable intelligence source, John Schindler, a high-ranking US intelligence officer who was stationed in Sarajevo contemporaneously with the Srebrenica events. Schindler’s assessment, made from his Sarajevo vantage point, is completely congruent with Martins Branco’s coming out of Zagreb. It was articulated in Ole Flyum’s documentary «Srebrenica: A Town Betrayed». (2) Both assessments match available forensic data to a T. And it should be borne in mind that when things happen to be rather muddled, as they are with Srebrenica, a synthesis of intelligence data deriving from various trustworthy sources should always be paid close attention. It often presents an overall picture that is far more reliable than the reports of isolated individuals, whose field of vision is often limited and who frequently are not even objective.

Finally, the figure jointly suggested by Martins Branco and Schindler, which the available material evidence fully supports, is of interest also for an additional reason. Within the various intelligence communities a rumor has persistently been making rounds alleging the existence of a document – a mysterious letter sent by Alija Izetbegovic to Naser Oric in the Spring of 1995, not long before the commencement of the Srebrenica operation – where it is supposedly reaffirmed that the offer of foreign intervention still stood, as well as the condition that the Bosnian Serb takeover of Srebrenica ought to be accompanied by mass slaughter. The key point in that alleged letter is that the number of victims that would satisfy the interventionist criterion of the interested foreign party would be the already familiar figure of – 2.000.

«However», our author continues, «that was not an act of genocide, as is asserted in many places, mainly by the Tribunal at The Hague, in the form of a political argument». As a civilized person he, of course, entirely agrees that «taking justice into one’s own hands, which is culturally characteristic not just of Serbs but of other communities of the Former Yugoslavia as well, does not justify or mitigate the gravity of the committed act. That was, beyond doubt, a violation of the Geneva Convention».

His main point, nevertheless, would seem to be that things definitively ought to be called by their proper name:

«Terrible war crimes must be punished. Yet these criminal acts cannot and should not be confused with genocide. When war crimes, such as the execution of hundreds of military age males, are conflated with genocide, where it is necessary to establish the intent to systematically eradicate members of an ethnic community, that sends a very frivolous signal. That is particularly evident if we bear in mind the fact that the party committing the crime had made available the means to transport seventeen thousand displaced persons, which is about fifty percent of the entire displaced population».

Martins Branco then turns his attention to another notable «incoherence» in the Srebrenica affair, which is that the «Tribunal has so far condemned but a single direct perpetrator» (in a footnote he clarifies that the reference is to Drazen Erdemovic, a perpetrator defendant-turned-prosecution-witness who was initially rewarded with a laughably insignificant three year sentence for signing a plea bargain agreement, followed by numerous benefits in return for his mechanically repeated and highly disputed testimony).  (3) The Portuguese author stresses that «no one else was ever put in the dock for executing prisoners of war but, rather, based on ‘command responsibility’ or participation in a Joint Criminal Enterprise, which is the Tribunal’s favored doctrine but the application of which in such a conflict situation is highly dubious. How is it possible to claim genocide if, after twenty years, the Tribunal is incapable of determining the number of victims, the cause of death, and who killed them?»

All eminently logical questions. Martins Branco should perhaps also be given credit for this equally astute observation:

«The Tribunal has forgotten to concern itself with crimes committed around Srebrenica between 1992 and 1995 where the victims were Serbs, resulting in the murder of almost two thousand persons (males, females, children, and elderly), in some cases after acts of torture and other atrocities. For the most part this has been carefully documented, and the identity of the perpetrators is known (…) As Richard Holbrooke admitted in his book, ‘the Tribunal had always been a valuable political instrument of US policy». (4) Quite so, indeed.

And when talking about genocide, Martins Branco is not shy to draw a sharp contrast between the situation in Srebrenica in July of 1995 and what transpired in relatively close proximity barely a month later, in August, as Croatian armed forces went into attack mode:

«What happened in Srebrenica cannot and should not be equated to what happened a month later in the Krajina, where the Croatian army conducted an operation of systematic murder of the Serbian population which did not manage to find any shelter, sparing no one. Men, women, children, the elderly – all without distinction were subjected to the same atrocities, and things even worse. That operation was planned down to the last detail and was amply documented. The orders were issued by Tudjman to his generals, at a meeting in Brioni on July 31, 1995, on the eve of Operation Storm. The Tribunal never considered the events in Krajina as a possible genocide. Western media kept a careful distance from those events. Their silence was complicit and deafening».

Concluding his reminiscences, Martins Branco seems to harbor no doubt that Srebrenica was the perfidious fruit of long-term planning and parallel activity of various interested parties. In support of that, he cites evidence from Ibran Mustafic’s book «Planned Chaos», statements of local politician Zlatko Dukic, and revelations by Srebrenica enclave police chief during the conflict, Hakija Meholjic. The author singles out  in particular the intriguing claim of the then chief of staff of the Bosnian army, Sefer Halilovic, that in fact Izetbegovic had made the decision to «discard» Srebrenica rather early in the game but was determined «to extract from it maximum political profit».

Incidentally, while considering what Meholjic and Halilovic had to say on the subject and the evidence that the event may have been conceived some time in advance, it is worth recalling Meholjic’s famous claim of Izetbegovic’s offer to allow the slaughter of Srebrenica’s residents in return for foreign intervention, Srebrenica later to be traded with the Serbs for the Sarajevo suburb of Vogosca. The episode, be it recalled, is alleged to have taken place in the Fall of 1993, when a Bosniak National Congress was being convened in Sarajevo. However, in his book «The Cunning Strategy» (5) Sefer Halilovic set forth some additional information on the subject that may be of possible significance. He claims that the idea of staging a Srebrenica massacre, in return for harvesting its political dividends, was most likely entertained in the minds of Alija Izetbegovic and the Bosnian leadership even before the Congress. It so happens that at the time of the book’s publication Halilovic was politically on the outs with Izetbegovic so perhaps his assertions should for that reason be taken with a grain of salt. The fact remains, however, for all it is worth, that according to Halilovic (who is alive and may be questioned concerning his statements) Izetbegovic had mentioned to him in the Spring of 1993 the supposed offer which several months later, towards the end of the year, was to shock Meholjic and the other members of the Srebrenica delegation in attendance at the Bosniak meeting.

General Carlos Martins Branco’s reflections about Srebrenica are a valuable piece of the mosaic, supplementing and improving our understanding of events. His book is not simply the notes of a strategically positioned foreign observer, but much more than that. It is, in a certain sense, a coming to terms with the politically obscured reality of the matter by institutions which the author – willingly and consciously, or not – nevertheless personifies. In considerable measure, it furnishes answers to such important questions as «what did they know and when did they find out». The clear subtext of Martins Branco’s memoir is that the author and the instances above and below him had the capability of following events in real time, that they pretty much knew who was doing what and to whom, and that on a deeper analytical level they have no illusions – not to speak of dilemmas – about the real nature and background of Srebrenica. After reading «War in the Balkans – Jihadism, Geopolitics, and Disinformation», it is difficult to imagine that the proverbial «powers that be» were in the dark about the cynical political agenda which Srebrenica has come to serve.

(1) A Guerra nos Balcãs, jihadismo, geopolítica e desinformação [War in the Balkans, Jihadism, Geopolitics, and Disinformation]  Edições Colibri 2016.
(2) «Srebrenica: A Town Betrayed», 50:50 to 51:10 minutes
(3) Erdemovic’s account was meticulously picked apart by Bulgarian journalist Zerminal Civikov in «Srebrenica. Der Kronzeuge», Edition Brennpunkt, Osteuropa, 2009.
(4) Holbrooke, Richard. To End a War, p. 190.
(5) Halilovic, Sefer: «The Cunning Strategy» (Lukava strategija), Sarajevo 1997, pp. 130-132.

«War in the Balkans» – the Memoirs of a Portugese Peacekeeper (I)

«War in the Balkans» – the Memoirs of a Portugese Peacekeeper (II)


Sources and further reading:

My previous articles:

Biased ICTY Sentenced Karadzig 40 Years Based On Srebrenica [Hoax]

Srebrenica – The guide for the perplexed

Srebrenica: A Town Betrayed” – Finally a Critical Documentary about Srebrenica Tragedy

Media War of Yugoslav Secession continues

NIOD Report on Srebrenica

Srebrenica again – Hoax or Massacre?

And here is a small selection of articles, documents and analysis, which are also telling the other side of story:

Media War: The Use and Mis-Use of the Visual Image in News Coverage and Propaganda . A study of the visual media war against the Serbs.

Demonizing the Serbs by Marjaleena Repo June 15, 1999 in Counterpunch

One view about issue in video Bosnia and Media Manipulation

Srebrenica: The Star Witness by Prof Edward S. Herman

The Star Witness by Germinal Civikov (translated from German by John Lauchland),Belgrade 2010,

Srebrenica: Deconstruction of a Virtual Genocide” by Stephen Karganovic and Ljubica Simic (Belgrade 2010)

 Analysis of Muslim Column Losses Due to Minefields and Combat Activity” by Stephen Karganovic: .Proceedings of the International Symposium on ICTY and Srebrenica (Belgrade-Moscow 2010)

 Was Srebrenica a Hoax? Eye-Witness Account of a Former United Nations Military Observer in Bosnia by Carlos Martins Branco

Media Disinformation Frenzy on Srebrenica: The Lynching of Ratko Mladic by Nebojsa Malic

Media Fabrications: The “Srebrenica Massacre” is a Western Myth

What Happened at Srebrenica? Examination of the Forensic Evidence by Stephen Karganovic

Using War as an Excuse for More War: Srebrenica Revisited by Diana Johnstone

The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics by Edward S. Herman and Phillip Corwin

NIOD (Netherlands Institute for War Documentation)/Srebrenica investigationreport

INTELWIRE.com has published over 2.000 pages of of declassified U.S. State Dept. Cables about Srebrenica

UN Report:The Fall of Srebrenica


Biased ICTY Sentenced Karadzig 40 Years Based On Srebrenica [Hoax]

March 25, 2016

imagesA former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was found guilty of genocide and other charges for his role during the Bosnian war in the 1990s, including the massacres of 8,000 Muslim men and boys outside the Srebrenica enclave.

An international tribunal announced a long-awaited reckoning in Europe’s bloodiest chapter since World War II on 24th March 2016. Karadzic, 70, was sentenced to 40 years in prison by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

In my post “Srebrenica again – Hoax or Massacre?”  I tried to highlight the other side of Srebrenica story which differs from the picture of (western) mainstream media. I have never denied that brutalities happened in Srebrenica, but would like to get more information

a) About the context of Srebrenica events

b) Who was massacred (civilians/soldiers/members of different ethnic groups)

c) How many died in Srebrenica July 1995

d) What was the role of media as part of political game

What I claimed then and now is that the reality is much more complex than the existing myth. To have wider picture about events I have picked some alternative versions about Srebrenica case and mostly from western sources because many readers would see Serbian versions too biased.

Some alternative views:

From The Globe and Mail (Canada), July 14, 2005 “The real story behind Srebrenica” by the former UNPROFOR commander, Gen. Lewis MacKenzie, The Globe and Mail, 14 July 2005:

Evidence given at The Hague war crimes tribunal casts serious doubt on the figure of “up to” 8,000 Bosnian Muslims massacred. That figure includes “up to” 5,000 who have been classified as missing. More than 2,000 bodies have been recovered in and around Srebrenica, and they include victims of the three years of intense fighting in the area. The math just doesn’t support the scale of 8,000 killed.

 

Former chief NSA analyst: Most of killed in Srebrenica were soldiers who refused to surrender:

The Politics of the Srebrenica Massacre” -article argues that only some Bosniaks were executed, most died in battle, and some of the bodies in mass graves are actually Serbs, by Edward S. Herman, 7 July 2005

There have been a great many bodies gathered at Tuzla, some 7,500 or more, many in poor condition or parts only, their collection and handling incompatible with professional forensic standards, their provenance unclear and link to the July 1995 events in Srebrenica unproven and often unlikely, (The web site of the International Commission on Missing Persons in the Former Yugoslavia acknowledges that the bodies “have been exhumed from various gravesites in northeast HiH,” not just in the Srebrenica region; quoted in a 2003 Statement by ICMP Chief of Staff Concerning Persons Reported Missing from Srebrenica in July 1995, Gordon Bacon.) and the manner of their death usually uncertain. Interestingly, although the Serbs were regularly accused of trying to hide bodies, there has never been any suggestion that the Bosnian Muslims, long in charge of the body search, might shift bodies around and otherwise manipulate evidence, despite their substantial record of dissembling. A systematic attempt to use DNA to trace connections to Srebrenica is underway, but entails many problems, apart from that of the integrity of the material studied and process of investigation, and will not resolve the question of differentiating executions from deaths in combat. There are also lists of missing, but these lists are badly flawed, with duplications, individuals listed who had died before July 1995, who fled to avoid BSA service, or who registered to vote in 1997, and they include individuals who died in battle or reached safety or were captured and assumed a new existence elsewhere.

Report of International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA) says that the “alleged casualty number of 7,000 victims is vastly inflated and unsupported by evidence”

Phillip Corwin, former UN Civilian Affairs Coordinator in Bosnia during the 1990s, said: “What happened in Srebrenica was not a single large massacre of Muslims by Serbs, but rather a series of very bloody attacks and counterattacks over a three year period which reached a crescendo in July of 1995.”

Former BBC journalist Jonathan Rooper, who has researched the events in Srebrenica since 1995, says that the region was a graveyard for Serbs as well as Muslims and that a monument to inflated casualties on one side “serves neither truth nor the goal of reconciliation”. Around 3,000 names on a list of Srebrenica victims compiled by the Red Cross matched voters in the Bosnian election in 1996. “I pointed out to the OSCE that there had either been massive election fraud or almost half the people on the ICRC missing list were still alive,” says Rooper. “The OSCE finally responded that the voting lists had been locked away in warehouses and it would not be possible for them to investigate.”

Report of Srebrenica Research Group concludes that “the contention that as many as 8,000 Muslims were killed has no basis in available evidence and is essentially a political construct.

The ICMP now (June 2005) states on its website: “One month before the 10th anniversary of the fall of Srebrenica in 1995, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has completed identifications of more than 2,000 of the Srebrenica victims.”

Srebrenica-suicide-1995

An article “Using War as an Excuse for More War: Srebrenica Revisited” by Diana Johnstone describes e.g. following

In short, Srebrenica, whose Serb population had been chased out by Muslim troops at the start of the civil war in 1992, was both a gathering point for civilian Muslim refugees and a Muslim army base. The enclave lived from international humanitarian aid. The Muslim military did not allow civilians to leave, since their presence was what ensured the arrival of humanitarian aid provisions which the military controlled…

srebrenicaMuch has been made of the fact that Serb forces separated the population, providing buses for women, children and the infirm to take them to Tuzla, while detaining the men. In light of all that preceded, the reason for this separation is obvious: the Bosnian Serbs were looking for the perpetrators of raids on Serb villages, in order to take revenge…

When the Serb forces entered the town from the south, thousands of Muslim soldiers, in disarray because of the absence of commanding officers, fled northwards, through wild wooded hills toward Tuzla. It is clear enough that they fled because they feared exactly what everyone aware of the situation dreaded: that Serb soldiers would take vengeance on the men they considered guilty of murdering Serb civilians and prisoners. Thousands of those men did in fact reach Tuzla, and were quietly redeployed. This was confirmed by international observers. However, Muslim authorities never provided information about these men, preferring to let them be counted among the missing, that is, among the massacred. Another large, unspecified number of these men were ambushed and killed as they fled in scenes of terrible panic. This was, then, a “massacre”, such as occurs in war when fleeing troops are ambushed by superior forces.

Who Gets Justice From ICTY?

Finnish leading daily newspaper – Helsingin Sanomat – published on 14th Apr. 2013 an investigative feature story Winners Justice related to recent release of Croatian war criminal Ante Gotovina. Gotovina was responsible about biggest ethnic cleansing during Balkan wars. The article clearly proves the political and biased nature of International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

 

Bosniacs have got most justice from Hague, Albanians and Serbs least Lines from top to bottom: Croats, Bosniacs, Serbs, Albanians, Other Column 1: Civilian deaths, Column 2: Refugees, Column 3: ICTY sentences (years) about crimes against nations on line, Column 4: ICTY sentences against nations on line/days/civilian death Column 5: ICTY sentences against nations on line/ratio of deaths + 50% of refugee amount Free translation AR///Source: Helsingin Sanomat

Bosniacs have got most justice from Hague, Albanians and Serbs least
Lines from top to bottom: Croats, Bosniacs, Serbs, Albanians, Other
Column 1: Civilian deaths, Column 2: Refugees, Column 3: ICTY sentences (years) about crimes against nations on line, Column 4: ICTY sentences against nations on line/days/civilian death
Column 5: ICTY sentences against nations on line/ratio of deaths + 50% of refugee amount
Free translation AR///Source: Helsingin Sanomat

 

My conclusion: Selective Justice

In my earlier article I asked: Srebrenica – a hoax or massacre? and summarized following:

Srebrenica – a hoax or massacre?I would say both; a hoax due the well planned and implemented PR maneuver , a massacre when the Serbs went to trap and used brutal force also against civilians. When the Serbs got a tactical win in warfare the Muslims got US as their strategic ally with Serb demonization. In addition to human sacrifice – victims from all ethnic groups, civilians and soldiers/mercenaries – one loser was the investigative journalism and media on the whole by accepting one-sided truth in Bosnia and since then also in future conflicts.

The Al-Quada-linked 'El-Mujahedeen' brigade of the Bosnian Muslim Army parading in downtown Zenica in central Bosnia in 1995, carrying the black flag of Islamic jihad

The Al-Quada-linked ‘El-Mujahedeen’ brigade of the Bosnian Muslim Army parading in downtown Zenica in central Bosnia in 1995, carrying the black flag of Islamic jihad

In Wilson Center publication 191. Biased Justice: “Humanrightsism” and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia Robert M. Hayden gives from my piint of view an excellent description about ICTY – a quote:

The ICTY, however, delivers a “justice” that is biased, with prosecutorial decisions based on the personal and national characteristics of the accused rather than on what available evidence indicates that he has done. This bias is seen in the failure to prosecute NATO personnel for acts that are comparable to those of people already indicted, and in the failure to prosecute NATO personnel for prima facie war crimes. This pattern of politically driven prosecution is accompanied by the use of the Tribunal as a tool for those Western countries that support it, and especially the United States, to pursue political goals in the Balkans. Further, the Tribunal’s rules (some of which resemble those of the Spanish Inquisition) and procedural decisions make it difficult for defendants to receive a fair trial.

From its part international tribunal whitewashes the activities of Western powers and their Muslim allies during Bosnian war as well during Kosovo conflict [1999]. While focusing to Karadzic and later Karadzic’s military chief, Gen. Ratko Mladic [still awaiting trial] ICTY ignores ethnic-cleansing policies and atrocities made by Croatian and Bosnian nationalists as well Kosovo Albanian crime clans because they all were US allies.

In my opinion the decision of ICTY reflects more old realpolitik than justice. Hopefully, the Mladić trial will seriously examine the entire context that led to the massacre of Srebrenica and how a vulgar “tit-for-tat” between two armies was transformed by rhetoric into genocide.

Figting-ISIL-_-Ratko-Mladic

[Article first appeared in Conflicts by Ari Rusila]


NIOD Report on Srebrenica

December 6, 2011

In my previous articles ( “Srebrenica: A Town Betrayed” – Finally a Critical Documentary about Srebrenica Tragedy and Media War of Yugoslav Secession continues ) I covered issues which are challenging the “official” picture about Srebrenica massacre. As expected there is a heated debate in different forums about events itself and about right to show the other side of the story e.g in public broadcasting company channels. This debate however is cursorily twirling round persons and deadlock opinions, arguments rarely have some base on facts.

Fanatical, narrow minded and many times politically motivated debate is blind alley; many-sided picture about Srebrenica can be illustrated by applying more facts than feelings to discussion. Maybe the best and anyway the most comprehensive source to find not only details and facts but also scientific analysis about them is in my opinion so called NIOD-report.

NIOD Report on Srebrenica

In November 1996, the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (then: Nederlands Instituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie / Netherlands Institute for War Documentation ) was instructed by the Dutch Government to carry out a study of ‘the events prior to, during and after the fall of Srebrenica’. For the purposes of this independent historical analytical research, the Government undertook to do everything in its power to grant the NIOD researchers access to the source material at its disposal.

The NIOD Report on Srebrenica tragedy was published in 2002. So far the Report is the most comprehensive academic research and documentation about what really happened in Srebrenica not only in July of 1995 but also before tragedy. The Report describes on its some four thousand pages (yes, 4.000) also wider historical and political context around Srebrenica. The NIOD-report is generally regarded as a first-rate scientific work.

After this long introduction here below finally are links to different parts (in English) of this fundamental independent academic research –

The NIOD-report:

Criticism

Critics especially from Bosnian Muslim side are complaining that Dutch NIOD Report is not as objective as they have expected it to be.  Critics of the NIOD Report allege it was the Netherland’s attempt to wash their hands of direct involvement in the Srebrenica massacre. Also the Report is said to be full of inaccuracies e.g with names and that report is too big, idex is poorly organised etc. There was nine NIOD-researchers and some found information unreliable sources while other found it reliable.

There is also suspicion that the report is made to order by the Dutch government. The background for this is the fact that the government were facing the prospect of a politically motivated parliamentary inquiry into the role and conduct of Dutch military personnel during their presence in the UN-protected Srebrenica enclave in 1994 and 1995.

The supporters – e.g. Noam Chomsky, Ed Herman and Diana Johnstone – of Niod-conclusions have also been labeled as genocide denials, revisionists or representatives of “leftist apologist wing” who pride themselves on being always on the opposite side of the mainstream media. (See e.g Srebrenica Genocide Blog)

An Excerpt: Media manipulation of Srebrenica

(Source: ISSA reports )

Former BBC journalist Jonathan Rooper, who has researched the events in Srebrenica since 1995, says that the region was a graveyard for Serbs as well as Muslims. He observed closely media manipulation during Bosnian War. Instead of acknowledging that there was no support for the original figures, Rooper says a various means were used to prop up the official story.

  • Spokesmen for the Clinton Administration suggested that Serbs might have moved the bodies to other locations. Rooper points out that excavating, transporting and reburying 7,000 bodies was “not only beyond the capabilities of the thinly-stretched, petrol-starved Bosnian Serb Army, but would have been easily detected under intense surveillance from satellites and geostationary drones”.
  • By 1998, thousands of bodies excavated from all across Bosnia were stored at the Tuzla airport. Despite state-of-the-art DNA testing, only 200 bodies have been linked to Srebrenica.
  • Around 3,000 names on a list of Srebrenica victims compiled by the Red Cross matched voters in the Bosnian election in 1996. “I pointed out to the OSCE that there had either been massive election fraud or almost half the people on the ICRC missing list were still alive,” says Rooper. “The OSCE finally responded that the voting lists had been locked away in warehouses and it would not be possible for them to investigate.”

The Bottom Line

“What happened in Srebrenica was not a single large massacre of Muslims by Serbs, but rather a series of very bloody attacks and counterattacks over a three year period.”

(Phillip Corwin, former UN Civilian Affairs Coordinator in Bosnia)

The the tragic events in Srebrenica in July of 1995 are actual and in headlines today and probably during coming years too. The cause from my perspective may be related to four aspects

1st the ICTY process is focusing now to main political figures – Karadzig and Mladic – of Bosnian War and evidences from sides of prosecutor and defence are the core content of trial

2nd every year Srebrenica will be remaind as theatrical funerals of Bosnian Muslims – presumable victims – are taking place.

3rd Bosnia-Herzegovina as an artifical creature is searching some national identity, however ethnic tensions are rather increasing than opposite and politics is more going towards dissolution than unity.

4th Srebrenica is an example of intervention, or R2P context as well modern media war used more or less successfully in conflicts around the world during last decades.

Further reading

To go deeper to Srebrenica problemacy I would recommend besides mentioned NIOD-report also following material:

Stephen Karganovic, Ed., Deconstruction of a Virtual Genocide: An Intelligent Person’s Guide To Srebrenica

United Nations Report on Srebrenica 15 November 1999.(note: to access the report, click on the LINK immediately below. You will be directed to a page where you can click on “CLICK HERE TO GET THE FULL TEXT OF THE REPORT”. You will be directed to another page where you can click on your languaqe preference, and the full report should download) LINK )

I also would like promote the work of Srebrenica Historical Project, which collects information on Srebrenica events.

Srebrenica Historical Project

( http://www.srebrenica-project.com/ )

An excerpt from project’s mission statement:

Our broad purpose is to collect information on Srebrenica during the last conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, defined not as July 1995, but more broadly as 1992 to 1995. That means that we shall be creating a comprehensive and contextual, as opposed to a selective, record of the violence between the communities in that area during the conflict. We shall focus also on crimes committed against the Serb civilians not because we favor them but because so far they have been ignored. We wish to redress that balance, but we will not work under any ideological limitations. A corollary goal will be to launch something along the lines of the South African Truth and Reconciliation commission, with emphasis on truth as logically coming before and as a precondition to reconciliation. That is another reason we wish to do a great deal of empirical work on the neglected crimes against the Serbian population. We shall then proceed to explore reconciliations strategies. The fundamental objective of our project is to rise above politics and propaganda and to create a contextual record of the Srebrenica tragedy of July 1995 which can serve as a corrective to the distortions of the last decade and a half and as a genuine contribution to future peace.


Media War of Yugoslav Secession continues

November 6, 2011

Who needs facts if a good story is available?” (Ari Rusila)

A few weeks ago I promoted new Srebrenica documentary film Srebrenica: A Town Betrayed . Everybody was not happy about critical view of documentary. E.g the Norwegian Helsinki Committee made official complaint to Norwegian Broadcasting Council and Press Complaints Commission. This is not surprising as media war in Bosnia started same time as war on the ground. While the whole artificial outside forced state creature without any own identity is now openly tottering the media again is the tool to improve political interests.

Filmmakers and investigative journalists Ola Flyum and David Hebditch, authors of “Srebrenica: A Town Betrayed”, have been subjected to denunciations by interested parties in Bosnia and in the Bosniak diaspora for presenting their critical and challenging documentary about the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The filmmakers have prepared a detailed issue-by-issue 43-page Response to the derogatory allegations that have been made against them and this document – 2 Response to NHC Complaint ENG – is available in my document archive.

Media War in Bosnia

The media did more damage to us than Nato bombs.” (Radovan Karadzic)

The ‘Holocaust model’,promoted by governments and media, and generally accepted by western public opinion, presented the war as a genocidal war by Serbs against the Bosnian Muslim (Bosniac) population. The war was presented as morally equivalent to Auschwitz – and western intervention as a moral crusade, which no reasonable person could oppose. Few people in western Europe today believe that Serbs are ‘a nation of genocidal rapists’, but that is how many people saw them in the mid-1990’s.

One fabrication got headlines around the world as in 1992 an ITN TV-news shot footage of men staring out from behind barbed wire. They were Bosnian prisoners inside a Serbian concentration camp, ITN explained. An emaciated Muslim caged behind Serb barbed wire, filmed by a British news team, became a worldwide symbol of the war in Bosnia. But the picture is not quite what it seems. It took years before a German journalist Thomas Deichman described how the famous photo was staged by its takers. The picture was very misleading: the ITN photographers were actually inside the compound, and their subjects were outside the fence, looking in. Deichmann reveals the full story in his article The picture that fooled the world. However by that time (1992) the image had done its deed, labeling the Serbs as genocidal mass murderers.

An expample: How to win media war?

Richard Palmer describes one episode of successful media war in his article What Really Happened in Bosnia publiched in TheTrumpet.com

Serbia’s earliest defeat came in the PR war. Early on, Serbia’s enemies engaged Ruder Finn, an American public relations firm, to get their message out. James Harff, director of Ruder Finn’s Global Public Affairs section, boasted about his success against Serbia.

Nobody understood what was going on in (former) Yugoslavia,” he said in an October 1993 interview. “The great majority of Americans were probably asking themselves in which African country Bosnia was situated.” Ruder Finn took advantage of this ignorance. Its first goal was to persuade the Jews to oppose the Serbs—not an easy task. “The Croatian and Bosnian past was marked by a real and cruel anti-Semitism,” said Harff. “Tens of thousands of Jews perished in Croatian camps. So there was every reason for intellectuals and Jewish organizations to be hostile towards the Croats and Bosnians.”

Harff used a couple reports in the New York Newsday about Serbian concentration camps to persuade Jewish groups to demonstrate against the Serbs. “This was a tremendous coup,” said Harff. “When the Jewish organizations entered the game on the side of the Bosnians, we could promptly equate the Serbs with the Nazis in the public mind.” He continued: “By a single move, we were able to present a simple story of good guys and bad guys which would hereafter play itself. We won by targeting Jewish audience, the right target. Almost immediately there was a clear change of language in the press, with the use of words with high emotional content, such as ‘ethnic cleansing,’ ‘concentration camps,’ etc., which evoked inmates of Nazi Germany and the gas chambers of Auschwitz. The emotional change was so powerful that nobody could go against it.”

The fact that the mujahedin had taken over Bosnian Serb towns and villages, had tortured and executed, had ethnically cleansed and displaced Bosnian Serbs and Croats POWs at will has been ignored. Videotapes and reportage were made of these war crimes so it is easy to create a wider picture also today. 

Srebrenica

Mostly forgotten perspective is the context in which Srebrenica events occurred.

In charge of the Muslim forces in Srebrenica was Naser Oric. Here is how French Gen. Philippe Morillon, commander of the UN troops in Bosnia from 1992 to 1993, described him: “Naser Oric engaged in attacks during Orthodox holidays and destroyed villages, massacring all the inhabitants. This created a degree of hatred that was quite extraordinary in the region ….” In another part of his testimony, he stated, “There were terrible massacres committed by the forces of Naser Oric in all the surrounding villages.” It was this hatred and circle of revenge that led to the Srebrenica massacre. The Serbs finally reacted to Oric’s provocations. When they took Srebrenica far more easily than they thought they would they took their revenge on the men they found there. But, unlike Oric, they let the women and children go. Thus it was not an ethnic cleansing, instead it was a partly crime provoked by crimes on the other side. Partly as mostly the dead in Srebrenica on July 1995 happened when 28. Muslim Division tried to escape from town to Muslim held Zenica (as they knew the amounth of hatred among local Serbs) and lost their life during this operation.

In his latest book titled “Srebrenica — The History of Salon Racism” (Srebrenica — die Geschichte eines salonfahigen Rassismus) published 2010 in Berlin, Alexander Dorin focuses on manipulations with the number of Muslims who lost their lives in Srebrenica. “It is perfectly clear that Muslim organizations listed as Srebrenica victims all the Muslim fighters who were killed in the fights after the fall of Srebrenica,” the Swiss researcher said. Dorin explained that director of the Belgrade Center for Investigation of War Crimes Milivoje Ivanišević analyzed the lists of alleged Srebrenica victims. Ivanišević discovered that, a year after the fall of Srebrenica, some 3,000 Muslim men who were supposedly killed in 1995, were voting in the Bosnian Muslim elections. It asserted that no more than 2,000 Bosnian Muslims had died at Srebrenica – all armed soldiers, not civilians – and that 1,600 of them had died in combat or while trying to escape the enclave. In addition, at least 1,000 of the alleged 1995 “Srebrenica massacre victims” have been dead long before or after Bosnian Serb Army took the town over.

The Star Wittness

Germinal Civikov is a native of Bulgaria living nowadays in The Hague and Cologne. In his book, “Srebrenica: Der Kronzeuge” (Wien: Promedia, 2009, published also in English as ”Srebrenica: The Star Wittness) Civikov explains that the ICTY ruling that genocide was committed at Srebrenica on the orders of the Bosnian Serb leadership is based on the testimony of a single witness, a self-confessed perpetrator of one of the massacres called Drazen Erdemovic. Civikov shows that in fact Erdemovic is a pathological liar, he was a mercenary who fought on all three sides in the Bosnian civil war. He was not forced to commit the massacre, indeed his unit was on leave when the massacre was committed. He was not the victim of a later murder attempt to prevent him from testifying, but instead a thug who quarrelled over money with his fellow murderers.

Best Practice in use: Croatia

In Croatia the right-wing party, the Ustashi, came to power using fascist symbols and slogans from the era of Nazi occupation. Its program guaranteed a return to capitalist property relations and denied citizenship, jobs, pensions, passports or land ownership to all other nationalities, but especially targeted the large Serbian minority. In the face of armed expropriations and mass expulsions, the Serbs in Croatia began to arm themselves. The experience of World War II—when almost a million people, primarily Serbs, but also Jews, Roma and tens of thousands of others died in Ustashi death camps—fueled the mobilization. In deed Slobodan Milosevic was equated with Adolph Hitler, which in case of Croatia is quite strange as the Croatian forces during World War II were actually explicitly pro-Nazi and implemented holocaust against Serbs, Jews and other groups in Jasenovac concentration camp (3rd largest of them in Europe during WWII).

In August 1995, Croatia launched a savage attack on Krajina, a region of Croatia that Serbs had inhabited for 500 years. Within four days, the Croatians drove out 150,000 Serbs, the largest ethnic cleansing of the entire Balkan wars. Investigators with the war-crimes tribunal in the Hague have concluded that this campaign was carried out with brutality, wanton murder and indiscriminate shelling of civilians. These war crimes and cleansing were passed over in silence in western media as Croatia was being advised by a shadowy group of retired American officers who had been sent to Croatia to help it fight against the Serbs. In fact especially western mainstream media actively and carefully ignored and covered up the war crimes that its allies committed in Croatia and later in Bosnia and Kosovo.

It is estimated that more civilians were killed in Krajina than Srebrenica, but this consequence was virtually ignored by the Western media and never regarded, as was Srebrenica, a genocide. For Croatian leaders Krajina was the reward for having accepted, under Washington’s pressure, the federation between Croats and Muslims in Bosnia.

A former US ambassador to Croatia – Peter Galbraith, testifying in The Hague war crimes trial – accused Zagreb of plotting and sanctioning the exodus of Serbs in 1995 to create an “ethnically clean” country.

Croatian authorities either ordered or allowed a mass destruction of the Serb property in former (Serb-held region of) Krajina to prevent the return of the population. I consider that to have been a thought through policy” … ”Croatia was an organised country, its army the most disciplined in former Yugoslavia, and therefore I cannot accept that the illegalities that occurred after Storm were spontaneous,” … “President Tudjman and people around him wanted it, wishing for an ethnically clean country.” (Source BalkanInsight )

<span style="font-family:Droid Serif,serif;">More about ”Operation Storm” in my article Krajina – Victory with Ethnic Cleansing

Best Practice in use: Kosovo

In Kosovo U.S. With help of western media used the same best practice as earlier in Croatia and Bosnia. The main elements were need of humanitarian intervention, multiplying (with 10-50) civilian deaths and fabricating massacres. More coverage e.g in High pressure to fabricate Racak reports ja 10th anniversary of Nato’s attack on Serbia) ). In West the war-crimes and other atrocies aginst Serbs were either ignored or labeled as propaganda. Only years after war some reports or new investigations are telling also the other side of story . One of the most important document is the one which Swiss prosecutor-politician Dick Marty gave for Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) on Dec 2010. The report, “Inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo” claims that civilians – Serbian and non-KLA-supporting Kosovan Albanians detained by the KLA in the 1999 hostilities – were shot in northern Albania and their kidneys extracted and sold on the black market. It names Hashim Thaçi, the former leader of the KLA and Kosovo’s prime minister, as the boss of a “mafia-like” group engaged in criminal activity – including heroin trading – since before the 1999 war. More e.g in Kosovo: Two years of Pseudo-state and Captured Pseudo-State Kosovo .

Mafia Clans/KFOR sectors -map made by Laura Canali

KLA’s transformation from OC-/terrorist group to freedom fighters was an amazing media victory which guaranteed the occupation and later capturing of Kosovo. Since then the efforts have been made to whitewash the past and creating a quasi-independent puppet state for safe haven for terrorists and OC. One of latest episodes of media war was played recently when Kosovo’s government has discretely engaged the lobbying services of one of Washington’s top firms (Patton Bogg) for $50,000 a month. Frank Wisner, Patton Bogg’s foreign affairs advisor, met Thaci in the United States last July (2011). Interesting detail is that mentioned Wisner was the US’s special representative to the Kosovo Status Talks in 2005 – like in role of neutral facilitator of talks. Wisner played a crucial role in negotiating Kosovo’s independence. (Source BalkanInsight ).

Receptive mind in West

“He may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” (Franklin Roosevelt)

As described earlier Bosnian Muslims, Croatians, Kosovo Albanians and their hired lobbyists made very successful media campaign for their case in western mainstream media and in capitals of West. However the campaigns might not have been so effective unless the politicians were so amenable to campaigner’s views. In my opinion this receptivity is linked to geopolitical changes and interests. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, US big business was focusing on reshaping all of Europe. Nato had lost its enemy and military-industrial complex was afraid to lose its old markets. Nonaligned Yugoslavia was no longer needed in this context. The interest of US Military-industrial complex and Pentagon’s was in creating weak, dependent puppet regimes to Balkans, Black Sea region, Caucasus in order to dominate these regions and their energy sources and transportation routes – economically and politically. Without this political and business interest it would not be so easy for PR-agencies to demonize the Serbs, to hide the reality of Croatian fascism, to canonize the Bosnian Muslims, and to whitewash OC-clans in Kosovo.

Military-industrial Complex shaping US-policy

Global military industrial consumption per year is 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars. US share of the cake is about 40% to the current year, 664 billion dollars. This is a good comparison of the UN budget (27 billion), which is a sum of nearly three per cent of its Member States on military expenditure. Peace work is estimated to get yearly 6 billion and conflict prevention 0.6 billion.

US military-industrial complex has been shaping the country’s economy and affecting its foreign policy. A recent count found the Department (Defense) had 47,000 primary contractors, or over 100,000 firms, including subcontractors. Even academia is in tow, with about 350 colleges and universities agreeing to do Pentagon-funded research.

To keep the media on Pentagon’s side, in the US and elsewhere, the military allocates nearly $4.7 billion per year to “influence operations” and has more than 27,000 employees devoted to such activities.

The international community is now willing to invest 200 times more to the war than peace. Against one peace researcher, is estimated to be more than 1100 researcher for weapon (and their use) developers. The difference in what countries are prepared to invest in weapons and their use is huge compared to what they use for example, poverty elimination and economic development in developing countries. And just poverty is one of the causes of violence.

More e.g in my article $1tn G20 deal vs. MI(MA/E)C

More aggressive policies needed a justification for intervention so it was not so surprising when US administration rushed to the Srebrenica scene to confirm and publicize the claims of a massacre, just as William Walker did later at Racak in January 1999. The numbergame in media was similar in Bosnia and Kosovo as later the civilian casualties were confirmed to be in reality some 10 % of that what was marketed before attacks. Same time in Bosnia case U.S officials also diverted attention from larger-scale ethnic cleansing such as Croatian attacks on Serb populated UN Protected Areas (UNPAs) in Western Slavonia (“Operation Flash”) and the Krajina region (“Operation Storm”) in May and August of 1995. Maintaining later an image of demonized Serbs helped Kosovo Albanians implement their ethnic cleansing operations in Kosovo.

My view

The bottom line is that the PR-agencies got their message through the western mainstream that some ethnic cleansing was going on in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo, US administration used created picture to officially stop it and unofficially to improve their own interests. Now people also outside the Balkans understand that US forces intervened against Serb – supposed – ethnic cleansers, but in reality intervened on the side of Croat and Albanian ethnic cleansers.

Some sources and more:

Media War: The Use and Mis-Use of the Visual Image in News Coverage and Propaganda . A study of the visual media war against the Serbs.

Demonizing the Serbs by Marjaleena Repo June 15, 1999 in Counterpunch

One view about issue in video Bosnia and Media Manipulation and The Politics of Genocide foreword by Noam Chomsky by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson


“Srebrenica: A Town Betrayed” – Finally a Critical Documentary about Srebrenica Tragedy

September 25, 2011

“If you want to use a word “genocide” (for Srebrenica) – then OK, but we need a new word to replace the old “genocide” word…” (Noam Chomsky)

 Srebrenica: A Town Betrayed a Norwegian documentary film directed by Ola Flyum and David Hebditch is now free to watch in Youtube. The film approaches Srebrenica tragedy from a bit different viewpoint than usual in Western mainstream media. Norwegian documentary about Srebrenica challenges generally accepted narratives about the 1995 massacre giving light to the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina from non-biased point of view. It also connects Srebrenica into a wider context that is often ignored by the Western media, showing the crimes committed by the Bosnian army against Serbian civilians and villages in the area. These atrocities may also partly explain why some war crimes happened later in Srebrenica.

Most of the Muslims from Srebrenica were killed while their forces (28th Muslim Division cca 8,000 men) tried to brake-trough from Srebrenica trough 40 miles of Serb-held territory to Muslim-held territory.

Todays picture about Srebrenica is still heavily manipulated. To me its clear that thousands of Muslims were killed in Srebrenica once this place fell to Bosnian Serbian forces as well that some of them were innocent civilians. It is clear too that thousand(s) Serbs were butchered around Srebrenica during Bosnian War 1992-95 e.g. by the 3rd Corps 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade lead by Bosnian Muslim leader of Srebrenica forces Naser Oric. To the Brigade mentioned were subordinated foreign Muslim fighters, also known as mujahedeen, who came from Islamic countries and it operated from “demilitarized safe area of Srebrenica”. This created a degree of hatred that was quite extraordinary in the region.” One possible scenario is that when the Bosnian Serb Army responded to this terror and atrocities the remaining fighters attempted to escape towards Tuzla, 38 miles to the north. Many were killed while fighting their way through; and many others were taken prisoner and executed by the Serb troops. More in my earlier article Srebrenica again – Hoax or Massacre?.

The documentary film “Srebrenica: A Town Betrayed” can be watched by clicking pictures left or from Here!

 

 

 

Reactions

In April of this year Norwegian State Television (NRK) broadcast film “Srebrenica: A Town Betrayed” followed by the equally amazing “Sarajevo Ricochet.” Swedish State Television soon followed. Bosniaks in Scandinavia have voiced outrage over the airing of documentary. Freedom of speech in Sweden too is now seriously threatened by the intimidating pressure on Swedish Broadcasting Service (SVT) , especially from some extremist circles within the Bosnian Muslim community in Sweden. The Danish public broadcasters initially expressed an interest in purchasing airing rights to one of the two documentaries. After witnessing the uproar in Norway and Sweden, they amended their request, having now decided to broadcast both.

Some highlights

“5.000 Muslim lives for air strikes” (President Clinton)

  • The film claims that at that first short meeting Clinton suggested to Izetbegovic another holocaust – sacrifice of 5000 Muslims in Srebrenica and that Izetbegovic shared that sinister plan with Srebrenica defenders delegation. So the men of Srebrenica were sacrificed by their own government for a political objective. The actual motive behind these background machinations might be besides Nato intervention also a land-swap deal acceptable to all sides (Bosniaks/Serbs/Croats).
  • The western mainstream media has demonized Serbs and their action in Bosnia and later also in Kosovo. The atrocities implemented by others have widely ignored. At the start of the 1992-95 Bosnia war, Muslims and Croats were allies against the Bosnian Serb forces, but they fought each other briefly when Croat forces tried to create a separate Croat autonomy in northeastern Bosnia. Now also Bosnian Muslims themselves expose what really happened before, during and after what is been called `the European genocide of our time`.
  • Among numerous of the film’s revelations is the fact that the humanitarian convoys which the Serbs were allowing to pass to Srebrenica were being intercepted by Bosnian “hero” Naser Oric and sold on the black market.
  • Interesting detail is also that Mladic had 1600 armed locals but he didn’t trust them since they lacked discipline and would use every opportunity to revenge warlord Oric’s attacks on the villages.

My  conclusion

With this film the prevailing black-and-white version (perpetuated by the international community and by Bosnian officialdom) of the Bosnian is questionable. General Mladic arrest and theatre in Hague will bring Srebrenica again front of a stage and more facts what really happened in Srebrenica and before tragedy will came public when both the prosecutor and defense have made their case. This may have its effect in already fragmented and fragile Bosnia-Herzegovina. Probably confrontation between three ethic groups will increase and this could lead to the final dissolution of BiH.

More background information and documents

Srebrenica Historical Project

The fundamental objective of project is to rise above politics and propaganda and to create a contextual record of the Srebrenica tragedy of July 1995 which can serve as a corrective to the distortions of the last decade and a half and as a genuine contribution to future peace.

And here is a small selection of articles, documents and analysis, which are also telling the other side of story:

Srebrenica: The Star Witness by Prof Edward S. Herman

Was Srebrenica a Hoax? Eye-Witness Account of a Former United Nations Military Observer in Bosnia by Carlos Martins Branco

Media Disinformation Frenzy on Srebrenica: The Lynching of Ratko Mladic by Nebojsa Malic

Media Fabrications: The “Srebrenica Massacre” is a Western Myth

What Happened at Srebrenica? Examination of the Forensic Evidence by Stephen Karganovic

Using War as an Excuse for More War: Srebrenica Revisited by Diana Johnstone

The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics by Edward S. Herman and Phillip Corwin

NIOD (Netherlands Institute for War Documentation)/Srebrenica investigationreport

INTELWIRE.com has published over 2.000 pages of of declassified U.S. State Dept. cablesabout Srebrenica

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P.S:

Fenris film has produced also other interesting documentary movie “Sarajevo Ricochet – The US Green Light” which is is the untold story of how the USA allowed Bosnia to cooperate with al-Qaeda, smuggle arms from Iran and launder terror-money during the brutal civil war from 1992 – 95. Osama bin Laden exploited the conflict for his global jihad – and the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers. It reveals a secret money trail that funded mujihadeen training camps. Co-operation of USA and Iran let Osama bin Laden recruit, import and finance 4.000 mujihadeen fighters into the heart of Europe and Bosnia Herzegovina. In 1996, many of these `holy warriors` moved on to fight in Kosovo, and some became al-Qaeda sponsored terrorists who attacked targets throughout the Western world – including the 9/11 assault on America.


Mladic in Hague, Serbia towards EU, reopening Srebrenica

June 2, 2011

From historical perspective the Mladic’n arrest and the Hague trial serves as formation of a more comprehensive picture of events in the Balkans in the 90’s after the procecutor and the defense have made their case. Issues related to the underlying policy objectives of Srebrenica, events before Srebrenica and the number and the PR game around Srebrenica. Realization of the right however is only theatrical minor point for the EU and for the current Serbian government as both see it only as a formal step towards Serbia’s EU membership.

Serbia’s current government is hoping that Mladic’s arrest will clear the way towards EU membership. In the press conference of Mladic’s arrest President Tadic said “I believe that the doors for Serbia to joining the EU are open”. I disagree, there is lot of issues waiting on the table, minor problems such as accepting Kosovo licence plates and finally (after few years of negotiations) recognition of Kosovo’s independence too. E.g. EU Parliament Rapporteur for Kosovo Ulrike Lunacek said it clearly that extradition of Ratko Mladic to The Hague is insufficient for Serbia to join EU and that Serbia must do a whole lot more if it wants to join EU. “Serbia must show that it is ready to expand relations with an independent Kosovo,” Lunacek said. (Source: Dnevnik ) The technical association chapters need some work and remains to see what kind of EU there is existing when membership is on the door. It also remains to see how long negotiations with EU will continue as after elections the new government can whistle the game over.

Since Serbia’s EU application has its position improved, particularly related with energy issues. When the EU favored Nabucco is practically already dead project e.g. after events on the Arab Street (pipe has political support, but no gas available) and when the Italians and now also the French and German companies are backing Russia’s South Stream are Serbia’s changes to become an energyhub growing. Russia but also Turkey have been activated to wide their economic cooperation with Serbia and for example, last autumn came into force a free trade agreement with Turkey.

My opinion of the membership negotiations has remained relatively the same as follows:

In my previous articles, still and now even more than before I have a view that Serbia should think if joining to EU is worth of time, money and bureaucracy it demands, could the main benefits of EU membership be achieved via “third way”. Despite this I think that at this moment it is good idea to continue EU process but not only to fulfill EU needs but especially the needs of the beneficiaries aka Serbs not EU elite in Brussels.

More about Serbia’s EU perspective in my earlier article: Serbia’s EU association is not a Must

In my opinion more that fast track to EU the Mladic’s trial in Hague will be a fast track to discover what really happened in Srebrenica 1995 and before that. Todays picture about Srebrenica is still heavily manipulated. To me its clear that thousands of Muslims were killed in Srebrenica once this place fell to Bosnian Serbian forces as well that some of them were innocent civilians. It is clear too that thousand(s) Serbs were butchered around Srebrenica during Bosnian War 1992-95 e.g. by the 3rd Corps 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade lead by Bosnian Muslim leader of Srebrenica forces Naser Oric. To the Brigade mentioned were subordinated foreign Muslim fighters, also known as mujahedeen, who came from Islamic countries and it operated from “demilitarized safe area of Srebrenica”. One possible scenario is that when the Bosnian Serb Army responded to this terror and attrocies the remaining fighters attempted to escape towards Tuzla, 38 miles to the north. Many were killed while fighting their way through; and many others were taken prisoner and executed by the Serb troops.

One explanation to the cruelty in Srebrenica can be found from the testimony of French General Philippe Morillon, the UNPROFOR commander who first called international attention to the Srebrenica enclave, at The Hague Tribunal on February 12, 2004. He testified that the Muslim commander in Srebrenica, Naser Oric, “engaged in attacks during Orthodox (Christian) holidays and destroyed villages, massacring all the inhabitants. This created a degree of hatred that was quite extraordinary in the region.”

More in my earlier article Srebrenica again – Hoax or Massacre? .

The western mainstream media has demonized Serbs and their action in Bosnia and later also in Kosovo. The attrocies implemented by others have widely ignored. At the start of the 1992-95 Bosnia war, Muslims and Croats were allies against the Bosnian Serb forces, but they fought each other briefly when Croat forces tried to create a separate Croat statelet in northeastern Bosnia. Only a couple days ago it was reported thatBosnia’s warcrimes court has jailed a Croat ex-soldier for 15 years for the killing of more than 60 Muslim civilians during a brief 1993-94 war between Bosnian Muslims and Croats. Miroslav Anic received a reduced sentence under a plea bargain after pleading guilty to all charges. He was convicted of taking part in a series of attacks by a Croat militia on Bosnian Muslim villages from June to October 1993, it said. Anic had served as a member of the special unit Maturice, operating within the Croat Defence Council (HVO) under the command of Ivica Rajic who was sentenced in 2006 to 12 years in prison by the Hague-based United Nations war crimes tribunal. (Source: Trust.org/Reuters)

Mladic arrest and theatre in Hague will bring Srebrenica again front of a stage and this will have its effect in already fragmented and fragile Bosnia-Herzegovina. Probably confrontation between three ethic groups will increase and this could lead to the final dissolution of BiH. Serbia is keen to secure EU candidate status and Mladic’s arrest may be one step forwards for this aim while same time the trial of Mladic may be one step backwards in Bosnia-Herzegovina for its EU membership aspiration.

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P.S.

Finally a skeptical description – by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey/Pravda – how EU makes Serbia blessed:

And congratulations, Serbia. Now you can join the European Union. Wonderful! Stand back and watch your industry destroyed as what you export is assimilated by German industries, watch your agriculture decimated as you are paid not to produce and your production goes to France before you are left with barren fields, stand back and watch the EU label Slivovica illegal because some idiot in Brussels doesn’t like it. Stand back and watch your unemployment rate skyrocket, watch a clique of elitists whisked off to cushy jobs in Brussels, watch your prices treble and your salaries stagnate and watch your customs destroyed as you become assimilated first by the EU and then by NATO. You will have to pay for it, you know. The people, not the leaders, of course… Nobody will ask you if you want to join NATO but you will be expected to buy its equipment and participate in its wars.


Srebrenica again – Hoax or Massacre?

July 19, 2009

The “Srebrenica massacre” is the greatest triumph of  propaganda to emerge from the Balkan wars.(Edward Herman)

The Srebrenica case is in headlines again – like during every anniversary – and also the story seems repeat itself from year to year. More light is however coming and the real (political) context is gaining space also in mainstream media.  Former Hague Tribunal spokeswoman Florence Hartmann referring the arrest of Radovan Karadzic told earlier, that as “Karadžić has finally been arrested, he can tell a lot about secret deals that led to the fall of Srebrenica. His testimony represents a great risk for the great western powers.” (SourceB92)

The recent past of Bosnia-Herzegovina is violent and there was not only one brutal side – there were three of them. This past has its impact today and real truth behind successful propaganda about events of war 1992-95 is still unclear. This year I expect that the trial of war crime suspect Radovan Karadzic will clarify a bit of this bloody past when both prosecutor and defense are making their case. Statements of ICTY insider arouse few questions to my mind, such as following:

Political aims behind events?

The three points of the triangle represent the nation’s three ethnic groups: Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs. The triangle itself represents the geographic shape of the nation itself. The colors represent neutrality and peace, whereas the stars represent Europe.

The three points of the triangle represent the nation’s three ethnic groups: Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs. The triangle itself represents the geographic shape of the nation itself. The colors represent neutrality and peace, whereas the stars represent Europe.

Srebrenica case should finally put into its political context, for media it would be useful to see the case as part of lobbying/marketing to achieve political aims. It seems that the town was deliberately sacrificed by the Presidency of the Bosnia and the Military High Command in order to encourage NATO intervention. From the the U.N. Secretary General’s 1999 Report on Srebrenica, it emerges that the idea of a “Srebrenica massacre” was planned at a September 1993 meeting in Sarajevo between Bosnian Muslim president Alija Izetbegovic and members of his Muslim party from Srebrenica. On the agenda was a Serb proposal to exchange Srebrenica and Zepa for some territories around Sarajevo as part of a peace settlement.

“The delegation opposed the idea, and the subject was not discussed further. Some surviving members of the Srebrenica delegation have stated that President Izetbegovic also told them he had learned that a NATO intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina was possible, but could only occur if the Serbs were to break into Srebrenica, killing at least 5,000 of its people.”  So from here are the numbers originating, sadly the western mainstream media went to this propaganda trap. * Was the secret deal made about Srebrenica (Bosnian Government and the Bosnian Serb party, possibly with the knowledge of one or more Contact Group States, had an understanding that Srebrenica would not be vigorously defended by the Bosniacs in return for an undertaking by the Serbs not to vigorously defend territory around Sarajevo. The capture of Srebrenica made it easier for the Bosniacs and Serbs to agree on the territorial basis of a peace settlement. The result of the tragedy in Srebrenica contributed in some ways to the conclusion of a peace agreement — by galvanizing the will of the international community, by distracting the Serbs from the coming Croatian attack, by reducing the vulnerability of UNPROFOR personnel to hostage-taking, and by making certain territorial questions easier for the parties to resolve).

Source: UN report “Memorandum on war crimes and crimes and genocide in eastern Bosnia (communes of Bratunac, Skelani and Srebrenica) committed against the Serbian population from April 1992 to April 1993”    and some other material can be found from my blog’s Document library

Secret deals?

During ICTY trial of Mr. Karadzic there has been discussion if the Holbrooke-Karadzic deal is existing, like the accused has said ( Karadzic claims that his going into hiding formed part of a deal with Holbrooke, which included his withdrawal from public life in exchange for not being arrested).  However more interesting secret deal is related to international peace settlement and the role which Srebrenica plays in that context.

One theory is following: Bosnian Government and the Bosnian Serb party, possibly with the knowledge of one or more Contact Group States, had an understanding that Srebrenica would not be vigorously defended by the Bosniacs in return for an undertaking by the Serbs not to vigorously defend territory around Sarajevo. The capture of Srebrenica made it easier for the Bosniacs and Serbs to agree on the territorial basis of a peace settlement. The result of the tragedy in Srebrenica contributed in some ways to the conclusion of a peace agreement — by galvanizing the will of the international community, by distracting the Serbs from the coming Croatian attack, by reducing the vulnerability of UNPROFOR personnel to hostage-taking, and by making certain territorial questions easier for the parties to resolve?

The actions of ruling Bosnian (Muslim) party (SDA) and its leader – Alija Izetbegovic – during Srebrenica events on July 1995 seems to confirm that a deal about the fate of town had been made earlier.  Author John Schindler, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College and a former National Security Agency analyst, concludes in his book “Unholy Terror: Bosnia, Al-Qa’ida and the Rise of Global Jihad” describes how local Muslim leaders begged Sarajevo for assistance. None came, and the town fell to the Serbs within five days. Schindler proves that Bosnian Army signals intelligence had advance warning of a Serb offensive, and did nothing, and that even when armed Bosnian soldiers taking with them civilians (and not the simple unarmed masses that the Western media tacitly alleges) tried to contact their kin, no help came. Shockingly, on the morning the town fell to the Serbs, “there was a meeting of the (SDA) party leadership and the top officers of the General Staff in Sarajevo; the enclave wasn’t on the agenda.

Pre-Srebrenica events?

The pre-Srebrenica events are often forgotten. There was also a long history of atrocious Bosnian Muslim violence and treachery perpetrated against Bosnian Serbs leading up to the regretable events of 1995. The most cruel crimes were committed by the 3rd Corps 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade, to which were subordinated foreign Muslim fighters, also known as mujahedeen, who came from Islamic countries through Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network. This sc. “demilitarized safe area of Srebrenica” served as the safe haven to this brigade lead by Bosnian Muslim leader of Srebrenica forces Naser Oric and his people went from that almost unconquerable place in the series of atrocious attacks on the near-by Serbian areas.

Top Muslim generals Halilovic and Hadzihasanovic easily admit that they had no intention to honor the disarmament of Srebrenica agreement.  They even did their best to arm Srebrenica war criminals. The two generals inform us that Srebrenica Muslims, already in April 1993, are organized in well formed military unit (the 28th Division), numbering 5.803 people. The “disarmament” scam left them quite well armed. The generals were able to admit that the unit had 1.947 automatic rifles, 27 submachine-guns, 15 machine-guns, 68 hand-held rocket launchers, all kinds of mortars, anti-armour, anti-missile, anti-aircraft launchers, rockets, guns…After the UN declared Srebrenica a safe haven in April 1993, the attacs continued. More about disarmament scam in ICTY files/Hague proceedings in documents “Disarming”Actually Meant – Arming of Srebrenica

Author John Schindler, concludes in his book “Unholy Terror: Bosnia, Al-Qa’ida and the Rise of Global Jihad” that the facts were incompatible with the standard version of events in Srebrenica.  Schindler points out that Izetbegovic government had been using “safe zone” to stage attacks on Serbs in neighboring villages for three years and over 3,000 Serbs including 1,300 civilians were massacred by Muslims in Srebrenica municipality, “in many cases butchered, tortured, mutilated, burned alive, or decapitated. The main figure often ultimately responsible was the Bosnian Army’s local commander, the exceptionally brutal Naser Oric, who used Muslims as human shields against the Serbs, and who eliminated enemies real or perceived, even within his own units. Oric delighted in showing Western journalists his home-made videos depicting the beheadings of Serb prisoners (p. 229). However, even as talk of a Serb offensive was growing in early 1995, Sarajevo’s local strongman was inexplicably recalled, leaving Srebrenica-area Muslims without effective leadership: “in April, Oric and his senior staff left the town under cover of darkness, headed for Tuzla, ostensibly to take a command training course. He never returned (p. 230).

PR-game?

Even today’s headlines are describing Srebrenica with slogan  “worst civilian massacre in Europe since WWII”, there is also many arguments about political PR game behind exaggerated death numbers, misrepresentation of early reports and manipulated pictures.  Probably a massacre happened but maybe not like that picture which main stream media has offered. Are we finally getting more wider picture about connections between numbers (Srebrenica figure game), reports (as mean of one-sided propaganda) and political PR marketing considering events in Balkans during 1990s?

The Aim of PR game played by Bosnian Muslims was to get US to fight aside of them.  One part to achieve US involvement was to gain sympathy in West by implementing attacks towards its own citizens.  Republican Policy Comittee of US Senate give good description about these self-inflicted atrocities as follows:

 

Almost since the beginning of the Bosnian war in the spring of 1992, there have been persistent reports — readily found in the European media but little reported in the United States — that civilian deaths in Muslim-held Sarajevo attributed to the Bosnian Serb Army were in some cases actually inflicted by operatives of the Izetbegovic regime in an (ultimately successful) effort to secure American intervention on Sarajevo’s behalf. These allegations include instances of sniping at civilians as well as three major explosions, attributed to Serbian mortar fire, that claimed the lives of dozens of people and, in each case, resulted in the international community’s taking measures against the Muslims’ Serb enemies. (The three explosions were: (1) the May 27, 1992, “breadline massacre,” which was reported to have killed 16 people and which resulted in economic sanctions on the Bosnian Serbs and rump Yugoslavia; (2) the February 5, 1994, Markale “market massacre,” killing 68 and resulting in selective NATO air strikes and an ultimatum to the Serbs to withdraw their heavy weapons from the area near Sarajevo; and (3) the August 28, 1995 “second market massacre,” killing 37 and resulting in large-scale NATO air strikes, eventually leading to the Dayton agreement and the deployment of IFOR.)

Edward S. Herman – a Professor Emeritus of Finance at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania –  gives one example of successful propaganda in his article on July 7th 2005 “The Politics of the Srebrenica Massacre”  I quote:

One of the most important propaganda lies of the 1990s  featured the Serb-run Trnopolje camp, visited by Britain’s ITN reporters in  August 1992. These reporters photographed  the resident Fikret Alic, showing him emaciated and seemingly inside a concentration camp fence. In fact,  Fikret Alic was in a transit camp, was a sick man (and was sick with tuberculosis long before reaching the camp), was not in any way representative of others in the camp, and was soon able to move to Sweden. Furthermore, the fence was around the photographers, not the man photographed. [18] But this hugely dishonest photo was featured everywhere in the West as proving a  Serb-organized Auschwitz, was denounced by NATO high officials, and helped provide the moral basis for the creation of  the ICTY and its clear focus on Serb evil.

The message went through western mainstream media – it was easy to believe that the Bosnian Serb Army organized and executed a premeditated slaughter of 8,000 unarmed Bosnian Muslim civilian males; the case has become a crucial element in portraying Serbs, collectively, as genocidal aggressors.  This picture has stayed stabile in spite of evidences that Izetbegovic’s own party, the SDA, specialized in staged mortar attacks on civilians which were then blamed on Bosnian Serb forces. As described above by RPC of US Senate release this operational tactic of the Sarajevo regime’s Special Forces (AID) was designed to gain sympathy and invite NATO intervention on behalf of the Izetbegovic regime … and it was successful.

In Balkans Srebrenica was not only case being part of bigger political came and fabricated manipulation; few years later the same tactic was implemented in Kosovo e.g with the Racak case was similar (More about this one may find from my article “High pressure to fabricate Racak reports“).  After over decade it is still difficult in western media to admit that also Serbs were victims of war crimes – instead from year to year media repeats one sided picture about Serbs created mid 90s when US selected its side. Also the same manipulated approach was later applied in Kosovo (Other side of story can be found e.g. from my article “Kosovo March/February: Pogrom with Prize” and “10th anniversary of Nato’s attack on Serbia“. What is amasing for me is how easy the mainstream media can be used for political manipulation.

Number game?

Srebrenica, the figure of 8,000 originated with September 1995 announcements by the International Committee of the Red Cross that it was seeking information about some 3,000 men reportedly detained as well as about some 5,000 who had fled to central Bosnia. Neither the Bosnian Serbs nor the Muslims were ever forthcoming with whatever information they had, and the “8,000” figure has tended ever since to be repeated as an established total of “Muslim men and boys executed by Serb forces”.Despite unprecedented efforts over the past ten years to recover bodies from the area around Srebrenica, less than 3,000 have been exhumed, and these include soldiers and others-Serb as well as Muslim-who died in the vicious combats that took place during three years of war. Only a fraction have been identified.

The above map clearly explains why round 2,000 Srebrenica Muslims lost their lives. The decision that the 28th Muslim Division should refuse to lay down its arms and embark on a break-through along a 100km-long route in the hardest of military operations, for which it was not prepared in view of the prior retreat of command personnel, amounted to a conscious sacrifice of round two thousand Muslim men of military age. The Western allies would do their best to present it as no less than genocide.

Edward S.Herman gives a short history lesson about number game in his article “The Politics of the Srebrenica Massacre” as follows

Both before and after Srebrenica lying about numbers killed was also standard practice, helpful in sustaining the dominant narrative. For Bosnia, in December 1992 the Bosnian Muslim government claimed 128,444 deaths of  their forces and people, a number which grew to 200,000 by June 1993, rising to 250,000 in 1994.  These figures were swallowed without a qualm by Western politicians, media, and intellectual war-campaigners, with Clinton himself using the 250,000 figure in a speech in November 1995. Former State Department official George Kenney has long questioned these figures and marveled at media gullibility in accepting these claims without the least interest in verification. His own estimate ran between 25,000 and 60,000.  More recently, a study sponsored by the Norwegian government  estimated the Bosnian war dead as 80,000, and one sponsored by the Hague Tribunal itself came up with a figure of 102,000 dead.  Neither of these studies has been reported on in the U.S. media, which had regularly offered its readers/listeners the inflated numbers.A similar inflation process took place during the 78-day NATO bombing war in 1999, with high U.S. officials at various moments claiming 100,000, 250,000 and 500,000 Serb killings of  Kosovo Albanians, along with the lavish use of the word “genocide” to describe Serb actions in Kosovo.  This figure gradually shrank to 11,000, and has remained there despite the fact that only some 4,000 bodies were found in one of the most intense forensic searches in history, and with unknown numbers of those bodies combatants,  Serbs, and  civilian victims of  U.S. bombing. But  the 11,000 must be valid because the NATO governments and ICTY say it is, and Michael Ignatieff assured readers of the New York Times that “whether those 11,334 bodies will be found  depends on whether the Serb military and the police removed them.

The serial lying had been largely unchallenged in the mainstream, the demonization process and good-versus-evil dichotomy had been well established, the ICTY and UN leadership were closely following the agenda of  the United States and its NATO allies, and the media were on board as co-belligerents. The Srebrenica events had a number of features that made it possible to claim 8,000 “men and boys” executed. One was the confusion and uncertainty about the fate of the  fleeing Bosnian Muslim forces, some reaching Tuzla safely, some killed in the fighting, and some captured. The 8,000 figure was first provided by the Red Cross, based on their crude estimate that the BSA had captured 3,000 men and that 5,000 were reported “missing.” There are also lists of missing, but these lists are badly flawed, with duplications, individuals listed who had died before July 1995, who fled to avoid BSA service, or who registered to vote in 1997,  and they include individuals who died in battle or reached safety or were captured and assumed a new existence elsewhere. But because of its key political role for the United States,  Bosnian Muslims and Croats, and an almost religious ardour of belief in this claim, Sebrenica has been immune to evidence.  From the beginning until today the number has been taken as a given, a higher truth, the questioning of which would show a lack of faith and very likely “apologetics” for the demon.

This nice round number lives on today in the face of a failure to find  the executed bodies and  despite the absence of  a  single satellite photo showing executions, bodies, digging, or trucks transporting bodies for reburial.   The media have played an important role in making the Srebrenica massacre a propaganda triumph. As noted earlier, the media had become a co-belligerent by 1991, and all standards of  objectivity disappeared in their subservience to the pro-Bosnian Muslim and anti-Serb agenda.

The transformation of Srebrenica into myth

Jared Israel concludes in his article published in Emperor’s Clothes  that

Why should people read articles challenging this massacre story? After all, it’s consistent with what one has been told: that Srebrenica was a safe haven where the UN was supposed to protect Muslims from supposedly murderous Serbs; that the Muslims, portrayed in the media as an oppressed group, were moderate and tolerant while the Serbs were supposedly fanatical Muslim-haters with a Hitlerian vision of a mono-ethnic state; that therefore it was no surprise that when the Serbs took Srebrenica, they supposedly killed thousands of Muslims as fast as they could.

John Schindler concludes in his book mentioned earlier that all sides committed atrocities, but those of Muslims generally went unreported. For example,

The number of Christians murdered in Sarajevo during the war by Muslim military and police, right under the noses of Western journalists, is at least in the many hundreds and probably in the low thousands. Between 1992 and 1995, some 1,300 Serb civilians were liquidated by Muslim troops based at Srebrenica; this was the precursor to the infamous July 1995 Serb offensive against that town.

While Muslims were certainly expelled from their homes in large numbers, so were Croats (Catholics) and Serbs (Orthodox), but only Muslim victims and refugees were really considered newsworthy.

Srebrenica – a hoax or massacre?  I would say both; a hoax due the well planned and implemented PR maneuver , a massacre when the Serbs went to trap and used brutal force also against civilians.  When the Serbs got a tactical win in warfare the Muslims got US as their strategic ally with Serb demonization.  In addition to human sacrifice – victims from all ethnic groups, civilians and soldiers/mercenaries – one loser was the investigative journalism and media on the whole by accepting one-sided truth in Bosnia and since then also in future conflicts.

It is notable that the ICTY has never called the Croat ethnic cleansing of  250,000 Krajina Serbs “genocide” although in that case many women and children were killed and  the ethnic cleansing applied to a larger area and larger victim population than in Srebrenica. Perhaps the ICTY had accepted Richard Holbrooke’s  comic designation of  Krajina as a case of  “involuntary expulsions.” (More about “Operation Storm” in my article “Operation Storm – forgotten pogrom” 

One can have different opinions about bias of ICTY but from my point of view it offers so far best forum to get some answer to questions mentioned before when both prosecutor and defence have made their case. Anyway the statements of Mrs.Hartmann – as well the book of her former boss del Ponte describing e.g. organ trafficking (More e.g. in “War crime selected – organ harvesting from Serbs by KLA) of Serb civil people by Albanian mafia – are giving quite disgusting picture about realpolitik behind noble statements of international community.

 



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