Skip to comments.Srebrenica Casualty Numbers Challenged by Experts as Politicized and Ethnically Divisive
Posted on 09/21/2003 8:34:13 AM PDT by joan
BALKAN & EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN POLICY COUNCIL
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Contact: Gregory Copley, 703-548-1070
Srebrenica Casualty Numbers Challenged by Experts as Politicized and Ethnically Divisive
WASHINGTON, DC, September 18, 2003: On the eve of the dedication of a monument to Muslims killed at Srebrenica, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in 1995, a group which includes a former UN official, intelligence experts, and journalists, released a statement challenging the alleged casualty number of 7,000 victims as "vastly inflated and unsupported by evidence".
They asserted that one-sided interventionist policies permitted al-Qaida forces and radical Islamists backed by the Iranian clerical government to take root during the Bosnian war, clouding the future of the region. As well, they agreed that the "memorialization" of false numbers in the monument actually appeared to be intended to perpetuate regional ethnic hatred and distrust and to deliberately punish one of the victim groups in the Bosnian civil war. Former US President Bill Clinton is expected to attend and legitimize the dedication of the monument at Srebrenica, which was constructed using one million dollars of US Embassy funds at the request of High Representative Paddy Ashdown. But former BBC journalist Jonathan Rooper, who has researched the events in Srebrenica since 1995, says that the region was a graveyard for Serbs as well as Muslims and that a monument to inflated casualties on one side "serves neither truth nor the goal of reconciliation".
Phillip Corwin, former UN Civilian Affairs Coordinator in Bosnia during the 1990s, said: "What happened in Srebrenica was not a single large massacre of Muslims by Serbs, but rather a series of very bloody attacks and counterattacks over a three year period which reached a crescendo in July of 1995." Mr. Corwin is author of Dubious Mandate, an account of his experiences during the conflict. He points out that Srebrenica, which was designated a safe zone, was never demilitarized as it was claimed to be, and that Muslim paramilitary leader Nasir Oric, who controlled Srebrenica, launched repeated attacks on surrounding Serb villages. He noted: "I was the United Nations" chief political officer in Bosnia the day that Srebrenica fell. Coincidentally, it was the same day that the Bosnian Government tried to assassinate me as I drove over Mount Igman on the way to Sarajevo."
Intelligence expert and strategist Gregory Copley, President of the International Strategic Studies Association and the ISSA's Balkan & Eastern Mediterranean Policy Council, accused US Ambassador Donald Hays, who serves as Deputy High Representative of Bosnia-Herzegovina, of using the power of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) governing Bosnia "to force Bosnian Serb elected officials to sign a fraudulent document accepting the official version of events in Srebrenica. The leaders of Republica Srpska [the predominantly Serbian province of Bosnia-Herzegovina] invited the office of the High Representative to join their investigation of the events in Srebrenica. Instead they were told they were told to sign a statement drafted by OHR endorsing casualty figures they publicly disagreed with." Copley added: "It is significant in that the former US Clinton Administration fought this war unquestioningly supporting only the Croat and Muslim factions and disregarding the historic alliance of the Serbian peoples with the US. Then, after the war, the Clinton Administration failed to follow US tradition in helping to heal the wounds of war, but, rather, perpetuated ethnic divisions and hatreds. This differs from the US role in all other wars."
"Unfortunately, all of the policies and officials put in place in the region by the Clinton Administration remain. The current Bush Administration has neglected the Balkans and has, instead, allowed the Clinton policies to continue, which has meant that divisive politics continue. This, then, requires the ongoing commitment of US peacekeeping forces in both Bosnia and in the Kosovo province of Serbia."
Copley added that, according to intelligence obtained from Islamist sources, that the monument was intended to become a shrine for radical Islamists in Europe and site for annual pilgrimages. He added: "Deputy High Representative Donald Hays forced the Republica Srpska Government to issue a statement which accepted the radical Islamists" version of the Srebrenica affair, despite the fact that the Office of High Representative does not have any investigative capability of its own to make a valid assumption on the matter. As well, the International Criminal Tribunal on Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague " no friend of the Serbs " has itself not completed its investigation of Srebrenica, and nor has the office of the Government of Republica Srpska which has been working with the ICTY."
Amb.. Hays and OHR chief Paddy Ashdown forced the Republica Srpska statement merely to ensure that the opening of the "shrine" " to be attended by Clinton " would vindicate Clinton Administration policies of support for the radical Islamists." Yossef Bodansky, who has written several books on the war in Yugoslavia and also serves as Research Director of ISSA, calls the 7,000 figure "disinformation" and notes that "all independent forensic evidence points to Muslim casualties in the hundreds, possibly the low hundreds. Continued emphasis on such allegedly high numbers of Muslim deaths at Srebrenica also obfuscates the Muslim murders in that city, earlier, of Serb civilians." Bodansky also wrote extensively on the link between Osama bin Laden and the Bosnian Islamists in numerous articles and special reports and three books, including Offensive in the Balkans: the Potential for a Wider War as a Result of Foreign Intervention in Bosnia-Herzegovina (1995), Some Call it Peace: Waiting for War in the Balkans (1996), and Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America (1999).
Rooper says that at least 1,000 Serbs, mostly civilians, were killed by forces led by Oric who did not bother to hide his crimes, even showing videotapes of slaughtered Serbs to Western journalists. Meanwhile a group of academic experts and journalists from the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Serbia, and the United Kingdom has been organized by Professor Edward S. Herman of the University of Pennsylvania to examine the evidence regarding events at Srebrenica in July 1995 and earlier, how the media reported these events, and the political role of claims about Srebrenica. It is expected that a report from this group will be available in June 2004. Rooper points out that the 40,000 inhabitants the UN used in July of 1995 before the capture of Srebrenica roughly matches the number of former residents accounted for in the aftermath. A commander of the Muslim-dominated Army of BiH (Bosnia-Herzegovina) later confirmed to parliament in Sarajevo that 5,000 BiH troops escaped largely intact to Tuzla while the UN registered some 35,632 civilian survivors.
While the capture of Srebrenica was reported in July 1995, as it unfolded, an international outcry only took place a month later, after Madeleine Albright, then US representative to the UN, held up a photo which she said provided evidence that thousands of Muslim victims had been buried at field near Nova Kasaba, 19 kilometers from Srebrenica. Excavations which took place following the war, however, yielded 33 bodies at Nova Kasaba. Two years after the event, a total of 400 bodies had been found at 20 sites near Srebrenica, an area which had seen bloody fighting over a three year period. Instead of acknowledging that there was no support for the original figures, Rooper says a various means were used to prop up the official story.
"Spokesmen for the Clinton Administration suggested that Serbs might have moved the bodies to other locations. Rooper points out that excavating, transporting and reburying 7,000 bodies was "not only beyond the capabilities of the thinly stretched, petrol-starved Bosnian Serb Army, but would have been easily detected under intense surveillance from satellites and geostationary drones.
By 1998, thousands of bodies excavated from all across Bosnia were stored at the Tuzla airport. Despite state of the art DNA testing, only 200 bodies have been linked to Srebrenica. Around 3,000 names on a list of Srebrenica victims compiled by the Red Cross matched voters in the Bosnian election in 1996. "I pointed out to the OSCE that there had either been massive election fraud or almost half the people on the ICRC missing list were still alive," says Rooper. "The OSCE finally responded that the voting lists had been locked away in warehouses and it would not be possible for them to investigate."
The inflated Srebrenica statistics are part of a larger picture that intelligence experts such as Bodansky and Copley find troubling. They say US policymakers have been slow to recognize that Bosnia is viewed as a strategic base for operations in Europe by al-Qaida and the HizbAllah. In 1993, when the Clinton Administration was strongly backing the Muslim President of Bosnia, Alija Izetbegovic, Osama Bin Ladin was regular visitor to his office, according to Renate Flottau of the German weekly, Der Spiegel. The Bosnian daily, Dani, reported that the Vienna Embassy of BiH issued a passport to Bin Ladin in 1993.
A special report by Copley, issued Tuesday, September 16. 2003. noted that Bosnia-Herzegovina Ambassador Huso Zivalj, who issued the passport to Bin Ladin, later served as Bosnian Ambassador to the United Nations in September 11. "It is becoming increasingly clear that the movement of Zivalj to the New York post just before (and his departure just after) the September 11,2001 attacks was not coincidental."
"To refer to US Bosnia policy as a success story is to disregard substantial evidence to the contrary. Instead of misplaced symbolism in Srebrenica, US policymakers need to take a hard look at assumptions which have guided US actions in the region," Copley said.
If the Bosnia Government had succeeded in assassinating him, who do you think would get the blame for his death? Likely the Bosnian Muslim Government and the Western press would say it was "Serb snipers", and then add that the motive was because he'd been a witness to Serb atrocities.
But he survived the attempt and unambiguously states it was the Bosnian Government.
I note that your article, written in 2003, uses information from 1998, which means the author neatly avoids having to address recent information which invalidates the basis of the article in toto.
The intellectual lights you choose to illuminate your world are rather dim, Joan.
Thousands of men from Srebrenica went to Tuzla. You were there in Tuzla. I'll bet it was flooded with Bosnian Muslim men, many tough looking brutes - those who raided Serb villages and had their headless bodies in heaps. Naser Oric showed his videos to Western reporters. Did you see Naser, the mass murderer, walking around Tuzla? Did you have drinks with him? Did you go to his clubs and businesses?
Stella Jatras told me:
"I've met a lady who, along with her husband, was in Bosnia from 1997 to 1998. She was with NATO working with General Shinseki and he was a former LAPD working with the UN. He said that he was sent to investigate mass graves containing the bodies of Bosnian Muslims and Croats and upon each and every investigation, it turned out that the mass graves contained the bodies of Serb soldiers who had been shot in the back of the head. When he protested to his superiors about the inacuracies of the reporting, they told him to shut up."
Is not Tuzla the place where bodies from all throughout Bosnia are brought? About a year ago, I read a short report that said bodies in Croatia, just over the border from Bosnia, would be brought to the Tuzla morgue, as it was believed they were "Bosnian." But I'd bet they were Bosnian Serb, for the Croat army crossed right into Bosnia and had brigades stationed in Bosnia during the war.
Compare and contrast
Since July 1995, when the ICRC started to collect the information needed to trace people unaccounted for after the fall of Srebrenica, the organization has received 7,599 enquiries regarding people who went missing in the town. Only 22 people have been found alive; the mortal remains of 1,083 others have been identified. source
Furthermore, with Nikolic and Obrenovic cooperating with the Tribunal, further Srebrenica secondary gravesites, like Crni Vrh are being uncovered, and the true nature of the ethnic cleansing campaign waged by the Serbs in Eastern Bosnia is becoming clearer, and harder to lie about.
Take a hike.
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