Bulletin N°467



13 November 2010
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
I am pleased to announce that the award-winning American documentary film "The Avoidable War," produced by George Bogdanich, will be shown next Thursday evening on the University of Grenoble campus.

For those of you who are unable to attend, an Internet link to this film can be found below:


And for those of you who do intend to come to next Thursday's showing of this film [for the time and place of this meeting, please see Item A. below], I can recommend several books which might prepare you for this case study of War, Resistance and Counter-Resistance in our times.

Diana Johnstone, "Fools' Crusade: Yugoslavia, Nato, and Western Delusions" (2005).
Noam Chomsky, The New Military Humanism, Lessons from Kosovo (1999).
Noam Chomsky, Rogue States (2000)
Noam Chomsky, What We Say Goes, Conversations on US Power in a Changing World (2007)
Noam Chomsky, Interventions (2007)
Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, The Politics of Genocide (2010)

In fact, there is no shortage of reliable information today documenting how this war was not necessary, that it was a public relations coup for the Albanians, the Croatians, and the Germans, with the French dragging their feet a bit. This film provides many details exposing this pro-war manipulation against international diplomacy. I personally received eye-witness accounts from American friends that this war was perceived as an opportunity for one big hunting party by a number of rich Texas businessmen who simply went on vacation to try out their new, expensive weapons.

The 6 items below attest to the continued controversy around war (even so-called "humanitarian wars") and the media manipulation that mobilizes public opinion in support of war, a subject that Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman have spent many years analyzing.

Item A. is the complete advertisement of the event with an outstanding review of this film in the New York Times.

Item B. is the bizarre threat to disrupt the showing of the film by a "militant" from Geneva and his analysis of NATO's war on Yugoslavia.

Item C. is a critique of this menacing message by Diana Johnstone, author of Fools' Crusade: Yugoslavia, Nato, and Western Delusions.

Item D. is a comment by the film maker, George Bogdanich, responding to the vicious attacks his documentary has drawn over the years.

Item E. is an article by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, bringing additional information to light concerning NATO's war on Yugoslavia, 1992-95.

Item F., from Diana Johnstone, is an attachment providing official forensic evidence from recovered body parts found in the Srebrenica area and  which cast serious doubt on the authenticity of the report of a massacre.

An finally, students of genocide will find the following research on the political manipulations of public opinion by the mass media very informative:

"Politics of Genocide" (2010)
by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson

Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3

From Francis Feeley :
Date: 13 November 2010
Subject: An Invitation.

Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements


“Yugoslavia: The Avoidable War”

(The Horrors of the Balkan Wars
as Shrewdly Staged Illusions)

A documentary film directed by George Bogdanich




Amphi 2

“Yugoslavia: The Avoidable War”


On 24 March 1999, NATO began its air attack on Yugoslavia. Before the war ended on 10 June 1999, Yugoslav casualties, according to official reports, included 462 soldiers killed and 299 more wounded, 114 special police officers killed. There were between 500 and 1500 Yugoslav civilian deaths, according to various sources. European non-governmental groups report that "a few" Italian soldiers have died since the war ended due to the "use of weapons with cancer-causing depleted uranium".

As the United States government has tacitly acknowledged by keeping the press at bay in Afghanistan, public relations and the ability to get your version of events across is almost as important as weaponry in modern warfare. The version of a war that is reported on television becomes the official version that in turn motivates crucial political decisions.

The New York Times
Thursday, March 15, 2002

FILM REVIEW; The Horrors of the Balkan Wars as Shrewdly Staged Illusions

Published: March 15, 2002

One of the many unsettling contentions of George Bogdanich's documentary film, ''Yugoslavia, the Avoidable War,'' is its assertion that many of the most horrendous events in the recent Balkan wars were stage-managed for the news media. A number of the massacres and atrocities reported on television with bodies on display, it maintains, were shrewdly planned illusions concocted by the Bosnian Muslims to inflame international opinion against the Serbs. The city of Sarajevo in particular served more than once as an accessible location for deceptive television coverage.
Although it would be inaccurate to label this documentary pro-Serbian, the film, which opens today at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater, methodically sets out to demolish much of the conventional wisdom about who did what to whom and who was to blame. It insists that a regional civil war that could have been settled without prolonged bloodshed was turned into a major conflagration by outside interference and national self-interest.
As the United States government has tacitly acknowledged by keeping the press at bay in Afghanistan, public relations and the ability to get your version of events across is almost as important as weaponry in modern warfare. The version of a war that is reported on television becomes the official version that in turn motivates crucial political decisions.
The film asserts that partly because of American television's need for clear-cut heroes and villains, a scenario of good guys (the oppressed Bosnian Muslims) versus bad (the evil, barbaric Serbs) came to dominate mainstream news coverage of the war. After one reporter heard a Serbian use the words ''ethnic cleansing,'' for instance, the term, with its repugnant genocidal associations, was seized on by the Clinton administration as a buzzword and used to bash the Serbs, when in fact all sides were equally intent on ''cleansing'' their territories of undesirables.
This heroes-and-villains mentality, the film contends, also served American interests by giving the United States an excuse to preserve and strengthen NATO in the post-Communist era when its relevance had become debatable.
It allowed us to keep our power base in Europe. The film bluntly calls ''an occupying force'' the NATO forces (led by the United States) that remain in Kosovo, Bosnia and Macedonia without an official date for withdrawing, and it goes so far as to accuse that 19-nation army of conspiring to commit war crimes.
Almost anything we thought we knew about the Balkan wars is thrown into question by the film. Did a highly publicized civilian massacre of Bosnian Muslims by Serbs in Kosovo that prompted NATO to intensify the bombing of Yugoslavia really take place? Or did Bosnian Muslims transport the bodies of dead soldiers (not civilians) overnight to the site and then cry massacre?
And what about the numbers? Subsequent investigations, the movie claims, have shown that the tally of casualties at the hands of Serbs, including the supposed mass rapes of Bosnian women, was outrageously inflated.
Whether or not you're convinced by the film's assertions, many of which are based on information provided by the Red Cross, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other organizations that investigated reported events after the fact, ''Yugoslavia, the Avoidable War'' does an impressive job of relating the complicated history of the war and of filling in the background. Some of that background has been overshadowed by the designation of the Serbs as the villains. The Croatians, it reminds us, collaborated closely with the Nazis during World War II in the slaughter of 750,000 Serbs, Jews and Gypsies in their territory.
As for the Bosnian Muslims, the film says there is ample evidence documenting Bosnians' alliance with Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network.
Mr. bin Laden was a regular visitor to the office of Bosnia's president Alija Izetbegovic in early 1993, a time when the United States was lauding his commitment to moderation and multiethnic cooperation.
As the meticulously chronological account of the Balkan wars unfolds event by event, failed peace initiative by failed peace initiative, ''Yugoslavia, the Avoidable War'' leads you to a no man's land of doubt.
The truth, of course, was never as black-and-white as it is has been painted for us. It rarely is.


Directed by George Bogdanich; directors of photography, Michael Moser, Vladimir Bibic, Dragan Milinkovic, David Hansen, Joe Friendly and Predrag Bambic; edited by Mary Patierno; title song, ''Road to Hell,'' by Chris Rea; produced by Mr. Bogdanich and Martin Lettmayer; released by Hargrove Entertainmnet. At the Two Boots Pioneer Theater, 155 East Third Street, East Village. Running time: 165 minutes. This film is not rated.

WITH: Sanya Popovic (Narrator) and Lord Peter Carrington, James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger, Hans Dietrich Genscher, Nora Beloff, Susan Woodward and Ted Galen Carpenter.

From "Ivar of Geneva" :
Date: 2 November 2010
Subject: Alerte négationnisme.

Nous venons d'apprendre qu'un professeur étasunien du nom de Francis Felley s'apprête à présenter un film de propagande pro-Serbe du nom de "Yugolslavia : The Avoidable War" à l'Université Standhal de Grenoble. En consultant divers sites, j'ai vu que vous avez été tous deux intervenants dans un Colloque consacré au pacifisme.
Il est vraiment paradoxale qu'un universitaire, qui se présente comme pacifiste, collabore à une entreprise guerrière. En effet, la propagande a servi à la préparation de l'opinion publique Serbe et sert maintenant de justificatif pour prolonger l'occupation d'une partie de la Bosnie-Herzégovine, nt. la région de Srebrenica, voir même préparer l'annexion de la RS à la Serbie.
Il est évident que cette annexion, clairement annoncée par le leader des Serbes de RS, Dodik, serait le signal d'un nouveau conflit. En effet, les Bosniaques, et surtout les survivants qui sont courageuesement retournés sur leurs terres après le génocide, n'accepteront jamais une telle annexion. Ils souhaitent au contraire (comme de plus en plus de Serbes de BH) la réhabilitation de la République plurielle de Bosnie-Herzégovine.
La propagande nationaliste Serbe, qui déforme les faits et présente les Musulmans comme des criminels, constitue une grave entrave au travail de médiation et de reconnaissance des faits. Ce qui est grave, c'est que des universitaires étasuniens, n'ayant aucune connaissance du terrain, se permettent de relayer une telle propagande.
Nous ne permettrons pas qu'une telle projection-provocation aie lieu en France ou en Suisse.
Peux-tu conseiller à ce Feeler de retirer son projet ?
                   Avec mes plus cordiales salutations.

From Ivar :
Date: 12 November 2010
Subject: Rép : Alerte négationnisme.

Je parle du négationnisme envers le génocide en Bosnie et à Srebrenica. Il faut en effet tirer les leçons de la Shoah : "plus jamais çà".
Il y a un parrallèle évident entre la puissance de l'appareil de propagande nazi, qui a monté les juifs comme boucs-émissaires et la puissance (sous-estimée) de l'appareil de propagande serbe, qui a monté via Tanjung (agence de presse serbe) l'histoire du faux charnier de Timisuara début 1991 (pour neutraliser en préventive les accusations contre les exactions des forces serbes), qui a poursuivi en manipulant l'opinion public serbe (y compris en Bosnie) en inventant de soi-disantes menaces et horreurs (par exemple la fausse info sur la tuerie de bébés par des croates, ce qui a été cité par un des accusés serbes du procès de Vukovar comme motivant ses propres actes criminels envers les habitants de Vukovar.
Il y a eu une manipulation psychologique de la population bosno-serbe. Par exemple, le relais émetteur de la TV Sarajevo (où travaillait de nombreux serbes anti-Milosevic) de la région de Prijedor a été saboté début 1992, ce qui a permis de préparer la population bosno-serbe à laisser faire les arrestations et internements dans des camps des non-serbes de Prijedor. 3000 intellectuels et gestionnaires bosniaques ont ainsi été exécutés entre avril et aout 1992.
Il y a un déni et négationnisme évident envers le génocide commis en Bosnie-Herzégovine entre 1992 et 1995 :120.000 victimes (y compris les 8300 de Srebrenica en juillet 1995). Il n'y a pas une très grande différence entre le déni des grandes puissances et celui propagé par l'appareil de propagande serbe.
En effet, la thèse (relayée par l'ONU) de "guerre civile" entre des "parties belligérentes" a camouflé la situation réelle : Il y a eu agression contre la République de Bosnie-Herzégovine par la Serbie de Milosevic (et entre avril 1993 et avril 1994 par la Croatie de Tudjmann) selon les accords de partage de la Bosnie conclus en mars 1991 entre Milosevic et Tudjmann à Karadjordjevo.
Il y a eu accord tacite des grandes puissances (USA, GB, France, Russie) sur ces plans de partage. En effet, même s'il y a eu des modification au cours des différentes négociations qui ont abouti à Dayton, il était évident que la région est (celle de Srebrenica) devait être soumise à la domination Serbe. C'est ce qui a été imposé à la population bosniaque, qui était avant le génocide majoritaire à 74% dans cette région.
Malgré ces évidences, la propagande serbe entretient le mythe d'une Serbie anti-impérialiste.
C'est sans doute pour mieux camoufler la collaboration de Jovan Stanisic (le chef des services secrets serbes) avec la CIA, et Milosevic, en tant qu'ex-banquier (par moment en poste aux USA pour la Yugobanka) avait aussi ses entrées auprès de la classe dirigeante étasunienne.
Bien sûr, les négationnistes mettront en avant l'intervention de l'OTAN en août 1995, qui a notamment déserré le siège de Sarajevo. Cette action a été voulue par l'opinion publique, qui a été mise au courant du génocide de Srebrenica.
L'attaque contre Srebrenica a été au départ approuvé par les grandes puissances et l'ONU pour enfin conclure le partage prévu. Mais le nombre de vistimes ne devait pas excéder selon ces accords tacites le nombre de 3000.
Le dépassement du nombre de victimes prévues et la prise en otage de Casques bleus ont certainement contribué à l'intervention de l'OTAN.
En tant que membres de mouvements solidaires avec les bosniaques, nous étions pour la levée de l'embargo sur les armes afin de permettre aux bosniaques, sous-armés (ils n'avaient pas d'armée au début de l'agression) de se défendre. Nous n'étions pas pour une intervention de l'OTAN.
C'est maintenant les populations, tant en Bosnie que dans certains lieux en Serbie, qui paient dans leur santé l'utilisation d'armes à urarnium appauvri (multiplication des cancers).
Le problème est qu'il faut mener aujourd'hui un réel travail de mémoire, de la mise en évidence des faits, dont beaucoup sont encore occultés, comme celle de la provenance des armes non-létales, type LSD (labos russes, US GB, serbes ?) expérimentées contre les hommes de la colonne de Srebrenica.
Ce travail à la base a débuté, y compris à Srebrenica, entre des jeunes issus des deux communautés.
C'est pourquoi nous sommes contre (des milliers de militant-e-s en France, en Suisse et d'autres pays) des films comme "Avoidable War" qui vont à contre-courant du travail de médiation en remettant en avant les thèses habitueles de la propagande serbe (thèses qui commencent à être dépassées en Serbie même par l'émergence d'une nouvelle génération plus critique avec laquelle nous développons des liens d'amitié et de solidarité.
Un tel film ne peut qu'entretenir la confusion au bénéfice des forces réactionnaires et fascisantes.
Bien cordialement.

From Diana Johnstone :
Date: 12 November 2010
Subject: For Your Information.

Dear Francis,

The first lines of Ivar’s message are revealing.
Je parle du négationnisme envers le génocide en Bosnie et à Srebrenica. Il faut en effet tirer les leçons de la Shoah : "plus jamais çà ".
Indeed, many groups have "drawn lessons from the Shoah". Namely, that declaring themselves to be "victims of genocide", and stigmatizing and if possible banning any questioning of that assertion as "negationism", an ethnic group can make huge demands on the "International Community". In the case of Bosnian Muslims, the demands include reparations, but above all, abolition of the Republika Srpska in order to put the whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina under control of the Muslim (relative) majority.

This is not to say that the activists for this cause do not believe in it. Their belief has been confirmed by Western anti-Serb propaganda used to justify the NATO bombing and occupation of Kosovo, as well as by the NATO-sponsored Tribunal in The Hague.

But there are ironic aspects. As Ivar’s message show, the anti-Serb crusade has not served, as it was intended by US politicians, to show Muslims the world over that American was their great friend and defender. That intention was expressed openly by the late Congressman Tom Lantos when he was chairman of the House Foreign.

In 2007, advocating independence for Kosovo, he said it was "just a reminder to the predominantly Muslim-led

governments in this world that here is yet another example that the United States leads the way for creation of a predominantly Muslim country in the very heart of Europe."
Indeed this has backfired, and ICTY insistence in branding Srebrenica as "genocide", by inventing a new definition of the term (killing the men of the city – who by the way were not the men of the city, but men of military age in the city, not the same thing), has only served to turn Muslims against the West as having "allowed genocide to happen".

The "plus jamais ça" is more subtly ironic. Those who use that slogan, referring to the Shoah, keep discovering new instances of "ça", indicating that "the duty of memory" has not at all achieved its declared aim. "Ça" keeps happening over and over, according to them, so much so that universities have departments of "genocide studies", as though it were an everyday occurrence.

The demand not to show a film such as "Avoidable War" is also taking a lesson from the "Shoah", in whose name it is proclaimed that those branded as "negationists" must not be allowed to speak. This of course leaves the field free for them to say n’importe quoi.

The absurdity of Ivar’s message is evident when he suggests that the Timisoara hoax (which occurred at Christimas 1989 - not 1991) was propagated by Tanjug (not Tanjung) in order to "preventively neutralize" crimes that Serb forces were going to commit later on. This is grotesque, as is much of the rest of his argumentation.

Unfortunately, there is a whole cult of "solidarity with Bosnian Muslims" who have apparently persuaded themselves of the truth of these more or less wild tales and who are busily occupied in forcing others to agree with them, by using insults such as "negationist" against those who would refute them. Anyone who tries to make a reasonable analysis of the Yugoslav tragedy can expect to be attacked by these fanatics.


From Geroge Bogdonich :
Date 11 November 2010
Subject: "The Avoidable War".

Thank you first of all, for arranging to present "Yugoslavia: The Avoidable War" to university students at Grenoble, especially in the face of a threat.  I do not have a French version of the film in my possession, although it was shown sometime ago on one of the French networks (I believe Canal Plus) and they may have dubbed into French or used subtitles. I should mention that it has also been broadcast in Serbia, Bosnia, Canada and Israel.  An earlier version won an award for the Best Social Documentary at the 1999 New York Film and Video Festival.
The current version (2001) was screened at Columbia U., Harvard, New York University, South Bank University in London and was featured at the Raindance Festival in London in 2001 and the Highgate Festival there the following year.  The film had a theatrical release in selected US cities in 2002, running for six weeks at a New York theater, where it received a favorable review in the New York Times http://movies.nytimes.com/mem/movies/review.html?res=9F0CE3D61039F936A25750C0A9649C8B63, followed by showings in Chicago, Los Angeles and Milwaukee with favorable reviews at the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Weekly and the Milwaukee Journal. Just last year, I was asked to speak at a screening at Vanier College in Montreal which was well attended.
Yes, I am aware of the jaundiced, hateful and libelous "review" in the "off, off, off" website  (Off-base, off-the-wall, off-his-meds) by a fanatic who came to a screening for legitimate reviewers before the release in New York.  I sent him a point by point response to the falsehoods, but I no longer have that available and it seems a waste of time to respond to fanaticism that is impervious to reason or evidence to the contrary.
I hope this is helpful.  If the circumstance permitted, I would have been happy to be on hand and answer any questions, although, je ne parle pas Francais beaucoup.  I suppose it was more timely then, but in 2002 when the film was being shown nightly at a theater in the East Village, I held Q & A sessions following each showing and a surprising number of people who had just sat through a 165 minute film stayed for another half hour to ask questions.
If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
George Bogdanich

From Edward Herman :
Date: 11 November 2010
Subject: The Dismantling of Yugoslavia.

"The Dismantling of Yugoslavia"
Edward S. Herman and David Peterson

From Diana Johnstone :
Date: 12 Noivember 2010
Subject: For Your Infornation.

Here is an official Forensic Report on recovered body parts from the Srebrenica area.