What happened in Bosnia

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Sun Oct 10 07:21:09 MDT 1999

I received this complaint this morning:

"Jared Israel has made an allegation that the Bosnian government planted the
bomb that killed dozens of people in a Sarajevo market. But he provides no
evidence for this. How can you allow him to make such statements on a
Marxism discussion list without the slightest piece of evidence? You come
down very hard on Bernie Wool so why arent you so even handed with Jared


Actually this incident was covered in great depth by Alexander Cockburn,
who quoted UN military personnel to the effect that the trajectory and
detonation pattern left by the mortar attack in question COULD NOT have
come from Serb forces, but from WITHIN the city. This incident, along with
the "concentration camp" exposed by Deichman, served as a pretext for NATO
intervention. In the most recent flare-up of the ongoing war against
Yugoslavia, "atrocities" at Racak served the same purpose. Basically we are
dealing with Gulf of Tonkin type incidents over and over again.

>From Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting's website

Coverage of Yugoslavia "has been driven by pictures of violence," an
anonymous senior network producer told the New York Times (6/10/92).
"Everybody seems to want to go for the blood.... It's back to, 'Cut me a
minute of bang-bang.' But nobody wants to go into the issues behind the
bangs." In turn, images of atrocities have driven U.S. and international
policy toward the conflict.

The most spectacular example was the May 27 Sarajevo breadline massacre,
which occurred shortly before the European Community was to consider
sanctions against Serbia. The gruesome pictures of blood-drenched pavement
and severed limbs were broadcast around the world, and the press--despite
lack of evidence--concluded that this was a deliberate Serbian mortar
attack: "cease-fire, Serbian-style" (U.S. News & World Report, 6/8/92),
"shattering hopes that Serbian aggression had been curbed by the threat of
international sanctions." (L.A. Times, 5/28) Within several days, the Bush
administration, citing the attack, championed the passage of severe UN
sanctions against Serbia.

Only three months later was it revealed in a front-page story in the London
Independent (8/22/92) that "United Nations officials and Western military
officers believe some of the worst recent killings in Sarajevo, including
the massacre of at least 16 people in a bread queue, were the work of the
city's mainly Muslim defenders--not Serb besiegers--as a propaganda ploy to
win world sympathy and trigger military intervention."

Louis Proyect

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