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4399Carlos Martins Branco on "Srebrenica" and more

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  • jugocoord
    26 dic 2017


      [ srpskohrvatski / english.
      La testimonianza su Srebrenica di Carlos Martins Branco, ex osservatore militare dell'ONU in Bosnia, è reperibile anche in lingua italiana:
      http://www.cnj.it/documentazione/srebrenica.htm#branco 
      oltreché nell'originale inglese: Was Srebrenica a Hoax? Eye-Witness Account of a Former United Nations Military Observer in Bosnia
      by Carlos Martins Branco (Srebrenica, 4 March 1998 / www.globalresearch.ca 20 April 2004)
      http://globalresearch.ca/articles/BRA403A.html ] 


      Carlos Martins Branco on "Srebrenica" and more

      1) Portugalski general šokirao zapad (Kurir.rs 29.05.2017.)

      2) «War in the Balkans» – the Memoirs of a Portugese Peacekeeper (I+II) (S. Karganović, July 2017)


      See also:
      Former chief NSA analyst [John R. Schindler]: Most of killed in Srebrenica were soldiers who refused to surrender (Russia Insider, 8 lug 2015)
      VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJ9OS8vqPPE
      SOURCE: Srebrenica: A Town Betrayed (2013) – VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnALEecbZ-k


      === 1 ===

      SOURCE: https://theremustbejustice.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/there-was-no-genocide-in-srebrenica-explains-former-deputy-chief-of-mission-of-un-military-observers-in-bosnia-and-croatia/
      “There was no genocide in Srebrenica”, explains former Deputy Chief of Mission of UN military observers in Bosnia and Croatia (posted on May 30, 2017 by Grey Carter)
      The Portuguese general Carlos Martins Branco, who held during the war in the former Yugoslavia  position of Deputy Chief of Mission of UN military observers to Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina (1994-1996), in his memoirs, “The war in the Balkans ” announces the findings and developments in the area of ​​Srebrenica from July 1995...


      http://www.kurir.rs/vesti/politika/2856259/portugalski-general-sokirao-zapad-u-srebrenici-nije-bilo-genocida-prava-istina-je-skroz-drugacija

      ISPOVEST VOJNOG POSMATRAČA UN TOKOM RATA U BIH

      PORTUGALSKI GENERAL ŠOKIRAO ZAPAD: U Srebrenici NIJE BILO GENOCIDA, prava ISTINA je skroz drugačija!

      29.05.2017.

      BEOGRAD - Portugalski general Karlos Martins Branko, koji se devedesetih godina, u vreme ratnih dejstava na teritoriji bivše Jugoslavije, nalazio na strateški važnom položaju zamenika šefa misije vojnih posmatrača UN za Hrvatsku i BiH (1994-1996), u svojim memoarima „Rat na Balkanu“ saopštava svoja saznanja i o dešavanjima na području Srebrenice u julu 1995.

      Za razliku od izmišljotina plaćenih „stručnjaka“, lažnih svedoka i propagandista „nevladinih organizacija“, general Martins Branko iznosi činjenice koje su na terenu prikupljali kompetentni obaveštajni organi. Te činjenice su se službeno slivale na njegov pisaći sto u Zagrebu, gde se nalazio štab Posmatračke misije UN.
       
      Faktima koje iznosi i zaključcima koje izvodi teško je prigovoriti po bilo kojem ubedljivom osnovu. U produžetku, navodićemo stavove koji se nalaze na stranicama 201 – 206 njegovih memoara.

      Dakle, da ne bi bilo nedoumice, na osnovu svega viđenog i pregledanog, portugalski general iz oficirskog sastava NATO pakta, Karlos Martins Branko, izjašnjava se nedvosmisleno da se u Srebrenici nije dogodio genocid:
      „Da je postojao predumišljaj da se izvrši genocid, Srbi bi zatvorili enklavu tako da niko ne bi mogao da pobegne. Umesto toga, napali su iz dva pravca, sa jugoistoka i istoka, odakle su skoncentrisali svoja napadačka dejstva, ostavljajući koridore za povlačenje prema severu i zapadu (…) niti bi isplanirali prevoz sedamnaest hiljada žena, dece i ostarelih, kao što se dogodilo 12. i 13. jula, zahvaljujući čemu se skoro polovina izmeštenih domogla teritorije Federacije. Veliki broj stanovnika Srebrenice, koji su uspeli da pobegnu, našli su utočište u Srbiji, gde su zatim proveli nekoliko godina bez da ih je iko dirao. Da bi se tvrdnja o genocidu opravdala, bilo je neophodno sakriti neke nezgodne činjenice koje bi tu tezu mogle da kompromituju“.

      Martins Branko ne poriče da je „kao posledica napada na Srebrenicu bilo mnogo mrtvih“. On dodaje da „ni posle dvadeset godina niko nije uspeo da im utvrdi tačan broj“. (Doduše, Haški tribunal jeste utvrđivao taj broj, ali kao posledica njegove neozbiljne delatnosti na tom polju sada imamo ne manje nego pet pravosnažno „utvrđenih“ cifara iz raznih predmeta, koje variraju među sobom za oko četiri hiljade žrtava, a koje navodno odražavaju broj streljanih. To samo pojačava efekat autorove opaske.)
       
      Kao što „Istorijski projekat Srebrenica“ već godinama naglašava, i Martins Branko ističe jednu bitnu činjenicu, a to je heterogenost uzroka smrti, pa ih taksativno ovako nabraja: „Uzroci smrti nastalih tokom i nakon vojnih operacija su raznoliki: borbena dejstva između dve vojske koje su se sučelile; borbe između vojnika VRS i militanata u bekstvu kojima su se pridružili civili; međusobne borbe između pripadnika ABiH; i pogubljenja ratnih zarobljenika“.
      Što se tiče „načina kako je nastala magična cifra od 8.000 nestalih, po prvobitnoj proceni Međunarodnog Crvenog krsta, što se u jednom trenutku pretvorilo u nedodirljivu istinu“, autor kaže da je to postalo „činjenica koju je zabranjeno poricati još pre nego što je bila utvrđena“.
       
      Pa nastavlja: „Teško onome ko bi se usudio da dovede u pitanje tu nespornu istinu. On će odmah biti izopšten i optužen za poricanje genocida. Činjenica da se 3.000 lica koja su bila proglašena za nestale našlo na spisku birača na izborima održanim u septembru 1996. nimalo nije uticala na stalno ponavljanje priče o 8.000 mrtvih. Mediji nikada nisu pokazali dovoljno radoznalosti da istraže ovu i druge očigledne nesuvislosti. Bilo je lakše besomučno ponavljati teoriju o genocidu, koju su zastupala glavna sredstva masovnog informisanja. Ali, bez obzira na uporno ponavljanje te ,istine’, vredi podsetiti se da se između medijske parole (sound bite) i istorijske činjenice nalazi veliko rastojanje“.

      „Koliko je zarobljenika bilo streljano, a koliko je poginulo u borbenim dejstvima?“, general Martins Branko ovde retorički postavlja jedno od najvažnijih pitanja. „Daleko smo od toga da bi imali odgovore, i rekao bih da ćemo do njih doći vrlo teško. Mnogo je lakše – i jednostavnije – pričati o genocidu“.
       
      Portugalski oficir ipak nagađa o tome koliko bi mogao da iznosi broj žrtava ratnog zločina u Srebrenici u julu 1995:
      „Pogubljenje od strane VRS znatnog broja muškaraca muslimana – dobro obavešteni izvori se pozivaju na 2.000 – među kojima su većina bili vojnici, u Srebrenici i okolini enklave, nesumnjivo predstavlja ratni zločin“.
       
      Cifra koju pominje Martins Branko vrlo je znakovita iz više razloga. Pre svega, zato što istu cifru pogubljenih – 2.000 – navodi i jedan drugi ne manje kompetentan izvor, Džon Šindler, američki obaveštajac u Sarajevu upravo u periodu srebreničkih dešavanja. Šindlerova procena sa sarajevske osmatračnice, koja se tačno poklapa sa Martins Brankovom sa zagrebačke – a obe su potpuno u skladu sa raspoloživim forenzičkim nalazima – izneta je u dokumentarnom filmu Ole Flijuma, „Srebrenica: izdani grad“. Pri tom, treba imati u vidu da u zamršenim situacijama kao što je ova sinteze obaveštajnih podataka koji potiču iz raznih izvora najčešće pružaju neuporedivo pouzdaniju ukupnu sliku od izveštaja izolovanih pojedinaca, čiji je uvid obično ograničen, i koji neretko nisu ni potpuno objektivni.

      [VIDEO: General Ratko Mladic in Srebrenica, july 1995. (SokolfromRussia, 3 mag 2015)
      Генарал Ратко Младић у Сребреници, jул 1995. године. / Генерал Ратко Младич в Сребренице, июль 1995. / General Ratko Mladic in Srebrenica, july 1995.
      VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubmD6B3Vk5M ]

      Najzad, cifra koju solidarno sugerišu Martins Branko i Šindler, a koja na osnovu uvida u materijalne dokaze uopšte nije sporna, interesantna je iz još jednog razloga. Naime, na marginama obaveštajnih zajednica već poduže vreme uporno kruže glasine o postojanju jednog dokumenta – misterioznog pisma koje je Alija Izetbegović u proleće 1995, neposredno pre srebreničke operacije, navodno uputio Naseru Oriću – gde se potvrđuje da je još uvek na snazi ponuda inostrane intervencije, pod uslovom da se upadom VRS u Srebrenicu inscenira masovni pokolj.
      Ključni podatak u tom pismu jeste to da bi, prema tom navodnom dokumentu, cifra žrtava, koja bi bila adekvatna kao okidač za uključenje zainteresovanog stranog faktora, takođe iznosila već više puta pominjanih – 2.000.
      „Međutim“, nastavlja autor, Martins Branko, „to nije bio genocidni čin, kao što se tvrdi na mnogim mestima, pre svega u Tribunalu u Hagu, i kao argumenat koristi se u svrhu političkog prepucavanja“. Pa kao civilizovana osoba dodaje: „Uzimanje pravde u sopstvene ruke, nešto što je kulturološki svojstveno ne samo Srbima već i ostalim zajednicama u bivšoj Jugoslaviji, ne opravdava niti umanjuje težinu počinjenog dela. To je bez sumnje prekršaj Ženevskih konvencija“.
       
      Ali nakon bezbednog povlačenja u penziju, portugalski general je odlučan u tome da se stvari moraju nazivati njihovim pravim imenom:
       
      „Užasni ratni zločini moraju biti kažnjeni. Međutim, ta krivična dela niti se mogu niti bi ih trebalo brkati sa – genocidom. Kada se brkaju ratni zločini – kao što je ubijanje stotina muškaraca vojničkog uzrasta – sa genocidom, gde mora da bude utvrđeno postojanje namere da se sistematski istrebe pripadnici neke etničke zajednice, to je znak vrlo neozbiljnog ponašanja. To posebno dolazi do izražaja ako se ima u vidu da je izvršilac stavio na raspolaganje sredstva za prevoz sedamnaest hiljada izmeštenih lica, što predstavlja oko 50 odsto od ukupnog izmeštenog stanovništva“.
       
      Zatim, Martins Branko skreće pažnju na još jednu primetnu i nimalo beznačajnu „nesuvislost“ srebreničke priče, a to je da je „Tribunal osudio jedva jednog počinioca“ (u fusnoti pojašnjava da je reč o Draženu Erdemoviću, svedoku-saradniku nagrađenom smešno niskom trogodišnjom kaznom, a posle toga brojnim apanažama i beneficijama za svoje mehanički ponavljano i više nego sporno svedočenje).
      Portugalski autor ističe da „niko od ostalih osuđenika nije bio izveden pred sud ili kažnjen za pogubljenje ratnih zarobljenika, nego po ‘komandnoj odgovornosti’ ili za učešće u Udruženom zločinačkom poduhvatu (Joint Criminal Enterprise), što je doktrina kojom se Tribunal služi a čija je primena u kontekstu sukoba vrlo kontroverzna. Kako je moguće utvrditi da se dogodio genocid ako već dvadeset godina Tribunal nije sposoban da ustanovi koliko je žrtava ubijeno, koji je uzrok smrti i ko ih je ubio?“
       
      Sve su to logična pitanja, mnogi bi se sa time složili. Da penzionisanje zaista vrši čudesan uticaj na buđenje kritičke savesti dokaz je i Martins Brankova podjednako tačna konstatacija da je „Tribunal zaboravio da sudi za zločine na području Srebrenice počinjene između 1992. i 1995. godine nad Srbima, usled kojih je bilo pobijeno blizu dve hiljade osoba (muškaraca, žena, dece i starijih lica), u nekim slučajevima posle raznih mučenja i divljaštava. To je najvećim delom brižljivo dokumentovano, a dželati su poznati (…) Kao što je Ričard Holbruk priznao u svojoj knjizi, Tribunal se pokazao kao dragoceno oruđe naše politike, što nam je i koristilo…“. Da, upravo tako.
       
      U nastavku, kada je već reč o genocidu, Martins Branko bez ustručavanja ističe jarki kontrast između situacije u Srebrenici u julu 1995. i već sledećeg meseca u Krajini, pod napadom hrvatskih oružanih snaga:
       
      „Događaji u Srebrenici se ne mogu niti bi se smeli brkati sa onim što se mesec dana kasnije dogodilo u Krajini, gde je hrvatska vojska izvela operaciju sistematskog ubijanja srpskog stanovništva koje nije pobeglo ili mu nije pošlo za rukom da se skloni, i to ne štedeći nikoga. Muškarci, žene, deca, ostareli, svi bez razlike bili su predmet istih svireposti, i još gorih stvari. Ta operacija je bila podrobno isplanirana i opsežno je dokumentovana, a poznata su takođe i naređenja za njeno izvođenje koja je Tuđman izdao svojim generalima, na sastanku održanom 31. jula 1995. na Brionima, pred operaciju Oluja. Događaje u Krajini Tribunal nikada nije razmatrao kao genocid. U odnosu na te događaje, zapadni mediji su se držali na obazrivom rastojanju, a njihova ćutnja je bila saučesnička i zaglušujuća“.
       
      U zaključku, Martins Branko nema dileme oko toga da događaji u Srebrenici predstavljaju perfidan plod dugotrajnog planiranja i sadejstva zainteresovanih aktera. U prilog tome navodi podatke iz knjige Ibrana Mustafića „Planirani haos“, iskaze lokalnog političara Zlatka Dukića, i izjave načelnika policije u enklavi Srebrenica tokom sukoba, Hakije Meholjića.
       
      Autor se posebno zaustavlja na znakovitom svedočanstvu tadašnjeg načelnika generalštaba ABiH, Sefera Halilovića, o tome da je Izetbegović bio doneo odluku da se „otarasi“ Srebrenice vrlo rano u igri, „ali uz izvlačenje najveće moguće političke koristi“.

      Uzgred, kada je reč o iskazima Meholjića i Halilovića na ovu temu, i dokazima da je događaj bio planiran dugo unapred, vredi napomenuti da je Meholjićevo čuveno svedočanstvo o Izetbegovićevoj ponudi da se dozvoli pokolj Srebreničana zauzvrat za stranu intervenciju, a Srebrenica zatim da se razmeni sa Srbima za Vogošću, smešteno u vremenski period jeseni 1993. kada se u Sarajevu održavao Bošnjački kongres.
       
      Međutim, u svojoj knjizi „Lukava strategija“[5] Sefer Halilović iznosi vrlo interesantan i do sada uglavnom nezapažen podatak da je koncept insceniranja masakra u Srebrenici, zarad sakupljanja političkih dividendi, u glavi Alije Izetbegovića i bošnjačkog rukovodstva verovatno postojao još odranije. Doduše, u vreme kada je Halilovićeva knjiga bila objavljena on se već bio politički razišao sa Izetbegovićem i zato bi njegove tvrdnje trebalo uzeti sa dozom rezerve, ali Halilović ipak iznosi da mu je još u proleće 1993. Izetbegović pominjao ponudu kojom je nekoliko meseci kasnije, krajem te godine, šokirao Meholjića i ostale članove srebreničke delegacije.
       
      Memoarska saopštenja generala Karlosa Martins Branka u vezi sa Srebrenicom predstavljaju još jednu dragocenu kockicu kojom se upotpunjuje naš uvid u taj događaj. To nisu samo zabeleške o saznanjima jednog strateški raspoređenog stranog posmatrača, već mnogo više od toga. Ujedno, preko njega, to je i ispovest struktura koje autor personifikuje, čime se u velikoj meri odgovara na važna pitanja o tome „šta su znali i kada su saznali“.
       
      Jasan podtekst Martins Brankovih memoara je to da su i autor i njemu nadređene i podređene strukture događaje pratili u realnom vremenu, da su istovremeno sa dešavanjima uglavnom bili tačno obavešteni šta ko radi i kome, i da na dubljim analitičkim nivoima oni nemaju nikakvih iluzija, a dileme još manje, o pravom karakteru i pozadini srebreničkih događaja, niti o cinično političkim ciljevima kojima su poslužili.
       
      (Stefan Karganović, Fond strateške kulture)


      === 2 ===

      https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/07/07/war-balkans-memoirs-portugese-peacekeeper-i.html

      STEPHEN KARGANOVIC | 07.07.2017 | WORLD / EUROPE

      «War in the Balkans» – the Memoirs of a Portugese Peacekeeper (I)

      General Carlos Martins Branco is one of the most fascinating (and until quite recently also inaccessible) actors in the Srebrenica controversy. From his Zagreb vantage point as deputy head of the U.N. Protection Force (UNPROFOR) between 1994 and 1996, during the latter phase of the 1990s Yugoslav conflict as it unfolded in Croatia and Bosnian and Herzegovina, this Portuguese officer had privileged access to significant information. Confidential reports about the goings on in the field were crossing his desk. With first-hand information and further enlightened by discrete conversations with colleagues from various intelligence structures, Martins Branco was positioned ideally to learn facts which many officials would have preferred to cover up, and the media frequently ignored.

      With a typically Latin emotional flair, refusing to remain silent as the «Srebrenica genocide narrative» was taking shape in the second half of the 1990s, Martins Branco published in 1998 an article provocatively entitled «Was Srebrenica a Hoax? Eyewitness Account of a Former UN Military Observer in Bosnia» In that early plunge into the toxic Srebrenica debate, Martins Branco ventured a number of critical questions concerning the notorious events in July 1995:

      «One may agree or disagree with my political analysis, but one really ought to read the account of how Srebrenica fell, who are the victims whose bodies have been found so far, and why the author believes that the Serbs wanted to conquer Srebrenica and make the Bosnian Muslims flee, rather than having any intentions of butchering them. The comparison Srebrenica vs. Krajina, as well as the related media reaction by the 'free press' in the West, is also rather instructive».

      Shortly after that expression of skepticism about the nature of the disputed events in Srebrenica, Martins Branco practically disappeared from view. Not physically, of course. He spent several years in Florence teaching at the European University Institute and preparing his doctoral dissertation. After that, in 2007 and 2008 he was attached by his government to NATO forces in Afghanistan in the capacity of media spokesperson for the Commander. From 2008 until recently, when he retired, General Martins Branco served as deputy director of the National Defense Institute of the Portuguese armed forces.

      This impressive background, to which we may add the duty of head of the Intelligence Affairs Section of EUROFOR for Bosnia, Albania, and Kosovo from 1996 to 1999, bespeaks an elite and highly trained staff officer, with first-class intelligence capabilities and powers of observation.

      Intrigued by Martins Branco’s out-of-the-box analysis of Srebrenica events, shortly after the founding of our NGO «Srebrenica Historical Project» we attempted to establish communication with him to see if he would share with us some of his exceptional information and insights. Our efforts were fruitless and correspondence with the general over the years came down mostly to an exchange of non-committal courtesies. Defense teams at the ICTY in the Hague, which endeavored to obtain him as a witness on their clients’ behalf, had no better luck. However, not very long ago General Martins Branco wrote to us seeking answers to some questions concerning Srebrenica. He mentioned that in November 2016 his memoirs were published in Portugal. That volume, which he kindly made available to us, encompassed the period of his service in the Balkans. It was entitled «A Guerra nos Balcãs, jihadismo, geopolítica e desinformação» [War in the Balkans, Jihadism, Geopolitics, and Disinformation], published by Edições Colibri in Lisbon.


      As already seen numerous times with high-level officials, in this case as well open expression of intimate views and public disclosure of facts regarded of a delicate nature had to wait for retirement. In General Martins  Branco’s case, the wait was worthwhile. These fascinating recollections from the Balkan war theater consist of the insights of a Portuguese officer attached to UN forces into such episodes as the merciless expulsion, accompanied by mass killing, of the Serbian population of Krajina by Croatian forces. These outrages were orchestrated with the discrete backing of the NATO alliance, for which the author indirectly happened to be working at the time. Events surrounding Srebrenica in July 0f 1995 encompass another portion of his recollections. For the moment, we will focus on the latter and Martins Branco’s perception of the background and impact of the Srebrenica situation.

      Already in his introduction to the chapters of his memoirs that deal with Srebrenica, Martins Branco questions the coherence of the prevalent view that it constituted genocide:

      «General Ratko Mladic had made it known that he was leaving open a corridor for withdrawal toward Tuzla. With Mladic’s approval, about 6.000 persons took advantage of that opportunity. In a report by the Dutch Foreign Ministry it is noted that, according to UN sources, by August 4 a total of 35.632 displaced persons had made it to Tuzla, of whom between 800 and 1.000 were members of Bosnia and Herzegovina armed forces. Out of that total, 17.500 had been evacuated by bus». (Page 195)

      The Portuguese general then continues:

      «Srebrenica was portrayed – and continues to be – as a premeditated massacre of innocent Muslim civilians. As a genocide! But was it really so? A more careful and informed assessment of those events leads me to doubt it». (Page 196)

      Martins Branco goes on to raise some pointed questions, and he does so purely in the capacity of a professional soldier:

      «There are various estimates of the relative strength of forces involved in the Srebrenica battle. On the Serbian side, at most 3.000 fighters could have taken part. The number of armored vehicles is more difficult to determine, as stated at the beginning of this chapter. According to field reports, however, not more than six such vehicles were in motion at any given time. Though we lack reliable information about troop strength on the Muslim side, it is entirely probable that they numbered a minimum of 4.000 armed men, counting together Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina soldiers and members of the paramilitaries. According to some sources, they numbered up to 6.000. But for the purposes of this analysis, we will consider the 4.000 figure as credible». (Page 196)

      The general then goes on:

      «The topographical features of the terrain around Srebrenica, and Eastern Bosnia as a whole, are extremely rugged and hilly.  Crags, thickly forested areas, and deep ravines impede the movement of military vehicles while facilitating infantry operations. In relation to ground features, which beyond any doubt favor defenders, the numerical relationship of forces on the opposing sides suggests that Bosnian army troops had at their disposal more than sufficient manpower to put up a defense. They, however, failed to do that. Taking into account the numerical ratio of attackers to defenders, as we were taught at the military academy, for the attack to have any chance of success the number of attackers would have to exceed that of the defenders by a factor of at least three. In the case at hand, that ratio was more than advantageous to the defenders (4.000 defenders versus 3.000 attackers). In addition, the defenders had the additional benefit of knowing the landscape». (Page 196)

      Martins Branco than asks one of the key Srebrenica questions:

      «Given that military advantage favored the defense, why did the Bosnian army fail to put up any resistance to Serbian forces? Why did the command of the 28th Division of the Bosnian army – acting apparently contrary to its interest – fail to establish a defense line, as at other times it knew well how to do, as for instance during the April 1993 crisis? Why did Muslim forces in the enclave fail to act to regain control over their heavy weapons, which had been deposited in a local warehouse under UN’s lock and key? Was it no more than an oversight?» (Page 197)

      As a supplement to these well-formulated questions, we may note that already on July 6, as the Serbian attack was commencing, the Dutch battalion command in Srebrenica let it be known to the 28th Division that it was free to retrieve its warehoused heavy armaments, if it so wished. That fact was revealed in the Dutch battalion «Debriefing», which came out in October of 1995. However, Muslim forces in Srebrenica inexplicably ignored this invitation, thus reinforcing the impression that – for political or other reasons – they lacked the purpose of militarily resisting the Serbian attack.

      Which leads the author to the following reflections:

      «Twenty years later, we still lack satisfactory answers to questions that seem crucial, assuming that we are seeking to find out what exactly happened. The passivity and absence of a military reaction on the part of Muslim forces in the enclave is in stark contrast to their offensive behavior during the preceding two years, which was manifested in the form of systematic slaughter of Serbian civilians in the villages surrounding Srebrenica». (Page 197)

      The author then discloses an intriguing detail that was previously unknown even to this reviewer:

      «Ramiz Becirevic [in command of the 28th Division in Naser Oric’s absence] initially issued an order for the heavy weapons to be collected. However, he cancelled it shortly thereafter, explaining that he had received a countermanding order. Who was the source of that order, and for what reason was it given? For the record, let it be noted that in the morning of July 6, as the Serbian attack was starting, acting on his own responsibility, the Dutchbat commander informed the leadership of the Bosnian army that the Serbs had ‘trespassed’ the enclave’s boundaries and that the UN would not be object should they come to retrieve their heavy weaponry that had been deposited in a local warehouse». (Page 197)

       Pressing further his point about the enigmatic dissipation within the Srebrenica enclave of the will to resist, Martins Branco points out that Naser Oric, «the charismaticleader who very likely would have acted differently», was withdrawn from the enclave in April of 1995, never to return. He therefore goes on to ask some common sense questions:

      «Was [Oric’s] return prevented by the Second Corps of the Bosnian army, of which 28th Division was part? What could have been the reasons for that? We still lack convincing answers to these questions». (Page 198)

      «On the other hand», the Portuguese author continues with his detailed analysis of the suspicious train of events, «officials of the local SDA, the Party of Democratic Action that was in charge in Sarajevo, not only refused, citing strange reasons, to assist UN forces in evacuating Srebrenica, which is to say their own population and refugees from the surrounding villages who had taken shelter in the town, but they went even further by preventing them from fleeing in the direction of Potocari. Instead, they submitted to the commander of B Company [of the Dutchbat] a long list of demands, the fullment of which was insisted upon as the condition for their cooperation. The nature of these demands suggested the existence of a carefully elaborated advance plan which, however, did not mesh with the conditions that actually prevailed on the ground at that particular moment. At that point, there were only two issues which were of significance to the municipal president: one, the demand to the Military Observers on July 10 to disseminate to the outside world a report alleging the use of chemical weapons by Serbian forces, although that was not true; secondly, to publicly accuse the international media of spreading misinformation that Muslim forces were offering armed resistance, with an additional demand to the UN to also issue an official denial to that effect. According to him, Bosnian soldiers neither used heavy weapons, nor were they prepared to ever do so. At the same time, he complained about the lack of foodstuffs and the dismal humanitarian situation. The outline of an official narrative was becoming perceptible and it consisted of two messages: the absence of any military resistance and lack of food». (Page 198)

      To put it in plain English, this elite NATO officer with excellent powers of observation and acumen for critical analysis «smelled a rat,» and he did so right from the beginning of the game. He does not say it outright in his memoirs, but it is strongly suggested that these doubts about the authenticity of the official Srebrenica narrative were proliferating in his mind in real time, as field reports accumulated on his desk in Zagreb.

      Martins Branco then pops the logical question or, rather, he points his finger at one of the key incoherencies of the official account of Srebrenica events:

      «A question mark could also be put over the complete absence of a military response of any kind by the Second Corps of the Bosnian army, whose zone of responsibility encompassed northeastern Bosnia, including Tuzla (where its headquarters was located), as well as Doboj, Bijeljina, Srebrenica, Zepa, and Zvornik. Bosnian army intelligence agencies, whose ear was constantly fixed on Serbian signal communications, were perfectly aware of the impending offensive operation. In spite of not at all being in the dark concerning the Serbs’ intention to attack, the Second Corps of the Bosnian army did not make the slightest move to weaken the Serbs’ pressure upon the enclave. It was a known fact that the Drina Corps, the Serbian army unit in whose zone of responsibility Srebrenica was located, was exhausted and that the attack on Srebrenica was made feasible only by scraping together forces withdrawn from other segments of the front, which naturally left in its wake many vulnerable points. Why didn’t the Second Corps undertake an attack along the entire front line with the Drina Corps, not merely in order to relieve the pressure on Srebrenica but also to exploit the Serbian forces’ temporary vulnerabilities in order to seize territory in areas that were left unprotected? Following the passage of twenty years, we still do not have the answer to this more than coherent and reasonable question». (Pages 198-199)

      These are just some of the more important reasons leading a professional soldier to be skeptical of the general framework of the accepted Srebrenica narrative. As we will see in the next installment of this review, his more detailed analysis raises even more troubling questions.


      https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/07/09/war-balkans-memoirs-portugese-peacekeeper-ii.html

      STEPHEN KARGANOVIC | 09.07.2017 | WORLD / EUROPE

      «War in the Balkans» – the Memoirs of a Portugese Peacekeeper (II)

      See Part I

      In his memoir, «War in the Balkans», (1) retired Portuguese general Carlos Martins Branco, who was during the conflict in the Former Yugoslavia in the strategically important post of Deputy Head of Mission of UN Military Observers in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (1994-1996), recounts his knowledge of events that took place around Srebrenica in July of 1995.

      In contrast to the fanciful tales of a bevy of dubious «experts», false witnesses, and outright propagandists, General Martins Branco reports facts as they were observed or collected by intelligence and other sources in the field. That information made its way through official channels to his desk in Zagreb, where the headquarters of the UN Observer Mission was located. Martins Branco’s facts and conclusions are hardly susceptible to off-hand dismissal. Excerpts cited below are on pages 201 – 206 of his memoir.

      We will begin with the general’s conclusion challenging the received wisdom that Srebrenica was genocide and then work our way back from there:

      «Had they entertained the specific intent to commit genocide, the Serbs would have blocked the enclave from all sides so that nobody could have managed to escape. Instead, they attacked from two directions, southeast and east, where they concentrated their assault forces, leaving open corridors for withdrawal toward the north and west (…) nor would they have planned the transportation of seventeen thousand women, children, and elderly, as occurred on July 12 and 13, which made it possible for about half the displaced persons to reach Federation territory. A great number of Srebrenica residents, who did manage to flee, found refuge in Serbia where they spent several years without being bothered by anyone. For the assertion of genocide to hold, it was necessary to conceal some inconvenient facts which were liable to compromise it».

      Martins Branco does not deny that «the attack on Srebrenica resulted in many deaths». He notes, however, that «even after twenty years no one has managed to determine their number». (Actually, the Hague Tribunal has been attempting to make that determination but as a result of its lackadaisical efforts we now have, in various verdicts, five drastically varying figures the highest and the lowest separated by a gap of 4.000, all presumably reflecting the judicially ascertained number of executed victims.)

      As «Srebrenica Historical Project» has been arguing for years, Martins Branco points out also a very important fact, namely the heterogeneity of the causes of death among the exhumed Srebrenica-related human remains. The author describes the forensic situation in the following terms:

      «The causes of the deaths which occurred during and after military operations were various: combat between the two armies facing each other; combat between the Serbian forces and militants taking flight, who were joined by civilians; internecine warfare among fighters of the Bosnian army; and lastly executions of war prisoners».

      As for the antecedents of the «magic figure of 8.000 missing (that was an initial Red Cross estimate) which ultimately morphed into an unchallengeable truth», the author says that at a certain point it became a «fact which it was forbidden to question, even before any proof was forthcoming». And he continues: «Woe unto him who would dare to challenge that incontrovertible truth. He will immediately be excommunicated and labeled a ‘genocide denier.’ The fact that 3.000 persons who had been declared missing found their way onto the voting rolls in the September 1996 elections had no impact whatsoever on the incessant repetition of the narrative about 8.000 dead. The media never expressed the slightest curiosity in the face of this and a number of other obvious incoherencies. It was easier to keep relentlessly repeating the genocide theory, which the mass media eagerly promoted. But regardless of the stubborn reassertion of that ‘truth’ it is worth recalling that between a media sound bite and a historical fact there continues to be a huge gap».

      «How many prisoners were shot, and how many were killed in battle?», General Martins Branco raises one of the key questions. «We are quite far from having the answers, and I would say that we will have a difficult time ever finding them. It is much easier – and simpler – to talk about genocide».

      The Portuguese officer nevertheless ventures to make some estimates of the possible number of war crime victims in Srebrenica in July of 1995:

      «The execution by Serbian forces in Srebrenica and the environs of a considerable number of Muslim males – well informed sources cite the figure of 2.000 – among whom the majority were soldiers, was undoubtedly a war crime».

      The number mentioned by Martins Branco is significant for a number of independent reasons. Firstly, because the same number of execution victims – 2.000 – is cited by another, no less respectable intelligence source, John Schindler, a high-ranking US intelligence officer who was stationed in Sarajevo contemporaneously with the Srebrenica events. Schindler’s assessment, made from his Sarajevo vantage point, is completely congruent with Martins Branco’s coming out of Zagreb. It was articulated in Ole Flyum’s documentary «Srebrenica: A Town Betrayed». (2) Both assessments match available forensic data to a T. And it should be borne in mind that when things happen to be rather muddled, as they are with Srebrenica, a synthesis of intelligence data deriving from various trustworthy sources should always be paid close attention. It often presents an overall picture that is far more reliable than the reports of isolated individuals, whose field of vision is often limited and who frequently are not even objective.

      Finally, the figure jointly suggested by Martins Branco and Schindler, which the available material evidence fully supports, is of interest also for an additional reason. Within the various intelligence communities a rumor has persistently been making rounds alleging the existence of a document – a mysterious letter sent by Alija Izetbegovic to Naser Oric in the Spring of 1995, not long before the commencement of the Srebrenica operation – where it is supposedly reaffirmed that the offer of foreign intervention still stood, as well as the condition that the Bosnian Serb takeover of Srebrenica ought to be accompanied by mass slaughter. The key point in that alleged letter is that the number of victims that would satisfy the interventionist criterion of the interested foreign party would be the already familiar figure of – 2.000.

      «However», our author continues, «that was not an act of genocide, as is asserted in many places, mainly by the Tribunal at The Hague, in the form of a political argument». As a civilized person he, of course, entirely agrees that «taking justice into one’s own hands, which is culturally characteristic not just of Serbs but of other communities of the Former Yugoslavia as well, does not justify or mitigate the gravity of the committed act. That was, beyond doubt, a violation of the Geneva Convention».

      His main point, nevertheless, would seem to be that things definitively ought to be called by their proper name:

      «Terrible war crimes must be punished. Yet these criminal acts cannot and should not be confused with genocide. When war crimes, such as the execution of hundreds of military age males, are conflated with genocide, where it is necessary to establish the intent to systematically eradicate members of an ethnic community, that sends a very frivolous signal. That is particularly evident if we bear in mind the fact that the party committing the crime had made available the means to transport seventeen thousand displaced persons, which is about fifty percent of the entire displaced population».

      Martins Branco then turns his attention to another notable «incoherence» in the Srebrenica affair, which is that the «Tribunal has so far condemned but a single direct perpetrator» (in a footnote he clarifies that the reference is to Drazen Erdemovic, a perpetrator defendant-turned-prosecution-witness who was initially rewarded with a laughably insignificant three year sentence for signing a plea bargain agreement, followed by numerous benefits in return for his mechanically repeated and highly disputed testimony).  (3) The Portuguese author stresses that «no one else was ever put in the dock for executing prisoners of war but, rather, based on ‘command responsibility’ or participation in a Joint Criminal Enterprise, which is the Tribunal’s favored doctrine but the application of which in such a conflict situation is highly dubious. How is it possible to claim genocide if, after twenty years, the Tribunal is incapable of determining the number of victims, the cause of death, and who killed them?»

      All eminently logical questions. Martins Branco should perhaps also be given credit for this equally astute observation:

      «The Tribunal has forgotten to concern itself with crimes committed around Srebrenica between 1992 and 1995 where the victims were Serbs, resulting in the murder of almost two thousand persons (males, females, children, and elderly), in some cases after acts of torture and other atrocities. For the most part this has been carefully documented, and the identity of the perpetrators is known (…) As Richard Holbrooke admitted in his book, ‘the Tribunal had always been a valuable political instrument of US policy». (4) Quite so, indeed.

      And when talking about genocide, Martins Branco is not shy to draw a sharp contrast between the situation in Srebrenica in July of 1995 and what transpired in relatively close proximity barely a month later, in August, as Croatian armed forces went into attack mode:

      «What happened in Srebrenica cannot and should not be equated to what happened a month later in the Krajina, where the Croatian army conducted an operation of systematic murder of the Serbian population which did not manage to find any shelter, sparing no one. Men, women, children, the elderly – all without distinction were subjected to the same atrocities, and things even worse. That operation was planned down to the last detail and was amply documented. The orders were issued by Tudjman to his generals, at a meeting in Brioni on July 31, 1995, on the eve of Operation Storm. The Tribunal never considered the events in Krajina as a possible genocide. Western media kept a careful distance from those events. Their silence was complicit and deafening».

      Concluding his reminiscences, Martins Branco seems to harbor no doubt that Srebrenica was the perfidious fruit of long-term planning and parallel activity of various interested parties. In support of that, he cites evidence from Ibran Mustafic’s book «Planned Chaos», statements of local politician Zlatko Dukic, and revelations by Srebrenica enclave police chief during the conflict, Hakija Meholjic. The author singles out  in particular the intriguing claim of the then chief of staff of the Bosnian army, Sefer Halilovic, that in fact Izetbegovic had made the decision to «discard» Srebrenica rather early in the game but was determined «to extract from it maximum political profit».

      Incidentally, while considering what Meholjic and Halilovic had to say on the subject and the evidence that the event may have been conceived some time in advance, it is worth recalling Meholjic’s famous claim of Izetbegovic’s offer to allow the slaughter of Srebrenica’s residents in return for foreign intervention, Srebrenica later to be traded with the Serbs for the Sarajevo suburb of Vogosca. The episode, be it recalled, is alleged to have taken place in the Fall of 1993, when a Bosniak National Congress was being convened in Sarajevo. However, in his book «The Cunning Strategy» (5) Sefer Halilovic set forth some additional information on the subject that may be of possible significance. He claims that the idea of staging a Srebrenica massacre, in return for harvesting its political dividends, was most likely entertained in the minds of Alija Izetbegovic and the Bosnian leadership even before the Congress. It so happens that at the time of the book’s publication Halilovic was politically on the outs with Izetbegovic so perhaps his assertions should for that reason be taken with a grain of salt. The fact remains, however, for all it is worth, that according to Halilovic (who is alive and may be questioned concerning his statements) Izetbegovic had mentioned to him in the Spring of 1993 the supposed offer which several months later, towards the end of the year, was to shock Meholjic and the other members of the Srebrenica delegation in attendance at the Bosniak meeting.

      General Carlos Martins Branco’s reflections about Srebrenica are a valuable piece of the mosaic, supplementing and improving our understanding of events. His book is not simply the notes of a strategically positioned foreign observer, but much more than that. It is, in a certain sense, a coming to terms with the politically obscured reality of the matter by institutions which the author – willingly and consciously, or not – nevertheless personifies. In considerable measure, it furnishes answers to such important questions as «what did they know and when did they find out». The clear subtext of Martins Branco’s memoir is that the author and the instances above and below him had the capability of following events in real time, that they pretty much knew who was doing what and to whom, and that on a deeper analytical level they have no illusions – not to speak of dilemmas – about the real nature and background of Srebrenica. After reading «War in the Balkans – Jihadism, Geopolitics, and Disinformation», it is difficult to imagine that the proverbial «powers that be» were in the dark about the cynical political agenda which Srebrenica has come to serve.

      (1) A Guerra nos Balcãs, jihadismo, geopolítica e desinformação [War in the Balkans, Jihadism, Geopolitics, and Disinformation]  Edições Colibri 2016.
      (2) «Srebrenica: A Town Betrayed», 50:50 to 51:10 minutes
      (3) Erdemovic’s account was meticulously picked apart by Bulgarian journalist Zerminal Civikov in «Srebrenica. Der Kronzeuge», Edition Brennpunkt, Osteuropa, 2009.
      (4) Holbrooke, Richard. To End a War, p. 190.
      (5) Halilovic, Sefer: «The Cunning Strategy» (Lukava strategija), Sarajevo 1997, pp. 130-132.