Friday, December 18, 2009

Srebrenica Denial

The ICMP has been carrying out out DNA analysis of the human remains of Srebrenica victims since 2001. Its results are regularly updated on its site. As of July 2009, it had revealed...
...the identity of 6,186 persons missing from the July 1995 fall of Srebrenica, by analyzing DNA profiles extracted from bone samples of exhumed mortal remains and matching them to the DNA profiles obtained from blood samples donated by relatives of the missing.
Surely this is enough for deniers to drop their evasion of the obvious truth? Unfortunately, no.

When Jonnie Hargis opened this thread in July 2005, the ICMP had already identified at least 1,042 victims. Hargis dismissed any Internet text outlining such evidence with this astonishingly ignorant remark:
Your links don't help, in fact they hurt your position, they merely show a few bones and not enormous mass graves of thousands upon thousands as alleged. Also, the text which makes claims means nothing when searching for physical evidence.
Hargis thus insisted by implication that even DNA evidence is inadmissible unless the investigators have placed photographs of each grave and each exhumed body on the Internet with proof that they were murdered.

Hargis also made this unsubstantiated claim:
I believe it was a Finnish forensics team that surmised that what dead they did find were a result of military action. The bodies contained gun powder traces indicative of weapons firing.
What Finnish team was this and how does the presence of gunpowder prove that the dead were simply victims of battle? It turns out that Hargis was conflating Srebrenica with the investigation of the massacre in Racak, Kosovo, and was misrepresenting the results, which are discussed here.

Another technique of deniers, as Oliver Kamm notes here, is to play numbers games. This can be illustrated by examining claims by the most prominent Srebrenica denier, Edward Herman.

Herman argues here that the number of refugee survivors, when compared with Srebrenica's pre-war population, makes the death total of 8,000 impossible. This, of course, is decontextualized number-mining, because it ignores population movements between those counts and does not examine the numbers in light of the other evidence, most obviously the DNA analysis. This then leads him to claim that the ICMP is (wittingly or unwittingly) examining remains that were brought in from other parts of Bosnia, as part of an elaborate and macabre conspiracy to pass off the remains of war dead as remains of massacre victims:
Interestingly, although the Serbs were regularly accused of trying to hide bodies, there has never been any suggestion that the Bosnian Muslims, long in charge of the body search, might shift bodies around and otherwise manipulate evidence, despite their substantial record of dissembling. A systematic attempt to use DNA to trace connections to Srebrenica is underway, but entails many problems, apart from that of the integrity of the material studied and process of investigation, and will not resolve the question of differentiating executions from deaths in combat. There are also lists of missing, but these lists are badly flawed, with duplications, individuals listed who had died before July 1995, who fled to avoid BSA service, or who registered to vote in 1997, and they include individuals who died in battle or reached safety or were captured and assumed a new existence elsewhere.
This crankery proves that the demands made by deniers for forensic evidence of Holocaust mass grave sites are bogus. If DNA evidence is inadmissible, there is simply no point in trying to placate such demands by disturbing the sites.

1 comment:

Max said...

Western governments, news media, and the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague have assiduously misled the public about the nature of the massacre. The International Commission for Missing Persons, also known as ICMP, is systematically deluding the public about the true reach of DNA technology in order to foster the illusion that its laboratories hold the key to the solution of the Srebrenica enigma. On the 16th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre this year ICMP claimed that it has “closed 5,564 cases of Srebrenica victims” and that “only about 1,500 remain to be resolved.” However, that announcement is completely at odds with science. By calling persons that it has allegedly identified by using DNA techniques “Srebrenica victims” ICMP is taking a clear position that they were in fact executed prisoners (victims, rather than legitimate combat casualties) and also that their deaths are related to Srebrenica events of July of 1995. Both suggestions are false. DNA technology serves only to identify mortal remains or reassociate disarticulated parts of the same body, but it has absolutely nothing to say about the manner or time of death. ICMP has no means to differentiate “victims,” i.e. executed prisoners, from persons who perished in combat and whose death therefore is not a war crime.