Kosovo war fantasies of Josef Martinsen… debunked!

Norwegian researcher Josef Martinsen. Picture from his website.

Norwegian researcher Josef Martinsen. Picture from his website.

Norwegian researcher Josef Martinsen actively pushes his version of war crimes that he claims happened in Serbia’s Kosovo province from 1998, even if he is very well aware that his data represents an active falsification of the history of that conflict in Kosovo in the favor of the Albanians.

I had previously written that I had not been sure whether Martinsen understood that he was lying about who died and why in Kosovo, but since he has refused to answer any of my publically posed questions on his research, I have no alternative but to conclude that he is knowingly presenting lies.

This does not imply that I know why Martinsen is lying; I merely note that what he is presenting are data that he himself must know to be untrue.

On Jan. 29, 2015, Martinsen held a press conference in Belgrade’s Media Center, that drew a grand total of two journalists. Despite the lack of any serious interest in his work, Martinsen nevertheless hired two security guards to prevent me from entering the meeting room to ask any questions in the presence of media witnesses. Regardless, I am happy to have had the chance to speak to a handful of guests outside the press conference room.

I am also happy I was able to dissuade the “Helsinki Committee” and its chief Sonja Biserko, from supporting Martinsen’s project. I am on record as strongly disagreeing with Biserko on many matters regarding Serbia and the destruction of Yugoslavia, but at least we had a frank face-to-face discussion in which I can avow that she has been informed exactly what Martinsen is doing.

I also have a good relationship with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo and with the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade, and I am satisfied that Norway never supported Martinsen’s project.

Martinsen has called for a truth commission, and says he wants to set up an NGO in Serbia, but a truth process should not be built on the foundation of a big lie. Martinsen is thus not going to have any success in creating a commission or a serious NGO, nor do I wish to spend too much more time debunking a deceiver. He has done more to harm his own credibility than I could even if I tried. I am only writing this article to make sure that the interested public fully knows that Martinsen is purposely presenting false and misleading data about the victims of in Kosovo.

Nataša Kandić joins Biserko as another Western-financed activist despised by many Serbs, but when it comes to the strict methodology of recording dead and missing in Kosovo, there is no equal to Kandic’s Humanitarian Law Center (HLC), which maintains the most complete open database of killed and how in Kosovo from 1998 to 2000. This database is public in the form of the Kosovo Memory Book, and this is a great example of how to build a database of killed and missing in conflicts around the world. HLC reported on its progress at a press conference on Feb. 6, 2015.

Also, Martinsen’s major problem is that he claims his book gives “close to a complete record of civilian victims and places where crimes were committed during the war in 1998-99,” but he is far distant from presenting any kind of complete record.

HLC combines sources from Martinsen and three others, and a combined 3,190 names from these four sources were not included in the Kosovo Memory Book. As of Dec. 31, 2014, HLC still had to check 1,071 names, but disturbingly, only 581 of them are even claimed to have died in the war. Another 488 were actually found alive, 151 died of natural causes, and 184 died due to caused unrelated to the war, while 715 did not even exist!

Most curiously, Kandić declined to give any breakdown of which victims’ names Martinsen was responsible for, but I assert that his refusal to submit to any third-party scrutiny signifies that the findings of his work are so substandard that they must be rejected entirely until proven and independently verified one by one. Please listen to my recording of the press conference.

Martinsen has a major problem in documenting sources and witnesses to alleged murders in Kosovo. According to his own Excel file that he gave to me, he claims to be the only source for 2,625 names and partially responsible for 3,408, for a combined number of 6033 persons, from the period before June 20, 1999, those before and those without date as you will see in the Excel document.

However, the HLC has only been able to confirm 65 witnesses from the entirely of his two books. How could only 65 witnesses be sufficient to cover the claims of 6,033 victims? They could not.

I have tried to get answers from Martinsen on many occasions, but he has never replied to any relevant questions. In the year 2000, for example, I was working as a Norwegian press officer with the rank of major for NATO in Pristina, in a very central position. That year, HLC recorded 195 murders and disappearances/kidnappings, only 60 of them Albanians. On the other hand, Martinsen lists 603 names for 2000, the vast majority Albanian, and as far as I can count, only 38 non-Albanians. What is more damning is that only 21 of his names correspond with the HLC database. This means that we have no way of verifying 582 names Martinsen lists for 2000, and he also negligently or purposely failed to record 174 murders and kidnappings in 2000 that are already documented and in the public domain. Of course, in my professional NATO capacity, I would have known about such murders at the scale he purports. What is his explanation for those undocumented 582 names he added from thin air?

In my article, Victims of the Kosovo war, I pointed out several names that are doubles or even refer to people who are alive, neither dead nor missing. The quality of Martinsen’s research is simply not acceptable to be published, and together with HLC, I have joined in carefully debunking his work in my investigative article Active falsification of history in Kosovo. Funders of such “research” should take care not to be associated with intentional war propaganda financed on the false pretenses of being truth or peace oriented. There is no better way to perpetuate hatred and violent animosity than to alternately diminish the losses of one side in a conflict while falsely inflating the losses of the other.

Please download the entire document about Martinsen’s completely unsupported and biased pro-Albanian falsification of history in Kosovo, 92 pages.