Srebrenica press cuttings, late July 1995

The press cuttings below from the latter part of July 1995 show clearly that there are many reasons to doubt the authenticity of the Srebrenica massacre stories.


New York Times News Service 26 July 1995


By Paul Quinn‑Judge 

WASHINGTON  The Clinton administration has not obtained independent confirmation of reported atrocities by Bosnian Serbs but does not doubt that they have occurred, State Department and other administration officials said Wednesday. 

”The bottom line is that these guys have been indicted as war criminals,” said a State Department spokesman, referring to the Bosnian Serb leadership. The official noted eyewitness accounts of arbitrary executions provided by Dutch UN troops, and credible reports of atrocities from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross. ”These people are the experts, we trust them,” the official said. 

But there are ways to confirm what eyewitnesses say, he added.  If massacres were large enough ”and if the timing is right the birds can take a picture,” he said, referring to spy satellites. But so far, the official said, satellites have produced nothing.  Other sources, with knowledge of the secretary of state’s daily intelligence briefing said that Warren Christopher has not been presented with any intelligence imagery that could confirm massacres. 

The Globe Wednesday reported assertions by Serbs living along the border with Bosnia that up to 4,000 Bosnian government citizens from Srebrenica may be held by the Bosnian Serbs. One of the detention areas was believed to be a soccer field in Bratunac, a small town on the Bosnian‑Serbian border. Local Serbs interviewed by the Globe spoke of shootings and mass burials. A number of US intelligence platforms should be capable of detecting such large concentrations of people as long as they fly over the right area, there is no cloud cover and specialists viewing the images have a very good  idea what they are looking for.

US satellites make at least eight passes over Bosnia daily, according to John Pike, an expert on satellites at the Federation of American Scientists.  These include Keyhole satellites, which can detect object as small as four inches but which cannot see through clouds, and Lacrosse satellites, which can see through clouds but cannot focus enough to detect something the size of a human being.  The there are the Predators, known as technically Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, commonly referred to as drones. Built by General Atomics, these small, remote controlled vehicles can hover over targets for more than 24 hours at a time.  Four of the latest versions are thought to operate from a base in Albania.  Designed to provide ‘round-the-clock’ coverage, the Predators are almost invisible to the naked eye and difficult to pick up on radar.  They can fly at up to 25,000 feet, have infrared detectors for night vision and can purportedly relay video footage  back to the Pentagon in real time.

US officials declined to comment on the satellites or drones, their location or use, on the grounds that all information on them is strictly classified. The basic specifications from equipment performance to fuel consumption are, however, widely available in trade publications. There are also manned spy planes and reconnaissance overflights by US and allied jets operating over Bosnia. But the wealth of the technical means available only serves to point up the limitations of technology, some specialists note. 

”The truth is that these things are only really useful when you know where to look shipyard, a base or an airfield, for example or you know what you are looking for,” said one longtime user of classified material. But he conceded that ”it shouldn’t be too difficult in theory to get some clear pictures of a football stadium.” Pike said that even the larger resolution satellites could conceivably recognize the difference between an empty football field and one full of people. 

The Daily Telegraph, LondonJuly 15, 1995


The Boenian Government deliberately increased the suffering of the Muslim refugees fleeing Srebrenica to put pressure on the international community, according to documents made available to The Daily Telegraph. 

The papers include instructions to the United Nations from the government of Alija Izetbegovic in Sarajevo that the refugees must be taken in their thousands to a single location rather than being spread around numerous available centers. The resulting television pictures and media reports of chaos among aid workers overwhelmed when the refugees arrived at the U.N. base at Tuzla were intended to bring about a decisive international response. 

It was not the first time the Bosnians have manipulated events. During the Gorzade crisis of April 1993, they consistently misinformed international observers about the level of Serb shelling against the town.  “They are playing a very cynical political game,” a senior U.N. source from Sector North‑east said. “They are trying to slow the situation down to turn it into a chaotic situation.” 

As news of the Bosnian Serb offensive against Srebrenica emerged last weekend, contingency plans to receive a massive refugee population were prepared. A total of 37 sites were made ready for refugees, with enough housing for 12,000. But when the refugees began arriving, the Bosnian government insisted they all had to  be taken to the U.N. Sector North‑east headquarters at Tuzla airport, which was soon overwhelmed. Four thousand refugees arrived there on Wednesday and 8,000 on Thursday.  When U.N. officials asked for permission to move them to other sites they were told by the Bosnian government that they were a U.N. problem. The Bosnians said that as Srebrenica was a U.N.‑designated safe‑area, the refugee population was to be accounted for by the U.N. The Bosnians insisted that if they took responsibility for any Muslim refugees from Srebrenica they must be paid a substantial fee by the U.N. 

Exasperated U.N. officials negotiated with the Bosnian authorities yesterday, but made little progress. Meanwhile, the refugees were forced to spend another wretched day  out in the open fields around the airport at Dubrave. The flow of refugees from Srebrenica dried up yesterday as Bosnian Serbs stopped  busing them to the front line. The reduced flow is expected to be temporary as more than 35,000 people from Srebrenica are still unaccounted for. So far, 12,000 women, children and elderly have reached Tuzla. Before it fell to the Serbs, the enclave had a population of 35,000. 

The Bosnian Serbs have promised to free the 64 Dutch U.N. peacekeepers taken at Srebrenica, according to ITAR‑TASS news agency. It said that Vitaly Churkin, the Russian envoy, had given the news to its Belgrade correspondent after talks with Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader. Churkin said the guarantee was contained in a communique signed at the talks. 



The Srebrenica Committee for Civil Affairs made public the record of a meeting held with Muslim representatives on July 12 in the “Fontana” hotel which shows that the Serb side conducted properly, and as was agreed, the evacuation of Srebrenica residents. “During the evacuation there were no incidents from either side, with the Serb side respecting all the terms of the Geneva Convention and International War Law”, says the joint communique signed by the former executive official of Srebrenica, Nesib Mandzic, for the Muslim side. According to the minutes, the meeting was held at the request of Muslim delegation, made by Camila Purkovic, Ibro Nuhanovic and Nesib Mandzic. Representing the Serb side were the chief‑of‑staff of the Republic of Srpska Army, General Ratko Mladic, the head of Srebrenica Civil Affairs, Miroslav Deronic, the mayor of Bratunac Municipality, Ljubislav Simic, and the president of the Bratunac Municipality Executive Council, Srbislav Davidovic. It was agreed at the meeting, also attended by the commander of UNPROFOR Dutch battalion, that civilians may stay within enclave or be evacuated, depending on the wishes of each resident. “In the event that we decide to be evacuated, we will be allowed to decide where to go. We decided to transfer the entire Srebrenica population to Kladanj Municipality”, says the agreement signed by Mandzic, which specifies that the RS Army and Police will conduct the evacuation under UNPROFOR supervision.