Sunday, February 24, 2008

Canadian General Lewis MacKenzie: Still a Liar

If you can resist the urge to punch your PC monitor while listening to this pompous pimp for Serbian nationalism, I suggest you check out this recent interview with well-known Serb-nationalist apologist, Canadian General Lewis MacKenzie, courtesy of East Ethnia:

Lewis MacKenzie Pollutes the Canadian Airwaves

It is the height of journalistic irresponsibility that this Mike Duffy allowed MacKenzie to regurgitate such easily refutable nonsense like the "staging" of the Racak massacre without challenge. And if there were still any lingering doubts that MacKenzie is little more than a compliant mouthpiece for Serbian fascism, his reiteration of the "Serb Jerusalem" argument should put them to rest.

Absolutely disgraceful that this man represented both the UN and the Canadian armed forces; equally disgraceful that he is active in Canadian politics today, and that he is given a public platform from which to spread his poisonous disinformation.


Anonymous said...

The value of MacKenzie's opinions can be gauged less from the tone of self-confident authority with which he speaks as from the next analogy he makes, between Kosova's separation from Serbia and Nepal's desire to secede from China.

He simply doesn't like evidence, wherever he finds it. Whether it's the Finnish coroner's report from Racak or the ICTY's thorough exposition of the nature of genocide, MacKenzie knows better.

Anonymous said...

You know, 27 Canadian soldiers died protecting innocents in your country and I don't see any form of thanks or appreciation. They went in when no one else would, into an area that of the world that is so consumed with hate that they will never get along.

That is the legacy of the Balkans - and yet you slander General MacKenzie with crimes that can never be substantiated.

Your site should be one of healing and yet you're following the same line that got thousands of people killed.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I'm not Bosnian, nor is the Blog's author. We're not criticising the bravery of the Canadian troops in Bonsia in episodes such as the Medak pocket battle. However Lewis MacKenzie himself has a pretty disreputable history as someone who happily repeats untruths about the Balkans after they've been refuted while concealing his links to the pro-Serb lobby in the U.S.

There is plenty of evidence of his malevolent falsehoods and misrepresentations, without discussing the "slanders that can't be substantiated". However MacKenzie chooses to handle those accusations, they are unnecessary to establish his reputation as someone whose comments are not to be taken at face value.

Kirk Johnson said...

Allow me to add to Owen's comments--your characterization of Bosnia as "an area that of the world that is so consumed with hate that they will never get along" is actually the same line of condescending, bigoted nonsense that MacKenzie has always used to justify his deliberate dissembling and hatemongering. How dare you turn the tables and present any criticism of this bogus expert as an exercise in perpetuating hatred and intolerance.

Anonymous said...

And as far as healing is concerned, MacKenzie's repeated denial of genocide at Srebrenica (an episode in which he was not involved) has rubbed salt into the wounds of the victims' families who have had to fight to get their loss accepted as the truth and has encouraged the perpetrators.

Anonymous said...

General Lewis Mackenzie - concentration camp rapist with U.N. immunity should face charges of rape in Bosnia! If he is innocent, he has nothing to be afraid of! But...

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.

Anonymous said...

And before we get called on to go into the whole argument about genocide and the survival of the women and children of Srebrenica,
the Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) carefully examined the specific issue of the survival of the women and children and found that nevertheless the intent was to exterminate the Bosnian Muslims of Srebrenica and thus genocide had been committed.

It deliberated over the matter at paras 593-598 of its judgment - see:
(2 August 2001)

The Trial Chamber's conclusion was endorsed by the Appeal Chamber at paras 19-20 of its judgment - see:
(19 April 2004)

These deliberations of the ICTY were subsequently endorsed by the International Court of Justice, the highest forum of international law. in paras 278-297 of its judgment - see:
(26 February 2007)

In the Krstic case the number of victims was confirmed as at least 7500 (The list of people missing or killed at Srebrenica compiled by the Federal Commission of Missing Persons includes over 8,300 names).

MacKenzie's article was published in the Globe and Mail on 14 July 2005, nicely coinciding with the tenth anniversary of the massacre.
MacKenzie set himself as an authority on what happened at Srebrenica, a place he had not visited, in the knowledge that what he was saying went against the findings of the highest forum of international criminal law. To the best of my knowledge he has not shown any desire to reconsider his previous pronouncements since the ICJ issued its judgment on the Bosnia/Serbia case.

Anonymous said...

Quote: "...into an area that of the world that is so consumed with hate that they will never get along."

You are absolutely wrong. We get along and we will get along. I have Serb friends, and I will have them no matter what Serbian government does. If you go to Bosnia, you will see that ordinary people get along just well. We will get along and we will live together and the tolerance and peace will prevail!

Anonymous said...

Now that karadzic-trial is finally underway, there is at least hope that general mackenzie's role will also be revealed. Fact remains that he could not care less about the civil population of Sarajevo and chose to suck up to the serb fascists. It is that connection that makes his role crystal clear. Bombing a city of nearly 400,000 inhabitants is a crime, regardless of who is doing it. Sucking up to those who were doing it, is a crime in itself.

Kirk Johnson said...

Let us hope that Gen. MacKenzie's day of reckoning is coming; it is high time his disgraceful role should be revealed for what is was; thank you 'Anonymous' for bringing this up.

Anonymous said...

Do Not be assholes to serbs!!!

Kirk Johnson said...

Nobody is being an "asshole" to anyone. Except, that is, General MacKenzie, who is being an "asshole" to all of us who care about the truth.

Anonymous said...

And what is the truth? Were you in the Bulkans during this time?

Anonymous said...

I am Bosnian muslim and i have lost members of family in the war.
Serbs are traitors they are people full of hatred and what they did during the war is horrible.
Men were executed, children and women raped, killed, actually butchered... my god such animals.

I am a mother and when i heard stories of women during the war about what happened to them it just broke my hearth. Most of them had their kids killed in front of them what do you say about that!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for caring, and making sure that the truth is known!

It is still painfull to think about what has happened to us, and tonight, I just thought of Lewis MacKenzie again, and typed in search his name just to see if I'll find any recent news on him, when I came across your blog.

Thank you Owen and Kirk, and all others, who are still making sure that the truth about MacKenzie is said and written, and hopefully one day he'll be charged for what he's done to Bosnia and Hercegovina and its people.

Hatidza Z.

Someone smart said...

you people do know,that mackenzie was accused of rape,of muslim women,along with serbs,right? and that it was never proven,because it's impossible?Like,they took his picture with four crying women,as him with 4 women he raped,and murdered after,even though those women are still alive to this day,and can witness that they were his secretaries?!? and in a period he wasn't even in Bosnia?!?!?!,besides that,you still hate on that guy,and call HIM a liar.Why,because he is actually telling the truth?Just because some media says something,it doesn't mean that it is true...don't be so trustfull,they are working for cash in a capitalist country,after all...

Anonymous said...

accept my gracious comments. My grandma died and it would make me really happy to see my comments on your blog :) thanks. So my grandma grew up in a small town called huntingville she liked to take long walks down the riverside she now has a pet goldfish or she did but it has been passed down to me. The goldfish's name was Phil and he always wanted to be an explorer so I let him be one by releasing him into the ocean. Now he has made many friends including mr octopus and Billy the toad. I once saw Billy with his family they looked so happy together so I asked them why, and they said its because they have fresh homemade paska on the oven for tonight. So I asked him for the recipe and he gave it to me. Now ive been making fresh Paska ever since. So as you can see it would mean a great deal to me if you'd allow my comments on your blog and maybe you could mention Billy on your blog sometime because his family deserves to be known.