Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

August 4, 2008

The DSP versus the archfiends

Filed under: Yugoslavia — louisproyect @ 2:34 pm

Where was James Bond when we needed him?

While some elements of the left such as Counterpunch, Monthly Review and ZNet have not succumbed to the enormous pressures of the bourgeois press and well-funded NGO’s and think-tanks to demonize the Serbs, others have. Workers Liberty in Great Britain, a state capitalist sect and one such group, has politics that can be described as rightist social democratic across the board with an affinity for the Shachtmanite journal New Politics in the U.S.A. New Politics is co-edited by Joanne Landy who is perpetually circulating petitions calling attention to the alleged crimes of the Cubans, Iranians or the Serbs. Alan Johnson, a former leader of Workers Liberty, was on the editorial board of New Politics but eventually broke with the left entirely. Nowadays he writes for Democratiya, an online publication of the Eustonite “left”.

In what can only be described as a kind of cognitive dissonance, the Democratic Socialist Perspective group in Australia argues from the same angle as Workers Liberty even though its politics are much more akin to Counterpunch et al on just about every other question. This has led to some rather schizoid outbursts. Michael Karadjis, their rather febrile “expert” on Yugoslavia, has denounced the Counterpunchers of the world for genocide denial even though John Pilger-one of their most cited leftist personalities-signed an open letter defending Diana Johnstone from exactly the charges that Karadjis levels against her.

I have no idea what most DSP’ers think about Yugoslavia since Karadjis is their designated batter on the topic. My guess is that early on during the conflict in the Balkans, after they formed close ties with a left-nationalist Croatian group in Australia, they developed a line on Yugoslavia which bought into Serbophobia. Things being what they are in “Marxist-Leninism”, they essentially painted themselves into a corner. It is impossible for them to renounce this shitty analysis in the same way that it was impossible for the American SWP to admit that the “turn” was not working. Fortunately for the DSP, the impact of having a stupid position on Yugoslavia is not as grievous.

In the latest issue of Links, Karadjis holds forth on the arrest of Radovan Karadzic, the Serb warlord who is held to be qualitatively worse than all the other warlords in Yugoslavia, including the Muslim Naser Oric whose anti-Serb pogroms near Srebrenica unleashed Karadzic’s bloodlust revenge. Oric was just freed of all charges by the ICTY in The Hague in keeping with its tendency to judge Serb killers as more unequal than other killers.

While acknowledging the hypocrisy of the imperialist powers that have done nothing about war crimes in Iraq, Palestine or Afghanistan, Karadjis advises that it would be a mistake to come to Karadzic’s “defence”. It is a bit difficult to understand what he means by defending Karadzic. Does it mean calling attention to the clearly illegal basis of the ICTY, including the use of naked bribery (opening up the door to European Union membership specifically)? This matter appears to be of zero interest to our intrepid radical journalist.

Karadjis buys in completely to the Susan Sontag/Christopher Hitchens/Paul Berman version of the Bosnian war in which a multicultural socialist country is despoiled by the Chetnik Karadzic who was the proverbial turd in the punch bowl:

From the outset, Karadzic planned to destroy Bosnia, so rudely based on coexistence between peoples rather than ethnic purity, root and branch and had agreement from his Bosnian Croat chauvinist counterparts.

What was needed, of course, to deal with such naked evil was somebody like James Bond who could have penetrated deep into the stronghold of the archfiend and dispatched him straight to hell with a Walther P99.

In this version of history, the Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic is as pure as the driven snow. In 1970, Izetbegovic wrote an Islamic Declaration that stated: “Pakistan constitutes the rehearsal for introduction of Islamic order in contemporary conditions and at the present level of development.” Now maybe I am missing something, but I had always considered Pakistan to be a reactionary, pro-imperialist bastion but perhaps beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Taking inspiration from the breakaway republics of Croatia and Slovenia, Izetbegovic pushed for a secessionist referendum in 1992 that the Serbs boycotted. With the Croatian ethnic cleansing of Serbs having already begun, one can understand why the Serbs would be on edge, especially since the Croats in Bosnia backed secession.

All of the three nationalities in Bosnia were involved with ethnic cleansing. The Counterpunch left has never tried to prettify Karadzic. Why the DSP would want to lie about Izetbegovic and destroy their credibility on the left is something of a mystery, although I understand how difficult it is for such propaganda groups to admit that they are wrong.

Trying desperately to maintain the DSP’s sorely tested anti-imperialist credibility, Karadjis insists that the West backed Karadzic:

But imperialism helped destroy Bosnia, because its heartland cities and industrial centres represented a multi-ethnic working class containing the last embers of socialist Yugoslavia.

Even before the war began, European powers put together plans drawn up by the Serb and Croat chauvinists for the ethnic partition of Bosnia into three states, despite the intermingling of populations – directly encouraging ethnic cleansing.

The one thing that Karadjis is unable to explain is this. If the West was so hostile to the socialist and multicultural government of Bosnia, why did the bourgeois media not reflect this? Anybody who read the Washington Post, N.Y. Times, Guardian et al during the 1990s would be hard-pressed to find evidence of support for the Serb militias, even in a backhanded way. Maybe DSP members do not read the bourgeois press, but others of us do. Here’s a reminder:

By taking United Nations peacekeepers hostage and using them as human shields, Dr. Radovan Karadzic and the other Bosnian Serb leaders have defined themselves as outside law and civilization. But then that should not have been a surprise to anyone who knew their works.

Dr. Karadzic and his colleagues, after all, presided over the first attempted genocide in Europe since Hitler: the systematic murder, torture and rape that constituted ethnic cleansing. Their idea of reprisal showed up recently when Bosnian Serbs responded to Serbian defeat in neighboring Croatia by blowing up Catholic churches in the town of Banja Luka, killing a priest and a nun.

–Anthony Lewis, N.Y. Times, May 29, 1995

All in all, the bizarre affinity between the DSP and the forces of Serbophobia beating within the heart of Western imperialism, its media and kangaroo courts should not be held against the comrades. As I have tried to point out, they have painted themselves into a corner. Given a choice between admitting that you are wrong and lining up with the Paul Berman’s and Michael Ignatieff’s of the world, it is apparent that the latter choice is a lesser evil for them. Some day, if the left can break its grip on the “democratic centralist” nonsense that forces small propaganda groups or mass parties to defend indefensible positions, we will all be better off. The sooner, the better.


  1. Analysis is supposed to proceed from fact, not the other way round.

    Comment by Owen — August 4, 2008 @ 4:44 pm

  2. Oh, here is another pile of revisionist, one-sided, pro-Serbian war-crimes garbage. Who cares what “Louis Proyect” thinks. Opinion is cheap, but Srebrenica genocide is a fact. What a pile of garbage this blog is, geez. I feel like I am sitting on a toilet. Thanks for sending me this link Owen.

    Comment by Daniel (Srebrenica Genocide Blog) — August 4, 2008 @ 7:45 pm

  3. Fascinating to see how a Serbophobe translates the statement I made that all the warlords in Bosnia deserve condemnation into “revisionist, one-sided, pro-Serbian war-crimes garbage”. It exposes the intellectual, political and moral fiber of a movement with Michael Ignatieff, Paul Berman and Christopher Hitchens at the helm.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 4, 2008 @ 7:49 pm

  4. One thing I can’t understand about those backers of the secessionists from Yugoslavia is that they supported the break-up of Yugoslavia along national/ethnic/religious lines, yet they objected when the logic of national disintegration hit Bosnia-Hercegovina.

    As for Izetbegović’s notion of Pakistan as an ideal country, it’s not so illogical. Pakistan is a basket-case of a country, defined by religion, needlessly sliced off a larger country as the result of a bloody, pointless civil war. Looks like he got what he wanted…

    Comment by Dr Paul — August 4, 2008 @ 7:55 pm

  5. Your statement is correctly described as one-sided garbage because your basic assumption is that Serbia’s interventions in the rest of Yugoslavia were legitimate, you suggest that the parties you describe as “the warlords” in Bosnia deserve equal condemnation and you are unwilling to subject Serbs and Serbia to the same degree of rigorous criticism that you apply to all other parties. You are partial. And you are so partial that it results in you excusing a systematic campaign of crimes against humanity and explaining away a planned act of extermination as an understandable act of retaliation.

    In order to be able to portray Milosevic’s response to the disintegration of the Federation as a defence of Yugoslavia’s borders you turn your eyes away from the history of Milosevic’s centralisation and abuse of power within the Federation. And having distorted the context, you then distort and ignore the facts on the ground in order to be able to argue that the status and conduct of the parties was equivalent. Less than equivalent in fact – you offer the excuse for the Serbs’ actions that they were entitled to feel “on edge” but you never hint that anyone else might have had similarly justified fears.

    Where Karadzic is concerned you talk about him as if he was simply one “warlord” among several, rather than the architect of a strategic programme of ethnic cleansing. You offer no suggestion why he was so much more successful in achieving his goals than other “warlord”, instead you create peers for him by inflating the significance of figures such as Naser Oric.

    You suggest that Oric was a figure of equivalent importance but offer no evidence for that claim other than a reference to “pogroms” in the Srebrenica area. “Pogroms” is a strange word to use for break-out attacks from a besieged enclave into a militarised hinterland from which the starving residents of the enclave had been expelled. Reference to these “pogroms” is the only way in which you attempt to substantiate the suggestion that Oric’s activities were similar in scope and scale to those of Karadzic. You seem to be using these “pogroms” to allow you to represent the massacre at Srebrenica was a simple act of retaliation rather than a strategically planned operation. That interpretation is certainly the apologist argument and flies in the face of extensively documented evidence.

    If you want to understand why Karadzic might be condemned so vociferously and attempt a genuine analysis that goes beyond politcal partisanship just compare and contrast the substance of what Karadzic and his associates did with what Naser Oric did. Look at the manner and scale of the way civilians from the various communities in Bosnia were subjected to violence and look at the number of civilians who died in those different communities. Consider the hardship and atrocities suffered by the Serb residents of the municipalities of Srebrenica and Bratunac and look at what the Bosniak residents of the area (and the rest of the Drina Valley) suffered.

    In spite of your proud banner as “The Unrepentant Marxist” you don’t seem to offer much of a Marxist analysis. You are either regurgitating somebody else’s propaganda or you are wilfully misrepresenting the facts in a way that mitigates the guilt of a murderous nationalist conspiracy.

    Comment by Owen — August 5, 2008 @ 9:04 am

  6. “In what can only be described as a kind of cognitive dissonance, the Democratic Socialist Perspective group in Australia argues from the same angle as Workers Liberty even though its politics are much more akin to Counterpunch et al on just about every other question.”

    The DSP’s position is, of course, derived from it’s general approach to the self-determination of oppressed nations. For what it’s worth, compared to many other groups, this doesn’t entail a great deal of seeking excuses to oppose or limit such self-determination.

    “I have no idea what most DSP’ers think about Yugoslavia since Karadjis is their designated batter on the topic.”

    Few DSP members are all that interested in flogging dead horses or engaging in neverending circular arguments.

    “My guess is that early on during the conflict in the Balkans, after they formed close ties with a left-nationalist Croatian group in Australia, they developed a line on Yugoslavia which bought into Serbophobia.”

    The “left-nationalist Croation group” in question was basically Jure Lasic. The GLW website seems to be playing up, but when it behaves, you should be able to find an obituary for him from: http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/1999/380

    However, the key factor is still the DSP’s historical approach to such issues.

    Incidentally, if you ever want to start a flame war on Marxmail, try writing an article about the Tamil question in Sri Lanka. Whatever you write, someone will start foaming at the mouth.

    Alan B

    Comment by Alan B — August 5, 2008 @ 9:27 am

  7. In reply to #5, here’s a report on Naser Oric’s activity from a reporter with no particular sympathies for the Serbs:

    The Toronto Star
    July 16, 1995, Sunday, FINAL EDITION
    Fearsome Muslim warlord eludes Bosnian Serb forces
    DATELINE: BELGRADE, Yugoslavia

    When Bosnian Serb commander Gen. Ratko Mladic swept triumphantly into Srebrenica last week, he not only wanted to sweep Srebrenica clean of Muslims – he wanted Nasir Oric.

    In Mladic’s view, the powerfully built Muslim commander had made life too difficult and too deadly for Serb communities nearby.

    Even though the Serbs had Srebrenica surrounded, Oric was still mounting commando raids by night against Serb targets.

    Oric, as blood-thirsty a warrior as ever crossed a battlefield, escaped Srebrenica before it fell.

    Some believe he may be leading the Bosnian Muslim forces in the nearby enclaves of Zepa and Gorazde. Last night these forces seized armored personnel carriers and other weapons from U.N. peacekeepers in order to better protect themselves.

    Oric is a fearsome man, and proud of it.

    I met him in January, 1994, in his own home in Serb-surrounded Srebrenica.

    On a cold and snowy night, I sat in his living room watching a shocking video version of what might have been called Nasir Oric’s Greatest Hits.

    There were burning houses, dead bodies, severed heads, and people fleeing.

    Oric grinned throughout, admiring his handiwork.

    “We ambushed them,” he said when a number of dead Serbs appeared on the screen.

    The next sequence of dead bodies had been done in by explosives: “We launched those guys to the moon,” he boasted.

    When footage of a bullet-marked ghost town appeared without any visible bodies, Oric hastened to announce: “We killed 114 Serbs there.”

    Later there were celebrations, with singers with wobbly voices chanting his praises.

    These video reminiscences, apparently, were from what Muslims regard as Oric’s glory days. That was before most of eastern Bosnia fell and Srebrenica became a “safe zone” with U.N. peacekeepers inside – and Serbs on the outside.

    Lately, however, Oric increased his hit-and-run attacks at night. And in Mladic’s view, it was far too successful for a community that was supposed to be suppressed.

    The Serbs regard Oric, once Serb President Slobodan Milosevic’s personal bodyguard, as a war criminal.

    But they don’t want to send him to the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. They want to track him down and kill him.

    The only songs they want sung of Nasir Oric are funeral dirges.

    But that hasn’t happened.

    Srebrenica, surrounded by 3,000 armed Serbs as it was then, was a strange town. It held a desperate kind of life – a life in suspended animation.

    People talked about what they used to do, or used to be. Or about what they would do or would become once they were free again.

    Sleeping beneath the sheltering sky near Tuzla as Srebrenica’s surviving residents did last week – after having been driven from their homes – was not in their catalogue of expectations.

    I remember steep streets lined with snow and, everywhere, firewood.

    Srebrenica, an old silver mining town, was built to hold 4,500 residents, but was then crammed with 22,500. And the overall pocket, some 14 kilometres wide by 16 kilometres long, had swelled to 46,000 in all.

    It had the look and feel of an overcrowded, somewhat dilapidated, ski resort town.

    But it was anything but.

    Still, people were friendly. The face of an outsider, an unexplained newcomer, came as a pleasant surprise to them and I was welcomed into their homes, served tea brewed on makeshift firewood stoves, and treated with kindness.

    There was, even then, some tension in the air about our Canadian peacekeepers there. But they were still doing a good job – even an excellent one – despite extraordinarily high expectations.

    I got into Srebrenica by convincing Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic that the time was right for a journalist to visit. None had been allowed for more than 100 days. People were wondering what was going on behind the curtain.

    In the end, another journalist asked to come along. He had a vehicle, and I didn’t. It was a good trade-off.

    But what we smelled there, besides the smoke of thousand and one cooking fires, was the slow death of hope.

    No one wanted to admit it was a hopeless situation. They wanted to believe that someone, something, perhaps some extraordinary act of fate, was going to save them and their town.

    They just didn’t know what it was. And that not knowing ate away at them, just as their thinning food supplies, having been choked off by the Serbs, did.

    At the very end of the only real street that led all the way down into the town and became, in effect, main street, I’ll always remember dozens of kids taking turns whizzing across a pool of sheer ice, their bottoms protected by worn pieces of thin cardboard.

    We don’t use the word “glee” anymore. But that’s what it was then. Glee on Main Street, Downtown Srebrenica.

    A bit of laughter against the cold. A bit of glee in the face of inevitable doom.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 5, 2008 @ 1:20 pm

  8. In response to #5, “self-determination” for Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Kosovo had *zero* to do with socialism. Lenin wrote about self-determination differently than Wilson. It was a means to an end, namely socialist revolution. The break-up of Yugoslavia advanced imperialist’s goals in the region, which would be clear to any impartial observer. Germany sought to extend its economic influence into Eastern Europe generally, and Yugoslavia specifically. The evidence is all there for those who want to consult it.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 5, 2008 @ 1:25 pm

  9. Self-determination for Croatia etc had *everything* to do with socialism, since the context of the secessions was the *collapse* of socialism in Yugoslavia. Specifically, the collapse of the (flawed) internationalism of the Titoist project.

    And if Lenin did view self-determination in such cynical terms, he was wrong. In fact, it would suggest that Stalin may indeed have been his legitimate successor. Or, of course, it may suggest that he was deeply clueless about anti-colonial struggles and their complexities.

    Alan B

    Comment by Alan B — August 5, 2008 @ 1:46 pm

  10. You make it sound as if Croatia decided to secede because socialism had collapsed. In fact, it seceded because it was wealthier relative to the other republics and saw its fate as connected to the West and to capitalism. In other words, it was acting on the same kind of counter-revolutionary impulses as Yeltsin and all the rest of the Eastern European elites who acted as shock troops for neoliberalism.

    The Independent (London)
    October 27, 1991

    MARGARET THATCHER is agitating for Britain to recognise Croatia. She has persistently pressed her case in a series of conversations with the Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, and other ministers.

    Mrs Thatcher, who has been in regular contact with senior Croatian representatives, is said to be impatient with the failure of European Community countries to press ahead with recognition. “She is very exercised about Croatia,” one close friend admitted. The former prime minister has telephoned Mr Hurd several times on the subject.

    Germany has indicated that it favours recognition of Slovenia and Croatia – but has also said it would want to make the move as part of an EC-wide policy.

    Mrs Thatcher is said to be impressed with what she sees as the democratic, free-market stance of Franjo Tudjman, leader of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union. Although Mr Tudjman is a former Communist, his party has made strenuous efforts to align itself with centre-right parties including elements in the British Conservative Party and the Christian Democrat Union in Germany.

    Mr Hurd has indicated that he could envisage a time when Slovenia and Croatia might be recognised as independent states, but has also emphasised that this would have to be with full EC backing.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 5, 2008 @ 1:57 pm

  11. Croatia did, indeed, secede because of the collapse of socialism.

    Economically: Collapse of socialism => emergence of capitalism => emergence of capitalist class(es).
    Ideologically: Collapse of (flawed) socialist internationalism => rise of bourgeois nationalisms.

    Pretty simple, really. The kind of situation best described as a “carnival of reaction”.

    The question is: would the military defeat of the Croatian bourgeoisie by their Serb counterparts have had any progressive content? Wouldn’t it merely have perpetuated and deepened the hostility between Croats-as-a-nation and Serbs-as-a-nation? Would it in any way have helped either Croatian or Serbian workers to achieve class consciousness, which, of course, involves recognising that they are not each other’s enemies, and thus beginning to break with the whole -as-a-nation thing anyhow?

    At least this way, they’ve only got their own ruling classes, gypsies, homosexuals and communists to blame…

    Comment by Alan B — August 5, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

  12. Alan, Croatia *never* had any interest in the Titoist state because it felt that it was being ripped off for having to send money to support economic development in less developed portions of the country. I used to hear a variant on this from Russian programmers I worked with in the 1980s. They always complained about how Russia was sending money to the “niggers” in Africa. Part of the appeal of perestroika is that it would put an end to these subsidies.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 5, 2008 @ 2:25 pm

  13. Obviously things like this helped make capitalist restoration possible, and helped drive the secessions that followed from that.

    But the fact remains that the secessions were fundamentally a product of capitalist restoration – that is, of the defeat of socialism.

    Comment by Alan B — August 5, 2008 @ 2:48 pm

  14. Owen wrote: “Analysis is supposed to proceed from fact, not the other way round.”

    This is perhaps the very illusion of analytical cognition: Analyzing and dissecting the fact so thoroughly that at the end it concludes with a chunk of ingredients isolated from the unity of the fact. Therefore it is actually the analytical cognition which misrepresents the facts. But it is a necessary misrepresentation that is supposed to make way for dialectical synthetic cognition. So, I think, condemning Louis for not directing his critique towards Serbs is to demand from him to repeat the misrepresentation. Because his original question is, Why the analysis of Bosnian war have concluded with the demonization of Serbians? Yet, you demand him to repeat the critique of Serbian involvement in the catastrophe.

    Comment by Mehmet Cagatay — August 5, 2008 @ 5:07 pm

  15. Yes, Louis, I’ve read that article. I haven’t seen the account confirmed by any other source but nor have I seen it challenged so I accept it at face value. It describes some pretty horrific conflict experiences but gives no indication of their scale or scope other than Oric’s reference to the 114 deaths in one unspecified village. It does not distinguish between Oric’s combat operations against Serb military units and the deaths of Serb civilians that occurred during these hit and run raids, and does not quantify either the number of soldiers killed or the number of civilians whose deaths can be ascribed to Oric. It gives no indication of any strategic plan on Oric’s part to wipe out the population of the surrounding area.

    I suspect that the article is incorrect in saying that the unpleasant exploits described occurred before most of Eastern Bosnia fell. Most of the area had been ethnically cleansed by Serb/Serbian forces in the spring of 1992, at the very start of the war, involving atrocities on a massive scale. Oric recaptured the town after its capture by Serb forces and temporarily expanded the size of the enclave until the imbalance of forces that was exacerbated by the Western arms embargo led to it shrinking again. Most of Oric’s military activities would have taken place in the context of defending an enclave.

    The article is descriptive of the here and now of the writer’s visit and makes no reference to Karadzic’s and Mladic’s strategic plans for the destruction of the Eastern Bosnian enclaves as part of the plan to remove the border between Bosnia and Serbia along the Drina valley. It makes no reference to the order to make “conditions of life” “unbearable” for the inhabitants of Srebrenica – a town full of semi-starving civilian refugees from the ethically cleansed surrounding area of the Drina valley, in order to bring this plan to fulfilment.

    It does remind us that what Oric was doing was keeping these people alive in the face of a campaign to eliminate their presence.

    How does this single newspaper article containing 370 words about Oric answer the questions I raised about your analysis?

    Comment by Owen — August 5, 2008 @ 7:05 pm

  16. Mehmet, the point of dialectical synthesis is to abstract from reality, not to become totally detached from it.

    Comment by Owen — August 5, 2008 @ 7:08 pm

  17. Right on Louis! Keep on giving it to those State Department/Soros “socialists” who think that DU and cluster bombs are A-OK if its Wesley Clarke that’s dropping them. Hitchens is just the tip of the iceberg.

    As for the DSP, weren’t’ they enthralled by some gang of Ustachies in the 80s before they left the FI. Even the Barnes-led SWP had to distance themselves from them. Shows where Stalinophobia will lead many an anti-Pabloist ortho-Trot in the “struggle against Stalinism.”

    Comment by MN Roy — August 5, 2008 @ 8:13 pm

  18. People can read about Oric here: http://www.un.org/icty/indictment/english/ori-2ai041004e.htm. Mind you, he has gone free despite charges such as these:

    # In the course of these attacks in Eastern Bosnia between 10 June 1992 and 8 January 1993, units under the command and control of Naser ORIC plundered Bosnian Serb property, namely cattle, furniture and television sets. In addition, Bosnian Serb property including buildings and dwellings were unlawfully destroyed. These incidents of plunder and unlawful and wanton destruction not justified by military necessity, include the following villages and hamlets on or about the dates indicated:

    Ratkovici (Srebrenica Municipality) June 1992
    Bradjjevina (Srebrenica Municipality) June 1992
    Ducici (Srebrenica Municipality) June 1992
    Gornji Ratkovici (Srebrenica Municipality) June 1992
    Jezestica (Bratunac Municipality) August 1992
    Bozici (Bratunac Municipality) August 1992
    Fakovici (Bratunac Municipality) October 1992
    Radijevici (Bratunac Municipality) October 1992
    Divovici (Bratunac Municipality) October 1992
    Bjelovac (Bratunac Municipality) December 1992
    Sikirici (Bratunac Municipality) December 1992
    Kravica (Bratunac Municipality) January 1993
    Jezestica (Bratunac Municipality) January 1993
    Siljkovici (Bratunac Municipality) January 1993

    # Cruel treatment:

    Between 24 September 1992 and 16 October 1992, the following Serb individuals were detained under conditions described as in paragraph 23, at the Srebrenica Police Station:

    1. Nedeljko RADIC, born 15 July 1951, was assaulted with various objects including wooden poles and iron bars. He was punched and kicked all over his body. He was beaten about the head with an iron bar. His teeth were forcibly extracted using rusty pliers. A soldier urinated into his injured mouth and he was forced to swallow the urine. He bled from his mouth and his nose. His teeth were broken and his ribs were fractured.

    2. Slavoljub ZIKIC called Drago, born 18 May 1935, was punched with fists and kicked with boots. He was also beaten with rifle butts. In some instances, he was beaten into a state of unconsciousness. His ribs were fractured and his teeth in his upper jaw were broken. One of his shoulders was broken. As a consequence of the beatings, his hearing and vision are badly impaired.

    3. Zoran BRANKOVIC, born in 1975, Nevenko BUBANJ called Slavenko, date of birth unknown and Veselin SARAC, born 17 November 1938, were punched and kicked all over their bodies. They were beaten with various objects including wooden poles and iron bars.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 5, 2008 @ 8:14 pm

  19. Let’s forget “Mind you, he has gone free despite charges such as these:”. I’m still waiting to know how you consider the scale and scope of Naser Oric’s activities to compare with those of Radovan Karadzic. You seem to rely on Oric as a demon to counterbalance the “demonisation” of Karadzic. Please tell me about Oric’s systematic plans for the large-scale extermination of civilian populations.

    Comment by Owen — August 5, 2008 @ 8:56 pm

  20. Naser Oric’s body count was less than Karadzic’s but the Serb body count in Krajina was higher than the Croat body count. And anybody looking at these human disasters would have to ask, “What is the point?” You state that I don’t offer a Marxist perspective but anybody who has read your comments would wonder what kind of analysis of Yugoslavia you have, other than the Serbs were evil and the people they killed were good. If you are not capable of looking at Yugoslavia in class terms, maybe you can let us know what you consider to be an authoritative Marxist analysis of the Balkan wars. Or maybe I am assuming too much. For all I know, you could be a British Labour Party member who gets his ideas from reading Vuillamy.

    Comment by Louis Proyect — August 5, 2008 @ 9:43 pm

  21. Como simepre es interesante y polemica la opinión que entrega al debate el compañero Luis Project. Sí, estoy de acuerdo que la prensa y muchos artículistas (de izquierdas y derechas) jugaron de modo torpe con la santificación de los bosnios frente a la criminalización de los serbios. Sin embargo, huelga decirlo cuántas veces sea necesario: La politica contra Srebrenica fue criminal, es un hecho.
    Saludos desde Chile, Jorge

    Comment by Jorge — August 8, 2008 @ 7:24 pm

  22. Eh, are these the times when you were “Islamophobe”, to which you refereed in that article back there?

    Comment by Santa — April 23, 2017 @ 6:21 am

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