Archive

Posts Tagged ‘genocide deniers’

15 ACTIVIST DUTCH SOLDIERS TO TESTIFY IN KARADZIC’S FAVOR

August 30, 2008 6 comments

A group of former Dutch soldiers with questionable agenda and pro-Serb leanings are on a crusade to deny Srebrenica genocide and get their 15 minutes of shame…

Acccording to Serbia’s Vecernje Novosti, a group of former Dutch soldiers who were stationed in Srebrenica enclave in 1995, came to Belgrade on Wednesday “at their own expense” to meet with Milivoje Ivanisevic.

Milivoje Ivanisevic is a Belgrade-based Srebrenica genocide denier whose, so called, research has been discredited by the International Criminal Tribunal as “…a shameful denial and relativisation of the facts that this court has established beyond reasonable doubt about the genocide committed in Srebrenica.” (source: ICTY)

This fringe group of Dutch activists, who clearly have questionable agenda and pro-Serb leanings, say they want to testify in Radovan Karadzic’s favor. As ridiculous as it may seem, but these offensive liars and Srebrenica genocide deniers claim that Serb Army did not commit crimes in Srebrenica. Karadzic, the architect of Srebrenica genocide, is currently on trial at the Hague.

We spoke to two Srebrenica genocide survivors and they told us they have dealt with this type of propaganda for the last 13 years. For Srebrenica genocide survivors, this kind of irresponsible behavior, on the part of the Dutch, is nothing new. After all, the Dutch soldiers abandoned people of Srebrenica in 1995 and left disgusting material behind themselves (see photos of Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica).

Activist Dutch veterans told Ivanisevic they had to “protect themselves from the Muslims, rather than protect Muslims from the Serbs” in Srebrenica. What they failed to mention is that Serb soldiers wore Dutch helmets and disguised themselves as UN peacekeepers to trick Bosniak population of Srebrenica into surrendering. In this situation, it was impossible to distinguish between real and fake peacekeepers.

Srebrenica genocide resulted in the summary executions of 8,000 Bosniaks, including at last 500 children, and forcible deportations of thousands of women and children. Women would not be spared, but Serbs were sensitive to the public opinion so they opted for forcible deportations instead (read more here) – as concluded by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at the Hague.

JASENOVAC RESEARCH INSTITUTE

December 21, 2007 12 comments

Last Updated: January 5, 2008.
DENIAL OF SREBRENICA GENOCIDE UNDERMINES CREDIBILITY OF THE “JASENOVAC RESEARCH INSTITUTE”

Note of Caution: The Washington’s United States Holocaust Museum should distance itself from this organization, and people should exercise caution when dealing with this propagandist Srebrenica genocide denial group that celebrates war criminals.

The New York based “Jasenovac Research Institute” is a Serbian nationalist-run organization which describes itself as “committed to establishing the truth about the Holocaust in Yugoslavia and dedicated to the search for justice for its victims.” However, Bosniak Muslim victims (including women and children) of Jasenovac are conveniently ignored by their research, but that’s another story. The website features photos of innocent children who died in the Ustasha’s run concentration camp – but there is no mention that those innocent victims belonged to all ethnicities, not just Serb. After all, 6 million Jews perished in the Holocaust. The people behind the Jasenovac Research Institute deny the Srebrenica genocide and celebrate Slobodan Milosevic.

The Jasenovac Research Institute recently re-published a book titled: “The Crimes of the Fascist Occupants and their Collaborators against the Jews in Yugoslavia.” In the Foreword of this book, this Serbian nationalist-run organization is calling the findings of the International Criminal Tribunal (ICTY) in the Hague “fraudulent.” As you know, the ICTY findings concluded that the 1995 Serb massacres of Bosniak Muslims in and around Srebrenica constituted genocide. The Jasenovac Research Institute calls those findings fraudulent, thus far denying genocide. Here is a quote from the foreword of the re-published book (reviewed by Christopher Deliso) , quote:

“It should be noted that the old ideals of rigor in documentation have long since been lost. A look at any of the modern Yugoslavia’s war crimes trials shows a frantic zeal to uncover ever more evidence and, though numerous snafus have emerged in the Hague due to its presentation of erroneous or even willfully fraudulent information, few whether in the media or the ‘international community’ take much notice of the inconsistencies.”

These types of Srebrenica Genocide denial claims have seriously shattered the credibility of the “Jasenovac Research Institute. But that’s not all; continue reading…

Institute ran by Srebrenica Genocide Deniers

The main contributor to the Institute, and one of its main board members, is Dr. Milan Bulajic. Not surprisingly, Mr Bulajic also denies Srebrenica genocide (source: external link to the Serbian extremist web site), quote:

“Dr. Milan Bulajic said for Glas Javnosti that High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Paddy Ashdown and the President of the Institute for War Crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina Dr. Smail Cekic want (at any price) to manipulate science to prove that the Serbian Army committed genocide in Srebrenica.”

Mr. Bulajic was the Director of the “War Crimes Commission” of the FRY, an organization formed by Slobodan Milosevic in early 1990s in Serbia to “prove” the crimes the world has comitted against the Serbs. Mr Bulajic published most of his books and works during the war era, with characteristic Serb opinion at the time. The publisher for most of his book is listed as: “The Ministry of Information of the Republic of Serbia”.

Dr. Darko Trifunovic, another Srebrenica genocide denier, is a member of the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute (more about him here), quote:

“On the page 34. of that report, Trifunovic concludes his ‘analysis’ of the number of Bosniak men and boys who disappeared during the events surrounding the Bosnian Serb take-over of the United Nations ‘safe area’ of Srebrenica with the ‘finding’ that Armed Forces of the Republic of Srpska (VRS) might have executed only less than 100 of ‘Muslim soldiers'”.

Another director of the Jasenovac Research Institute is Srebrenica genocide denier Milo Yelesiyevich. He is the author of the book about: “Ratko Mladic: Tragic Hero” in which he denied Srebrenica genocide and celebrated indicted war criminals Gen Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic.

And here is what Barry Lituchy – self-titled “Holocaust Research Director” of the Jasenovac Research Institute – thinks of Slobodan Milosevic, quote:

“When I heard the news that Slobodan Milosevic had died I did not want to believe it. I did not want to believe that evil had triumphed over good, or that the evil that had been done to this brave and beautiful man could have finally killed him… But you can take solace in the fact that Slobo died a martyr’s death… He is the most famous and most courageous Serb of our time… As I said before, he lived and died for us and for a better world. I know you are proud of him. I feel the same way.” [11 March 2006, “To The Family of Slobodan Milosevic“]

It is obvious that the people behind this organization have as much credibility as Adolph Hitler. The sad part is they are a driving force behind the Jasenovac Research Institute.

Nazi Croatia’s Ethnic Make-up


The territory of the Independent State of Croatia included two constituent units of former Yugoslavia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, with a total population of about 6.3 million. More than half of the population, or 3.3 million, were ethnic Croats (Catholics). The 1.9 million Serbs (Orthodox) were the largest ethnic minority. Other minorities included approximately 700,000 Bosniaks (Muslims), 40,000 Jews, and 30,000 Roma (Gypsies).


PHOTO: The Bosniak Muslim family being taken away to the Jasenovac concentration camp by the Ustasha’s collaborationist regime during the 2nd World War. [Bosnjaci.net Magazine]

Numbers of Jasenovac Victims
(Serbs, Bosniaks, Jews, Roma, Croats, and others)

Bosniaks and Croats were also victims of Jasenovac. According to the U.S. Holocaust Museum:

“The Ustaša authorities established numerous concentration camps in Croatia between 1941 and 1945. These camps were used to isolate and murder Serbs, Jews, Roma, Muslims [Bosniaks], and other non-Catholic minorities, as well as Croatian political and religious opponents of the regime.”

Jasenovac Research Institute claims that 300,000 to 700,000 Serbs died in Jasenovac – the numbers challenged even by the United States Holocaust Museum, quote:

“The most reliable figures place the number of Serbs killed by the Ustasha between 330,000 and 390,000, with 45,000 to 52,000 Serbs murdered in Jasenovac.” [USHMM and Jewish Virtual Library]

In 1998, the Bosniak Institute published SFR Yugoslavia’s List of war victims from the Jasenovac camp. The list contained 49,602 total victims at Jasenovac with 26,170 Serbs, 8,121 Jews, 5,900 Croats, 1471 Roma, 787 Bosniak Muslims, 6,792 of unidentifiable ethnicity and the rest others.

According to another historian, Dr Vladimir Zerjavic, over 12,000 Bosniaks and Croats perished in Jasenovac. One might also read Dr Nihad Halilbegovic‘s study about the Bosniak victims of Jasenovac concentration camp (currently, only the Bosnian language version is available – Bosnjaci u Jasenovackom Logoru, 502 pages, ISBN: 9789958471025 can be purchased at Interliber, popular Bosnian book sale web site).

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, the precise number of Jews murdered in Jasenovac is not known, but estimates range between 8,000 and 20,000 Jewish victims; and the estimate of the number of Romani (Gipsy) victims is beteween 8,000 and 15,000 who perished in Jasenovac.

May souls of all victims rest in peace…

SERBIAN PHOTO PROPAGANDA – FASCIST TECHNIQUES

December 6, 2007 8 comments

PHOTOS OF SREBRENICA GENOCIDE VICTIMS MISUSED BY SERBIAN NATIONALISTS

Content updated December 13, 2007
1. Serbia’s Photo Propaganda
2.
Serbian NAZI past (fascism)
3. Conclusion

PHOTO: Serbian nationalist newspaper misused the above photo of Bosniak Muslim victims by portraying it as a mass grave of Serbs. What you see is a a mass grave of Srebrenica genocide victims (Bosniak Muslims) in a village of SNAGOVO during their exhumation in July 2007 as confirmed by the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP) and FONET (Serbian agency selling Associated Press photos). The above photo features ICMP forensic expert Sharna Daley of London UK. This kind of propaganda can be only produced by the sickest minds in order to misinform the public; and this is what they have been doing for the last 15 years with their bold faced lies and propaganda. It’s time for a counter punch. Read more…

1. Serbia’s Photo Propaganda

Serbian nationalist newspaper “Glas Javnosti”- known by its extreme radical rhetoric and publishings of Srebrenica genocide denial material – went one step further in its fascist propaganda by misusing photos of Bosniak Srebrenica genocide mass graves and portraying them as mass graves of Serb victims of the so called “Muslim-Croat terror” – click here to take a look
.

This type of Serbian propaganda is sadly widespread, and it’s a testament of the sickness of Serbian society that will likely take a long time to heal. Unfortunately, it’s nothing new since Serbia hasn’t decontaminated itself from fascism, yet. Serbian nationalists regularly celebrate war criminals as heroes, while Srebrenica Genocide is increasingly being awarded status of a big proud ‘military victory’ over the “Turks” (derogatory name for Bosniaks Muslims).

Here is a photo of a Srebrenica Genocide mass grave excavation in the village of SNAGOVO in July 2007. The ICMP (International Commission for Missing Persons) confirmed to us that the photo features forensic expert Sharna Daley of London U.K. She is a member of a team from the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP) inspecting human remains at a Srebrenica genocide mass-grave site in a village of SNAGOVO. She has also been featured in numerous photos on our site, latest one being during Srebrenica genocide mass grave excavation in the village of KAMENICA. Another Serbian source “FONET” (which allows consumers to purchase Associated Press photos) also confirms that the photo refers to the exhumation of a mass grave in SNAGOVO, as previously confirmed to us by the ICMP.


2. Serbian Nazi Roots

The levels of propaganda and hatred against Bosniaks and Croats – stemming from Serbia’s fascist past – have remained relatively constant.

During the 2nd World War, the first experiments in mass executions of camp inmates by poison gas were carried out in Serbia. Serbia was the first country to proudly declare itself “Judenfrei” (“cleansed” of Jews).

In August 1942, Dr. Harald Turner (the chief of the German civil administration in Serbia) announced that Serbia was the only country in which the “Jewish question” was solved and that Belgrade was the “first city of a New Europe to be Judenfrei.” Turner himself attributed this success to Serbian help.

The fight against the Jewish influence had actually started six months before the German invasion when the government of Serbia issued legislation restricting Jewish participation in the economy and university enrolment.

In contemporary Serbian history, the Serbian chetniks of Draza Mihailovic were represented as fighters against the occupier, while in fact they were the allies of the Nazi fascists in Yugoslavia.

It is unequivocally clear that the Chetniks collaborated with the occupiers, both in the military and political sphere, as well as in the domain of economic activity, intelligence and propaganda… (source: the Serbian scholars, Dr. Jovan Marjanovic & Mihail Stanisic, The collaboration of Draza Mihailovic’s Chetniks with the enemy forces of occupation, 1976.)

In conjunction with the war in former Yugoslavia, Serbia has undertaken a campaign to persuade the Jewish community of Serbian friendship for Jews (the Serbian Jewish Friendship Society). This same campaign portrays Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) and Croats as a common threat to both Jews and Serbs, in an attempt to gain Jewish sympathy and support at a time when most nations have isolated Serbia as a Balkan pariah.

However, even as Serbia courts Jewish public opinion, their propagandists conceal a history of well-ingrained antisemitism, which continues unabated in 1992. To make their case, Serbs portray themselves as victims in the Second World War, but conceal the systematic genocide that Serbs had committed against several peoples including the Jews. Thus Serbs have usurped as propaganda the Holocaust that occurred in neighbouring Croatia and Bosnia, but do not give an honest accounting of the Holocaust as it occurred in Serbia.

During four centuries of Ottoman rule in the Balkans, the Jewish communities of Serbia enjoyed religious tolerance, internal autonomy, and equality before the law, that ended with the breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the emergence of the Serbian state. Soon after a Serbian insurrection against Turkish rule in 1804, Jews were expelled from the interior of Serbia and prohibited from residing outside of Belgrade. In 1856 and 1861, Jews were further prohibited from travel for the purpose of trade. In official correspondence from the late 19th century, British diplomats detailed the cruel treatment of the Jews of Serbia, which they attributed to religious fanaticism, commercial rivalries, and the belief that Jews were the secret agents of the Turks. Article 23 of the Serbian constitution granted equality to every citizen but Article 132 forbade Jews the right of domicile. The Treaty of Berlin 1878, which formally established the Serbian state, accorded political and civil equality to the Jews of Serbia, but the Serbian Parliament resisted abolishing restrictive decrees for another 11 years. Although the legal status of the Jewish community subsequently improved, the view of Jews as an alien presence persisted.

The Serbian government under General Milan Nedic worked closely with local Nazi officials in making Belgrade the first “Judenfrei” city of Europe. As late as 19 September 1943, Nedic made an official visit to Adolf Hitler (see picture bellow), Serbs in Berlin advanced the idea that the Serbs were the “Ubermenchen” (master race) of the Slavs.

PHOTO: Serbia’s Chetnik Milan Nedic and Adolf Hitler.

The Serbian Orthodox Church openly collaborated with the Nazis, and many priests publicly defended the persecution of the Jews. On 13 August 1941, approximately 500 distinguished Serbs signed “An Appeal to the Serbian Nation”, which called for loyalty to the occupying Nazis. The first three signers were bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church. On 30 January 1942, Metropolitan Josif, the acting head of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, officially prohibited conversions of Jews to Serbian Orthodoxy, thereby blocking a means of saving Jewish lives. At a public rally, after the government Minister Olcan “thanked God that the enormously powerful fist of Germany had not come down upon the head of the Serbian nation” but instead “upon the heads of the Jews in our midst”, the speaker of these words was then blessed by a high-ranking Serbian Orthodox priest.

A most striking example of Serbian antisemitism combined with historical revisionism is the case of Bishop Nikolaj Velimirovic (1880-1956), revered as one of the most influential church leaders and ideologists after Saint Sava, founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church. To Serbs, Bishop Velimirovic was a martyr who survived torture in the Dachau prison camp. In truth he was brought to Dachau (as were other prominent European clergy), because the Nazis believed he could be useful for propaganda. There he spent approximately two months as an “Ehrenhaftling” (honour prisoner) in a special section, dining on the same food as the German officers, living in private quarters, and making excursions into town under German escort. From Dachau, this venerated Serbian priest endorsed the Holocaust:

QUOTE: Europe is presently the main battlefield of the Jew and his father, the devil, against the heavenly Father and his only begotten Son… (Jews) first need to become legally equal with Christians in order to repress Christianity next, turn Christians into atheist, and step on their necks. All the modern European slogans have been made up by Jews, the crucifiers of Christ: democracy, strikes, socialism atheism, tolerance of all religions, pacifism, universal revolution, capitalism and communism… All this has been done with the intention to eliminate Christ… You should think about this, my Serbian brethren, and correspondingly correct your thoughts, desires and acts. (Bishop Nikolaj Velimirovic: Addresses to the Serbian People–Through the Prison Window. Himmelsthur, Germany: Serbian Orthodox Eparchy for Western Europe, 1985, pp. 161-162). QUOTE END

To learn more about Serbian involvement in the Holocaust, read:
Serbian portrayal of Holocaust decency is historical revisionism
Serbian anti-masonic (anti-Jewish) exhibition in Belgrade of 1941-42

3. Conclusion:

If Serbia wants to be part of civilized world, then it needs to decontaminate itself from fascistic hatred and stop spreading bold faced lies and propaganda about their perceived victimhood. A nation that lives of mythological history, propagation of lies, constant creation of feelings of victimhood, and Srebrenica genocide denial is not ready to be partner for peace in the region.

BEWARE OF BALKANPEACE.ORG – GENOCIDE DENIAL NGO!

November 7, 2007 3 comments

“THE CENTRE FOR PEACE IN THE BALKANS”

BEWARE: This organization was established by the Serbian nationalists in Toronto (Canada) and serves as an extended hand of Belgrade propaganda

Above: Screenshot of “The Centre for Peace in the Balkans” promoting Srebrenica genocide denial material with Edward Herman’s article: “The Politics of the Srebrenica Massacre.” Many similar articles (written by infamous genocide deniers) can be found on their site. To read response to Herman’s denials and conspiracy theories, click here.

Full article continues below…

The Centre for Peace in the Balkans (balkanpeace.org) is a Serbian propaganda media outlet based in Toronto, Canada. Here is a quick overview of this organization:

Objective

This organization presents itself as “balanced and accurate,” “non-profit corporation” with appealing ‘non-partisan’ name working for “peace” and against “the West’s flawed Balkan strategy” in the Balkans, “striving to advocate a balanced and accurate presentation” of the situation in the Balkans and to bring “NATO and military political leaders to stand trial.”

The main objective of this Serbian organization is to manipulate the public opinion with misinterpretation of facts concerning the recent conflict in the Former Yugoslavia. While there is plenty of material on their website portraying Bosniaks, Croats, and Albanians as “terrorists”, there is not a single piece of material on their web site condemning widespread human rights violations and massacres committed by the Serbs. In fact, this seemingly “peace-oriented” web site contains Srebrenica genocide denial material from many disgraced conspiracy theorists (see screenshot).

Who is behind ‘The Centre for Peace in the Balkans’?

‘The Centre for Peace in the Balkans’ was founded by a young Serbian nationalist – Nikola Rajkovic – who was (according to the Serbian Unity Congres) “born in Montreal, but now permanently resides in Toronto, Canada.” Rajkovic is actively involved in regularly updating the site with copyrighted material lifted from the Reuters, Associated Press, and other stories he finds interesting.

In January 2002, Nikola Rajkovic was elected to serve as a member of FR Yugoslav Council of Diaspora by then Serbian-run Government in Belgrade. The Council is better known as the Canadian-Serbian Council. Nikola Rajkovic is also a Vice-President of Serbian National Shield Society in Canada – an organization run by Serbian immigrants.

According to the Serbian Unity Congress, “Council members from the Motherland have been named on the basis of recommendations received from the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church.”

This same Church – namely the Serbian Orthodox Church – has been actively involved in encouraging their own people to support imprisoned Serb war criminals at the International Criminal Court for the Former Yugoslavia at the Hague. The Orthodox priest, Father Vojislav Bilbija, even laughed at their indictments for genocide and human rights violations, quote: “[the] individual prisoners have told him that their indictments are so unbelievable that the only thing left for them to do during court trials is smile bitterly.” (See “Loneliness worse than imprisonment for Hague prisoners,” The Path or Orthodoxy, January 2002)

‘The Centre for Peace in the Balkans’ & Srebrenica Genocide Denial

The interesting aim of ‘The Centre for Peace in the Balkans’ seems to be the creation of an atmosphere of exaggerated and false messages of pure Serbian ‘innocence’ in the conflict. Those views deemed to be fit to serve Serbian propaganda are gladly published on their web site. Their favorite essays are republished from such widely circulated Srebrenica genocide denial sources as Edward S. Herman, Stella L. Jatras, Jared Israel, Diana Johnstone, George Pumphrey, Milivoje Ivanisevic, Yossef Bodansky, Nebojsa Malic, David Peterson, and other conspiracy theorists (see here).

As respected British historian Marko Attila Hoare noted:

Quote: “Not a single respectable work of scholarship has been produced by any member of this political category in the West, though they have produced an enormous quantity of what can most charitably be described as extended political tracts, based…largely on other political tracts by other Balkan genocide deniers…. the ‘anti-war’ people in the West write propaganda rather than history about the Balkans; necessarily so, since they believe Yugoslavia was destroyed by a Western or German imperialist conspiracy, and this is not a viewpoint that anyone who actually does research on the subject can sustain. The average MPhil student here at Cambridge would be embarrassed to produce the sort of rubbish churned out by Michael Parenti, Diane Johnstone, Kate Hudson and other ill-informed genocide deniers, whose sole purpose is to confirm other lefties in their anti-Western prejudices.” End Quote (Srebrenica and the London Bombings: The ‘Anti-War’ Link)

The one of the saddest activism by this ‘Centre for Peace in the Balkans’ is the denial and manipulation of Srebrenica genocide. Even though more than 6000 bodies were recovered from Srebrenica’s mass graves and await DNA identification, Serbian propagandists and their revisionist friends hold onto their fictious belief that the number of killed was actually less than 2,500 and that Srebrenica genocide never happened. They even refuse to acknowledge the term Genocide when refering to the Srebrenica massacre and they regularly quote each other in every source they publish (it’s a well established circle of conspiracy theorists drawing opinions from each others’ pre-determined conclusions).

New York – Srebrenica Sisterhood: 7/11 and 9/11

The friendship between the New York and Srebrenica was viewed as a main threat to the twisted nationalist minds running this, so called, ‘Centre for Peace in the Balkans.’ As a result, ‘The Centre for Peace in the Balkans’ voiced its anger against the Srebrenica-New York sisterhood proposal – a symbolic link between Bosnian and American tragedy (9/11 and 6/11). In fact, according to Nikola Rajkovic’s logic published on his web site:

Quote: “Implying that the terror suffered by 9-11 victims in New York is similar to civil war suffering in Srebrenica is factually wrong. As such, a sister-city relationship between New York City and Srebrenica should not be established since it would be an insult to the memory of 9-11 victims.” End Quote

Of course, Nikola Rajkovic and his make-belief “Centre for Peace in the Balkans” fail to grasp that Srebrenica massacre is not just a “civil war suffering” – it’s a genocide. More clearly, it’s a genocide perpetrated by the forces under the command of former Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his war-time General Ratko Mladic. Both of these fugitives from justice succeeded in executing planned genocide (read Karadzic’s words) with full logistical support of Serbia. Therefore, Nikola Rajkovic’s hate-inspired statements are insult not only to the victims of 7/11 and 9/11, but also step back for any chance of lasting peace and ethnic reconciliation. As of today, Rajkovic’s “Centre for Peace in the Balkans” still refuses to call for an arrest of indicted Serb war criminals who committed genocide in Srebrenica.

Nikola Rajkovic Fears Serb Children Will Learn About Genocide

The founder of ‘The Centre for Peace in the Balkans’ – Serbian nationalist Nikola Rajkovic – is obsessed with perceived bias of anything “Western” against Serbia. One has to glance over his article, “Serbdom in the 21st Century” (which he published at Serbian Unity Congress web site), to understand the level of his obsession against Western influence on Serbs and Serbia:

Quote: “…the Serbian name and identity has been under a constant media and public relations attack… there is an identifiable group of foreign journalists and foreign policy makers who have built their entire careers on denigrating the Serb name and reputation…. Serbdom will continue to suffer catastrophic consequences… Are the Serbs of Yugoslavia prepared to be made the scapegoats for the wars of the 1990s? …picking up the local (foreign) newspaper or turning on the television usually means enduring the following headline, Evil Serb convicted of genocide. What kind of effect will such unchallenged propaganda have on Serbian children living abroad? What will Serbian children say when they are asked to identity their heritage? …the long-term consequences of unchallenged propaganda and racism in foreign languages will be catastrophic to our identity and culture. If you need more proof, just read the foreign newspapers of the last ten years.” End Quote

And again, ‘The Center for Peace in the Balkans’ founder, refuses to challenge his own logic. He plays innocent card by suggesting that he does not understand why his people were in the news and why individuals from his people were accused and convicted of genocide, wide scale massacres, ethnic cleansings and other evils. For him, Serbs and Serbia are pure victims and he is more frustrated about Serb children learning that individual Serb people committed genocide against Bosniaks, than condemning those same crimes of genocide (let alone calling for war criminals hiding in Serbia to be arrested).

Rajkovic is disturbed by “foreign newspapers” for documenting wide scale massacres in Bosnia and Kosovo; these massacres were overhelmingly committed by the Serb (para)-military forces under the leadership of indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic and his indicted partner in crime General Ratko Mladic, both wanted on genocide charges and both fugitives from the international justice. He avoids condemning them or publishing any material criticising Serbs or Serbia.

Recommending Denial of Reality

‘The centre for Peace in the Balkans’ does not hide it’s bias; it recommends links to other web sites containing Srebrenica genocide denial material, and some of them include “Emperor’s Clothes,” “AntiWar,” “CounterPunch,” “ZNet,” “FrontPage Magazine” and sources of fiction and conspiracy.

Five Principles by De La Brosse

The fundamental principles of Serbian propaganda, highlighted by de la Brosse, haven’t changed. Five key principles are:

1. Keep it simple;
2. Project one’s own faults onto the enemy;
3. Use the news to one’s own advantage through exaggeration, distortion and omission;
4. Repeat the message endlesly; rely on myths and (revisionist) history; and
5. Create a national consensus.

The Serbian propaganda has been based on the same techniques as used by Adolf Hitler, with the added power of television and the Internet. To weld the population together, official propaganda draws on the sources of the Serbian mystique, that of a people who are ‘mistreated’ victims and ‘martyrs’ of history and that of Greater Serbia, indissolubly linked to the Orthodox religion and Eastern-Orthodox allies (e.g. Russia, Greece).

This type of propaganda clearly operates as a denial movement whose real aim is to fully absolve Serbia and Serbs of any responsibility for widespread war crimes, ethnic cleansings, and genocide in Srebrenica perpetrated for the sake of unfulfilled “Greater Serbia” dream.

THOUGHTS ON NIOD REPORT, CHOMSKY, UN, DUTCH GOVERNMENT and DEAF HORSES

July 8, 2006 1 comment

RELATIVISM OF JUSTICE: THOUGHTS ON NOAM CHOMSKY, NIOD REPORT, DUTCH GOVERNMENT, U.N. & more…


Blog’s Editorial
Date Published: July 8th, 2006.
Updated again on: July 29th, 2006.
================================================================
Contents:
1. Introduction
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’
================================================================
1. Introduction

A child wipes the tears of its grandmother's face as trucks carrying 505 victims of the Srebrenica massacre roll down the main street of Sarajevo, Saturday, July 8, 2006. The trucks loaded with the coffins of newly identified victims of Europe's worst massacre since World War II stopped for a few moments in Sarajevo on Saturday to allow hundreds of people to pay tribute to their beloved ones. The bodies will be buried at Srebrenica on the 11th anniversary of the massacre on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hidajet Delic)(AP Photo/Hidajet Delic)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.

A Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) women from Srebrenica reacts as trucks carrying 505 victims of the Srebrenica massacre pass down the main street in Sarajevo, Saturday, July 8, 2006. The trucks loaded with the coffins of the newly identified victims of Europe's worst massacre since World War II stopped for a few moments in Sarajevo on Saturday to allow hundreds of people to pay tribute to their beloved ones. The bodies will be buried at Srebrenica on the 11th anniversary of the massacre on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hidajet Delic)(AP Photo/Hidajet Delic)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

Rejha Ademovic, 60, a Bosnian Muslim woman from the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica, prays Saturday, July 8, 2006, in Sarajevo, in front of the truck carrying the remains of victims, among them her 15-year old son, killed in 1995 in a massacre. The trucks loaded with the coffins of 505 newly identified victims of Europe's worst massacre since World War II stopped for a few moments in Sarajevo on Saturday to allow hundreds of people to pay tribute to their beloved ones. The bodies will be buried at Srebrenica on the 11th anniversary of the massacre on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hidajet Delic)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.

A Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) woman from Srebrenica cries as trucks carrying 505 victims of the Srebrenica massacre pass down the main street in Sarajevo, Saturday, July 8, 2006. Trucks loaded with the coffins of the newly identified victims of Europe's worst massacre since World War II stopped for a few moments in Sarajevo on Saturday to allow hundreds of people to pay tribute to their beloved ones. The bodies will be buried at Srebrenica on the 11th anniversary of the massacre on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hidajet Delic)(AP Photo/Hidajet Delic)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.

Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) man cries near coffins of 505 newly identified Srebrenica victims at an abandoned battery factory in Potocari 120 kms north of Bosnian capital Sarajevo, Saturday, July 8, 2006. The bodies will be buried in Srebrenica on Tuesday during the 11th anniversary commemorations of the massacre. Serb troops killed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995, and most of the bodies are still missing. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)Most likely, they will never be brought to justice (and I would like to be proved wrong here).

To bring Karadzic and Mladic to justice, the United States Government is offering a reward for information.

A man searches through more than 600 coffins with remains of victims of Srebrenica massacre waiting for the funeral in a factory hall in Potocari on July 11, 2005. REUTERS/Danilo KrstanovicIndividuals who furnish information leading to the arrest or conviction, in any country, of these two fugitives are eligible for a reward of up to $5 million.

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

Prof. Noam ChomskyI 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).

Highly recommended articles by Dr. Marko Attila Hoare are The Left Revisionists and The Fallacy of Anti-Imperialism.

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.

Venezuela’s former ambassador to the United Nations Diego Enrique Arria, recently said: “The Srebrenica massacre “is the greatest cover up in the history of the United Nations.” [source]

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.

I have also skimmed through the Krstic judgment, the verdict that established the legal reality of the Srebrenica genocide. With respect to the background of the conflict, the facts of the case rely heavily on General’s Assembly Report 53/35. Some facts were omitted such as the fact – based on numerous eyewitness testimonies – that surrounding Serb villages around Srebrenica served as fortified Serbian military bases from which Srebrenica was attacked on a daily basis. However, the judgment in Mr Oric case has clearly shown that surrounding Serb villages were used as bases to attack Srebrenica , as I elaborated in part 3 and 4 of this report.


6. DEAF HORSES GONE BLIND – ‘BALANCING ACT’

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.

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.

Related:
Moral Equivalism is Flawed

SREBRENICA – DEFENDING THE TRUTH

January 4, 2006 1 comment
Srebrenica – defending the truth

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.

Sir,

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.

Yours faithfully,

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

THE LEFT REVISIONISTS

December 30, 2005 Comments off
The Left Revisionists

By Marko Attila Hoare

[Daniel’s note: An extensive review of a broad array of those on the Left who downplay the violence and suffering involved in the wars in the former Yugoslavia and shift the blame to the Western alliance. Among those discussed are Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman, Michael Parenti, Michel Chossudovsky, Diana Johnstone, Mick Hume, John Pilger, Harold Pinter, and Jared Israel. By Marko Hoare, November 2003]

In 2001 two events at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague put the subject of genocide in the former Yugoslavia back on the front pages of newspapers. Firstly, Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic was convicted of genocide against the Muslim [Bosniak] population of the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, the first conviction at the ICTY for this gravest of crimes. Secondly and more spectacularly, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was indicted and put on trial for genocide against the Muslim [Bosniak] and Croat population of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a whole.

These events at the ICTY inflamed the bitter controversies that have raged over this conflict since it broke out in 1991. Internationally, political opinion has been divided into two camps characterized by their conflicting analyses of the crisis and views of the correct international response. On the one side were those who viewed the war as a result of Serbian aggression and expansionism and who generally advocated military intervention by the West in response. On the other side were those who viewed the conflict as a civil war between competing nationalisms (Serb, Croat, Muslim [Bosniak], and Albanian) in which the Serb side was if anything less to blame than the others. They tended to blame Western interference for catalysing the conflict and to reject military intervention against Serbian forces.

For the sake of convenience, we may refer to the first camp as the ‘orthodox’ and the second as the ‘revisionist’.

The debate between these two camps has continued to dominate discourse on the former Yugoslavia in the West up till the present day. Although the events at The Hague in 2001 marked a defeat for the revisionist camp, its more determined members have responded by denying both the validity of the charges of genocide and the legitimacy of the ICTY. The revisionist analysis of the wars in the former Yugoslavia therefore constitutes one aspect of the Western response to the phenomenon of genocide in the contemporary world, one that is in some ways related to similar ‘revisionist’ analyses of the prior genocide in Pol Pot’s Cambodia and the contemporaneous genocide in Rwanda.

The use of the word ‘revisionist’ to describe this current of opinion serves a dual purpose, for the revisionists seek on the one hand to oppose what they see as the mainstream, orthodox view of the wars in the former Yugoslavia and on the other to challenge the very notion that genocide took place. Thus they are in some ways the counterpart to the Holocaust revisionists. While the revisionists under consideration correctly point out that the massacres in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992-95 and in Kosovo in 1998-99 are not on a scale with those of Auschwitz their arguments resemble in some ways those of the Holocaust revisionists while their own frequent exploitation of the Holocaust legacy contains some startling ambiguities.

Although the revisionist camp stretches right across the political spectrum to encompass liberals, conservatives, socialists, and members of the far right, the ideological motivation of each of these groups is very different. The current I wish to analyse here consists of people who are to the left of mainstream Social Democracy and who oppose what they see as the anti-Serbian or anti-Yugoslav policies of the Western alliance. It includes members of many different far-left traditions: left Labourites and Social Democrats; Christian Socialists; Orthodox Communists; Trotskyists; Maoists; anarchists; and others. For the sake of convenience I shall refer to them as ‘left revisionists’, meaning those who, on the basis of a radical left-wing philosophy, seek 1) to revise the negative evaluation of the Milosevic regime made by politically mainstream commentators; 2) to deny that genocide took place and downplay the violence and suffering involved in the wars in the former Yugoslavia; and 3) to shift the blame for this violence and suffering, as well as for the break-up of Yugoslavia, on to the Western alliance. Other adherents of a radical left-wing philosophy who oppose Western military intervention in the Balkans but who also opposed the Milosevic regime do not belong to this category and are not the subjects of this essay. My purpose here is neither to discuss the merits and demerits of a left-wing philosophy, nor to analyse the events in the former Yugoslavia themselves, nor to address the advantages and disadvantages of Western military intervention. This is a study of the ideology of left revisionism itself. The present author makes no pretence at neutrality in this debate – he belongs firmly in the ‘orthodox’ camp – and this is above all a study of the extremes to which one current of Western opinion is prepared to go and the intellectual and moral somersaults it is prepared to perform, in order to avoid confronting the reality of genocide. In order to understand the erroneous analysis on which left revisionism is based, it is necessary to examine the real causes of the break-up of Yugoslavia, which lie in the policies of the Milosevic regime.

Ideology of the left revisionists

“What about the Kurds?” is viewed by the left revisionists as their clinching argument in the case against the NATO intervention in Kosovo: if Western leaders were motivated to intervene in Kosovo out of concern at the suffering of the Kosovo Albanians, why have they not intervened to protect the Kurds from Turkish oppression? Or the Palestinians from the Israelis? I wish to turn the question around and to ask “What about the Albanians?” If the left-wing revisionists are concerned with the suffering of oppressed nationalities, as they claim to be regarding the Kurds, Palestinians, and others, it needs to be explained why did they not speak out against Milosevic’s persecution of the Kosovo Albanians, or of the Bosnian Muslims [Bosniaks], or of the Croats. It needs to be explained why Serbian or Yugoslav military intervention was less objectionable to them than American military intervention, even when it was incomparably more bloody. It needs to be asked why the six hundred or so Yugoslav civilian deaths during the Kosovo War were ‘worthy’ victims in a way that the tens if not hundreds of thousands of Bosnians killed by Serbian forces were not.

This double standard may in part be attributed to anti-Americanism or ‘anti-imperialism’, whereby members of the far left subordinate their morality to the ‘higher cause’ of opposing the United States. There is a long tradition on the far left of supporting the weaker country against the stronger on an anti-imperialist basis. V.I. Lenin wrote in 1915 that “if tomorrow Morocco were to declare war on France, or India on Britain, or Persia or China on Russia and so on, these would be ‘just’ or ‘defensive’ wars irrespective of who was the first to attack; any socialist would wish the oppressed, dependant, and unequal states victory over the oppressor, slave-holding, and predatory ‘Great Powers’.”[1] Such a line of reasoning might conceivably have led members of the far left to support Milosevic’s Serbia as a victim of ‘American imperialism’, even to the point of ignoring or denying its crimes against the non-Serb peoples of the former Yugoslavia.

Simple ‘anti-imperialism’ is however insufficient to explain the motives of the left revisionists, who do not themselves couch their arguments in ‘anti-imperialist’ terms. Rather they prefer to make pedantic, legalistic quibbles over such issues as the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the authority of the UN Security Council, and the exact numbers of Albanian dead; appropriate arguments for international lawyers, perhaps, but scarcely the kind usually favoured in the polemics of the revolutionary left. The focus of the left revisionists is in fact less on denouncing the US as an evil in and of itself – though this is clearly an element – than on defending politically the Milosevic regime. Other regimes that have clashed with the Western alliance during the past decade – in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, and elsewhere – have not received similar support from the Western left. To the best of my knowledge nobody has tried to claim that Saddam Hussein is a man of peace who respects the territorial integrity of Iraq’s neighbours or that the Taliban are champions of women’s rights and cultural diversity. Nobody, except Osama bin-Laden and eccentric chess-grandmaster Bobby Fischer, has treated the victims of the World Trade Centre bombing with the callousness and contempt with which left revisionists speak of the dead of Vukovar, Srebrenica, and Racak. The Serbia of Milosevic enjoyed the unique position in the pantheon of the ‘rogue states’ of the 1990s as the only one that was supported politically, not just defended from attack, by much of the Western left.

The left revisionists are holding on to the anti-humanist, anti-moralist, anti-democratic bathwater long after the revolutionary baby has died and its corpse decayed. Instead of being moved by the events in Eastern Europe and the USSR in 1989-91 to reevaluate their political philosophy, many of them reacted by clinging even more stubbornly to every last straw from the wreckage of the Communist Atlantis.

Milosevic and the West

One such straw was the Milosevic regime in Belgrade. Its credentials as a ‘left-wing’ regime were pretty poor: Milosevic’s ruling party was called the ‘Socialist Party of Serbia’ (SPS) and had formerly been the League of Communists of Serbia, but SPS leaders Slobodan Milosevic and Borisav Jovic emphasised from the start their commitment to free-market reforms. Under their tenure the gap between rich and poor massively increased, social services were greatly reduced, free healthcare effectively ended, public transport collapsed, and a large new class of black marketeers and organised criminals created. To look to Milosevic’s Serbia as an ‘alternative’ to the capitalist West was pretty much scraping the bottom of the socialist barrel. Radovan Karadzic’s Bosnian Serb nationalist regime in Pale was even less credibly ‘progressive’: ideologically anti-Communist, Karadzic’s Serb Democratic Party identifies with the monarchist and Nazi-collaborationist Chetnik movement far more openly than the Tudjman regime in Zagreb ever identified with the Ustashas. Nevertheless, in the eyes of the left revisionists, to accept that Belgrade and its proxies were committing aggression and genocide was akin to admitting that the liberals really had been right all along about the negative character of Communism. In their minds the Cold War is still being fought on the battlefields of Kosovo. Twenty-five years ago Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman complained of the poor image conveyed by the Western media of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. They wrote that “What filters through to the American public is a seriously distorted version of the evidence available, emphasising alleged Khmer Rouge atrocities and downplaying or ignoring the crucial US role, direct and indirect, in the torment that Cambodia has suffered.”[2] Today both authors use similar arguments to downplay the suffering of the Kosovo Albanians and to shift the blame for it away from the Milosevic regime and onto the US. In Chomsky’s words, Turkey is guilty of “massive atrocities” against the Kurds; Indonesia of “aggression and massacre” of “near-genocidal levels” in East Timor; Israel of “murderous and destructive” operations in Lebanon; but there is no mention of Kurdish, East Timorese, or Palestinian atrocities.[3] By contrast, Chomsky uses no such emotive language when discussing The Serbian killings of Albanians; they are a “response” and “reaction” to Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) attacks. Meanwhile the KLA was guilty of “targeting Serb police and civilians”; “killing six Serbian teenagers”; the “killing of a Serb judge, police, and civilians”; and so on. The picture Chomsky consequently sketches is of atrocities by both sides and, since KLA actions were “designed to elicit a violent and disproportionate Serbian response”, the implication is that the Milosevic regime was less to blame than the KLA.[4] When a US client massacres innocent civilians it is wholly to blame; when a ‘socialist’ regime does so it is the victims who are primarily to blame.

There is a term for this attitude: moral relativism. In its far-left variety there are two sides to its coin. On the one hand there is a holier-than-thou condemnation of every Western failing (“What about the Kurds/Palestinians/East Timorese?”), allowing the left revisionists always to damn Western policy for its moral imperfections no matter what it is. The West is therefore damned simultaneously for intervening in Kosovo and for colluding in the Turkish oppression of the Kurds and for maintaining sanctions against Iraq, though it is clear that ultimately the West cannot easily reject military intervention, sanctions, and appeasement all at the same time. Combined with this all-trumping moralism in the left-revisionist mind-set, like the opposite pole of a magnet, is a cold-blooded immoralism, according to which the left-winger is absolutely unmoved by the crimes of the Revolution performed for the greater good. More striking even than the defence or denial of crimes against humanity carried out by the left revisionists is their sheer lack of any positive vision for the future or political raison d’etre whatsoever. They should not be seen as ‘pro-Serb’, for the Serb people are unlikely to benefit from their actions. They are offering precisely nothing to the long-suffering people of Serbia in return for suffering sanctions and isolation and defending war criminals from the ICTY. Rather, they appear to view ‘resistance to Western imperialism’ as something worthwhile for its own sake, no matter how much self-destruction it results in for Serbia and how much misery it inflicts on the Serbs. The Chetnik leader Draza Mihailovic accused the British during World War II of “fighting to the last Serb in Yugoslavia”.[5] The same could be said of the contemporary left revisionists, but with one crucial difference: Churchill offered the Serbs something concrete in return for their sacrifices, namely liberation from Nazism, which he duly helped to bring about. By contrast, the left revisionists really are offering the Serbs nothing but blood, toil, tears, and sweat. Equally conspicuous by their absence are constructive proposals of the left revisionists regarding Kosovo’s future. For all his lofty denunciations of the West’s policy, the only alternative Chomsky can suggest for a resolution of the Kosovo question that would have avoided NATO bombing is the partition of Kosovo between Serbs and Albanians as suggested by Dobrica Cosic, the father of contemporary Serb nationalism and one of the architects of Yugoslavia’s wars.[6] As the Albanians make up at least 80% of the population of Kosovo and as the Serb villages are scattered in enclaves throughout the province, what this implies is the expulsion of the Albanian majority from half of Kosovo so that it can be settled by Serbs from elsewhere and therefore satisfy the Serb-nationalist demand for a face-saving formula short of Kosovo’s complete independence.

The left revisionists founded their analysis of Yugoslavia’s collapse on the false premise that because Serbia was in some bizarre sense a ‘socialist’ state in their eyes, the West ‘ought to be’ hostile to it, regardless of all evidence to the contrary. They therefore invented a Western conspiracy to explain the Yugoslav collapse and the subsequent defeats of Milosevic’s Serbia. In Michael Parenti’s view all opposition to Milosevic, be it from the Croats, Muslims [Bosniaks], Albanians, or even the Serbian opposition, was simply the expression of such a conspiracy. According to Parenti, Western hostility to Yugoslavia was due to the fact that “after the overthrow of Communism throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) [sic – Parenti means the SFRY] remained the only nation in that region that would not voluntarily discard what remained of its socialism and install an unalloyed free market system”. Consequently “the US goal has been to transform the FRY [sic] into a Third World region, a cluster of weak right-wing principalities”.[7] Following the break-up the FRY resisted privatisation of its socialised industry, continues Parenti, and “as far as the Western free-marketeers were concerned, these enterprises had to be either privatised or demolished. A massive aerial destruction like the one delivered upon Iraq might be just the thing needed to put Belgrade more in step with the New World Order.”[8] In other words, the US engineered Yugoslavia’s destruction and then bombed Serbia in order to bring about the privatisation of its socialised economy. Parenti provides not a single source to back up these assertions; he omits to mention that Milosevic privatised Serbia’s telecommunications system with Britain’s Douglas Hurd acting as intermediary.

Of course, Washington in 1991 did seek the end of Communist rule in Yugoslavia, just as it had previously in Poland and Hungary. But Washington did not seek to break up Poland or Hungary. The myth that the Western powers destroyed Yugoslavia and persecuted Serbia because they were ‘socialist’ is made above all to satisfy the emotional need of the left revisionists to believe that the dictatorships they spent years defending were in some sense ‘progressive’ and hence unacceptable to the powers that be.

It is true that Serbia was subjected to a NATO assault in 1999 and that Western leaders rejoiced in Milosevic’s overthrow the following year. But to deduce from this that the West was already ‘anti-Serb’ during the Croatian war in 1991 – eight years earlier – is a bit like saying that the West viewed Saddam Hussein as an enemy during the Iran-Iraq war or Osama bin-Laden as an enemy during the Soviet-Afghan war. During the Gulf crisis of 1990-91 the Milosevic regime supported the US-led drive to expel the Iraqis from Kuwait. Thus, following a meeting with US President George Bush on 1 October 1990 Borisav Jovic, at the time President of Yugoslavia, recorded that “President Bush expressed special satisfaction and gratitude to Yugoslavia for adopting the same position of condemning Iraqi aggression and the annexation of Kuwait. He is pleased and encouraged by the unity of the international community regarding the crisis in the Gulf and Iraq.” Jovic on this occasion boasted to Bush that “we [Yugoslavs] are the only Eastern European country that has almost developed and established a market economy system. Now we are at a critical point, but we will overcome it too over the next few years, which is why we need the understanding and aid of the United States with international financial institutions and in the business world.” Finally, responding to Bush’s query regarding the presence of Iraqi jets in Yugoslavia, Jovic informed him that “We have a contract from earlier, before the crisis, to repair 16 MiGs for the Iraqi air-force. They will not be delivered to Iraq now. Two of them were dismantled in the workshop, after which they were gathered up and tested or transferred to another location in order not to hinder the normal work in the workshop.” Jovic records that “President Bush thanked me for that.”[9] So much for the argument that the US victimised Serbia as a ‘socialist’ and ‘defiant’ state. The left revisionists are fond of pointing out that both Saddam Hussein and Osama bin-Laden were originally allies of the US, but they are reluctant to acknowledge Western collaboration with Milosevic because such an admission would ruin their claim of Western victimisation of ‘socialist’ Serbia.

In 1991 the American UN mediator Cyrus Vance negotiated the so-called ‘Vance Plan’ to end the conflict in Croatia involving the use of UN peacekeepers to protect Serb-held territory in Croatia; even Jovic described it as “exceptionally favourable to the Serb side”.[10] Every single Western peace plan for Bosnia was based on the premise of Bosnia’s partition; every one gave Karadzic’s Bosnian Serbs a much larger share of Bosnia than their proportion of the population would warrant. UN troops in Bosnia collaborated systematically with Ratko Mladic’s forces, helping them murder the Bosnian Deputy Prime Minister in 1993; British troops in Central Bosnia killed dozens of Croat troops[11] and in his memoir of the conflict British Major Vaughan Kent-Payne describes beating up a Croat soldier.[12] UN forces drove the Bosnian Army from Mt. Igman in the autumn of 1994, using rocket launchers to destroy its trenches. Most notoriously, the West maintained an arms embargo against Bosnia which the British and French, though not the Americans, enforced rigorously to the bitter end. Meanwhile not a single NATO missile struck Serbia throughout the Croatian and Bosnian wars while Milosevic was the respected interlocutor of Douglas Hurd, David Owen, and Richard Holbrooke. The Dayton Accord of 1995 compromised the sovereignty of the Bosnian state far more than the Rambouillet treaty of 1999 threatened the sovereignty of the Yugoslav state: it abolished the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and recognised Radovan Karadzic’s ‘Republika Srpska’, with rights far greater than those ever offered to the Kosovo Albanians. The left revisionists’ ‘anti-interventionism’ does not seem to extend to these particular instances of Western intervention.

Who destroyed Yugoslavia?

The ‘anti-Serbian imperialist conspiracy’ in fact existed in only two places. One was the minds of the Serbian leadership and the commanders of the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA). I have read the memoirs of several top Serbian and Yugoslav political and military leaders, including Borisav Jovic, Branko Mamula, Veljko Kadijevic, Ratko Mladic, and Aleksandar Vasiljevic, who were respectively Serbia’s representative on the Yugoslav Presidency, Yugoslav Defence Minister, Yugoslav Defence Minister, commander of the Bosnian Serb army, and Yugoslav chief of military intelligence.[13] Not one provides a single fact to back up the claim that the West was working to break up Yugoslavia, but they interpret the failure of the West actively to support them with support for their enemies. The other place in which the ‘anti-Serbian conspiracy’ existed was in the minds of the left revisionists. The idea that ‘Western imperialism’ was not responsible for the destruction of Yugoslavia is for the left revisionists simply unthinkable, rather as the Stalinists of the 1930s could not conceive of the failure of the USSR to fulfill a five-year plan as anything other than the result of a Trotskyist-Fascist plot. The destruction of Yugoslavia thus could only have been caused by German and/or American imperialists wishing to control this economic and strategic El Dorado. Thus Michael Barratt Brown claimed that Germany’s recognition of Croatia was part of a Drang nach Osten aimed at “control over the oil supplies of the Middle East”.[14]

In fact, two such imperialist conspiracies are posited: a conspiracy to break up Yugoslavia and a conspiracy to attack Serbia. Neither has any basis in fact. So far as the historical evidence goes, there is no doubt about ‘who killed Yugoslavia’. On 27 June 1990 Borisav Jovic, Serbia’s member of the Yugoslav Presidency (thus the number two politician in Serbia after Milosevic) and Veljko Kadijevic, Yugoslav Defence Minister and the top man in the JNA, met and agreed that they should, regarding Croatia and Slovenia, “expel them forcibly from Yugoslavia, by simply drawing borders and declaring that they have brought this upon themselves through their decisions”.[15] The next day Jovic met with Milosevic and obtained his agreement. As Jovic records on 28 June:

Conversation with Slobodan Milosevic on the situation in the country and in Serbia. He agrees with the idea of “expelling” Slovenia and Croatia, but he asks me whether the military will carry out such an order? I tell him that it must carry out the order and that I have no doubts about that; instead, the problem is what to do about the Serbs in Croatia and how to ensure a majority on the SFRY Presidency for such a decision. Sloba had two ideas: first, that the “amputation” of Croatia be effected in such a way that the Lika-Banija and Kordun municipalities, which have created their own community, remain with us, whereby the people there later declare in a referendum whether they want to stay or go; and second, that the members of the SFRY Presidency from Slovenia and Croatia be excluded from the voting on the decision, because they do not represent the part of Yugoslavia that is adopting this decision. If the Bosnian is in favour, then we have a two-thirds majority. Sloba urges that we adopt this decision no later than one week hence if we want to save the state. Without Croatia and Slovenia, Yugoslavia will have around 17 million inhabitants and that is enough for European circumstances.[16]

The record of both meetings is contained in Jovic’s diary, published by the Serbian state-publishing house ‘Politika’ in 1995. Kadijevic’s own analysis of the break-up, published in 1993 also by Politika, confirms that from the spring of 1990 the command of the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) had ceased to believe in a unified Yugoslavia and was working for the “defence of the Serb nation and its national interests in Croatia”; for “full control over Bosnia-Herzegovina” and for the “peaceful exit from the Yugoslav state of those Yugoslav nations that so wished”. [17]

In September 1990 Serbia promulgated a new constitution that recognised the “sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia”.[18] In March 1991 Milosevic declared that Serbia no longer recognised the authority of the Yugoslav Presidency, that it was forming its own independent armed forces and that “We have to ensure that we have unity in Serbia if we want as the Republic that is biggest, which is most numerous, to dictate the further course of events. Those questions of borders are, therefore, state questions. And borders, as you know, are always dictated by the strong, never by the weak. Consequently, what is essential is that we have to be strong.”[19] In June 1991 Croatia declared independence while Germany publicly reaffirmed its support for a unified Yugoslavia. In October 1991 Mihajlo Markovic, deputy president of the SPS, stated that “there will be at least three units in the new Yugoslav state: Serbia, Montenegro, and a united Bosnian and Knin Krajina”.[20] Later that month Borivoje Petrovic, Vice-President of the Serbian Parliament, claimed that all Serbs must live in a single state and that it was all the same “whether the new state is called Yugoslavia or the ‘United States of Serbia’.” [21] In November 1991 the JNA conquered the Croatian city of Vukovar. In December 1991 Germany recognised the independence of Croatia and Slovenia.

It would require a pretty strange sense of historical chronology to argue that Germany’s decision in December 1991 to recognise Croatia could have influenced the Serbian leadership’s decision in June 1990 “forcibly to expel” Croatia from Yugoslavia; it would be a bit like saying that World War I caused the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. There exists not a single shred of evidence anywhere that Germany ‘orchestrated’ the break up of Yugoslavia. Michel Chossudovsky alleges German support for Croatian secessionism was part of what he calls “long Western efforts to undo Yugoslavia’s experiment in market socialism and workers’ self-management and to impose the dictate of the free market.” Chossudovsky claims that the German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher “gave his go-ahead for Croatian secession”. [22] Chossudovsky’s source is an article by his ideological fellow traveler, the late Sean Gervasi. Gervasi’s source was an article in the New Yorker citing an allegation by a US diplomat. [23] In this way the left revisionists substitute third-hand hearsay for documentation. But even if it were true that Germany covertly encouraged Croatian secession contrary to official German policy, it is certainly true that the US, Britain, and France very publicly discouraged Croatia from seceding. Even Parenti admits that the US disagreed with Germany over Croatia; in fact he complains that “the United States did little to deter Germany’s efforts” in support of Croatia and that it was not until “January 1992” that “the United States had become an active player in the break-up of Yugoslavia”.[24] So at this point the Americans were not really the bad guys after all. Alleged German diplomatic intervention nevertheless serves to excuse the decision by Milosevic and the JNA to attack Croatia in 1991, just as Western recognition of Bosnian independence excused their decision to attack Bosnia in 1992 and the NATO strikes of 1999 excuse Milosevic’s decision to expel eight-hundred thousand of his own citizens from their homes. In fact, it appears the Serbian and Yugoslav leaders really are not responsible for anything they have done. Edward S. Herman and Philip Hammond speak of “the elitist and anti-democratic character of Western policy, whereby the people of the region are assumed to be incapable of self-government.”[25] Or of starting their own wars and conducting their own massacres, one might add.

The role of the media

The fact that during the Croatian and Bosnian wars the Western alliance manifestly did not want to attack or bomb Serbia forced the left revisionists to search elsewhere for evidence of the anti-Serbian conspiracy. The fact that the Western media reported Serbian atrocities was not, of course, evidence that such atrocities were taking place but rather of the existence of an anti-Serb media conspiracy and, as Diana Johnstone points out, “it often seemed that the media were dictating policy to Western governments, rather than the other way around”.[26] Consequently, the revelation by Western journalists and reporters of atrocities against Croatian, Bosnian, and Kosovar citizens created a climate of public opinion in which the reluctant Western leaders were forced gradually to take action against the Serbian forces responsible. It was the democratic media, therefore, rather than the Western political and military leaders, which was the real carrier of the anti-Serbian conspiracy. In the left revisionists’ world of twisted logic and conspiracy theories, the Bosnian Muslims [Bosniaks] repeatedly shelled their own civilians in Sarajevo so that they could blame the massacres on the Serbs and then used the Western media to broadcast the images to the Western public in order to create an ‘anti-Serb’ climate of opinion and pressurise the Western leaders to intervene against the Serbs. The Muslims [Bosniaks] are thus transformed from victims of Milosevic’s genocide and Western indifference into diabolical puppeteers, using the Western media to manipulate the Western public and Western leaders who consequently become the victims along with Milosevic, Karadzic, and ‘the Serbs’.

The irony of this grotesque line of reasoning is that the numerous Western statesmen and military commanders who were opposed to military intervention against the Serbian forces then become witnesses to prove the existence of the anti-Serbian conspiracy in their own media. Parenti cites claims by US General Charles Boyd, British General Michael Rose, French General Philippe Morillon, EC peace mediator Lord David Owen, and other Western military and political leaders to prove that it was really the Muslims [Bosniaks], not the Serbs, who were bombing and besieging Sarajevo for three and a half years; that the Muslims [Bosniaks] were pretending to be besieged; and that massacres of Muslim [Bosniak] civilians in Sarajevo were carried out by the Muslims [Bosniaks] against themselves.[27] Thus it transpires that whereas Christiane Amanpour, Roy Gutman, Maggie O’Kane, Ed Vulliamy, and other professional journalists and television reporters were part of the Western-media conspiracy to “demonise the Serbs”, virtually the entire military and diplomatic leadership of the Western intervention in Bosnia was opposed to the conspiracy and was motivated solely by the desire to present honestly and accurately the facts as they really were. A second group of witnesses whom the left revisionists draw upon are those Western journalists whom they happen to agree with, whose articles are somehow published in the mainstream media despite its supposed anti-Serb bias. Thus whereas O’Kane, Vulliamy, Amanpour, and Gutman are viewed as part of the anti-Serb conspiracy, David Binder, Misha Glenny, Robert Fisk, Edward Pearce, and Simon Jenkins are seen as wholly objective observers free from any political bias. Not to mention Mick Hume, former editor of the magazine Living Marxism, which during the 1990s repeatedly denied that genocide had taken place either in Bosnia or in Rwanda.[28] Living Marxism was eventually forced to close after it accused the media company ITN of inventing concentration camps in Bosnia and was promptly sued by ITN and bankrupted, but Hume now has a regular column in The Times (London). If Ed Vulliamy reports on a contemporary Serbian concentration camp then this is ‘demonising the Serbs’ and proof that the Western media is biased against ‘the Serbs’, but if Robert Fisk writes about a Croatian concentration camp that existed half a century earlier during World War II, as he did in The Independent at the height of the Bosnian war,[29] then this is proof positive that ‘the Croats’ are really the bad guys and consequently that the rest of the media is biased against ‘the Serbs’ for not pointing this out. It is a win-win argument.

The mindset of the left revisionists allows them to disregard all evidence of the genocidal activities of the Milosevic regime, no matter how damning. When, following Milosevic’s extradition to The Hague, the Serbian police began to unearth mass graves of his Albanian victims in Serbia, Seumas Milne responded by implying that even the government and police of democratic Serbia were part of the Western propaganda conspiracy against the Milosevic regime, that they were betraying their country to the capitalist Mammon and that the only real crime was the extradition itself: “Shamelessly bought with $1.3bn of aid for a country ravaged by sanctions and NATO bombing, Milosevic’s extradition had to be forced through by decree, in defiance of Yugoslavia’s constitutional court, by a government which knew it stood no chance of getting the decision through parliament.” By contrast the corpses of murdered Albanians were simply part of the Western conspiracy: “That is presumably why – as the new Belgrade administration dug up corpses to order – the German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, described the cash as a ‘dividend of democracy’.”[30] “Where are all the bodies buried?” asks Parenti, arguing that because only slightly more than two thousand bodies had been discovered in Kosovo, it followed that that was the total Albanian death toll: “how did the Serbs accomplish these mass-grave-disappearing acts?”, he asks ironically, quoting a newspaper as saying that a forensic team “‘found no teeth or other signs of burnt bodies.’”[31] The ominous parallels of such arguments hardly need to be spelled out. In the words of the white-supremacist web-site Stormfront: “Auschwitz had no mass graves. The cremation of four million bodies would have left 15,000 tons of ash which was never found.”[32] While Milosevic’s crimes against the Albanians are not equivalent to Hitler’s crimes against the Jews; what are equivalent are the arguments used by the apologists for both dictators. Indeed, the left revisionists’ atrocity denial recalls the fascist propaganda surrounding the most infamous Nazi atrocity in Europe before World War II. On 26 April 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, the Nazis’ Condor Legion bombed the Basque town of Guernica. The following day the Spanish fascists issued a statement to the foreign press accusing the Basques of blowing up their own town. They claimed in the days that followed that, “while a few bomb fragments” had been found in Guernica, the damage was mainly caused by Basque incendiaries in order to inspire outrage among the foreign public, and later that Spanish Republican planes had bombed Guernica using Basque-manufactured bombs and that the explosions were caused by dynamite placed by the Basques in the town’s sewers. Despite this fascist attempt at denial, the atrocity swung part of the US media (the magazines Time, Life, and Newsweek) round to supporting the Spanish Republicans.[33]

The left revisionists claim to object to comparisons between the Bosnian genocide and the Holocaust on the grounds that they are emotional and hyperbolic. Johnstone complains of the fact that because of media exaggeration “Suddenly, Milosevic was the new Hitler”. She goes on: “Analogies should be employed with care, especially with such emotion-laden subjects as Hitler and the Holocaust. When applied to unfamiliar situations, they can create a powerful semi-fictional version that actually masks reality.”[34] Mick Hume, usually proud to be politically incorrect, in this case also professes deep concern about talk of genocide or a Holocaust in the Balkans. He complains that the tendency for journalists to compare Serb forces in Bosnia and Kosovo with the Nazis “with talk of ‘echoes of the Holocaust’ and ‘genocide’ carried out in ‘true Nazi Final Solution fashion’ has seriously distorted the popular image of the Balkans today. It has helped to brand the Serbs as the evil new Nazis.” He goes on “This diminishing of the Final Solution is what ultimately concerns me most about the Nazification of the Serbs.”[35] Nevertheless, the left revisionists are quite ready to exploit the legacy of the Holocaust in their own propaganda. A mere week after writing the statement quoted above, Johnstone wrote that “[I]f the Croatian fascists actually led, rather than followed, the German Nazis down the path of genocide, that doesn’t mean they have forgotten their World War II benefactors. After all, it was thanks to Hitler’s invasion of Yugoslavia that the ‘Independent State of Croatia’ was set up in April 1941, with Bosnia-Herzegovina (whose population was mostly Serb at the time [sic!]) as part of its territory.” Johnstone thus draws a parallel with Nazi aggression in the Balkans during World War II and democratic Germany’s diplomatic support for Croatia in 1991: “And the hit song of 1991, when Croatia once again declared its independence from Yugoslavia and began driving out Serbs, was ‘Danke Deutschland’ in gratitude to Germany’s strong diplomatic support for Zagreb’s unnegotiated secession.”[36] So Johnstone, who urges caution in employing “emotion-laden subjects as Hitler and the Holocaust” when it is a question of Serbian atrocities, is quite happy to throw out this caution when it is a question of the Croats; her claim that “the Croatian fascists actually led, rather than followed, the German Nazis down the path of genocide” seems to imply that the Final Solution was Croatian in origin – a view that no serious student of the Holocaust would bother even discussing. As for Hume, Living Marxism magazine, of which he was the editor, hosted an exhibition in 1993 entitled ‘Genocide against the Serbs’, organised by the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts and funded by the Republic of Serbia, showing pictures of the corpses of Serbs killed by Croatian and Bosnian forces in the 1990s alongside pictures of the corpses of Serbs killed by Ustashas during World War II. Pictures from the exhibition were published in Living Marxism, which did not see fit to add any comment of its own.[37] Throughout the war in Croatia and Bosnia Hume and Living Marxism constantly equated the Croats with the Nazis in order to shift the odium away from Milosevic and his forces. Finally John Pilger, in a piece devoted to minimising Albanian casualties during the Kosovo War, comments that “Today, the Serbs are the unpeople. They have no civilisation, no society, no poetry, no history. The savagery they suffered at the hands of the Nazis in the Second World War, exceeded only by the mass extermination of the Polish Jews, has been forgotten.”[38]

Falsifying Yugoslav history

It is of course true that the Serb people suffered grievously at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators in Yugoslavia (Ustashas, Chetniks and others), but this suffering was on a scale little or no greater than that of the Croats, Muslims [Bosniaks], and other Yugoslavs or of the Poles, Greeks, Ukrainians, and East Europeans generally. It certainly was not on a par with the fate that befell the Jews in Europe under the Nazis. Pilger however seems to be suggesting that the Serbs, whose total World War II losses were between 487,000 and 523,000 or approximately 7% of the total Serb population of Yugoslavia,[39] suffered more than the three million non-Polish Jews murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust, more than the Jews massacred at Kishinev, Babi Yar, and Odessa. So while the left revisionists strenuously object to reference to the Holocaust in relation to the fate of the Bosnian Muslims [Bosniaks] and Albanians in the 1990s, they readily draw on the legacy of the Holocaust to highlight Serb suffering both in World War II and in the recent wars, even at the price of historical accuracy. In order to paint the Serbs as eternal victims equivalent to the Jews the left revisionists frequently mention the crimes of the Croat fascists (Ustashas) during World War II while ignoring similar crimes committed by Serb fascists and collaborators in the same period. It is true that there was an Ustasha regime in power in power in Zagreb during World War II; there was also a Serbian quisling regime in power in Belgrade, and on 18 September 1943 the Serbian quisling leader Milan Nedic met with Hitler and requested the establishment of a Great Serbia within the framework of the Nazi European order.[40] It is true that the Ustasha regime pursued a genocidal policy toward the Serb population of the Croatian quisling state; there was also a parallel genocide carried out by the Serb Chetniks against the Muslims [Bosniaks] and Croats of Bosnia and Croatia. [41] The Ustasha regime assisted the Nazis in exterminating the Jewish population of Croatia and Bosnia; Nedic’s Serbian police assisted the Nazis in rounding up Serbia’s Jews. [42] Just as the Ustashas employed anti-Semitic propaganda, so too did the Chetniks. A Chetnik proclamation of 1941 claimed that the Communists were “people who are not of our blood, Serb name and our Serb Orthodox religion” but were “Jews, Turks and Croats”. [43] In 1943 a group of Chetnik commanders issued a joint proclamation to the people of Croatia and Bosnia claiming that “since we have cleansed Serbia, Montenegro and Hercegovina, we have come to help you to crush the pitiful remnants of the Communist international, criminal band of Tito, Mose Pijade, Levi Vajnert and other paid Jews” and that the Serbs had been “swindled by the Communist Jews”. [44] According to Israel Gutman’s Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, “There were many instances of Chetniks murdering Jews or handing them over to the Germans”. [45] None of this prevents Johnstone from describing the Chetnik leader Draza Mihailovic as an “anti-Nazi resistance leader”. [46] The Serbs, like the Croats, were a nation deeply polarised during World War II; like the Croats, they produced both murderous Nazi-collaborators and brave resistance fighters. Many Serbs and Croats were victims; others were perpetrators of genocide. The left-revisionist version of World War II in Yugoslavia as a conflict between fascist Croats and anti-fascist Serbs who suffered “like the Jews” is pure fiction.

Pilger’s comment shows how the left revisionists viewed ‘socialist’ Serbia as a kind of left-wing holy land, its people martyred by the imperialist Antichrist. For the left revisionists the identification of socialism, anti-imperialism, and Serb nationalism, three forces that in reality have nothing particularly in common, has become absolute. They are not deterred by the fact that Milosevic’s nationalist campaign arose in opposition, not to Western imperialism, but to the Titoist constitutional order that governed Yugoslavia until the late 1980s and above all to its provisions regarding Kosovo. Milosevic is in their eyes a better Communist than Tito: Parenti complains that “Tito did little to discourage the Albanian campaign to ethnically cleanse Kosovo of non-Albanians.”[47] Both Parenti and Johnstone consequently endorse Milosevic’s policy toward the Kosovo Albanians and his revision of Tito’s system. In Johnstone’s words, Milosevic’s suppression of Kosovo’s autonomy in 1988-89 was “necessary to enable the economic liberalisation reforms; they were enacted legally; and they left intact the political rights of ethnic Albanians as well as a considerable degree of regional autonomy”.[48] Like Milosevic and his acolytes, the left revisionists combine an alleged support for ‘Yugoslavia’ with a pathological hatred for most Yugoslavs: Croats, Albanians, Muslims [Bosniaks], Slovenes, and sometimes even anti-Milosevic Serbs. I noted earlier that the left revisionists do not hold Milosevic, Karadzic, and their forces responsible for any of the atrocities carried out in the former Yugoslavia, since all these atrocities were provoked or engineered by the West anyway. But by a curious sleight of hand the left revisionists portray all Croat, Muslim [Bosniak], or Albanian atrocities against Serbs as in no way related to previous aggressive policies by the Milosevic regime. Thus the Croatian persecution of Serbs in the former Krajina following Operation Storm in 1995, or the Albanian persecution of Serbs in Kosovo following the NATO victory in 1999, are not seen as responses to Milosevic’s aggression against Croatia in 1990-91 and the subsequent four-year occupation of Croatian territory or to his ten-year reign of terror in Kosovo in 1989-99. Rather, the left revisionists portray Croat, Muslim [Bosniaks], and Albanian nationalism as inherently evil in a way that Serb nationalism is not.

Parenti and Johnstone project the righteousness of the Serbian struggle with the Albanians and other Yugoslav nations back into the past, painting a picture of pro-Nazi Albanians, Croats, and Muslims [Bosniaks] persecuting anti-Nazi Serbs. Parenti writes at length about what he calls “Croatia’s Nazi past” and about the Nazi collaboration of Muslims [Bosniaks] and Albanians.[49] In a manner strikingly reminiscent of the way the Stalinists erased the role of Trotsky, Bukharin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, and other Old Bolsheviks from their historical account of the Russian Revolution, the left revisionists have erased the history of the tens of thousands of Croats, Muslims [Bosniaks], and Albanians who fought alongside their Serb comrades against Nazism and Fascism during the 1930s and ‘40s under the leadership of Tito, Europe’s greatest anti-Nazi resistance leader and himself a Croat. There is no place in their propaganda for Vladimir Copic, the Croat who commanded the 15th International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War; for Fadil Jahic-Spanac, the Muslim [Bosniak] Partisan who led the Serbs of north-east Bosnia in the struggle against the Ustashas; for Marko Oreskovic-Krntija, the Croat Partisan who led the Serb struggle against the Ustashas in Lika; for the vanguard role played by the predominantly-Croat Partisan Dalmatian Brigades at the legendary battles of Neretva and Sutjeska against the Germans and Italians in 1943; for the 16th Muslim Brigade that fought SS forces in East Bosnia and spearheaded the liberation of Sarajevo in 1945; for the Albanian Partisans who fought across the length of Yugoslavia to liberate the country from the Nazis; for the Albanian Partisan Fadilj Hodza who was one of Milosevic’s first victims. Nor is there a place for the numerous Serb Partisan veterans who had the courage to oppose Milosevic’s policies: Bogdan Bogdanovic, Draza Markovic, Koca Popovic, Milos Minic, Ljubo Babic, and many others.

‘Counter-revolutionary nations’?

Not content to erase the history of the multinational anti-Nazi Yugoslav Partisan struggle, Johnstone goes back further into the past in her effort to demonise the Albanians. She portrays Albanian nationalism as originating in the desires of Albanian Islamic feudal lords to retain their privileges, contrasting it with a Serb nationalism she sees as originating in the desire of Serb Christian serfs for liberty: “The ethnic Albanians who had converted to Islam by the 19th century gained privileges (to bear arms, serve in the administration, and collect taxes) denied the Christian population. Such privileges stood in the way of the development of an Albanian nationalism parallel to the 19th century Serbian, Greek, and Bulgarian national liberation movements.” In Johnstone’s eyes Albanian national revolts were traditionally reactionary, so that “When Albanian feudal lords did revolt, it was rather to try to retain these privileges than to achieve an independent State of equal citizens.” By contrast, “Because they were deprived of equal rights under Ottoman rule, the Serb leaders adopted an egalitarian political philosophy borrowed from France as appropriate to their national liberation struggle in the 19th century. This meant advocacy of a state of equal citizens enjoying equal rights. The practice certainly did not always live up to the principles. But there is a significant and practical difference between a nation that proclaims principles of equal citizenship and one that does not.”[50] The message is clear: the Serbs are a ‘revolutionary’ nation and the Albanians are a ‘counter-revolutionary’ nation. Johnstone appears wholly ignorant of Albanian history; of the existence of Catholic and Orthodox as well as Muslim Albanians, including some who were pioneers of Albanian nationalism; or of the Albanian national rebellions against the Ottomans from 1878 culminating in the successful rebellion of 1912.[51] Indeed, the Albanians are the only Balkan nation whose national movement has succeeded in uniting Muslims, Catholics and Orthodox down to the present day. But there is no reason to believe that Johnstone or her comrades are interested in learning anything positive about the Albanians. It is as if, like the rulers of Orwell’s Oceania, the left revisionists are rewriting the past in order to make it conform to present policies.

Belief in the existence of ‘counter-revolutionary nations’ fit only to be exterminated was strongly upheld by Marx and Engels. Their hatred was particularly directed against the Czechs and the Croats. In 1849 Engels called for a “war of annihilation of the Germans against the Czechs” as the “only possible solution”; he described the Croats as a “naturally counter-revolutionary nation” and looked forward to the day when the Germans and Hungarians would “annihilate all these small pig-headed nations even to their very names.”[52] Marx and Engels also hated the Serbs. In a letter to Marx in 1876 Engels cheered an Ottoman military victory over the Serbs: “The collapse of the Serbs is stupendous. The campaign was intended to set the whole of Turkey in flames, and everywhere the tinder is damp – Montenegro has betrayed the campaign for her own private ends, Bosnia has absolutely no intention of rebelling now that Serbia proposes to liberate her, and the worthy Bulgarians aren’t lifting a finger.” For Engels the Serbs were little more than brigands: “The Serbian army of liberation is having to live at its own expense and, after a swashbuckling offensive, withdrew into its robber’s lair without having been seriously defeated anywhere.”[53] Marx and Engels sympathised with the Ottoman side and complained of Western media bias, as they saw it, in favour of the Serbs and against the Turks: “Not a word is said, of course, about the infamies perpetrated by the Montenegrins and Herzegovinians. Luckily the Serbs are getting knocked for six”.[54]

Later generations of Marxists rejected the early Marxist tendency to demonise “counter-revolutionary nations”. As a journalist reporting on the Balkan wars of 1912-13 Leon Trotsky wrote passionately about the atrocities committed by the Balkan Christian states against the Albanians and other Balkan Muslims. In January 1913 Trotsky wrote that “the Bulgars in Macedonia, the Serbs in Old Serbia, in their national endeavour to correct data in the ethnographical statistics that are not quite favourable to them, are engaged quite simply in the systematic extermination of the Muslim population in the villages, towns and districts.” (‘Old Serbia’ being a Serbian term for Kosovo.) He accused Russian liberal supporters of the Serbian and Bulgarian war-effort of bearing their share of responsibility for “the ripped-open bellies of Turkish children and the necks cut through to the bone of aged Muslims”.[55] The following month Trotsky, arguing that “protest against the outrages in the Balkans cleanses the social atmosphere in our own country, heightens the level of moral awareness among our own people”, denounced the Russian liberal faction of Pavel Miliukov for supporting a Serbian Army that was massacring Albanian civilians: “But since the ‘leading’ newspapers of Russia kept on singing their praises and either hushed up or denied the exposures published in the democratic press, a certain number of murdered Albanian babies must be put down, Mr. Deputy, to your Slavophile account. Get your senior doorman to look for them in your editorial office, Mr. Miliukov!” Trotsky then insisted on the imperative of protesting against the atrocities in the Balkans: “Indignant protest against unbridled behaviour by men armed with machine guns, rifles, and bayonets was required for our own moral self-defence. An individual, a group, a party or a class that is capable of ‘objectively’ picking its nose while it watches men drunk with blood, and incited from above, massacring defenceless people is condemned by history to rot and become worm-eaten while it is still alive.”[56] It is tempting to suggest that the fate Trotsky predicted for apologists of atrocities ironically ended up applying to a large section of the far left in the late twentieth century. Throughout his campaign to publicise Serbian, Bulgarian, and Greek atrocities against the Islamic peoples of the Balkans, Trotsky never attributed these atrocities to any alleged inherently evil character of the Christian Balkan nations in question but blamed them on militarism and imperialism, of which other European countries were also guilty.

The Bolsheviks under Lenin likewise rejected the division of nations into “good” and “bad”, declaring in favour of an ideological commitment to national equality and the right of all nations to self-determination. This right of course did not apply in practice to the nationalities of the Soviet Union, but it applied to the nationalities enslaved by the Yugoslav state. Thus a proclamation of the Executive Council of the Communist International of June 1920 to the proletariat of the Balkan and Danubian nations declared that the “Macedonian Bulgars, Albanians, Croats, Montenegrins and Bosnians are rebelling against the rule of the bureaucratic and landowning oligarchy” of Yugoslavia.[57] This support for national pluralism and rejection of the concept of “revolutionary” and “counter-revolutionary” nations is reflected in a famous passage by Tito, a Communist of the subsequent generation, written in 1942 during the Partisan struggle against the Nazis: “The term ‘People’s Liberation Struggle’ would be simply a phrase, even a lie, if it did not have, apart from its general Yugoslav character, a national character for every nation individually; that is, if it did not mean, in addition to the liberation of Yugoslavia, at the same time the liberation of the Croats, Slovenes, Serbs, Macedonians, Albanians, Muslims [Bosniaks], etc.”[58] Such an expression of equal appreciation of each individual Yugoslav nationality is unthinkable for the left revisionists of today. While they display the moral relativism typical of the post-1917 far left, in their treatment of the national question they are considerably more reactionary and have returned to the chauvinism of nineteenth-century Marxism. Thus, if the Albanians are a “counter-revolutionary” nation then their annihilation represents a sort of class justice equivalent to the extermination of the bourgeoisie. The playwright Harold Pinter is consequently more moved by the plight of Slobodan Milosevic, imprisoned in a comfortable cell in The Hague and visited regularly by his wife and family, than he is by the extermination of over a hundred thousand Bosnian Muslims [Bosniaks] or the expulsion of eight hundred thousand Albanians from their homes. For unlike these unpeople, Milosevic is seen by the left revisionists as being on their side of the barricades. The emotional identification of Pinter and other socialists with Milosevic and other Yugoslav war-criminals in their struggle against the ICTY is the other side of the walnut to their heartlessness toward Milosevic’s victims and contempt for their suffering.

Milosevic as martyr

Pinter has joined the ‘International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic’, organised by Milosevic’s passionate admirer Jared Israel, aimed at rescuing Milosevic from trial by the ICTY. Israel, who is reduced to translating Milosevic’s speeches in an effort to prove his idol is not a racist, represents the left revisionist in its purest form, without any of the dissembling. According to a petition for Milosevic’s release from prison issued by Israel, “Milosevic the so-called ‘ethnic cleanser’ preached multinational unity, not nationalist intolerance”; “Milosevic conducted no persecution of Albanian civilians”; “The most notorious ‘atrocities’ for which Milosevic is accused never happened”; “Crimes were committed in Yugoslavia – but not by Milosevic”. Not only was Milosevic not guilty of genocide, but he was in fact a freedom fighter against US imperialism: “Slobodan Milosevic’s real offence was that he tried to keep the 26 nationalities that comprise Yugoslavia free from US and NATO colonization and occupation; his nation’s resources, industries, and media from being stolen by multinational corporations; his nation’s institutions from being controlled by US consultants and advisers.” The Serbian opposition, by contrast, were merely part of the conspiracy: “His real offence was to defend his nation’s freedom and sovereignty from a political ‘opposition’ bought and paid for by the United States and installed into power by US specialists in psychological operations. He and all those now under attack resisted Western colonization to the very end, even as American naval ships waited off the coast of Yugoslavia to ensure the ‘correct’ results in Yugoslavia’s contested elections.”[59] Thus Milosevic becomes a Christ-like figure; a martyr on the cross, while the Serbian opposition to him becomes the collective Judas. Similarly, Neil Clark in the New Statesman says of Milosevic that “When faced with the incessant violence of western-trained separatist groups, he had little option but to use military means to try to prevent the break-up of his country and to defend the Serbian and Roma people from being driven out of the lands they had inhabited for centuries.” Far from being a war criminal, Milosevic is a “prisoner of conscience” at the ICTY whose “worst crime was to carry on being a socialist”.[60]

This sense of Milosevic as a socialist martyr and the ICTY as a form of Inquisition permeates the thought of the left revisionists, who view him as their man ‘fighting back’ against the Western enemy. Milosevic, currently threatened with life imprisonment in one of the world’s most comfortable prisons, signed the 1995 Dayton Accord that recognised the ICTY and pledged the arrest of Bosnian Serb war criminals. That was after his political enemy Radovan Karadzic had been indicted by the Tribunal while Milosevic was still on friendly terms with Washington. Now that he is in the dock himself he has decided that the ICTY is illegitimate after all. It is not however just Milosevic’s hypocrisy regarding the ICTY that is overlooked by the left revisionists, nor the fact that he is receiving a fair trial, unlike the men of Srebrenica who were massacred without a trial and whose rights were not championed by the left revisionists. The latter ignore the fact that in both Serbia and Croatia the ICTY is supported by the democrats and anti-nationalists and opposed by the fascists and criminals. In Serbia the student movement ‘Otpor’ that spearheaded Milosevic’s overthrow, and Velimir Ilic, Mayor of Cacak and one of the organisers of the overthrow of the regime, support the ICTY while the supporters of Milosevic and Vojislav Seselj oppose it. This may not seem a convincing argument to the left revisionists who no doubt view the overthrow of Milosevic as a counterrevolution, but what of the genuine Serbian anti-fascist left that Milosevic overthrew in 1987? It is often forgotten today that Milosevic’s first victims, before even the Albanians, were Serb Communists: the supporters of Dragisa Pavlovic and Ivan Stambolic, the latter murdered by Milosevic shortly before his overthrow. To those Serbian Communists brave enough to oppose Milosevic’s war-mongering policies and anti-Albanian chauvinism we may add Latinka Perovic, the liberal Communist leader purged by Tito in 1972; Bogdan Bogdanovic, former mayor of Belgrade; Draza Markovic, uncle of Milosevic’s wife Mira Markovic; Milos Minic, prosecutor at the trial of Chetnik leader Draza Mihailovic; and many others. Then there are the Serbian human rights activists Natasa Kandic and Sonja Biserko who stood up for the rights of the Albanians when it was most difficult. All those living support the ICTY; none of their voices are heard by the left revisionists.

Similarly in Croatia the current, moderate regime of Stipe Mesic and Ivica Racan has put on trial Croats guilty of killing Serbs in 1991, rejected Croatian irredentism in Bosnia, and reaffirmed the Partisan legacy. It supports the ICTY. So do those anti-nationalist Croats who defended the rights of the Serb minority when it was most unpopular, such as Ivo Banac and Ivan Zvonimir Cicak of the Croatian Helsinki Committee and the famous satirical newspaper Feral Tribune. By contrast the Tudjmanites and Ustashas are opposed to it and have mobilised mass demonstrations in defence of their war criminals. Thus ironically the left revisionists who have spent the last ten years demonising the Croats as fascists now align themselves with the Croatian fascists and against the Croatian liberals. But it would be wrong to suppose that the left revisionists know or care about this; they oppose the ICTY for the sake of their own political agenda, not for the sake of the Serbs and Croats. David Chandler, in his negative assessment of the ICTY published in New Left Review, does not even bother to discuss which political currents in Serbia and Croatia support the Tribunal and which oppose it, as if the Tribunal has no relevance to anything outside the left revisionists’ anti-American crusade.[61] So sure are they that the ICTY is part of the international conspiracy against Europe’s last socialist state that they predicted repeatedly that no Croat could possibly be indicted for crimes against Serbs during Operation Storm in 1995, because the US supported this Croatian military operation and surely would not let “its own” Tribunal indict “its own Croats”. Chomsky claimed in 2000 that “there is little likelihood that the Tribunal will pay attention to its 150-page ‘Indictment Operation Storm: A Prima Facie Case’, reviewing the war crimes committed by Croatian forces that drove some 200,000 Serbs from Krajina in August 1995 with crucial US involvement”.[62] In May 2001 the ICTY did indeed indict Croatian General Ante Gotovina, a former favourite of Franjo Tudjman, for crimes against Serb civilians during Operation Storm. Two and a half months later Seumas Milne wrote of the “logistical US backing for the massacres and ethnic cleansing in the Krajina region of Croatia in 1995” and stated confidently that “War crimes indictments in the latter case are, needless to say, not expected”, therefore managing to predict incorrectly something that had already happened.[63]

The bitterness of the left-revisionist campaign to deny the genocide in the former Yugoslavia carried out by Milosevic and the Serb nationalists reflects a neo-Stalinist determination to champion Europe’s last ‘socialist’ dictatorship against all the overwhelming evidence of its murderous and corrupt nature. This involves deliberately disregarding the responsibility of this regime for the destruction of Yugoslavia and upholding its chauvinistic discourse on Croats, Muslims [Bosniaks], and Albanians. The left revisionists are neither progressives nor genuine anti-imperialists. Their a-historical, anti-democratic worldview and their refusal to condemn fascism or to stand up for the rights of its victims, make them morally complicit in the crimes that have taken place in the former Yugoslavia.

Marko Attila Hoare is a Research Fellow at the Faculty of History, University of Cambridge. He is the author of a short history of the Bosnian Army (How Bosnia Armed, Saqi Books, London, 2004). He is currently completing a major work on the Partisan movement of resistance in Yugoslavia during World War II.

An extended version of this article appears in the December 2003 edition of the Journal of Genocide Research.

[1]. V.I. Lenin, Collected Works (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1964), pp. 300-301.

[2]. Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman, “Distortions at Fourth Hand”, The Nation, June 25, 1977.

[3]. Noam Chomsky, A New Generation Draws the Line: Kosovo, East Timor, and the Standards of the West (London: Verso, 2000), pp. 11, 21, 23, 110.

[4]. Ibid, pp. 104-114.

[5]. Jozo Tomasevich, War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945: The Chetniks (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1975), p. 292.

[6]. Chomsky, A New Generation Draws the Line, p. 123.

[7]. Michael Parenti, To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia (London: Verso, 2000), p. 18.

[8]. Ibid, p. 22.

[9]. Borisav Jovic, Poslednji dani SFRJ (Belgrade: Politika, 1995), pp. 198-199.

[10]. Ibid, p. 431.

[11]. Ed Vulliamy, “Shootbat squaddies’ hidden battles”, The Guardian, 2 April 1996.

[12]. Vaughan Kent-Payne, Bosnia warriors: living on the front line (London: Robert Hale, 1998), pp. 124-126.

[13]. Jovic, op. cit.; Veljko Kadijevic, Moje vidjenje raspada (Belgrade: Politika, 1993); Branko Mamula, Slucaj Jugoslavia (Podgorica: CID, 2000); Ratko Mladic, serialised memoirs in NIN (Belgrade), January-February 1994; Aleksandar Vasiljevic, serialised memoirs in NIN, June-July 1992.

14]. Michael Barratt Brown, The Yugoslav Tragedy – Lessons for Socialists (Nottingham: Socialist Renewal, 1996), p. 38.

[15]. Jovic, p. 160.

[16]. Jovic, p. 161.

[17]. Kadijevic, pp. 92-93.

[18]. Sluzbeni glasnik Republike Srbije, yr 46, no. 1, 28 September 1990.

[19]. NIN, Belgrade, 12 April 1991, pp. 40-41.

[20]. Tanjug, 1746 gmt 9 October 1991.

[21]. Tanjug, 1828 gmt 31 October 1991.

[22]. Michel Chossudovsky, “Dismantling Yugoslavia; Colonising Bosnia”, Covert Action, no. 56, spring 1996.

[23]. John Newhouse, “The diplomatic round”, The New Yorker, 24 August 1992.

[24]. Parenti, p. 25.

[25]. Philip Hammond and Edward S. Herman (eds), Degraded Capability: The Media and the Kosovo Crisis (London: Pluto Press, 2000), p. 2.

[26]. Diana Johnstone, “Nato and the New World Order: Ideals and Self-Interest”, in Hammond and Herman, p. 7.

[27]. Parenti, pp. 73-80.

[28]. See for example Joan Phillips, “Bosnia: The invention of a Holocaust”, Living Marxism, September 1992; Fiona Foster, “Massacring the truth in Rwanda”, Living Marxism, December 1995.

[29]. Robert Fisk, “Cleansing Bosnia at a camp called Jasenovac”, The Independent, 15 August 1992.

[30]. Seumas Milne, “Hague is not the place to try Milosevic”, The Guardian, 2 August 2001.

[31]. Parenti, pp. 144-154.

[32]. Stormfront website (www.stormfront.org/truth_at_last/holocaust.htm).

[33]. Hugh Thomas, The Spanish Civil War, 3rd ed., (London: Penguin,1977), pp. 625-627.

[34]. Diana Johnstone, “Hitler Analogies betray both past and present”, ZNet Daily Commentaries website, 28 August 1999 (www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/1999‑08/28johnstone.htm).

[35]. Mick Hume, “Nazifying the Serbs, from Bosnia to Kosovo”, in Hammond and Herman, p. 74.

[36]. Diana Johnstone, “Nazi nostalgia in Croatia”, The Emperor’s New Clothes website, 6 September 1999 (www.emperors‑clothes.com/articles/Johnstone/nostalgi.html).

[37]. Living Marxism, March 1993.

[38]. John Pilger, “Censorship by Omission”, in Hammond and Herman, p. 133.

[39]. According to the two serious demographic studies by a Serb and a Croat respectively: Bogoljub Kocovic, Zrtve drugog svetskog rata u Jugoslaviji (London: Veritas Foundation Press, 1985), pp. 65-70; Vladimir Zerjavic, Gubici stanovnistva Jugoslavije u drugom svjetskom ratu (Zagreb: Jugoslavensko viktimolosko drustvo, 1989), pp. 61-63.

[40]. Milan Borkovic, Milan Nedic (Zagreb: Centar za informacije i publicitet, 1985) pp. 227-228; 275-278.

[41]. See Vladimir Dedijer and Antun Miletic (eds), Genocid nad Muslimanima 1941-1945: Zbornik dokumenata i svjedocenja (Sarajevo: Svjetlost, 1990).

[42]. Roy Gutman (ed.) Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (New York: MacMillan, 1990) pp. 1340-1342.

[43]. Veljko Dj. Djuric, Novi prilozi za biografiju Vojvode Jezdimira Dangica (Belgrade: Nova Srbija, 1997) pp. 22-23.

[44]. Zbornik dokumenata i podataka o Narodnooslobodilackom ratu naroda Jugoslavije (Belgrade: Vojnoistorijski institut, 1983) pt 14, vol. 2, doc. 31, p. 175.

[45]. Gutman, p. 289.

[46]. Diana Johnstone, “Before and after Yugoslav elections”, ZNet Daily Commentaries website, 27 September 2000 (www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2000-09/27johnstone.htm).

[47]. Parenti, p. 96.

[48]. Diana Johnstone, “Notes on the Kosovo Problem and the International Community”, Dialogue, no. 25, spring 1998.

[49]. Parenti, pp. 44, 51, 95.

[50]. Johnstone, “Notes on the Kosovo Problem and the International Community”.

[51]. See Stavro Skendi, The Albanian National Awakening 1878-1912 (Princeton: 1967).

[52]. David Fernbach (ed.), Karl Marx – The Revolutions of 1848 – Political Writings Volume I (London: Allen Lane, 1973), pp. 225, 232, 236.

[53]. Karl Marx Friedrich Engels – Collected Works, vol. 45 (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1991), pp.130-131.

[54]. Ibid., p. 140.

[55]. Leon Trotsky, The Balkan Wars 1912-1913 (Sydney: Pathfinder Press, 1980), p. 286.

[56]. Ibid., pp. 292-293.

[57]. Gordana Vlajcic, Jugoslavenska revolucija i nacionalno pitanje 1919-1927 (Zagreb: Globus, 1984), p. 318.

[58]. Bihacka Republika – Zbornik clanaka (Bihac: Izdanje Muzeja AVNOJ-a i Pounja u Bihacu, 1965), vol. 2, doc. 225, pp. 514-515.

[59]. International Action Centre website (www.iacenter.org/witchhunt.htm).

[60]. Neil Clark, “Milosevic, prisoner of conscience”, New Statesman, 11 February 2002.

[61]. David Chandler, “‘International justice?’”, in New Left Review, no. 6, November-December 2000.

[62]. Chomsky, A New Generation Draws the Line, p. 132.

[63]. Seumas Milne, op. cit.