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October 7, 2003
Interview Highlights Changing Situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Terrorist Escalation
A Serbo-Croat language news magazine on October 6, 2003, published details of an interview in Belgrade with GIS Editor Gregory Copley regarding the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the links to terrorism. Key elements of this interview are published below:
one of your latest reports you accused Amb.
of the US, the Deputy High
Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), of putting pressure on
It was not an accusation, it
was merely a statement of fact. We know that Ambassador Hays presented a
two-page document to the Government of Republica Srpska regarding the 1995
fighting in Srebrenica. The document essentially said that the Government of
Republica Srpska accepted the opinion of the Islamists – essentially the SDA
position – as to what happened at Srebrenica.
The Government was “strongly
advised” to sign this document. Given the fact that the Office of the High
Representative can remove elected government officials in BiH summarily, without
due process, the threat to the Government of Republica Srpska was clear: either
sign or face removal.
Mr Hays has said that we have
no proof that he coerced the Government officials to sign, but in that regard he
skirts the truth. We know what he presented to the Government, and the
Government issued a statement which complied with that document his office had
drafted; it was cause and effect, and the coercion was quite clear.
It is equally clear that
Ambassador Hays would not have done this on his own; such a step was clearly
authorized, if not initiated, by High Representative Ashdown.
What is significant in this
matter is not merely the coercion, but the fact that the Office of High
Representative (OHR) took the position of one community in BiH – in fact not
one community, but essentially one party, the Islamist SDA (Party of Democratic
Action) of Alija Izetbegovic – and forced it on another BiH community in an
arbitrary way, which, in fact, did not help the healing and unification process
in BiH as a whole, but, rather, made communal differences worse.
The OHR also did not take into
account the fact that the governments of
As well, the International
Criminal Tribunal on Yugoslavia (ICTY) had not itself completed its
investigation on Srebrenica, and the OHR pressure was clearly designed to
forestall any proper and conclusive studies. The Government of Republica Srpska
itself, which has been working very closely with the ICTY to be able to put this
whole matter behind it, has not completed its studies on Srebrenica.
So all of this raises a serious
question as to why the OHR insisted on the RS Government statement at this time.
What concerns a growing number
of people internationally – not just in our own organization, but in the US
Congress and other circles – is why the OHR should take such a position which
favors only one political party in BiH, and why the entire context of the
Srebrenica affair is not discussed. Many thousands of innocent people and
combatants of both Serb and Muslim backgrounds were killed over a period of
several year, and there were clearly deliberate provocations, planned by the SDA
leadership as far back as 1991-92 to attempt to force a Serbian response to
The SDA’s provocations were
clearly genocidal war crimes themselves, and they did, indeed lead to a Serbian
response which was, although completely unacceptable, largely prompted by the
massacre of Serbian families by Muslim units. It is impossible to explain the
tragedy of Srebrenica without looking at the context and the planned
manipulations by Alijia Izetbegovic to create an affair which was designed to
provoke sympathy for his cause. Not the cause of
Again, I would ask: why did the
OHR insist on bringing the matter to a head at this time?
High Representative Ashdown had
taken the leadership of the Islamists’ Srebrenica monument for reasons known
only to himself. He had received a donation of $1-million from the US Embassy
for this monument which had been portrayed as a monument to the suffering of
innocents at Srebrenica. He required an additional 4-million marks to complete
A small number of families of
victims of the 1995 Srebrenica fighting sued the Government of Republica Srpska
for compensation. Was it coincidence that the court’s judgment on this came
just before the monument was due to be opened? Was it coincidence that the
judgment was for 4-million marks? Was it coincidence that the payment was
ordered to be paid by the Government of Republica Srpska not to the plaintiffs,
the families of the victims, but to the monument project which was headed by Mr
I would suggest that there are
too many coincidences in all of this.
Then we move on to the fact
that the timetable for the opening of the monument was determined, in fact, by
the schedule of the former US President, William Clinton, who was to be
available in the area – while he was on his way to fundraising functions in
the Middle East – so that Clinton could compound the political message of the
monument. So we have a case where Mr Ashdown promoted a schedule based on the
political availability of Mr Clinton. And, not surprisingly, we then see that Mr
Clinton was paid $250,000 for his participation in the unveiling of the monument
by Mr Izetbegovic’s SDA party, and that Mr Clinton visited Mr Izetbegovic in
All of this despite mounting
evidence that Mr Izetbegovic and his SDA colleagues have actively supported
terrorism and al-Qaida leader Osama
bin Laden, and that there are profound links between terrorists related to the
We can take this further.
Because of Mr Clinton’s schedule and involvement with SDA – not just now,
but through historic links and meetings between Clinton and Izetbegovic and the
like – Mr Ashdown undertook a number of actions. Firstly, he used his power as
High Representative to force the Government of Republica Srpska to accept a
“verdict” on Srebrenica which it would never have done voluntarily.
Secondly, he gives every appearance of having influenced the courts to ensure
that Republica Srpska would have to pay for the monument which essentially was
designed to tell the world that there were only Serb aggressors and only Muslim
The whole point was to distort
the truth in two ways: firstly, by only telling part of the story; secondly, by
taking a number of Muslim victims which was plucked out of the air and not
substantiated by forensic evidence. Indeed, Mr Ashdown’s efforts were all
geared to both suppressing independent investigations and forestalling any
further discussion of the actual facts of the issue.
In this regard, by attempting
to “put the affair behind us”, Mr Ashdown did exactly what Tito did with
regard to the concentration camp in which 700,000 people – mostly Serbs, Jews
and Gypsies – were killed at Jasenovac: he drove the truth underground, where
simmering divisions and injustices merely bubble away for generations. He was
not resolving the issue by shining the light of truth on it, but rather raising
doubts for generations to come.
Then Mr Ashdown, again using
his powers as High Representative to serve his position as head of the monument,
in a clear conflict of interests, expropriated the battery factory at Srebrenica,
for use by the monument. In this regard, he also forced the Republica Srpska
Government to pay compensation to the shareholders of the factory, buying out
their shares. But in so doing, he caused loss of future profits to the
shareholders, and loss of future earnings to the workers.
In this regard, Mr Ashdown used
his power as High Representative to further his essentially private commitment
as head of the monument. This gives the workers and shareholders who were
injured in this action the legal right to sue Mr Ashdown personally in civil
court in the
Mr Ashdown is clearly counting
on the fact that these people have no access to legal aid in
several occasion you expressed doubt about the number of people alleged to have
been killed in Srebrenica in 1995. Why you think that figures are not true?
I believe that the figures are not yet all available. All of the forensic work has not yet been done. Even the ICTY, which has no love for the Serbs, has made it clear that all the evidence is not yet available.
Clearly, however, the numbers
which are available through independently-verifiable forensic research are
nothing like as high as the Islamists are claiming. One unnecessary death is one
too many, and there is no case to minimize the importance of the loss of even a
single innocent life. Equally, however, justice is not served if the truth is
distorted and the numbers are exaggerated to punish one particular group.
As well, when the issue of the
broader expanse of killing is raised, to take account of the initial, planned
offensives of the Izetbegovic forces in the years before 1995, designed to
trigger a retaliatory action by the Serbs, the supporters of Izetbegovic claim
that this is “holocaust denial”. In fact, the Izetbegovic supporters are
holocaust distorters, as well as, themselves, “holocaust deniers” because
they refuse to acknowledge the whole truth and the full extent of the blame.
one of your reports you claim that memorial center in Srebrenica, according to
your Islamic sources, will become some kind of sanctuary for radical islamists
Not a sanctuary, but a shrine around which Islamists have said they wish Muslims to rally. This would be the first Muslim "holy site" in
Europeans would regard this as infeasible, but we have already seen the
development of radical Islamic government – under Izetbegovic – literally
initiating terrorism and terrorist bases and training within
is a coherent geopolitical strategy. If it works, there would be no need for
The impact of former Pres.
Clinton’s visit to Srebrenica is only just beginning to be felt in the
impression in the Balkans is that
impressions in the US — which haad pictured the Serbs in BiH as a nation which
is guilty of all the bad things which happened here — are changing, or on the
verge of changing. Is that a fact and how would you explain that phenomenon?
However, it is very important
to stress that the Izetbegovic Administration, which clung to power illegally
for some years, and the former Croatian Administration of Franjo Tudjman spent
between them hundreds of millions of dollars on publicity, lobbying and
political influence operations in the
This was a mistake. As a result, the world only knows what Islamist and what was then radical Croatian money bought.
to one theory, the changing of opinion in the US merely
reflects a pre-election conflict
between Democrats and Republicans?
Changing opinions on the
Balkans is not in itself about pre-election maneuvering in the
Congressional and US Defense Department interest in Balkan stability will
ultimately mean an end to the former Clinton Administration policies – which
are still being carried out by many in the US State Department simply because
the Bush Administration has been preoccupied elsewhere with the wars on
terrorism and against Saddam Hussein – which are no longer helpful, if they
ever were. However, if Pres. George W. Bush is not re-elected as President and
if the Republicans lose their grip on Congress, then it is entirely feasible
that a Clinton-type Democratic President would once again take a one-sided view
of the region and resume support for the Bosnian Muslims at the expense of other
Are there any terrorists in BiH? What I meant is, the fact is that we had some number of Islamic militants who are being member of "El mujaheed" brigade. Is it true that some of them are involved in the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US? Who are they and how many of them?
This is a long and complex
subject. However, let me say that it is absolutely clear that there are Islamist
In one of your reports you describe relationship between high Islamic officials in
There is no evidence to suggest that the links between the “high Islamic officials” you mention and radical Islamists has been severed in any way.
has been reported recently that
Alija Izetbegovic actually met several times with Osama bin Laden and spoke with
him. Do you know anything about those meetings?
Yes, we know absolutely that
Alija Izetbegovic met on several known occasions with Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden
visited Izetbegovic in his office more than once, and they met elsewhere on
Mr Izetbegovic’s record
speaks for itself. He has publicly over decades made his links with radical
Islamism very, very clear. He not only met with bin Laden, but actually hired
the key al-Qaida official, Muhammed
al-Zawahiri – the brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number two man in al-Qaida
– to run special forces functions during the war in
In your reports you actually prove a link between BiH officials and terrorists. What feedback has this reporting had in the US?
There is growing concern in the
a recent report, you said that GIS/ISSA discovered huge number of documents
which provided new evidence about links between BiH and terrorists. Can you say
anything more about those documents?
We do have substantial
documentation which we are working on, from a variety of sources. That is all I
can say at this time.
How do you explain the indifferent attitude of officials from EU and US to the fact that in once pure Serbian village Bocinja, eight years after war, is now a pure mujahedin community? Regarding that, a statement from Jacques Paul Klein, former chief of IPTF said that is "better that the mujahedin are in Bocinja because if they are in one place we can control them". Was that statement just a joke or serious strategy?
I think that Mr Klein’s
comments were only half-serious, and clearly not meant to imply a strategy.
However, the indifference of EU and US officials to the Bocinja situation, among
others, stems directly from the fact that the Serbs have absolutely and totally
failed to get their message across to the media and policy audiences of the
outside world for the past 13 years.
It is a tragic joke for Serbs
to keep saying that history will vindicate them. History is written by victors,
and until now, in