More Myth than Massacre at Srebrenica



by Stephen Lendman

Headlines explaining former Serbian General Ratko Mladic’s May 27 arrest allege his 1995 responsibility for massacring 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica. True or false is at issue. More on that below.

Meanwhile, inflammatory accounts already convicted him by accusation, including New York Times writers Dan Bilefsky and Doreen Carvajal headlining, “Serbia Says Jailed Mladic Will Face War Crimes Trial,” saying:

Arresting him “signal(ed) Serbia’s intention of finally escaping the isolation it brought on itself during the Balkan wars,” ones Western media, including The Times, consistently misreported on throughout the 1990s, culminating in NATO’s 1999 war of aggression, falsely called humanitarian intervention.

Inflating Srebrenica deaths to “10,000….including 3,500 children,” Bilefsky and Carvajal called the alleged massacre “the worst ethnically motivated mass murder on the European continent since World War II,” Mladic to stand trial for “war crimes….”

Other accounts were similar, including Reuters headlining, “Instant view: West hails news of Mladic arrest in Serbia,” quoting “sources” like UK Defense Secretary Liam Fox saying:

“It’s clearly (an arrest) to be welcomed….It’s a reminder to all those who fly in the face of international justice that sooner or later they will be brought to book for their crimes.”

He’s right, hopefully. Sooner or later real war criminals like American, Israeli and UK ones may have to answer for numerous crimes of war and against humanity, slaughtering millions for power and profit.

For example: Years of Western-backed Balkan wars culminated with NATO’s 1999 Serbia/Kosovo terror bombing, an atrocity playwright/Nobel laureate Harold Pinter described as follows:

“Little did we think two years ago that we had elected a government which would take a leading role in what is essentially a criminal act, showing total contempt for the United Nations and international law.” Saying it made him ashamed to be British, he called cutting children to pieces from 15,000 feet “barbaric” and despicably hypocritical.

“Let us face the truth,” he added. “Neither Clinton nor Blair (gave) a damn about the Kosovar Albanians. This action has been yet another blatant and brutal assertion of US power using NATO as its missile. It set out to consolidate one thing – American domination of Europe. This must be recognised and it must be resisted.”

This barbarism mustn’t be allowed to stand. Yet victims are held accountable for the perpetrators, the way victors’ justice always works – including writing the mythology about what allegedly happened in July 1995 at Srebrenica.

A Potocari, Bosnia Genocide Memorial Stone (SrebrenicaStone.jpg) lists “8372….” deaths. Saying it, however, doesn’t make it so.

Separating Truths from Mythology

Diana Johnstone wrote the definitive Balkan wars history. Her book, “Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions,” is essential reading to understand its causes and long-lasting effects.

For the West, it was about deterring Milosevic’s “Greater Serbia” quest, a gross mischaracterization about a war Western powers wanted and initiated, notably America and Germany. They encouraged cessation, provoked conflict, then took credit for ending it, committing real massacres in the process.

Milosevic, in fact, wanted Yugoslavia’s disintegration prevented. When it happened, he wanted minority Serbs protected, allowed either to stay in Yugoslavia or get autonomy in newly created rump states. Washington, however, had other aims. Johnstone believes they included:

  • occupation, colonization and exploitation;

  • preventing a European-backed settlement;

  • “assert(ing) dominance over European allies in the arbitration of European conflicts;”

  • expanding NATO through an “out of area” humanitarian mission, aka US-led war, domination, colonization and military occupation; and

  • “gain(ing) influence in the Muslim world by (allegedly) championing the Bosnian Muslims.”

She also called “government by international bureaucracy (a) new trend in the New World Order.”

As a result, “Bosnia-Herzegovina has been ruled by a similar combination: a complicated set of local authorities under the strict supervision of a ‘High Representative’ (a contemporary Proconsul or Viceroy) who can, and does, annul laws adopted by the local democratic institutions or dismiss democratically chosen officials” not in tow with official Washington.

In other words, dictatorship called democracy, the kind Washington disdains and won’t tolerate abroad or at home. Never, in fact, in one of its colonies, the latest at the time pounded mercilessly from March 24 – June 10, 1999.

Around 600 aircraft flew about 3,000 sorties, dropping thousands of tons of ordnance as well as hundreds of ground-launched cruise missiles. Up to then, its ferocity was unprecedented.

Nearly everything was struck, causing massive destruction and disruption, including:

  • known or suspected military sites;

  • power plants;

  • factories;

  • transportation;

  • telecommunications facilities;

  • vital infrastructure, including roads, bridges and rail lines;

  • fuel depots;

  • schools;

  • a TV station;

  • China’s Belgrade embassy;

  • hospitals;

  • government offices;

  • churches;

  • historic landmarks; and

  • other targets in cities and villages throughout the country.

Using NATO as a missile, it was lawless Pentagon aggression called humanitarian intervention whenever America goes to war, including Iraq 1991, again in 2003, Afghanistan in 2001, and currently Libya, slaughtering civilians, not protecting them.

In Serbia/Kosovo, an estimated $100 billion in damage was inflicted. A humanitarian disaster resulted. Environmental contamination was extensive. Large numbers were killed, injured or displaced. Two million people lost their livelihoods, many their homes and communities, and for most their futures under Western domination.

Serbia/Kosovo, in fact, was a prototype for new millennium aggression to eliminate challenges to US dominance, waging permanent wars to perpetuate it.

Srebrenica – Separating Myth from Known Facts

On October 12, 2005, Johnstone discussed it in her CounterPunch article titled, “Srebrenica Revisited,” remembering its summer 10th anniversary when the “dominant themes were ‘nostra culpa:’ ‘we’ let it happen, ‘we’ didn’t want to know about it, and ‘we’ mustn’t let it happen again.”

Who are “we,” she asked, and how accurate is the official story, questions to this day “virtually taboo” to preserve the official myth, including exaggerating Serb atrocities “whereas Muslim atrocities (such as the decapitations of Serb prisoners, fully documented) remained confidential.

Official accounts portrayed “a one-sided conflict between a Serbian ‘fascist aggressor’ and innocent victims, all unarmed civilians.”

Unexplained was that Srebrenica was a Muslim military base, besides a refugee “safe area.” Slobodan Milosevic, in fact, wanted Serb forces restrained from overrunning it. In addition:

  • before the July 1995 attack, Srebrebica-based Muslim forces “carried out murderous attacks on nearby Serb villages;”

  • Muslim Sarajevo officials withdrew their Srebrenica commanders, “leaving thousands of….soldiers (leaderless), without orders, and in total confusion when the foreseeable Serb attack occurred;”

  • when “Bosnian Serb forces captured (Srebrenica) on July 11, 1995,” civilians wanted to leave because normality there didn’t exist;

  • separating women and children from men was, in fact, done to find “the perpetrators of raids on Serb villages (to) take revenge;” and

  • yet only a small number “were detained at that point;” some, in fact, survived.

The alleged Srebrenica victim count reflected lies and half-truths based on what’s known but omitted in official and major media accounts. The 8,000 number included the Red Cross estimate of 3,000 “witnesses,” allegedly detained by Bosnian Serbs, as well as another 5,000 Red Cross accounts said “fled Srebrenica, some of whom reached Central Bosnia.”

In other words, they fled. They weren’t killed. Yet, they were added to the mythical death toll to inflate it. Years later, in fact, forensic teams discovered 2,361 bodies in the area where heavy fighting occurred, including combatants on both sides, not massacred civilians.

Johnstone explained that “(n)either the Bosnian Serbs nor the Muslims were ever forthcoming with whatever information they had, (yet) the ’8,000′ figure (became) an established total of ‘Muslim men and boys executed by Serb forces.’ ”

Afterward, Washington exploited Srebrenica to:

  • conceal “the US-backed Croatian offensive,”  forcefully removing Serbs from Krajina, an operation approved and supported by Washington, perhaps killing larger numbers than the alleged Srebrenica numbers, including women and children ruthlessly; and

  • “implicate Bosnian Serb leaders in ‘genocide’ (to) disqualify them from negotiating the future of Bosnia-Herzegovina.”

Exploiting the alleged Srebrenica massacre facilitated waging 1999 imperial war by blaming UN inability to protect it, so NATO’s humanitarian war had to intervene. In addition, Milosevic was falsely criminalized for alleged genocidal killings “against non-Serbs for purely racist reasons.”

Claiming Serbian caused genocide was, in fact, used “as an effective instrument (to) restructur(e) Yugoslavia,” balkanizing it under US control. Official and media propaganda repeated fabrications, exaggerations, and half-truths about what happened, portraying victims as perpetrators to this day.

Heading for a Hague tribunal lynching, Ratko Mladic is already guilty by accusation before he arrives. Washington, of course, insists on it to perpetuate the official lie, a massacre invented out of whole cloth.

Yet most people still believe it, the same ones perhaps thinking Washington’s led NATO war on Gaddafi is another humanitarian intervention, when, in fact, it’s more imperial aggression, slaughtering civilians daily, not protecting them!

2 thoughts on “More Myth than Massacre at Srebrenica

  1. Clinton’s Big Lie: “Srebrenica Massacre”: The representation of the Bosnian war as a campaign of genocide rapidly gained ground after the Guardian showed pictures of two Serbian detention camps, Trnopolje and Omarska.Izetbegovic admitted it to former UNMIK head Bernard Kouchner on his death bed in 2003. He told Bernard Kouchner that he lied about Trnopolje and Omarska being “death camps” in the hope of provoking NATO bombing against the Bosnian Serbs. This monstrous media hoax was used in order to demonize the Serbs as the “new Nazis”of Europe, to trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust, to turn the world – and especially Jewish people – against the Serbs, and to enable the US camp; NATO/EU Imperialist governments to further dismember Yugoslavia into a series of politically weak NATO/EU-run protectorates. One of the most stubborn factoids of our time is the myth that the massacre at Srebrenica in 1995 during the Bosnian civil war was solely about the killing of innocent Muslims by vicious racist genocidal Serbs. It is a relic of the coordinated media message put out at the time, which demonized the Serbs as cruel oppressors and ignored any atrocities of equal or greater magnitude by other parties to the conflict. 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.” The list of 7,000-8,000 Bosnian Muslims contains the names of the individuals who have been reported missing — it is not the list of the victims of a crime, those who have allegedly lost their lives during Srebrenica takeover.
    There is a world of difference, victims of the war crime are men who have been captured and executed without trial, while the victims of war are individuals who were killed during the battles, like Bosnian Muslim troops from Srebrenica column, which suffered heavy casualties after being engaged in battle with the Bosnian Serb Army.
    1}Internationally respected military forensic specialist Dr Zoran Stankovic, who reviewed the findings of the six experts employed by the Tribunal wrote that the effort lacked standard procedures, several of experts also lacked familiarity with wounds inflicted by military ordinance and some parts of the reports are “contrary to the generally acceptable forensic standards”. According to Dr Stankovic, many of the bodies exhumed from 17 gravesites were found in an advance state of decay “skeletonized, disarticulated and decomposed” lacking soft tissue and body parts that could help determine the cause of death. “Ascertainment of the cause of death in the cases of decomposed bodies is generally extremely difficult and in most case impossible…It is not allowed that [ICTY] experts provide their opinion in that regard and put forward the assumption having no grounds in autopsy findings.”Between 200 and 300 blindfolds and ligatures were exhumed with bodies by the ICTY, and as Dr. Stankovic notes, these are sure signs of execution…………………………………….. 2}Dr. Ljubisa Simic, pathologist and forensic expert who had full access to the Hague Prosecution’s forensic evidence in relation to the alleged “Srebrenica massacre”, found the scientific evidence of the Srebrenica hoax: the total number of victims, the number of the executed victims, the time of death and the causes of death tell a story that is entirely
    different from the official myth.
    1. The first group consists of 442 bodies on or about which blindfolds and/or ligatures were found, which indicates that those persons were executed.
    2. There are 655 bodies which show bullet inflicted injuries and based only upon that finding it is impossible to conclude whether they might have been executed or were killed during combat activity or committed suicide.
    3. In relation to a certain number of victims [477] it would be reasonable to conclude that they were not executed because of the presence of shrapnel and other metal fragments which are not bullet related. That pattern of injury is consistent with combat activity, not with execution, as the cause of death.
    4. For 411 bodies it was impossible to determine whether or not death was caused by execution because those bodies were incomplete. In this group we also find bodies which did not exhibit any traces of projectiles of any kind, and for that reason also the cause of death could not be determined.
    5. A significant percentage of the reports, 44,4 %, or a total of 1583, consists of only a few bones. If we take into account that a body consists of more than 200 bones, then it is clear that the reports in this category were useless for drawing conclusions of any kind. That is also suggested by the fact that in 92,4% of the reports in this category, even prosecution forensic experts refrained from making a determination of the cause of death.
    The first thing Dr. Simic noted is a common misconception, that 3,568 autopsy reports equal 3,568 bodies, which is not the case, even though the Hague Tribunal insists on treating it so.
    Pointing out that 75% and above of the bodily remains can be regarded as one (whole) body, Dr. Simic has found that around half of the total number of the Hague’s Srebrenica post-mortem reports are based on only few bones — in many cases just a single bone or bone fragment — which, simply put, “does not allow for any meaningful forensic conclusions to be drawn”.In order to establish with acceptable precision the number of persons alleged Srebrenica mass graves contained, Dr. Simic counted the right and left femur bones, starting from the hypothesis that the femur is one of the sturdiest skeletal components and that the number of these bones is therefore one of the most reliable indicators of how many individuals were in fact buried. The results of his analysis show the presence of 1919 right and 1923 left femur bones.
    Based on this analysis, Dr. Simic concluded that the total number of victims in all thirteen Srebrenica mass graves is well under 2,000 — woefully short of the magical number of 8,000, aggressively propagated by the State Department ever since 1995.
    Secondly, the forensic evidence wielded by the Hague prosecution is not accompanied by the DNA analysis, so it is entirely impossible to scientifically determine if these are remains of Bosnian Muslims, Serbs, Croats, Turks, Albanians, Arabs or some other ethnic group, or to ascertain the actual identity of the victims, save for the fact the remains belonged to the males.
    Next, Dr. Simic found that most of remains analyzed by the NATO specialists do not allow for forensic conclusions as to the causes of death and therefore cannot be verified as remains of the victims of the execution, nor can they serve as a proof of a war crime or a massacre in a court of law.He also noted that even though it takes 5-10 years for the human corpse to completely decompose, many of the remains taken out of a number of “Srebrenica mass graves” in 1996, for example, less than a year after the alleged Srebrenica “massacre” took place, were in a state of total decomposition, making the alleged time of death (July 1995) a scientific impossibility.The most important thing for now, is that Dr. Simic has provided a scientific evidence showing the whole Srebrenica myth about 7,000-8,000 Muslim “men and boys” murdered in cold blood is a big lie, based on thin air, propaganda and hearsay. This issue is still very much open and it will remain so until the full truth comes to light.Forensic analysis of post-mortem reports :
    Forensic analysis of post-mortem reports [DOC – 146.0 KB] Philippe Morillon:
    The fall of Srebrenica in 1995 was the “direct reaction” to the massacres of Bosnian Serbs by Naser Oric’s forces in 1992-1993. Morillon acknowledged that Oric’s troops had committed war crimes in eastern Bosnia. Morillon personally witnessed the exhumation of the bodies of Bosnian Serb civilians and soldiers who had been tortured, mutilated, and executed. He saw with his own eyes the Serbian villages that had been burned to the ground in the Srebrenica pocket. More than anyone else, Morillon understood the level of devastation in eastern Bosnia and the extent and nature of the massacres of Bosnian Serbs. Srebrenica: 1) The “safe areas” in Bosnia Herzegovina were not demilitarized, and thus served as Muslim military bases under UN protection. 2) The Muslim military force stationed in Srebrenica – some 5,000 men under the command of Naser Oric, had carried out murderous raids against nearby Serbian villages. 3) Izetbegovic pulled Naser Oric out of Srebrenica prior to the anticipated Serb offensive, deliberately leaving the enclave undefended. 4) The United States used the inevitable failure of the ambiguous “UN safe area” concept to discredit the United Nations as a peacekeeping force, thus promoting NATO to that role. 5) The number of Muslims killed or missing after the fall of Srebrenica is uncertain, and more effort has been made to inflate the figures than to identify and count the real victims. 6) The initial accusation against the Bosnian Serbs was politically motivated. 7) Insofar as Muslims were actually executed following the fall of Srebrenica, such crimes bear all the signs of spontaneous acts of revenge rather than a project of “genocide”. General Krstic’s defence, on appeal, argued that he could not be held responsible for crimes that he was unaware were actually occurring. The ICTY argued that for criminal responsibility to be established it was unnecessary to conclude that the defendant knew what was happening: ‘it was sufficient to show that he was aware that those acts outside the agreed enterprise were a natural and foreseeable consequence of the agreed joint criminal enterprise, and that the accused participated in the enterprise aware of the probability that other crimes may result.’ By this rationale, of course, any participation in war is a criminal enterprise, as in all wars it is fairly certain that crimes such as rape, murder and maltreatment of prisoners of war will be committed. Furthermore, the actual definition of genocide as employed by the Tribunal is not as might be commonly understood: as the intention to destroy such a substantial part of a group as to affect the entirety. In order to establish genocide the ICTY firstly argued that the Bosnian Serb army had targeted all of the Bosnian Muslim inhabitants of Srebrenica and the surrounding area, some 40,000 people, not just those murdered. This leads to a strange situation whereby those who were not murdered contribute to the verdict of genocide.Therefore, Krstic’s trial revealed serious flaws in the presentation of the fall of Srebrenica as an act of genocide. The ICTY was unable to establish that the commander of the army unit that captured Srebrenica had any intention to, or knowledge of, any murders. Furthermore, in order for the murders to be classified as genocide, the ICTY embarked upon a complicated definition of genocide that is not dependent on showing either intent to commit genocide, nor upon the numbers of people actually killed. Thus, under this definition of genocide the murder of some individuals, even soldiers in a combat situation, counts as genocide.From Kosovo in 1999 to the Congo in 2005, Srebrenica is held up as conclusive proof that the West is morally obliged to intervene militarily in conflict situations. Jack Straw argued in defence of Western intervention in Macedonia in 2001, on the basis that Srebrenica showed what happened when the West was reluctant to intervene. Liberal commentator David Aaronovitch used the same argument to explain his support for military action in Iraq. When discussing the killing of 60 Congolese soldiers by UN troops, UN General Patrick Cammaert argued in favour of robust military intervention, because of ‘the lessons of Srebrenica, Somalia and Rwanda.The Joseph Goebbels Nazi style “Big Lie”was spread world-wide with the mainstream media-connected resources of a multi-million dollar funded American “public relations”& lobbying firm called ‘Ruder Finn’ – whom also worked as a lobbying group in Washington on behalf of the Islamist Nazi terrorist KLA and Tudjman’s HDZ Fascist neo-Ustasha Nazi racist government responsible for the ethnic cleansing of over 350,000 Krajina province Serbs from 1990 to 1995 and for the murder of at least 15,000 Serbs during the same period. POLITICAL BACKGROUND—Two prominent supporters (at the time) of the late Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic, his Srebrenica SDA party chairman Ibran Mustafic and police commander Hakija Meholjic, have subsequently accused Izetbegovic of deliberately sacrificing the enclave in order to trigger NATO intervention. Meholjic is explicit: in his presence, Izetbegovic quoted Bill Clinton as saying that 5,000 dead Muslims would be sufficient to provide the political basis for an American-led intervention on the side of the Muslims.In 1993, when the Clinton Administration was strongly backing the Muslim President of Bosnia, Alija Izetbegovic, Osama Bin Ladin was regular visitor to his office, according to Renate Flottau of the German weekly, Der Spiegel. The Bosnian daily, Dani, reported that the Vienna Embassy of BiH issued a passport to Bin Ladin in 1993. At the presentation of the “Bosnian Atlas of War Crimes” held in Banja Luka on 31 March 2010, the director of the Research and Documentation Center in Sarajevo – Mirsad Tokaca – discussed the number of victims that were killed during the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide.Those buried at the Srebrenica Memorial Complex not only were not killed in July 1995, but actually died much earlier,, even in the early 1980s – more than 10 years before the civil war in Yugoslavia even started: Fetahija (Nazif) Hasanovic, b. 1955 – d. Dec.15, 1996, Srebrenica; Sukrija (Amil) Smajlovic, b.1946 – d. May 2,1996, Zaluzje; Maho (Suljo) Rizvanovic, b.1953 – d. Jan. 3,1993, Glogova; Mefail (meho) Demirovic, b.1970 – d. May 10, 1992, Krasanovici; Redzic (Ahmet) Asim, b.1949 – d. April 22, 1992, of Osman (Ibro) Halilovic (1912-1989), Nurija (Smajo) Memisevic (1966-1993), Salih (Saban) Alic (1969-1992), Mujo (Hasim) Hadzic (1954-1993), Ferid (Ramo) Mustafic (1975-1993) and Hajrudin (Ismet) Cvrk (1974-1992)………………………………..Hamed (Hamid) Halilovic (1940-1982), transferred from the nearby cemetery in Kazani, who apparently died a full 13 years before the Srebrenica “genocide.”Several hundred soldiers as well as civilians were transferred to the Srebrenica Memorial from other cemeteries and reburied, with Muslim burial rituals.In the summer of 2005, on the 10-year anniversary of the event, the “Srebrenica Research Group,” composed of mostly American and British media and academic figures, as well as former U.N. civil officials and military observers with ex-Yugoslavia experience, put up a website in which the entire “Srebrenica massacre” account was reconsidered and demystified. Instead of the 7-8,000 figure, U.N. officials and U.S. Congress experts were quoted giving figures of “700-800,” “the low hundreds,” “about 2,000 Muslims and Serbs total,” etc.

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