Sunday, April 15, 2007

"Fools' Crusade" Chapter Five [10]



Johnstone spends three pages claiming that the Racak "massacre" (the quote marks are hers) was a phony pretext for NATO intervention. In her words:

"Police the world over tend to be particularly angry when their colleagues are murdered. One my reasonably assume that Serbian police, cornering a group of men they assumed had done the killing, did not go out of their way to give them a chance to surrender but gunned them down mercilessly. If so, it might be called a "massacre." But the pertinent question is: was it or was it not a cold-blodded "massacre of civilians", killed only because of their ethnic identity, as part of a campaign of ethnic cleansing? That, after all, was the interpretation used to justify NATO bombing."

Think that's over the top? Here's more, from the final paragraph:

"The material evidence my be compatible with a pitiless assault by angry Serb police on men they considered to be--rightly or wrongly--"terrorists" who had murdered their colleagues. Cases of such police "overkill" occur in many countries, including, notably, the United States."

Remember, we are talking about the massacre of 45 civilians, including three children. Bodies spread over a sizable area. And this, I add, is her defense of the massacre.

Like any conspiracy theorist, Johnstone does a masterful job of selectively choosing evidence which might support her altered version of events. She makes much of Finnish forensic scientist Helena Ranta's reserved and cautious approach, hinting that she knew the reports were weak and did not make the case that NATO wanted. Here is a link to an interview with Ranta (from 2001--prior to the publication of Fools' Crusade):

Ranta has since gone on to testify at Milosevic's trial at The Hague, where her testimony helped refute his charge that the Racak massacre was actually a legitimate military operation against KLA troops.

Johnstone is far from the only Balkan revisionist to jump on the Racak Massacre Denier bandwagon. The cautious, inclusive tone of the original Finnish report was an attempt to remain neutral and draw no conclusions about possible scenarios; Johnstone and others falsely portray this approach as somehow validating Serb propaganda (bolstered by reports in the French media, unfortunately). Johnstone claims that the French newpapers Le Figaro and Le Monde had raised "disturbing questions, which have never been answered." That, of course, is nonsense. Some relevant material can be found on this page from the Balkan Witness website:

There is more to this section--the accusation that this KLA-fabricated massacre and the biased Western response were primarily responsible for the Rambouillet talks is predictable (and somewhat true, as far as that goes--outrage over Racak did play an important role in driving events), but this section is mainly Johnstone in full conspiracy-theorist mode. She baldly states that:

"There was no "execution at close range" in Racak. Almost all the victims were killed by multiple shots, fired from different directions and at a distance. Only one victim showed signs of possibly having been shot at close range."

Statements like these simply don't hold up to the well-documented available evidence, or to the testimony of Ms. Ranta, whom Johnstone bizarrely seems to believe was less than convinced of the truthfulness of the reports she helped create and the summary she helped draft. People who cannot be bothered to acknowledge facts which are inconvenient are going to believe what they want to believe. Diana Johnstone is a "true believer," and she is only dangerous if other people choose to make the same, hateful and nihilistic leap of faith.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks again, Kirk, for reminding us of the way that people like Johnstone exploit the carefulness and caution of someone like Helena Ranta for their own purposes but ignore her when her findings might get in the way of their argument.

I can't remember offhand who it was that found a bullet embedded in the path that had carried fabric from the clothing of one of the victims into the ground with it. Rather difficult unless it was being fired downward into a body already lying on the ground.