From - Sun Apr 20 16:21:10 1997

From: Ivo Skoric <>

Newsgroups: soc.culture.yugoslavia

Subject: Reversing gears on Bosnia

I am sure everybody noticed how the world biggest opinion makers recently started rushing to undo what they wrote about Bosnia in past 2-3 years, reversing to their pre-summer 1992 Bosnis discourse: again all three sides appear equally to blame. Angry voices of marginal zealots who hide behind names like Living Marxism suddenly rose to prominence. Extremists of the World Unite! And we promise you a front-page column in the New York Times.



Thomas Deichmann, German journalist, maintains that footage of camp taken by ITN team in Aug 1992 was faked to provide confirmation of suspicions of Serb ethnic cleansing. Little doubt that pictures brought back by ITN reporters Penny Marshall and Ian Williams of emaciated prisoners behind wire galvanised opinion in West against Serbs. Fikret Alic who poked arm through wire to shake hands became -the- defining symbol of the war in Bosnia.

British Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) (a splinter group from Socialist Worker Party's low-circulation no-advertising glossy magazine Living Marxism has reprinted Deichmann's thesis.

Deichmann, who gave defence evidence last year at The Hague for Dusko Tadic, professes no links with Serbs. To date his work has mainly appeared in Novo, small-circulation German Trotskyite magazine. He portrays himself as Bosnian expert concerned with raising journalistic standards and argues that ITN footage was shot from -inside- the camp, claims group of British journalists including Guardian's Ed Vulliamy were behind wire when they arrived at camp warehouse, Bosnian Muslims were not captive, but had come voluntarily to Trnopolje to seek protection. Deichmann failed to speak to any of journalists present at camp before publiching his thesis.

ITN has sued Living Marxism and editor Mick Hume for libel, also suing printer and PA subsidiary which carried LM press release of "scoop".

Serbian Information Centre ("something of an oxymoron, it has to be said") has joined in. At Living Marxism defence-fund rally one Serbian member of audience claimed only eight documented cases of rape in former Yugo. LM had also flown in former State Dept official George Kenney, who became one of leading apologists for Serb aggression.

Two days ago Deichmann was talking to Press Club in Bonn, Fikret Alic and other campinmates were present. FA confirmed "We were 100 per cent -behind that barbed wire-."

Why is small leftwing revolutionary group making common cause with unreconstructed Serbian nationalists? Something to do with Living Marxism position on war in general. According to LM West caused the Bosnian war by intervening to promote its own interests. LM universe appears defined by libertarian arguments and anti-interventionism.

[More about origins of RCP - mid-seventies split with Socialist Workers Party when International Socialists split in mid-seventies, members drawn from new university sector - former polytechnics - appear to fund organisation with 10/20 per cent of their income.]

Four years ago Joan Philips LM journalist whose tendentious pro-Serb accounts of war in Bosnia have been feature of magazine "smuggled in" [not clear into where - presumably the magazine] photos of atrocities committed against Serb victims by Arab mercenaries, photos supplied by Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences in Belgrade. Private Eye recently revealed JP has also worked for The Economist's Economist Intelligence Unit writing briefing notes on Balkans, under name of Joan Hoey.

[Article ends with Fikret Alic account of 5 August 1992]

Ivo Skoric *****


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