Skip to comments.Greek Complicity in Serb Wars
Posted on 08/06/2002 4:45:18 PM PDT by Hoplite
There's growing evidence that Greece helped to lubricate Milosevic's war machine
By Takis Michas in Athens
As Greece prepares to take on the mantle of the European Union presidency in January 2003, the time has come for Athens to examine the role it played in aiding the regimes of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic and his Bosnian Serb associates Radovan Karadic and Ratko Mladic.
Besides a general failure to confront the scale of war crimes perpetrated by Bosnian Serb and Serbian forces during the Nineties, there's mounting evidence of Greek complicity in Yugoslav sanction-busting during the conflicts.
A recent report published by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY, covering the period 1994-2000, presents damning evidence of Greek and Cypriot involvement in the Balkan wars.
According to the report, both provided the pillars on which the Belgrade regime constructed an international financial structure to sidestep UN sanctions in operation between 1991 and 2000. The Hague investigation has revealed that transactions in excess of 1.5 billion German marks passed through this network.
Greek banking and government officials frustrated ICTY efforts to investigate the matter throughout the Nineties. For example, although the authorities originally agreed to Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte's probe, they excluded the central bank from follow-up enquiries in autumn 2001. The report also claimed that its investigators did not receive all the information they had asked of Athens.
In a well-publicised incident, a Greek court of appeals prosecutor refused to cooperate with the ICTY, saying he had "no intention of becoming a detective for The Hague".
The tribunal investigation concluded that eight Yugoslav "front" companies had been operating through the Popular Bank of Cyprus, the Hellenic Bank, the European Popular Bank of Cyprus and a Greek subsidiary of the Popular Bank. Some money passing through these accounts, it said, was spent on arms deals with suppliers from the United States, Russia and Israel.
When asked why money had been taken to Cyprus, former Milosevic customs chief Mikhail Kertes said, "Probably because there was a way out to the world from there."
The funds passing through the accounts are said to have come from the Yugoslav Federal Customs Administration, FCAY. They were found to have transferred large sums to a branch of Beogradska Bank in Cyprus and other Greek and Cypriot banks. The report revealed that representatives from the Beogradska Bank managed the accounts of the front companies and arranged for the transfer of funds to third parties, including arms dealers. In several cases the persons named as directors of the trading companies are said to have had no knowledge of these transactions.
"A financial structure was designed, implemented and maintained to provide funding, equipment and supplies for the army of the former Yugoslavia and the special forces of the interior ministry," the ICTY report said.
Evidence of more direct involvement in the Bosnian conflict is also mounting. Arms shipments to Bosnian Serb forces, the leaking of NATO military intelligence to General Ratko Mladic's Bosnian Serb forces and the presence of Greek paramilitaries among the latter during the Srebrenica campaign are all issues of concern.
The 7,000-page report by the Dutch authorities into the 1995 Srebrenica massacres - publication of which led to the resignation of the government - revealed that large shipments of weapons were transferred from Greece to Mladic's army in 1994 and 1995. Alleged arms consignments in the years immediately before and after could not be verified. Professor Cees Wiebes of Amsterdam University compiled the section of the report dealing with the involvement of foreign secret agencies and governments in the Bosnian conflict. It took five years to write, during which time the professor enjoyed unrestricted access to the Dutch intelligence community and various foreign and UN archives, interviewing more than 90 intelligence officials.
"Lots of weapons were transferred from Greece to the Montenegrin port of Bar, from where they would find their way to the Bosnian Serb army," Wiebes said. The weapons consisted mostly of light arms and ammunition.
At the same time, there are strong indications that Greece was leaking NATO intelligence to Mladic, especially during the period of alliance air strikes on Bosnian Serb forces in August-September 1995. "NATO officials became very reluctant to share intelligence with the Greeks due to fears over leaks to the Bosnian Serbs, and at some point they simply stopped doing so," Wiebes wrote.
In early 1994, Greece incurred the wrath of its European allies by voting against air strikes on Bosnian Serb positions. The country refused to allow NATO to use its air bases in Preveza on the Ionian Sea and declined to provide troops for the UN peacekeeping force in Bosnia.
Meanwhile, a contingent of Greek paramilitaries was formed in March 1995 at Mladic's request. The Greek Volunteer Guard, GVG, as it was known, rapidly became a regular fighting unit with its own insignia - a white double-headed eagle on a black background. In September 1995, four of its members received the White Eagle medal of honour from Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.
The GVG had around 100 soldiers and was based in Vlasenica near Tuzla. Guard spokesman George Mouratidis said the unit was fully integrated into the army of Republika Srpska and was led by Serb officers.
From talking to veterans of the unit, it appears these soldiers were not simply mercenaries. Most cited religion as their main reason for enlisting.
"I am Orthodox and must help my Serb brethren against the Muslims," said Vagelis Koutakos in an interview at the time. His colleague Spiro Tzanopoulos claimed, "The Vatican, the Zionists, the Germans and the Americans conspire against the Orthodox nations. Their next target after Serbia will be Greece."
The GVG's part in the assault on Srebrenica was reported in the media at home and abroad, and the Dutch government's report describes how the unit hoisted the Greek flag in the town after the takeover. It also cited video footage of the event and excerpts taken from intercepted Bosnian Serb army telephone conversations provided by Bosnian intelligence services.
"One of the intercepted messages was from General Mladic, who asked for the Greek flag to be hoisted in the city," said Wiebes.
The presence of the Greek paramilitaries in Srebrenica appeared to be welcomed by many back home, where their antics were widely reported. The public seemed mesmerised by tales of hardship and danger, their young men fighting the "insidious" Muslims and the bravery of their Serb "brethren". When the Ethnos newspaper ran a two-page spread in August 1995 on the "heroic" exploits of the GVG in Srebrenica, the response was overwhelming. The paper's phone lines were jammed by youths desperate for information on the force.
Despite the widespread media reports, the authorities consistently ignored the open and public recruitment of paramilitaries in Greece and denied that Greek nationals were fighting in Bosnia.
The efforts to lend economic and military aid stemmed from Athens' official policy. Identification of Greece with Milosevic's policies in Belgrade and those of Karadzic in Pale was total and unconditional.
Before, during and after its 1994 presidency of the EU, Greece was the only country to support claims that Serb forces had entered Bosnian territory in response to provocation. In December 1994, after talks with Milosevic in Athens, Papandreou reiterated there was little difference between the Serbian and Greek positions on the Bosnian situation. Athens' criticism of the violence unfolding in Bosnia was almost exclusively directed against NATO air strikes. Even as late as April 1994, when human rights violations by Bosnian Serb forces had been established beyond any reasonable doubt, the then Greek premier Andreas Papandreou blamed only NATO.
"Greece showed indifference to Serb crimes and failed to condemn the merciless bombing of civilian populations [in Vukovar and Sarajevo] or the practice of ethnic cleansing, simply because those acts happened to be committed by Bosnian Serbs," said Alexis Heraclides, now a senior lecturer at Panteion University in Athens, but at the time an official in the Greek foreign ministry.
That indifference also resonated through the Greek media. The assault on Srebrenica was reported by some in Greece as an example of the "heroic advance of Serb forces". The involvement of Bosnian Serb forces in the massacres that followed the seizure of the town was underplayed. To this day, not one of Greece's ten or more television stations has broadcast a documentary on these events.
A few days after the ICTY announced its indictments against Mladic and Karadzic, the Greek-Serb Friendship Society claimed to have collected over two million signatures on a petition calling on the tribunal to drop the charges.
"We collected signatures everywhere," said society treasurer Lykourgos Chazakos. "In factories, offices and on the streets, the reaction was overwhelming. We met representatives from all political parties, who showed tremendous understanding. The people at the ministry of foreign affairs were especially encouraging."
The Greek Orthodox Church was one of the staunchest supporters of Milosevic's policy. It invited Karadzic to a rally in his honour at Piraeus in 1993, which was attended by leading politicians from all political parties and prominent trade unions.
In a 1994 comment, Papandreou said the Balkan wars had "brought to the surface the resonance of Orthodox ties" between Athens, Sofia and Belgrade.
Renowned literary critic Zoran Mutic, famed for his translations of Ancient Greek classics into Serbo-Croat, is bewildered by the extent of support for the Bosnian Serbs.
"When I hear so many journalists, academics, intellectuals and politicians expressing admiration for Karadzic, what can I say? How can they consider him a hero when he bombed hospitals and sent snipers to kill children on the streets?" he asked.
Another effect of this backing for the Bosnian Serb cause was the failure to acknowledge - let alone lend support to - the hard-pressed Serbian opposition parties and non-government media.
Sasa Mircovic of B-92 said the Greek government refused to recognise the role of independent media in Serbia. "They did not know and they did not want to know what was happening in our country," he told IWPR.
Efforts were even made to undermine the Serbian opposition. In the early Nineties, a Greek weekly, closely linked to the foreign ministry, published EC documents listing Serbian opposition organisations in receipt of funds from Brussels.
"This act constituted one of the most serious and dangerous attempts at undermining the efforts of the Serb opposition by presenting its members as being in the payroll of foreign powers," said Mircovic.
A few years before the death in 1997 of prominent left-wing thinker Corenliums Castoriadis, he told how Serb war crimes were being "covered up" in Greece through a campaign of misinformation and lies.
"In my eyes," he said, "Greek politicians, journalists, people who work in the media and the others responsible for this campaign of disinformation are moral accomplices in the cover-up of Serb crimes in Croatia and Bosnia."
Greek foreign office officials have repeatedly denounced the ICTY as partial and anti-Serb. In 1996, then foreign minister Theodor Pangalos asked the tribunal to "stop demonising the Serbs". Again in 1998, during a visit by then Bosnian Serb prime minister, Milorad Dodik, to Athens, Pangalos said the tribunal had "fallen under political influence".
The country's judicial system has been equally unwilling to investigate allegations of serious breaches of international law by Greek nationals and government officials. "In any European country with respect for the rule of law such serious allegations would immediately cause the intervention of the public prosecutor's office," said former trade and industry minister Andreas Andrianopoulos.
Greek premier Costas Simitis and his government have so far failed to condemn the policies of previous administrations. Nor have the authorities shown the slightest willingness to set up a parliamentary investigation into the allegations of complicity in war crimes in Bosnia. Instead, they persist with staunch denials of any wrongdoing.
Last summer, Greek EU commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou told an Athens conference a bright future awaited Greece in Europe. When asked if this future would include those politicians and institutions implicated in the Bosnian, Croatian and Kosovar atrocities, Diamantopoulou said only, "History has proven that Greek policies were correct".
Takis Michas writes for the Greek daily Eleftherotypia. His book "Unholy Alliance: Greece and Milosevic's Serbia" was published in May by Texas A&M University Press.
The Bosnians are held accountable for allowing al-Qeada to set up bases and use Bosnia as the majot hub for its operations in the West, including the 9/11 caper.
Also accountable are the Western leaders who allowed these Islamists into the Balkans that prolonged the war and Western leaders who did nothing as al-Qaeda organized and trained under the nose of thousands of heavily armed NATO troops.
Hell even if al-Qaeda had no role in the Balkans you can onlt hig five the Greeks for helping the Serbs while the US of A (under Clinton) was allowing Iranians(!!) and Arabs to swarm into Bosnia and the Balkans.
How many of the KLA's fighters were trained by the KLA? We have one documented case of the Australian kid, and I leave it to you to back up your quote (which comes from the author of the article linked, not another source), and compare your findings with the overall strength of the KLA so as to draw a picture of how deep this involvement runs.
Get to work - and while you're at it, you can bring any proof to the table to back up your 9/11 claims, which the FBI report you reference refutes.
Speaking of the FBI report, had you learned to actually read, you'd have noted that I linked to and commented on it in my post #48, but then I suppose I shouldn't expect too much from you - should I.
Hell even if al-Qaeda had no role in the Balkans
No backing down, Destro, you've placed your bets and you can only fold or up the ante now - I'm calling your bluff.
I refer you to the aforementioned FBI report, which downplays the role of Al Quaeda in Bosnia.
And Radovan Karadzic is responsible for attempting to pin the blame of the various shelling related mass casualty episodes upon the residents of Sarajevo - somehow in his mind the expenditure of over 1 million artillery and mortar rounds can be conveniently forgotten when one of them actually achieves the purpose of those either pulling the lanyards or dropping the rounds into the tubes.
Your historical truth is that Karadzic out Ustashed the Croats in Bosnia in the 1990's. You might as well try to rehabilitate history's other murderous freaks while you're at it, 'cause you'll get no traction on this anywhere that the facts are known.
And I quote, from Sell's book referenced by Destro...
This time, however, there was little question about the perpetrators. By the next day, UN forces in Sarajevo had "concluded beyond a doubt" that the mortars were fired from Serb territory. The UN investigation, briefed to the Security Council on 13 September, was based on analysis of the impact site by teams from several countries, observations of UN soldiers on duty at the time of the incident, and data from a British artillery tracking radar unit that had been installed in an old Turkish fort overlooking the city after the February 1994 incident. Analysis of the impact craters and the observations of the UN soldiers showed that the five mortar rounds came from the southwest of the city, while data from the British radar indicated that they were fired from a range of 1,550 to 3,500 meters. Since the distance from the impact site to the confrontation line between Bosnian and Serb forces in that direction was 1,050 meters, it was obvious that they had originated within Serb lines. UN investigators also found a tail fin from a 120mm mortar whose design matched those used by the Bosnian Serbs near the impact point of the round that caused most of the casualties
pp 246-7, Sell, Slobodan Milosevic and the Destruction of Yugoslavia
The make isn't conclusive, the telemetry data is.
...the two mortar attacks in Sarajevo's Markale Market Square on February 5, 1994 and August 28, 1995. These attacks snuffed the lives of 68 and 37 unsuspecting people, respectively, and served as the catalyst for NATO retribution from the air in both cases. However, who must shoulder the responsibility for the mean streets of Sarajevo? Both the mortar attacks and the sniping incidents require closer examination.
In an investigative report published in the October 2, 1995 edition of The Nation, David Binder penned a most fascinating and thorough summary of the inconsistencies associated with these two mortar attacks. While stating that the UN "sticks by the conclusions of its inquiry" and blames the Serbs - at least in the second incident - the author nevertheless persuasively enumerated the factors which indicated that the BSA was not responsible.
Binder also notes support for his arguments from some American and Canadian specialists as well as (Russian) Colonel Andrei Demurenko, the Chief of Staff of the Sector Sarajevo peacekeeping unit. (According to an article in The Sunday Times (London), British and French crater analysis teams supported these same conclusions but were overruled by the UN.) No need exists to rehash all of his convincing arguments here, but primarily, they include suspicions about the firing distance, "anomalies with the (mortar) fuse," fields of observation, and trajectory difficulties.7
David Binder, The Nation, Oct 2, 1995, p.336. Mr. Binder's article concentrates primarily on the second mortar attack, but the technical factors which he notes apply equally to the first incident. Additionally, some very tough questions remain unanswered from the more devastating Feb 1994 episode. These include: Why were people herded into the area minutes before the attack?; How could a government which consistently justifies its inability to abide by short ceasefires on inadequate communications miraculously notify the press and simultaneously dispatch ambulances to the scene within minutes?; and Why did the tail fin of the mortar shell inexplicably disappear shortly after the attack? (Prior to capturing some BSA stocks during subsequent fighting, the Bosniac government was forced to handmake its mortar and artillery shells. This process meant that every tail fin was distinctive and would have provided conclusive evidence. Interestingly enough, when the initial photos of the second attack were broadcast, someone made certain that a mortar tail fin was prominently displayed in the panoramic shot.) Also see Hugh McManners, The Sunday Times (London), Oct 1, 1995.
How about them blaming the Serbs for the Muslims placing their Arty pieces inside the Sarajevo Hospital?
Or better yet, blaming the Serbs for going into Gorazde to blow up the water tower to prevent the Musli's from poisoning the water treatment tower for the entire Eastern Bosna?
Greeks and Greek-Americans who supported the Serbs deserve to be COMMENDED, not condemned!!!! Instead of spreading muslim and New World Order lies and demonizing the Serbs, they called them brothers and supported them and spoke well of them, just as our Lord commanded us on the night of the Last Supper. It is the majority of us "mainline" Christians, who substituted liberal-multicultural "morality" for our Lord's command, and ended up supporting muslim supremacist against Christians, who should be ashamed!!!
Now these same muslim supremacists have turned on America!! That includes the "poor, victimized", "Bosnian" muslims, who have turned their enclave into a base for all sorts of terrorism, money-laundering, funneling of illegal muslim "immigrants" into Western Europe, and other types of subversion, just as Izetbegovic planned from the beginning.
Don't lie to us that there is "no evidence" of al Qaeda involvement in "Bosnia"!!!! There is AMPLE EVIDENCE of such involvement, some of which was posted right here on FR. For example, there were the "Bosnian"-based Algerians who snuck into the US at the end of 1999, attepting to give us a "Y2K surprise"!
Support for the islamic entity in Bosnia is a discredited sham!!!!
The article was so worthless, why bother commenting.
That's a favorite fisction of the liberal Hum Warriors. Maybe the Greeks just don't like unjust wars in their neighborhood--would you?
This is not a secret. Nations took sides in this conflict. Greeks and Russians rooted for Serbs, Germans supported Croats. Saudies, Turks and Iranians supported Bosnian Muslims and KLA Albanians. French could not make their mind. So what is your point?
Why do you use name Hoplite, BTW?
"A few days ago Mr. Boutros Ghali informed me that the projectile which hit the Markale marketplace in Sarajevo was an act of (Bosnian) Muslim provocation".
President Mitterrand of France, 1995
The statement refers to the 1994 explosion and is quoted in a book entitled L'Annee des Adieux (The Year of Parting) It has been reprinted by several sources, as a web search reveals.
This and other corroborating testimonies and statements by well respected neutral observers (David Owen, Yasushi Akashi, General Rose, General Briquement, etc) can be found in several sources, e.g. Flame or Balkan Repository Project.
The 1994 explosion, therefore, is acepted by prominent neutral observers (Sell is certainly NOT one of them) to have been a provocation by the Muslims. The case is less clear-cut for the 1995 explosion. The hastily composed report that Hoplite mentions does blame the Serbs but was explicitly contradicted by several experts on the scene, as Voronin notes, and smells of political bias, since it was written with the Clinton administration's blessing with the obvious purpose to serve as a pretext for bombing the Serbs. Apparently Izetbegovic's provocateurs and their patrons in the Clinton administration learnt something from their 1994 fiasco and organized their 1995 explosion somewhat better, denying annoying inquisitive people such as Boutros Ghali the opportunity to spoil their provocation so easily as in 1994.
There is no contradiction for him. He is one of those pointy-head academics who worship the "ancients", and deny any connection between the glory that was Greece, the grandeur that was Rome, and today's greasy reality. If pressed, he will tell you that today's Greeks are either Slavs or Africans.
And by the way, you both forgot the "the victims had ice in their ears because they were pulled from the morgue and placed in the market", which is my favorite "Radovanism" on the subject, so you might add that to your list of objections.
And the reference was from Louis Sell, not Michael Sells, though he might as well be labelled rabidly anti-Serb just to get it over with and out of the way, right?
Perhaps you could explain the phenomenon to nomoreheroes?
D-3-1, Benning School for Boys, Class of '87.
Don't stop, you're on a roll.
blah blah indiscriminately fired mortar yadda yadda
You continue to evade the issue that an array of respected neutral international figures openly acknowledge that sniping and shelling provocations was a routine Bosnian Muslim tactic. I am not talking about Demurenko. I am talking talking about Boutros Ghali, Mitterrand, General Rose etc.