Mladic’s “left” apologists – this scum even try to ‘contextualise’ Srebrenica!

June 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm (apologists and collaborators, Chomsky, fascism, hell, history, Jim D, serbia, stalinism, SWP, terror, wankers)

As the war criminal and mass-murderer Mladic finally faces justice, it’s not just Serb nationalists who have supported and excused him: a lot of the so-called “left” have some answering to do, as Stan Crooke explains below. The particular criminals here are the SWP, who a few years later started puffing themselves up as “fighters for Muslims”. At the time they refused to side with the Bosniac and Kosovar Muslims fighting Serb conquest, focusing their sympathies on Serbia as the victim of  NATO. They quietly went along with those who anathematised the Bosniac Muslims (mostly secularised) as the catspaws of Islamic-fundamentalist conspiracy.  The parallels with the present situation in Libya are obvious…

It’s come to something, hasn’t it, when “communists” ally with fascists

We’re talking SWP and their equally scabby, third-period , Chomsky-inspired offshoots like ‘Workers Power’ and ‘Counterfire’…

Supporters of genocide suspect Ratko Mladic wave flags with his picture reading in Serbian: Serbian Hero and pictures of Radovan Karadzic Vojislav Seselj  and Ratko Mladic (in front), during a rally organized by the ultra nationalist Serbian Radical Party in front of the Parliament building, in Belgrade, Serbia, on 29 May 2011. Mladic was arrested on 26 May in a village in Serbia after 16 years on the run.  EPA/KOCA SULEJMANOVIC

Above: Supporters of genocide suspect Ratko Mladic wave flags with his picture reading in Serbian: ‘Serbian Hero’ and pictures of Radovan Karadzic Vojislav Seselj  and Ratko Mladic (in front), during a rally organized by the ultra nationalist Serbian Radical Party in front of the Parliament building, in Belgrade, Serbia, on 29 May 2011. Mladic was arrested on 26 May in a village in Serbia after 16 years on the run.  EPA/KOCA SULEJMANOVIC
.
Stan Crooke writes:

The “safe haven” of Sarajevo was besieged for 44 months by Serb forces, the longest siege in modern warfare. Serb forces stationed on the surrounding hills used artillery, mortars, tanks, anti-aircraft guns, heavy machine-guns, multiple rocket launchers, rocket-launched aircraft bombs, and sniper rifles against the civilian population.

An average of 300 artillery shells a day hit Sarajevo during the siege. On just one day in 1993 more than 3,500 shells hit the city. Overall, an estimated 10,000 people were killed and another 56,000 wounded during the siege. 35,000 buildings were destroyed, including 10,000 apartment blocks.

Ethnic cleansing and war crimes were also carried out by the forces of the Croatian Republic of Herzeg Bosnia.

In February 1994 an American-brokered deal, the Washington Agreement, brought an end to the fighting between Bosnian and Croatian forces. In September 1995, NATO finally moved against Milosevic and his allies, in a month-long bombing campaign.

Workers’ Liberty commented: “Yes, the Western powers are hypocrites… But to reckon that NATO’s bombardment of Mladic’s siege guns calls for protest meetings, and Milosevic’s atrocities do not, is to condone Serbian imperialism… Sarajevo relieved by a NATO offensive designed as a lever for an imperialist carve-up is bad; Sarajevo still besieged is worse.”

Others on the left rallied to a “Committee for Peace in the Balkans” focused on denouncing NATO. They said NATO action was about “enforcing Western interests” on Serbia. Back in 1991, the SWP had disdainfully said “neither of the nationalisms currently tearing Yugoslavia apart has anything to offer”. It had maintained the same disdain towards the Bosniacs’ struggle against Serbian conquest and ethnic cleansing. It backed the anti-NATO campaign.

In fact, the NATO bombing paved the way for an American-brokered peace deal, the Dayton Agreement. It ended the massacres, and set up Bosnia-Herzegovina as a quasi-independent state, for most purposes a loose confederation between Serb and Croat-Bosniac units, with an external “High Representative” as overlord.

In the course of the war between 100,000 and 176,000 people had been killed. More than 2.2 million had fled their homes. 530,000 of them had managed to reach other European countries, despite the European Union responding to the outbreak of war by imposing a visa regime on Bosnians.

After the end of the fighting Mladic continued to live openly in the Serb-controlled area of Bosnia. In the late 1990s he moved to Belgrade. Only after the overthrown of Milosevic in 2000 did Mladic go more or less underground.

Meanwhile Kosova, an area under tight Serbian control but with a 90% Albanian-Muslim majority in the population, was stewing.

The Kosovar majority organised a virtual parallel society, with underground schools, hospitals, and so on, beside the Serbian-run official institutions.

The big powers opposed Kosovar independence, but pressed Milosevic to ease off. From mid-1998 Milosevic started a drive to force hundreds of thousands of Kosovars to flee the province. The big powers called a conference and tried to push Milosevic into a compromise deal.

Milosevic refused. NATO started bombing Serbian positions, apparently thinking that a short burst of military action would make Milosevic back down. Simultaneously the Serb chauvinists stepped up the slaughter and driving-out of Kosovars. After two and a half months of bombing (March-June 1999) the Serbian army finally withdrew. By then around 850,000 Kosovars had fled.

From 1999 to 2008 Kosova was under UN rule. During that period there were a number of persecutions of the small remaining Serb minority in Kosova. In 2008 Kosova declared independence.

Far from being converted by the war into a crushed semi-colony of some big power, Serbia benefited from its defeat. In October 2000, following rigged elections, Milosevic was ousted by mass protest in the streets, and Serbia’s chauvinist frenzy began to dissipate.

Dispute on the left over the Kosova war was sharper than over Bosnia. Workers’ Liberty said that, while we could not and did not endorse NATO, the main issue was Kosovar self-determination. The SWP and others threw themselves into a “Stop The War Campaign”, later recycled for use over Afghanistan and Iraq and still in existence.

“Stop The War” here meant “stop NATO and let Milosevic have his way”. On Milosevic, their main message was that he was not as bad as painted; and on Kosova, that the reports of massacre were probably exaggerated, that nothing could be done about it anyway, and that the Kosovar revolt was undesirable because it could destabilise the whole region.

Michael Barratt Brown, a veteran socialist economist, was typical of a whole school of thought on the left claiming that the driving force in what he called “The Yugoslav Tragedy” was a conspiracy by Germany in particular, and the West in general, to gain “control over the oil supplies of the Middle East”.

He wrote “Once Croatia’s independence was recognised … war between Serbs and Croats was assured inside Croatia.” In fact the big powers pressed the subject peoples of Yugoslavia not to declare independence. Germany was less convinced about that than other states, but even Germany did not recognise Croatia until six months after the outbreak of war. And why shouldn’t states recognise Croatian independence demanded by over 90% of the people?

Consistently, Brown wrote of the actions of Milosevic and the Serbian government as if they were mere responses to the actions of Bosnian and Croatian nationalists, rather than the expression of an aggressive regional imperialism.

“Nationalists in Serbia followed enthusiastically where Slovenes and Croats had led”, he wrote, but he praised the “federal” army, which had already committed a succession of war crimes by the time Brown wrote his book, as “the one remaining force representing Yugoslavia”, and one which was engaged in “a state-building project.”

In To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia, published in 2000, Michael Parenti argued that the West’s hostility to Milosevic was triggered by the Serbian government’s commitment to the defence of the country’s “socialist heritage”:

“After the overthrow of Communism throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia remained the only nation in that region that would not voluntarily discard what remained of its socialism and install an unalloyed free-market system… The US goal has been to transform Yugoslavia into a Third World region, a cluster of weak right-wing principalities.

“As far as the Western free-marketeers were concerned, these enterprises [in Serbia] had to be either privatised or demolished. A massive aerial destruction like the one delivered upon Iraq (in the first Gulf War) might be just the thing needed to put Belgrade more in step with the New World Order.”

In fact, the Serbian government pursued privatisation and pro-market policies of its own volition from the late 1980s, imposing cuts in public services and increasing social inequalities. And its old reformed-Stalinist structure was nothing to cherish.

After the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic in 2001, the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic said:

“Crimes were committed in Yugoslavia, but not by Milosevic. … His real offence was that he tried to keep the 26 nationalities that comprise Yugoslavia free from US and NATO colonisation and occupation.”

The chapter on the Bosnian war in The Liberal Defence of Murder, written by the SWP’s Richard Seymour and published in 2008, has similar arguments: Milosevic’s regime and its war crimes were not as bad as they were made out to be; the Bosnian and Croatian governments were not only at least as bad as that of Milosevic but were also guilty of the same kind of atrocities.

“In the run-up to that atrocity” [the Srebrenica massacre], he claimed, “a wave of terror, including rape, by Bosnian Muslim forces in surrounding areas had killed thousands of Serbs”.

The SWP itself, mostly, did not bother discussing the atrocities one way or another. It simply stated that NATO was “imperialism” and the job was to oppose “imperialism”. In other words, it put its opportunist concern to “catch the wind” of miscellaneous disquiet about or opposition to NATO military action in a region which most people knew little about above any internationalist concern for lives and freedoms in the region… the rest here.

. Chomsky’s culpability and apologetics

Dossier on the Kosova war, Workers’ Liberty 2/3.

Introduction to that dossier.

Review of the SWP’s pamphlet on the Kosova war.

. The SWP and fake-pacifism

Permalink 1 Comment

The Rat Mladic arrested: now watch for the apologists and deniers

May 26, 2011 at 11:53 pm (apologists and collaborators, Chomsky, fascism, Jim D, serbia, stalinism, terror, thuggery, truth)

The war criminal and mass-muderer Ratko Mladic has, at long last been arrested. Justice has been delayed, but hopefully will now be done.

Meanwhile…

“…Countdown begins now for the Noam Chomsky article
daydreaming about Bush being deported to the Hague for trial, and saying
the entire Bosnian conflict is America’s fault –  posted by happyroach at 9:25 AM on May 26″

Readers may rest assured that Shiraz will be monitoring the inevitable apologists, revisionists and deniers, with hawk-like vigilance, and keeping you posted.

Permalink 42 Comments

Fine writing on intervention vs isolationism

April 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm (africa, anti-fascism, Guardian, internationalism, Jim D, Middle East, serbia, solidarity, spain)

As the Tory isolationist right and scab Labour “anti-imperialists” make common cause to betray the Libyan rebels, my old comrade Bob Fine reminds us of what “non intervention” has meant over the years. If you missed this piece in last Tuesday’s Graun, you really should read it:

Simon Jenkins writes on the shortcomings of liberal interventionism in Libya (By merely bolstering the weaker side, we are prolonging Libya’s civil war, 1 April). His own response is to oppose the intervention altogether: “I want nothing to do with this… the dispute of eastern Libya with Gaddafi is not my dispute.” More broadly, he casts liberal interventionism as a neo-imperialist project that lacks the courage of its convictions: “It claims to know what is best for the world and glories in bombing to get its way. But when push comes to shove it backs off.”

But he should not forget that “non-interventionism” can itself be a barbaric doctrine, expressive of the indifference of power to human suffering. Each time we look at Picasso’s rendition of Guernica we are reminded that, during the Spanish civil war, “non-intervention” was the pretext under which western democracies refused to help the republic while Franco, aided by Nazi Germany and fascist Italy, terrorised Spain.

Guernica painting

Remember Guernica 

Jenkins says “the end of the cold war seemed to release an urge [by western powers] … to use military might to reorder the world in the west’s own image”. But let’s not forget what transpired during the cold war. Non-intervention was formally treated as sacrosanct but brutally violated by the US and USSR in the name of protecting their own “spheres of influence”. Liberal interventionism was born out of resistance to this kind of military intervention, which reminds us more of Goya’s Disasters of War than of anything to do with humanity.

Non-interventionism was no better after the cold war, when the western powers failed to put an end to the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Srebrenica and Sarajevo and refused to take any action that might have prevented the genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda.

Read the rest here

Permalink 32 Comments

Marty Report and the whitewash of Serb genocide

December 17, 2010 at 8:39 pm (anti-fascism, Human rights, Jim D, serbia, stalinism, thuggery)

The Marty Report has brought joy to Milosevic supporters and friends of neo-fascism throughout the world. The truth is that those of us who opposed Milosevic and supported Kosovan self-determination in 1998-99 never claimed that the KLA were above criticism: in that respect they were just like the vast majority of national liberation movements the world over, that most of the ‘left’ have no difficulty supporting. We have no difficulty with KLA (alleged) war criminals, including Hashim Thaci, being held to account and put on trial. None of that has any bearing upon the incontrovertible fact of Serb genocide, or the democratic right of the Kosovan people to fight for independence.

Below:

Dubious Sources:
How Project Censored Joined
The Whitewash of Serb Atrocities

David Walls

[from New Politics, vol. 9, no. 1 (new series),
whole no. 33, Summer 2002]

 

FOR 25 YEARS, PROJECT CENSORED has scanned the alternative press for hot stories that the mainstream media fail to cover. Each year it designates 10 top “censored” stories (along with the next 15 runners up), drawing on the work of Sonoma State University students and faculty, community volunteers, and a national panel of media judges to review the stories for relevance and accuracy. For many, these awards have become “Alternative Pulitzers,” commendations for excellence in independent reporting. At its best, the project has provided a vital corrective to bias and complacency in the corporate-dominated media.

I had been on friendly terms for several years with Project Censored’s founder, Carl Jensen, and, more recently, the current director, Peter Phillips. As manager of Sonoma State University’s foundation for a time, I cheered with Jensen when he brought in the first modest checks from that limited circle of progressive foundations and philanthropists willing to fund critical media projects. After watching Jensen run Project Censored out of his hip pocket, I thought it a wonder that he managed, with these small grants and an enthusiastic group of undergraduate students, to turn out an annual book with a commercial publisher since 1993, plus a 20th anniversary collection in 1997.1 As Jensen made plans to retire in 1997, few sympathizers thought the project would survive for long. That Jensen could defy “founder’s syndrome” and turn his baby over to someone else was another small miracle.

When the highly improbable comes to pass, you want to cut it a little slack. And Phillips, his anointed successor, is, like me, a lefty sociologist. When I had disagreements with Project Censored’s selections over the years, I shelved them, rationalizing that the media are not my field and I was busy enough with my own work. So when I surveyed the Censored 2000 volume, I was surprised by my reaction to its treatment of Kosovo. Project Censored had given this single topic an unprecedented five story awards plus a commentary by Michael Parenti, who has served on Project Censored’s national panel of judges for several years. Even more troubling, for two years in a row Project Censored had whitewashed human rights atrocities committed by Serbs in the former Yugoslavia: Censored 1999 denies gruesome crimes at the Omarska camp in Bosnia in 1992 and Censored 2000 denies a massacre of civilians at Racak in Kosovo in 1999.

Reliance on dubious sources and a lack of rigorous research and fact-checking have tarnished the project’s reputation as a media watchdog. On the subject of the former Yugoslavia, Project Censored, I sadly concluded, had departed the terrain of the democratic Left for a netherworld of conspiracy theorists, Marxist-Leninist sects, and apologists for authoritarian regimes.

Pipelines and Lead Mines

ODDLY ENOUGH, Censored 2000‘s top- ranked story on Kosovo is the least substantial: story #6, “NATO Defends Private Economic Interests in the Balkans.” Of the three articles cited, two are about oil from the Caspian Sea region, arguing that a pipeline has to be built through the Balkans because shipping oil across the Black Sea and through the Bosporus would be too environmentally risky. There is legitimate concern over an excessive number of tankers passing the narrow waterway near Istanbul, but the remedy given most serious consideration is a pipeline through Turkey to the Mediterranean. Although a Balkan pipeline route has been the subject of a modest feasibility study, the U.S. government continues to support a pipeline proposed by BP Amoco and Chevron from Baku in Azerbaijan to the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean. That puts the pipeline through the Caucasus, nearly a thousand miles east of the Balkans.2

The third article cited in story #6 is by Sara Flounders, “Kosovo: It’s About the Mines,” originally from a July 1998 issue of Workers World, the publication of the Workers World Party (WWP), a Leninist sect formed by the late Sam Marcy in 1959. Marcy had left the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party to give public support to the USSR for crushing the Hungarian revolt of 1956. The WWP went on to support the Kim Il Sung regime in North Korea, the Warsaw Pact suppression of “socialism with a human face” in Czechoslovakia in 1968, and the Chinese crackdown on the Tiananmen Square democracy movement in 1989. Flounders is co-director of the International Action Center, a WWP front group for which one-time U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark serves as figurehead.3

Flounders argues the Serbian-controlled Trepca mining complex in Kosovo is coveted by U.S. and European capitalists for its reserves of lead, zinc, copper, cadmium, gold and silver. Well, the prices of these minerals have been steady or declining for the last ten years. There’s no world shortage of any of them; for most there’s a glut. The fate of global capitalism hardly hangs on a polluted lead mine in Kosovo. Ironically for those who saw Slobodan Milosevic as the last defender of socialism, it was the Milosevic regime which attempted to privatize the Trepca complex and sell it to a Greek company, while it is the Kosovar Albanians who claim it is still state property.4 Censored 2000‘s story #6 amounts to little more than a conspiratorial fantasy.

Atrocious History

RECENT REPORTS HAVE UNDERCUT the credibility of Censored 2000‘s story #12: “Evidence Indicates No Pre-war Genocide in Kosovo and Possible U.S./KLA Plot to Create Disinformation.” On January 16, 1999, the bodies of some 45 victims were found at Racak, Kosovo, and documented at the sites where they were found by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Some 23 of the bodies had been found together in a gully, victims of an apparent massacre. U.S. diplomat William Walker led a group of reporters to the site and charged that Serbian police had killed the 45 Kosovars. Serb officials countered that a battle scene had been rearranged by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to look like an atrocity. Walker has an unsavory reputation from his days in El Salvador, but there is no evidence that he had anything to do with staging an atrocity. As a European Union Forensic Expert Team was already conducting investigations in Kosovo, its Finnish Director, Dr. Helena Ranta, was asked by the OSCE to help perform autopsies on 40 of the victims who had been moved to Pristina. Her initial report on the autopsies by the team was completed on March 17, 1999 and noted that there was “no indication of the people being other than unarmed civilians.”5 Some skepticism about the Racak event may have been warranted at this time, but Project Censored should have reserved judgment until the forensic research was completed.

Dr. Ranta’s EU Forensic Expert Team returned to Racak in November 1999 and March 2000 to recover additional evidence at the gully where the 23 bodies were found. Newsweek broke a story in its April 24, 2000 issue that the team had discovered bullets in the gully, confirming that the killing was indeed a massacre as earlier reported.6 Dr. Ranta presented the final report of the team to the EU’s Western Balkans Working Group in Brussels on June 21, 2000. The report was sealed and delivered to the ICTY in the Hague, where it became part of the evidence leading to an indictment of Milosevic. Serb officials and their allies continued attempting to spin the interpretation of the Racak killings as a hoax, arguing that the autopsies produced no definitive evidence of a massacre.

As three colleagues of Dr. Ranta’s in Helsinki prepared to publish an article in the journal Forensic Science International on the Racak victim autopsies, the Berliner Zeitung repeated the claim that the autopsies showed no evidence of a massacre and that this was the final report on the matter. In fact, the FSI article, based only on the early 1999 autopsies, made no judgment about whether a massacre had occurred or not. This story was then repeated in the U.S. by the organization Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), by Martin Lee in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and others.7

Under pressure in Europe to counter these interpretations, the Council of the EU declassified the Executive Summary of the final report of the EU Forensic Expert Team in Kosovo in February 2001. The summary notes that bullets and bullet fragments had been found in the gully where photographs taken at the time showed the bodies to be positioned, and that DNA evidence on the bullets connected them to the bodies autopsied. In a separate interview, Dr. Ranta estimated the bodies had been shot from a distance of a couple of meters. The evidence confirmed that an atrocity had been committed.8

Project Censored also highlighted three additional stories on Kosovo in Censored 2000: #10, #20, and #22, which variously blame the war over Kosovo on the U.S., NATO, the IMF, the World Bank, and U.S. and German arms dealers. Sources for these stories include two of the most prolific apologists for Serbia: Paris-based writer Diana Johnstone (#10) and University of Ottawa economics professor Michel Chossudovsky (#s 20 and 22). Johnstone, once the respected European correspondent for In These Times, was also a source for the dubious Balkan oil pipeline tale in story #6.

What these three stories and Michael Parenti’s commentary (ch. 6) lack is a balanced historical perspective on the last decade of war in the former Yugoslavia. Two points should be highlighted. First, and most importantly, the unraveling of Tito’s multi-ethnic and politically balanced Yugoslavia was begun by Milosevic when he moved to end the autonomy of Kosovo and Vojvodina provinces in 1989. Kosovo’s Albanians lost their legislature, their Albanian-language schools and employment opportunities, and became second class citizens in a region where they were a 90 percent majority. Milosevic refused for a decade to deal with Ibrahim Rugova, the leader of a popular nonviolent movement to restore rights for Kosovo’s Albanians. These actions were interpreted by the other republics of Yugoslavia as an attempt by Milosevic to establish Serbian domination of the entire country. Although there are villains on all sides of the Yugoslavian wars, Milosevic had the most power within the confederation and the greatest responsibility for its collapse.

Second, NATO intervention in Kosovo followed a brutal war in Bosnia, which reached its nadir in Srebrenica, a UN-protected “safe area,” in July 1995. Some 300 lightly armed Dutch troops in the UN force were pushed aside by heavily armed Bosnian Serb forces, and 7,000 unarmed Bosnian Muslim men and boys were marched off and killed. Some 4,500 bodies were recovered by mid- 2001.9 This event is widely acknowledged to be the largest atrocity to occur in Europe since the end of World War II. Bosnian Serb general Radislav Krstic was tried by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the Hague, and was convicted of genocide in August 2001 for his responsibility for this slaughter.10

In light of the centrality of the Srebrenica atrocity, it shows breathtaking audacity for Michael Parenti in his Censored 2000 commentary to refer to Srebrenica only to mention killings by Bosnian Muslims in the area in 1992, three years before the infamous massacre. In his comments appearing as chapter 6, “The Media and their Atrocities,” Parenti writes disparagingly about accounts of atrocities in Bosnia: “Hyperbolic labeling takes the place of evidence: ‘genocide,’ ‘mass atrocities,’ ‘systematic rapes,’ and even ‘rape camps’–camps which no one has ever located.” (p. 208) Parenti continues this denial in his recent book, To Kill a Nation.11

To the contrary, solid evidence of systematic rape was presented in the recent trial of Serb army commander Dragoljub Kunarac and two paramilitary leaders who were charged with presiding over the rape, torture, and sexual enslavement of dozens of women during 1992 and 1993 in the southeastern Bosnian town of Foca.12 Sixteen brave Bosnian women had testified against Kunarac and his colleagues. Women’s groups and human rights advocates around the world hailed the guilty verdict by the ICTY, delivered in the Hague on February 22, 2001. For the first time, an international court ruled that the systematic rape of women in wartime must be considered a war crime and a crime against humanity. People on the Left ought to be equally enthusiastic about this precedent.

Interestingly, for someone with such strong views about contemporary Yugoslavia, Parenti has almost nothing to say in his several related articles and books about its principal post-WWII leader, Marshall Tito (Josip Broz). Tito led the first Communist country to break with Stalin in 1948, was a leader of the non-aligned movement, and supported interesting experiments in worker self-management. Perhaps Parenti’s silence on Tito is explained by his greater sympathy for the Soviet Union, as evidenced in the chapter “Stalin’s Fingers” in his Blackshirts & Reds, which attempts to belittle the crimes of Stalin.13

Practicing Denial

SHOULD I HAVE SEEN THIS COMING? Censored 1999 selected as its #17 censored story, “U.S. Media Provides Biased Coverage of Bosnia.” The primary article concerned the visit by British Independent Television News (ITN) in August 1992 to Bosnian Serb detention camps at Omarska and Trnopolje. The issue revolved around whether a widely-publicized photo of an emaciated Muslim man leaning against a barbed- wire fence presented a misleading picture of the camps. On August 5, 1992, the ITN team of Penny Marshall and Ian Williams, accompanied by reporter Ed Vulliamy of The Guardian, visited and filmed at the Omarska and Trnopolje camps, reporting that grim things were happening to Bosnian Muslims at the hands of the Bosnian Serbs running the camps. A still shot from ITN video of an emaciated Bosnian Muslim man standing behind barbed wire was picked up by numerous media around the world and used to illustrate various news stories on ethnic cleansing and brutality by the Serbs. The emaciated man was Fikret Alic, who had been transferred to Trnopolje from the Keraterm camp, where, according to an interview with Vulliamy, he had been ordered to help dispose of the nearly 200 bodies of men killed in the massacre in Room 3 on July 24, 1992.14

Ormarska, Trnopolje, and Keraterm were three notorious detention centers operated in 1992 by Bosnian Serbs near the municipality of Prijedor. Although Trnopolje had been cited by the ICTY as a place of systematic rape of women, in its description of its #17 story Project Censored commented, “American journalists who repeated unconfirmed stories of Serbian atrocities could count on getting published. On the other hand, there was no market for stories by a journalist who discovered that Serbian ‘rape camps’ did not exist.” (p. 73) The ICTY indictment of the former mayor of Prijedor, Milomir Stakic, includes the following excerpts from descriptions of the camps:

The conditions in the Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje camps were abject and brutal. Bosnian Serb military and police personnel in charge of these facilities, their staff, and other persons who visited the camps, all of whom were subject to the authority and control of the Crisis Staff, killed, sexually assaulted, tortured, and otherwise physically and psychologically abused the detainees in the camps. . . . 

At Omarska, prisoners were crowded together with little or no facilities for personal hygiene. They were fed starvation rations once a day and given only a few minutes to go to the canteen area, eat and then leave. The little water they received was often foul. Prisoners had no changes of clothing and no bedding. They received no medical care.

Killings and severe beatings of prisoners were commonplace. The camp guards, who were both police and military personnel, and others who came to the camp and physically abused the prisoners, used all manner of weapons during these beatings, including wooden batons, metal rods and tools, lengths of thick industrial cable, rifle butts and knives. Both female and male prisoners were beaten, raped, sexually assaulted, tortured and humiliated. Hundreds of the detainees, whose identities are known and unknown, did not survive the camp. . . .

Keraterm camp was located at a former ceramics factory in Prijedor. Conditions for prisoners were similar to those in Omarska camp. . . . Many detainees were executed in the camp. On one night in July, 1992, more than 150 military-aged men from the “Brdo” region were executed.

Trnopolje camp was established at the site of a former school and adjacent buildings in Trnopolje village. It was the largest camp and the location to which Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat women, children, and the elderly were taken. The hygiene facilities were grossly inadequate. Minimal rations were provided on a sporadic basis, with female detainees eventually being allowed to leave the camp to forage for food in the surrounding village. The camp served as the staging point for the mass deportation of all those who survived the initial attacks and camp regime. It also served a much more sinister purpose: the sexual assault, rape, and torture of many of the women detained there by camp personnel, who were both police and military personnel, and by other military units from the area who came to the camp for that specific purpose. In many instances, the women and girls were taken from the camp and raped, tortured, or sexually abused at other locations. In addition, many prisoners both male and female were killed, beaten and otherwise physically and psychologically maltreated by the camp personnel and other Serbs and Bosnian Serbs who were allowed into the camp.15

 

The ICTY trial of Keraterm camp security commander Dusko Sikirica ended with a guilty plea agreement in November 2001, and in March 2001 former Prijedor mayor Milomir Stakic was arrested in Belgrade and transferred to the Hague to stand trial for crimes committed at the three camps under his jurisdiction.

Weaving a Fabric of Deceit

SUPPORTERS OF THE MILOSEVIC REGIME and apologists for the Bosnian Serbs began a long propaganda campaign in the mid-1990s to obscure what really happened at the camps near Prijedor. Unraveling this fabric of deceit takes us along the fringes of the Stalinoid Left, and reveals how Project Censored got caught up in the whitewash. The impetus for the cover-up began with the trial of Dusko Tadic, the first case completed through conviction and sentencing by the ICTY.

Tadic was the former owner of a café in Kozarac, a town near Prijedor, and a member of the reserve traffic police. He was arrested in Munich, Germany, in February 1994 and brought to the Hague to stand trial for numerous heinous crimes, including the beating and torture of several men at the Omarska camp on various dates between June 18 and July 27 of 1992–the last of which took place within 10 days of the visit to Omarska by the ITN crew. The Tadic trial began in May 1996 and lasted through October.

The final witness for Tadic’s defense was German freelance writer Thomas Deichmann, who appeared as a media expert, presenting an argument that witnesses against Tadic could identify him only because numerous news stories on German television had made Tadic’s image well known. After a long string of prosecution witnesses had claimed to have known Tadic for years, Deichmann’s testimony was evidently not persuasive, as the court issued a guilty verdict in May 1997 and a sentence in July 1997. Among the many offenses cited in the sentencing judgment for which Tadic was found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” was a particularly horrendous sexual mutilation of a man at Omarska.16

After the Tadic trial, Deichmann visited Trnopolje in December 1996 and talked with Bosnian Serb officials about the camp, which had been closed down shortly after the ITN visit in August 1992. He wrote an article for the German magazine Novo, which was then translated and published in the British journal Living Marxism in February 1997 under the title “The Picture that Fooled the World,” claiming that the famous ITN photo of Fikret Alic had been staged to falsely portray the facilities as concentration camps and the Serbs as modern-day Nazis. Deichmann pointed out that the ITN news team was shooting from within a barbed-wire enclosure at men who had come to the fence to talk with them.

Living Marxism (later renamed LM) was started in 1988 by members of a British Trotskyist splinter, the Revolutionary Communist Party. In an article titled “Living Marxism–Festering Fascism?” British journalist George Monbiot described LM‘s curious ties to right-wing writers and think tanks.17 Deichmann’s article “The Picture that Fooled the World” is also reprinted in the IAC book NATO in the Balkans, along with chapters by Michel Chossudovsky, Lenora Foerstel, and IAC associates Ramsey Clark, Sara Flounders, and Richard Becker, and Workers World Party founder Sam Marcy.18

ITN filed a libel suit against LM for the charges in the Deichmann article, and in March 2000 a British court found that LM had presented no credible evidence to support its charges that ITN had set out to deceive its viewing public. The court awarded ITN a large financial judgment of £375,000, bankrupting LM. Deichmann’s well-traveled article next appeared in modified form–with a summary of his Bosnia story and general commentary on the impact of media on political leaders–in the magazine Covert Action Quarterly (CAQ), following an unusual set of events.

Terry J. Allen, the respected 9-year editor of CAQ, and her two assistants were fired in May 1998 by CAQ‘s corporate officers Louis Wolf, Ellen Ray, and Bill Schaap. Allen says she was fired because she “refused to be bullied by Wolf, Ray, and Schaap into publishing whacko- conspiracy theories and articles that served their agenda but failed to distinguish between facts and political fairy tales.” Among the “inferior or polemical material” proposed by the publishers was “a story presenting Serbia as the blameless victim of Bosnian aggression.”19 Under editorial direction from the publishers, CAQ then published Deichmann’s modified article as “Misinformation: TV Coverage of a Bosnian Camp” in its Fall 1998 issue, along with an article by Diana Johnstone, “Seeing Yugoslavia Through a Dark Glass.”20

Meanwhile, Project Censored director Peter Phillips was invited to present a paper in Athens, Greece, in May 1998, at a conference which brought together a group of radical journalists, most of whom were anti-NATO and pro-Serb. Alternatively titled “The Media’s Dark Age: a 21st Century Dialogue” or the “International Conference on the Ownership and Control of the Media,” the meeting was co-hosted by the Andreas Papandreou Foundation and Women for Mutual Security (WMS), directed by Margaret Papandreou. The WMS affiliate in the United States is represented by Lenora Foerstel, an International Action Center activist. Other IAC speakers at the conference included Ramsey Clark and Sara Flounders, whose conference papers were published in Censored 1999, along with those of two other participants. Phillips met Deichmann on this trip and apparently accepted the credibility of his story on the Bosnian camps. Project Censored selected the Deichmann and Johnstone stories from the Fall 1998 CAQ for its #17 story for Censored 1999.

After LM was bankrupted by the ITN libel suit, the only place to find Deichmann’s original article, with photos, has been Jared Israel’s website, Emperor’s Clothes.21 Jared Israel also produced a 30-minute video, “Judgment,” on the ITN visit to Omarska and Trnopolje camps, in cooperation with Deichmann and the Milosevic-controlled Serbian television station RTS. A military escort and an RTS video crew accompanied the ITN team, and RTS appears to have spent most of its time filming ITN filming the inhabitants of the camps. “Judgment” describes Omarska as a “detention center for POWs” and Trnopolje as “a refugee camp.” Keep in mind that as a witness in the Tadic trial, Deichmann knew very well what the evidence was about atrocities at Omarska. Aging New Lefties may recall Jared Israel’s earlier notoriety for helping destroy Students for a Democratic Society in 1969 as a member of the Maoist Progressive Labor Party.22

WHAT SHOULD PROJECT CENSORED have known, and when should they have known it? Project Censored had ample opportunity to learn about the horrors at Ormarska, Trnopolje, and Keraterm camps. The Dusko Tadic trial outcome had been posted at the ICTY website since the announcement of the guilty verdict on May 7, 1997 and the sentencing judgment on July 14, 1997. Numerous articles and book reviews covering war crimes in Bosnia appeared in both the mainstream and the alternative press.23 CAQ‘s firing of Terry Allen in May 1998 was well known among the alternative press and should have been taken as a warning signal by Project Censored. All this information was readily available long before Censored 1999 went to press in late 1998 with its credulous acceptance of Deichmann’s sectarian viewpoint.

Once committed to defending Deichmann’s story on the alleged distortion of the Bosnian detention camps’ benign character by the Western media, it was a small step for Project Censored to accept the interpretation of the January 1999 Racak atrocity in Kosovo as a hoax. In June 1999, well before Project Censored’s judges had chosen the top censored stories for that year, Peter Phillips issued an op-ed piece titled “Disinformation and Serbia: U.S. Media Bias,” in which he linked Omarska and Racak as examples of “demonize-the-Serb stories.”24

In my view, Project Censored needs to recover its grasp of a working distinction between facts and ideology, between reporting and propaganda. I hope those associated with the project can review its mission and methodology and get it back on track to becoming a fresh, exciting, and serious source of criticism of the contemporary media scene.25 If Project Censored chooses to oppose intervention in the Balkans, it can find grounds for doing so without falsifying history and denying war crimes.

Notes

 

  1. Censored 1999, Censored 2000, and Censored 2001 are all published by Seven Stories Press in New York (www.sevenstories.com/); the 20th anniversary volume is titled 20 Years of Censored News (Seven Stories, 1995). Project Censored’s website is at www.projectcensored.org. return
  2. See “The Busy Bosporus Is Likely to Get Even Busier,” New York Times, January 28, 2001; and “Caspian’s Oil, Chevron’s Sweat: A Saga,” Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2001, p. A14. return
  3. A. Belden Fields, Trotskyism and Maoism: Theory and Practice in France and the United States (Brooklyn: Autonomedia, 1988), pp. 148-150; on Clark and the International Action Center, see Ian Williams, “Ramsey Clark, the War Criminal’s Best Friend,” Salon, June 21, 1999 (www.salon.com/news/fe ature/1999/06/21/clark/index.html) and John B. Judis, “The Strange Case of Ramsey Clark,” The New Republic, April 22, 1991, pp. 23-29. return
  4. See the report of the International Crisis Group, “Trepca: Making Sense of the Labyrinth,” at www.intl-crisis- group.org/projects/showreport.cfm?reportid=9. return
  5. See Dr. Helena Ranta’s report on the autopsies at www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/kosovo/Kosovo-Massacres2.htm. return
  6. Joshua Hammer, “Unearthing the Truth,” Newsweek, April 24, 2000, p. 49. return
  7. J. Rainio, K. Lalu, and A. Penttilä, “Independent Forensic Autopsies in an Armed Conflict: Investigation of the Victims from Racak, Kosovo,” Forensic Science International, Vol. 116, Issues 2-3 (February 15, 2001), pp. 171- 185 (available at http://worldnews2.homestead.com/files/racakautopsies.htm; Berliner Zeitung, January 17, 2001, available on the web (in German) at www.Berlin Online.de/aktuelles/berliner_zeitung/politik/.html/1510.htm. For FAIR’s statement on Racak, see “Doubts on a Massacre: Media Ignore Questions About Incident That Sparked Kosovo War” (www.fair.org/press- releases/racak.html); also Martin A. Lee, “More Bloodshed in the Balkans: The Bitter Legacy of NATO’s ‘Humanitarian’ War,” San Francisco Bay Guardian, March 26, 2001 (www.sfbg.com/reality/21.html). return
  8. The Executive Summary of June 2000 is available, along with related news reports and interviews with Helena Ranta, on the Balkan Witness website (www.glypx.com/BalkanWitness/racak.h tm). return
  9. “Grave Found in Bosnia With 200 Bodies,” New York Times, July 9, 2001. return
  10. Marlise Simons, “Tribunal in Hague Finds Bosnia Serb Guilty of Genocide,” New York Times, August 3, 2001, p. A1 (available at www.nytimes.c om/2001/08/03/international/europe/03BOSN.html); the ICTY judgment is available at www.un.org/icty/krstic/Trial C1/judgement/index.htm. return
  11. Michael Parenti, To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia (London and New York: Verso, 2000). return
  12. Marlise Simons, “Bosnian War Trial Focuses on Sex Crimes,” New York Times, February 18, 2001, p. 4 ; Marlise Simons, “3 Serbs Convicted in Wartime Rapes,” New York Times, February 23, 2001, p. A1. return
  13. Michael Parenti, Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1997), ch. 5, pp. 76-86. return
  14. Vulliamy’s reports on the Bosnian camps and on the ITN/LM libel trial are available on the web at www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/itn/. (Diana Johnstone was also represented in Censored 1999 with an article supporting the #17 story.) return
  15. The Milomir Stakic indictment of March 13, 1997 is available at www.un.org/icty/indictment/english/kov-ii97031e.htm. See also Marlise Simons, “3 Ex-Guards at Bosnia Camp Are Sentenced by Hague Panel,” New York Times, November 14, 2001, p. A6. return
  16. See the Tadic judgment at: www.un.org/icty/tadic/trialc2/judgement/tad-tsj970714e.htm. return
  17. George Monbiot, “Living Marxism–Festering Fascism?” Prospect, November 1998; see also Matthew Price, “Raving Marxism,” Lingua Franca, April 2000. return
  18. Ramsey Clark et al., NATO in the Balkans: Voices of Opposition (New York: International Action Center, 1998). return
  19. Amanda Ripley, “Fascist Lefties,” Washington City Paper, May 22-28, 1998; letters between Allen and CAQ‘s publishers are available on the web at www.nettime.org/nett ime.w3archive/199807/msg00031.html. return
  20. Johnstone’s “Seeing Yugoslavia Through a Dark Glass: Politics, Media, and the Ideology of Globalization” is available online at www.covertaction.org/yugo3.htm. return
  21. www.emperors-clothes.com/images/bosnia/camp.htm. return
  22. Check the references to Jared Israel in the index to Kirkpatrick Sale, SDS (New York: Vintage Books, 1974), and Alan Adelson’s pro-PL account, SDS: A Profile (New York: Scribner, 1972). Censored 2001 gave an award (#17) to a story by Chossudovsky and Israel; Chossudovsky’s sympathy for Maoism is apparent in his book Towards Capitalist Restoration? Chinese Socialism After Mao (New York: St. Martin’s, 1986), that concludes with hopes for a second cultural revolution. (p. 221) return
  23. See, for example, Mark Danner, “America and the Bosnia Genocide,” The New York Review of Books, December 4, 1997, pp. 55-65–a review of books by Roy Gutman, Ed Vulliamy, Omarska camp survivor Rezak Hukanovic, and others (available at www.nybooks.com/nyrev/WWWarchdisplay.cgi?19971204055F); “The Evil at Omarska” — an excerpt on Hukanovic’s experience — in The New Republic, February 12, 1996, pp. 24-29; and Eric Alterman, “Bosnian Camps: A Barbed Tale,” The Nation, August 4, 1997, pp. 18-20–an article about the ITN libel suit against LM which challenged the substance of Deichmann’s article. return
  24. Peter Phillips, “Disinformation and Serbia: U.S. Media Bias” (reproduced at: www.computec- int.com/bsc/war/archives/disinfo1.htm). return
  25. For links to further discussion in the alternative media of Project Censored’s purpose and methodology, see Tim Redmond, “The Censored Debate,” on the San Francisco Bay Guardian website, April 19, 2000: www.sfbg.com/censored-debate. return 

Permalink 10 Comments

Another “leftist who didn’t sell out” goes on trial

October 26, 2009 at 11:42 pm (anti-fascism, Human rights, Jim D, Racism, serbia, stalinism, terror, thuggery, war)

Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader responsible for the foulest ethnic pogroms in Europe since the Nazis, is going on trial.

Amongst the charges he will face are nine counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for the seige of Sarajevo in 1992-95 and two counts of genocide for the mass murder and deportation of tens of thousands of Bosnian Muslims in 1992 and at Srebrenica in 1995.

The estimated number of Muslim men killed at Srebrenica range from 7,000 to 10,000. And a further 18,406 Muslims, Serbs and Croats are still listed as missing. It was carried out under Karadzic and Ratko Mladic under a “direct chain of military command” (quote from the 1999 International Criminal Tribunal) from Belgrade and the Serbian President, Slobodan Milosevic.

It is predicted that Karadzic will use the same tactics -conducting his own defence, refusing to recognise the court, etc – as his old boss Milosevic deployed to grandstand and delay the trial.

It will be interesting to see whether the “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” school of supposed “left-wingers” rally to the genocidal Karadzic, as they did to  Milosevic. The loathsome Neil Clark, in the Morning Star (September 21 2009), for instance, listed 10 “leftist leaders who did not betray“, including “Some, such as Salvadore Allende and Slobodan Milosevic (who) ended up losing their lives on account of not sacrificing their principles…”

Clark is a particularly crass and disgusting power-worshipper who seems to get a kick out of glorifying mass murder and genocide. But the Morning Star is a quite widely-read publication supported by most British trade unions, regardless of their formal politics. Will the Star (with or without the sicko Clark) be defending Karadzic?

Permalink 10 Comments

In Praise of the Human Rights Left

July 25, 2008 at 6:22 pm (Andrew Coates, Human rights, left, Marxism, politics, serbia, socialism, stalinism)

——————————————————————————————————-

What priority should the defence of human rights, law, and International Courts in enforcing them, have for the left? The capture of Radovan Karadžić long after his initial  indictment by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia have brought some issues about this to out into the open. There are those who criticise ‘victor’s justice’ (not entirely without reason) and the legitimacy of any bourgeois court’s judgment. Not only are such Tribunals driven by the power of Western states, but their bias is, at root, a reflection of their function to protect the interests and property of the rich. Their ethical claims are human rights ‘imperialism’. Far from enforcing real rights they act as a smokescreen for the West’s own abuses, primarily in Iraq, across the planet.

 

Let’s begin with the charges Radovan Karadžić faces. He is accused of direct responsibility for the deaths of more than 7500 Muslims. Under his direction and command, Bosnian Serb forces set siege to Sarajevo, and carried out countless massacres across Bosnia. Tens of thousands of non-Serbs were killed, hundreds of thousands were expelled from their homes, and thousands more were held in appalling conditions in camps, where many died.  He is alleged to have ordered the massacre at Srebrenica, commanding Bosnian Serb forces to “create an unbearable situation of total insecurity with no hope of further survival of life” in the UN safe area… In sum Karadžić is indicted of complicity in genocide, extermination, murder, wilful killing, persecutions, deportation, inhumane acts, unlawfully inflicting terror upon civilians, and the taking of hostages. So it goes. http://www.un.org/icty/cases-e/cis/mladic/cis-karadzicmladic.pdf

 

No-one can imagine that these are ‘bourgeois’ charges. The actions of the Yugoslavian warlords go against the root of our existence as human beings. There is nothing ‘falsely’ universal about prosecuting what are universal offences.

 

Now back to Law. And Marxism (heavy, but, hey it’s a lefty thing, you non-Marxists wouldn’t understand…). Engels stated that law is a “reflection of economic relations in the form of legal principles”. (Engels to Schmidt October 27. 1890). There is a view, not often expressed today, that the Rule of law is “The chief obstacle in the development of class consciousness.” “Collective struggle should transcend concern for individual legal rights and justice according to law.”(Marxism and Law. Hugh Collins. 1984. P 139) Marx stated that the market (circulation) is the exclusive realm of freedom, Equality, Property and Bentham. Freedom, because both buyer and seller of a commodity, let as say of labour power, are determined only by their free will. The…” (Capital Vol. 1 1976. P 280) Against this: we have the standpoint that human rights, when enshrined in law,  are historical creations that go beyond securing goods and chattels. They come from below, and are a central part of the right against injustice (class oppressions and others). Marxism in this interpretation would make Courts answerable to the voices ‘from below’, but that their role, and their calm procedures, is essential to ending abuses and upholding rights. (The Historical-Critical Dictionary of Marxism. Justice. Historical Materialism. Vol. 13 No 3. 2005.)

 

Formal bourgeois law, whatever its roots in enforcing contracts and safeguarding property, is often more genuinely universal and just than many of the alternatives. Take legal systems based on status: ancient Roman or Anglo-Saxon law (which assigned worth to the free and nothing to the unfree), or religious-based law – the most glaring case being the non-law of the Sharia which refuses to treat people equally. Or indeed law in Stalinist states, which registered people’s class origins (fixed for ever). The problem is not the idea of human rights, but that making them real requires more than Courts: they can be fully realised only in the kind of egalitarian society we call socialism, or communism. Something like this idea was, at any rate, the opinion of those who have looked at the foundations of the left and the workers’ movements in early forms of human rights demands. Inspired as they are by the French Revolution, and key writings like Tom Paine’s Rights of Man, such principles have been continued by the non-Stalinist left into modern times.

 

Movements for human rights across the planet should inspire us. We, the left, should be at their forefront. That instruments like the International Court of Justice, or the present Tribunal on Yugoslavia, are flawed, may be the case. But our role should be to improve them, to build a society where justice and rights are real. Not to dismiss them because their claims to universality are blemished.  Or still worse, to run with the twisted apologists for nationalist murder and the ‘anti-imperialists’ who deny the very possibility of universal rights and freedoms.

Permalink 14 Comments

Of course, Karadzic didn’t know about this…

July 23, 2008 at 8:29 pm (fascism, Guardian, hell, Human rights, Jim D, serbia, stalinism, thuggery, truth, war)

Ed Vulliamy writes in today’s Graun (G2 section) about a meeting with the mass murderer and a visit to a concentration camp at Omarska, which ended with the journalists being bundled out of the camp:

“We had seen very little, and only with time and the trials at the Hague of lower-ranking Bosnian Serbs, did it become clear what Karadzic did not want us to see. Scenes of routine sadism such as that described by survivor Halid Mujkanovic, concerning a prisoner forced to perform fellatio on a fellow inmate, then ordered to bite off his testicles while a live pigeon was stuffed down his throat to stifle his screams as he died. The victim was Fikret Harambasic and the man was forced to castrate him in order to save the lives of his roomates, threatened with execution if there were no ‘volunteers’. The crowd of guards who oversaw this entertainment ‘looked as though they were attending a sports match, supporting a team’, said Mujkanovic.” Read the rest here.

Meanwhile, as predicted, that loathsome apologist for tyrants and mass murder, Neil Clark, uses weasel words to minimise the crimes of Karadzic, glorify his (Clark’s) hero Milosevic, and suggest that no real justice is possible at The Hague. The people who have commented under Clark’s piece are, if anything, even more disgusting than the author himself. Have a look, if you’ve a strong stomach.

Permalink 18 Comments

Watch for who’ll now defend Karadzic

July 22, 2008 at 10:52 pm (Jim D, politics, serbia, stalinism, thuggery, war)

While the civilised peoples of the world celebrate the capture of, and the prospect of justice for the war criminal and mass-murderer Karadzic (and note, once again, the progressive influence of th EU), some ultra-right, Stalinist and simply unhinged red-brown elements will bleat. It will be intersting to listen to their bleating. I intend to do just that, and keep you informed. It will also be interesting to see how the Stupid Wankers Party react, given their support for Serb militarism in the 1990’s – now conveniently forgotten in the light of their more recent Islamophilia. You can rest assured: Shiraz Socialist is on the case!

N.B: watch out for the tell-tale phrase of the apologist: “victor’s justice”.

Permalink 51 Comments

RCP hegemonise The Moral Maze

June 25, 2008 at 10:21 pm (cults, Jim D, media, perversity, rcp, serbia, strange situations, Uncategorized)

I’ve just been listening to Radio 4’s The Moral Maze – supposedly an up-market, intellekshul discussion of matters ethical. This week the debate was supposed to be about Zimbabwe and “who’s to blame?”

It was crap. Mainly because (in the absence of  “Mad Mel“) the programme was dominated by longstanding Moral Maze ethics girl Claire Fox of the so-called ‘Institute of Ideas’, backed up by new boy Kenan Malik, whose qualifications and affiliations were not divulged (the other two panellists were Catholic theologian Clifford Longley and ex-Tory cabinet minister Michael Portillo) .

Kanan Malik is a very interesting fellow, who has written some good stuff about racism, secularism and equality. So why was he lamely (and, it seemed to me, embarrassedly) backing up Claire Fox’s crass “anti-imperialist” excuses for Mugabe? Could it possibly be because Malik, for all his erudition, is a member of the same organisation as Claire Fox? They’re both members of the bizarre ex-Marxist outfit led by Professor Frank Furedi (University of Kent), that started out as the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), became ‘Living Marxism’ (LM Group) and now operates as an ostensibly ‘libertarian’ outfit  through such front organisations as The ‘Institute of Ideas’, ‘Spiked-online’ , ‘Sense about Science’ (who famously upset George Monbiot by denying the reality of global warming) and the ‘Manifesto Club’ (now much favoured by London Mayor Boris Johnson).

Their other claim to fame is (for all their proclaimed ‘libertarianism’) acting as opologists for some of the vilest and most genocidal regimes and dictators in recent history – notably in 1992 when (operating as ‘Living Marxism’) they attempted to defend Serb ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and claimed that ITN journalists had fabricated a report and photographs of the Serb concentraton camp at Trpopolje. ‘Living Marxism’ and its editor, Mick Hulme (now a columnist on Murdoch’s Times, but still part of the ex-RCP organisation), lost a libel action brought by ITN, closed down the magazine and went online as Spiked online.

Since then the ex-RCP has renounced the remnance of its Marxist/Trotskyist past, positioned itself as ‘libertarian’ and ‘iconoclastic’ (actually, its claim to be ‘iconoclastic’ is mainly pretence, as Claire Fox’s banal standard-issue “anti imperialism” – aka defence of national sovereignty as an absolute principle – on the Moral Maze regularly demonstrates) and concentrated upon infiltrating the bourgeois media. They’ve had some success, what with Mick Hulme’s column in the Times , Living Marxism’s former Science Correspondent John Gillott conning Channel 4 into giving him and fellow RCP’er Martin Durkin a series, and Prof Ferudi popping up all over the place on Radio 4 to comment on such matters as the excesses of Health and Safety legislation and the dangers of mollycoddling your kids.

But the crowning triumph – so far – of the RCP is their colonisation of Radio 4’s Moral Maze. Not only is Claire Fox an established permanent panel member, but she now seems to be able to bring on ‘deps’ like Kanan Malik whenever one of the other regulars is away. So, this week, 50 per cent of the Moral Maze panel was RCP! I must get on to Mad Mel about this…

Permalink 19 Comments

Serbia votes down Radical Party

May 12, 2008 at 7:22 am (elections, serbia, voltairespriest)

In a turn-over of poll predications, it would seem that Serbians have voted down the extreme right-wing Radical Party which had been expected to narrowly win the general election in that country. Instead they have opted (by a relatively healthy margin) to elect the Democratic Party (DS) of President Boris Tadic. Guess they didn’t realise they were supposed to be “sound anti-imperialist heroes” after all, so they didn’t elect the far right. Sorry. I’m sure there’ll be tears in many an “anti-imperialist” home tonight.

Permalink 13 Comments

« Previous page