THOUGHTS ON NIOD REPORT, CHOMSKY, UN, DUTCH GOVERNMENT and DEAF HORSES
RELATIVISM OF JUSTICE: THOUGHTS ON NOAM CHOMSKY, NIOD REPORT, DUTCH GOVERNMENT, U.N. & more…
Date Published: July 8th, 2006.
Updated again on: July 29th, 2006.
2. Fugitives on the Run
3. On Noam Chomsky & The Leftist Apologists
4. On (Flawed) NIOD Report & the Dutch Government
5. More on Dutch & the UN
6. Deaf Horses Gone Blind – ‘Balancing Act’
There are a few days left until the 11th Anniversary of the Srebrenica Massacre – the first legally established case of genocide in Europe after the Holocaust – in which men, elderly and children (boys) were slaughtered, while many women were raped and tens of thousands of them trucked and forcibly deported from Srebrenica.
In the coming days I will be publishing a revised Srebrenica Massacre Report and will report about the 11th Anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre.
This week I’ve been active in reviewing some of the published findings with respect to Srebrenica massacre. I focused on reviewing ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal), U.N. and the Government of Netherland’s findings about Srebrenica. I was also in contact with Noam Chomsky, trying to understand his association with left wing revisionists and Srebrenica genocide deniers.
2. FUGITIVES ON THE RUN
As you might already know, both the United Nations and the Netherlands have complicity in Srebrenica massacre and their findings are not as objective as one might have expected.
Although primary responsibility for the massacre lies with the Bosnian Serb leadership, they are not the only party to blame for the massacre, as both the U.N and Dutchbat clearly failed to prevent and/or at least try to prevent the Srebrenica massacre.
With respect to Naser Oric, most of his initial charges were dropped or he was acquitted of them – and with respect to those, he is innocent. However, he failed to prevent the murders of about 5 Serb captives, and he is guilty of that, as concluded by the ICTY. Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic are both on the run. Both Karadzic and Mladic are indicted on genocide charges with respect to the killings of over 8,000 Bosniaks in the Srebrenica massacre, as well as other human rights violations.
To bring Karadzic and Mladic to justice, the United States Government is offering a reward for information.
In addition to the reward of up to $5 million, informants may be eligible for protection of their identities and relocation for their families. For more information about the reward, see Ratko Mladic & Radovan Karadzic.
3. ON NOAM CHOMSKY & THE LEFTIST APOLOGISTS
I dedicated some time to speak to Noam Chomsky, who answered all my emails. Although I am not going to reveal the contents of emails exchanged with Chomsky, I will take the liberty of posting my general opinion about Chomsky.
As you might already know, Chomsky is considered to be a key intellectual figure within the left wing of the United States politics. And the “leftist apologist wing” is what usually fits the definition of Srebrenica genocide denial and/or revisionism (e.g. Ed Herman and Diana Johnstone). The “leftist apologists” pride themselves on being always on the opposite side of the mainstream media. So, while the media is taking a pro-Israel stance, the leftist apologists will speak on behalf of Palestinian side and bash the Israeli side. Accordingly, while the media is taking a pro-Srebrenica genocide stance, the leftist apologists will speak on behalf of the Serbian side and deny the Srebrenica genocide. More extreme cases of “left wing Srebrenica genocide deniers and revisionists,” as well as Milosevic’s apologists and conspiracy theorists, would include cases like Jared Israel (link) & Francisco Gil-White (who was fired from the University of Pennsylvania for his Srebrenica genocide denial).
While this leftist apologist arrangement of the political spectrum may seem to serve as a counter-balance to the mainstream media, it is actually very selective and most often fraudulent with respect to established facts (e.g. the fact that at least 8,106 Bosniaks perished in the Srebrenica massacre).
The “left wing anti-imperialists” also pride themselves in their – what could be described as – anti-American sentiment and/or never-ending disagreements with American foreign policies, such as the policy of liberating Iraq and Afghanistan from merciless dictatorships, or bombing Serbia to stop Milosevic forces from committing another genocide in Kosovo. For them, Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein were defenders of their people from ‘bad’ NATO attackers.
To get back to the issue of Chomsky, he was voted ‘the leading living public intellectual’ in ‘The 2005 Global Intellectuals Poll’ conducted by the British magazine Prospect. There were 100 nominees in this poll and around 20,000 votes were cast. Whether Chomsky got 1,000 votes, or 2,000 votes, or more or less votes to win the title, is insignificant. What is significant is that nobody used common sense to ask the following question: Can he truly be a leading “global” intellectual with so few votes cast, which were confined only to Britain and the – at that time obscure – British Prospect magazine? If someone is going to be the leading “global” intellectual, then more votes need to be cast and they cannot be confined to obscure British magazines. However you look at it, the term “global” means international, not British; certainly, the term “global” does not mean few thousand votes.
Chomsky is also popular for downplaying the violence and suffering involved in the wars in the former Yugoslavia and shifting the blame to the Western alliance. [read here]
Chomsky’s natural “left apologist wing leanings” dictate his political opinions, but he is careful enough to disassociate himself from Milosevic’s sympathizers. For him, Milosevic is a “terrible” person. However, Chomsky believes that the charges against Milosevic were a “farce”. Here is what he said in an interview for Serbian television: “This trial was never going to hold up, if it was even semi-honest. It was a farce; in fact they were lucky that he died”. (On the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, April 25, 2006)
Here we could see Chomsky – with no legal training in international law – making statements that make absolutely no sense. Milosevic was charged with 66 charges of genocide and other crimes against humanity, one might wonder what were the chances that he would be acquitted of all of them? None.
To my knowledge, Chomsky never directly stated that he denies Srebrenica genocide, but he did support publications which do deny Srebrenica genocide. Examples include his support for Diana Johnstone’s “Fools’ Crusade” book in which she denies Srebrenica genocide and his association with leftist apologist publication ZMag and Edward Herman – both of whom deny Srebrenica genocide. A rebuttal of Edward Herman’s claims was published by Balkan Witness, Edward Herman on the List of Missing at Srebrenica.
Chomsky has been a target of controversy with respect to Srebrenica genocide denial. There is a wonderful article by Marko Attila Hoare titled Chomsky’s Genocide Denial. While, according to my knowledge, Chomsky never directly stated that he denies Srebrenica genocide, he did seem to justify the Srebrenica massacre by suggesting that the massacre was provoked – here is what he said:
Srebrenica was an enclave, lightly protected by UN forces, which was being used as a base for attacking nearby Serb villages. It was known that there’s going to be retaliation. When there was a retaliation, it was vicious. (Civilization versus Barbarism? December 17, 2004).
Furthermore, in his article titled Imperial Presidency, Chomsky provocatively uses quotes when refering to Srebrenica genocide:
…Or Srebrenica, almost universally described as “genocide” in the West. In that case, as we know in detail from the Dutch government report [editor’s note: NIOD Report bias, read bellow] and other sources, the Muslim enclave in Serb territory, inadequately protected, was used as a base for attacks against Serb villages, and when the anticipated reaction took place, it was horrendous. The Serbs drove out all but military age men, and then moved in to kill them. There are differences with Falluja. Women and children were not bombed out of Srebrenica, but trucked out, and there will be no extensive efforts to exhume the last corpse of the packrats in their warrens in Falluja. There are other differences, arguably unfair to the Serbs. [Canadian Dimension, January/February 2005 (Volume 39, Number 1)]
What Chomsky does not know is that before Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) put any armed resistance against this Serbian campaign of ethnic cleansing, several thousand Bosniaks, mainly men and children (boys), were summarily executed. Only then did Bosniaks start attacking the Serb front lines (aka: surrounding Serb villages) to defend the enclave, gather food and possibly break the siege.
However, the judgment in Naser Oric case clearly shows that surrounding Serb villages were used as bases to attack Srebrenica on a daily basis from day one:
Between April 1992 and March 1993, Srebrenica town and the villages in the area held by Bosnian Muslims were constantly subjected to Serb military assaults, including artillery attacks, sniper fire, as well as occasional bombing from aircrafts. Each onslaught followed a similar pattern. Serb soldiers and paramilitaries surrounded a Bosnian Muslim village or hamlet, called upon the population to surrender their weapons, and then began with indiscriminate shelling and shooting. In most cases, they then entered the village or hamlet, expelled or killed the population, who offered no significant resistance, and destroyed their homes. During this period, Srebrenica was subjected to indiscriminate shelling from all directions on a daily basis. Potočari in particular was a daily target for Serb artillery and infantry because it was a sensitive point in the defence line around Srebrenica. Other Bosnian Muslim settlements were routinely attacked as well. All this resulted in a great number of refugees and casualties. (Naser Oric Judgement, pdf format, see pages 43-53)
Human Rights Watch agrees:
Take the events in the village of Kravica, on the Serb Orthodox Christmas on January 7, 1993, for example. The alleged killing of scores of Serbs and destruction of their houses in the village is frequently cited in Serbia as the key example of the heinous crimes committed by the Muslim forces around Srebrenica. In fact, the Oric judgment confirms that there were Bosnian Serb military forces present in the village at the time of attack. In 1998, the wartime New York Times correspondent Chuck Sudetic wrote in his book on Srebrenica that, of forty-five Serbs who died in the Kravica attack, thirty-five were soldiers. Original Bosnian Serb army documents, according to the ICTY prosecutor and the Sarajevo-based Center for Research and Documentation of War Crimes, also indicate that thirty-five soldiers died. [source]
Serb forces continued to attack Srebrenica even after Srebrenica became a “Safe Heaven”:
Later, a Dutch battalion replaced the Canadian troops. The weapons of Bosnian
Muslims were, at least to some extent, turned in or confiscated. Larger military operations by both Bosnian Muslims and Serbs were effectively brought to a halt. However, incidents of Serb military action continued to occur, causing casualties among the Srebrenica population. (Naser Oric Judgement, pdf format, see pages 43-53)
The genocide justifiers have consistently ignored the strong VRS military presence in some Bosnian Serb villages. For example, the village of Fakovici was used as a military outpost through which Bosnian Serb forces launched massive attacks on Bosniak civilians. [source].
Secondly, the Oric judgment found the presence of Serb military in several villages that the Bosniak forces launched an offensive on. Including the presence of sophisticated weapons such as tanks, anti aircraft, rocket launchers etc. Therefore, putting the offensive actions against those specific villages where there was a VRS presence in much different light than the one purported by the genocide deniers. [source].
Now if Chomsky’s justification for genocide equals genocide denial, then one might make the following argument: Although Chomsky defiantly denies being a Srebrenica genocide denier, he does not merely deny the Genoicide he denies his own denial.
For those interested in Chomsky’s make-believe stories, you may read Top 100 Chomsky Lies (in .pdf format).
4. ON (FLAWED) NIOD REPORT & DUTCH GOVERNMENT
Another report that I studied, and that Chomsky used to ‘prove’ his pro-Serb arguments, is the NIOD Report published by the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation. This is the document, commissioned by the Dutch government following criticism of the way its peacekeeping force in the Srebrenica behaved at the time of the massacre. [See: Srebrenica Massacre Lawsuit Against U.N. and Dutch Government]
Although the Dutch government refused to apologize for the failure of Dutchbat to prevent the Srebrenica massacre, the NIOD Report was the Netherlands’s attempt to wash their hands of direct involvement in the Srebrenica massacre. The report is extremely biased in some parts, depending on the sources or references used.
For example, Part II – Chapter 2 talks about “The history preceding the conflict in Eastern Bosnia up until the establishment of the Safe Area“. By reading this part of the report, one can easily get the impression that Bosniaks constantly attacked Serb villages while Serbs were constantly defending themselves from Bosniaks. But since this report was Netherland’s attempt to shift blame by virtues of ‘moral equivalency’, no wonder they came up with such grotesque claims. Earlier U.N. Report 53/35 concluded:
Even though this accusation is often repeated by international sources, there is no credible evidence to support it. Dutchbat personnel on the ground at the time assessed that the few “raids” the Bosniaks mounted out of Srebrenica were of little or no military significance. These raids were often organized in order to gather food, as the Serbs had refused access for humanitarian convoys into the enclave. Even Serb sources approached in the context of this report acknowledged that the Bosniak forces in Srebrenica posed no significant military threat to them.
The NIOD report cites too many biased Serb sources and even suggests that over 1,000 Serbs died around Srebrenica, which was proven to be false by the internationally sponsored Research and Documentation Center (RDC), which concluded that less than 400 Serbs died there, three quarters of them soldiers (source). Manipulating the number of victims is a form of propaganda that in practice is very difficult to deal with. The Bosnian Government did the same in the 1990s, stating that over 200,000 people died. RDC has concluded that not more than 150,000 people died in Bosnia (and RDC’s incomplete data as of today lists around 100,000 people).
Critics of the NIOD Report allege that the massive tome is full of inaccuracies and amounts to a whitewash designed to clear the Dutch of any wrongdoing. IWPR’s piece, titled Controversial Srebrenica Report Back on Table (source), exposes flaws of NIOD Report:
They [the critics] claim that the government-financed report now provides a “one-stop shop” of information for all sides if the conflict, because it was watered down too much for it to take a real position on anything. According to Jan Willem Honig, senior lecturer in war studies at London’s Kings College and co-author of the highly-praised “Srebrenica, Record of a War Crime”, the truth lies somewhere in between. Although he says the report “has an aura of independent academic research,” Honig is critical of its length, saying the sheer abundance of information makes it possible for anyone to pluck from it whatever they need to make their point. This, he says, is a liability because the report is not always consistent. “It’s possible to draw different conclusions from the different parts in the book. Therefore one can imagine it is useful to both defence and prosecution,” he said. Honig said he found numerous errors in the report as well. For example, he said an explanatory map inserted as a graphic aid to explaining the Bosnian Serb battle plan does not correspond with the plan as described in the text. And neither the written description nor the map accurately describe the actual plan. Worse than the inaccuracies, according to Honig, is the fact that the report has no clear objective. “They [the researchers] should have considered better what they wanted to establish with the report. That might have saved thousands of pages. With its leisurely narrative approach they shot themselves in the foot. The project escaped their control; it became too big,” he said. Honig is not alone in criticising the report. Many readers have complained that the index is poorly organised and full of errors, particularly regarding peoples’ names. Even those who worked on the NIOD report have been critical of it. One of the nine NIOD-researchers, anthropologist Ger Duijzings recently told the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, “Information from sources that I found unreliable, I found back in Part 1 [of the report] – used by [fellow-researcher] Bob de Graaf, if he thought it fitted in his argumentation.”
According to Hasan Nuhanovic, who survived Srebrenica massacre, the NIOD Report has not determined the level of responsibility and guilt of the Dutch troops and officials for genocide in Srebrenica [full text]. For more on U.N.’s moral equivalency, read: Bosnia prepares to mark the 11th anniversary of Genocide and Srebrenica Massacre answers (revised edition). 5. MORE ON DUTCH & THE UN
The direct Dutch involvement in the Srebrenica massacre and subsequent shameful collaboration with Ratko Mladic’s genocidal forces is one of the issues in the upcoming lawsuit against the Dutch government and the United Nations. Dutch forces have direct responsibility for the fall of Srebrenica and the subsequent massacre of over 8,000 Bosniaks.
According to Hasan Nuhanovic, who survived Srebrenica massacre, the NIOD Report has not determined the level of responsibility and guilt of the Dutch troops and officials for genocide in Srebrenica [full text].
For more on U.N.’s moral equivalency, read: Bosnia prepares to mark the 11th anniversary of Genocide and Srebrenica Massacre answers (revised edition).
5. MORE ON DUTCH & THE UN
Ambassador Arria testified at the International Tribunal that the international community “did not move its little finger” to protect the Muslims in the enclave and “did not make it possible for them to defend themselves”. There was a tendency in the Security Council, he said, to “morally equate the victims and the aggressor”, thus avoiding the need to take action to prevent the humanitarian disaster.
It’s time for the Netherlands and the U.N. to stand up, take responsibility, apologize, and pay reparation for their direct involvement in the massacre, bearing in mind also that class-action lawsuits are rarely unsuccessful.
If the Report was intended to be objective, then it should have included unbiased sources – not just what Serbian apologists for atrocities wrote and published during the war.
6. DEAF HORSES GONE BLIND – ‘BALANCING ACT’ One might even get the impression that this Report was made to justify the massacre and point fingers away from Dutch failure in Srebrenica. In some parts of the report, for example, for every critique of Serbs there was one critique of Bosniaks, etc. This may seem fair, but it’s not. Imagine if someone raped you and brought you to the court and the judge ruled that both you and your rapists were equally guilty; him because he raped you – and you – because you did not lock your door at night. You may do similar comparison with 9/11 and never-ending justifications of the attack and grotesque conspiracy theories. Do you think this is fair? In my opinion, there is no room for critique of victims, but again – you may disagree with me. And you are perfectly welcome to do so.
My impression is that both documents, United Nation’s General Assembly Report 53/35 and the NIOD Report were prepared to provide a “balanced” account of what happened at Srebrenica. In fact, the report is far from being balanced, because in critical parts of the report NIOD researches solely relied on local Serb sources (as I elaborated earlier); thus far, they attempted to “balance” the report at the expense of over 8,000 Srebrenica massacre victims.
6. DEAF HORSES GONE BLIND – ‘BALANCING ACT’
One might even get the impression that this Report was made to justify the massacre and point fingers away from Dutch failure in Srebrenica. In some parts of the report, for example, for every critique of Serbs there was one critique of Bosniaks, etc.
This may seem fair, but it’s not.
Imagine if someone raped you and brought you to the court and the judge ruled that both you and your rapists were equally guilty; him because he raped you – and you – because you did not lock your door at night. You may do similar comparison with 9/11 and never-ending justifications of the attack and grotesque conspiracy theories.
Do you think this is fair? In my opinion, there is no room for critique of victims, but again – you may disagree with me. And you are perfectly welcome to do so.
Moral Equivalism is Flawed