Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Enemies of Truth and Justice

Last Thursday (June 10), seven men were convicted by the Hague Inquisition (a.k.a. the ICTY) for "genocide" in Srebrenica. Naturally, the news made headlines all over the world, as yet another allegedly incontrovertible proof that Srebrenica was "the worst atrocity since WW2" in Europe, where the evil Serbs deliberately murdered 8,000 innocent civilians.

Fortunately for the cause of truth, there are people in this world who don't take ICTY press releases at face value, and actually bother to read what their verdicts contain: a bunch of nonsense, fabrications, unfounded assumptions and "logic" that would be expected of failed law school applicants, not these supposed paragons of international justice.

As the folks at Srebrenica Historical Project explain, the Tribunal once again based the entire process on the testimony of "crown witness" Drazen Erdemović, who claimed (among other things) to have seen a Lt. Colonel at the site where he claims to have executed 1200 people. Since anything Erdemović says must and shall be treated as gospel truth, the "judges" reasoned thus:

“There is no evidence before the Trial Chamber of any other Lieutenant Colonel in Pilica at this time. In light of this, the Trial Chamber is satisfied that there is no other reasonable conclusion available on the evidence but that the Lieutenant Colonel whom Erdemović saw at Branjevo Military Farm and in Pilica town on 16 July was Popović. (paragraph 1134)

Being as there had to have been a Lt. Colonel in the area (otherwise Erdemović would be lying, and we can't have that, right?), then there shall be one. See how easy it is to establish "facts" when you can just make them up? Of course, there was a tiny little problem of Erdemović actually not recognizing Col. Popović in a line-up, but worry not - the ICTY had that covered as well:

“The Trial Chamber has carefully considered the fact that Erdemović was unable to identify Popović in a photo line up … However, the Trial Chamber considers that given the traumatic circumstances in which Erdemović met Popović and the significant passage of time since then, Erdemović’s failure to identify Popović in a photo line up does not raise a reasonable doubt as to the Trial Chamber’s conclusion that the man whom Erdemović saw at Pilica on 16 July was, in fact, Popović”. (paragraph 1135)

Never mind the evidence, then, or the burden of proof, or reasonable doubt - the "judges" simply know what happened, because, well, they just do. Better than Erdemović himself, even!

There are other, no less significant, incongruities in the June 10 verdict, which you can read at the SHP site. What I want to address here, once again, is the ICTY itself.

The media often refer to the ICTY as the "UN War Crimes Tribunal." In the Balkans, the shorthand for it is "The Hague." This was done deliberately, as The Hague is actually home to the International Court of Justice, a legitimate UN court adjudicating disputes between states. The ICTY, however, was established by a body (the Security Council) that has no authority to establish courts - because it lacks judicial powers. It's elementary logic that one cannot delegate the powers one does not have in the first place. Of course, we live in a world where laws are creatively interpreted to serve the needs of the political class, so it's not surprising that the ICTY is considered legitimate simply because the people who established it say it is.

The ICTY's role isn't to punish the guilty, effect reconciliation or serve the course of justice. It is to write the history of the Yugoslav Succession Wars as one of "greater Serbian aggression", by accusing the entire political and military leadership of the Serbs (be it in Serbia or the territories of present-day Croatia and Bosnia) of a preposterous grand conspiracy. By doing so, it seeks to label the Serbs as perpetrators of "genocide" (which has been redefined to mean just about anything). This is also meant to absolve not only the other parties to the conflict, but also the European powers, the U.S. and NATO, of any wrongdoing. At the same time, imposing the genocidal label on the Serbs is meant to neutralize any investigation of the actual genocide committed between 1941 and 1945 by the Croatian Ustasha (whose primary victims were Serbs, Jews and Roma, in that order). It also helps whitewash the atrocities of Nazi Germany, e.g. the Holocaust.

To truly counter the Tribunal's lies, one must expose them for what they are. One has to have the courage to say the Emperor is wearing no clothes. For years now, the ICTY and its sponsors have been deceiving the world, claiming that this was an independent, legitimate court of law. It is not hard to expose this as the proverbial Big Lie - as you've seen above, it can be done simply by quoting the Tribunal's own verdicts and the idiocy contained therein. There is a limit to how many people they can lie to, and for how long.

This fight has only just begun.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A New Look

Gray Falcon has been around a few years, and I figured it was time to update the look a bit.

This ought to be easier on the eyes a little - though the subject matter will remain the same.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Ceterum censeo census...

Back in April, commenter Dejo asked about the census in Bosnia, or rather the fact that the Bosnian Muslims were adamantly against including ethnic or religious affiliation on the census forms:

The [Muslim] politicians have built their careers on the war and the myths surrounding that war. If there is a census then a lot of things about the war will come to light including how many Serbs and Croats are still left in central Bosnia, who of those which have been listed as missing or dead are actually alive and the radical changes in the religious dynamic among [Muslims] in Bosnia since they've started importing foreign Mudjahedin during the war. Not to mention how many babies were really born from rape during the war and how many battles were incorrectly listed as massacres. Among other things.

I daresay I have a pretty good understanding of Bosnia and the Balkans in general. Only a few things truly baffle me. The Muslim politicians' position on the census is one of them.

Now, some libertarians may regard opposition to the census in general, or disclosing ethnic or religious background in particular, to be a worthy cause on grounds of liberty, privacy, etc. Be that as it may, it isn't a factor in Bosnia. In most cases, it is easy to figure out one's ethnic or religious (as, by Ottoman legacy, ethnicity is based on religion) affiliation simply by their name. There are exceptions, of course, but they only confirm the rule. So trying to hide that data from census-takers is rather pointless, as it can be extrapolated (at great expense, mind, and somewhat inaccurately) later. Furthermore, in Bosnia ethnicity is a constitutional category; with public offices set aside for quotas of Serbs, Croats and Muslims, being "undeclared" is simply not an option if one desires government work. And there isn't much of another kind these days.

One explanation I've tended to credit for the past several years is that the Muslims simply fear no longer being the most numerous. But would it really fatally undermine their argument about Bosnia being their nation-state (with Serbs and Croats as interlopers or "aggressors") if they became outnumbered? Muslims weren't a majority in 1991, ether - Bosnia was over 55% Christian back then. Yet that didn't stop Izetbegovic from trying to create an Islamic government. The argument holds no water either way, census or no census.

Dejo's explanation above sounds a bit more plausible. The trouble I have with it is that the number of war dead has been pretty well established, at just under 100,000. It isn't really clear how a census would prove how any of those 100,000 perished. However, it stands to reason that official numbers showing precisely how many Serb and Croat villages have been obliterated and how many Serbs and Croats actually live in Muslim-controlled areas, would easily explode the claims of Muslim multi-ethnicity and tolerance.

Currently the lack of a census allows Muslim officials to maintain the fiction that the Muslim-Croat Federation has implemented Annex VII of the Dayton Accords, and that Serb refugees have returned to their homes. But if the census shows that all those Serbs (and in some cases, Croats) returned only nominally and claimed their ID cards so they could reclaim their property, sell it and leave again - as has overwhelmingly been the case - that would certainly deprive people like Haris Silajdzic of the ability to claim they represented progressive humanitarianism, rather than, say, radical Islam. The fact that Muslim lawmakers have tried to propose using ID card data in the census - knowing that it didn't reflect reality - indicates there might be something to this.

And yet... anyone who cares to spend a day researching can easily reach the same conclusion. But myths are myths precisely because they are immune to facts and reason. The Western media (and hence the public) persist in thinking Sarajevo is still a paragon of multi-ethnic tolerance. Yet there's nothing "multiethnic" about a city whose councilmen interpret "diversity" as giving representation to "Bosnians," "Bosniaks" and "Muslims."

Come to think of it, that may be another reason Muslim politicians fear the census. Back in 1991, they actually declared themselves as "Muslims" (Muslimani). It was a 1993 meeting of self-proclaimed national leaders that changed their name to "Bosniaks" (Bošnjaci), in an attempt to assert nation-statehood. What if some people are still confused, and put "Bosnian" or "Muslim-Bosnian" or just "Muslim" on the census form? Oh what a nightmare that will be for the statisticians...

The argument Bosnian lawmakers are currently chewing over - whether Eurostat regulations require ethnic or religious data - is pointless; they may not require it, but they certainly allow it. Besides, Bosnia has its own laws and regulations that must be followed, and the underlying principle of those may be called habeas ethnos. How do Muslim politicians imagine protecting "Bosniak rights" if, by the census, there are no "Bosniaks"?

It just doesn't add up. Such vociferous opposition has to be motivated by something. What are they trying to hide? What are they trying to achieve? Is this malice at work, or stupidity, or both?

As I said, few things about the Balkans baffle me, but this remains one of them.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Israel Gets Serbed

I don't normally deal with Israel here, or the whole Middle East question (one emotionally charged intractable conflict is plenty, thank you), but what happened the other day does have a fair bit to do with things I've been writing about for the past decade or so.

It should be obvious by now that the "Gaza flotilla" was a trap. Israel walked right into it. Fortunately for the Israelis, they too were filming the whole thing, and knew how to use blogs and YouTube, so they may have even come out ahead in the propaganda skirmish that followed. But there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the whole flotilla operation was designed from the start to be a propaganda stunt. The "activists" (is that what they are called these days?) aboard those ships were armed and ready. They wanted to be stopped and boarded, so they could scream to high heaven about being abused by the Israeli "pirates" on the high seas. It almost worked, too.

As I said over on Ilana Mercer's blog earlier in the week, the entire strategy employed by Hamas seems to be a reprise of Sarajevo. So the Israeli presence on its borders becomes a "siege", the legitimate blockade of a hostile polity becomes "strangling", and Israeli raids in response to missiles fired from Gaza become "terror." Israel is dubbed an occupying power even though it unilaterally retreated from Gaza in 2005, leaving it as a de facto independent city-state. And Israeli inspections in international waters, though legal, become "piracy."

Hamas routinely fires missiles from Gaza at Israeli civilians across the border. They see nothing wrong with this - remember, to Hamas, Israel has no right to exist, and needs to be obliterated. But if Israel retaliates, whether by assassinating Hamas leaders or sending tanks into Gaza to destroy missile launchers, or by enforcing a perfectly legal blockade to deny Hamas weapons and ammunition, while allowing food and other civilian supplies in - ah, that's nothing short of "genocide," then!

Israel has a powerful conventional army, navy, air force, and most likely even nuclear weapons (though not officially acknowledged). It has defeated Arab armies on numerous occasions in open warfare, and has successfully fought terrorism and insurgency through special operations. So those who wish it destroyed came up with a way of turning that strength into a weakness: cast themselves as innocent, unarmed, helpless victims and howl as loud as possible about being abused by that very Israel whose strength no one can dispute.

There are two recent examples of this approach being enormously successful. In Bosnia, the government of Alija Izetbegovic (revered in the Muslim world as an ideologue of jihad and Islamic revolution, but still believed in the West to have been a multicultural democrat) provoked an armed confrontation with the Serb and Croat populations, then raised hell in the media about being a victim of "aggression" and "genocide." European and American public were steadily bombarded with the most outlandish claims of atrocities, courtesy of legions of "advocacy journalists" stationed in Sarajevo, who somehow never saw thousands of armed Muslim troops in the city, or their artillery, but only "helpless civilians." Likewise, they never saw any of the Serb civilians killed by Muslim fire on the other side of the line; oh no, every Serb in Bosnia was a drunken, bearded savage with a machine gun in one hand, a bottle of brandy in the other, and a bloody knife in his teeth.

This distortion of reality went so far as to actually exaggerate the military strength of the Serbs, in an effort to make them seem even more formidable (and their enemies that much more innocent/unarmed/endangered). In this kind of 4th-generation warfare, weakness was an asset, and strength became a liability.

Not only was the Muslim (and Croat) version of the war propagated as gospel truth in the West, the Serbs were prevented from saying anything in their own defense through the second-worst regime of UN sanctions in history (the worst being what was imposed on Iraq). By the time the sanctions were officially lifted, the Serbs had been so thoroughly demonized, few dared question the official story when NATO attacked Serbia itself and occupied one of its provinces in 1999. Once again, the world was told of the Evil Genocidal Serb Aggressors wantonly killing and abusing innocent "Kosovarian" civilians, which was obviously so egregious that it required NATO to violate its own charter and that of the UN to launch a "humanitarian" intervention.

Here was identity politics brought to its logical extreme: a situation in which the designated victim could literally get away with murder (Izetbegovic, the KLA) yet be seen as innocent and virtuous, while the designated culprit (the Serbs) could be slandered with impunity, and anything they did would be perceived as purely evil. It isn't just about delegitimizing one's means of defense, but delegitimizing one's right to exist at all.

The problem with trying to explain this to people is that this sort of demonization has so far been practiced only against the Serbs. Even Iraqis, who have suffered horrifically, were not singled out as a nation (rather, the hatred was focused on the persona of Saddam Hussein, and the odium largely dissipated after his execution). Only a few careful observers have seen it as a general trend, applied beyond the Balkans. As a result, no one in the world really believes they could one day get "Serbed" (for lack of a better term) themselves.

But as we see from the flotilla incident, some folks have taken the lessons of Bosnia and Kosovo to heart, even if no one else has. Not surprisingly, the organizer of the propaganda stunt is a Turkish "NGO" first formed to provide aid to the Bosnian Muslims. Among the "activists" detained on the ships were a Syrian with Bosnian citizenship and the "President of Muslim Forum of Kosova" (sic). There are Balkan connections all over - all but guaranteeing that the mainstream press in the West won't say a word about any of them. Because, as we know, the Balkans is a sacred cow and the pure, innocent victimhood of "Bosnians" and "Kosovars" must and shall not be brought into question. Ever.

Why, even the Israelis won't say anything about it, so as not to hurt their own cause. Can't allow oneself to be associated with those Evil Serbs, right? That's how thorough the demonization has been. But if it can happen to the Serbs, it can happen to anyone. The real question is, who is next?