By Louis DALMAS
Director, Balkans Infos
It is hard not to be disgusted by the way the corporate media has taken up a chorus of hateful anti-Serbian clichés on the occasion of General Ratko Mladić’s arrest. They have, with complete contempt for the presumption of innocence, which ought to benefit every person accused of a crime, condemned him in advance in public opinion, all the while calling him the “Butcher of the Balkans” (after having done so with Milošević and Karadžić). This sordid title had been reserved for Slobodan Milošević, who refuted all the accusations leveled against him by the ICTY in The Hague before that parody of justice left him to die in order to avoid being forced to acquit him. As far as Radovan Karadžić is concerned, his “butchery” has been passed over temporarily in silence while awaiting a verdict in his trial. But the title flourishes obscenely once again today in reference to a man who has been unhesitatingly vilified by the deplorable parrots of news services.
It’s nauseating to have to listen to or read these unfavorable comments prompted by his arrest. There is not one single doubt, not one single moment of hesitation. All the blind, demonizing anti-Serbian catchphrases that have persisted for more than a decade are being replayed without the slightest reference to the many outstanding questions and outright lies that have been re-examined and rectified; catchphrases that are being replayed despite the plethora of witnesses and documents that have refuted these lies; and are being replayed despite the growing number of authoritative books that have cast an impartial view on the war in the Balkans. Television, radio, and newspapers are blindly drumming the same old calumnies and idiocies into our ears. As an encore, you get the sinister image of the nullity of the media, which is incapable of conducting independent investigations, incapable of overcoming prejudice, and which is pickled in the privilege of propaganda as well as in the mimicry of mental retardation.
Such psittacism is particularly offensive as far as Mladić is concerned. Everything that he is accused of goes against the real facts. A partisan of Greater Serbia? He was always an implacable defender of the ex-Yugoslavia, federal and pluralistic. Indulgent toward ethnic cleansing? He always took pains to make sure that his army was composed of soldiers from all ethnic and religious groups. Author of atrocities? He detested paramilitary militias and denounced their contempt for the laws of warfare. A perpetrator of massacres against prisoners? He was known for his severity in punishing those who mistreated detainees. All this has been investigated and proven to be true, not only by his own statements, orders, and conduct but also by the people who were with him, from the highest to the lowest ranking. He was admired by his peers, by Western generals who considered him to be an outstanding professional soldier, not simply for his adeptness in strategy and his legendary bravery, but also for his transparency and integrity. His troops, who understood that they had an extraordinary leader, worshipped him. Wesley Clark, the American general, Commander in Chief of NATO forces during the conflict, paid him an unforgettable compliment: “You are the only military leader I know who does not say Forward! to his troops but instead says Follow me!” Such praise, coming from an adversary, carries weight.
I did not know Mladić personally. But two of my close friends knew him well and often spoke to me of his valor. One was General Pierre-Marie Gallois, who recently passed away, and who never failed to pay him his respect. The other is the news photographer Shone, who accompanied him on all his campaigns, and who many a time evoked the memory his rectitude, courage, and generosity. Furthermore, I published a book about him, a translation of an American edition, a 750-page tome in which Milo Yelesiyevich gathered an impressive collection of documents relevant to him — speeches, standing orders, anecdotes, political analyses — that sketch the portrait of this extraordinary man.
As far as the so-called “genocide” in Srebrenica is concerned, it is depressing to see that the media has not taken into consideration the serious studies that have re-established the truth. It has been a long time since this “genocide” had been turned into a contemptible myth of 8,000 Muslims who were executed. Not only did I publish a book in which highly regarded international figures ridiculed this imaginary number, but a practically definitive work has just been published in Holland — “Deconstruction of a Virtual Genocide: An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Srebrenica” — which gives an account of exhaustive research conducted by an international group of scientists and academicians. The conclusions they reached about the myth of Srebrenica are corroborated in annexes by all manner of irrefutable proof, such as the names of victims, the number of those who were killed, the results of the exhumations of the bodies, the texts of military and civilian reports, autopsy reports, an accounting of the deaths on both sides; lists of Serbian villages that were put the torch and pillaged by Naser Orić’s (the military leader of the Muslim troops in Srebrenica) troops, etc.
And let’s add a few words about politics in general. Today, we know the disastrous details of the Western intervention. The war led against the former Yugoslavia resulted in the dismemberment of a country that was a co-founder of the United Nations and a loyal ally of France in two world wars; the war resulted in the expulsion of 200,000 Serbs from Krajina (where they had lived for centuries); the war resulted in the “ethnic cleansing” of tens of thousands of others; the war resulted in the creation of six new statelets, two of which are Muslim puppet confections (one part of Bosnia and Kosovo) that are dependent on international aid (while Europeanists are agitating for continental unification); the war resulted in the destruction of Serbia and the weakening of many other Balkan countries; the war resulted in the pollution of vast areas by depleted uranium weapons, and from now on, in the apprehension of one of the most valiant defenders of Christianity.
Ratko Mladić is not “the Butcher of the Balkans.” He is a patriot who fought against an Islamic invasion led by mudjahedin. Instead of imprisoning him, we ought to erect a statue of him.
Karadžić and Mladić are not the real war criminals. Those who are jubilant to see them in prison today are the real war criminals.