Articles on the Kosovo and Bosnia Conflicts:
Deniers of Serbia's War Crimes
It is no surprise that the regime of Slobodan Milosevic and its propagandists sought to deny or justify its war crimes against the peoples of Kosovo and Bosnia. It is shameful, however, that various Western commentators who claim to be progressives have repeated these lies and justifications - even after most of them have been disproved.
In this absurd spectacle they rationalize the destruction of villages and populations thought to harbor terrorists the very actions that the movements against the wars in Vietnam and Iraq have so vigorously opposed.
In this section we examine the misrepresentations of some of these commentators.
If falsehood had, like truth, but one face only, we should be upon better terms; for we should then take for certain the contrary to what the liar says: but the reverse of truth has a hundred thousand forms, and a field indefinite, without bound or limit. Michel de Montaigne, Of Liars, 1574
Frozen in time, like prehistoric insects caught in an amber bubble of cold-war reflexes, the unreconstructed Left remains fixated on NATO and Western imperialist warmongers as the only threat facing humankind that they are prepared to resist. Barely half a century after World War II, the living dead of the Left are no longer capable of recognizing either fascism or genocide as the enemy. Andras Riedlmayer, April 1, 1999
War Crimes Denial - Overviews
War Crimes Deniers - Specific cases
Time to Fight Back Against Bosnian Genocide Denial By Jasmin Mujanovic, BIRN, July 9, 2020
Srebrenica Genocide Denial Report 2020 Denial is an inextricable part of genocide. It allows both perpetrators and bystanders to exculpate themselves from feelings of guilt by excluding the victims from their own moral universe, in which right and wrong, crime and punishment, are clearly defined. Rather than abating with time, denial of genocide has only grown more insidious in recent years—locally, regionally, as well as internationally. Produced by the Srebrenica Memorial, May 2020
A Challenge to Pseudo-Anti-Imperialism By Rohini Hensman, reviewed by Frieda Afary, 2018
There seems to be a kind of leftist monsterphilia around. The same people who embraced Slobodan Milošević, Hosni Mubarak, and Moammar Qaddafi now embrace Bashar al-Assad, again loudly protesting against American imperialist designs against this public benefactor. By Uri Avnery, Bloody Spring, August 11, 2012
On trial beside Mladic in The Hague is a disturbing case of infectious idiocy and denial which the left can no longer ignore If people who claim to care about justice and humanity cannot resist what looks to me like blatant genocide denial, we find ourselves in a very dark place. By George Monbiot, The Guardian (UK), May 21, 2012A Classification of Denials of the Holocaust and Other Genocides By Israel W. Charny, Institute on the Holocaust & Genocide, 2012
Denial The Pathology of Historical Denial. This interesting book seeks to explain why deniers do what they do and to find a deeper, functional basis for this strange and enduring phenomenon. By Tony Taylor, Melbourne University Press, 2008
A Town Betrayed
(forged Robert Baer interview)
Hume, Mick [Living Marxism]
Antiwar.com James Bissett General Lewis MacKenzie
As well as some of those above
Indefensible: A Challenge to Pseudo-Anti-Imperialism A book about the lies of so-called anti-imperialist leftists who defend Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad, while endorsing Serbian aggression in Bosnia and Kosovo. Includes reference to James Petras and Michel Chossudovsky. Reviewed by Frieda Afary, September 10, 2018
Srebrenica and the London Bombings: The ‘Anti-War’ Link This article examines what unites the left-wing and right-wing deniers of Serbia's war crimes. Includes discussion of Edward Herman, Justin Raimondo, Nebojsa Malic, Neil Clark, Tariq Ali, and others. By Marko Hoare, July 23, 2005
The Left Revisionists An extensive review of a broad array of those on the Left who downplay the violence and suffering involved in the wars in the former Yugoslavia and shift the blame to the Western alliance. Among those discussed are Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman, Michael Parenti, Michel Chossudovsky, Diana Johnstone, Mick Hume, John Pilger, Harold Pinter, and Jared Israel. By Marko Hoare, November 2003
Nothing Is Left A review of several books covering the former Yugoslavia, by authors Philip Hammond, Edward Herman, Michael Parenti, Diana Johnstone, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, and Kate Hudson. By Marko Hoare, Bosnia Report, October-December 2003
The Kosovo Verification Mission at Racak A summary of the events surrounding the Racak massacre and its investigation. Concisely refutes some of the inaccurate statements of Diana Johnstone, Philip Hammond, Edward Herman, and David Peterson. By Alex J. Bellamy, 2002
Mediating Denial Martin Shaw reviews Philip Hammond and Edward S. Herman's anthology Degraded Capability: The Media and the Kosovo Crisis. Shaw analyzes distortions by Diana Johnstone, John Pilger, Mick Hume, David Chandler, Peter Gowan, and others. Degraded Capability is an insult to the victims of the Yugoslav wars and those in the media as well as the International Tribunal who have tried to address the victims' claims for justice. June 2000
You can't negotiate with a war criminal But a circus tent of NATO opponents, from Tom Hayden to Arianna Huffington, won't face reality. By Ian Williams, Salon.com, May 27, 1999
High octane, narrow gauge A discussion about the Kosovo crisis was held by the London Review of Books and New Left Review on April 19, 1999. Participant Amanda Sebestyen made the following observations about the conversation: A very narrow band of concerns was addressed: mainly the global machinations of NATO, followed by argumentative re-runs of Yugoslav history. Few addressed the present, and of these a disturbingly large proportion attempted to deny that the Kosovars were suffering mass murder. Several who spoke with most assurance against intervention had no previous record of concern for the people of the region. A wider consensus of good taste was used to disqualify the notion that the Milosevic regime might possibly be ‘fascist’ or committing ‘genocide’. Strangely, these prohibitions reinforced the effect of spending an evening in the 1930s, where many of a Leninist persuasion could still apparently find national socialism preferable to capitalism. Among the participants were Tariq Ali and Peter Gowan.
Tariq Ali, editor of the anthology Masters of the Universe? NATO’s Balkan Crusade. Reviewed by Ian Williams, in More Agitprop than reasoned argument. Bosnia Report, July-September 2000.
Alternative Press Review: Counter-Spin as Useful Idiocy The author, borrowing Lenin’s phrase, takes on the “useful idiots” on the Left, including those who deny the existence of Serbian killing camps in Bosnia or even the massacre at Srebrenica. His prime target in this article is the Alternative Press Review's apologetics for Slobodan Milosevic. By David Watson, Fifth Estate, Fall 2002.
William Blum Denies Serbian Atrocities in Kosovo In his book Rogue State, Blum, a member of the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic, repeats a theme common among uninformed commentators and Serbian apologists: that Serbian atrocities against Kosovo Albanians began only after the NATO intervention. This article offers extensive documentary refutation of Blum's position. By Roger Lippman, July 3, 2002.
Blum's section on Eastern Europe in his book Killing Hope reads more like a series of hastily-penned notes than historical narrative. The book inadvertently exemplifies its central tenet - blind ideological adherence is as seductive as it is dangerous. The author's view of U.S. foreign policy is so deeply entrenched that it keeps the author from recognizing the complexity of the post-Cold War period. Reviewed by Julie Muravska, London School of Economics, January 21, 2015
Yossef Bodansky The guiding principle for Bodansky seems to be hostility to Islam and Muslims everywhere. Click here for an overview.
George Bogdanich "Yugoslavia: The Avoidable War" This propaganda film paints the '90s genocide as a misunderstanding caused by poor public relations, and bases its key conclusions on interviews with a collection of crackpots and racists. Reviewed by Joshua Tanzer, Offoffoff.com, March 2002.
Neil Clark: Moved here
Ramsey Clark: The war criminal's best friend By Ian Williams, Salon, June 21, 1999
Ramsey Clark regards Milosevic favorably, and comparable to Saddam Hussein: "History will prove Milosevic was right." (March 17, 2006)
Marjorie Cohn minimizes the crimes of Milosevic and misrepresents Yugoslav history. Response by Roger Lippman March 17, 2006
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting: FAIR Misrepresents the Racak Massacre In claiming that there is “new evidence casting doubt on claims that the bodies were civilian victims of a massacre,” Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting endorses a biased and error-filled article on Racak. FAIR misrepresents the position of Dr. Helena Ranta, the forensic pathologist who investigated the Racak massacre. FAIR's article is at odds with substantial previous (and subsequent) credible documentation on the Racak incident. By Roger Lippman, April 30, 2001
David Gibbs: Moved here
Peter Handke: Moved here
Stephen Karganovic ("Srebrenica Historical Project") This war-crimes denier was funded by the Republika Srpska, until he was caught embezzling government funds and cheating the government out of taxes owed.filled with hundreds of claims of genocide in Kosovo." The article goes on to give a distorted version of the background of the Kosovo war. Response by Roger Lippman April 3, 2006
Bosnian Serbs Probe Srebrenica Lobbyist's Alleged Fraud Balkan Insight, April 8, 2016
The wages of genocide denial by Michael Dobbs, July 5, 2012
Earlier in life, Karganovic had appointed himself honorary consul from the nation of Tonga.
On Media Lens, lying and the Balkans by Daniel Simpson, December 23, 2009
Parenti was U.S. chairperson of the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic.
Parenti's book To Kill a Nation is discussed in Nothing Is Left, by Marko Hoare, Bosnia Report, October-December 2003.
The same book is reviewed by Kirk Johnson, beginning June 2007. Twelve installments, linked from sidebar on the cited page.
Parenti: The American leftist who attributes the stories of mass rape to the American imperialist propaganda machine By Shon Meckfessel, 2009
A campaign by progressives, Bosniak survivors, and Muslims convinced a US peace organization to withdraw a speaking invitation to Parenti. May 2012
'Random Brutality' and the Denial of Genocide John Pilger erects a smokescreen of abuse and distortion, but fails to defend his contemptible excuse that Serbian atrocities in Kosovo were products of 'random brutality' rather than genocidal planning. By Martin Shaw, November 22, 1999.
John Pilger and the Tasmanian Genocide: Pilger falsely claims that no mass graves of Albanian victims of Milosevic’s regime have ever been found. By Marko Hoare, December 14, 2007
Corbyn's woeful record on defence This article discusses Pilger's false claim in 2016 that the Hague tribunal exonerated Milosevic of genocide. By Oliver Kamm, Prospect, May 16, 2017
Dubious Sources: How Project Censored Joined the Whitewash of Serb Atrocities Their coverage of Kosovo and Bosnia lacks historical perspective and relies on biased, discredited sources. By David Walls, May 2, 2000 (Revised for publication in New Politics, Summer 2002)
Project Censored Whitewash Debate Walls' article elicited commentary from Bogdan Denitch and critical responses from Peter Phillips, Diana Johnstone, and Edward S. Herman & David Peterson. Each critical response is followed with a reply from Walls. New Politics, Winter 2003
Kees van der Pijl Political economy and political reaction A reply to Kees van der Pijl, who fails to understand that Milosevic's seizure of power revoked the rights of national minorities and made the positions of Croatia and Slovenia untenable, leading to the breakup of the Yugoslav federation. By Martin Shaw, June 2003
The book, and its sources, are dissected by Marko Hoare. February 18, 2009
Seymour supported Serbian territorial expansion By Marko Hoare, July 28, 2008 Milosevic "Exonerated"? War-Crime Deniers Feed Receptive Audience Milosevic was not a party to the Karadzic trial referred to here. But the tanks of his army attacked Sarajevo in April 1992, the beginning of his 1000-day siege of that city - a fact not mentioned in Wilcoxson's article in Counterpunch. By Gordana Knezevic, August 9, 2016
Susan Woodward Woodward’s book Balkan Tragedy shows how easy the passage is from identification with the centralized Yugoslav state and army to support for Serbian nationalism. Her apologies for the Serbian side contrast with her treatment of Croatia and Slovenia. Reviewed by Marko Attila Hoare, April 1996, Bosnia Report.
Workers World Party / International Action Center / ANSWERDemocratic socialist internationalism must reject the inverted nationalism of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” Democratic Socialists of America, Winter 2020
Dubious Sources: How Project Censored Joined the Whitewash of Serb Atrocities (Search text for Workers World)
The Politics of the Anti-War Movement, and the Intractable Dilemma of International ANSWER By Bill Weinberg, CounterVortex, December 1, 2005
ANSWER coalition "anti-war" demonstrators support Syria's Assad Scrolling up, see the photo of Assad, captioned "We are all with you" in Arabic. August 30, 2013
Last modified July 08, 2022
Sadly, the so-called radical movement is losing its sense of complexity, of history, of ambivalence, and ultimately its own humanity. Most ostensible oppositionist discourse on the Balkans, from the hard Marxist left to the independent socialist left to even many anarchists, has sunk to a duckspeak of conspiracy mongering and holocaust denial, or to the nostrums of diplomatic conflict-resolution, or to crass and aggressive apologetics for mass murderers.
Readers who think this characterization an exaggeration will have to judge for themselves. They can only do so by studying the matter in depth, since leftist magazines and internet sites are a cesspool of misinformation, where one can find myriad examples of holocaust denial from leftists and rightists - it is a kind of a red-brown front, in fact - that Serb concentration camps never existed, or that the Bosnians "bombed themselves" in Sarajevo, or that the mass execution of thousands of men after the fall of the Srebrenica enclave was a "hoax." And some leftists are even circulating a petition to free poor old Slobodan Milosevic (while demanding the head of Pinochet).
One has to find this depressing in part because some of these people have had reasonable things to say about US support for dictatorships abroad, global capitalism, and other important related issues, and so they now function either to recruit the naturally skeptical into a counter-cult with its own authoritarian mystifications, or they simply discredit worthy opposition altogether through a kind of Gresham's law by which healthy ethical reasoning is driven out by paranoia and dogmatism. Any radical movement serious about changing life, whether or not it can do anything in the near future about the social crises it faces, must never allow itself to become a purveyor of lies.
As Theodor Adorno put it in Minima Moralia, "The almost insoluble task is to let neither the power of others, nor our own powerlessness, stupefy us." We have no choice but to demystify so-called demystification.
David Watson, in the Fifth Estate, winter 2002