Chomsky jumps on Bosnia revisionism bandwagon

Noam Chomsky appears to be joining his one-time co-author Edward Herman in loaning legitimacy to denial of (or outright cheerleading for) the genocide in the former Yugoslavia. David Adler notes on his Lerterland blog an Oct. 31 interview with The Chom in the UK Guardian, entitled, with refreshing skepticism, "The Greatest Intellectual?" Writes Adler, in comments bracketing some incriminating, alarmingly stupid quotes from the interview:

It's not news that Chomsky, like some others on the far left, is a Bosnia revisionist, supporting dubious claims that the 1995 Srebrenica massacre was exaggerated. But in this particular interview, Chomsky reveals his shabby intellectual and journalistic standards with heightened shamelessness:

[Chomsky] is asked to lend his name to all sorts of crackpot causes and [his wife] tries to intervene to keep his schedule under control. As some see it, one ill-judged choice of cause was the accusation made by Living Marxism magazine that during the Bosnian war, shots used by ITN of a Serb-run detention camp were faked. The magazine folded after ITN sued, but the controversy flared up again in 2003 when a journalist called Diane Johnstone made similar allegations in a Swedish magazine, Ordfront, taking issue with the official number of victims of the Srebrenica massacre. (She said they were exaggerated.) In the ensuing outcry, Chomsky lent his name to a letter praising Johnstone's "outstanding work". Does he regret signing it?

"No," he says indignantly. "It is outstanding. My only regret is that I didn't do it strongly enough. It may be wrong; but it is very careful and outstanding work."

How, I wonder, can journalism be wrong and still outstanding?

"Look," says Chomsky, "there was a hysterical fanaticism about Bosnia in western culture which was very much like a passionate religious conviction. It was like old-fashioned Stalinism: if you depart a couple of millimetres from the party line, you're a traitor, you're destroyed. It's totally irrational. And Diane Johnstone, whether you like it or not, has done serious, honest work. And in the case of Living Marxism, for a big corporation to put a small newspaper out of business because they think something they reported was false, is outrageous."

They didn't "think" it was false; it was proven to be so in a court of law.

But Chomsky insists that "LM was probably correct" and that, in any case, it is irrelevant. "It had nothing to do with whether LM or Diane Johnstone were right or wrong." It is a question, he says, of freedom of speech.

In reality, it is a question of trying to delegitimize, by any tawdry means necessary, the West's subsequent use of force in the Balkans. Here is Chomsky, champion of justice, trifling with the deaths of nearly 8000 innocent people—Muslims at that.

Now, we may have some differences with Adler. We don't feel the US use of force in the Balkans was "legitimate." The 1999 bombing of the Pancevo gasworks and the Belgrade TV station were war crimes too, and in any case the bombing only prompted the Serb militias to dramatically escalate their attacks on Albanians. But we thoroughly share Adler's outrage at The Chom's "trifling with the deaths of nearly 8,000 innocent people." And yeah, Muslims at that.

As for Diane Johnstone's "outstanding" journalism: Josh Mason, a former editor at In These Times, explains in an online PEN forum why she got sacked from that publication:

We felt we couldn't publish her stuff not only because she was insisting that there was no Serb role in the slaughter of Muslims in Bosnia after the facts were long in, but because her friendship with Milosevic's wife Marjana Markovic, going back to her time as student in Yugoslavia in the '60s, colored her writing to the point of dishonesty. For instance, in a piece on the Serbian opposition, she presented Ms. Markovic's party as Serbia's main democratic opposition.

Egad! Marjana Markovic's Yugoslav Left party was actually allied with Milosevic's ruling Socialist Party of Serbia, and she was held as intellectual mastermind of her husband's "Greater Serbia" ideology. Pretty sad that anti-war folks in the West (including Chomsky?) got taken in by the happy couple's cynical use of words like "left" and "socialist" to mask their fascist project (in the style of the Strasser Brothers).

For those who wish to be disabused of their illusions, "The Left Revisionists" by Marko Attila Hoare on Balkan Witness deftly demolishes Johnstone's vile apologias for fascism and ethnic cleansing. It also has a few choice words for The Chom.

See our last posts on the still-simmering Balkan mess and on Noam Chomsky.


Bill, thanks a great deal for the mention, and I take your point on the "legitimacy" of western use of force -- another way of putting this is that Chomsky's agenda here is not truth, but rather undermining the western intervention, *whatever one thinks of that intervention.* This, and only this, explains how it is possible for him to say that Johnstone's work "may be wrong" but is still "outstanding."


There's no doubt that Moslems were slaughtered at Srebrenica but there's a context for that is typically left out by people such as Adler and company.

The Toronto Star
July 16, 1995, Sunday, FINAL EDITION
Fearsome Muslim warlord eludes Bosnian Serb forces



When Bosnian Serb commander Gen. Ratko Mladic swept triumphantly into Srebrenica last week, he not only wanted to sweep Srebrenica clean of Muslims - he wanted Nasir Oric.

In Mladic's view, the powerfully built Muslim commander had made life too difficult and too deadly for Serb communities nearby.

Even though the Serbs had Srebrenica surrounded, Oric was still mounting commando raids by night against Serb targets.

Oric, as blood-thirsty a warrior as ever crossed a battlefield, escaped Srebrenica before it fell.

Some believe he may be leading the Bosnian Muslim forces in the nearby enclaves of Zepa and Gorazde. Last night these forces seized armored personnel carriers and other weapons from U.N. peacekeepers in order to better protect themselves.

Oric is a fearsome man, and proud of it.

I met him in January, 1994, in his own home in Serb-surrounded Srebrenica.

On a cold and snowy night, I sat in his living room watching a shocking video version of what might have been called Nasir Oric's Greatest Hits.

There were burning houses, dead bodies, severed heads, and people fleeing.

Oric grinned throughout, admiring his handiwork.

"We ambushed them," he said when a number of dead Serbs appeared on the screen.

The next sequence of dead bodies had been done in by explosives: "We launched those guys to the moon," he boasted.

When footage of a bullet-marked ghost town appeared without any visible bodies, Oric hastened to announce: "We killed 114 Serbs there."

Later there were celebrations, with singers with wobbly voices chanting his praises.

These video reminiscences, apparently, were from what Muslims regard as Oric's glory days. That was before most of eastern Bosnia fell and Srebrenica became a "safe zone" with U.N. peacekeepers inside - and Serbs on the outside.

Lately, however, Oric increased his hit-and-run attacks at night. And in Mladic's view, it was far too successful for a community that was supposed to be suppressed.

The Serbs regard Oric, once Serb President Slobodan Milosevic's personal bodyguard, as a war criminal.

RE: "Nasir Oric's War Trophies"

By way of adding to Louis Proyect's post of the report from the July 16, 1995 Toronto Star:

The Washington Post
February 16, 1994, Wednesday, Final Edition
HEADLINE: Weapons, Cash and Chaos Lend Clout to Srebrenica's Tough Guy
BYLINE: John Pomfret, Washington Post Foreign Service

Nasir Oric's war trophies don't line the wall of his comfortable apartment -- one of the few with electricity in this besieged Muslim enclave stuck in the forbidding mountains of eastern Bosnia. They're on a videocassette tape: burned Serb houses and headless Serb men, their bodies crumpled in a pathetic heap.

"We had to use cold weapons that night," Oric explains as scenes of dead men sliced by knives roll over his 21-inch Sony. "This is the house of a Serb named Ratso," he offers as the camera cuts to a burned-out ruin. "He killed two of my men, so we torched it. Tough luck."

Reclining on an overstuffed couch, clothed head to toe in camouflage fatigues, a U.S. Army patch proudly displayed over his heart, Oric gives the impression of a lion in his den. For sure, the Muslim commander is the toughest guy in this town, which the U.N. Security Council has declared a protected "safe area."

Perhaps the time for toughness in Bosnia is nearing an end. The problem, though, is that hundreds of men like Oric who still want to fight dominate all three sides in this 22-month-old war. Nobody controls them; they have access to plenty of weapons and lead many young men. And, if anything, Balkan tradition is on their side.

As the United Nations seeks to make a cease-fire work in Sarajevo under the threat of NATO airstrikes, officials face the issue of how to neutralize men like Oric.

"I won't let these people destroy the peace," British army Lt. Gen. Michael Rose, commander of U.N. forces in Bosnia, told people in Sarajevo last weekend, referring to fighters who kept firing after the cease-fire began. "If we find out who they are, we will put their pictures on television and tell the world they are not serving your interests."

But Oric and others like him have other plans -- in Sarajevo and elsewhere. For him and his counterparts within Bosnian Serb and Croat paramilitary units, the war has been a godsend. While the vast majority of the 44,000 people crammed into this enclave about 50 miles east of Sarajevo have no fuel, Oric rents out his car -- a shiny black Volkswagen Golf. While most people spend their days and nights without electricity, Oric has power 24 hours a day. His generator runs on black-market diesel oil. It's only natural, because he's the biggest dealer in town.

These days Oric's men aren't fighting much -- although occasionally they sneak up behind the observation posts established by the Canadian U.N. troops on the borders of the "safe area" and take potshots at the 3,500 well-armed Serbs besieging Srebrenica.

His troops' main task is making a nine-hour trudge, across Serb lines, to the next U.N. "safe area" to the south: Zepa, where the Ukrainian U.N. troops are more amenable to deals than the 150-odd Canadian infantrymen here.

A formidably muscled 27-year-old with a patchy black beard, Oric, a native of Srebrenica, kicked around for several years after graduating from trade school, where he learned metalworking. In 1987, out of work in Belgrade, he joined the Serbian capital's police department and within several months was transferred to the republic's police force, participating in a crackdown on Muslim ethnic Albanians.

"I'm a man of action," he said in a recent interview. "I like adventure."

The highlight of Oric's career came when he served for two years as a personal bodyguard to Serbia's nationalist president, Slobodan Milosevic, the man credited in the West with igniting Yugoslavia's conflagration.

"I was a professional," Oric said. "It was a good, secure job."

Oric left the Serbian police early in 1992, when Serb nationalist fervor reached its peak. He was back in eastern Bosnia when the war broke out that April.

Last winter, a Serb attack on the Muslim villages of Cerska and Koljevic Polje pushed Oric and his men into Srebrenica. If not for the intercession of U.N. troops, Oric would either be dead, in a prisoner of war camp or living in the hills.

But Oric, who was wounded three times, sees it differently: "The U.N. saved the Serbs from our counterattack. We were ready to take it all back."

Part of Oric's appeal to this refugee-packed town is that he tells displaced Muslims what they want to hear. He will win them back their homes; he will avenge their dead mothers and fathers, raped sisters and cousins.

"As long as I am in Srebrenica," he said, "it will never be Serb. We will protect the hearths of our people. We will never be Palestinians."

Chomsky replies in The Guardian,+ letter from a Bosnian victim

Falling out over Srebrenica

Wednesday November 2, 2005

Emma Brockes's report of her interview with me (G2, October 31), opens with the following headline:

"Q: Do you regret supporting those who say the Srebrenica massacre was exaggerated? A: My only regret is that I didn't do it strongly enough"

I did express my regret: namely, that I did not support Diana Johnstone's right to publish strongly enough when her book was withdrawn by the publisher after dishonest press attacks, which I reviewed in an open letter that any reporter could have easily discovered. The remainder of Brockes's report continues in the same vein. Even when the words attributed to me have some resemblance to accuracy, I take no responsibility for them, because of the invented contexts in which they appear.

As for her personal opinions, interpretations and distortions, she is of course free to publish them, and I would, of course, support her right to do so, on grounds that she makes quite clear she does not understand.
Noam Chomsky
Lexington, Mass, USA

I am a survivor of the Omarska concentration camp. As such I was shocked by some of the views of Noam Chomsky in the article by Emma Brockes. Chomsky describes the revisionist work of a journalist, Diana Johnstone, on the camps and events at Srebrenica 1995. The importance of this issue is not about the number of people who were killed in and around Srebrenica, but about deliberate attempts to at best trivialise, at worst deny, genocidal acts committed by Serb nationalists in Bosnia.

If Srebrenica has been a lie, then all the other Bosnian-Serb nationalists' crimes in the three years before Srebrenica must be false too. Mr Chomsky has the audacity to claim that Living Marxism was "probably right" to claim the pictures ITN took on that fateful August afternoon in 1992 - a visit which has made it possible for me to be writing this letter 13 years later - were false. This is an insult not only to those who saved my life, but to survivors like myself.

Ed Vulliamy, Penny Marshall and Ian Williams were the first foreign witnesses to the existence of the camps at Omarska and Trnopolje, where Bosnian Muslims and Croats were incarcerated, tortured and executed in a manner that merits no justification. However, saying that Vulliamy "happened to be caught up in a story which is probably not true" has the effect of excusing these crimes. And because I was incarcerated in Omarska in August 1992, when Vulliamy arrived there, I guess I am also a liar. My experiences in that horrendous period, shared by thousands of others, were far from a "story". My imagination could never have anticipated the gritty taste of the cruelty delivered by an ugly collaboration of strangers alongside neighbours, teachers and schoolmates. My memories don't come from a storybook.

Kemal Pervanic
Author, The Killing Days: My Journey Through the Bosnia War

"Dark" side of Srebrenica story

I would like to quote a part of an interview of Mr. Hakija Meholjic (he is a Muslim from Srebrenica-who was in Srebrenica from the very beginning of civil war in ex-Socialistic Republic BiH until the fall of Srebrenica)....This interview was published in '98 in a Muslim weekly newspaper from Sarajevo....

(here is a link: )


5,000 Muslim Lives for Military Intervention

Dani, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Hercegovina, June 22 1998

Interview with Hakija Meholjic, president of Social Democratic Party for Srebrenica, by Hasan Hadzic

In your accusations of the state leadership, and particularly of President Izetbegovic, over a share of the Bosniak blame for the Srebrenica tragedy, the departure of the Srebrenica delegation to Sarajevo in September 1993 for talks on the fate of this enclave cannot be avoided?

The invitation came from President Izetbegovic. At a meeting of the municipal war presidency we designated the delegation for Sarajevo. We immediately had some premonition that big issues would be resolved there because it was the first time we were leaving Srebrenica and we were provided transport in two helicopters. We exited safely, yet ever since we had became a demilitarized zone not a single civilian or military delegation had come to us. It was envisaged that Naser Oric would be going also, but he did not want to go. We were transported in armored personnel carriers from Sarajevo airport to the Holiday Inn hotel. That was the time of the Bosniak Convention, where a decision was being made on the peace plan and the division of Bosnia. We were received there by President Izetbegovic, and immediately after the welcome he asked us: "What do you think about the swap of Srebrenica for Vogosca [a Sarajevo suburb]?" There was a silence for a while and then I said: "Mr. President, if this is a done thing, then you should not have invited us here, because we have to return and face the people and personally accept the burden of that decision."

So you rejected Izetbegovic's decision?

We rejected it without any discussion. Then he said: "You know, I was offered by Clinton in April 1993 (after the fall of Cerska and Konjevic Polje) that the Chetnik forces enter Srebrenica, carry out a slaughter of 5,000 Muslims, and then there will be a military intervention." Our delegation was composed of nine people, one among us was from Bratunac and unfortunately he is the only one not alive now, but all the others from the delegation are alive and can confirm this. Since the Convention had started the President entered to announce us, and when he did it all the present stood up and welcomed us with an applause as heroes. We had a request, in case the peace plan was accepted, that Srebrenica be provided a physical link with Tuzla and not with Gorazde. Therefore, we asked for Bratunac and Zvornik because a link across the desolate stretches and mountains did not suit us and we had never been linked to that area anyway. It was said the President would receive all delegations, but he accepted them all except ours.

Srebrenica Was Sold
Did you talk to someone else?

Then they somehow judged I was the toughest nut to crack, so........


Isn't it interesting? After all it happened like that! There was a "massacre", there was a NATO intervention and most of Srebrenica people were settled in that Sarajevo suburb (which belonged to Serbs during the war) and most of Vogosca Serbs went to Srebrenica...Basically the territories were "exchanged"...

What else is never mentioned in western media is the fact that during the period of Srebrenica as a UN Protected Zone, the military forces of Bosnian Muslims led by Naser Oric (he is at the moment in The Hague tribunal accused for the committed war crimes against Serbs) killed more than 2.700 Serbs (mainly civilians, there is a list of the names)... most of the crimes were committed against older people during orthodox religious holydays like Christmas...usually Muslim forces sneaked out from "UN protected zone" went killing people and returned back in safety of this "zone"...
In addition should be mentioned atrocities that were committed against thousands of Serbs in Srebrenica region in World War II by Muslim/Croat forces that fought on the German side as an army of fascistic Independent State of Croatia.
So, there is a "history" in this area....

What else is usually "forgotten"- is the fact that many of those 8.000 you mentioning (in the beginning the number was 20.000, just as same tactic as with "80.000 rapped Muslim women" in the beginning of the war-nobody even speaks about those "rapped women" anymore, because it was nothing but a LIE!), so, many of those 8.000 were killed in action with guns in their hands trying to get out of surrounded area! According to some sources more than 50% of 8.000 were killed in fights!

Without any doubt there was a war crime committed by Serbs in Srebrenica, but it was not a "genocide" simply because of the fact that women and young kids were not victims...The real genocide is what happened to Serbs in WWII in camp Jasenovac in Croatia where 700.000 Serbs (kids, women and men) were executed by Croat fascistic state/forces!

Srebrenica a Legitimate Military Target

From a military prespective, Srebrencia was a legitimate military target. As the post above notes, the so-called UN "safe-haven" was militarized and acted as the base for Muslim war lord Nasir Oric to launch punitive raids on the surrounding Serb villages.

Oric, indicted by the Hague Tribunal, even video taped his killing sprees - massacres of primarily Serb civilians.

When a Serb probe tested the defenses of Srebrenica one evening, they found the Muslim units had vanished - fled into the night and left the entire area open. The town and surrounding area were used by the Sarajevo Muslim regime brilliantly to highlight Muslim plight and victimhood for the press. But when Oric was orderd to flee, it created propaganda results for them beyond their wildest expectations.

Many of the Muslim killed were soldiers - many on the infamous hill where they were surroudned by Serb forces and slaughted primarily by mortar fire.

Also, many of the Serb forces came from the surrounding town of Bratunac, which suffered most from Oric's attacks.

The Serbs simply practiced the U.S. military doctrine of using "overwhelming force to destroy your enemy". They eliminated the the threat to their homes and towns in the area.

The infamous "Highway of Death" in Kuwait witnessed a similar application of this doctrine. I believe thousands of trucks, cars, and buses were destroyed by U.S. aircraft in a one-day period, killing likely thousands of Iraqi soldiers, men, women and children, who were fleeing Kuwait. U.S. commanders viewed it as a legitimate target - an enemy fleeing - to completely eradicate them. And that included their families and civilian staff who were travelling in the column back to their homes in Iraq.

However, I believe both are still war crimes which should be punished. The Serbs, Nasir Oric and the US massacre in Kuwait. Funny how you can find very little information anaywhere about the "Highway of Death". It has been completely suppressed by the U.S. military. By any definition, it was a massacre and a war crime.

I refuse to be duped by the press and the outcry over "Srebrebinca" and to be spoon-fed the received wisdom as to what happened there.

Almost all accounts choose to ignore the context, exaggerate the losses and manipulate the conclusions.

Learn how to write, and to think, willya?

From a logical perspective, the above post is engaging in logical fallacies. (From a rhetorical perspective, it is engaging in redundancy.)

So let's see. Becuase Oric was using Srebrenica as a base for attacks on Serb civilians, it was "legitimate" for the Serb forces to kill 8,000 civilians and captives. By this same "logic," because Milosevic was using Serbia as a base for atttacks on Muslim Slav and Albanian civilians, it was "legitimate" for Clinton to bomb Belgrade. Oh wait a minute, that one doesn't sound so good, does it?

And then we are told, once again, that the losses at Srebrenica were "exaggerated." No evidence provided, we are supposed to accept this on faith, even though it contradicts the findings of a rigorous international investigation.

And (de regueur) an irrelevant US atrocity (in this case the Highway of Death) is brought up just to further muddy the water. It's as if each ghastly act of mass murder by US imperialism deposits karmic funds in some cosmic bank account from which the Serbs are then entitled to make a withdrawal. Hey, if Big Daddy US Imperialism can wipe out retreating troops, let us have our fun with helpless captives at Srebrenica!

And of course the "context" for Oric's crimes—the cleansing of Muslims from some 70% of Bosnia by the Serb forces—is also neatly ignored.

Same old bullshit. I don't know why I allow my blog to serve as a vehicle for this sick fascistic propaganda. There's a sucker born every minute, I guess...

Bill, there is no point expla

Bill, there is no point explaining Oric's behavior in terms of prior bad behavior by the Serbs. There were no "good guys" in Bosnia. Despite attempts by people like Susan Sontag and Christopher Hitchens to ennoble the Moslems, there was ethnic cleansing going on across the board. Croats victimized Serbs. Serbs victimized Moslems. Moslems victimized Serbs. And so on. Yugoslavia imploded because of economic pressures brought on by international lending institutions, a declining economy, etc. The one thing that you anarchists seem unable to explain is the particular animosity directed toward Milosevic which differed little than that directed toward any attempt today in the former Soviet bloc to institute measures against rampant neoliberalism. Privatization has created economic misery in Serbia. The IMF understood that the Titoist underpinnings of the Yugoslav state had to be smashed. I realize that things like a job in a state-owned factory are not exciting to somebody with anarchist dreams of humanity's glorious classless future but when you have bills to pay, such mundane considerations do tend to matter.

I just love it...

The Serb-apologists around here attempt to "explain" the Chetniks' behavior in terms of "prior bad behavior" by Oric and this elicits no protest from you, but when I point out that this perverse logic can be reversed, I am excoriated as a naive liberal of the Hitchens variety. What transparent bullshit. Further BS is the notion that "there were no 'good guys' in Bosnia." When Kurds in Turkey or Mayas in Guatemala or Timorese in Indonesia or (dare I say it?) Palestinians in the Occupied Territories get slapped around the way Muslim Slavs and Albanians did in the former Yugoslavia, all us lefties are supposed to run to their defense. The PKK and Palestinian factions have committed plenty of thuggeries, but this doesn't prevent us from recognizing the "good guys." But in Bosnia we resort to bogus equivalism. Pathetic.

Still more pathetic is the notion that Milosevic was somehow protecting the Titoist system. Nobody did more to destroy it. He came out of the banking bureaucracy, for crissakes, and acquiesced in IMF-imposed austerity all the way back in the 1980s. Then, instead of blaming the IMF for the resultant economic agony like a real socialist would, he blamed the Albanians for having too many babies and stealing Serbian jobs, the way Pat Buchanan blames Mexicans here in the good ol' USA. And you fall for this fascist shit? And then have the chutzpah to play a lefter-than-thou card?

By the way, I am facing eviction proceedings at the moment, so I will thank you to refrain from commenting on my supposed insensitivity to people who "have bills to pay."

Well, Mister, to learn thinking should be your assignment

First of all PARDON ME on my poor English-to be perfectly honest I have never learned this language, so no wonder it's poor...But, if you prefer we can continue arguing in Serbian if you wish?! I doubt it...

The fact that I write poor English doesn't prove me wrong, does it Mr. Know-it-all?

So, as I said "to learn how to think" should be your assignment..or at least you should learn to think in gray shade, if you can't handle colors...No, Mister, it's not everything "black and white" as you can find in YOUR newspapers. Who knows, maybe it's logical that you know better things from newspapers and magazines than the person who went through "things" (...following your "language logic" that should be "a prove" that you are definitely wrong and that you are incapable of thinking...)

Maybe I'm wrong, but I didn't say the number 8.000 was exaggerated-I am TELLING you it's misinterpreted on purpose (in the begining the number was 20.000-just think of that...). To be, perfectly honest, according to the official report it is a little bit less than 8.000 ....
This number doesn't tell you HOW they ALL were killed and it doesn't tell they were civilians! I will repeat again in Srebrenica happened SHAMEFUL WAR CRIME-that's the fact! And doers will be punished! But, what happened and what was interpreted and after while misused are two very different things!!
As you can see, some of the leading intelectuals of the world would agree with this....

Oh, Serbs killing Americans would be good reason for bombing Belgrade...But, we didn't have Weapon for Mass Destruction as Iraq did :lol: and reason was desperately needed.... (Do I need to remind you on some similar actions and scenarios that happened in BiH?? I believe not-nothing would changed, anyway...but, think about "the offer" Clinton proposed to Izetbegovic (from the above excerpt)! Think about that! How insensitive one should be to say that, and how insensitive the leader of that people should be to even consider that!!!

Following your logic...Americans attacked Serbia-who was then supposed to attack Americans? Or you were unconditionally right as in the case of Weapon for MD????
The old Klingon saying is:"The justice is directly proportional to power"! :)

(Why do you think Milosevic used Serbia as a base for attacks on Muslims??
And why do you think Milosevic "somehow" was protecting titoist system? Are you sure?? Why would he destroy it after all, as you say?)

So, you are mentioning "ethnic cleansing"...are you trying to justify Oric's war crimes with "ethnic cleansing" Serbs did??
Or should I remind you on who started with that, especially in Srebrenica region?
Do I need to tell you how many Serbs live now in Muslim ruled part of BiH-what happened to them or better to say what happened to me!? Or you "have bought" that "multiethnic" crap served by Muslims? Only from Sarajevo 160.000 Serbs were "cleansed"...These days-there are more Chinese in "multiethnic" Sarajevo then Serbs!

Believe me, the history of the civil war in BiH DOES NOT start with Srebrenica! It starts much earlier.....But, you wouldn't want to know, of course...It is easier to have good and bad guys...
(just to add one thing to Louis' comment-Serbs victimized Croats and Muslims, Croats victimized Serbs and Muslims, but only Muslims victimized Serbs, Croats and Muslims! There was a "small" civil war between two fractions of Muslims in western BiH during the war in BiH.)

But, as you said the same old crap...

And if you didn't want people reading and commenting your blog you shouldn't have posted it on the internet . Maybe you could write it on paper and have it pinned above your bed and you two could enjoy yourselves uninterrupted...

Are you sure you know what it means "fascistic"??

Your English is fine

However, you are completely full of shit.

I am not portraying things in "black and white." I acknowledged that in Bosnia as in Palestine and Turkish Kurdistan, atrocities were committed by all sides. But using this reality to weasel out of recognizing the aggrieved party is a just a bogus propaganda trick. And portraying Milosevic as a defender of "socialism" (as the previous poster did) is pretty "black and white."

The 8,000 is "exaggerated"? Show us your evidence. Did you conduct a ten-year investigation with an international team of top forensic experts which has been accepted by every major human rights group in the world? Didn't think so. Get back to us when you have.

Did you really fail to grasp my sarcasm in "justifying" the US bombing of Serbia, and Oric's atrocities? You really didn't get that I was just exposing the flaws of my opponents' "logic" by inverting it? Or are you just being disingenuous?

I think Milosevic used Serbia as a base for attacks on Muslims because all the evidence and logic of the situation supports it. If there was a slight degree of deniability in the case of Bosnia, due to the (largely fictional) border between Serbia proper and the "Serb Republic," there was certainly no doubt in the case of Kosova, which is within Serbia. I think 800,000 refugees is pretty good evdience.

"Who started it"? The Bosnian Serb leadership "started it" by boycotting the referendum in '92, seceding and expelling the Muslims from their territory. Weren't you paying attention?

I do not buy your claims on Sarajevo being Serb-free, but—gee, what reason would the people of Sarajevo have to be angry at Serbs? The mind boggles.

I encourage comments, but this relentless fascistic Chetnik propaganda gets very, very tiresome.

Pro-Muslim propaganda is tiresome as well

Excellent! We came on a referendum issue!! The famous referundum is the corner stone of the civil war in ex/Yugoslav Republic BiH!
I hope you are familiar with LEGAL ways of how to conduct a referendum...I believe you have general picture of it...Basically, referendum has to be organized and conducted by authorities of some land, region, country, or whatever, correct me if I'm wrong....But before "conducting referendum" there has to be some kind of decision of "organizing of referendum"...(that depends on situation,though, but ex-Yugoslavia, we can say, was organized in a legal manner-so were its republics...)
Now we are getting to the referendum issue...
To organize a referendum in Socialistic Republic BiH (SRBiH) there had to be the Republic Assembly decision on that!
In the SRBiH there were 3 so called Constitutional Peoples (Croats, Muslims and Serbs) and according to the SRBiH CONSTITUTION all "major" decisions had to be reached by CONSENSUS of three peoples!
That famous assembly session was held on 14th Oct 1991. It was long and tiring session full of political games and arguing-which is pretty normal considering the fact the situation we were going through!
Basically-the President of the Assembly closed session and scheduled the continuation for some other day...It was, if I remember well, after midnight..So, session was closed and according to the Constitution nobody can replace the President without his permission and nobody can continue the session without him (if he is alive and in good health)...But, basically, Muslim and Croat representatives after the session was closed grouped and "continued" the session (which was against the Constitution) and the wisepresident of the Assembly chaired (which was against the Constitution cause he didn't have a legal permission from the President) illegal session and basically, that group of people illegaly decided to organize illegal Referendum (which was against the Constitution, cause the decision was not reached by consensus of ALL THREE PEOPLES! )
So, that referendum you mentioning is nothing but an illegal act of group of people! (for instance YOU could have sat there and raise a hand in favor of referendum-and to push this region in to the devastating civil war!) It was nothing but a violation of the Constitution!! That's it!!
That act represents nothing but an act of ILLEGAL SECESSION which, eventually, turned into the VIOLENT SECESSION!!
And who ever went to that illegal secessionistic referendum violated the CONSTITUTION!!
That is what the law says about that!! Wishes are something else-I can understand some people were not happy in SFRY, but anyway-they HAD TO FOLLOW THE LAW AND CONSTITUTION! Am I right? You believe in laws? And you follow them, I'm positive....
That's the very short story about that referendum you think was the start!
But the corner stone of the war was this session!!

Huh, 8.000 again "exaggerated"?! But, I'm saying misinterpreted for more war..there is 8.000 dead people in Srebrenica-that's the fact!
I was not in that forensic group...Were you? Did they prove how ALL of them were murdered?? Did they? Where are your proves that half of poor people were not trying to fight their way out of surrounded area with weapons ?

Oh, gee..Sarajevo people should be angry with Serbs and it is justified to "cleans" them out?!
But, regarding the referendum story above you would agree that Serbs should be angry with people who STOLE and VIOLATED their constitutional right and decided on behalf of Serbs where Serbs should and were supposed to live and along the way they destroyed the country where Serbs lived in?! Not to mention UN guaranteed self-determination right ..(BTW, have you ever heard of referendum of Serbs in SRBiH in 1991.?!! )

THere was no need for Milosevic to use Serbia as a "base" for war in SRBiH-it's just another nonsense... you said Kosovo is in Serbia-that would be enough....(what should be used to protect Serbia's land from illegal secession-maybe Romania as a base??!! Give me a break)

800.000 refuges?! Yeah same as 20.000 in Srebrenica, and 80.000 "rapped" in BiH!? And 300.000 killed in BiH civil war!?? (according to the Hague investigation team the number of victims in BiH is 105.000 in total (which means altogether on all three sides-arround 30% Serbs)....

800.000?!...what should I say to you now? Following forensic team logic.....Were you there?? Did you count them?? Where are your proves...? Do you know real reasons why many of Albanians moved from the area?? (and the real number is a "little" bit less then that your lousy try...)

If I am full of shit you are my idol!

BTW-there is no such a thing as BOSNIAN Serb!! Bosnia is a river-the state is Bosnia and Herzegovina!

Talk about "long and tiring"...

Ah yes, the Yugoslav constitution. That would be the same one that Milosevic had illegally altered in 1989—revoking the autonomy of Kosova without the approval of Kosova's parliament, and then brutally putting down the strikes and protests against this blatant usurpation. Resorting to the legalisms of the same document that your pal Slobodan had already torn up is a very poor argument indeed. By 1992, the Muslims and Albanians of Yugoslavia had only two alternatives: to be second-class citizens in Slobo's Greater Serbia or to exercise their inalienable human right to self-determination. Bosnia was the last best hope for the survival of a true Yugoslav spirit of a multi-national state. Unfortunately, the Bosnian Serb leadership was hijacked by Milosevic-allied thugs like Karadzic, who would not allow this at any cost.

Yes, the International Commission on Missing Persons did indeed determine that the overwhelming majority (at least) of 8,000 dead at Srebrenica were murdered in cold blood. The 800,000 refugees from Kosova is universally recognized by the UN, aid agencies and human rights groups.


If you want the last word, you can have it. 'Bye.

Dear Bill, I would gladly hav

Dear Bill, I would gladly have a final word...

No, no, no, your little Constitution story wouldn't be in accordance with the truth.....

Milosevic changed the Constitution of SR SERBIA in 1989. (upper case doesn't mean I am right, it's only for you to see the difference).
And it was altered legally! (Milosevic COULD NOT change the Yugoslav Constitution)
Kosovo assembly adopted these changes of the SERBIA constitution in March 1989.
It has to be emphasized the autonomy was not revoked!
What do you know about "the autonomy" of Kosovo?! I suppose not much....
Though, all this is not a subject of our little "correspondence"...
It was only your lousy contra-argument to justify definitely illegal decisions of Muslim/Croat representatives in BiH Assembly...

So, I'm glad you don't have any objection at the fact that Muslims and Croats in BiH broke the law and they broke SR BiH Constitution. (I already described you how...Don't forget the fact that Serb representatives WERE NOT even PRESENT in the Assembly room when Muslims and Croats were illegaly deciding of that corner stone of peacefull future in this region! )
It is simple as that! That was very first step toward civil war. Full stop!
If you want I can describe the following steps....

Oh, another lousy argument:"second class citizens"....blah blah blah...I really wouldn't comment this it's ridicules-but if you think this "idea or concept" is justification for the breaking the law in BiH - it's your problem...

Please define to me "the overwhelming majority" it could be anything, but it sounds like a solid mist to me-it says "everything" and tells nothing!

As you can see "Yugoslav spirit" was nothing but a lie...

It was nice chatting with you...Enjoy...

In spite of... own determination to avoid getting into a pissing match with a skunk, I must briefly repudiate these lies. These events were now more than 15 years ago and some of our younger readers could get taken in by Milan's revisionist bullshit. So: By changing the Serbian constitution in defiance of the system created by the 1974 Yugoslav constitution, Milosevic and his nationalist gang gutted both. Under the 1974 constitution, Kosova and Vojvodina were entitled to the same representation in the federal parliament as the six republics; by yanking their autonomy and appropriating their parliamentary votes for Serbia, Milosevic effectively changed the federal constitution. This is openly admitted by the very pro-Serb website History of Kosovo and Metohija, maintained by the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Prizren. (Note to the uninitiated: Metohija is the Serb-majority region of Kosova, and refering to the province as "Kosovo and Metohija" is a clear indication of pro-Serb leanings). It writes:

Serbia - the largest of the Yugoslav republics...was already antagonized by the constitutional changes of 1971 and 1974 which had established an asymmetrical relationship between this republic and its two autonomous provinces (Voyvodina and Kosovo and Metohia). Serbia's demands for reform of the Yugoslav Federation were at once countered by Slovenia and then by Croatia... With its constitutional amendments of 1989 and 1990, Serbia did away with the disputed provisions of the 1974 Constitution.


Both the de jure changes to the Serbian constitution and the de facto changes to the federal constitution were illegal; Kosova's parliament by the time the changes were voted on was an illegitimate body thanks to the Milosevic-instrumented purge of ethnic Albanian legislators, party leaders and civil servants. It all took place in an atmosphere of terror, with army troops breaking strikes and protests against the changes in Kosova.

By the time of Bosnia's secession in 1992, Bosnian territory had already been used by the Yugoslav National Army to shell the Croatian city of Dubrovnik across the mountain border. This made all too clear that remaining in Yugoslavia at that point (especially following the secession of Croatia and Slovenia) would have meant accepting second-class citizenship, with Serbia holding a decisive parliamentary bloc (in explicit violation of the 1974 constitution), as well as virtual military occupation.

Other sources which acknowledge that the Serbian constitutional amendments of 1989 also changed the federal constitutional order include:

"Brief History of Yugoslavia,"
at Religious Tolerance

Kosova page, Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO)

"Kosovo Background" page, Global Security

1998 House Resolution 313 by Rep. Elliot Engels (D-NY), "with respect to self-determination for the people of Kosova"

Serb propaganda


You really are full of shit. How long did your lame ass stay in Bosnia when the war was going on? Or did you along with those 160,000 Serbs run out of Sarajevo before the bombs started falling.
I hardly call that being "cleansed". Maybe you were one of the snipers that did stay in Sarajevo gunning down women and children trying to get to the UN convoys. If you ask me there shouldn't be any damn Serbs in Sarajevo since not a single one of you died defending it! It probably gets under your skin so bad that you chetniks were never able to break us as a people and force us out of Sarajevo.

And stop it with your b.s. WWII references, there were a lot of Croats on the Nazi side, along with muslims. But more importantly there were just as many Serb traitors in that war. The true heroes were the Partisans who were made up of all three ethnicities. If you want a real WWII reference not even Hitler was evil enough to destroy the beauty of Sarajevo.

And regardless what the true number of victims in Srebrenica are does it really matter? If its not 8,000 but instead 5,000 does that make it more right to you? They were still civilians. "OH BUT THEY HAD GUNS" yeah right... Even if that was remotely true, which i dont believe it is, the only guns the civilians of Srebrenica could have had were their grandaddies guns from WWI. Anyone from former Yugoslavia knows that the Serbs were always the army types, always holding the highest ranks and always thristy for war.

So please stop you nonsense I'm not gonna argue your political idiocies here since Bill has obviously stomped you on that. The things i know i saw with my own eyes and no one can take that away from me or revise it by spewing propaganda all over the internet.

Thanks, Emir, but...

I must question the contention that no Serbs died in the defense of Sarajevo.

Muslim propaganda again

Well, Emir...

My lame and sorrow ass stayed here all the time during the war and it's still here in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia is a river just for the record-it's not the country, so I can't be in Bosnia)
Ethnic cleansing has a wider meaning than physically "cleansing"(it's a disgusting word, btw) the people...
Do I have to remind you on camps for Serbs in Sarajevo? Do I have to remind you on "war heroes" Caco, Juka, Celo who held private camps for Serbs in Sarajevo? Do I have to remind you on 8.000 murdered Serbs in Sarajevo, like Bill said, cold blooded?! Where were you??

Do I have to remind you that much more things happened before shelling Sarajevo?! The war did not start with Sarajevo! The shelling of Sarajevo is a consequence...Do I have to remind you on Muslims' shelling of Doboj, Modrica, Brcko (Serb towns in BiH)?! Where were you?
But, as explained above, you can always reffer to your assembly representatives, if you can ask them, what happened to "yugoslav spirit", what happened to peace....
Do I have to remind you who killed Serbs during the wedding on 01. March 1992.? Who was irritated by Serb flags in front of Orthodox church?? Where were you? Was Sarajevo shelled at that moment? I don't think so...
Do I have to remind you who massacred 26 old Serbs in Serb village Sijekovac near Brod on 26th of March 1992.? In one night! Where were you?
Was Sarajevo shelled at that moment? No, my friend! There was no war at the time!
You can ask yourself:"Who needed conflict in ex-Yugoslavia? What was it good for? To whom?"

But you said great sentence:"If you ask me there shouldn't be any damn Serbs in Sarajevo since not a single one of you died defending it!" - this is the point of this civil war-only applied on the whole BiH!!
Well, my friend, damn Serbs were here centuries before you and this is our land and we will stay here whether you like it or not...You can tie your flags up with Ustashas again and again....

Sarajevo is not destroyed as you can notice....But Yugoslavia is destroyed...
Comparing Sarajevo to the beauty of ex-Yugoslavia is ridicules!! And you destroyed such a beatifull country....Even Hitler failed that....

Why to stop with WWII references? It gives a better understanding of things that will happen in 90's...
The number of Muslims in Partisans was up to 2% (two percent), but the number of BH Muslims in Nazi forces was significantly greater. Some of BiH Muslim units were defeated at Stalingrad. Some of BiH Muslims from so called "Handzar division" from Sarajevo (Handzar (turkish) = knife) were going to concentration camp Jasenovac for PRACTICE in killing! Believe it or not....!
Do I have to remind you who libarated Sarajevo from Germans and Ustashas in WWII? What units?? Who libareted the whole BiH? The whole Yugoslavia?

If you are referring to chetniks as traitors - I will remind you on few facts: The Chetniks were OFFICIAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL FORCE of Yugoslavia, the leader of Chetniks was decorated with "the Legion of Honor" by US President Truman, I will remind you on monument in US erected by US pilots in WWII saved by chetniks...I will remind you on a reward offered by Germans for dead or alive chetnik leader - it was 100.000 golden marks, just as same as for Tito....
Where are the Muslims Ustashas from BiH in this story?? We all know where they were and on what side...

Well, Emire, I saw a "couple" of things myself! And I felt them on my skin..My family, as well...You should to distinct things like causes and consequences...

In one sentence - Srebrenica massacre (which is undeniable horroble war crime) was misused and misinterpreted to make more war...(Mr. Chomsky would agree to this!! I just want to reffer again at the begining of the whole discussion which is over as far as I'm concerned)-that's it...

P.S. please spare me these lousy general conclusions as: "war thirsty people ", "good people", "bad people", blah blah - I hope you are old enough to know there is no such a general thing that can be "attached" to nation or people...Sounds too similar to 1940s.....And we all know how it ended....

So long, fellas...

Shake Hands With the Devil


At the beginning of this slam "the Chom" posting RE: Noam Chomsky, Bill Weinberg notes that Johnstone must be a shoddy journalist becuase IN THESE TIMES dismissed her after her work on Yugoslavia.

IN THESE TIMES lost all credibility in my eyes when they staretd cheering for Samantha Power:

see e.g.

Samantha Power's discussion of both Yugoslavia and Rwanda is, let's just say, completely foolish.

What is really intersting to open-minded explorers of wonder, anyone seeking to navigate the disinformation, is the equvalence between the mass hysteria (US) about genocide in Yugoslavia and genocide Rwanda. Not only was the timing the same, but the perception management methods used by the western military and terror apparatus are nearly identical. Lost is the context of western military involvement. It all comes down -- in the standard mythologies -- to black and white, good (e.g Tutsi and Bosnia Muslim ) versus evil (Hutu and Bosnia Serb).

In one of the last communications with Bill Weinberg he promised to attack my critique of the now canonized Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda if and when it recives greater exposure. Well, go for it Bill. It's being picked up widely, an updated version is in process, and it will soon appear in French.

In the new version I have included facts regarding the now poignant documents introduced at the ICTR in Arusha that UN eneral Romeo Dallaire was an agent of the RPF (the Tutsi Jews of Africa), that he helped shoot down the plane in the double presidential assasination that sparked the killing in April of 1994, and that he supported the RPF thereafter.

Of course, such documents are anethema to Tutsi Holocaust supporters...

see: Hotel Rwanda: Hollywood and the Holocaust in Central Africa at:

You can add my name to the list of "revisioninsts" on Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sudan (Darfur)...because we are talking about a political economy of genocide, and your attacks agaisnt those who see through the matrix of deceptions only serve to buttress these pillars of empire building.

So who is shaking hands with the devil here? All these self-righteous "leftists"... Sorry that WW4 has to parrot the official line.

I was once a contributor to World War 4 (and World War 3 ) report. No longer. Becuase you can't argue with Bill Weinberg on the subject of genocide in Yugoslavia, or on genocide in Rwanda (or Ralph Nader). Don't waste your energy. Let WW4 recede into irrelevance. History will seperate the facts from the propaganda.

keith harmon snow



In fact, there is plenty of good work published by WW4 Report. It's just that much of this is now overshadowed by the sloppy, angry, hysterical positions taken on "genocide" in Yugoslavia and (in my experience) Rwanda. And -- like the ubiquitous fighting and bickering and backstabbing and ego-warring amongst and between leftists and the left that accompanies this -- that is really a shame.

keith harmon snow

Political economy versus conspiracy theory

Keith, Keith, Keith. Where to begin?

If I thought In These Times (or any of the other mainstream-left media venture) was a paragon of cutting-edge journalism, I wouldn't be putting so much energy into WW4 REPORT. That said, it is to their great credit that they gave Diana Johnstone the heave-ho. Would that Z would do the same to Ed Herman.

I read Samantha Powers' book A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide over the summer. It has some very problematic double standards. Unlike Johnstone and Herman, she does not engage in apologias for or denial of genocide. At least not actively. There are many cases she simply ignores, particularly concerning indigenous peoples in the western hemisphere (e.g. Guatemala).

You and I clearly disagree on who takes a Manichean view of things. Or is shaking hands with the devil.

I certainly never "promised to attack" your review of Hotel Rwanda. I haven't even read it, so I would have no reason to say that. Get over the persecution complex.

Bush had some "poignant documents" indicating that Saddam was buying uranium from Niger, as I recall. It'll all come out in the wash, eventually.

The Political Economy of Genocide, 101. Listen up, you might learn something.

Yugoslavia: IMF imposes austerity in credit crunch of 1980s. Reactionary nationalists exploit economic agony to scapegoat perceived ethnic enemies. Milosevic takes power in Serbia, demonizes Albanians, revokes their political rights in Kosova. Tudjman takes power in Croatia, demonizes Serbs, pushes for secession. Croatia's Serbs declare their own independence, Serb-dominated national army comes to their defense, war breaks out. The logic is immediately one of creating ethnically-pure zones, necessitating forced population transfers or mass killing. This logic reaches genocidal dimensions in Bosnia. US connives with Milosevic-backed Bosnian Serbs to strangle in its birth Europe's first Muslim-led state, doing nothing as Sarajevo is beseiged, 200,000 are killed and nearly a million (400,000 Muslims, 330,000 Croats, 270,000 Serbs) displaced. After three years of this, US embraces Milosevic as a "peacemaker" in Dayton Accord, dividing Bosnia and rewarding Serb genocide. US meanwhile backs and directs Croatian expulsion of 500,000 Serbs. Four years later, as KLA guerillas emerge in still-oppressed Kosova (left out of Dayton talks), US steps in as "protector" of Kosovar Albanians to contain their national ambitions and head off declaration of an independent (Muslim-led) state. This allows Milosevic to portray Albanians as pawns of imperialism. Serb attacks on Albanians escalate. The US bombs Serbia. Serb attacks on Albanians only escalate further; 800,000 forced to flee. Three hellish months later, Serbia agrees to withdraw from Kosova as US (predictably) agrees to recognize Serbian sovereignty there on an ostensibly provisional basis. Six years later, Kosova remains divided and occupied. Bosnia also divided, despite the fiction of a sovereign state.

Rwanda: IMF imposes austerity in credit crunch of 1980s. Hutu strongman Juvenal Habyarimana exploits economic agony to scapegoat Tutsis, who had been favored class under Belgian colonial regime. In 1990, Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), led by Tutsi exiles, invades from Uganda. Habyarimana begins arming Hutu miltias throughout country. Militia attacks on Tutsis lead to greater support for RPF; country polarizes. 1994 downing of Habyarimana's plane precipitates paroxysm of militia attacks, some 800,000 (overhwelmingly Tutsi) killed. France continues to quietly back regime throughout genocide, because RPF (backed by US-backed, Anglophone Uganda) is perceived as agent of Anglo-American imperialism. RPF nonetheless takes power; Hutu flee country en masse for Congo (Zaire) and Tanzania. War spills into Congo as RPF invades and arms proxy militias to hunt down refugees, nearly all assumed to be genocide suspects. Repatriating refugees face imprisonment and harsh treatment. Rwanda now largely in US camp, still tensely divided but this time with the Tutsis on top; proliferation of armed factions in Congo continue to commit widespread atrocities.

Darfur: IMF declares Sudan bankrupt after the Islamist military regime refuses to accept austerity measures in credit crunch of 1980s. Country falls into economic chaos. Government plays to Arabo-Islamic nationalism, portraying Black African separatist guerillas in south as pawns of US imperialism (again, aided by the fact that they are backed by Uganda). Warlordism and slave economy spread. Arab-identified nomads of Darfur deport indigenous Black population to slave camps in south, confiscate their lands. In 2003, just as southern guerillas are negotiating power-sharing arrangement with government, Blacks of Darfur (who had been left out of peace talks) form their own guerilla groups, take up arms. Government arms Arab militias, who launch widespread attacks on indigenous Black populations, burning villages and driving over a million into refugee camps. US exploits (entirely warranted) charge of genocide, and likely provides some covert support for guerillas, to further isolate regime—but does nothing whatsoever to actually stop the attacks, still hoping to co-opt regime as a terror war ally.

Political economy is the study of politics and economics as unified phenomena. It views economics as the underlying context for narrowly-defined "politics." It has nothing to do with simplistic notions that only Western proxies are capable of committing genocide. Indeed, this denial of local context is antithetical to an analysis rooted in political economy.

The "context of western involvement" in Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Darfur is considerably different than that in Guatemala, Colombia and Indonesia. In these latter cases, the US-backed forces committed the genocide (with varying degrees of US direction). In the prior three cases, the factions ostensibly opposed by the US were the primary aggressors. By no means the only ones, but the primary ones. In all three cases, economic suffering imposed by global creditors provided the context for genocide, and this can also be considered a form of "western involvement"—but not in the vulgar sense in which I fear you mean it.

These thumbnails, I hope you will agree, hardly constitute the "official line" (of the US government and western media) in any of these three cases.

Keith, I have put a great deal of work into editing your words over the past year. I even did it here, cleaning up the numerous typos in your post! Whatever our differences, I had hoped we could part ways amicably. I am very disappointed by your attitude and ill wishes.

I may be cantankerous, and I certainly don't suffer foolishness gladly. But I always believe in taking the high road. I wish you all the best in your endeavors. Especially in separating facts from propaganda.

Thank you

For your "correction." It makes me feel a little better.

You are "offical line" almost all the way

First, on the Brockes piece. It is absolute gutter journalism and pure garbage. You can see it completely debunked here: Medialens also has a piece exposing Brockes's lies.It is highly significant that you got this ridiculous smear article from a supporter of the NATO bombing. Second as for the thumbnail sketches they were quite poor and differed only slightly from the "official line". You omit virtually the entire US role in Africa and most of the Great Power activities in Yugoslavia starting with Germany's support for Croatia's secession. I'll deal here only w/Yugoslavia. Milosevic "demonizes political Albanians" and revokes their political rights? Where does he demonize Albanians? I've read his speeches and never saw a demonization of Albanians in them. Are these the speeches of an "ultranationalist"? Could you show me where the racism is in them?
The decison to ammend (not abolish) the autonomy of Kosovo AND Vojvodina was undertaken legally and for practical reasons. Serbia could not function normally if its two provinces had virtual republic status and could always veto its legislation while it was unable to intervene in their internal afairs. The issue of Kosovo was never one of "human rights" but territory. Albanian leaders themselves pushed for a boycott of state institutions, refused to vote, pay taxes, go to the regular schools and so on. They were not denied their rights in the 1990s including their right to vote or elect their own representatives which they CHOSE not to do. They were pushing for secession and refused numerous compromises. The US and Germany were actively involved in supporting the KLA which first appeared long before 1998. The OSCE mission sent to Kosovo was infiltrated by the CIA and many of its members supported the KLA. The Rambouillet "Accords" (ultimatum really)of 1999 would have virtually destroyed the FRY's sovereignty and no leader could have signed them. Those who have seen the document will tell you the same. Even those who hate Milosevic. The refusal to sign that particular document was the reason for the NATO bombing campaign. The VJ conducted a counterinsurgency against the KLA but not an ethnic cleansing and certainly not a "genocide". Proportionally as many or more Serbs fled Kosovo during the bombing than Albanians and other peoples fled as well Roma, Gorani etc. The rato of Serbs to Albanians only changed drastically when NATO and the KLA took over and the KLA launched its campaign against all non-Albanians. Oh and the Albanian guerilla groups took over a chunk of Macedonia as well. Obviously this is all happening becuase the US tried to head off Albanians national ambitions. Kosovo is "divided"? Yeah, there are a few Serb ghettoes left in the province. Don't worry though it will probably be given independence soon.
The rest of your piece is similar nonsense. The JNA was NOT Serb-dominated in the higher ranks. In fact, quite the opposite. If the army overall was "Serb-dominated" that might have something to do with the fact that the Muslim and Croat leaders asked their people to boycott the army. Likewise, the idea that the US or the other great powers "supported" the Bosnian Serbs or Milosevic by doing nothing is absolutely "official line" all the way. How did they show their support ? By putting Serbia under draconian sanctions, threatening to bomb constantly, torpedoing peace proposals, arming and training the Croats and Bosnian Muslims, actually bombing Bosnia with depleted uranium and so on. In fact back in early 1992 a peace proposal had been basically worked out between the 3 parties, the Lisbon accords. Izetbegovic withdrew his signature from the document after talking with US ambassador Warren Zimmerman who encouraged him to hold out for more. Serbs were willing to settle for autonomy if they could not stay in Yugoslavia but did not want to be part of the "first Muslim-led state in Europe" ( some honesty at least, no more of the "multiethnic, multicultural Bosnia" illusions) under the control of Alija Izetbegovic, an Islamist who had served jailtime for crimes aginst the state. The story of the Bosnian war is ugly and bloody but it was largely the result of outside interference not "a lack of intervention". You cite the number of 200,000 dead w/out any source and despite the fact that the ICTY itself puts the number at about half that with almost half of those being soldiers. Bosnia's Serbs already owned the majority of Bosnia's land before the war so they did not "seize 70% of the land" as many people say and were not "rewarded" but in fact lost land under Dayton. The insistence on "unitary Bosnia" is in striking contrast to the acceptance of Bosnia's secession by the so-called international community which was perfectly happy to violate the sovereignty of multi-ethnic Yugoslavia. As Milan pointed out already Bosnia's secession was in violation of the constitution which called for agreeement from all 3 constituent peoples. There is so much more to say and so many more endless official lies to clear up but I doubt you're interested in any serious discussion of what went on. Not when you post nonsense from Brockes, Balkan Witness and the like.


According to Louis Proyect (Fri, 11/04/2005 - 20:56), Western figures such as "Susan Sontag and Christopher Hitchens [attempted] to ennoble the [Bosnian] Moslems...."

No, they did not. They attempted to glamorize themselves, above all. Narcissists through and through.

Furthermore, Proyect uses the term 'anarchist' to designate the moderator of the current weblog.

Wouldn't right-wing ideologue wearing whatever clothing suits him at any given moment be a more accurate phrase?

Bill Weinberg and the Historical Record (NOT)

The ridiculous series of comments to which I am appending this reply might serve some useful purpose, ultimately, if readers are wise enough to throw away the lies that comprise the original (as well as Emma Brockes’ caricature of Noam Chomsky in the October 31 Guardian), and pay attention instead to the items which follow. (Compare Wittgenstein's counsel in the Tractatus (Prop. 6.54) that his "propositions are elucidatory in this way," namely, that "he who understands [them] finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.)"--Exactly how readers ought to handle the World War 4 Report.)

For a website that archives some of Chomsky's written work, interviews, and even some audio- and video-streamed material, see the wonderful CHOMSKY.INFO website.

In the present context, two lectures in particular might be helpful:

"Imperial Presidency," Canadian Dimension, January/February, 2005

"Illegal but Legitimate: a Dubious Doctrine for the Times," University of Edinburgh, March 22, 2005

Although based on a November 2004 lecture, the first of these is available here as a printed text. The second as a videotape.

One other item which readers ought to hang onto, having kicked-away the maddening website that led you to it, is:

Srebrenica and the Politics of War Crimes, July, 2005

Weinberg Sinks Further Into The Muck

Bill Weinberg is a good hater, but unfortunately he has neither the self-control nor knowledge nor skills to make his attacks plausible. Having earlier assaulted me--see my replies to those assaults ("Debating Srebrenica,

Revisionism all the way

Once again, the censorious Commissar Weinberg generously provides a forum for his odious detractors.

I am puzzled that the post accusing me of mis-spelling Diana Johnstone uses precisely the same spelling of her name that I did. To be accused of "confusion" by such is predictable.

The notion that historical reality is to be judged by either its adherence to or deviation from the "official line" is always a mere distraction.

If the widely accepted figure of 200,000 dead in the Bosnia war is that far off, the truth will eventually come out. I am not holding my breath.

The Milosevic references (e.g. his most important speech, that at the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosova) use obvious coded references of the type masochistic deconstructors of Pat Buchanan's rhetoric will find all too familiar. Serbia is refered to as "humiliated," but by whom is left strategically ambiguous. As if you had any doubts, no reference is made to the Albanians, allegedly equal citizens of Serbia and the overwhelming majority in the province of Kosova. The subsequent references to "harmony" are as transparent as Bush's mandatory homilies about Rosa Parks. This speech was made just as Kosova's hard-won autonomy was being repealed.

I don't doubt the KLA received covert aid from German and US intelligence. Somehow leftists had no trouble overlooking all the security assistance the Sandinistas received from the sinister East German intelligence service back in the '80s. There, the left correctly perceived that this unpleasant fact did not alter the basic reality that the Sandinistas represented a national liberation movement. The left is, apparently, capable of no such nuance in the case of Kosova. Fortunately, there have been certain exceptions, and some of these have even found their way onto ZNet, Herman's generally execrable haunting grounds.

Having recently had the regrettable duty of defending Chomsky, it is indeed vindicating to find myself accused of intentionally misconstruing him.

I care not a whit that you people don't like WW4 REPORT. Indeed, I wear your enmity as a badge of pride.


Bill Weinberg writes that he is "puzzled that the post accusing [him] of mis-spelling Diana Johnstone uses precisely the same spelling of her name that [he] did" ("Revisionism all the way," Nov. 14).

Here is an exact quote from Bill Weinberg's original post, "Chomsky jumps on Bosnia revisionism bandwagon" (Nov. 1):

"As for Diane Johnstone's 'outstanding' journalism: Josh Mason, a former editor at In These Times, explains in an online PEN forum why she got sacked from that publication...."

To repeat: Weinberg misspelled Johnstone's given name, D-i-a-n-e. From the context of Weinberg's post (i.e., following the long quotation from a person named David Adler, who also misspelled the name D-i-a-n-e), it is clear that neither Weinberg nor Adler have a clue about the work of the person in question.

Additionally, in quoting former In These Timeser Josh Mason's April 9, 1999 post to the PEN-L forum ("Diana Johnstone and In These Times"), Weinberg does the historical record a double-disservice. Mason lies about Johnstone. And Weinberg parrots Mason's lies.

I would like to see the lying Josh Mason take to a genuinely public forum to defend his asinine charges as to why Diana Johnstone and In These Times went their separate ways in the late 1990s.

"We felt we couldn't publish [Johnstone's] stuff not only because she was insisting that there was no Serb role in the slaughter of Muslims in Bosnia after the facts were long in," Mason wrote, "but because her friendship with Milosevic's wife Marjana [sic] Markovic, going back to her time as student in Yugoslavia in the '60s, colored her writing to the point of dishonesty."

If this was the quality of In These Times's editorial collective in the 1990s (Johnstone's "friendship with Milosevic's wife Marjana [sic] Markovic...colored her writing to the point of dishonesty"?), it is no wonder that ITT took a fall on the former Yugoslavia.

The rot at ITT has only spread since.

Mea culpa...

...on getting the spelling of Johnstone's first name wrong on the first reference, although not on the subsequent ones (e.g. my last post before the response calling me out on the mis-spelling). As to the rest: bosh.

And by the way, my opponents are far less exacting when it comes to their own venomous screeds. For instance, in the below line, Herman implicitly attributes to me words I quoted from David Adler:

Weinberg apparently thinks it is telling, revealing Chomsky’s “shabby intellectual and journalistic standards.

War Related Deaths in Bosnia-Hercegovina

I'm a newbie here but amongst the many points (forcefully made!) I thought the issue of deaths in BiH was one that was pretty clear: I have always seen 250,000 or more quoted in almost every article ever written and so to see people say only 100,000 seemed easily refuted. I went to the link given by Ed Herman fully expecting to find that it was some obscurantist or revisionist site with an agenda.

I was extremely surprised to find that the paper (BTW one can sign up for a free trial) was the product of two members of the UN Hague Tribunal's prosecution team specialising in demography. When I searched for Eva Tabeau on Google I discovered she had appeared in trials for the prosecution case against Serb war criminals. So I don't think these people can be accused of favouring any sort of mission to minimise the scale of atrocities.

The paper is a very careful and scholarly work that explains fully how they arrived at their figures and why previous figures (both above and below their own estimate) were flawed.

The authors are quick to point out that there could be further additions to their estimate but given the access they have had it beggars belief that they are going to be far away in their estimate.

I must say this has surprised me and I'm not sure what implications this has for my attitude to that war which seemed a pretty black-and-white case as far as I could see.

I would be interested what others think of the paper and I highly recommend reading it carefully even though it makes you wish you'd concentrated harder during those maths lessons!

Yours Faithfully, Clare Biri

"Kulturkrieg in Journalism," by Diana Johnstone

For a commentary definitely worth reading (and one having clear implications for the World War 4 Report):

Diana Johnstone, "Kulturkrieg in Journalism: Using Emotion to Silence Analysis. The Origins of the Guardian Attack on Chomsky,

Guardian withdraws Chomsky interview

Corrections and clarifications

The Guardian and Noam Chomsky

Thursday November 17, 2005
The Guardian

The readers' editor has considered a number of complaints from Noam Chomsky concerning an interview with him by Emma Brockes published in G2, the second section of the Guardian, on October 31. He has found in favour of Professor Chomsky on three significant complaints.
Principal among these was a statement by Ms Brockes that in referring to atrocities committed at Srebrenica during the Bosnian war he had placed the word "massacre" in quotation marks. This suggested, particularly when taken with other comments by Ms Brockes, that Prof Chomsky considered the word inappropriate or that he had denied that there had been a massacre. Prof Chomsky has been obliged to point out that he has never said or believed any such thing. The Guardian has no evidence whatsoever to the contrary and retracts the statement with an unreserved apology to Prof Chomsky.

The headline used on the interview, about which Prof Chomsky also complained, added to the misleading impression given by the treatment of the word massacre. It read: Q: Do you regret supporting those who say the Srebrenica massacre was exaggerated? A: My only regret is that I didn't do it strongly enough.

No question in that form was put to Prof Chomsky. This part of the interview related to his support for Diana Johnstone (not Diane as it appeared in the published interview) over the withdrawal of a book in which she discussed the reporting of casualty figures in the war in former Yugoslavia. Both Prof Chomsky and Ms Johnstone, who has also written to the Guardian, have made it clear that Prof Chomsky's support for Ms Johnstone, made in the form of an open letter with other signatories, related entirely to her right to freedom of speech. The Guardian also accepts that and acknowledges that the headline was wrong and unjustified by the text.

Ms Brockes's misrepresentation of Prof Chomsky's views on Srebrenica stemmed from her misunderstanding of his support for Ms Johnstone. Neither Prof Chomsky nor Ms Johnstone have ever denied the fact of the massacre.

Prof Chomsky has also objected to the juxtaposition of a letter from him, published two days after the interview appeared, with a letter from a survivor of Omarska. While he has every sympathy with the writer, Prof Chomsky believes that publication was designed to undermine his position, and addressed a part of the interview which was false. Both letters were published under the heading Falling out over Srebrenica. At the time these letters were published, following two in support of Prof Chomsky published the previous day, no formal complaint had been received from him. The letters were published by the letters editor in good faith to reflect readers' views. With hindsight it is acknowledged that the juxtaposition has exacerbated Prof Chomsky's complaint and that is regretted. The Guardian has now withdrawn the interview from the website.

· It is the policy of the Guardian to correct significant errors as soon as possible. Please quote the date and page number. Readers may contact the office of the readers' editor by telephoning +44 (0)20 7713 4736 between 11am and 5pm UK time Monday to Friday excluding public holidays. Send mail to The Readers' Editor, 119 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3ER. Fax +44 (0)20 7239 9997. Email:

A plague on all their houses

The Guardian messed up bigtime by presenting a quote from Chomsky in the title following a question the interviewer never exactly asked him. In interviews, you stick as close to the verbatim as possible. Any editing more aggressive than removing "ums" and redundancies, and maybe cleaning up the grammar a little, is unkosher. However, caught red-handed in such a manipulation (and by no less a personage than The Chom), The Guardian responds with equally untoward obeisance.

Chomsky did not merely come to the defense of Johnstone's freedom of speech. He praised her work as "outstanding." And if Johnstone has never "denied the fact of the massacre," she has stayed out of the outright-denial camp only through the most narrow and slippery use of (if you will) deniability. Her recent spewings on the ever-dependable CounterPunch make all the same bogus arguments we have seen here: that the victims somehow deserved it because of Naser Oric's abuses, that the Bosnian leadership sold Srebrenica and allowed the massacre to happen to win world sympathy for the Muslim cause, that the numbers of the dead were inflated, et cetera. And, of course, she always puts "massacre" in quotes.

It would be legitimate for Chomsky to come to the defense of Johnstone against censorious pressures—if he distanced himself from Johstone's pseudo-journalism. Instead, he praised it as "outstanding."

And juxtaposting Chomsky's letter with the Omarska survivor's was absolutely legitimate. If you run to the defense of genocide-apologists, you are fair game for some backtalk from the survivors.

Finally, pulling the interview from their website was utterly spineless of The Guardian. They should have left it there, with a link to the letter from the ombudsman clarifying the editorial errors that were committed and taking responsibility for them. A good thing we quoted some of the incriminating passages here, and saved them from the Orwellian Memory Hole.

The really wonderful irony is that Chomsky is being just as censorious here towards Brockes as those he protested were towards Johnstone! So much for principle...

The Guardian Retracts October 31 Smear

In a moment of decency, the Guardian has retracted at least parts of its October 31 smear of Noam Chomsky--a smear that was mindlessly parroted by the World War 4 Report's Bill Weinberg, among others. (For one bona fide head-case. And for another.)

* "Corrections and clarifications: The Guardian and Noam Chomsky,

Yes, so we have noticed

Thank you for the link to "bona fide head-case" (must you Stalinists always depict those you disgree with as insane?) Oliver Kamm, who is to be vigorously applauded for saving the Guardian story from the Memory Hole. As for Johnstone's Counterpunch piece, we offer two observations:

1. Are you so slavishly devoted to her that you found it necessary to post the link twice? Apparently so.

2. Absolutely hilarious that she accuses Brockes of "using emotion to silence" journalists, when that is exactly what Chomsky did to Brockes!

Here we have the World's Greatest Intellectual throwing his weight around to get an unflattering portrayal removed from the Internet--when the issue in question was his rush to the defense of a (highly questionable) journalist who others had attempted to silence!

Should we start a petition drive on behalf of Brockes? Maybe Chomsky will sign it in protest of his own actions...

Dr. Hoare responds to Guardian retraction

See this by Marko Attila Hoare, who, unlike any of us, actually investigated Balkan war crimes on the ground.

It just gets worse and worse

The above-linked story by Marko Attila Hoare contains the following line:

An open letter to Ordfront, signed by Chomsky, Tariq Ali, Arundhati Roy and others, stated: "We regard Johnstone's Fools' Crusade as an outstanding work, dissenting from the mainstream view but doing so by an appeal to fact and reason, in a great tradition."

Tariq and Arundhati too? Is there any legitimate left left?

And still worse

What a pusilanimous capitulation, and to very sinister politics at that. Having effectively censored Brockes, The Guardian now gives Johnstone a soapbox to kick her while she's down. Johnstone's Nov. 23 piece includes this gem:

I believe that this intense attachment to a Manichaean view of the Yugoslavian conflicts stems in part from the disarray of the left in the 1990s. What did it even mean any more to be "on the left"? Eastern Europe, after the collapse of the Soviet bloc, provided the answer: the new threat was "nationalism". It was a short step to being convinced that the worst of all evils was Serbian nationalism, and that the proof of being on the left was the degree of indignation expressed in its condemnation.

This attitude, as well as emotional involvement on behalf of the Bosnian Muslims, led numerous writers to minimise the role of other nationalisms in Yugoslavia, notably Croatian and Albanian nationalism, and to overlook the harmful effects of German and United States interference. This interference culminated in the 1999 Nato war, which was justified by a series of extravagant analogies (Bosnia likened to the Holocaust, Kosovo likened to Bosnia). It set the precedent for the United States to wage war in violation of the national sovereignty of weaker countries as a method of achieving political change.

This is a much greater threat to the world than Bosnian Serb nationalists, however brutal their behaviour in the mid-1990s. I believe that this is our primary political responsibility as citizens of the United States and of Britain.

Huh?! What "left" is she talking about? Judging from the sickening behavior of its fave icons (Chomsky, Herman, Tariq Ali, Arundhati Roy), the problem is precisely the opposite of what Johnstone describes: so conditioned to root for whoever the US is bombing and so desperate for some survival of the Socialist bloc, leftists in the West have fooled themselves into cheering on Serb fascism. And Heaven forfend some of us should be guilty of "emotional involvement" with the Bosnian Muslim cause! Can you imagine the howls of protest from the leftoid legions if this prejudicial language were used to delegitimize solidarity efforts with the Palestinians or Zapatistas? And of course we have the "Holocaust" red herring. The assumption seems to be that if the "ethnic cleansing" (the Serb leaders' own word, recall) of Bosnia fell short of Hitlerian proportions, it was somehow OK, or (at least) the world owed its victims no solidarity. We agree that the current US hyper-interventionism is a threat to the world, but whether it is a "much greater threat" than the ethno-religious extremism represented by Serb fascism (and, ironically, Islamic fundamentalism) is a profoundly flawed question: the two tendencies merely fuel each other, and it is pointless to oppose one without opposing the other.

Johnstone's piece is explicitly presented as a response to Brockes' piece, and mentions her by name. Yet Brockes' piece has been removed from the The Guardian's website! Will she be afforded the opportunity to defend herself? Or is eternal censorship the price of offending the World's Greatest Intellectual?

And speaking of the left's fave icons, Alexander Cockburn has (of course) run to Chomsky's defense on CounterPunch, in a screed that engages in yet further distortions. The title is "Guardian Fabricates Chomsky Quotes in Bid to Smear World's Number One Intellectual." Well, actually no. The Guardian "fabricated" (or paraphrased) the interviewer's words. Chomsky's response was presented verbatim. So isn't this deliciously ironic: Cockburn is committing precisely the same editorial sin that The Guardian did!

As for Chomsky, he has done much vital writing and research over the years, but he has apparently lost his moral rudder in his advancing years (like much of the left that idolizes him). If he is the "world's number one intellectual," the world is in even bigger trouble than I thought.

RE: The Henry Jackson Society

The Henry Jackson Society, a rats’ nest at Cambridge University (though the exact nature of the affiliation is anybody’s guess), continues to play a role in the smear of Noam Chomsky that was launched in the October 31 Guardian. (See, e.g., the contributions by Marko Attila Hoare and Oliver Kamm.)

Among the signatories to this outfit’s Statement of Principles (March 11, 2005) are Richard Dearlove, Oliver Kamm, Denis MacShane, and Jamie Shea.

Furthermore, its complete list of “International Patrons

Much easier... damn the medium in which a piece of writing appeared than to reply to its arguments. Yes, the Henry Jackson Society smells very elitist, at best. But Hoare's argument is sterling. I wish I'd written it.

Well done Bill, that was a tour de force

And thanks for the compliment. I'm impressed you have the stomach to debate with the above representatives of the neo-Stalinist/pro-fascist 'left'. In response to the elaborate conspiracy theories they weave to explain away the genocide at Srebrenica, it's worth pointing out that if there really had been an 'imperialist conspiracy' directed against Serbia, NATO would have bombed Serbia in 1991, during the war in Croatia, when the Yugoslav People's Army was pulverising the Croatian city of Vukovar. We're supposed to believe that the mighty forces of world imperialism spent the entire 1990s resorting to trick photography and misleading headlines to justify the bombing of Serbia in 1999 - nearly eight years after the Yugoslav war broke out ! As if the Western powers wouldn't have acted against Serbia as quickly as they acted against Iraq in 1991, if they'd really wanted to...

The reality, of course, is that the Western powers spent the Bosnian war aiding and abetting the Serbian aggression and genocide. But you won't find the Stalinists over at ZNet admitting this, because this would also mean admitting that there was nothing even vaguely 'anti-imperialist' or 'progressive' about Milosevic-style 'socialist' dictatorships with their rotten, bankrupt statist economies. And what would that say about their 'left-wing', pro-Pol-Pot, pro-Soviet political tradition ?! So the irony is that the Herman-Petersen-Chomsky wing of the 'left' lined up behind the governments of Britain and France in defending the Serb fascists. And Clinton, too, favoured the Chomskyite policy of appeasing Milosevic and Karadzic - until this policy was derailed by principled Congressional opposition.

Which brings us back to whether there is a principled 'left' any more. If being 'on the left' means standing up for the oppressed and downtrodden, then it is a fact that Tony Blair, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and others were 'to the left' of Herman, Petersen, Chomsky et al on the Kosovo issue. If being 'on the left' means apologising for every murderous dictatorship that adopts vaguely 'socialist' or 'anti-imperialist' window-dressing, then yes, the ZNet people are still the 'left'. But for anybody who actually cares about the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, instead of just seeing them as a battlefield for the same old anti-American crusade, then it's obvious who the good guys are on this particular issue.

Welcome aboard, Dr. Hoare

I congratulate you as well on your fortitude in the face of the revisionist propaganda barrage. But I must point out again that the NATO bombing campaign of 1999 only worsened the situation in Kosova—there were 200,000 refugees before, and 800,000 after. Operation Allied Force and the simultaneous "cleansing" campaign of Operation Horseshoe were the proverbial flip-sides of the same coin. And, needless to say, Kosova today remains militarized, occupied and harshly divided—and is no closer to real sovereignty or self-determination.

As to the question of whether the Western powers "wanted" to intervene in the Balkans, I think it is clear they were divided. Germany was encouraging Croatian secession in 1991, even as Bush pere sent Secretary of State James Baker to Belgrade to give Milosevic a "green light" to use force against the secessionists. After the more Europhile Clinton came to power, the US moved closer to the German position and adopted Croatia as a proxy state. The top considerations that finally prompted military intervention were likely:

a.) a need to contain Bosniak and especially Kosovar Albanian national aspirations, allowing the US to appropriate their voices by posing as their defender and grooming them as proxies.
b.) a need to shore up NATO by forestalling Turkish intervention against the Serbs, which would have antagonized Greece and split the alliance.
c.) a need to diminish Serbia—less because of its bogus "socialist" posture than because it represented a last Russian ally west of Belarus, and because Milosevic's destabilizing influence had made him untoward even as a de facto ally.
d.) a need to generally re-assert US dominance in Europe.

I suppose it is arguable that Blair and Wolfowitz are to the "left" of Milosevic and Karadzic in the same sense that Churchill and MacArthur were to the "left" of Hitler and Tojo. But even this is an imperfect analogy. I insist we must oppose both Western imperialism and the neo-fascism it (sometimes) ostensibly opposes. Just as progressives in the '40s had to oppose Churchill in India even as they opposed Hitler in Czechoslovakia—and to oppose the war crimes of Dresden and Hiroshima as well as Auschwitz and Nanking. Not that such positions are easy in this complicated world. Only a handful of pacifists, anarchists and the like walked this fine line in the '40s, so I am not surprised by my own isolation today.

I am curious: The Henry Jackson Society is apparently named for the late ultra-hawk "Scoop" Jackson. Are you institutionally affiliated with them? And how do you view the current adventure in Iraq?

Why this shibboleth about always opposing military action ?

Bill; I'm a little surprised to hear you repeat the Chomskyite claim that NATO's intervention in Kosovo only worsened the situation. If this were true, the Kosovo Albanians themselves would have been in the forefront of the 'anti-war' campaign in 1999. In fact, all the main currents of Kosovo Albanian opinion supported the intervention, and remain grateful to NATO and the US as a result. To be honest, I myself did not support the NATO intervention, as I suspected the Kosovo Albanians would be betrayed by the West - as the Bosnians had been at Dayton. But my suspicions were proved unfounded - Blair kept his promise to the Kosovars and - contrary to what you say - Kosovo is today closer to independence than it has ever been.

It is time, I would say, to challenge the left-wing shibboleth about always opposing Western military intervention. There are times, as in the Spanish Civil War, when the interventionists are the good guys. The pro-Milosevic left probably won't admit this, but Titoist Yugoslavia was created with the active military assistance of Britain and the US - in the form of arms supplies, air strikes and diplomatic support. Although you are absolutely right that true progressives would have opposed Churchill in India and the Dresden and Hiroshima war-crimes, they would nevertheless, at the same time, have supported the Allied military struggle against Nazism.

I must also take issue with you on a number of points. Not a single piece of evidence has ever been produced to prove that Germany 'encouraged' Croatian secession - this is simply a myth. It is an exaggeration to say that the US turned Croatia into a 'proxy'; Clinton, it is true, gave rather feeble tactical military support to Croatia in 1994-95 in order to swing the military balance against the Serbs, but after Dayton, the US-Croatian relations rapidly cooled over the issue of cooperation with the ICTY, and Tudjman began spouting the usual anti-American rhetoric - not quite the action of a 'proxy' state.

Nor do I believe that there was an anti-Russian motive in Clinton's move against Serbia, or any desire to 'reassert US dominance in Europe' over this issue. The fact is that Clinton didn't give a damn about the Balkans and tried very hard to avoid military action, but was gradually forced to do so on account of domestic pressure, above all in Congress. Even then, he treated Milosevic as a favoured collaborator at Dayton and gave the Bosnian Serbs 49% of Bosnia. The West finally broke with Milosevic only in 1999, when the Kosovo situation threatened complications with Macedonia, Greece, etc. And Blair deserves credit for reversing the previous British government's pro-Milosevic policy.

As to who is to the left of whom; what I actually said was that if one defines being 'on the left' as involving a defence of the oppressed and downtrodden, then Blair, Wolfowitz and Perle were to the left of Chomsky and his ZNet friends on the Kosovo issue, and remain so.

Iraq: I'd oppose any withdrawal by Britain and the US until they are asked to do so by a democratically elected Iraqi government or parliament; as a Iraqi trade-unionist said recently, 'we didn't ask you to come, but we should have a say about when you leave'.

Germany and Croatia

Dr. Hoare --

"Not a single piece of evidence has ever been produced to prove that Germany 'encouraged' Croatian secession - this is simply a myth."

What is Binnendijk referring to here, then?

Try for a Compromise: Croatian Land for Peace
By Hans Binnendijk International Herald Tribune

Monday, September 23, 1991

Croatia's bold decision to declare independence triggered a violent Serbian reaction. Now, like the poker player, Croatia must know when to fold. It is time for a compromise.

Seizing army bases and playing for Western hearts, President Franjo Tudjman hoped to drive the Serbian-controlled army and guerrillas off the portion of Croatia they control. Germany's threat to recognize Croatia fed his hopes. The United States rejected Germany's course because it would stimulate further secessions. [...]

And did Genscher not threaten recognition, as The Economist claims? Is this a matter of dispute?

764 words
21 September 1991
The Economist
(c) The Economist Newspaper Limited, London 1991. All rights reserved

The other temptation is to recognise Croatia as an independent state, in order to protect it and open the possibility of taking up its defence through the United Nations. Germany's foreign minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, has threatened to do so, under pressure from a German public which sees the Croat-Serb conflict as one between good and evil. But recognition at the moment would be counter-productive. It would lose the Community the chance of being seen as an even-handed, open-minded mediator, and could well provoke the Serbs into even more slaughter. Freelance recognition by Germany would not only destroy the EC's efforts to be a credible influence in foreign affairs, it would risk bringing all Europe into conflict. [...]

Germany only supported Croatian independence post facto;

David, the source you cite shows that Germany was supporting the recognition of Croatia by the autumn of 1991. Croatia declared independence in June 1991. The source you cite therefore proves merely that Germany wanted to recognise Croatian secession weeks after it had already become a fait accompli, not that it had 'encouraged' it in advance.

Try again.

Ok, I get it

Thanks, my bad. I see you covered that in this essay:


Why the "shibboleth"? Because I have a single standard. How can you recognize Serb attacks on civilians in Kosova as atrocities and not NATO atttacks on civilians in Serbia? I am not impressed by this talk of "surgical strikes" and sophistated targeting. NATO's "military targets" included the Pancevo gasworks, releasing toxic clouds into the atmosphere. How can this not be recognized as a crime against humanity? We don't have a leg to stand on to oppose Srebrenica if we don't oppose this. Then there was the Belgrade TV station, the bridges dumped into the Danube, and, of course, the "collateral damage": the Chinese embassy, a commuter train, a convoy of Albanian refugees (!), countless private homes around Belgrade (and even one in Sofia!).

You know, the World Court has ruled against Israel's de facto annexation of West Bank lands, and a sort of "ethnic cleansing" is underway there too. Do you think NATO should bomb Tel Aviv?

Just because Chomsky said something doesn't mean it isn't true (even if it has started to seem that way lately). Once again, the facts speak for themselves—200,000 refugees before, 800,000 after. The bombing prompted the Serbs to put Operation Horseshoe into effect. We shall see how close Kosova is to independence.

Yes, the Albanians overwhelmingly supported Operation Allied Force. It was the most depressing moment of my career as an anti-war activist. Here in New York, the Albanian immigrants marched waving American flags and banners reading "THANK YOU NATO." Meanwhile, Serb immigrants joined with the idiot left in bogus "anti-war" marches—waving the Serbian flag and chanting "Serbia! Serbia! Serbia!" in true fascistic manner. Apart from one very small gathering by the War Resisters League in Washington Square, there was no protest I felt comfortable joining. I organized a forum bringing together some of the more reasonable exponents from the pro- and anti-war camps (including an Albanian journalist who had just returned from the refugee camps) to try to spark some dialogue, but they were absolutely incapable of listening to each other.

Those leftists who opposed the Allied war effort in the '40s were a lonely bunch (e.g. Marie-Louise Berneri). I don't know what I would have done in those dark years. I know that these times are very different (if damn near as dark).

Germany was definitely pushing for EU recognition of breakaway Croatia, and had lots of investment in Croatian industry. I don't think it is difficult to read between the lines here. During 1995's Operation Storm, a US plane based on a carrier off Dalmatia's coast launched strikes on the Serbs' missile defense system in the Krajina. The Croatian forces were also trained by US military advisors for the Krajina invasion (technically not a violation of the arms embargo, which did not cover military instruction). This is a patron-client relationship.

I certainly agree that Clinton cynically connived with Milosevic, but I do not buy for a minute that his decision to intervene was moved by "domestic pressure." Such decisions are made on the basis of geostrategic interests. I agree that the threat of instability spreading to neighboring counties informed the decision to intervene. (I said as much, didn't I?)

I think it is going to be a long time before we see a "democratically elected Iraqi government." If that is your litmus test, they'll be in Iraq forever.

I think you're being a bit naive here, Bill...

The fact is, the choice in 1999 was between a Kosovo emptied of its majority Albanian inhabitants, and a NATO victory. I don't for a minute buy the claim that the NATO intervention 'caused' the Serbian ethnic-cleansing campaign - I suspect Milosevic would have attempted to drive out the Albanians long before, if he hadn't feared a NATO response. Once that response happened, Milosevic went for broke. Seems a little unfair to blame NATO; in any case, NATO actually REVERSED the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo and enabled the Albanians to go home. Yes, civilians were killed in the process, but few compared to the numbers killed by almost any national liberation movement or popular revolution in modern history. NATO killed several hundred Serbian civilians; the Bolshevik Revolution sparked a civil war that killed three million; Tito's Partisans killed hundreds of thousands of civilians; the Vietcong killed god knows how many civilians. But for some reason, leftists often have a double standard when it comes to civilian deaths caused by 'progressive movements' and those caused by 'Western imperialism'...

The Albanians were absolutely justified in placing their trust in NATO - I myself was proved wrong here. Just how would your 'anti-war movement' have liberated Kosovo ? Do you think those 800,000 Albanian refugees would have been gratified to know that the Western leftists opposing their liberation by NATO supposedly sympathised with them ? Srebrenica was GENOCIDE; the NATO intervention in Kosovo was not; the comparison therefore holds no water.

I believe in a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, based on the pre-1967 borders. If Israel ever attempted to empty the West Bank of its Palestinian population, I would support military action against Israel. Would you ?

The 'anti-war' activists of the 1940s deserved to be a 'lonely bunch'; they were an utter irrelevance. Hitler was stopped no thanks to them, though I'm sure they enjoyed feeling 'morally superior' and 'politically correct' in their isolation...

The fact that Germany - quite rightly - pushed for recognition of Croatian independence after the war broke out, does not prove it supported Croatian secession before it had happened. If you think differently, you will have to find evidence that says so - though I can assure you that you'll find it difficult...

Was Croatia a 'client state' of the US ? It seems to be pushing the definition a bit, given that the US then pressurised Croatia to surrender its officers to a war-crimes tribunal. The US gave Tito's Partisans much greater military support in the 1940s than it ever gave Croatia in the 1990s, but it didn't make Yugoslavia exactly a US client...

On Clinton and Serbia, I refer you to Samantha Power's brilliant book, 'A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide'. She demonstrates pretty clearly that Clinton launched air-strikes against the Bosnian Serbs in 1995, only under overwhelming domestic pressure. And just where is your evidence for the US's supposedly taking action against Serbia to 'reassert its dominance in Europe' ?

I think it's time for the honourable left to reevaluate some of its basic principles, if it wants to avoid complete marginalisation.

Likewise I'm afraid, Dr. Hoare

I didn't say NATO "casued" Operation Horseshoe. I said it prompted it. My aim here is not to exculpate Milosevic, but to illustrate that the cynical game of mutual exploitation that the West played with him paradoxically continued even as NATO bombed Belgrade. And if this is about what you (or NATO) "suspect" would have happened, then I guess Operation Allied Force was a "pre-emptive war"—a foreshadowing of the Bush doctrine, which has been such an astonishing success in Iraq.

I've never read that the Partisans killed "hundreds of thousands" of civilians, but even conceding the point this strikes me as a really sinister argument. National liberation struggles are to cede their own agency to the global imperium's more clinical methods of high-tech violence. I argued precisely that this was one of the aims of NATO's intervention—to domesticate and appropriate the voice of the less-than-reliable Bosniaks and KLA, with their (potential or perceived, at least) links to international Islamic militants. And of course those national liberation movements inconvenient to the Great Powers (e.g. the Kurds in Turkey, or indigenous peoples in the Western Hemisphere) simply get sold down the river.

It is no more the responsibility of the anti-war movement to "liberate" Kosova than it is NATO's. It is, ultimately, the responsibility of the Kosovars to liberate themselves. The responsibility of the anti-war movement, and civil society generally, is to loan this struggle solidarity. My form of loaning this solidarity is calling out the rascals who would turn the anti-war movement into a platform for Serb ethno-fascist propaganda.

I know hindsight is useless when paramilitary thugs are coming to burn down your village, but the 1999 Kosova crisis could have been avoided—if the Kosovars hadn't been sold out by the West at Dayton, if the world had recognized Ibrahim Rugova's parallel government. The Kosovars provided a great example of non-violent resistance, which could have succeeded if they hadn't been betrayed at every turn.

Regarding the Pancevo-Srebrenica comparison: First of all, we don't know how many people will die of cancer down the line due to toxic exposure in that atrocity. Secondly, you are making the same argument here as your Chetnik opponents. Johnstone et al argue that "Srebrenica wasn't the Holocaust" (read=therefore it was OK). You are saying Pancevo wasn't Srebrenica. I never said it was. I said that if we oppose Srebrenica without opposing Pancevo we look like hypocrites. This does not imply equivalism.

OK, regarding your Israel-Palestine hypothetical: Israel is not attempting to empty the West Bank of its Palestinian population? Not by means so blatant and dramatic as Operation Horseshoe, certainly. But land theft, water theft, crop theft, military/settler harassment and the illegal wall are all designed to make life unlivable for Palestinians, at least in those areas slated for de facto annexation. Once again, this isn't reprehensible enough? If not for military intervention, then at least for an aid cut-off and sanctions? How do you feel about that?

Germany was urging EU recognition of Croatia at the very moment James Baker was giving Milosevic a "green light" to use force against secession. That was my point, and I don't think you can argue with it.

The Partisans were not clients, in spite of being armed by the Allies. Tudjman was. As I said, it was a very different world in the '40s. The US has fallings-out with former clients all the time. Remember Noriega?

I read Samantha Powers' worthwhile but highly problematic book. She argued that point more than she "demonstrated" it. Whereas you raise the bar still higher for me: I am called upon to present "evidence" in defense of my position. Sorry: I consider it ludicrous that foreign military adventures are undertaken to appease domestic public opinion. Especially when most Americans couldn't find Kosova on a map to save their lives.

I agree that the left needs to rethink much, tho we seem to disagree quite radically on exactly what. There are also fates even worse than marginalization.

You are right, of course, Bill,

that there is no way of telling whether Milosevic would have carried out the expulsion of 800,000 Albanians had NATO not intervened; but given his track record in Bosnia and Croatia, and his behaviour in Kosovo after the NATO intervention, I don't think it requires much of a leap of faith to believe that he would have. Or do you think that, in the absence of the intervention, he would have left the Albanians in peace ?

I never said that "National liberation struggles are to cede their own agency to the global imperium's more clinical methods of high-tech violence". I believe that the West should intervene in support of national-liberation movements. Many, if not most, of the great national-liberation movement in history succeeeded with the support of Great Powers: the US in the 1770s and 80s received it from France and Spain; the Yugoslavs in the 1940s received it from Britain and the US; the Vietnamese in the 1960s and 70s received it from China and Russia. Why exactly do you have a problem with this ?

The Kosovo Albanians in the 1990s simply were not strong enough to 'liberate themselves'; it was either NATO intervention, or their total national dispossession. Without such intervention, the 'solidarity' loaned to the Albanians by a small minority of well-meaning but completely powerless leftists in the West would not have been worth two dimes. What use was your 'solidarity' in preventing the Srebrenica massacre ? Or the Rwanda genocide ? Even if the Albanians hadn't been 'betrayed at every turn' by the West, how exactly could their liberation have been achieved without force ?

If you are a pacifist, then I concede that you could see all acts of violence as equally reprehensible, hence the NATO bombing of Pancevo as worthy of condemnation like the Srebrenica massacre. But if you are not a pacifist, as I am not, then you must accept that some acts of violence are the lesser evil. NATO killing several hundred Serbian civilians was indeed an evil; but allowing Milosevic to have dispossessed the entire Kosovo Albanian population would have been a greater evil.

Of course I can argue against your claim that Genscher was urging the EU's recognition of Croatia at the same time that Baker gave his 'green light' to the JNA, because your claim is simply false. Your statement even contains an internal contradiction: Baker gave his 'green light' before Croatia had even declared independence, therefore Genscher could not have been 'urging recognition' of Croatia at the time.

The myth that Germany 'encouraged' Croatia to secede is the foundation myth in the whole edifice of myths propounded by the Milosevic apologists; it is equivalent to the myth that the Jews stabbed Germany in the back in 1918. Genscher reacted to the Croatian and Slovene declaration of independence by REAFFIRMING Germany's support for Yugoslav unity; he shifted to a policy of unilaterally supporting Croatian independence only later, in August 1991.

If your definition of a 'client state' is one that receives small-scale, tactical military support from a Great Power for a limited period (in this case 1994-95), then indeed, Croatia was a US 'client state'. But I think it's stretching the term to the point of uselessness.

The domestic pressure that forced Clinton to take action against the Bosnian Serbs after Srebrenica was the pressure of Congress, which voted to override the arms embargo, threatening US relations with the European powers. And Clinton was being discredited even in the eyes of his own supporters by his perceived weakness over Bosnia. Far from using Bosnia to 'reassert US dominance in Europe', as you claim, Clinton had towed the line of the British and French and pursued one of the most feeble US policies in history.

Frankly, I find this left-wing tendency to see diabolical imperialist plots behind every tree extremely tedious. And this almost religious opposition to 'Western military intervention' has led even decent leftists to end up on the same side of the barricades as the Chetniks and Milosevic supporters.

Well, I'm glad I'm right about something

C'mon. Let's not be disingenuous. Obviously I don't think that absent the intervention Milosevic would have "left the Albanians in peace." I acknowledged there were 200,000 refugees before the bombing started. I am merely stating the fact that the bombing had the effect of escalating the violence against the Albanians.

No, you never explicitly said that national liberation movements should "cede their agency" to imperialism. That was me extrapolating the implication of your words.

Who is going to intervene to halt the ongoing massacres and forced expulsions of peasants in Colombia? Certainly not the US, which is underwriting and directing much of the violence. Do you think somebody should bomb Washington?

No, the suffering of the Colombian peasants does nothing to help the Kosovar Albanians. But the analogy does show up the inconsistency of your position.

And by the way, let's not forget the Serb refugees who have been forced to flee Kosova since its "liberation." By the end of summer 1999, Kosovo's Serb population had been reduced by two-thirds to 70,000 amid reprisals by Albanians (under NATO's nose).

You can bait me about the inability of me and my peacenik pals to halt genocide. Meanwhile, the US (whose firepower you look to for this purpose) was also manifestly unable (or unwilling) to stop genocide in Rwanda and now in Darfur. US political machinations helped bring about the genocide and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Kosova. And the US is actively complicit with something alarmingly close to genocide in Colombia. These contradictions don't make you the slightest bit uncomfortable? If my position is unrealistic, I would say yours hardly has a better record.

I already said I didn't see Srebrenica and Pancevo as "equally reprehensible." Please pay attention. Once again: what is this, a vindication? Should Clinton get the fucking Nobel Peace Prize for blowing up a gasworks in a densely-populated area? What are you apologizing for, man?

Just because Germany's stance on Croatian independence made useful propaganda for the Serbs doesn't mean it wasn't so. You acknowledge that Genscher was supporting Croatian independence by August 1991. Baker's meeting with Milosevic was in June. A difference of two months. Nothing I've read indicates that the Germans were anywhere so forceful as the Americans in supporting Yugoslav unity, and two months is a pretty quick turn-around. (And if I were just mouthing the standard Serb propaganda, then I would be arguing a unified Euro-American conspiracy to dismantle Yugoslavia, which is the opposite of what I am arguing.)

Croatia is still seeking to join NATO. Rather clientistic behavior.

Your use of the term "override" is misleading, since Congress never had enough votes to override a presidential veto of measures to lift the arms embargo. And you are talking about Beltway politics. To me that is just differences within the ruling elites as to the best moves in the geopolitical chess game—not a groundswell from below.

It was precisely because Clinton had been so ineffectual in Bosnia that he had to "reassert US dominance in Europe" by doing something (rashly) proactive in Kosova.

There is plenty of leftist malarky about "diabolical imperialist plots." I do not argue that there was a unified Euro-American conspiracy to destroy Yugoslavia, or that the military intervention was a scheme to seize Kosova's (meagre) mineral resources, or to destroy Serbia's (fictional) socialism, or to build an oil pipeline across the Balkans. That is all vulgar crap. But so is the notion of imperial benevolence, and taking our leaders at face value. Do you think Bush really believed there were WMD in Iraq?

(Well, you dodged my question on Israeli sanctions, so I expect you will dodge my uncomfortable questions here as well.)

Auto-Deconstruction at the World War 4 Report

Based on the performance of the World War 4 Report's regulars (including para-regular “Dr. Hoare,

Ok Bill, this will be my last post,

as this debate seems to be in danger of snowballing into a discussion of Israel, Colombia and the world at large.

What is the point of asking whether the US should be bombed in response to its intervention in Colombia ? It can't happen, so it's a pointless question - a bit like asking whether the Klingons should bomb Jupiter. But the question of whether NATO should have intervened in Kosovo was a real debate which actually made a difference. I freely admit the US has terrible policies all over the world; is the point to support better policies, or simply to condemn the US no matter what its does ? You seem to be suggesting that because the US has bad policies in Colombia, one should oppose good US policies in the Balkans. I think that's a pretty twisted form of reasoning.

First you condemn Clinton for colluding with Milosevic's genocide in Bosnia; then you condemn him for taking action against Milosevic in Kosovo. He can't win, can he ? Whatever the US does, it'll always be wrong in your eyes - I suspect even if the US adopted the policies of 'World War 4 Report', you'd find something to complain about. But let's get something straight: if the 'anti-war movement' had succeeded in derailing NATO's Kosovo intervention, and Milosevic had thereby succeeded in turning the Kosovars into the Palestinians of Europe, it would have been the fault of the 'peaceniks' (though I have no doubt they would have shrugged it off and somehow blamed it all on those wicked imperialists...).

You seem to have retreated from your claim that Germany was 'encouraging Croatian secession', to the position that it was merely supporting Yugoslav unity 'less forcefully' than the US. I'm not sure what point you're making here - I thought you were opposed to Western powers acting forcefully ? But for the record: German support for Croatian independence - belated though it was - was absolutely justified; the US was dumb and wrong in thinking Yugoslav unity could or should be preserved after June 1991.

Croatia trying to joing NATO is scarcely clientistic behaviour. France and Germany are in NATO - are they US clients ? By the way, the US in 2003 was pretty critical of Croatia's failure to give it full support over Iraq.

You freely admit that your politics are incapable of stopping genocide anywhere, yet you dismiss the Congressional opposition to Clinton - which actually did contribute to stopping genocide - as 'differences within the ruling elite'. Well, forgive me if I think that those 'differences within the ruling elite' are incomparably more important than what peaceniks do or don't do.

As to 'dodging questions' - you have dodged several of mine, so I'll repeat them: do you support national-liberation movements that kill civilians (as they all do - including the Bosnian Army in 1992-95, which killed many more civilians than did NATO in Kosovo) ? And if so, what right do you have to condemn Clinton for killing Serb civilians ? Why do you object to outside powers supporting national-liberation movements, seeing as your own country achieved its independence only with the support of several Great Powers ? If Israel attempted to empty the West Bank of its Palestinian population, would you support military intervention to stop it ?

And yes, I'd support the West's use of all forms of pressure and reward - stick and carrot - to bring about a just order in the Middle East: including an independent Palestinian state made up of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem; the end to genocide in Sudan; and an end to dictatorship throughout the region. Pressure should be applied to Israel, but also to Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Sudan and other regional trouble-makers. Unlike much of the 'radical left', I don't single out Israel for blame while ignoring the crimes of Iran and the Arab states. But that's a whole other debate...

Well its been interesting, doc

I am merely trying to show up the flaws in your reasoning, and you keep (yes) dodging the question. In a sense, on 9-11 the citizens of the United States were called upon to pay for the crimes of their government, much as NATO called upon Serbia's citizens to do the same in 1999. Serb officials put the death toll from Allied Force at 2,000, according to Global Security. Maybe the figure is inflated, but the point stands. I hate to invoke Chomsky (really, I do), but his comments in this regard about the "distinction between worthy and unworthy victims" are quite apropos (even if much else he has to say on the subject is garbage). (Lessons from Kosovo, 1999)

Voltaire wrote in a more innocent time: "It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets." Perhaps today we should say "to the whine of smart bombs."

I'm sure the Colombians would be heartened to know that because there is nobody on the global stage big enough to bomb their oppressors, their plight is as unreal to you as that of aliens on Jupiter. You may not like US policy in Latin America, but have you put a fraction as much energy into protesting it as you have into cheering military intervention in the Balkans?

I do not think the US had good policies in the Balkans. Except possibly in the sense of "effective" in acheiving imperial interests.

As for Germany, you seem to be the one who is "retreating." You just admitted exactly what I was arguing: that the US and EU were divided in the early phase of the war. Thank you.

France and Germany are imperialist partners and sometime rivals of the US. Croatia is not in that league. It is a client. Not as much of a client as it was during the war, but still a client.

Yes, "differences within the ruling elite" certainly are more important than what peaceniks do or don't do. We'd like to change that (as we did, for a time, in the late '60s). This returns to my point about appropriating voice and agency.

"All" national liberation movements kill civilians? The one such movement I "support" without equivocation is Mexico's Zapatista National Liberation Army, and I challenge you to provide documentation (by any bona fide human rights group) of instances in which they have killed civilians.

If by "my own country" you mean the USA, I think the American War of Independence was a horribly reactionary affair, largely motivated by expansionist designs on western lands Britain had ceded to the Indians, and occassioned by the most ghastly acts of ethnic cleansing.

But not to dodge any questions: I acknowledge that the world is a complicated place. I do not begrudge the desperate the right to take their allies where they can find them. In the forum I organized during Allied Force in '99, I provided a platform for Albanian refugees who told my peacenik friends: "First bomb the Serbs, then argue about whether you have the moral right to do it." They needed to hear that. But you (and the Albanians) need to hear this. I am not an absolute pacifist nor a dogmatic anarchist. But I do think the pacifists and anarchists have a damn important critique to bring to the discussion.

Now on the question of dodging questions, you continue to dodge mine. I ask if you do support sanctions against Israel, and you say that you "would" (conditional on what?) support "all forms of pressure and reward" (including sanctions?). You also attempt to change the subject by bringing up Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran and Sudan (despite the fact that three of these already face sanctions!)—immediately after baiting me for having brought up Colombia. (I know, its not polite to bring up Latin America in neo-interventionist circles.)

This is what is known as obfuscation.

For me too, Bill

I respect you and your principles. I no longer feel able to identify with radical left-wing politics, as I feel it has little or nothing to offer the people of the Balkans - which is my particular interest - and is more often actively damaging. But if you feel you can make things even slightly better in Mexico, Colombia or anywhere else, then I sincerely wish you all the best in your efforts.


RE: Counting Bodies in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
November 21, 2005, Monday
Bosnian war "claimed 100,000 lives"

The confirmed death toll in the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia appears to be closer to 100,000 dead than the often- quoted figure of 200,000, a Norwegian news agency reported Monday, quoting the head of the Sarajevo-based Research and Documentation Center (RDC).

"In October we had 93,000 names on our lists and the numbers are increasing slightly. But the final tally will likely be around 100,000," Mirsad Tokaca was quoted as saying.

The centre was set up in April 2004 "to investigate and gather facts, documents and data on genocide, war crimes and human rights violations, regardless of the ethnic, political, religious, social, or racial affiliation of the victims."

It has received funding from among others the Norwegian government.

A similar estimate has also been used by population statisticians at the United Nations war crimes tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

The estimate published by researchers Ewa Tabeau and Jacub Biljak was 102,000.

All of the casualties listed by Tokaca and his co-researchers have been identified by name.

"Our research suggests that about 70 per cent of those killed were Bosniacs (Bosnian Moslems), 25 per cent of the killed were Bosnian Serbs and 5 per cent were Bosnian Croats," Tokaca said.

Tokaca said the number of 250,000 or even 300,000 dead has "never been based on research".

Wed Nov 23, 2005 12:07 PM ET
Research halves Bosnia war death toll to 100,000
By Nedim Dervisbegovic

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - The death toll from the Bosnian war, which ended 10 years ago this week, was half of the widely used figure of about 200,000, a leading Bosnian war crimes researcher said in an interview on Wednesday.

"Let me be clear, this is still an extremely high figure but there is a big difference now that people cannot irresponsibly use inflated numbers for their political goals," said Mirsad Tokaca, who heads the Sarajevo-based Investigation and Documentation Center (IDC).

He said work to establish the exact number of Muslims, Serbs and Croats killed in the 1992-95 war should be completed in early 2006.

Tokaca estimated the number of victims at between 100,000 and 150,000 a year ago.

"We are at 93,000 now and that should rise to 100,000, give or take," said the ethnic Muslim (Bosniak) who has headed the 450,000-euro project funded by the Norwegian government since early 2004.

"We should come out with full preliminary results by March after which the number could be changed ... but only slightly," he told Reuters.

The ethnic breakdown of the victims of the war, for which the term "ethnic cleansing" was coined to describe large-scale killings and expulsions of members of other ethnic groups, remained unchanged from Tokaca's estimate a year ago.

"It is about 70 percent Bosniaks, slightly under 25 percent Serbs, slightly under five percent Croats and about one percent of the others," he said.

He said the multi-ethnic team of 12 professionals and several volunteers combed military, civilian, non-governmental and a number of other records and sources throughout Bosnia.

The initial, computerized, database included about 300,000 names as many people appeared on several different records listed either as soldiers, police officers or civilians that were killed or missing.

Once it has established the full database, which will be made available on the Web, Tokaca's team will produce an analysis with ethnic, regional, age, sex and time breakdown.

"I can only say now that it will produce some stunning conclusions but it is too early for me to go into details," said Tokaca, who has investigated war crimes for 13 years and cooperated closely with U.N. investigators.

Tokaca has said the project is of invaluable importance for the Balkan country's reconciliation process.

"Only" a hundred thousand people killed in Bosnia,

which, in Peterson's eyes, seems to make it all ok. But I suppose if members of your circle are on record for defending the Khmer Rouge, then you might consider a hundred thousand to be a small figure...

You Call This "Revisionism"?

I would be very wary of anybody who'd use dismissive phrases such as revisionist propaganda to describe the findings of the Office of the Prosecutor's Demographic Unit at the ICTY, as published in the June 2005 issue of the European Journal of Population, wherein we read that the "overall number of [fatalities] of the Bosnian war equals in total 102,622 persons, of which 55,261 were civilians and 47,360 militaries at the time of death." ("War-related Deaths in the 1992–1995 Armed Conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Critique of Previous Estimates and Recent Results,

That depends what "this" is

I never said the new Bosnia death count was revisionist propaganda. Maybe it is and maybe it isn't. I hardly think that "only" 100,000 dead (in other words, a genocide on the scale of Guatemala or El Salvador) exactly constitutes a vindication.

All that noise from the poorly-named is assuredly revisionist propaganda. Why don't you go argue with Human Rights Watch about "what really happened" at Trnopolje, OK? Please note this relevant sentance:

After Trnopolje was discovered by the Western press in late July 1992 and the barbed wire that surrounded it was removed, the Trnopolje camp became, de facto, a "ghetto" or holding center for non-Serbs in the area.

Why should we be surprised that the US was running Gitmo-style detention centers in Kosova? Once again, what is your point—that if the Yankees do it, it's OK for the Chetniks to do it? Or if the Yankees do it, that proves the Chetniks didn't?

Get serious, or get lost, willya?

Bill, what's your problem?

Hi Bill,

it's very sad to see this type of pro-Western Balkan propaganda being spewed on a website that purports to be progressive/radical. Yes, of course, Chetnick crimes in the Balkans should be condemned, but don't you think that as progressives in 'the West' we should also be holding our governments to account for supporting the neo-fascist Ustasha of the HDZ and their Ustasha cousins in Bosnia?

And while we're on the matter of Bosnia, it was the Bosnian government who suggested in negotiations with the US in the summer of 1995 that the Serbs in Bosnia should be at best accorded something like a 'reservation' in a post-war settlement. This is a concept that Richard Holbrooke and his team came to call the 'Navajo Indian idea' (see the recently declassified document 'The Road to Dayton: US Diplomacy and the Bosnia Peace Process' for details). Of course, this disclosure is part and parcell of a long-tradition of the government in Sarajevo expressing exclusivist and ambitious views trying to seize the whole territory of Bosnia for themselves. But then again, the 'human-rights crusaders' only care about Serbian-fascism - which again progressive should condemn and not appologize for - and choose to be completely silent on the fascism of other Balkan parties...

Good job Bill! way to show your true colours! When you're as incensed by the fact that our military and diplomatic elites coddled open fascists like Tudjman, Izetbegovic and Thaci, then you can talk about Karadzic, Mladic and other Chetnik fascists with some credibility. Have a nice day because the more you and Marko Attilla Hoare talk - who's articles btw, are featured on the oh-so progressive website of the Henry Jackson Society ( - the more you expose yourselves for the frauds that you are.

Btw, David Peterson never used the word 'only' as you and Hoare seem to argue about the revised estimates of Bosnian war dead. Everyone concerned in this debate acknowledges that what happened in Bosnia was a tragedy. But the recent studies show that the picture of Bosnia that we were spoon fed by CNN every single day for nearly 10-years was false, i.e. that: 1) the casualty toll was doubled for propaganda purposes, even though all classified intelligence assesments from the era were already aware of the actual figures, 2) the split between civilian/military casualties was roughly 50/50 which goes against the grain that 'civilians were disproportionately targeted' (this fact also distinguishes it from the genocidal violence in Guatemala/El Salvador where 80% plus of the victims were civilians). Again, as someone from the Balkans, 1-death is excessive, but I and other Balkan progressives blame no one but the imperialists and their local fascist proxies on ALL SIDES for the bloodshed and don't buy into the simplistic and manichaen formulations you've adopted....

Only you and your allies seem to be obsessed with proving that the sole responsibility for everything that happened should lay on the shoulders of the Serbs and are obssessed with appologizing for the crimes of the imperialists and their local fascist proxies...enjoy your slide into irrelivence...I for sure won't be visiting your website again...

Last word

For the second time, the commentary on a post on Bosnia has spilled over into two pages. As last time, I am boycotting the debate from this point on. What is sad is sites that purport to be "progressive" (ZNet, Living Marxism, et al) spewing ethno-fascist and genocide-revisionist propaganda. Shame on me for giving such vile noise a forum. WW4R has already decided on a policy of not publishing posts from Holocaust-revisionists. Perhaps we should consider a similar policy for the Bosnia revisionists. Meanwhile, however, you can have your fun—without my participation.

Did I ever say the US and West European powers shouldn't be held accountable for complicity with Croatian ethno-fascism? No, I never said that. In fact, I have taken shit on this blog from the neo-Ustashe for calling out Croatian war criminals. There's no vindication like getting it from both sides.

Did I ever attribute the "only" remark to Peterson? No. Despite the fact that it was the obvious spirit of his comments. It was another poster who explicitly used the "only 100,000." Try to pay attention.

If "one death is excessive" where is your outrage at Srebrenica and Omarska? Why is every word you post aimed at downplaying Serb atrocities, or casting the blame for them elsewhere?

Again, I concede your point about a greater proportion of civilian victims in Central America than Bosnia, and also a more one-sided distribution of casualties among the "sides." Again—what is this supposed to be, a fucking vindication? Should Karadzic win the fucking Nobel Peace Prize for only killing, say, 30,000 civilians?

The simplistic and Manichean formulations are all yours. I sincerely hope we can take you at your word that you won't be back to this website.

Frat Boys With A Blog

Looking over the exchanges that have accompanied "Z Magazine supports genocide" (July 10) and "Chomsky jumps on Bosnia revisionism bandwagon" (Nov. 1), one immediately recognizes that each began when the World War 4 Report's Bill Weinberg made a series of provocative, if no less ridiculous, charges against people who have commented on the wars over the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during its dissolution in the 1990s.

Bill Weinberg may complain all that he likes about these two exchanges having dragged on for far too long---"For the second time," he now writes, "the commentary on a post on Bosnia has spilled over into two pages. As last time, I am boycotting the debate from this point on." ("Last word," Nov. 28.)

But he has only himself to blame.

Since the sole alternative to having to defend himself against the ludicrous charges he hurls at others about their supporting "genocide" and engaging in "revisionism" is for no one waste any more time on the World War 4 Report, I am confident that everyone will be happy to respect Bill Weinberg’s wishes.

You read like frat boys with a blog, anyway.

The fewer distractions, the better.



Edward Herman on The Lists of Missing at Srebrenica

ZNet refused to publish the letter below

By Balkan Witness staff
August 2005

Of Herman’s many dubious and outright false assertions about Srebrenica, one of the most contemptible is his attempt to make disappear from history the roughly 8000 Bosnian civilians massacred by Serbian forces. Some of his mystification is couched in slippery deniability, in a half-hearted attempt to deflect the criticism he deserves. But taken together, his comments comprise a clear endeavor at war-crimes denial. (1)

Herman is perturbed that the estimated number of victims has stayed relatively constant around 8000. (2) But this estimate has been documented in detail by several independent sources and has been accepted widely, from the corporate media to such progressive reporters as Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now


Chomsky did an interview with Bobby Ilich of
It was a great interview, because Chomsky was asked thoughful questions.

I don't know who Robert Shiller is, but that interview was interesting, too.

Bill Weinberg rules!

This is the only leftist web site that makes sense, because it does not deny 9/11, it does not deny Srebrenica genocide... it does exactly the opposite - it exposes lack of responsibility vested in the hands of big powers, UN included.

Srebrenica Genocide Blog

"Providing the right answers"

Thanks very much for making the point about Chomsky's essential contempt for the people who suffered at Omarska and Trnopolje, some of whom died, others of whom have acknowledged that Ed Vulliamy, Penny Marshall and Ian Williams saved their lives. There's something fundamentally perverse about a man who appears to consider that the chancers at LM/RCP are more deserving of his sympathy.

It's strange that I've never seen any other report from Bosnia published by John Pomfret other than that article about Oric's video. Looking on the Internet he never appears to have commented further.

I presume that this is the same John Pomfret to whom Emir Suljagic refers in Postcards from the Grave - his account of Srebrenica.

"... This was in late 1993, shortly before the Canadian contingent left the town. Another journalist, John Pomfret from The Washington Post, was with them in the town. He walked around with his head somehoe raised higher than anybody else4' attracting attention with the really huge bag he carried slung around his waist. He approached people on the street, pompously asking "Do you think the enclave is viable?" - and they looked at him blankly, not understanding what he meant by that.

Pomfret's article, which I read a couple of months later, did not in any way answer the question of whether the enclave was viable. On the contrary, his article was related only to his conversation with Naser Oric. "We had to use cold steel that night" was the sentence from the interview that remains engraved in my memory. It was the beginning of something that frightened me, bringing consequences that I did not completely understand, a sign that the world outside was more interested in him than in Srebrenica. That could mean only one thing: either we were finished, or we had been finished for months without realising it."

Suljagic goes on to describe how another journalist sneaked into the town on a humanitarian aid convoy, and nearly caused all the trucks to be sent back when he was discovered by a Serb inspection. He left the same afternoon. All he had asked for was an interview with Oric. When Suljagic saw his article about Srebrenica - all about "Mafia" and describing how Oric ruled the town like a "sheriff", he saw what this implied. "... the routine of our horror had become commonplace. To such an extent that something dreadful had to happen for the world outside the enclave to understand that anything was happening at all." (pages 138-9 of my UK edition)

That's the context in which John Pomfret's report has to be read.