“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Denial In The West.

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[I wanted to write this whilst it was fresh in my mind (I shall try to blog more in the coming week, promise).]

The thread below concerning Professor Gibbs has been a bit of an eye-opener for me, not least to see experts discussing the Balkans.

And I professed no expertise in that area, I followed things about 20 years ago, but not with the detail or intensity of many of my posters.

Still, as an antifascist, I can recognise denial when I see it (and I was probably remiss letting some posters contribute to that thread, my mistake), so when I read of Edward S. Herman and Srebrenica Research Group alarm bells started to ring in my head.

Initially, I wondered to what extent did Herman denied the genocide at Srebrenica? I assumed it was going to be difficult to find any incriminating statements from him, but I was wrong.

Herman despite years as an academic obviously isn’t too concerned with evidence.

Herman is published extensively by Znet and useful critiques of his views can be found at the Srebrenica Genocide blog:

It’s A Fact: 8,106 Killed In Srebrenica Genocide,
Srebrenica Massacre Faq’s: Facts Vs Srebrenica Genocide Denial,
Edward S. Herman – Genocide Denier Caught In Lies, Again
and Reply To Herman & Peterson.

There’s probably more that I missed, but it gives you a flavour of it all.

In other schools of genocide denial there are frequently many sleights of hand, misdirections and verbiage, which tend to hide or try to minimise the denier’s outright denial, to soften it, to make it more acceptable.

Not so with Herman, as I noticed in an article he penned for Znet in July 2005, The Politics of the Srebrenica Massacre* [I apologise to readers for linking to this material, but it is a necessity in this case.]

Readers can make their own minds up, but I think when Herman argues a “…third is that the evidence for a massacre, certainly of one in which 8,000 men and boys were executed, has always been problematic, to say the least…”, he is fairly and squarely in the territory of deniers.

Further Herman compounds it by:

“With 8,000 executed and thousands killed in the fighting there should have been huge grave sites and satellite evidence of both executions, burials, and any body removals. But the body searches in the Srebrenica vicinity were painfully disappointing, with only some two thousand bodies found in searches through 1999, including bodies killed in action and possibly Serb bodies, some pre-dating July 1995. The sparseness of these findings led to claims of body removal and reburial, but this was singularly unconvincing as the Bosnian Serbs were under intense military pressure after July 1995.”

All of this written in 2005, even then it was clear that nearly 8000 people were listed as missing by the International Commission on Missing Persons in June 2005:

“One month before the 10th anniversary of the fall of Srebrenica in 1995, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has completed identifications of more than 2,000 of the Srebrenica victims. There are altogether almost 7,800 persons listed on the ICMP database of the missing from Srebrenica, and, as family members continue to report missing relatives and donate blood samples for DNA identification, that number is slowly growing. Many of the missing have not yet been exhumed from mass graves that are still hidden around the country.”

Later, by 2010, the DNA evidence was irrefutable:

“By analyzing DNA profiles extracted from bone samples of exhumed mortal remains and matching them to the DNA profiles obtained from blood samples donated by relatives of the missing, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has revealed the identity of 6,481 persons missing from the July 1995 fall of Srebrenica. Of this, 775 DNA-identified victims will be buried on July 11th in the Potočari Memorial Center, Srebrenica.

The number of reported missing for whom ICMP has blood samples as well as the matching rate between DNA profiles extracted from these bone and blood samples leads ICMP to support an estimate of around 8,100 individuals missing from the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995.

In all of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the ICMP has made a total of 13,124 accurate, DNA-led identifications of individuals since ICMP’s DNA system went online in November 2001. To make these DNA identifications, ICMP has collected 69,838 blood samples from relatives of the victims and has received from BiH institutions 32.295 bone samples taken from exhumed human mortal remains.

The most difficult case load in BiH is the identification of Srebrenica remains. As a result of attempts by perpetrators to conceal evidence of this major atrocity, many bodies were removed from their initial mass graves and reburied in other locations. As a consequence, body parts are found disarticulated in numerous primary and secondary mass grave sites. ICMP forensic anthropologists use DNA analysis as a tool in re-associating disarticulated parts of the same body. In one case, ICMP identified a Srebrenica victim whose body parts were found in four different mass graves two of which were 20 km from the other two locations.

So coming back to the original point. It didn’t occur to Herman, that perpetrators of genocide often lie and try to hide incriminating evidence of their crimes, even if that is blindingly obvious from past genocides, and bleeding obvious to anyone remotely thoughtful on this subject.

So if someone says Edward S. Herman has a point, you’ll know where they are coming from, Genocide Denial and all the baggage that comes with it.

Update 1: Bill Weinberg takes Herman and Znet to task in, Z magazine supports genocide.

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