May 24th 2011 07:48:37 PM
Last week I blogged about the Otpor Serbs who advised Egyptian groups on how to cast off dictatorship and thereby Islamicize the country more freely. So since we’re on the subject of self-loathing young Serbs, I’ll bring up two equally idiotic older Serbs: Edmonton’s “poet-in-exile” Goran Simic and Alberta University adjunct professor Srdja Pavlovic, both of whom cheered Canadian censorship in March. Simic is inspired by the current changes in the Arab world:
‘War poet’ finds freedom to speak out (Edmonton Journal, March 2)
…Simic was a well-known and well-read author, and no friend of the nationalist cause…The bookstore he owned, as well as his family home, [in Sarajevo] were shelled and destroyed. [By whom, we’re not told — we’re supposed to assume.] His mother and brother, and many friends, were killed…First, [Serb-hater] Susan Sontag helped get him out of Sarajevo. Then PEN Canada, an organization committed to protecting freedom of expression [except in February] brought Simic to Toronto in 1996….He has been, for much of his career since the siege [sic] of Sarajevo, a “war poet,” interpreting what he had seen and heard and smelled during and after the siege [sic] of Sarajevo….It has been his job to ensure, in some small way, that what happened is not forgotten. “They’re still digging up bones,” he said. [I think that’s because there was a war there.]
He has been thinking about his experiences as a persecuted writer and as a war survivor, as he watches the demonstrations in the Arab world. “It’s a great victory for freedom of speech,” he said. “It’s proof that people can change history.”
The idiocy of Simic’s fellow Serbian anti-Serb, Pavlovic, manifests itself in a different subject. He “corrects” a writer named Lorne Gunter, who wrote negatively about the 1999 war against the Serbs in a piece titled “Libyan conflict Kosovo war all over again” (My own, rather opposite, correction of the Gunter piece appears here.) From Pavlovic’s rebuttal piece “NATO effective in 1999 “:
Lorne Gunter was wrong when he claimed that the 1999 bombing of Kosovo was useless in ending suffering of civilians.
Prior to the bombing, the conflict had devastating consequences for the populations of Kosovo. The joint report by the Boston-based Physicians for Human Rights and the Columbia University Program on Forced Migration and Health, stated that the Kosovo crisis resulted in the largest population displacement in Europe since the Second World War.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia sentenced the former Serbian police chief, Vlastimir Djordjevic, to 27 years in prison for his role in the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo Albanians.
Nine former members of the paramilitary units known as Jackals are currently on trial in Belgrade for the killing of at least 44 Albanian civilians in the village of Cuska in May 1999. In 2007, two former policemen from the Serbian city of Pozarevac were put on trial for the crimes committed in the village of Orahovac in Kosovo. Similar trials took place in the Serbian cities of Novi Sad (2006) and Nis (2007).
Gunter claims that no mass graves of “innocent Kosovars” were ever found. That claim flies in the face of overwhelming evidence. While fewer human remains than estimated before the NATO bombing had been found in Kosovo, mass graves of Albanian civilians are still being unearthed in Serbia. In May 2001, the government of Serbia confirmed that, during the Kosovo conflict, a truck carrying the bodies of 86 Albanian civilians was dumped in the Danube River. In July 2001, the Serbian authorities discovered four mass graves totalling 1,000 bodies of Albanian civilians.
According to the 2010 statement by the Serbian chief prosecutor for war crimes, Vladimir Vukcevic, the authorities are yet to begin the gruesome task of unearthing human remains from a mass grave near Raska, which is the sixth such mass grave discovered in Serbia since 2001.
The authorities estimate that the bodies of some 250 Kosovo Albanians were dumped there during the fighting in 1999. In terms of its size, the Raska mass grave is second only to the one found in the Belgrade suburb of Batajnica, where 700 bodies of Albanian civilians had been unearthed.
It is both unfortunate and puzzling that a journalist of Gunter’s calibre failed to do basic research before attempting to compare the two conflicts.
Talk about not doing basic research. “Prior to the bombing, the conflict had devastating consequences for the populations of Kosovo,” Mr. Pavlovic? Every war crime that any Serb defendant was ever convicted of by the ICTY, including Djordjevic, was alleged without exception to have happened DURING — not before — the NATO bombing. Additionally, in all of the evidence related to ICTY trials of Serb defendants for war crimes in Kosovo, no military, political, or police official is on record in any of the transcripts, documents, or trial exhibits discussing or referring to any kind of a plan, policy, or conspiracy to terrorize, kill, or expel the Kosovo Albanian population. (Though notice Pavlovic isn’t worried about the very real plan by Albanians from Day One to drive out the Serbian and Roma populations.)
As for the joint report stating that the Kosovo crisis resulted in the largest population displacement in Europe since the Second World War, that massive displacement was confirmed by the report itself to have happened after the commencement of the NATO bombing — not “prior to the bombing” as alleged by Pavlovic. (Unless, of course, you count the forced exodus that NATO and KLA staged together in advance, for the cameras. Or the general persecution by KLA, causing Albanians to flee to Belgrade.)
Pavlovic also mentions the Jackals as if their crimes were somehow condoned by Milosevic’s government. But trial watcher Andy Wilcoxson is in possession of a Serbian police report dated June 1999 that plainly states the Jackals killed civilians and were involved in bank robberies. “They were criminals and were regarded as such by the authorities,” says Wilcoxson, adding, “The Serbian government has been putting people like this on trial for war crimes since Milosevic was in power. This is nothing new. Serbia didn’t need NATO to bomb them in order to prosecute this kind of thing.”
But let’s get to those mass graves, Mr. Pavlovic. “Authorities estimate” 250 bodies in a not-yet-excavated grave? We know how accurate all those official estimates have been throughout the Balkan wars, don’t we? The Trepca zinc mine “mass grave”; the stadium-concentration-camp; the “500,000 missing and feared dead”; “100,000″ killed and “up to a million displaced”; Operation Horseshoe; 567 bodies in an Orahovac mass grave; “60,000″ Muslim women raped; “300,000″ Bosnians killed, and so on. In Kosovo, the 100,000 became 44,000, then 22,000 and soon “more than 11,000 killed in 529 reported mass grave and killing sites.” Then, forensic pathologist Emilio Perez Pujol was told to expect 2,000 bodies for autopsies in Istok — supposedly “the worst part” and darkest corner of the Kosovo war — but in the end got 187, several of them having died from natural or “strange” and unexplained causes, with even Western officials saying plenty had died from fighting and from NATO bombs. (About 100 of the 187 were prison inmates killed by NATO.) None of which fazes Pavlovic or causes him to take “official” estimates or pronouncements with a grain of salt.
So let’s see. Is the “250-body” mass grave he’s talking about the same one where in June 2007 there were supposed to be “300 to 500” bodies, then reduced to “more than 350 bodies” — but which ultimately held no traces of human remains? (A month later there was another false alarm, in Pristina: “Old Cemetery Found, Not Mass Grave, UN say.”)
And so now we’re down to 250 potential bodies which have been hard to find for four years because it turns out they’re going to be found under a building at the site. But Pavlovic wants you to think that the bodies have already been found and counted. Perhaps he is going by this May, 2010 item, which actually claimed to have “unearthed” possibly 250 bodies. By August, however:
Serbia’s war crimes prosecutor yesterday said he would continue the search for a mass grave containing the bodies of Kosovo Albanians amid reports that a first probe yielded nothing.
“The prosecutor’s office together with EULEX (the EU mission in Kosovo) will continue its investigation to determine the existence of a mass grave as there is a well-founded suspicion that a mass grave is on the Raska-Rudnica site,” the prosecutor said in a statement.
The statement added that the prosecution had received the results of the analysis of the first soil samples taken in front of the building which is the suspected site of the mass grave. A source close to the probe said the samples tested negative for evidence of human remains, but added they were taken in the wrong place as the bodies are thought to be buried under the building…
In Pristina, the head of Kosovo government’s commission for missing persons Prenk Gjetaj agreed that the mass grave “suspicion is not related only to the yard that belongs to that road maintenance company, but exactly to the building and its basement which were built after the war.”
The Serbian authorities in May announced the discovery of the site at Rudnica, near the southwestern town of Raska, 3km from the border with Kosovo. It is believed to contain the remains of some 250 Kosovo Albanians killed in the 1998-99 conflict with Serbian forces.
Pavlovic is engaging in the same old dynamic described by historian Jared Israel more than 10 years ago:
…The discovery or even the rumor of a grave is cited (often in a press conference by some authority figure) as proof of Serbian atrocities…The supposed mass grave is discovered…The grave has not been opened, or perhaps it has been opened but the only evidence is a few scraps of clothing. Nevertheless we are told that dead bodies will be found; the bodies will be Albanians; they will be civilians; they will have been killed by Serbs; the Serbs will have been soldiers or policemen. The reporter does not probe, does not investigate, does not test these speculations against fact and nobody complains because the speculations are not presented as speculations. Once uttered, they have the authority of Revealed Truth. They become part of the Record, to be cited in later news reports as Proven Fact.
Indeed, Pavlovic joins quite the tradition, a diligent and noble effort that even included NATO doctoring aerial photos of mass graves. (This recalls Madeleine Albright waving a photo of a supposed mass grave in Bosnia that never had any follow-up to it — sure enough, the photo is sealed for “national security reasons.”) For his part, Pavlovic isn’t too embarrassed to cite the infamous freezer truck hoax as part of the “overwhelming evidence” that Gunter supposedly flies in the face of.
The “Serbian government” that Pavlovic cites as admitting to the freezer truck non-incident is the Western-quisling Democratic Opposition of Serbia, which took over after Milosevic and which habitually lied about things to gain Western favor and seal its power, built on the premise of Serbian guilt. It also blackmailed witnesses into testifying against Milosevic, whom it illegally extradited in the first place. This is where Pavlovic gets most of his information from. A government that also made a false confession of responsibility for the Srebrenica non-genocide and would admit to killing OJ Simpson’s wife if it meant Serbia could stop being a pariah and finally be allowed into the club.
We’re of course familiar with the overzealous official-story-peddling type of Serb. Who can forget this Belgrade official who was so enthusiastic for there to be countless mass graves in Kosovo (a friend of Pavlovic’s?) that UNMIK had to reproach him in 2004:
Friday, 23 January 2004: UNMIK Disputes Belgrade Report on Mass Graves
PRISTINA – Some media reports have quoted a senior Belgrade official as stating that there are 198 mass graves in Kosovo. The Office on Missing Persons and Forensics (OMPF) would like to categorically state that no evidence has been provided to OMPF regarding existence of any mass graves in Kosovo. Such unfounded statements reflect a lack of sensitivity to an issue that is extremely emotive and causes considerable anguish for all affected families. […]
One also must ask why Pavlovic refers to the “700 unearthed” Albanian bodies in Serbia as “civilians.” How does he know those corpses aren’t the most likely scenario: KLA fighters either killed in battle or captured and killed illegally, such as the bodies found at a couple of police bases, including the Bytyqi Brother terrorists exported by America in the “Atlantic Brigade.” But then, to propagandists like Pavlovic every supposed victim of alleged Serbian atrocities is an innocent civilian, while every dead Serb was an armed-to-the-teeth baby-rapist and mass murderer. (Meanwhile, any actual civilians among the dead, as we know, were by and large killed by NATO bombs — the prison example above being just one example.)
As Mr. Israel also wrote in the above-cited 1999 piece:
Aside from those who died in the fighting, we have credible evidence that the KLA executed many pro-Yugoslav Albanians, as well as non-Albanians (who do not necessarily differ from Albanians in appearance) not to mention Yugoslav soldiers and policemen.
So, thousands of people died and were buried. The KLA has had a free hand in Kosovo since early June, plenty of time to move bodies around, to dress dead soldiers as civilians and to tutor ‘grieving relatives’ until their stories sound believable. And despite all that, the Spanish scientists, sent to the zone of the worst Serbian atrocities, came back virtually empty-handed.
These were the empty-handed Spanish forensics investigators, who were tasked with finding evidence of “Serbian atrocities” in the 187 bodies they were assigned, but who found many of them in individual, not mass, graves and oriented to face Mecca.
But I’m sure the Albanians appreciate Pavlovic’s efforts on their behalf, and will refine their general view of Serbs thanks to him (or Montenegrins or Macedonians or whatever other kind of Slav Mr. Pavlovic becomes when politically expedient). In addition to Pavlovic’s “facts” being problematic, notice the typical gravity and reverence with which he cites the judgments of vested, conflicted and corrupt “institutions” such as the ICTY, as if its pronouncements are legitimately official and soundly arrived at. He also lists approvingly the draconian sentences issued to its disproportionately Serbian targets, as proof of Serbian culpability to the levels popularly believed. Not only does he not mention the growing Pandora’s Box of revelations about how the KLA’s crimes and reign of terror demonstrate the two-sided nature of the conflict, but the reason that Albanian war criminals are not as listable as Pavlovic’s Serbian list is that the Albanian side has been too dangerous to prosecute, its perpetrators’ crimes going vastly unpunished because of a lack of cooperation, a culture of denial, threats against investigators and judiciaries, violence against internationals, and the killing and intimidation of witnesses. All this bothers Pavlovic, safe in Canada, not at all. Nor is he bothered that Albania won’t even allow exhumations of mass graves of Serbs, just as he isn’t bothered that all of Europe is too terrified to even conduct a proper investigation into his fellow Serbs having been murdered for their organs to help fund the KLA war effort. Where are all of Pavlovic’s articles condemning the impunity of Albanian crime and the purposeful, blatant ethnic discrimination practiced by judicial bodies? It seems he only speaks up when the dogma of Serbian guilt is questioned.
As the lid is being blown off all the Kosovo lies, this good little slave still tries to drill home the over-drilled obsolete propaganda. Never mind that Serbia has prosecuted paramilitaries, reservists, and active-duty personnel for murder, looting and rape without any prompting from anyone — nobody ever mentions that — while the KLA mass murderers go on to become “prime ministers” and “presidents.” To the apparent approval of the likes of Pavlovic.
It goes without saying that Pavlovic’s grip clinging to his black-and-white understanding of the war isn’t being loosed by all the mass graves
of Serbs, which account for several of the “mass graves found throughout Kosovo” that have been reported over the years without mentioning who’s in them, leaving you to assume that it’s Albanian civilians.
As Czech-Slovak KFOR press officer Pavel Loeffler put it in May 2003 when a month earlier UN units had discovered a mass grave containing dozens of bodies:
“Two busloads of Serbians came in, but only a few were able to identify some family members.”
He said he thought there were many more such graves in the territory, but the chances of finding them are slim.
“The locals aren’t going to lead us to them,” he said. “It would hurt their image as the only victims.”
In the end, what we have is a death toll of 5,000 people on all sides, but every — every — news report continues to cite the disproved 10,000. As a 2007 Defense & Foreign Affairs special analysis puts it:
…[T]he original 2,108 bodies found by ICTY investigators did not translate into the 6,000 anticipated by the State Department. War crimes investigators checked the largest gravesites first, so when the ICTY wrapped-up exhumations in the Summer of 2000, the total number of bodies found was 2,788.
Although the State Department’s estimate of “about 6,000 bodies in mass graves in Kosovo” was off by almost 115 percent, the Department never bothered to revise its overall estimate of 10,000 [deaths]. As for the other categories of victims mentioned in their report, even if someone did try to conceal evidence of killings, the victims would still be recorded as missing persons regardless of whether their remains were found or not.
Indeed, what we are left with is a list of the missing — usually inflated to begin with — limiting the number of possible Albanians unaccounted for to 1300. So even if all of them are buried elsewhere in Serbia, we’re still at a total of 5,000 deaths on all sides, many of whom are KLA. Quite a far cry from the “8-10,000″ promised — civilians implied — not to speak of the 100,000 promised at the start of the war.
Further, some of those whose deaths were a matter of public record — and who were issued death certificates in 1998 and ‘99 — were in unknown mass graves. Yet when the graves containing them are eventually located, their remains are sometimes “discovered” as new.
Some weeks before this attempt by this Pavlov(ic)ian dog, conditioned to Serbian self-flagellation, to ingratiate himself to his Western masters and the Albanian world that prefers him dead, both he and Goran Simic had written letters to Edmonton Journal in support of censoring a Serb who is less embarrassed to be a Serb — Srdja Trifkovic — who was therefore barred from Canada. An excerpt from Simic’s reads:
Genocide denial hardly enlightening (March 4)
…I believe every nation proves its maturity when it admits its own mistakes and cleans its own house. [Still waiting on Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo — but Simic apparently isn’t.] At present, many Serbian hard-core nationalists are preventing the process of reconciliation[,] by denying the Srebrenica genocide [translation: by wanting to investigate what really happened — never a good thing for Balkan reconciliation, which requires that the more even-handed truth be suppressed and the lies be kept alive]…
During my stay in Bosnia last year I was present at the discovery of new mass graves and the unearthing of human remains. [I think that’s because there was a war there.]
Or was [Trifkovic’s] lecture tour designed to breathe life into the dark forces that wish to stop reconciliation in the Balkans? [As opposed to the bright forces that want a ‘reconciliation’ built on a yarn of exclusive Serb guilt]
As a Serb and a Bosnian as well as a Canadian, I will gladly organize a lecture for Trifkovic on these subjects if he is willing to speak to thousands of people from Srebrenica who lost their entire families in the genocide.
I will make sure he is granted the visa for Srebrenica.
But he’s still perfectly OK with Trifkovic not getting a visa for Canada.
Why should anyone listen to what this Simic says? Like a parade of Western journalists, this traitorous Serb has built a career on the myth of Serbian culpability.
In response to his and Pavlovic’s letters supporting censorship in Edmonton Journal, professor George Thompson of Washington, D.C., wrote the following letter:
Sad censorship by profs (March 15)
Re: “Universities often misused as platforms for hate speech,” Letters, March 10.
While mouthing support for academic autonomy and freedom to travel, the posse of professors who favour Srdja Trifkovic’s exclusion from Canada in fact seeks to suppress such virtues of civil society.
These Guardians of Official Thought can brook no disagreement with their version of what happened during the Bosnian war, specifically at Srebrenica. If their version is unimpeachably correct, however, why is it so important to them to censor those who disagree?
It’s sad but not surprising that a small group of academics with an ugly agenda cheers the use of state power to silence dissenters. It’s quite worrisome that the state used its power in this manner. Canada has done its university students, and itself, a disservice by excluding Trifkovic from the country.
Apparently, Srdja Pavlovic — signatory to a protest of the International Court of Justice verdict clearing Serbia of genocide in Bosnia — is one of those ‘former’ Serbs now a member of one of several artificial nations and languages formed out of the Serbian ones. He is a “Montenegrin” professor “whose sole claim to historical scholarship is a vile pamphlet equating the Serbs with Nazis” — as good a credential as anyone needs to make it in this world — and depicting Montenegrins as an oppressed nation.
But I’ll keep calling him “Serb” since it’s apparently such an insult.
Clearly, Pavlovic wants to be a hero to the likes of fourth-year International Relations major Ana Komnenic, of the University of British Columbia, who was glad to hear that Trifkovic would not be speaking at her school. She is a “Bosnian-Canadian” (i.e. ethnically a Serb who is possibly descended from Byzantine nobility), and according to her Facebook page she’s a fan of another brainwashed Serbian boy — Rastko Pocesta — praised for his anti-Serbian views. (Hence why he is called a “human rights activist.”) Accoring to this item, Ms. Komnenic — whose weak genes folded to the Ottomans and so today she is “Bosnian” — has a boyfriend who is a “member of the school’s Arab Students Association and has been very active in promoting Islamic-fundamentalist interests on UBC and in Vancouver, BC.” Not too Muslimy of this Bosnian chick at all, as we were told they weren’t in the 90s. Also opposed to Trifkovic’s appearance? “Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights.” So Pavlovic, Komnenic, and the Intifadah have much in common after all.