Tuesday, May 22, 2012

War crimes, and those who deny them


With Ratko Mladic in the dock in the Hague and warlords' friend Tomislav Nikolic winning the elections in Belgrade, it is time again to remember the atrocities committed in the former Yugoslavia two decades ago, but also the sides people took. 

At the time, the Tory media and the John Major government (who largely pursued a policy of neutrality, appeasement and realpolitik) span the conflict as the re-emergence of ancient atavistic racial hatreds, with all sides as bad as each other.

This line found had a ready audience on the Stalinophile left, who had seen the Titoist one-party state as a progressive bulwark against such tribalism (much as some “anti-imperialists” have viewed Ba’athist Iraq and Syria, and even Gadhafi’s Libya), and played to a left-wing pro-Serbian sentiment formed in WWII, which (wrongly) framed the Serbs as anti-fascists and the Catholic Croatians and Muslim Bosniaks as Nazi collaborators.

Key figures on the left, many of whom now have very influential positions in our media world, played a major role in denying, minimising or downplaying the violence perpetrated by the Serbian side. To talk about this brutality (mainly inflicted against Muslims) was to buy into some “Western” or “imperialist” narrative.

The deniers and minimisers included the magazine LM, then recently rebranded from Living Marxism and the outlet of the Revolutionary Communist Party. When the Guardian’s Ed Vulliamy and ITN’s  Penny Marshall and Ian Williams exposed the Serb-run concentration camp at Trnopolje in northern Bosnia, LM claimed they were fabricating evidence.

ITN sued LM for libel, which put it out of business. It now trades as Spiked, and its commentators have high profile roles in the establishment media, regularly appearing on the BBC and given columns in papers such as the Times and Telegraph. As Michael Mosbacher puts it, they have taken the long march through the institutions – rather more successfully, we might add, than other Marxist groups who have followed the Rudi Dutschke dictum.

They have been supported over the years by the cranky pseudo-anarchist celebrity professor Noam Chomsky. Chomsky has given comfort to Milosevic’s regime and its apologists: “[Milosovic] did all sorts of terrible things, but it wasn’t a totalitarian state. I mean, there were elections, there was the opposition…” Chomsky once told Serbian television. It is worth re-reading what Vulliamy said in 2009 when Chomsky was invited to speak by alleged human rights defenders Amnesty:
Prof. Chomsky was not among those (“Novo” of Germany and “Living Marxism” in the UK) who first proposed the idea that these camps were a fake. He was not among those who tried unsuccessfully (they were beaten back in the High Court in London, by a libel case taken by ITN) to put up grotesque arguments about fences around the camps, which were rather like [Frederick] Leuchter’s questioning as to whether the thermal capacity of bricks were enough to contain the heat needed to gas Jews at Auschwitz. But Professor Chomsky said many things, from his ivory tower at MIT, to spur them on and give them credibility and energy to spread their poisonous perversion and denials of these sufferings. To use the analogy of Holocaust denial, he was more David Irving than Leuchter - the man with academic pretentions, doing it all from a distance, and giving the revisionists his blessing. And the revisionists reveled in his endorsement. In an interview with the Guardian, Professor Chomsky paid me the kind compliment of calling me a good journalist, but added that on this occasion (the camps) I had “got it wrong”.
Got what wrong?!?! Got wrong what we saw that day, August 5th 1992? (I didn’t see him there.) Got wrong the hundreds of thousands of families left bereaved, deported and scattered asunder? Got wrong the hundreds of testimonies I have gathered on murderous brutality? Got wrong the thousands whom I meet when I return to the commemorations? If I am making all this up, what are all the human remains found in mass graves around the camps and so painstakingly re-assembled by the International Commission for Missing Persons.
***

Chomsky disciples Edward Herman and David Peterson have also claimed that the “Western” narrative about what happened in Yugoslavia (as well as the genocide in Rwanda) is mere propaganda. Their book, The Politics of Genocide, has a foreword by Noam Chomsky and an endorsement by John Pilger. In a column last year, George Monbiot demolished the core arguments they make there

Today, Monbiot argues in the Guardian that "On trial beside Mladic in The Hague is a disturbing case of infectious idiocy and denial which the left can no longer ignore". (The version on his website is fully footnoted, and supported by expert statements ; I've put clickable versions of his hyperlinks into the bottom of this post.) He describes how Chomsky, Pilger, ZNet’s publisher Michael Albert and others have continued to defend Herman and Peterson and their lies.

Pilger, for instance, said that “Chef Monbiot is a curiously sad figure. All those years of noble green crusading now dashed by his Damascene conversion to nuclear power’s poisonous devastations and his demonstrable need for establishment recognition – a recognition which, ironically, he already enjoyed.”

Bizarrely, because Monbiot and Vulliamy write for the Guardian, these uber-radicals have now decided that the Guardian is part of the demonic Amerikkan coalition of the willing trying to destroy heroic truth and resistance. (Herman and Peterson responded to Monbiot’s last column on this with over 16,000 words and 93 footnotes, including the claim that because Emma Brockes and Ed Vulliamy make the same spelling error they must be conspiring. Chomsky’s allies at CounterPunch actually described the Guardian as “a dangerous cult” and “a thought police for the internet age”, although this was also for publishing Andy Newman’s criticisms of Gilad Atzmon’s antisemitism as much as for its Yugoslavia line.)

Monbiot concludes:
The people I criticise here rightly contend that western governments and much of the western media ignore or excuse atrocities committed by the US and its allies, while magnifying those committed by forces deemed hostile. But they then appear to create a mirror image of this one-sided narrative, minimising the horrors committed by forces considered hostile to the US and its allies. 
Perhaps this looks to you like the kind of esoteric infighting to which the left too often succumbs, but this seems to me to be important: as important as any other human rights issue. If people who claim to care about justice and humanity cannot resist what looks to me like blatant genocide denial, we find ourselves in a very dark place.
***

One interesting irony of all this is that so many of those who defended the Serbs and were so callous towards the Muslim Bosnians and then Kosovans have posed as the friends of Islam in the current century, while many of those who were in solidarity with the Bosnians and Kosovans have been denounced as Islamophobes. As Hitchens later said:
“at that time, when they were real, Chomsky wasn't apparently interested in Muslim grievances. He only became a voice for that when the Taliban and Al Qaeda needed to be represented in their turn as the victims of a "silent genocide" in Afghanistan. Let me put it like this, if a supposed scholar takes the Christian-Orthodox side when it is the aggressor, and then switches to taking the "Muslim" side when Muslims commit mass murder, I think that there is something very nasty going on. And yes, I don't think it is exaggerated to describe that nastiness as "anti-American" when the power that stops and punishes both aggressions is the United States.” 
In fact, in denying Serb violence against Yugoslav Muslims, these “anti-imperialists” find themselves sharing a political space with counter-jihadis like Pamela Geller, who so hate Muslims anywhere that anyone who kills them is given a positive spin.

***

However, that may not be odd for the Spiked crew – who like to defend Geller’s comrades the proto-fascist English Defence League. Spiked have also recently been busy constructing “Marxist” arguments for the Sun’s Page 3, “contrarian” denunciations of mental health rights, “radical” dismissals of women’s rights and rape case anonymity, and “libertarian” attacks on gay civil partnerships.

Oh, and Spiked also take contrarian lines on various environmental issues, which they have in common with Alexander Cockburn of CounterPunch – so it is another irony to see Pilger dismissing Monbiot’s claims about genocide by reference to Monbiot’s support for nuclear power!


References


Responses to Herman and Peterson cited by Monbiot


Further reading


Previously
When John Pilger was my hero; Why I hate Noam Chomsky; Why Spiked are destroying Britain. More on Chomsky, on Bosnia, on Spiked, on CounterPunch

25 comments:

jams o donnell said...

Chomsky, hmm I'm glad I vowed never to read another word he wrote after making the mistakes to take a course in psycholinguistics in my second year at university.

As for the Spiked rabble, they are a bunch of attention seeking ringpieces who spew out crap that deserves less attention than a Richard Littlejohn column.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Monbiot vs Chomsky? I will be....

I thought such things could never happen in real life, and here we are. Is Monbiot getting a life finally?

Unbelievably it's the second time I see something positive said about him - on the same day!

http://aebrain.blogspot.com/2012/05/is-moon-blue.html

Richard Sanderson said...

Splendid stuff Bob, I am hoping the falling out with Monbiot will at least give some followers of the Cult of Chomsky pause for thought...

flyingrodent said...

Chomsky has given comfort to Milosevic’s regime and its apologists: “[Milosovic] did all sorts of terrible things, but it wasn’t a totalitarian state. I mean, there were elections, there was the opposition…”

Uh, does this mean that Serbia was a totalitarian state at that time? It's not really my area of expertise, but some clarity may be needed here. Either that, or a redefinition of "given comfort".

Anton Chigurh said...

It was all precipitated by the Germans recognising Tudjman's Croatia. Now why would they have done that? Oh...

bob said...

Comfort
Chomsky has given comfort to Milosevic’s regime and its apologists: “[Milosovic] did all sorts of terrible things, but it wasn’t a totalitarian state. I mean, there were elections, there was the opposition…”

Uh, does this mean that Serbia was a totalitarian state at that time? It's not really my area of expertise, but some clarity may be needed here. Either that, or a redefinition of "given comfort".
.

Milosevic came to power initially through a palace coup within the Communist party in the dying days of what was a totalitarian state, using anti-Muslim/anti-Albanian racism to gain support on the street for his behind the scenes manoeuvrings in the Party. Although he helped oversee a transition to multi-party democracy, he continued to censor and bully the media, e.g. making ridicule of Serbia an offence punishable for 3 years. Most of the elections held in the 1990s were characterised by fraud and intimidation.

However, my claim that Chomsky "gave comfort" to this regime was not simply based on this suggestion, but on the stuff I go on to quote Vulliamy and Monbiot talking about: his softcore denialism about Serb violence in the 1990s.

But even the RTS interview (note: RTS was established as a propaganda arm of the Milosevic regime in 1992, hence its targeting in the 2000 anti-regime riots) contains lots of horrible material. Sure, Chomsky criticises Milosevic. But I’ve just re-read the first half of the interview, and in this first alone Chomsky:
* claims that the NATO action against Serbia was BECAUSE it “was the last corner of Europe which had not subordinated itself to the US-run neoliberal programs”, i.e. portrays Milosevic as a somehow resistant figure, when in fact Milosevic presided over the rapid neoliberal dismantling of the social side of the Serbian state before the wars began.
* claims that Serb violence was actually the fault of the KLA – “who were coming in as they said, you know, to try to incite a harsh Serbian response, which they got”
* asserts CIA support for the KLA in 1998, without mentioning that the US embargoed the KLA and considered it a terrorist entity until late in the year
* lies about what he sneeringly calls “the photograph of the thin man behind the barb-wire”, without bothering to name the man (Fikret Alic) or the camp (Trnopolje) – he agrees it was fraudulent and clakims the photo was basically fabricated and the camp a refugee camp
* Repeatedly defers to Philip Knightley’s analysis of the photo as the real expert view, while ignoring the testimony of people like Vulliamy, Penny Marshall or Ian Williams, who were actually at Trnopolje and Omarska
* claims the photograph changed the course of war when in fact it took a year after the photo til NATO sent sailors to the region and a further year before any military action
* collapses the seven years from the photograph to NATO intervention over Kosovo in the words “Well, you know, that's when Kosovo came along”
* makes a big deal of the claim that there had been no genocide in Kosovo, without mentioning that there had been genocide already in Bosnia, which must be taken into account in assessing the NATO response as war brewed in Kosovo.

Anonymous said...

Why no links to articles rebutting Monbiot? Seems rather one-sided to me

bob said...

Anon-
Chomsky is perfectly capable of defending himself (altho I think his position is indefensible); it's not like he doesn't get huge amounts of fawning attention in the media and across the blogosphere. I'm not the BBC, and see no reason to provide even-handed access to all sides. This is one sided because this is my blog, and I believe one side is right and the other wrong.

Anonymous said...

Bob said:

Chomsky:

* claims that the NATO action against Serbia was BECAUSE it “was the last corner of Europe which had not subordinated itself to the US-run neoliberal programs”, i.e. portrays Milosevic as a somehow resistant figure, when in fact Milosevic presided over the rapid neoliberal dismantling of the social side of the Serbian state before the wars began.

- But hadn't the breakaway states presided over the rapid neoliberal dismantling of the political side of the Serbian state before the wars began, totally illegally (cf Catalonia) without even beginning to try to use the constitutional means available (and illegally spurred on in their regime change by EU/NATO?!)?!

* claims that Serb violence was actually the fault of the KLA – “who were coming in as they said, you know, to try to incite a harsh Serbian response, which they got”

- In fact, hadn't the Serb response to the continuous KLA activity been mild under the circumstances?!

* asserts CIA support for the KLA in 1998, without mentioning that the US embargoed the KLA and considered it a terrorist entity until late in the year

- Hadn't the Clintons and their minions been cosying up to the KLA?!

Mr B J Mann

Anonymous said...

Continued....

Bob said:

Chomsky:

* lies about what he sneeringly calls “the photograph of the thin man behind the barb-wire”, without bothering to name the man (Fikret Alic) or the camp (Trnopolje) – he agrees it was fraudulent and clakims the photo was basically fabricated and the camp a refugee camp

- Was there more than one such Fake News propaganda campaign about more than one "starving" man in more than one camp?!

- And are you agreeing it was fraudulent, or are you one of the people arguing that the takers of the photograph hadn't "faked" it and it was those who said it gave a false impression that were lying, as "proved" by them losing the libel case and being bankrupt?!

- The facts, which are undisputed, as far as I can recall, are that the camp was unfenced, but within the unfenced camp was a maintenance shed in a compound, most of whose fencing had collapsed, and the photographs were taken from "inside" the maintenance compound (of the unfenced camp), through the remaining still standing bit of maintenance compound fence, which to anyone not in the know, gave the impression of fenced in prisoners, one, and only one, of whom was emaciated, due to illness, which he was receiving treatment for.

- Most of the MSM ran with the story of starving fenced in prisoners. One or two pointed out the facts. The team that took the photographs ran to the Libel Capital of the world to claim this had given the impression they had deliberately faked the photos to deliberately fool the public into believing that there were starving fenced in prisoners, when they'd just taken some shots and the media had bought them and wrote what they wanted, and that this had damaged their reputations.

- British libel law being what it was, the defendants had to prove that the photographers had deliberately staged the shot to deliberately fool the public, which, of course, was impossible (which is why so many people come to London to sue people for Libel.

- So the photographers won the case and bankrupted those that pointed out the facts, the fact that the ones who told the truth lost and were bankrupted does NOT prove that the thin man was fenced in (nor does it prove that the photographs didn't give a misleading impression) - the case was based upon a completely different set of facts, which most supporters of the fenced in thin man scenario either don't realise, or deliberately give the wrong impression about, when they cite the libel case in evidence!!!

Mr B J Mann

Anonymous said...

Continued......

Bob said:

Chomsky:

* claims the photograph changed the course of war when in fact it took a year after the photo til NATO sent sailors to the region and a further year before any military action

- How long between the first propaganda rumours of WMD and the invasion of Iraq? Or of the anti-Gaddafi propaganda and black ops in Libya and open military action? Or between the first covert aid and open anti-Assad propaganda and open military action against him (the "accidental" airstrikes against Syrian army bases entirely coincidentally just before "moderate" - Al Qaeda as opposed to ISIS - rebels attacked don't count, and how many people realise that the US had an illegal military and an air base in Syria, with about a 1000 boots on the ground, or rather pairs of them, a year ago, and now have several illegal ones secretly in the country?!).

* collapses the seven years from the photograph to NATO intervention over Kosovo in the words “Well, you know, that's when Kosovo came along”

- You might as well "argue" collapses the time from the WMD propaganda to NATO intervention over Saddam in the words “Well, you know, that's when the invasion came along!

Mr B J Mann

Anonymous said...

Continued......

Bob said:

Chomsky:

* makes a big deal of the claim that there had been no genocide in Kosovo, without mentioning that there had been genocide already in Bosnia, which must be taken into account in assessing the NATO response as war brewed in Kosovo.

- Yes, for anyone who has forgotten the initial news reports, before the EU, and NATO, who stirred up the breakup of the Former Yugoslavia, started disseminating their propaganda "reports" on the war they started, forgets, it all began with the illegal secession of former Yugoslav states, equivalent of Catalonia going through with it's breakaway without even trying to follow the Spanish constitution or any kind of democratic process.

And not only did they break away illegally, spurred by illegal EU and NATO intervention in a Civil War that no one had a right to interfere in, it was the BREAKAWAY states that STARTED ethnic cleansing and GENOCIDE of SERBS (and any Croat and Bosniak dissenters)!

In fact, the Bosniak Commanding Officer of the Srebrenica Muslim garrison, yes, GARRISON, town, actually showed Canadian reporters trophy videos of his men's beheadings of Serb CIVILIANS in Serb villages around the Muslim town!

The Muslim Commander of Srebrenica Garrison, Naser Oric, was actually found guilty of atrocities, in the Hague War Crimes Court and got 2 years, but was then FREED?!?!?!

Mr B J Mann

Anonymous said...

Talking of Srebrenica (is that what you meant, rather than the many and various preceding atrocities against the Serbs?) it's the first, last and only time in history that the "confirmed" Dead exceeded the reported Missing!

In Peace-Time First-World 9/11 10,000 missing became 3,000 dead.

In War-Torn Third-World Kosovo Half a Million missing became 4,000 dead.

The less the sophistication, the more the confusion, the greater the error in and misreporting of the missing!

But in the rout of the Srebrenica Garrison 8,000 missing men and "boys" (cf "Our Boys" in Vietnam, etc) became, wait for it...........

Not 128 dead in line with Kosovo........

Not 2,400 dead, in line with 9/11.................

But 8,000 DEAD men+"boys"!

DESPITE it being KNOWN as A FACT that the Bosniaks had secretly pulled back ALL the Garrison's officer corps and many of its experienced troops behind their main lines, an estimated 3,000 officers and men pulled out without informing their families, and whose names, or even the total numbers, ever having been revealed to the Red Cross or any other humanitarian organisation, so that they could be removed from the list of missing!

So around 5,000 missing men (and "boys") swelled to 8,000 "dead"!

No double counting (despite multiple languages and three scripts - Roman, Cyrillic and Arabic - being common in the area) or multiple reporting (when you'd expect multiple reports of the same person being missing, to several different organisations, on multiple sides, plus "neutral" bodies, and then each one possibly being recorded in several different spellings and/or alphabets).

In fact, amazingly, nearly half the eventual dead can't have even been reported by their families, neighbours, workmates, comrades in arms!?!?!?!?!?!

To anyone STILL confused: the Former Yugoslavia is covered in mass graves from WW2, mainly filled with Serbs, who were mainly killed by Croats and Bosniaks - hence the extremely bloody RETALIATION for the Croat and Bosniak 90s atrocities!

Oh, and those 8,000 "graves" you see are mainly EMPTY memorials!

Mr B J Mann

Anonymous said...

Oh, and talking of Kosovo, the "liberating" and illegal removal from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Kosovo set the precedent in international law for everything and anything the Russians wanted to do, and more, in the Crimea!!!

And talking of illegal international actions, what about US/ NATO/ EU bombing of Civilian targets in Serbia, including hospitals (the bombing of military ones was also illegal, and so a war crime, not to mention the "accidental" missile strike on the Chinese Embassy - excused as, oops, someone putting the wrong postcode into its sat-nav?!?!)?

What about US/ NATO/ EU bombing and strafing of REFUGEE COLUMNS?!?!?!?

What about the Cluster Bomblets, White Phosphorous and Depleted Uranium being used against the Serbs in an undeclared, illegal, war, and the fact that the Serbs are STILL trying to clear up the mess?!

This illegal attempt at state re"building" was a practice run for the Middle East Wars.

And Kosovo created the precedent for Russian actions in the Crimea!

Oh, and many of the Mujahadeen and Jihadis that went to fight in the Balkans went on to fight in US/ NATO/ EU illegal regime change wars in the Middle East.

And most of the 9/11 hijackers came to the West via the Balkans (Wars)!!!

Mr B J Mann

bob said...

I hesitated before publishing the long and barely incomprehensible screed above by BJ Man, as I don't really want to give a platform to Islamophobia and softcore denialism, and don't really have the time or energy to counter the wall of noise he's thrown up, but I thought it was an almost perfect exemplar of the sub-Chomskyite "anti-imperialist" mindset in all its glory. I might read and respond to some of the points, as I don't think this BS should go un-challenged but he's obviously not going to be swayed by the truth so I'm not going to put much effort into it.

bob said...

1. hadn't the breakaway states presided over the rapid neoliberal dismantling of the political side of the Serbian state before the wars began, totally illegally (cf Catalonia) without even beginning to try to use the constitutional means available (and illegally spurred on in their regime change by EU/NATO?!)?!

This is not relevant to anything. Whether or not independence was legal under the existing constitution, the fact was there were was an overwhelming mandate for independence in the breakaway states, partly stoked by Milosevic's authoritarian manipulation of the federal system. The JNA marched into the breakaway states before the ink was dry on independence declarations and escalated violence rapidly. The "EU" (actually the EC) made substantial economic offers to all of them, and Serbia, to avoid the country breaking up and this was rejected by all of them. The EC recognised them months later and NATO had no role. Some EC countries (e.g. Germany) were more supportive than others (e.g. Spain).

But this wasn't my point. My point was Chomsky paints Milosovic as some kind of socialist holding out against neoliberalism, when in fact he pursued neoliberal reforms every bit as zealously as the economically more vibrant breakaway states, and to a far grimmer effect (as austerity bit harder on the weaker Serbian economy) - part of the reason he needed to fan the flames of nationalism so ardently.

bob said...

2. The KLA: Again, your points don't make any difference. The fact is Chomsky's narrative of the KLA as pawns of the US or "the Clintons" (interesting how Hillary gets written back into the story now, when she was really not involved) only makes sense if we edit out several facts (e.g. its terrorist designation).

As for the "mild" treatment of the KLA, the Serbian police and Yugoslav army committed war crimes in Kosovo right from the start of 1999, and very few independent observers would call their actions mild.

bob said...

[Maybe more later. Better things to do for now.]

bob said...

3. Turning to the stuff about the picture of Fikret Alic in Trnopolje camp. Obviously there was more than one picture of more than one starving Bosnian man to emerge from that war, but the iconic one was Alic, and this was the one LM focused on, so I think there is no doubt Chomsky means this. The image was iconic. but it was just one moment in a large amount of footage broadcast by ITN shot in the camp and in even more brutal Omarska. There was nothing fake about the images.

The court in London - and it was tried in London because ITN and LM were based in London, not because of ITN "ran to the Libel Capital of the world" - accepted that Deichmann's lies you recycle here about the barbed wire were wrong. The fact is, as Vulliamy, a witness, summarised it: "the compound in which these terrified men were held captive [was] surrounded on one side by recently reinforced barbed wire, on two sides by a chain-link fence patrolled by menacing armed thugs and on a fourth side by a wall".

Alic was more emaciated than others; he had been in the camp just 9 days. But it is clear in the footage that other prisoners were also starving, surviving on one meagre meal a day. Far from receiving treatment, Alic was beaten in the camp; he estimated ten men to have died daily while he was there, and saw several killed, including several identified as featuring in the ITN footage. When Alic escaped "Danish doctors found him in a terrible state. His weight had fallen from 13.5 stone to 7 stone. Six of his ribs were broken, as was his lower jaw." He testified: "odies 'were simply piled up in a corner and stayed there, until the smell of decay was bearable no more'. 'We were beaten with chains and clubs, and tortured with electric shocks or burning cigarettes,' he said. 'Some prisoners had their throats cut before our eyes, while others were shot.'" It was a concentration camp.

In the libel case, the defendants had to prove that what they said - Deichmann's spurious analysis - was true. The court, drawing on the testimony of actual witnesses, demonstrated that Deichmann was wrong and ITN's account was accurate. It was straightforward.

bob said...

4. Did Alic's picture trigger intervention? My point, ignored by Chomsky, is that it didn't. The image was circulated in summer 1992. In May 1993, the UN made half-arsed resolutions about "safe havens". Operation Deny Flight and the naval blockade, NATO's first deployment, were in April and Summer 1993 (and the latter was not an intervention on the side of Bosnia). It was only in April 1994 that NATO decisively intervened to protect the Goražde "safe area", while Operation Deliberate Force, the NATO action that finally actually took the fight to the Serbs, began only in August 1995, after the Srebrenica massacre. Contrast Iraq, where Colin Powell's February speech was followed in days by Operation Shock and Awe. As for Kosovo, it was March 1999 that NATO intervened. Recall that in Chomsky's interview, he cuts straight from the photograph to: "Well, you know, that’s when Kosovo came along, it was the same thing." A seven year gap, during which thousands died, glossed over.

I will stop there, as BJ's comments get increasingly bizarre and incoherent. But, first, on BJ's final comment: Oh, and many of the Mujahadeen and Jihadis that went to fight in the Balkans went on to fight in US/ NATO/ EU illegal regime change wars in the Middle East.
And most of the 9/11 hijackers came to the West via the Balkans
That's not actually true. Of the hijackers, only Mihdhar and Hazmi fought in Bosnia. But the lesson BJ draws is anyway perverse. I am reminded of the familiar structure of Holocaust denial: "It didn't happen; it was the Jews who did it; and the Jews deserved it anyway." Your starting point is that the genocide against the Muslims didn't happen, but in the end you give the game away: you think they deserved it because they were terrorists. If the genocide didn't happen, it is irrelevant whether some Bosnian Muslims became terrorists; it makes no difference to how we analyse the facts of the slaughter.

Yes, Bosnia radicalised some Muslims (as Afghanistan and Chechnaya did). But if the West had decisively intervened to save Muslim lives, which it didn't, then perhaps those Muslims would not have turned their guns on the West from the late 1990s. Similarly, if the West had decisively intervened to stop Assad's slaughter, the lure of ISIS would have been neutralised.

OK. Enough.

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify:

1 The militia of the Former Spanish Republic marched into the aspirant breakaway state of Catalonia before the ink was even wet on independence declarations and escalated violence rapidly.

Mr B J Mann

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify:

1b "The "EU" (actually the EC)"

Game, Set and Match to you then!

Mr B J Mann

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify:

3. ".....Obviously there was more than one picture.... There was nothing fake about the images.... had been in the camp just 9 days.... Alic was beaten in the camp.... doctors found him in a terrible state. His weight had fallen from 13.5 stone to 7 stone. Six of his ribs were broken, as was his lower jaw.... 'We were beaten with chains and clubs, and tortured with electric shocks or burning cigarettes,'"

So in "just 9 days" "His weight had fallen from 13.5 stone to 7 stone"?!

And the evidence of being "beaten... with chains and clubs... his ribs were broken... electric shocks or burning cigarettes" were in all the other photos of his bare back?!

(And all the hundreds of other starving concentration camp victims were hidden behind the probably cannibalistic fat b'stard prisoners and the undercover guards with the physiques of bodybuilders)

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify:

4 "Contrast Iraq, where Colin Powell's February [2003] speech was followed in days by Operation Shock and Awe [March 2003]."

So it's not true that Bush started planning it in December 2001?

Or that "we" were in on the secret as early as that (although our top brass weren't even begun to be tentatively involved until April 2002, and proper planning wasn't started until far, far too late!)?!

Mr B J Mann

Anonymous said...

Oh, and just to clarify, I'm not, and clearly didn't, say "genocides" (actually routs, and perhaps massacres) didn't happen, they clearly did, I even said they did, but the Serbs didn't start them, and certain incidents have been hyped up beyond all reason and recognition for political propaganda purposes.

And I never said anyone deserved anything, never mind civil war, and especially not the mutual atrocities.

I am reminded of the familiar structure of all too many "arguments" these days: just put words in someone's mouth, throw in lots of ad homs, and clinch the debate by tarring them as a "Denier"!

It was/they were civil wars, the most bloody kind, exacerbated by the, to many still living memory, of WWII, and the fact that all participants were actually one big, but not very happy, totally dysfunctional family, forced to play nice under Tito's iron glove.

For those who don't know, they are all basically Serbs who went their separate ways. There are hardly any pre Serb inhabitants, eg the original Macedonians of Alexander, left in the area. The Serb Serbs are the ones who stuck to the old Orthodox/ Eastern Empire/ Cyrillic traditions. The Croats and similar are the Catholic/ Western Empire/ Roman/ colonised from the North branch of the same people (the clue is in their common language of Serbo-Croat and derivatives). And the Bosniaks and similar (Serbo-Croat/Turkish fusion) are the Serbs who converted to Islam after the Ottoman invasions rather than hand over their eldest sons for castration and enslavement, and any pretty daughter that caught an invaders eye for the harem. That's why you get all those "enclaves" - they aren't invaders or colonisers, they're remnants of the previous tradition in an area that held out!

Mr B J Mann