Friday, March 19, 2010

Lies Liars Tell

Some time last year, the professional victim and proprietor of the "Srebrenica Genocide Blog" (no, I'm not going to link it) seems to have made me an object of his personal little jihad. Time and again, he's been Google-bombing me with claims I'm a "discredited genocide denier" and so on.

Following my latest post, he went on a comment spree (guess what I did with those), and then finally put up a piece denouncing me on the SGB. Normally I wouldn't pay this much heed, but the way he did it amused me to no end, and I thought I'd share it here. Namely, he said that I had sent in a comment to the SGB - which he deleted - and then offered a response allegedly proving me wrong (by quoting the ICTY, the old fallacy of appeal to false authority again).

Except I did no such thing. My alleged "comment" was copy-pasted from the actual essay, "Bleiburg in Potocari." It wasn't deleted. It didn't violate his comments policy. It did not exist. But SGB spun a whole yarn about it nonetheless. Kind of like the whole "Srebrenica genocide," actually.

Here's a pro tip: if you are trying to paint someone as a liar, it helps to not be one.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Bleiburg in Potocari

(The Bleiburg memorial, with the Ustasha and Muslim symbols, dedicated "In memory of the innocent victims of the Bleiburg tragedy, May 1945")

At the end of February, Al-Jazeera showed an interview with Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić, currently on trial before the ICTY in The Hague. It was done as part of a 40-minute report with Rageh Omaar. The report opened with the rows of green funeral shrouds, wailing Muslim women, and the rows of names on the Potočari monument, near Srebrenica. The images that follow suggest that the Serbs rounded up some eight thousand civilians, and shot them in broad daylight. This is what the Arab world thinks happened. It doesn't matter that it isn't true. This imaginary Srebrenica has become a symbol for the entire Bosnian War: evil Serbs, unprovoked and driven by hatred, killing innocent, unarmed, peaceful Muslims while the West watches the "genocide" and does nothing.

For years, the Western media took for granted the death toll of 250,000 people, mostly Muslims. A report by ICTY-commissioned demographers (Tabeau/Bijak) from 2003, indicating a death toll of 102,000, remained hidden for a year. Its accidental revelation in late 2004 caused a firestorm of denial and declarations that the final, official report, compiled by Mirsad Tokača, would establish the real number, closer to 150,000. That, however, did not happen. Tokača's report, completed in late 2005, put the final number of war dead at 97,000. And yet despite these constant revisions, even it maintained that the number of dead in Srebrenica was 8,000!

ICTY's own investigations suggest otherwise. Of the 7,661 persons listed as missing after Srebrenica was taken by the Bosnian Serbs in July 1995, some 5,371 are members of the Bosnian Army (ARBiH). Remains of 3,837 have been identified. Of those, 3,602 were men age 15-65, 201 were men aged 65 and over, 9 were boys under 14, 11 were women, and 14 of age and sex unknown. Tribunal investigators also found 448 blindfolds and 423 ligatures, indicating executions. They determined that "1,785 individuals died of gunshot wounds, 169 died of probable or possible gunshot wounds, 67 died of Shrapnel wounds or blast injuries, 11 died of gunshot and blast injuries, 6 died of other causes (trauma, suffocation, etc.), and 1441 died of undetermined causes."

So, the "eight thousand civilians" turn first into 5,300 military men, 3,800 identified bodies, 1800 gunshot victims, and 450 executed. Keep in mind that the women and children abandoned by the "brave fighters" of the 28th Bosnian Army Division (from the "demilitarized safe area" no less) at the UN base in Potočari were safely evacuated by Bosnian Serb troops, using trucks and buses hastily requisitioned from Serb civilians. What kind of "genocide" leaves the women and children alive?

There are more problems with the mainstream narrative. Some 3,000 names from the list of the missing are shown as having voted in the 1996 elections. Either they were alive, or there was massive electoral fraud. Either way, someone lied. Serb researched Milivoje Ivanišević(”Srebrenica ID Card”) accuses the Sarajevo government of burying people who died long before the war, as well as soldiers who died prior to July 1995, at the Potočari memorial cemetery. Bulgarian researcher Germinal Civikov questions the testimony of Dražen Erdemović, the "crown witness" of the ICTY prosecution whose accounts were used in every Srebrenica-related case. In his book, Civikov shows that Erdemović and his confederates could not have possibly killed 1,200 people in one night, as he claimed. Sure enough, only 127 bodies were found at the location.

Gen. Krstić, the first Serb officer convicted as "accessory to genocide" was nowhere near Srebrenica, having taken command on July 20, 1995 (five days after the town was taken). Momir Nikolić, another valuable witness for the prosecution, admitted to perjury - but his testimonies were kept! And the ICTY itself admitted that the actual facts of the case remain unknown, but the judges nonetheless believe some 8,000 men were killed. In a true court of law, it doesn't matter what one believes - only what one can prove. And there is simply no proof for the "genocide" in Srebrenica, because it did not happen.

In the summer of 1992, British reporters took a photo of an emaciated Muslim man and arranged it so it appeared behind barbed wire, like an inmate of Nazi death camps. Western media howled about "Belsen '92" and spoke of the Serbs as the new Nazis. A magazine that ran an analysis of the deception in Trnopolje was forced into bankruptcy by British libel laws, yet the truth of the analysis was never actually disputed. Deemed libelous was only the insinuation that the crew shot the photo with malicious intent. Because fabricating genocide photos is proof positive of humanitarianism, what? Anyway, the truth was out and the story of "Serb death camps" has mostly disappeared since. It was replaced by the constant invocation of Srebrenica as the "greatest atrocity in Europe since Hitler."

A massive memorial complex was built in Potočari, at the former UN peacekeeper compound where those women and children sought - and found! - refuge. Bill Clinton, that paragon of honesty and virtue, attended the grand opening. While the Bosnian Muslims are broke and without jobs, their government spent lavishly on the Potočari shrine. So that "vengeance could become justice", as the dedication in Arabic says. So that a lie could become true.

At the end of WW2, during the withdrawal from Yugoslavia before the advancing Communist troops, a number of Croat fascists (Ustasha) were captured in northern Slovenia and southern Austria. The British also turned over several thousand POWs to the Communists. The Communists shot a number of them at the town of Bleiburg, the same way they executed tens of thousands of "class enemies" in Serbia and elsewhere, since 1944. However, after the war, Bleiburg was turned into a shrine by the surviving Ustasha and the Catholic Church. Modern Croatian history claims that 60,000 people were killed in Bleiburg (!). British historian D.B. MacDonald explains:

Inflating the numbers of dead at Bleiburg had several layers of significance. Firstly, it gave the Croats their own massacre at the hands of Serbs and/or Communists, which allowed them to counter the Serbs' Jasenovac genocide with one of their own. Secondly, it allowed Croats to distance themselves from the Serbs and the Communist regime that had carried out the massacres. They could portray Croatia as an unwilling participant in the SFRY, more a prisoner than a constituent nation. Thirdly, by suffering such a massacre, the Croats underwent their own 'way of Cross', as it was frequently dubbed in Croatian writings.

(Balkan holocausts?: Serbian and Croatian victim-centered propaganda and the war in Yugoslavia, David Bruce MacDonald, Manchester University Press, April 19, 2003)
While inflating the number of dead in Bleiburg, the new Croatian government reduced the number of victims of Jasenovac, to establish the moral equivalence of the Ustasha and the "Serbo-Communists" (led by Tito, a Croat...), going so far as to declare the Ustasha the real victims, claiming that Jasenovac was a work camp in which the Jews killed each other and there were hardly any Serbs there anyway...

Even President Mesić, hardly a Serbophile, called Bleiburg an Ustasha festival at government expense. He also added that those buried at Jasenovac were innocents, while many of those buried at Bleiburg were their executioners. It didn't change a thing.

Just as the Ustasha created a shrine in Bleiburg to cast themselves as victims (committing a horrific blasphemy by comparing themselves to Jesus), the shrine to the false genocide in Potočari serves to mask an aggressive ideology - whose insistence on a Muslim-dominated, centralized Bosnian state led to the war in the first place - with a halo of victimhood. Mustafa Cerić, the Bosnian Muslim religious leader, even put this "genocide" on the same level as the Holocaust at an interfaith conference last year.

The Bleiburg in Potočari is a symbol of the Bosnian War, though not in the way its creators intended. It is a fitting representation of a war steeped in manipulation and lies - an insult not only to the victims of Hitler's "final solution," but to reason and decency as well.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Follow the Money

In the latest installment of the saga of Ejup Ganic, we read he was bailed out by "Diane Jenkins," born Sanela Catic, "former Bosnian refugee who became the wife of Britain's highest paid banker." Forgive me if I doubt the account in the Daily Mail that gives her middle name as "Dijana"; Bosnians, whether Muslim or Christian, simply don't have middle names.

Seriously, you can't make this stuff up. A mystery bottle blonde bombshell bails out the war crimes suspect, only to be revealed as a poor little refuge girl who struck gold by becoming the bride of London's richest bankster? Hollywood, eat your heart out.

While we're on the subject of money, here's something I've been meaning to mention for almost a month now, but never got round to. You see, frantic clamoring by investors in the Bank of Collective Serbian Guilt (hat tip to Chris Deliso for this memorable phrase) to have the "international community" get involved in Bosnia again is always justified by the alleged necessity to impose reforms and create a "functional state". They won't deny that Bosnia has sucked in enormous amounts of foreign aid (though they won't mention it either, unless pressed), but their explanation is that all of it was wasted because those evil Serbs (who else?) are blocking the central government from functioning properly and making the best use of it.

The only problem with this is that in Bosnia itself, centralization is championed by people who have by far the most abysmal record of governing their own affairs. So when they demand they get to govern everyone else's, why the surprise when everyone else is not exactly inclined to agree?

Let's leave aside for the moment the question of values and principles, and the paradox of federated and subsidiary governments such as the UK, Germany and the United States of America (or should that be United State?), whose representatives want for Bosnia a degree of centralization unacceptable in their own countries. And let's not dwell at this point on the fact that the de facto international protectorate in place since 1996 has provided a powerful disincentive for Bosnian communities to actually work out the differences over which they waged a war and continued to bicker about after the armistice. The fundamental issue at stake is whether the communities can live together in peace, or if one would try to lord it over the others. When you have three communities deeply mistrustful of each other, the very last thing you want to do is give them a powerful central government to fight over. Yet that is precisely what the Empire is trying to do.

Of the three communities that live in Bosnia, only the Muslims desire a centralized government. In part, this is because they believe Bosnia ought to be a nation-state, with them as the "nation", while Serbs and Croats are simply interlopers with "spare homelands". They also believe their suffering during the war entitles them to things. But beneath the rhetoric and emotions, this agenda is also driven by a very real financial motive.

You see, the Muslim-Croat Federation is broke.

During the war, the Islamic world sent countless amounts of money to the regime of Alija Izetbegovic, to support the holy war against the alleged "genocide" of Muslims at the hands of Serbs and Croats. Very little of that money ever reached the Muslim civilians; some was spent to equip the military, but most was simply appropriated by Izetbegovic's cronies. After the war, a river of financial aid came from the West. It was calculated at one point that Bosnia had received more foreign aid per capita than all of Western Europe under the Marshall Plan. But while the Marshall Plan funds went into resurrecting the economy, the Bosnian aid was like pouring water into the desert. It simply vanished.

Oh, some of it went to rebuilding the war-torn housing and roads. Much went to a plethora of non-governmental organizations organizing seminars about tolerance and peace and whatever. A lot went to fund elections every year, then every two years, or support a gargantuan bureaucracy within the Muslim-Croat Federation (eleven sets of governments. ELEVEN!). Some surely ended up paying for a host of new mosques and their imams. The rest lined the pockets of government officials and "businessmen" who became tycoons thanks to government connections and support. But hardly anything went into producing anything of value. Bosnia had a lot of industry prior to the war. Now it has almost none.

As governments throughout the world are becoming aware, it is easy to come up with new welfare and entitlement programs when the money is flowing in. But what do you do when it dries up? Cutting the entitlements can often result in angry mobs in the streets.

The Federation government was reminded of that in October 2009, when a host of war veterans shut down the capital for a day, protesting the announced 10% cut to their benefits. Besieged, the government caved in to their demands, even though the cut was required by the IMF as one of the conditions for a new loan that would go towards servicing the budget obligations. Yes, you heard right - Bosnia is borrowing money to cover welfare bills.

This isn't to say that the Serb Republic is in a stellar shape. But it has a more sensible tax structure and isn't being dragged down by welfare payments. For years, Muslim politicians (Croats have very little say in the Federation) bribed their voters and lined their pockets with someone else's money. Now that the money spigot is drying up, they can't cut back on the bribes, or the masses will get nervous. So they want to punt the problem up to the central government. No doubt they plan to have it distribute tax revenue "fairly". And not surprisingly, the Serbs and Croats are having none of it. Their refusal is neither selfish nor spiteful, but rather a rejection of this scheme for plunder - robbing Peter and Paul to pay Mustafa, if you will.

May as well ask "Diane Jenkins" and her bankster husband to bail them out.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lying to Defend Official Truth

It was only a matter of time before the guardians of Official Truth embarked on a campaign to defend Ejup Ganić from charges of war crimes. Radio Free Europe, an official propaganda outfit of the US government nonetheless posing as a bastion of journalistic integrity, did so through an interview with Jovan Divjak, titled "What Really Happened During the Dobrovoljacka Attack?"

The intent of the story is obvious from the choice of Divjak as the principal witness. He is a Serbian-born former Yugoslav Army colonel, who in April 1992 joined the Izetbegovic regime and was expressly promoted to general rank. Along with Vehbija Karić and Stjepan Šiber he was part of the first (decorative) "multiethnic" staff of the Bosnian Territorial Defense, and therefore nominally in charge of the militia that undertook the Dobrovoljačka ambush.

Another indicator of the story's slant can be found early on, in the description of the retreating Army column, allegedly "loaded with ammunition and weapons that Serbian forces would use during their three-year siege of Sarajevo." Even if this were true, how could anyone have possibly known this at the time of the ambush?

But as I explained before, it isn't true. The Army troops in the city at the time were fresh recruits, in early stages of their basic training. What was being evacuated on May 3 was the HQ complex of the 2nd Army District, the contents of which consisted overwhelmingly of paperwork, not weaponry. Ganić apologists have already claimed that the haul from the ambushed convoy was "40 rifles". Well, what was it - a handful of rifles, or truckloads of ammo that bombed Sarajevo for three years? They can't have it both ways.

Divjak gives a fanciful account of the events of that day, claiming that the Army was actually attacking Sarajevo and that his militia was acting in self-defense. He says the "Yugoslav Army tried to take control of the city" on May 2. But his entire evidence for this is a couple of trucks driving along the river! To understand that Divjak's account is rubbish, you need go no further than his claim that a "special forces unit from Niš" was "holed up in the Dom Armije building."

I can testify, under oath if necessary, that there was no such unit in that building. How do I know? I lived across the street and was able to actually see what was going on with my very own eyes. The Dom Armije (Army House) used to be an officers' club back during the days of Austria-Hungary. The Yugoslav Army used it as a concert hall and movie theater. The recruits stationed there at the time were trying to salvage music instruments when they were charged by the Muslim militia. There were no "Niš special forces."

The 63rd Airborne Brigade, based in Niš, was used by the Muslim media as a general bogeyman throughout the war. Over and over again, every time the Muslim troops suffered a crushing defeat in battle (which happened often), they'd blame "special forces from Serbia" and in particular the 63rd. Yet it never took part in the Bosnian War - except in the imagination of the Sarajevo regime.

Divjak's story of what "really" happened is riddled with inconsistencies and paradoxes, and doesn't correspond to reality whatsoever. This isn't necessarily his fault; that's how Official Truth reads, and he's just following the script. The reason he was chosen as the spokesman was that he's an ethnic Serb. This is supposed to demonstrate that the "Bosnia-Herzegovina Territorial Defense" and the "Army" it later became were multi-ethnic, democratic, tolerant, a strictly defensive force for the innocents beset by evil genocidal Serbs, whom even their own "honest" people abhorred and fought.

Facts, of course, indicate otherwise. Divjak "left" the Yugoslav Army after a court-martial conviction for illegally distributing ammunition and equipment to renegade TD forces. He joined Izetbegovic's regime to avoid prison. For the first few months of the war he was one of the public faces of the "Bosnian" army, and then quietly shunted aside to "cooperate with civilian structures." He didn't actually command the militia that besieged the Army posts or ambushed the columns; those men took their orders directly from Izetbegović (through Ganić or otherwise). Even though he was used and discarded by the Muslim regime he helped legitimize, Divjak cannot admit this, or two decades of his life would become meaningless. So he lies, both to himself and to the rest of the world.

What really happened in Dobrovoljačka was that the militia loyal to the Izetbegović regime illegally besieged the Yugoslav Army, and then proceeded to attack the Army convoy that was under UN protection and whose safety was guaranteed by Izetbegović himself. The only thing realistically in dispute is whether that guarantee was violated by Ganić and the militia commanders with Izetbegović's approval, or without.

Either way, any sort of trial will reveal that this was no "heroic defense." Worse yet, it will become obvious that the war was no "aggression by Serbia and the Yugoslav Army," undermining the entire narrative that forms the foundation of Official Truth about Bosnia. This is why the Bosnian Muslim public so vocally demands Ganić's release.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Ganic Affair

The arrest of Ejup Ganic in London the other day was as surprising to me as I imagine it must have been to him. Namely, I never thought the Brits would actually honor an Interpol warrant originating in Serbia. There is an established precedent for ignoring or overriding Serbian warrants in the cases of Agim Ceku, Hashim Taqi and other "freedom fighters" of the "Independent state of Kosovia". In every case, the Empire insured their prompt release.

Then againk, Ganic is not a current client of the Empire, but a former one. Perhaps that is what makes all the difference.

Reports of his arrest commonly mis-identify him as "former President of Bosnia." He was nothing of the sort. He was, however, a loyal associate of Alija Izetbegovic, an Islamic revolutionary who schemed, lied and forced his way into becoming the leader of Bosnia's Muslims in the early 1990s. Ganic ran for the then-Yugoslav republic's presidency as an "other", declaring himself an ethnic "Yugoslav", thus exploiting a loophole in electoral rules and giving Izetbegovic an extra vote in the seven-member collective. One of the reasons the current Bosnian constitution has strict and even discriminatory rules governing presidential elections is to prevent just such a scenario from being repeated. When Izetbegovic moved to declare independence in March 1992, most other members of the presidency took exception. Only two remained loyal to Izetbegovic - Stjepan Kljuic, a Croat who was quickly marginalized, and Ganic.

On April 27, 1992, the government in Belgrade established the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, de facto recognizing the secession of the republics of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Macedonia. The Yugoslav Army was in full retreat from the latter two, under an agreement negotiated with Izetbegovic and the Macedonian president Gligorov. It is worth noting that the YA retreated from Macedonia (aka FYROM) without incident. But in Bosnia, Izetbegovic's militia (organized by the paramilitary wing of his party, the Patriotic League) would have none of it. They set up blockades of Army facilities and demanded their surrender.

On May 2, 1992, Izetbegovic returned to Sarajevo from another failed attempt to head off a full-scale war (he had declared back in 1991 that he would "sacrifice peace for an independent Bosnia" and so he would) and found himself detained by the Army detachment stationed at the Sarajevo Airport. The Army decided to use him as a hostage, demanding the release of its blockaded troops at the 2nd Army HQ in the Bistrik neighborhood, and other units trapped in the city. Ganic, who declared himself acting president (with or without Izetbegovic's consent, it was never revealed), negotiated a deal to exchange Izetbegovic for the trapped HQ personnel with the Canadian UNPROFOR commander, Gen. Lewis MacKenzie.

What happened next is well-documented. There is a detailed account in MacKenzie's memoir "Peacekeeper" but also a video recording made by a Sarajevo TV crew. Muslim militiamen stopped the UN vehicle with Izetbegovic, MacKenzie and the Army commander Gen. Kukanjac, and staged a little drama for the cameras, with Ganic talking to Izetbegovic over walkie-talkies while further down the street the Army convoy was being massacred. This event is at the heart of the Serbian indictment against Ganic.

This was not the last attack on the Army, either. On May 15, an Army column evacuating Tuzla was ambushed and massacred on Brcko Road. This, too, was caught on camera. One might rightly assume that this may have had something to do with the decision of most Bosnian-born Army personnel to join the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) against Izetbegovic's regime.

Throughout the war, Ganic served Izetbegovic loyally, but the word on the street was that he dreamed of replacing Izetbegovic eventually. He was also known to be the go-to person when Washington needed something done in Sarajevo. Perhaps because of this, Izetbegovic eventually moved to sideline him, just as he had done with all his previous lieutenants. After the war, Ganic became President of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Muslim-Croat half of the country, but after falling out of Izetbegovic's graces retired from politics and opened a private university - right across the street from the former 2nd Army HQ building. For years he had stayed out of the limelight, until on a trip to London his past finally caught up.

As someone who was there, who lived in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War and experienced firsthand the "multicultural tolerance" and "democratic diversity" practiced by Izetbegovic and Ganic, I am disgusted by the way the Economist (for example) excuses their crimes. So, arresting a Muslim is "dragging up the past" and impeding peace and reconciliation, while putting the entire Serbian nation on trial and smearing it with the ludicrous charge of "genocide" is somehow conducive to both? Putting Ganic on trial would "fuel nationalist flames" but the trial of Radovan Karadzic is all about truth and justice (not)? Such cynicism. Such hypocrisy.

I would be very surprised if Ganic is actually extradited to Serbia. The media and political leaders that have considerable political capital in the Bank of Collective Serbian Guilt are already raising hell to have him released. The government in Belgrade is too obsessed with sucking up to Brussels and Washington and passing a parliamentary resolution blaming Serbia for the Srebrenica "genocide"; they have no interest in actually pursuing Ganic, and would probably be relieved if the whole affair subsided like the one with Agim Ceku last summer.

The cruel irony of this is that such a result would only further the myth of Muslim victimhood and Serb villainy. Then again, it would not be the first time that the Serbian authorities were actively working to harm their own country and people. I wonder if it will be the last.