BalkanBlog, Balkans

Srebrenica again – Hoax or Massacre?

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

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

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

Political aims behind events?

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

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

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

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

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

Secret deals?

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

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

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

Pre-Srebrenica events?

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

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

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

PR-game?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Number game?

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

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

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

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

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

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

The transformation of Srebrenica into myth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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28 thoughts on “Srebrenica again – Hoax or Massacre?

  1. Leena Hietanen says:

    Erittäin kiinnostava artikkeli. Olen lueskellut Richard Holbrooken kirjaa noilta ajoilta “To end a war” ja tullut siihen johtopäätökseen, että amerikkalaisille serbit olivat jo lähtokohtaisesti väärässä. Slobodan Milosevitshin suurin rikos oli, että hän oli “kommunisti”. Kirja oli suorastaan rasistinen. Tulin johtopäätökseen, että amerikkalaiset on erittäin helppo saada uskomaan, että serbit suurena kansana olisivat sortaneet Jugoslaviassa muita. Yhdysvallloissa amerikkalaiset eivät korosta etnisyyttä, mutta tullessaan Eurooppaan he tekevät siitä suuren numeron. Kirjasa naureskeltiin toimittajien manipuoloinnille juuri tuosta samasta näkökulmasta, miten Srebrenica saatiin rakennettua myytiksi.

    • arirusila says:

      In my post I tried to highlight the other side of Srebrenica story which differs from the picture of (western) mainstream media. I have ver denied that brutalities happened in Srebrenica, but would like to get more information

      a) About the context of Srebrenica events
      b) Who was massacred (civilians/soldiers/members of different ethnic groups)
      c) How many died in Srebrenica July 1995
      d) What was the role of media as part of political game

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

      Here some further reading:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      In short, Srebrenica, whose Serb population had been chased out by Muslim troops at the start of the civil war in 1992, was both a gathering point for civilian Muslim refugees and a Muslim army base. The enclave lived from international humanitarian aid. The Muslim military did not allow civilians to leave, since their presence was what ensured the arrival of humanitarian aid provisions which the military controlled…Much has been made of the fact that Serb forces separated the population, providing buses for women, children and the infirm to take them to Tuzla, while detaining the men. In light of all that preceded, the reason for this separation is obvious: the Bosnian Serbs were looking for the perpetrators of raids on Serb villages, in order to take revenge…When the Serb forces entered the town from the south, thousands of Muslim soldiers, in disarray because of the absence of commanding officers, fled northwards, through wild wooded hills toward Tuzla. It is clear enough that they fled because they feared exactly what everyone aware of the situation dreaded: that Serb soldiers would take vengeance on the men they considered guilty of murdering Serb civilians and prisoners. Thousands of those men did in fact reach Tuzla, and were quietly redeployed. This was confirmed by international observers. However, Muslim authorities never provided information about these men, preferring to let them be counted among the missing, that is, among the massacred. Another large, unspecified number of these men were ambushed and killed as they fled in scenes of terrible panic. This was, then, a “massacre”, such as occurs in war when fleeing troops are ambushed by superior forces.

      • clement - kdg says:

        Ari,

        who does not want to hear will not hear…..

        from my experience of secret international diplomacy, the other side of the story you’re talking about, make sense…..

        reality put into perspective isn’t exactly what honest, good hearted, mislead or naive minds are ready to contemplate and discover…

        in the Balkans as in anywhere in each case where US involvement was not natural or did not make sense was media hoaxes.. politicians are no angels…

  2. That’s now a good collection of “western” sources showing an alternative view on the event. It’s interesting (and also scary) to see how far you can create a myth and make the whole world believe it. It’s not about judging who is the bad one, it’s really to learn that an event can be whatever yu wanna make it to be. Thank you for writing that!

  3. Owen says:

    No, you’re not highlighting “the other side” of Srebrenica story. You’re trawling up a lot of discredited speculation and lies which contradict the established truth. Just because facts happen to have been tested and accepted doesn’t make them a phony Western media story.

    Whatever your parti pris about the ICTY just read some of the testimony and the cross examinations. If you can’t see the truth, you won’t see the truth. But it’s there, once you get a feel for it.

    The reality is always more complex than the published facts, but that doesn’t mean to say that we should believe in fairies instead. Try being as sceptical about your “alternative” sources as you suggest people should be sceptical about the established “Western media” facts. If you can’t be bothered that’s your privilege, but don’t expect any respect for your offensive denigration of what was done to real people.

    • Johny Darius says:

      I just don’t see that he was denying massacre that happened in Srebrenica in this article. It just shows different side which is I suppose for you Anglo-Americans hard to understand as you are the one who always know what is the truth, does not matter if is in Iraq, Iran, Kosovo or Georgia.

      I just wonder what are well established facts which you are talking about? On which basis you establish the facts what was happened in Srebrenica? Is it truth established when Bill Clinton. G W Bush and Tony Blair said so? Remember weapons of mass destruction excuse to attack Irag?

      It seems that truth is always established by uncle Sam and his British satellites in every case does not matter if it is Iraq, Iran, Kosovo, Bosnia, Georgia. It just shows western double standards. For e.g. in Bosnia many sons of Jihad with links to AL QAIDA were fighting in Bosnian army against Serbs. After 9/11 you start to capture them and transfer them to Guantnamo. And just 6 years ago you were teaching them how to kill Serbs. Have you heard of David Hicks (Australian AL QAIDA terrorist) who was trained by US forces to fight against Serbs in Kosovo but 2 years later ended up in Guantanamo?

      What people in Balkans says: “The truth always have two sides”.

  4. Johny Darius says:

    Regarding Markale “market massacre,” which you mentioned that happened on the February 5, 1994.

    In July 2000 on my visit to town Nokia in Finland I had a opportunity to speak with two Finnish peace keepers who were in Boasnia in that time were Markale market massacre happened. They told me that it was well known fact that market massacre was staged by Bosnian Muslim forces. They did it in order to show West what Bosnian Serbs is doing to them and provoke NATO intervention.

    I can not say for another events but it was also UN investigation to the “breadline massacre,” happened on 27 of May 1992. Their conclusion was that massacre was committed by the Bosnian Muslim forces.

    It just show which kind of tactics were deployed during Bosnian and Kosovo war to trigger US intervention. Sacrificing their own people in order to active their political goals, that is sick.

    Ari, thanks for the brilliant article. I am glad that there are Finns (unfortinatily very small number) who have different opinions from Martti Ahtisaari.

    Was it Martti Ahtisaari the one who said that Serbs are genocidal nation and therefore they should be punished by losing Kosovo? And on the end he got Nobel peace prize.

  5. Owen says:

    Johnny Darius, you and Ari Rusila and other apologists for the well-documented atrocities perpetrated predominantly by Serbia and Serbs against Bosnian/Bosniak civilians have a habit of highlighting “anomalies” that you focus on to show that the balance of responsibility for those atrocities wasn’t as generally thought.

    When you’re shown that this wasn’t an anomaly you ignore the fact. When detailed legal proceedings and painstaking examination of evidence show that your analysis was incorrect you avoid any reference to findings that contradict your allegation.

    The siege of Sarajevo was a murderous assault by a heavily-armed military force on a largely defencelss civilian population.

    If the Bosnian Army had been responsible for the 1994 Markale shelling that would have been a vile and cynical atrocity, but even so it would have been a relatively insignificant incident in the overall context of the well-documented mass murder of Sarajevo civilians by the Serb army that took place.

    And in fact the trial of Stanislav Galic found that it was the Sarajevo Romanija Corps (SRK) of the Bosnian Serb Army, under Galic’s command, which was responsible for the massacre.

    “On 5 February 1994 a mortar shell exploded in the Markale market in downtown Sarajevo, killing some 60 people and injuring more than a hundred. The Trial Chamber heard about this incident in great detail. We examined the contemporary investigations conducted by United Nation personnel and by local investigators, as well as the analyses of experts called by the parties in
    this case. A variety of new information was brought to light. The Majority has concluded that the mortar shell which caused the explosion was fired from territory controlled by the SRK. It was a devastating attack against a civilian target.

    The Majority is thus convinced that civilians in Sarajevo were attacked directly or without distinction from SRK-controlled territory. The exact number of civilian casualties from these attacks is not known. What is known is that hundreds of civilians were killed and
    thousands were injured in sniping and shelling incidents over the two-year period covered by the Indictment. A fraction of these, but no more than a fraction, may have been accidents.

    Because, to the Majority, it is clear from the evidence that civilians were deliberately attacked by the SRK in a large number of incidents over a long period of time, we are persuaded that the attacks were not isolated incidents but amounted to a widespread or systematic
    campaign.

    In addition to supporting the existence of a campaign, the evidence as understood by the Majority reveals that the campaign against civilians was intended primarily to terrorize the civilian population. It had no discernible significance in military terms. The frequency of attacks may have fluctuated from day to day, but they always underscored the fact that no civilian of Sarajevo was safe anywhere.

    There is some testimony, which the Majority has scrutinized carefully, that the ABiH sought to attract the sympathy of the international community by periodically staging attacks on its own civilians, knowing that the SRK would be blamed for them. The Majority does not believe that this evidence amounts to much. In any case, even if such things happened occasionally, they do not alter the Majority’s conclusions as to which party perpetrated the vast number of sniping and shelling attacks on civilians which were considered in the course of this trial.”

    The above is from the Judgment Summary. If you’re interested to check the out the detailed findings matter out go to the Judgment itself, available at the ICTY website, and read paragraphs 463 to 496. The Court interprets much of the evidence in a way that grantas a large margin of safety favouring the Defence, but nevertheless at para 496. it concludes “In sum, the Majority finds beyond reasonable doubt that the 120 mm mortar shell fired at Markale market on 5 February 1994, which killed over 60 persons and wounded over 140 others,
    was deliberately fired from SRK-controlled territory.”

    (If you want, continue reading and the next section will remind you how the besieging army shelled children and other civilians in Kosevo Hospital).

    To be fair, let’s allow you that Judge Nieto-Navioa expresses views dissenting from the Majority on the source of fire and the alleged deliberateness of the attack (para 71.): “The Majority finds that the explosion in Markale market on 5 February 1994 was caused by a 120 millimetre mortar shell which was fired deliberately at civilians from SRK-controlled territory. Although I share in the conclusion that the Trial Record establishes that a 120 millimetre mortar shell caused the explosion in the market, I respectfully dissent from the Majority’s finding because I am not satisfied that the evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that this projectile was fired from SRK-controlled territory.”

    By all means feel free to question the judgment on the basis of a dissenting opinion, but that is a dissenting opinion of doubt as to Galic’s guilt. Judge Nieto-Navioa is simply not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the projectile was fired from SRK-controlled territory. That’s rather different from it being a “known fact” that the ABiH fired the shell.

    So I think I’ll take the ICTY’s finding on this rather than the second-hand expertise of a couple of Finnish soldiers you bumped into. But I’m sure I’m not going to dent your certainty. Those who don’t want to hear won’t hear.

    • Gordon says:

      First, thank you Ari for one of well documented and unbiased articles related to what really happened during the war in Bosnia.

      Here you go Owen:
      19 OCT 2010 / 11:45
      Former UN General Testifies about Siege of Sarajevo
      During the course of cross-examination at the trial of Radovan Karadzic, Canadian General David Fraser says he was informed about sniping and shelling incidents in Sarajevo for which members of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina were responsible.
      M.T.
      David Fraser, who was Assistant Commander of UNPROFOR in Sarajevo from April 1994 to May 1995, said he heard about a recording showing “Muslims shooting at their people”, but he did not personally see it.

      He said that members of the United Nation’s UNPROFOR force conducted an investigation into a shelling incident in the Sarajevo downtown area for which “Muslim forces” were responsible.

      “A civilian area was attacked from positions held by Serbs. After that, Muslim forces attacked it as well. (…) It seems to me that their intention was to cause more casualties and blame Serbs for it,” Fraser said.

  6. Goran M says:

    ”Those who don’t want to hear won’t hear”

    Maybe you should think about these words Owen. Maybe even see if they apply to you as well.

    These writers that ari based his article on make valid points that you can not just disregard just because a biased court makes some dubious reports.

    Let me ask you some questions.

    Markale Hoax:
    Why did the ICTY not let certain UN personnel testify about the fact that the shell that fell on Markale was not fired from SRK territory, but from a Bosnian Muslim held territory?

    How did a single mortarshell kill over 60 people? I do not know of any that can kill so many even if they are standing so close to one another.

    Read this insert from Lord David Owens book Balkan Odyssey:
    Lord David Owen: “Balkan Odyssey”
    Page 260:

    …General Rose was reportedly furious and went to the Bosnian Presidency to persuade President Izetbegovic and his military chief, General Delic, to attend. Those around General Rose have never made any secret of the fact that at that meeting he told the Bosnian Muslim leaders that he had just recieved technical information which pointed to the mortar bomb having come not from Serb-controlled areas but from a Muslim-controlled area. If this information were made available there would be a very different outcome in the NATO meeting, and if Izetbegovic tried to stall the UN negotiations in order to wait for the NATO meeting he, Rose, would feel obligated to release the preliminary evidence of the UN investigation. If the government negotiation team were not at Sarajevo airport on Wednesday 9 February then he would call a press conference.

    Same page, below and – page 261, top:

    In addition, a senior ballistic expert in Zagreb has studied a map of likely trajectory patterns produced by UN investigators in Sarajevo and believed the angle at which the mortar had hit the roof of the market stall indicated that the firing point was more likely to be 1,100 – 2,000 metres from the impact than 2,000-3,000 metres, and that this would tend to indicate that the mortar had been fired from a Bosnian army position. When this highly charged information reached the UN in New York on Tuesday everything was done to clamp down on the number of people who saw it so as to reduce the chance of press leak.

    As far Srebrenica goes, it is a hoax. Thousands of missing were found by the Red Cross in Tuzla. Many that have been burried there died as soldiers or died somewhere else.

    Why don’t you just look at http://www.srebrenica-report.com & look at the evidence

  7. Owen says:

    Of course I’ve looked at Srebrenica Report. Go back and look at it yourself. It’s the same load of tendentious stuff.

    Just to start somewhere. Why do all the “Srebrenica Hoax” or “Srebrenica was just retaliation” people cite the “Memorandum on war crimes and crimes and genocide in eastern Bosnia (communes of Bratunac, Skelani and Srebrenica) committed against the Serbian population from April 1992 to April 1993”?

    Ari why can’t you/they be honest about its origin instead of pretending that it has an authority it doesn’t? It’s not a UN report. It’s a UN document with an official UN document number because it’s a report produced by the “Yugoslav” government, ie Serbia, and submitted to the Security Council. If a UN member state’s government submits a document to the Security Council for circulation it’s given a UN number – that’s not an endorsement. Protocol demands that the UN treats its members as if they could be trusted to tell the truth.

    So why do you and others constantly portray it as a “UN report”? That’s not true. It’s part of the strategy of half-truths and sleight of hand that’s aimed to keep doubt alive where it should have been banished long ago. I don’t even need to talk about the honesty of the content, the way the document is used tells me enough.

    • Johny Darius says:

      Owen, are you implaying that this report does not represent what happened around Srebrenica in 1992 and 1993?

      Or you also implaying that Serbs wrote this report in 1993 in order to justify Srebrenica massacre in 1995?

  8. Owen says:

    Goran I’m puzzled that you believe that the Galic defence was not allowed to call anyone with authority. You read the Galic judgment and there’s plenty of eevidence in there giving the VRS side’s arguments. Often the principle that doubt should weigh in the accused’s favour is taken into consideration.

    Tell me where the evidence is that the defence was illegitimately denied the right to present and that was so much better than what it did present?

    Galic got to have a defence. His victims didn’t. Nor did Karadzic’s and Mladic’s.

  9. Owen says:

    Goran, I’m not an artillery expert but enough people seem to think an 120 mm shell can kill quite a lot of people. Since the people who examined the scene found that it was a 120 mm shell and the argument is over who fired it I’m not sure what the point of you questioning what it’s lethal capability is, other than to indicate that you’re not very worried about the internal consistency of your case.

    • Girl 28 says:

      You want the truth? Here it is..Be ashamed of yourself. You are spitting in our faces.. Not enough to be raped at 11, see your mother killed , your father beheaded.. Not enough knowing your sister is somewhere near Sarajevo and not knowing what happend to her.. I recently met a girl who was with her at a rape prison close to Sarajevo, and she told us that she and another girl were taken away after McKenzie and 2 other UN soldiers raped them. They never found them. It is only me left, the rest of my family is dead. I saw it with my own eyes, how dare you?? Hollocaust also never happened then? I whish you could experience my nightmares just for a second. I don’t wish my destiny to anyone, but if you just knew you would go and shoot yourself for being such a horrible unemphatic person. This is only fun for you, writing your conspiracy theories.. Write about UFOs then, leave us to morn in peace. It hurts being walked on, after all that happened. I did not see ONE soldier getting killed. We were all civilians. HOW CAN YOU? Being misstrusted feels like losing my family again, cos hope was my only family.. After seeing this, I know justice doesnt exist.. Or hope.. Burn in hell

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