Author: Gordan Malic
The Zagreb weekly Globus has published what it claims are CIA transcripts from a dossier on war-crimes indictee Ratko Mladic, highly relevant for any future Hague trial
Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica confirmed in a New Year statement for the Belgrade newspaper Blic that General Ratko Mladić would soon be arrested. For a while now the media in Belgrade have assumed that the Serbia-Montenegro government knows where Mladić is hiding in Serbia, and that beside local intelligence agents CIA agents too are involved in the preparations for his arrest. As we found out, the role of the US intelligence agency in processing one of the biggest war criminals is not over. Globus has obtained part of the CIA secret dossier on General Mladić, created during the Srebrenica genocide while American devices were intercepting his telephone conversations with UN representatives, VRS [Republika Srpska army] field commanders, high ranking VJ [FRY army] officers and foreign informers, who were periodically keeping him posted on NATO’s positions and plans. Materials assembled during this US intelligence operation will be used in the ICTY trials of General Mladić and other indictees in the Srebrenica case.
The majority of Mladić’s conversations were recorded thanks to interception equipment installed by the CIA at the beginning of 1995 in a secret base in Croatia close to Sveta Gera. Since the mid 1990’s, the American secret service had at its disposal two such bases in the Republic of Croatia (the other one was at Š epurine near Zadar), through which it intercepted all communications of security interest on the territory of former Yugoslavia, also cooperating with Croatian intelligence services during Operation Oluja [Storm].
Day after day during July 1995 the CIA intercepted General Mladić’s conversations, now exclusively published by Globus. From them it is clear that the Srebrenica genocide was carried out in a planned manner, without any scruples, in a strategic alliance with the VJ high command; and that throughout the operation Mladić had access to confidential information from diplomatic and NATO circles that encouraged him in committing the crime! Actually, this information spoke about the unwillingness of the international community to stop the Srebrenica massacre by military intervention, and about the political discussions that were frequently conducted on the Srebrenica situation in the US Congress and the Pentagon. As one of Mladić’s main diplomatic informants, the CIA mentioned Dr. Miloš Kostić, a controversial Serbian lobbyist in Washington, influential in congressional and republican circles, otherwise a retired colonel of the USA Army and former special operations expert at the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) military intelligence service. However, although he was caught diplomatically briefing General Mladić during the Srebrenica massacre, Kostić has to this day not suffered any consequences of his actions. He is still a respected Serb-American businessman, with offices in Vienna, Washington and Belgrade, and heads the Serbian lobbying organization ‘Srbija Net’.
During his frequent conversations with Dr. Kostić in June and July 1995, General Mladić mostly asked about the State Department and Pentagon positions regarding the Srebrenica events. He was also interested in Kostić’s assessment of German and other European governments’ moves and attitudes regarding a possible Croatian offensive.
In a conversation on 16 July 1995, five days after the fall of Srebrenica, Kostić called Mladić and greeted him with the traditional “Pomoz bog!” Mladić responded with “Good evening, brother Kostić!’ Kostić gave him information coming from NATO circles. ‘Boss, listen, they want everything but to send troops.’ Mladić responded that he had known that, and Kostić told him that the French position would be the same as in the Goražde case, that the international troops should not involve themselves in the defence of Srebrenica. Kostić told him: ‘The situation is as follows: the French are shouting, making a noise, but they do not want to engage their troops. The Americans would like to send 200 Apache helicopters, but Congress does not allow it because they fly low and there is a risk of considerable US casualties.’ Then Kostić warned Mladić that the Clinton administration was not their friend, and that Clinton was supporting a more aggressive intervention against the Serbs. According to Kostić, the only turnabout that could happen was that if the international forces withdrew they could leave to the Muslims over 3,000 armour-piercing rockets of all kinds, including anti-tank rockets.
‘This worries me, because after the withdrawal they could punish the Serbs; they could begin a massive attack on our positions. That is why we need to finish this as soon as possible, and not postpone… We do not expect that they will cause big problems around Žepa, and I hope this will be finished today’, Kostić went on, and Mladić informed him that regarding Žepa it was ‘finished’. ‘Finished! Excellent!’, shouted Kostić. Mladić’s assessment that it was ‘finished’ incidentally referred to over one thousand killed Bosniaks, citizens of Žepa, and over 800 burned houses. Mladić’s capture of Goražde would follow, of course, accompanied by massacres of civilians and burning.
Kostić also explained to Mladić the stances of European countries regarding possible international intervention at Gorazde: ‘The British are against any sort of intervention at Goražde, on which the French are insisting. This could also be the way that the French are transferring responsibility to others in case Goražde falls, wriggling out of everything…I think the Americans will also lift the embargo on weapons for the Muslims, and will arm them with Soviet weapons because they believe the Muslims are trained to use these, so do not need instructors. That is why it is important that you connect up all the front lines, and that you empty the enclaves without hesitation!’ recommended Kostić, and asked Mladić if he had received ‘those brochures’. Mladić thanked him and told him not to ‘spend all his money at once’.
At such moments (the fall of Žepa, Srebrenica and Goražde), the Butcher of Srebrenica desperately needed information on the moves of the international community, and according to the CIA transcripts he received them – apart from Kostić – also from Aleksandar Đorđević, a Serbian lobbyist in Brussels. So on 11 July, during the massacre in Srebrenica, Đorđević informed General Tolimir that the Dutch minister of defence had urgently requested from Willy Claes, NATO secretary general, as well as from Boutros Ghali, that NATO should immediately begin attacking Serbian positions, because the lives of Dutch soldiers were in danger at Srebrenica. These were comically unsuccessful attacks by NATO air forces, in which the majority of victims were Bosniaks.
‘Panic in NATO’
Kostić’s advice on how to lead a special war also referred to media reports on Srebrenica, something that was under care of members of intelligence-propaganda department in Mladić’s HQ, as well as of individual editors of Belgrade newspapers and agencies. So on the very day when Srebrenica fell, the CIA recorded a conversation on the infamous NATO bombing between one of Mladić’s intelligence officers and Dragan Janjic, editor at a certain agency. At the beginning of the conversation Janjic informed his collocutor that he had received by fax an (international) report on unsuccessful intervention of NATO airplanes in Srebrenica, while the response of the VRS officer was that they already had most of those information and that they did not wish to comment. ‘It looks like they missed us, and we learned that we hit them through sources in Italy. There is panic in the NATO base. They dropped two bombs that hit the Muslim convoy. ‘The Muslims will probably say that it was us and NATO will try to find a way to apologize quietly’, some details of NATO unsuccessful intervention related by the VRS officer.
Editor Janjic then asked him ‘Did they hit anything of ours?’, and Mladić’s intelligence officer claimed that NATO ‘only threw four bombs on the whole area without knowing who was where and what they were hitting’. ‘Their intelligence information was not good and they screw… up in their assessment!’ concluded Mladić’s officer. Janjic asked: ‘Who should I then quote regarding those four bombs?’ the VRS intelligence officer recommended ‘the source in Italy’ and ‘in no way us’, and the journalist agreed.
Mladić’s army also conducted a special media war abroad. In the CIA notes of 12 July 1995, traffic is described between Colonel Milutinović, head of the VRS high command’s information service and a certain Mudrovski from London, to whom the VRS officer offered an exclusive video recording of Mladić inspecting Srebrenica, on which there is no footage of any crimes. The CIA report claims that the 15-minute-long video recording contains ‘footage of General Mladić inspecting Srebrenica, footage of NATO strikes, and of Mladić’s conversations with representatives of Srebrenica Muslims and UNPROFOR’. The notes claim that Mudrovski was prepared to pay 25,000 German Marks for the ‘exclusive rights’ of that propaganda video. Milutinović promised him that he would not give the recording to anyone from Serbian TV until Sunday.
The fall of Srebrenica caused wild displays of boasting and brutality on the part of Mladić’s officers. So the CIA recorded a telephone conversation between two VRS colonels, Lakičević and Dedić. Dedić: ‘Did Srebrenica fall at the point where I told you it would?’ Lakičević: ‘Yes. That was the first position to fall, the rest haven’t yet.’ Dedić: ‘It all has to fall!’ Lakičević: ‘It will!’ Dedić: ‘After that we’ll go to Goražde to kick their asses there!’ Lakičević: ‘That’s right, Nidžo, we’ll stay in touch!’
The US agency’s listening devices discovered a celebratory conversation between two anonymous VRS officers on the day Srebrenica fell, in which they were toasting the raising of the Serbian flag in ‘Serbian Srebrenica!’, while drinking ‘homemade brandy from Trebava’.
The CIA recorded the fruitless attempts of General Bernard Janvier, commander of UN troops on the territory of former Yugoslavia, to stop the massacre of Srebrenica, mainly by issuing strong protests to General Mladić through his official interpreter. Some of the messages were almost ridiculously helpless, like one on 9 July 1995, two days before VRS units entered Srebrenica, which went as follows: ‘You have to order the retreat of your troops attacking Srebrenica, the attack needs to stop by 8 a.m. tomorrow!’ The CIA also recorded the cynical response of the VRS HQ to these messages, saying that General Mladić ‘is not currently at HQ’ or that he ‘has gone somewhere, they don’t know where’.
On the same day a desperate conversation was recorded between a certain Osman from B-H Army HQ in Srebrenica and Alija Izetbegović, president of the SDA and of the B-H Presidency. When Izetbegović asked: ‘How long can you go on without UNPROFOR help?’ Osman responded: ‘President, it’s better if I don’t say it, but these people here – it’s not likely we can do anything! People are starving, no equipment, no weapons or ammunition… The international observers’ building is here, they can see what’s going on, but still nobody is doing anything.’ Izetbegović answers: ‘ Very well, Osman, send it over a secure line to Delić’s HQ. He’ll advise you, and get those observers to inform the public.’ Osman: ‘I will. Salaam, Mr President.’ Izetbegović:’ Salaam to you too.’
The CIA recorded the attempts of Bosniaks to get their hands on weapons from UNPROFOR soldiers, some of them were killed, while some UNPROFOR soldiers were captured. When asked by the UN why the International Forces soldiers had been captured, members of Mladić’s HQ responded that they had merely taken them ‘under their protection’.
Appeals from The Hague
The chief prosecutor of ICTY has warned the UN and the Security Council more than once about the intolerable fact that Mladić is still at large. She has also accused the international forces in B-H of being inefficient, and the government of Serbia-Montenegro of not cooperating with The Hague. So far, despite all the promises made by the local authorities, her appeals regarding Karadžić and Mladić have been fruitless. However, American diplomats’ announcements that Mladić will soon be arrested, as well as the CIA presence in Serbia, announce a possible change of course. Mladić could soon find himself in The Hague confronted by his own orders and transcripts recorded by the ear of the Big Brother.
Dr. Miloš Kostić is the son of former artillery colonel Branko Kostić, a Serb radical and emigrant who has resided in Vienna since before the war. Miloš was a student of mechanical engineering in Belgrade, and a boxer for the Crvena Zvezda club. In 1956, he moved to America and was granted US citizenship. He attended military academy and studied finance at the University of Chicago. As an intelligence officer engaged in special operations, he participated in the Vietnam War. Having been promoted to the rank of major, he was appointed to the Pentagon’s Special War Department. In the 1970s, he was assigned to train regular units and special police deployed in the Southeast Asia war. In 1968 he returned to the United States and retired with the rank of colonel. In the meantime he married Chinese Ren Lin, converted her to Orthodox Christianity and changed her name to Svetlana Kostić. He earned his doctoral degree with a thesis on strategic international and economic relations, supervised by Nobel prizewinner Friedrich Van Hayek. Kostić has lectured in the United States, South Africa and Europe. He is a member of the Republican Party and in Ronald Reagan’s era he was an adviser to the Congress State Security Committee. In the 1980s, he worked as a Pentagon adviser and in 1986 he moved to Vienna and involved himself in the Serb lobbying organization ‘Srbija Net’.
In the course of the attack on Srebrenica, Mladić and Kostić were also analysing developments in Croatia. Mladić actually believed that ‘the Croats are not so crazy as to engage against the Serbs at this point in time!’ He was also convinced that they should let the Croats and the Muslims have a separate state of their own, leaving ‘what is Serb to the Serbs’ – which turned out to be an almost visionary prediction of the outcome of the Dayton Accords. Interestingly, at that time Kostić even had reports mentioning Croatian preparations for an offensive.
Kostić: That would be best, but reading here the reports about their preparations for an offensive I don’t know about the Croats. Granić said yesterday that the Croats and Muslims should respond unilaterally to the Serb offensive. If you translate this into the Croatian language, you will know that they are preparing a justification for their future ‘See what the Serbs are doing’ actions. I took a look at the map showing the concentration of Croatian forces around Drniš, Medak, Otočac, Karlovac and Sisak. There is a line going from Karlovac towards Vrginmost and another towards Sisak. And from Sisak, it goes to Dvor na Uni, from Otočac to Medak towards Knin, and from Drniš …
Mladić: Good …
Kostić: That’s it. That’s what the UN also predicted.
That was how Kostić predicted the action of the Croatian forces, the action which – in a slightly different form – took place later on and is know as Operation Storm.
Translated from Globus (Zagreb), 6 January 2006
Edward Herman on The Lists of Missing at Srebrenica
Edward Herman’s Srebrenica Genocide denial, quote:
“Hardly surprising, then, that Balkan genocide denial has centred its efforts on the Srebrenica massacre ever since. Recently, a ‘Srebrenica Research Group’ has been established by one of the most virulent of the deniers, Edward S. Herman… Herman concludes: ‘The ‘Srebrenica massacre’ [note the quote marks] is the greatest triumph of propaganda to emerge from the Balkan wars… But the link of this propaganda triumph to truth and justice is non-existent” (source)
Of Herman’s many dubious and outright false assertions about Srebrenica, one of the most contemptible is his attempt to make disappear from history the roughly 8000 Bosnian civilians massacred by Serbian forces. Some of his mystification is couched in slippery deniability, in a half-hearted attempt to deflect the criticism he deserves. But taken together, his comments comprise a clear endeavor at war-crimes denial. (1)
Herman is perturbed that the estimated number of victims has stayed relatively constant around 8000. (2) But this estimate has been documented in detail by several independent sources and has been accepted widely, from the corporate media to such progressive reporters as Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now” (Srebrenica 10th anniversary report, July 11, 2005).
Though Herman uses misleading and out-of-date reports to cast doubt on the credibility of the lists of missing, he ignores the detailed documentation of the lists from several sources. The credibility of the lists deserves particular attention in rebuttal to Herman.
On June 5, 2005 Bosnia’s Federal Commission for Missing Persons (Federalna Komisija za nestale osobe) issued a list of the names, parents’ names, dates of birth, and unique citizen’s registration numbers of 8,106 individuals who have been reliably established, from multiple independent sources, to have gone missing and/or been killed in and around Srebrenica in the summer of 1995. The Federal Commission’s list was made public early in June. (3)
A verification process is underway for approximately 500 more victims whose disappearance or death has not yet been verified from two or more independent sources.
Relatives and friends have registered a total of 7,789 names of people missing or known to be dead from the July 1995 events at Srebrenica with another reporting body, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).
In addition, the International Committee of the Red Cross has compiled its own list, based on inquiries from friends and relatives. (The ICRC list is slightly shorter because it allows only those reported by relatives. Where entire families were wiped out, the ICRC does not accept reports from friends or neighbors.) The ICRC states that there are still 5500 missing persons from Srebrenica, in addition to the 2000+ identified dead. (July 2005)
Another list appears as an annex to the Republika Srpska Srebrenica Commission’s June 2004 report.
It should also be kept in mind that names appear on the missing-persons lists as a result of active inquiries from relatives and others close to the missing/deceased individuals in question. In addition to these names there are other individuals who were among the dead and missing in July 1995 but do not appear on any lists because they had no close friends or relatives there to inquire after them – including cases where whole families (or whole village populations) were killed.
For one of numerous reports on the difficulties faced by forensic investigators in attempting to identify some of the recovered bodies, see Srebrenica: ten years on, by Ed Vulliamy, July 6, 2005. That sort of information should be posted on ZNet as a counter-balance to Herman’s ridiculous denials.
Apparently Herman has never been to Bosnia, so he thinks he is able to preserve his ability to look at the issues with “objectivity,” unlike the surviving victims of the massacre. But his selective reliance on Serbian nationalists, right-wing Republicans, and a handful of leftist ideologues produces historical revisionism that disgraces Z Magazine.
> … there is a major issue of how many were executed, as numerous bodies found in local grave sites were victims of fighting, and many Bosnian Muslim men who fled Srebrenica reached Bosnian Muslim territory safely.
> … the evidence for a massacre, certainly of one in which 8,000 men and boys were executed, has always been problematic, to say the least …
> 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.
> The 8,000 figure is also incompatible with the basic arithmetic of Srebrenica numbers before and after July 1995.
> One anomaly connected with Srebrenica has been the stability of the figure of Bosnian Muslim victims-8,000 in July 1995 and 8,000 today, despite the crudity of the initial estimate, the evidence that many or most of the 5,000 “missing” reached Bosnian Muslim territory or were killed in the fighting, and the clear failure to produce supportive physical evidence despite a massive effort. In other cases, like the 9/11 fatality estimate, and even the Bosnian killings and Kosovo bombing war estimates, the original figures were radically scaled down as evidence of body counts made the earlier inflated numbers unsustainable. 
> But the link of this propaganda triumph to truth and justice is non-existent. The disconnection with truth is epitomized by the fact that the original estimate of 8,000, including 5,000 “missing”–who had left Srebrenica for Bosnian Muslim lines-was maintained even after it had been quickly established that several thousand had reached those lines and that several thousand more had perished in battle. 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.
Srebrenica Investigation: Summary of Forensic Evidence – Execution Points and Mass Graves Dean Manning witness statement on Srebrenica in Milosevic trial
Daniel’s Note: Balkan Witness website may be reached at http://www.glypx.com/BalkanWitness/
By: Michael Karadjis
The massacre of 8000 defenceless Muslim [Bosniak] men and boys in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in July 1995 stands as the most horrific crime in a long line of crimes in the Balkans during the 1990s. The prime responsibility for this slaughter lies with the regime of Serbian ex-Communist Slobodan Milosevic, which had overthrown the multi-ethnic Yugoslav socialist federal republic created by the Yugoslav Communists under Josip Broz Tito’s leadership and ushered in a brutal capitalist restoration, full of Yeltsin-style mafias and oligarchs.
The Milosevic regime revived the Serbian national-chauvinist ideology of Chetniks, the pro-capitalist forces which had fought against the Communist-led Partisans in World War II, slaughtered tens of thousands of Muslims and collaborated with the Nazi German occupation of Yugoslavia. As “Greater Serbia” ideology replaced the Titoist “brotherhood and unity” policy, the Milosevic regime launched wars against other Yugoslav republics, principally Croatia and Bosnia, in which non-Serb populations were forcibly removed from large areas deemed to be “Serb territory”.
The Yugoslav federal army was the fourth largest military force in Europe, and though its ranks were made up of Yugoslavs of all nationalities, its entire arsenal was handed over to Greater Serbia by former US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance in his plan that ended the brief Serbo-Croatian war of 1991.
Much of this arsenal was then passed on to the Bosnian Serb Army (BSA), the Serb nationalist armed forces in Bosnia led by the pro-Chetnik Serb Democratic Party of Radovan Karadzic.
Control of this massive arsenal gave the Serb chauvinists in Bosnia an overwhelming advantage in the subsequent civil war, which is why the great majority of the war crimes were committed by military forces led by the right-wing Serbian nationalists.
However, the Croatian regime of ex-Communist Franco Tudjman competed with Milosevic in terms of national chauvinism, and armed forces in Bosnia aligned with Tudjman’s regime also committed serious war crimes.
When their war ended in late 1991, the Milosevic and Tudjman regimes formed an alliance to partition the multi-ethnic republic of Bosnia between them. This drive to partition Bosnia was supported by the West European imperialist powers, which drew up plan after plan for the ethnic partitioning of Bosnia.
Furthermore, the US and its European allies enforced a criminal arms embargo on the beleaguered Bosnian republic, preventing it acquiring arms to match the enormous Serbian military machine. Their aim was to balance the Serbian and Croatian regimes’ appetites by dividing Bosnia between them. Through such an approach, they sought to create a stable political environment for foreign investment.
Srebrenica was a small town in eastern Bosnia, the region adjacent to the Serbian border. Serbian nationalists wanted this region incorporated into Greater Serbia, but its population was overwhelmingly Muslim [Bosniak].
The terror that the Serb nationalists use to drive a million Muslims from their homes reached a level not seen in Europe since the Second World War. However, tens of thousands of Muslims, rather than fleeing the region, were driven into a number of small Muslim enclaves inside eastern Bosnia, surrounded by Serb-annexed, ethnically “purified” territory. One such enclave was Srebrenica.
The 8000 Muslims [Bosniaks] killed in July 1995 in that town were a fraction of those killed during the initial ethnic “cleansing” of eastern Bosnia that drove them into the town, and of those killed during the three years that the encircled Serb nationalist forces pounded the town with artillery and tank shells on a daily basis.
A number of times, starving Muslims holed up in Srebrenica broke out and raided nearby Serb villages, mostly to acquire food. On some such occasions, Muslim [Bosnian] troops also committed atrocities, though on markedly smaller scale than those committed by the Serbian nationalists. The atrocities committed by Muslim [Bosniak] fighters against Serbs have subsequently been played up by Serb nationalists and their Western apologists to suggest the Srebrenica massacre was merely revenge for these Muslim attacks.
UN ‘safe havens’
The United Nations declared Srebrenica and six other besieged Bosnian towns “safe areas” in 1993. To enter these towns, the UN required the local Muslim [Bosniak] militia to hand over all their weapons. However, these towns were never safe for their inhabitants, who were continually shelled for the next two-and-a-half years.
In July 1995, the BSA entered Srebrenica. The UN troops “protecting” this “safe area” fled without firing a shot and allowed the Serb troops under the notorious butcher General Ratko Mladic to round-up as much of the male population of all age groups as they could find. Thousands of these captives were then taken away and killed. Thousands more were captured as they tried to escape through the forests and later killed or shot while escaping.
In one incident, at least 1000 Muslim men and boys were locked in a warehouse in nearby Kravica and machine-gunned by Mladic’s soldiers and then finished off with hand grenades. At the end of this atrocity, Mladic declared the Serb people had finally “liberated” Srebrenica from “the Turks”.
A couple of months later, the US entered the war with its own ethnic partition plan — the Dayton plan. The main difference with previous partition plans put forward by the European Union was that it gave the Serb nationalists even more of what they wanted.
Not only would they get half of Bosnia as an ethnically purified “Serb Republic”, but Mladic’s physical elimination of the troublesome, messy enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa was to be recognised as if nothing had happened. They were to be included in the Bosnian “Serb Republic”.
Surviving female relatives have registered 7789 people missing after the Srebrenica massacre, and they continue to campaign for justice. Last year, even the government of the Bosnian “Serb Republic” admitted that 7800 Muslims from Srebrenica had been slaughtered.
Greece, as the only imperialist country in the Balkans, played a specific role in the restoration of capitalism in the former socialist states of the south Balkans. Greek capitalists took the leading role in buying up denationalised property in Albania and Macedonia, while taking a significant share of privatised businesses in Serbia and Bulgaria.
The Greek capitalist rulers’ specific strategy was to play the reactionary “Orthodox” card — the Greek and Serb people are allegedly both “Orthodox Christians” and thus had to help each other against the “Turks”, as they called the Muslim peoples of the Balkans.
The oppressed, brutalised, disarmed Bosnian Muslims [Bosniaks] and the Kosovar Albanians were thus pictured as ghosts of the Ottoman Empire trying to return and again threaten Christendom. The Greek and Serb “Orthodox” peoples would be in the vanguard of the defence of Europe against this “Islamic threat”.
Throughout the bloody break-up of multi-ethnic Yugoslavia, Greek “volunteers”, applauded by the Greek corporate media, the Greek Orthodox Church, and all the major political parties in Greece, went to Bosnia to aid the Serb nationalists. In 1995, a team of these “volunteers” raised the Greek flag alongside the Serbian, ancient Macedonian and Byzantine flags at the Srebrenica massacre site. Karadzic decorated four Greek volunteers with the White Eagle medal following this.
On July 10, 163 Greek academics, journalists and political activists issued a call for Greece to officially apologise to the victims of Srebrenica for the role of Greek imperialism in this atrocity. The call stated in part: “On July 11, 10 years will be completed since the massive massacre of 8000 civilians in Srebrenica organised by the regime of Milosevic and its followers in Bosnia, Mladic and Karadjic. This was not the only atrocity, it was preceded by others (Vukovar, Goradze) as well as the long siege of Sarajevo that cost 11,000 dead. “
“Croatians and Muslims [Bosniaks] also committed war crimes and now account for them before the International Criminal Tribune at The Hague. But the massacre of civilians in Srebrenica symbolises the absolute terror and characterises the regime which committed it.”
“Aimed at ethnic cleansing and organised cold-bloodedly, it is the worst mass-killing in Europe after the World War II that the international community did not prevent despite its promises to protect the population…”
“Contrary to what happened elsewhere, in the rest of the world and in particular in the rest of Europe, in Greece public opinion was misinformed and uncritically placed in a common psychological front with the criminal regime of Milosevic, under the pretext of Orthodoxy, the traditional Greek-Serbian friendship and alleged ‘anti-imperialism’. Not only this. Greek ‘volunteers’ (their public confessions have been published) have fought in Bosnia with Karadzic and Mladic and raised the Greek flag, dishonouring it in Srebrenica at the moment of the carnage.”
“The Greek state has the obligation to apologise publicly to the families of the 8000 slaughtered and to call for the indictment of the Greek ‘volunteers’ who were accomplices in the crime, as well as the supposedly ‘unknown’ people who manipulated them. We demand this.”
The call and the names of these who signed it are available athttp://cm.greekhelsinki.gr/uploads/2005_files/ghm713_on_greek_A
Visit the BALKAN Human Rights Web Pages. From Green Left Weekly, July 20, 2005.
Visit the Green Left Weekly home page.
Author: Twenty-four signatories
Uploaded: Tuesday, 03 January, 2006
This letter addressed to The Guardian (London) was originally accepted for publication, provided that it was cut to a maximum of 450 words in length. When a 450-word abridgement was duly submitted, however, The Guardian refused to publish it without drastic further shortening and unacceptable editorial rewriting. The authors therefore decided that they had no alternative but to publish it elsewhere. It accordingly appeared on the website of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) at http://www.birn.eu.com with an accompanying article on the affair by Alison Freebairn.
We are writing to protest at the ‘correction’ published by The Guardian on 17 November, in relation to Emma Brockes’s interview with Noam Chomsky of 31 October and the Bosnian concentration-camp survivor Kemal Pervanić’s letter to The Guardian of 2 November. We believe that by issuing this ‘correction’, The Guardian has unjustly besmirched Brockes’s reputation, misrepresented and insulted Pervanić and bestowed a stamp of legitimacy on revisionist attempts to deny the Bosnian genocide and minimise the Srebrenica massacre.
The ‘correction’ was published in response to complaints from Chomsky over Brockes’s alleged misrepresentation of his views. The Guardian upheld Chomsky’s complaints: a) that Brockes falsely attributed to him the view that the Srebrenica massacre of 1995 never occurred, or was not genuinely a ‘massacre’; and b) that Brockes’s ‘misrepresentation’ of Chomsky’s views on Srebrenica stemmed from her ‘misunderstanding’ of his support for the writer Diana Johnstone, which ‘related entirely to her freedom of speech’, rather than to her actual views. Furthermore, The Guardian claimed: ‘Neither Prof. Chomsky nor Ms Johnstone have [sic] ever denied the fact of the massacre.’ Finally, The Guardian upheld Chomsky’s complaint that it had published on 2 November a letter from Kemal Pervanić, a Bosnian concentration-camp survivor, on the grounds that Pervanić’s letter ‘addressed a part of the interview which was false’.
For the following reasons, we believe that neither of Chomsky’s complaints against Brockes is valid; that Brockes’s presentation of his views was essentially fair; that Chomsky’s complaint about the publication of Pervanić’s letter was similarly invalid; and that The Guardian’s ‘correction’ was therefore unjustified:
1. It is untrue that Johnstone has never denied the Srebrenica massacre. In her book Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western delusions’ (Pluto, London 2002), Johnstone puts quote marks around the words ‘Srebrenica massacre’, implying that it was not a real massacre (pp. 106, 115). She rejects the claim that 8,000 Muslims [Bosniaks] were killed at Srebrenica, claiming that most of these had not been killed, but had merely ‘fled Srebrenica’ and ‘made it to safety in Muslim territory’ (p. 114). And she admits only to the Serb killing in cold blood of 199 Muslims, or less than 2.5% of the accepted total (p. 115). This is denial. Furthermore, the book as a whole constitutes a defence of the Serb nationalists’ record during the 1990s, and a minimisation or whitewashing of their crimes.
2. It is untrue that Chomsky’s support for Johnstone was limited to her ‘right to free speech’. An open letter signed by Chomsky describes Johnstone’s book in the following terms: ‘We regard Johnstone’s Fools’ Crusade as an outstanding work, dissenting from the mainstream view but doing so by an appeal to fact and reason, in a great tradition.’ In his own open letter on Johnstone’s book, to which he refers in his letter to The Guardian of 2 November, Chomsky states: ‘I have known her for many years, have read the book, and feel that it is quite serious and important… Johnstone argues – and, in fact, clearly demonstrates – that a good deal of what has been charged has no basis in fact, and much of it is pure fabrication.’ Conversely, nowhere does Chomsky express the slightest disagreement with anything that Johnstone’s book says (except perhaps in the Brockes interview, which he has repudiated). This goes beyond support for Johnstone’s right to free speech, and amounts to an endorsement of her arguments.
3. It is untrue that Chomsky has been as unambiguous in his recognition of the Srebrenica massacre as he now claims. Since the appearance of Johnstone’s book in 2002, Chomsky has spoken of Serb forces as having ‘apparently slaughtered’ Muslims in Srebrenica and of the thousands of dead as mere ‘estimates’; has described the killings as Serb ‘retaliation’ for alleged Muslim crimes against Serbs; and has compared Serb behaviour at Srebrenica favourably with US behaviour in Iraq. In the very same open letter to which he refers in his letter to The Guardian, he described the crime of Srebrenica as ‘much lesser’ than Indonesian crimes in East Timor in 1999, even though he estimates the latter as involving only 5-6,000 civilian casualties. If Brockes’s depiction of Chomsky’s position on Srebrenica was inaccurate, then it was an inaccuracy for which his own ambiguity on the subject was entirely responsible.
4. It is untrue that Pervanić’s letter to The Guardian of 2 November ‘addressed a part of the interview which was false’. In his interview with Brockes, Chomsky expressed a revisionist view on the matter of Serb concentration camps in Bosnia: he described Guardian journalist Ed Vulliamy’s reports on these camps as ‘probably not true’, and Living Marxism’s claim that the character of these camps was deliberately misrepresented by the Western media as ‘probably correct’ – even though Living Marxism’s claim was proven to be false in a British court of law. Chomsky has at no time claimed that Brockes misrepresented his view on this matter. Pervanić’s letter in The Guardian condemned Chomsky above all for his defence of Living Marxism’s discredited claims. The Guardian has therefore misrepresented Pervanić and insulted his intelligence.
5. Finally, both Johnstone and Chomsky reject the use of the term ‘genocide’ in reference to the actions of Serb forces at Srebrenica or in Bosnia as a whole, despite the conviction of a Bosnian Serb general for aiding and abetting genocide at Srebrenica by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia – an international court established by the UN.
We call upon The Guardian to withdraw its ‘correction’ of 17 November; to apologise unreservedly to Emma Brockes for its unjust impugning of her professional reputation; and to apologise unreservedly to Kemal Pervanić for misrepresenting his argument and insulting his intelligence.
Dr Marko Attila Hoare, author of How Bosnia Armed (2004)
Nerma Jelačić, Bosnia Country Director, Balkans Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN)
Hasan Nuhanović, Srebrenica survivor
Nihad Salkić, Srebrenica survivor
Emir Suljagić, Srebrenica survivor, author of Postcards from the Grave (2005)
Diego Enrique Arria, director of the UN mission in Srebrenica, March 1993
Professor Ivo Banac, author of The Price of Bosnia (1996)
Martin Bell, author of In Harm’s Way (1996)
Sonja Biserko, editor of Srebrenica: from denial to acknowledgement (2005)
Dr Cathie Carmichael, author of Ethnic Cleansing in the Balkans (2002)
Professor Norman Cigar, author of Genocide in Bosnia (1995)
Nick Cohen, columnist, The Observer
Professor Robert J. Donia, author of Bosnia-Hercegovina: a tradition betrayed (1994)
Quintin Hoare, director of The Bosnian Institute
Oliver Kamm, columnist, The Times
Melanie McDonagh, journalist, The Evening Standard
Branka Magaš, editor of The War in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina (2001)
Dr Noel Malcolm, author of Bosnia: A Short History (1994)
Sylvie Matton, author of Srebrenica: un génocide annoncé (2005)
David Rieff, author of Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West (1995)
David Rohde, author of Endgame: the betrayal and fall of Srebrenica (1997)
Dr Brendan Simms, author of Unfinest Hour: Britain and the destruction of Bosnia (2001)
Francis Wheen, journalist, Private Eye
Said Zulficar, former chairman, UNESCO staff group ‘Solidarity with Bosnia’
Related Story:Chomsky’s Genocidal Denial