I’ll leave room for the possibility that Ratko Mladic did go ahead and draw a finger across his throat toward the professional victim who claimed he did so last Wednesday May 16th, figuring he might as well since the media mistakenly had him doing it last year anyway. (In a case of the AP misreporting itself about a Bosnian woman who’d made the gesture toward Mladic.)Leaving room for the possibility that the disproved incident did finally occur a year later — in precisely the same way — one must point out the following: Once again we have no video and, in the wall-to-wall news coverage about this, no one but Munira Subasic — the one he supposedly aimed the gesture at — was cited as witnessing it.
So are we to believe a professional victim, head of Mothers of Srebrenica, Munira Subasic, who is well acquainted with the fellow professional victim to whom it supposedly happened last year (Kada Hotic, who boasted that she taunted the defendant by drawing a finger across her throat)? Naturally, when news reports came out last year — without any footage — that Mladic was the one who had done the gesture “taunting the gallery,” Hotic didn’t do anything so honest as correct them. Something that would have been easier for her to do than it was for me, who nonetheless got a printed retraction by the AP.)
Knowing how well such Serbian War Criminal(TM) behavior plays in the media, isn’t it possible that last week Subasic was merely acting her part in the ongoing Western-directed play about her country? Picked up on the media lie that Hotic’s gesture was turned into last year; grafted it onto herself; and recycled it. Balkan Muslims being expert at internalizing the uber-victim roles bestowed upon them by the West.
Again, you’d think that if Mladic really did something like this, there’d be a sumptuous video of it, and that video would be plastered all over the evening news. And Jon Stewart would replay it and build a routine around it the way he did Medvedev saying to Obama, “I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”
“Yet,” writes reader Nick T, “when I looked for a picture or video, there is none anywhere. Youtube has one piece by [ITV] news. And the lead by the female journalist is that Mladic made the “hand across the throat” gesture. So i thought, ok, they will now show it. Nothing. The rest of the piece shows the judge, Mladic sitting quietly and then the prosecutor rambling on. Did these journalists graduate from the Goebbels School of Journalism???”
Or from the school of Vampire Journalism, where “a designated villain should look properly villainous.”
Nick continues, “CBC’s ‘Connect with Mark Kelly’ had the host ask a Bosnian guest, ‘What did you think when Mladic ran his finger across his throat…?’ Kelly said a person in the gallery saw him do it. That’s the only direct reference. But with so much media there covering this, of course no picture.”
Not this time, and not last time. The most likely scenario? The original lie went over so well that the Muslims and Media reused it. With “Mothers of Srebrenica” being instrumental in both cases, knowing of course that reporters take everything they say at face value. It’s only decent, as the Srebrenica Mothers are victim royalty. (Nebojsa Malic points out that these ladies “live quite well of their professional victimhood. One of them, either Subsasic or Hotic, I can’t recall which now, actually boasted of having a house, a chauffeur and ‘living like a lord.’”)
In the AP version of the throat-gesture story, which repeats the debunked “GreaterSerbia” charge and sympathetically quotes the son of the fundamentalist Muslim president who started the war, the incident is given to us thus:
After [a] brief exchange between Mladic and the gallery, Orie rebuked both about “inappropriate interactions” and said he might shield the defendant behind a screen if the outbursts continued.
Munira Subasic, who lost 22 relatives in the Srebrenica massacre, claimed Mladic made a throat-slitting gesture toward her after she had held up both her hands, wrists crossed to indicate Mladic was in captivity. Mladic’s lawyer, Branko Lukic, did not confirm her version of events, but claimed that somebody in the audience raised their middle finger at Mladic.
“He is very easily provoked and we had that gallery full of people very ready to provoke,” Lukic said.
So we don’t know what, exactly, the judge was rebuking, though it seems it was something two-sided. Nor do we have any record of what Mladic’s actual “outbursts” were, but only Subasic’s account. Mladic’s lawyer, possibly being asked for a reaction before he could get the story straight himself, neither confirmed nor denied it, and seems to have mistook reports of Subasic crossing her wrists at Mladic as as middle-finger gesture. (Yet another report has that Subasic “wagged her finger” at Mladic.)
This time, AP writer Mike Corder — who had misreported last year’s incident — is being more careful, attributing the claim to the claimant, and not saying outright that Mladic did it. Not so for the rest of the pack.
Reliably repeating and embellishing the tale were Fox News’s Shepard Smith, Los Angeles Times, BusinessInsider.com, and everyone else who gets AP and Reuters news feeds. A source named Nikole — who originally caught last year’s throat-slitting inversion — heard it on NPR from reporter Sylvia Poggioli and found an NPR blog by a Mark Memmott headlined “At Trial, Serb Gen. Mladic Taunts Survivors With Throat-Cutting Gesture.” At the bottom of the post, there was a short audio by Poggioli which had the then Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic’s trial as lasting five years rather than four, and Milosevic somehow “triggering” the Bosnian war (similar to The Guardian reporting him as “orchestrating” it from Belgrade, with Reuters having him as the “architect”).
Memmott’s blog post quoted both Reuters and UK Telegraph dispatches, which didn’t attribute the gesture claim to Subasic, but stated it as actual fact, as if the reporters had observed it themselves:
“Bosnian Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic taunted Srebrenica survivors on Wednesday at the start of his trial for genocide, running his hand across his throat in a gesture of defiance to relatives of the worst massacre in Europe since World War II,” Reuters writes from the Hague.
The wire service says Mladic “made eye contact with one of the Muslim women in the audience, running a hand across his throat, in a gesture that led Presiding judge Alphons Orie to hold a brief recess and order an end to ‘inappropriate interactions.’” [Notice how the narrative starts to get crafted: We now have Judge Orie’s admonition and recess being caused by, and specific to, Mladic’s actions.]
According to The Telegraph, “Mladic made throat-cutting gestures to Munira Subasic…as she watched the trial from the glassed off public gallery.”
For those who caught the fact that Fox News and NPR appear in the same sentence, I’ll point out the usual: It’s that Balkans-specific phenomenon, in which there is NO DIFFERENCE between Left and Right media, between traditional and alternative media. All are on the same page when it comes to Serb-wilding.
In fact, what made Nikole again become suspicious this time — in addition to the blatancy of the repetition of a disproved incident — was that she saw it reported in Canada’s relatively conservative National Post after originally hearing it on the leftist NPR. “Suddenly it was in headlines,” she noted, and forwarded the following, even more embellished, gore-giastic version of the incident from Telegraph:
Ratko Mladic, the so-called Butcher of Bosnia, finally faced trial accused of genocide and murder among other charges. Bruno Waterfield was in The Hague to witness the chilling scene unfold.
(CHILLING! The dutiful Western dhimmi is in a roomful of Muslims and he’s chilled by a Serb behind glass. Liberals never know what to be chilled by. First they got goosebumps seeing “Butcher of the Balkans” Milosevic, and now “Butcher of Bosnia” Mladic. Indeed, it must be hard to look into the eyes of men who dared get fed up with Muslim attacks and territorial pretensions, and gave them the fight they sought. That is, until we stepped in and castrated them. While our Muslims were doing so literally.)
The gesture was slow, deliberate and aimed at the bereaved mother in the public gallery – two fingers pressed together and drawn in a cutting motion across his throat.
But it was just before the first rest break – 72 minutes into proceedings – that for his victims, two decades later, memories of Mladic came back when he caught the eye of members of the Mothers of Srebrenica. Using the cut-throat sign he looked into the eyes of Munira Subasic, 65….[Again, describing without attribution, as if he witnessed the exchange himself.]
Branko Lukic, Mladic’s lawyer, defended the conduct of his client who had to be told by the judge that he would be screened off from the public if there was any further “interaction”.
But according to the AP, the judge wasn’t speaking to Mladic directly when he said this, but announced it generally. So here we see again how the narrative begins to evolve from one thing into something else.
Next is another Reuters report, the one that National Post ran:
(Nice touch with the word “Mom” in the headline. They want us to see the womb that birthed an Islamic warrior as a Mom just like the ones we know. And now, having learned how to play the Western presses, this media warrior continues Izetbegovic’s war, demonstrating her utility to the cause.)
Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic made a throat-slitting gesture to a woman who lost her son, husband and brothers in the Srebenica massacre at the start of his trial on Wednesday for some of the worst atrocities in Europe since World War Two.
In the public gallery, Munira Subasic, whose 18-year-old son, husband and brothers were killed in Srebrenica, stared at him from behind a glass barrier, crossing her wrists to imitate handcuffs.
Mladic stared back and drew a hand across his throat. Presiding judge Alphons Orie promptly called a brief recess and ordered an end to “inappropriate interactions.”
In the next day’s Reuters report, the same two writers in the byline above, with editing by a Kevin Liffey, made sure to repeat the throat-slitting bit, now fluidly morphing the judge’s warning as being directed at Mladic alone, and in response to that particular gesture:
Mladic, 70, sat listening with his back to the public after being warned at the start of his trial on Wednesday for making a throat-slitting gesture to a relative of Srebrenica victims.
And then my eyes fell on the earliest dispatch from the trial, by The Guardian newspaper at 5:08 EDT on May 16, revealing the potential origin of the current round of throat-slitting-or-not reports. Unlike the others, neither the headline nor the lead paragraph mentions the gesture, with the piece being titled simply “Ratko Mladic war crimes trial begins.” Accounting for the calm approach is, apparently, the boring reality of what actually took place (unless, of course, you’d rather believe Munira Subasic’s version of events):
After nearly an hour and a half, he called for a bathroom break. The manner in which he did so – pulling a finger across his throat – momentarily caused consternation among the Bosnian families in the gallery.
So after all this, the defendant was asking for a bathroom break.
One wonders how all those hundreds of “journalists” missed their fellow reporter Julian Borger’s version before running with Subasic’s? No doubt they didn’t. But Subasic’s version was more fun. As she knew it would be.
But 12 hours later, at 17:37 EDT, apparently feeling upstaged by the more dramatic galleys of the non-incident being printed by their competitors, Guardian editors released a new article — under the same byline — with the more exciting headline “Ratko Mladic’s trial opens with a cut-throat gesture,” this time with the pop version of events. And why not? It’s not like there are ever any professional consequences for Balkans misreporting. Only for those who don’t go along with it.
Julian Borger’s 5:37 p.m. article, with its juicy tidbit about what he had previously reported as a non-incident, read:
And when the furious mother of one of the 8,000 men and boys killed in 1995 in Srebrenica could restrain herself no more and made a dismissive hand signal at him, he drew a single finger across his throat.
Please notice that since there is a discrepancy between whether Subasic crossed her wrists at Mladic, showed him her middle finger, or wagged a finger at him, we now get the more general-sounding “dismissive hand signal.”
A chill went through the old Dutch insurance building where the Hague war crimes tribunal does its business. [There’s that chill again.] Even a seemingly empty gesture from a bitter old man has the power to shock when that man is facing 11 charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including two counts of genocide. [Here the writer is trying to justify Western wussiness, or explaining its feigned fear of Slavic generals.]
Mladic’s lawyer, Branko Lukic, made light of the incident, as you might shrug off the growling of an old attack dog that it had never been entirely possible to tame.
“We visited him before the trial and tried to persuade him to be quiet, not to say anything at all,” Lukic said. “He told me he made that sign at a woman in the gallery who provoked him by showing him the middle finger. He is like that. He does the same to me.”
Here’s where the whole affair remains confusing. Unless the lawyer is just coming up with an answer to satisfy reporters and attributing it to his client, this means that the throat-cutting gesture happened twice. It’s how Mladic asked for a bathroom break and, according to his lawyer, how he responded to the woman’s initiating gesture. And yet other reports say that later Lukic wouldn’t confirm the gesture.
The Dutch presiding judge, Alphons Orie, called a toilet break and afterwards told Mladic to ignore the gallery and focus on the trial.
Observe the writer slickly placing the bathroom break as just organically following the interactions, rather than resulting from a specific request made by Mladic — the way the same writer had it earlier.
He warned the angry women in the gallery to avoid “inappropriate interactions in the future” or he would lower the curtain once more on the oval goldfish bowl of a courtroom and continue in camera.
That last sentence gives lie to the reports which had the rebuke directed at Mladic specifically, and we see that the warning that Mladic would be screened off was directed at the angry gallery, not at Mladic.
But the tale served its purpose.
One might ask: Why get stuck on this one little detail when the guy is, like, a huge criminal anyway and so a small lie about him is the least he deserves?
Because it’s media lies like this, fed by lies from the Muslim and Fascist-Croatian sides in the Balkan wars, that led to the Western construct of Ratko Mladic et. al. in the first place. And if a lie is big enough, and repeated often enough…
Meanwhile, for a reference point on Munira Subasic, see this anti-Israel protest, with signs reading “Srebrenica 1995 — Gaza 2009″:
Survivors of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims protested in front of the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo on Thursday to call on Washington to stop Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Munira Subasic, who lost her son and husband when Bosnian Serbs took over the eastern town of Srebrenica, said she felt solidarity with the Palestinian people.
“In 2009, Palestinian mothers are going through ordeals we experienced in 1995 and we are raising our voice because we know about pain and suffering. We know how it feels to lose a child or husband,” said Subasic.
Hundreds joined the Sarajevo protest, some with placards reading “Stop the killing of innocent children” and “Srebrenica 1995 — Gaza 2009.”
“I believe the United States, as the leading world power, could stop the bloodshed of civilians and, even worse, of children in Gaza,” said Murat Tahirovic, the head of an association of Bosnian wartime camp inmates.
“During the war, the blood, the suffering and the pain were our everyday scenes and I cannot help but sympathise with the Palestinian people,” said another protester. “It all reminds us of what we went through during the war and it must stop.”
You hear that? The Bosnian Muslims again want us to “do something” — again to “STOP” it. Last time by bombing their Serb enemy, this time by bombing their Jewish one, for which the Serbs served as precedent. Samantha Power, are you listening? You certainly were in Bosnia.
The day after The Telegraph’s multiple climaxes over the finger-across-the-throat, it printed the following by Brendan O’Neill:
The cut-throat gesture made by Ratko Mladic on the opening day of his trial at The Hague sent a frisson of excitement through the press corps. Never mind that it’s now reported that the gesture could have been a demand for a toilet break rather than a threat to the Bosnian Muslims sitting in the gallery (ie. Mladic was saying, “Let’s cut for a minute, I need a leak”). The media still lapped it up, cock-a-hoop that their favourite evil man had done a really evil thing on the first day of his trial for being evil. They had the image they wanted, the image that would further boost the shtick they’ve been performing for 20 years now: the one in which the Serbs play the role of modern-day Nazis who love killing and raping people, and the moral crusaders of the Western media play the role of unimaginably brave witnesses to this Nazi-style nastiness.
The trial of Mladic has nothing to do with “justice for Bosnia”. It is better understood as a cut-price Nuremberg for modern moral crusaders who, lacking a Hess or a Goering, will make do with a Mladic instead. Mladic is a substitute Nazi for self-styled reincarnations of Churchill, those middle-aged bores of the liberal international media who fancy that their brave reporting from Bosnia in the mid-1990s helped to expose that Nazism was alive and well and living in the DNA of every Serb man. No mention of Mladic is complete without the deployment of Holocaust-echoing terminology, whether we’re being reminded that he is responsible for “the worst crimes in Europe since the Nazi Holocaust[TM]”, or that he is the “architect of genocide”, or that he was hellbent on cleansing, exterminating, wiping out, and so on.
…[T]he use of Nazi analogies in every discussion of the Serbs has more to do with the emotional needs of Western observers than it does with what really happened in Bosnia in the 1990s. It is their desperate need for an historic-sounding mission, for a political thrill in their otherwise cushioned, uneventful lives, which has led to the tragic, messy, profoundly complex war in Bosnia being reimagined as a simple re-enactment of Nazi wickedness. This, you see, allowed Western liberal writers and activists who had the misfortune to be in the ascendancy in an extraordinarily bland political era – the 1990s – to fantasise that a new Holocaust was unfolding in Europe and that it fell to them to tell the world about it and to STOP IT.
From Bosnia in the mid-1990s (when the New Statesman referred to the Serbs as “Satanic”) to Kosovo in the late 1990s (when the Sun ran a headline saying “Nazis 1999: Serb cruelty has chilling echoes of the Holocaust”), the Serbs have continually been compared to the Nazis. This whoring of the Holocaust by Western commentators is designed not only to condemn the Serbs (depicting them as “stark, raving, mad, vicious, mean bastards”, in the words of Misha Glenny), but more importantly to flatter the egos of Western observers. Guardian writer Ed Vulliamy rather gave the game away when, in one of his many pieces on the Bosnian War, he wrote that where his father “had the honour of fighting fascism”, he had the “strange privilege” of watching people fight against “a pale but unmistakeable imitation of the Third Reich” – that is, the Bosnian Serbs. Across the Western media in the 1990s, journalists were trying to live up to daddy’s expectations, to the higher achievements of that more inspiring wartime generation, by declaring a war of words against “New Nazis”.
We can now expect the trial of Mladic to be treated as a kind of denouement to this self-flattering branding of the Serbs as Nazis. Every gesture and comment made by Mladic will be held up as evidence that he is more than your average wicked warlord, of which there are actually many around the world – he is a new Hitler, a maker of Holocausts. It took Elie Wiesel, a survivor of the actual Holocaust, to challenge this teenage exploitation of the history of the Holocaust by mission-seeking journalists. In the late 1990s, he said: “The Holocaust was conceived to annihilate the last Jew on the planet. Does anyone believe that [the Serbs] seriously planned to exterminate all the Bosnians, all the Albanians, all the Muslims in the world?” Let’s hope those words have at least some impact as Western hacks rush to The Hague in the coming months in the hope of glimpsing “the new Hitler”.
And we know how the rest will go down. After showing up with their notebooks on the first day of the trial and basking in the horrors that, we’re told, Mladic will be found guilty of — and more speedily than in Milosevic’s case — we won’t hear from these “journalists” during the crux of the proceedings which — if other ICTY trials are any indication — is when the charges they’ve so heavingly outlined this week get pummeled by inconvenient facts, and prosecutors and their star witnesses start to stumble. Rest assured that when some truly sensational facts are revealed in court, they will not be revealed to the public. The wires may have an understated dispatch here and there, but the usual suspects won’t pick them up to treat you to history the way they treated you to a throat-slashing-or-not detail from last week’s media orgy.
Have PoliticalMavens.com delivered to your inbox in a daily digest by clicking here