Why nobody writes to the general

Anyone who has ever had a child of theirs serving in the Canadian military might well shudder to see this: the speaker in this clip was a general in that army. He wants to appear to be a friend of people he is calling savages underneath his breath, who probably do not recognise his implicit claim that it is unreasonable to expect such people to control themselves. At one time this person was responsible for the lives and safety of a small group of young people and a very large group of civilians. Worse still, he was responsible for assuring compliance with international humanitarian law.

With friends like these there is really no need for enemies.


Owen said...

I wish I could be such an expert in the face of the evidence. Nepal's desire to secede from China is clearly a major factor in Beijing's non-recognition of Kosova. But I rather liked "Think of Russia, think of Chetnya".

Nick said...

"This is the worst day in the life of any Serb." Serbs must have it pretty easy if this is the worst it's gotten for them.

Eric Gordy said...

It is a pretty bad day in anyone's life when they have to rely on somebody who obviously has contempt for them for support.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Chetnya - isn't that where the Chetniks come from? I was also impressed by the general's expert description of the section of Kosovo north of Mitrovica, as the place where those 156 monasteries used to be before the Kosovars burned them. Wonder how they managed to do that - in the absence of monasteries north of the Ibar, and in the presence of all those secession minded (or was it anti-secession?) Serbs who live there?

Or maybe it was the Nepalese... (the British did bring along some Gurkhas for peacekeeping duties in the Balkans).

It's all so confusing. Canadians must be grateful to have someone like the major general who can explain it to them.


Stephen albert said...

What a shame, when an ex-Canadian general finds a way to 'not quite justify but understand' an attack on the US Embassy in Belgrade.

How would Canadians react if a retired US general gave the this kind of interview after a Canadian embassy was attacked?

One more question. Why did your reporter listen to this monologue without asking one serious question?

steve said...

Hello Eric,

Someone sent me this link.I obviously did not realize I was posting to your site or I would not have written the line about your reporter.

I would be worthwhile however, complaining to CTV about this interview.

Eric Gordy said...

Hi Steve -- Seems like a fair question to me! Though he ain't mine. I am guessing it must be someone well known? Though the show is Mike Duffy live, the host is Graham Richardson (filling in, it would seem).

Owen said...

Apparently Duffy also invited James Bissett, another notably impartial Canadian observer of Balkan affairs, to give his opinion on the subject of Kosovo.

Kirk Johnson said...

How freaking irresponsible of CTV to invite this clown on without making sure that the interviewer would be prepared to challenge some of the nonsense he spouted.

Racak was staged? How dare the network let this clown regurgitate that lie without rebutting it?


Owen said...

Perhaps someone from Canada might be able to say where CTV stands on Quebec autonomy?

steve said...

To answer, Owen's question I doubt that CTV News is in favor of Quebec independence. However, I did not see anyone from CTV News object when the Canadian Parliament voted unanimously to recognize Quebec as a nation within Canada.

Quebec has its own language laws, its own immigration policy and French is the official language here. The Quebec flag flies over our National Assembly. June 24 is our national holiday.

Compare this with the situation in Kosovo under Milosevic and you see why any comparison between the two places just does not hold water.

Daniel (Srebrenica Genocide Blog Editor) said...

(please approve this post)

General Lewis Mackenzie - concentration camp rapist with U.N. immunity

Gen. Lewis MacKenzie, the former commander of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in Bosnia is an outspoken Srebrenica genocide denier. He portrays himself as an expert on Srebrenica who can rule on genocide issues, even though he has no legal background and he has never visited Srebrenica in his life. On July 14, 2005 edition of Canada's The Globe and Mail, under "The Real Story Behind Srebrenica", this is what he stated (quote):

Quote: "Evidence given at The Hague war crimes tribunal casts serious doubt on the figure of 'up to' 8,000 Bosnian Muslims massacred. That figure includes 'up to' 5,000 who have been classified as missing. More than 2,000 bodies have been recovered in and around Srebrenica, and they include victims of the three years of intense fighting in the area. The math just doesn't support the scale of 8,000 killed.... It's a distasteful point, but it has to be said that, if you're committing genocide, you don't let the women go since they are key to perpetuating the very group you are trying to eliminate. Many of the men and boys were executed and burried in mass graves." End Quote

Little did he know: Srebrenica genocide is not a matter of anybody's opinion; it's a judicial fact. Srebrenica massacre has been ruled a genocide first by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at the Hague and subsequently by the International Court of Justice.

As an alternative to Lewis Mackenzie's make-believe denials, read Facts: 8,106 killed in Srebrenica Genocide.

While it is difficult to ascertain exactly how much has been directed towards payment for speakers and journalists, the SUC [Serbian Unity Congress] and Serbnet have set up a special fund for this purpose. Based on former UN General Lewis MacKenzie's own admission which was later corroborated by Serbnet -- that he was receiving over $15,000 per speaking engagement -- the amount spent on MacKenzie represents more than what the SUC is paying to PR firms such as Manatos and Manatos, Inc. (source).

The Serbian propaganda campaign employs methods similar to Holocaust denial and revisionism. Their first line of action is to create an atmosphere of relativism. The second line of action is then to deny the totality of the destruction in order to downplay the purpose and systematic nature of the aggression. The third line of action is then to create their own 'facts' and 'references' and it is here where they have been most successful. The SUC [Serbian Unity Congress] has used public relations firms (Manatos and Manatos, McDermott O'Neill and Associates, David Keene and Associates), in order to grant their leaders and paid representatives access to television and radio interviews, congressional sub-committee hearings and U.N. sponsored commissions. These congressional hearings, interviews and official reports are then used as references, which lend legitimacy to their position. For example, the Serbnet speeches made by former UN General Lewis MacKenzie on his speaker-tour are frequently advertised, as are the articles of Sir Alfred Sherman which appeared in the British press.

But just, who is Gen. Lewis MacKenzie? To answer that question, one must go back to 1992. In December - same year - the chief Bosnian military prosecutor in Sarajevo, Mustafa Bisic, formally charged Gen. Lewis MacKenzie with sexual misconduct against civilians while on duty in Bosnia, and requested that the UN revoke his displomatic immunity. MacKenzie was accused of raping several Bosnian women being held captive in a Serbian prison camp, as a "gift" from Serbian officials. The victims were later executed by Serbian soldiers, allegedly to 'erase evidence'.

Here is an archived version of investigative article published on June 4th, 1993 by Pacific News Services.

450 Mission Street, Room 506
San Francisco, CA 94105


EDITOR'S NOTE: For half a year charges of sexual misconduct filed by a Sarajevo prosecutor against a high UN official have been circulating widely in Arab, European and Canadian media, and in UN and human rights circles in New York. While the official named denied the charges, to date there has been no formal acknowledgement let alone inquiry into them, raising troubling questions for some about who polices the peacekeepers. PNS associate editor Dennis Bernstein is an award-winning investigative reporter. Bernstein's research was funded in part by the Washington, D.C. based Fund for Investigative Journalism.

By: Dennis Bernstein, Pacific News Service
Date: 06/04/1993

Last November the chief Bosnian military prosecutor in Sarajevo charged a high UN official with sexual misconduct against civilians while on duty in Bosnia. The prosecutor publicly demanded that the Bosnian president press the United Nations to remove the official's diplomatic immunity.

Although reports of the alleged war crimes have appeared in the Arab, European and Canadian press, have been circulating in UN circles and even surfaced in a briefing for U.S. Congressional aides by a human rights group, there has as yet been no formal response from the UN. While the official has denied the charges, those attempting to investigate them -- journalists, human rights advocates, foreign policyanalysts, and at least one U.S. legislator, not to mention Bosnian officials and Sarajevans themselves -- believe they raise troubling questions about the overall accountability of the UN: just who is policing the peacekeepers?

Some months after he unexpectedly stepped down from his assignment last August, General Lewis MacKenzie, Canadian head of the UN peacekeeping force in Bosnia Herzegovina, was charged in a bill of indictment by chief military prosecutor Mustafa Bisic with sexually molesting four Bosnian Muslim [Bosniak] women held by Serbian forces in a prison camp in a Sarajevo suburb.

In a letter to the Bosnian president dated Dec. 3, 1992, Bisic cited the eyewitness testimony of a Serbian guard who had worked at the camp, known as Kod Sonje. The guard claimed he saw MacKenzie and several escorts arrive in a military transport vehicle with the UN insignia. The eyewitness claimed guards were then ordered to release four Bosnian Muslim women prisoners to MacKenzie. According to the prosecutor's complaint, the women were later murdered by camp guards under orders to "erase evidence" of this "unusual gift."

The prosecutor's charges, aired over Sarajevo television, were denounced by MacKenzie in several interviews with European and Canadian media as a propaganda tactic by one side in the three-sidedcivil war to gain international sympathy. "I can understand why they (Bosnian officials) would do something like that," the former UN peacekeeper told the Vancouver Sun in an interview published Feb. 13.

"If I had been in their position and found that the peace-keeping force was not what I wanted, I can envision my devious mind working out a story to discredit them."

Nevertheless, in February new information about the possible existence of a videotape placing MacKenzie at the Kod Sonje camp helped refocus attention to the charges. In an interview with Pacific News Service, U.S. Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY) says she is "very concerned" about the charges and has informed U.S. ambassador to the UN Madeline Albright that her office "is trying to ferret them out as best we can."

Slaughter learned about the videotape from Safeta Ovcina, a Bosnian nurse who testified at a special briefing conducted by Helsinki Watch for Congressional staffers. The briefing was held February 23 amid growing concern in the West over media accounts of mass rapes of Bosnian Muslim women by Serbian soldiers.

Ovcina, who spent ten months tending war victims at a frontline hospital before fleeing Sarajevo for the United States, testified she had been shown the videotape by her neighbors whom she described as members of the Bosnian military.

"I looked at the tape and saw General MacKenzie, whom we always saw on TV news, with Serb chetniks. There were three or four girls on both sides of him...MacKenzie was hugging them."

In a telephone interview with Pacific News Service at her home in St. Louis, Ovcina says she recognized some of the young women as formerly involved in a hair cutting business.

"They didn't laugh, theydidn't cry, they just sat there...The feeling I had is that they were surrounded by a bunch of drunken people, and they were very unhappy," she recalled.

Ovcina says her neighbors told her the women were later killed and buried in a grave on the outskirts of Sarajevo. In her testimony at the Helsinki Watch briefing, she also described witnessing other abuses and indiscretions by UN personnel, including the selling of protection, food, cigarettes.

Bosnian officials in the United States interviewed by Pacific News Service say they do not know the whereabouts of the videotape nor do they have any verification that it exists. Although the allegations are now widely accepted as truth in Sarajevo, according to Bosnian Ambassador to the UN Muhamed Sacirbey, at this point "there is no proof to justify them." Interviewed by phone from New York, Sacirbeysaid his government had not formally challenged General MacKenzie's diplomatic immunity at the UN.

Another eyewitness to the alleged Kod Sonje incident is Borislav Herak, a Serbian soldier captured by Bosnian forces in early November and now awaiting execution for war crimes. Herak was interviewed on film by award winning Bosnian film maker and TV producer Ademir Kenovic several days after his arrest.

According to a transcript of the interview provided by Kenovic, Herak said he was at the camp when MacKenzie arrived in a white UN vehicle and met with the camp warden Miro Vukovic. He was then taken to a room "for big shots" where he was served whiskey and food.

Later, Herak said he saw MacKenzie and several other UN soldiers "taking four or five girls in this vehicle to have fun." Asked if he were certain it was General MacKenzie, Herak replied, "Yes, I am sure. I saw him on television."

To date, General MacKenzie has not been questioned by U.S. media about the charges and repeated phone calls to him by Pacific News Service in Washington DC were not returned.

Congresswoman Slaughter says while she doesn't want to spread "what could be a smear campaign," she considers the allegations serious enough to warrant investigation. If proven true, they couldundermine the UN's entire peacekeeping mandate.

"But I don't know who is authorized to handle such an investigation," she added.

Slaughter was especially troubled to learn that twice when he visited Washington last May, General MacKenzie was represented by the public relations firm of Craig Shirley and Associates which is closely identified with the Serbian government. The firm also represents Serb-Net Inc., a Chicago-based association of Serbian American organizations which a spokesperson says "works to counter the negative press images about Serbia."
**** END ****

Related reading material suggested by our readers: I Begged Them to Kill Me - published by the Center for Investigation and Documentation of the Association of Former Prison Camp Inmates of Bosnia-Herzegovina; pages 183-189. Chapter: An Officer with a Rose.

Eric Gordy said...

Daniel, your post does not need to be approved, comments here are open and unmoderated and I delete very rarely. But for the future, do you really have to put whole articles in the comments? It is meant to be a forum for discussion.

As to the accusations about Sonja's Kon-Tiki Cafe -- are these corroborated by anything other than Herak's testimony? I don't like MacKenzie either, but it doesn't follow that we can say just any old thing about him.

Owen said...

The Congress of North American Bosniaks has on various occasions lobbied the Canadian Government to allow MacKenzie to be interviewed by the BiH prosecutor concerning the charges. MacKenzie has made veiled threats of legal action against the Congress for repeating the allegations which as far as I know have never been followed through.

“I begged them to kill me - a crime against the Woman of Bosnia and Herzegovina”, published by the Centre for Research and Documentation of the Association of Imprisonment Camp Survivors of Bosnia and Herzegovina (cited in Daniel's post) is one of the sources of the allegations against MacKenzie and there are others which at least justify investigation whether or not charges result. Some of the evidence cited is circumstantial, some is second-hand, but nevertheless there is a core of substance which calls out for thorough and transparent investigation. The result of the UN's official inquiry lacks the transparency to command confidence in the face of continued accusations and the public evidence of MacKenzie's untrustworthiness.

I don't believe any individual should be forced to defend themselves against random, possibly malicious accusations. However MacKenzie threatens legal action to silence his accusers but is then reluctant to have the facts tested in court, he refuses to co-operate with investigations by a competent legal body into grave crimes against international humanitarian law and he continues to engage in activities in the public arena that call into question the impartiality and probity of his actions as an international public servant that lie at the heart of the Kod Sonje and other accusations.

It's not a question of saying "just any old thing" about him. MacKenzie's determination to continue presenting himself as an authority on FRY issues and influence public opinion makes his failure to deal adequately with the accusations a legitimate subject of public concern.


Eric Gordy said...

Is there more known about the threat of legal action? It would seem that in most cases threatening legal action would be risky, since truth is an absolute defence against charges of libel. In that case the risk would be that the libel case becomes a forum in which the charges can be investigated. Although this depends on where the libel charges are brought (and probably also on who hears the charges).

Owen said...

That, it's my guess, might be the reason for MacKenzie's apparent reluctance to press charges last year.

Anonymous said...

Herak is a proven liar. He even admitted he told lies while in a Bosnian Muslim jail to save his life. He says he'd have been killed right away if he didn't tell these tales that so suited Bosnian Muslim and mass media propaganda.

Some of those he claimed were murdered were discovered alive and well after the Dayton accords. Even though the Bosnian government had convicted Serbs of murdering those men who were alive and serving in the Bosnian army in Sarajevo the whole time of the trial.

Also, there aren't even any names of the claimed women MacKenzie raped and killed. Easy to just make up propaganda when you don't have to prove anything.

By the way it was the Serbian women who first sent documentation to the UN security council of rape camps (many in the Muslim controlled parts of Sarajevo).

Until the Serb reports reached the international community in the early fall 1992, there never were any rape camp claims by the Muslims or mass media.

But suddenly after they received the 800 cases of documentation of the Bosnian Serb women, the Muslim government claimed (WITHOUT ANY DOCUMENTATION AT THAT TIME OR ANY DNA EVIDENCE) an astronomical number of raped Muslim women.

They still don't have any DNA evidence for rapes and the supposed "rape babies" exist only in propaganda and fictional stories and films.

Like the one made up by the Bosnian Muslim woman director "Grbavica". She wasn't raped, had no rape baby, nor were any of her relatives or friends raped and she could find no such case as she made out in her story.

It was a product of her imagination. But people like to believe all the Muslim propaganda tales.

Still no DNA evidence despite all the money and attention poured into prove this propaganda.

Also there was no increase in the birthrate in 1992 and 1993 to correspond with the Muslim claims of 10s of thousands of women raped and forced to carry the babies.

The Serb women made these claims before the Muslims, only they didn't use the wild unprovable numbers the Muslims did.

The Muslims simply make up charges on people who witness their crimes, and that's what they did with the Canadian General.

No one can even give the names of these women because they are simply an imaginary propaganda claim.

Owen said...


Daniel (Srebrenica Genocide Blog) said...

Quote: "Herak is a proven liar."

Yeah, it's an old Serbian trick to call everyone "a liar". According to them, Bush was a liar, Clinton was a liar, Antisari was a liar, Del Ponte was a liar, etc. Since Serbs cannot change facts, they label their opponents as liars.

Dude, don't waste my time with that rubish.

Eric Gordy said...

Can I invite people to discuss the issue without nonsense about "the Muslims simply" do or what is an "old Serbian trick"? It doesnt improve your arguments (if repetitive assertion can be called an argument).

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eric Gordy said...

All right, Anonymous, here is the deal:

1) I do tolerate people posting as "Anonymous," even though any normal person would take this as a sign that you are saying things you should be ashamed of.

2) If you or anybody else posts the full text of copyrighted articles to my site, I will delete the comment.

3) If you or anybody else engages in racist namecalling, I will delete the comment.

Having said that, you are welcome to participate in the discussion, whether you agree or disagree with me. Try to do it decently, and please don't wear out your welcome.