DID YOU KNOW?  -- Three years before the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide, Serbs torched Bosniak villages and killed at least 3,166 Bosniaks around Srebrenica. In 1993, the UN described the besieged situation in Srebrenica as a "slow-motion process of genocide." In July 1995, Serbs forcibly expelled 25,000 Bosniaks, brutally raped many women and girls, and systematically killed 8,000+ men and boys (DNA confirmed).

17 July, 2011


JOHN MARDALJEVIC BSc MPhil PhD, Reader in Daylight Modelling,
Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, De Motfort University

 Guest Post Opinion  

Author: Michael P.
[the author wishes his last name to remain anonymous in order to prevent harassment from John Mardaljevic]

John Mardaljevic aka ‘JMJMJM’ aka ‘Frunobulax’ aka ‘mistyforme’ – De Montfort University’s poison-pen author, Srebrenica genocide denier and academic bad-mouther

Readers of various websites dealing with the Srebrenica genocide and Serb nationalism, including the Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’, may have come across a particularly obnoxious and snide Serb extremist and genocide denier, who writes under the names ‘Frunobulax’, ‘JMJMJM’, ‘JM’ and ‘mistyforme’. This individual has posted a series of comments over three years, denying the Srebrenica genocide and other Serb war-crimes. While such statements are fairly commonplace among vocal elements of the far right and far left, JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme’s innovation has been to couple them with character assassinations of those who have spoken out against these crimes. His agenda has been systematically to smear and malign, over a period of years, those who have campaigned against the genocide in Bosnia or taken a stand against the regimes of Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic, or against their supporters and their propaganda. Particular targets of JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme’s venom and hate-mongering have been the Serbian human-rights activist Sonja Biserko, the British historian Marko Attila Hoare, the American doctor and writer Philip J. Cohen, the Guardian journalist Ed Vulliamy and the Times columnist Oliver Kamm.

Furthermore, JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme, an academic, also took advantage of anonymity – or to be precise, pseudonymity - to attack his own academic colleagues and the funding bodies that support them – the ESRC and EPSRC.

Hate mail and character assassination

John Mardaljevic,
De Montfort University
For example, JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme told lies about Sonja Biserko, an outstanding human-rights activist who has worked tirelessly over many years, at great personal risk, to expose the abuses of the regime of Slobodan Milosevic and counter the hate-propaganda of extreme Serbian nationalism. These lies were ones he apparently copied from another anonymous commenter on an internet discussion forum – that she was actually Croatian, not Serbian, and that her brother had been killed fighting for the Croatian armed forces in the war of the 1990s against the Serbs
(http://aaronovitch.blogspot.com/2009/11/clothes-for-chaps.html). These were complete fabrications – Biserko is a Serbian citizen born in Serbia, the child of an ethnic Serb father and ethnic Croat mother; her brother never served in the Croatian armed forces, or fought in the war. This sort of smearing has been used periodically by the Serbian far-right gutter-press to demonise Biserko in the eyes of the Serbian people and incite violence against her. Indeed, she has periodically been the victim of physical harassment and assault because of precisely such smears – often made by precisely such cowards hiding behind anonymity.

Likewise, JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme has tried periodically to smear the British historian Marko Attila Hoare of Kingston University as an anti-Serb racist, claiming that he ‘hates Serbia throughout the ages’
(http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/david-gibbs-replies-to-marko-attila-hoare/). This despite the fact that Hoare dedicated his most recent book, in part, to ‘the people of Serbia, whose warmth and kindness made working there so wonderful’, and has consistently written on his blog in support of Serbian democrats and human-rights activists, ending one post with the words ‘Long live Serbia ! [in Serbian]. JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme has repeated smears of this kind against Hoare on several occasions.

JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme’s agenda has been to smear all individuals who opposed the Serb genocide of the Bosniaks, and who continue to campaign against its apologists, as ‘Serbophobes’ motivated by anti-Serb prejudice. He has employed the same tactic against the award-winning Guardian journalist Ed Vulliamy, who played a key role in exposing the existence of Serb concentration-camps in Bosnia in the 1990s, and against the Times columnist Oliver Kamm, who has written against Srebrenica genocide denial. Hence ‘Kamm has various reasons to periodically stoke-up a bit of Serbophobia. Not least he claims Marko Attila Hoare and Ed Vulliamy as chums.’ (http://neilclark66.blogspot.com/2009/05/three-cheers-for-daily-telegraph-and.html) . Needless to say, JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme has failed to produce a single example of ‘Serbophobia’ on the part of either Hoare, Vulliamy or Kamm.

JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme has smeared Philip J. Cohen, author of ‘Serbia’s Secret War’, claiming that his book was ‘ghost written by the Croatian government’ (http://modernityblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/the-second-coming-of-joe-mccarthy-david-gibbs-responds-to-hoares-criticisms/). Again, this is a complete lie, intended to denigrate a book that explores the history of Serbian anti-Semitism and complicity with the Holocaust; a lie that apparently originated with the Serb-extremist pseudo-historian Carl Savich.

All this smearing and character assassination has been made by an individual hiding behind pseudonymity, It represents a sustained policy of public hate-mail.

Genocide denial

The agenda of this poison-pen author was to minimise or deny the genocidal crimes of the extreme Serb-nationalists during the wars in the former Yugoslavia of the 1990s. Here are some examples of his minimisation and denial:

Perhaps you should also have mentioned the case of the Trnopolje "concentration camp". The footage ITN screened led to headlines the following day of "Belsen 92" etc. The film was key in ensuring that all of the blame for an ugly civil war - with atrocities on all sides - was squarely put on to the Serbs. In challenging the way that the footage was manipulated by ITN, LM magazine was sued by journalists Penny Marshall and Ian Williams in the libel courts. All agreed in court that the prisoners were not penned in by the barbed wire as depicted in the film.’

Of Fikret Abdic, the Bosniak inmate of a Serb concentration camp who became the human face of Bosnian genocide victims when he was photographed by reporters in 1992:

Fikret Alic, however badly he was mistreated, was clearly unrepresentative of the majority at the camp. Perhaps Marshall and Williams nonetheless decided that Alic was “emblematic” even if he wasn’t representative.’

The Serb military action was often in response to calculated provocations. Whilst that cannot absolve Serbs from what ensued, it does provide a context that is often lost. I believe that many Serbs are willing to acknowledge that the Srebrenica massacre was both a (heavy handed) response to provocations and also a war crime. The 'genocide' tag however will be resisted for the very good reason that it was a calculated manoeuvre by the West to make equivalence between the Holocaust and Srebrenica, and therefore between Nazis and the Serbs.’

The 'Dr' title has become meaningless, largely as a result of the political expediency of cramming universities full of kids to keep them off the dole register. Inevitably, this 'grade inflation' trend worked its way upstream to PhD level. By the same token, the 'genocide' ruling was seen by Western powers, at least then, as a worthwhile tool that served many purposes, not least easing somewhat the UDI of Kosovo.’

Forget the six million, for [Paddy] Ashdown they are merely an excuse to raise once again the spectre of the Srebrenica massacre. If his perspective on the entire history of the 20th century can be so distorted by this one awful (though in the scheme of things, quite minor) event, can he be of any use to any one 'side' in Bosnia let alone to all three?’

The genocide finding was, of course, politically motivated to ensure that a quantitatively different crime (i.e. more Muslim than Serb villagers were murdered overall) would be perceived as one that was qualitatively different. The Serbs had to be portrayed as uniquely evil, and so the g-word was used.’

Serbia even in 90s was more like London than "Nazi Germany" or "Rawanda" [sic]. A comparison of the demographics will quickly reveal that Serbia is in fact the most ethnically diverse of the states of the former Yugoslavia.’

JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme even wrote an apologia for the Serbian WW2 Nazi-puppet regime of Milan Nedic:

On September 1, 1941, Nedić made a speech on Radio Belgrade where he declared the intent of his administration to “save the core of the Serbian people” occupied and surrounded by Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, the Independent State of Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Bosnian Muslims. Of these occupiers, the Ustashe-led regime of Croatia and Nazi-led Germany committed the most numerous and most horrendous atrocities on Serbs, some numbers indicating an estimated 700,000 Serbs were killed by the Ustashe. By accepting the occupation of Germany in the area of Sumadija, Drina Valley, Pomoravlje and Banat [sic]. He also spoke against organizing resistance to the occupying forces due to German Laws in which 50 Serbs were murdered for 1 wounded German soldier, and 100 for a killed soldier. In addition, at minimum 300,000 Serbs were forcefully taken to German camps. His state’s actions were good intentioned for Serbs, but the opposite was the case for minority or opposition groups.’

[comments no longer visible for this post]

JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme frequently defends or links to the writings of extreme Srebrenica genocide-deniers and supporters of Slobodan Milosevic – including Ed Herman, Diana Johnstone, Living Marxism and The Emperor’s New Clothes (Jared Israel).

JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme’s attacks on colleagues and funding bodies:

JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme claimed to be an academic. Indeed, he often made snide remarks about other academics, including rubbishing grant applications that he didn’t approve of, and the funding bodies that supported them. His contempt was directed in particular at the EPSRC (http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/Pages/default.aspx) and ESRC (http://www.esrc.ac.uk/), and at applications by Dr Miles R. Tight of Leeds University (https://www.engineering.leeds.ac.uk/people/civil/staff/m.r.tight) (which he attacked twice), Professor Colin G. Pooley of Lancaster University (http://www.geography.lancs.ac.uk:82/Plone/department-staff-and-contact-details/prof-colin-g-pooley) (which he attacked three times), Dr William Davies of the University of Salford (https://www.seek.salford.ac.uk/profiles/DAVIES402.jsp) , Professor Catharine Ward Thompson of the Edinburgh College of Art (http://www.eca.ac.uk/staff_profiles/view/prof-catharine-ward-thompson/) , Professor Geoff Levermore of the University of Manchester (http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/staff/academic/profile/?staffId=184) and Professor Patrick Devine-Wright (http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=Patrick_Devine_Wright) of the University of Exeter.

Here is what he wrote:

A rather more interesting article would be how science funding has become increasingly focussed on multi-this-and-that twoddle in a desperate attempt by the EPSRC to be seen as trendy, but also as a smokescreen for the government to be seen to be addressing pressing issues. For example, youth obesity would be better tackled by first reducing the power of the food lobby. Instead, we have £2 million of research cash spent on this nonsense:
From one of the abstracts: "engage with a range of stakeholders". Surely, 'snack-holders'?’

Read these and weep:
Two million on another of the EPSRC's fantastically misguided thematic programmes. Hands up anyone who believes that these projects will deliver anything more revelatory than "fat kids who don't exercise/cycle will remain, er. fat".
Whilst the EPSRC has gone ever more fluffy, I doubt that the ESRC's thrust is getting more technical. Nope, it's a one way drift to fluffydom.’

Perhaps interested readers should look at the quality of some of the 'environment' research that the EPSRC/ESRC funds. Try these for size:

Main output: Guess what, the sound of rustling leaves is nicer than that of a HGV. Not bad for nearly £1m.
Cut through the jargon and it amounts to no more than what any half-way decent council worker could find out from one afternoons vox pop (if they didn't know already). This consortium project comes in at over £1.6m.
You guessed it: Mediterranean shutters on the windows. Relatively cheap at £0.6m (including all four partners).
Yep, folk don't like big, noisy windmills because they are er... big, noisy windmills! Another winner this time from the ESRC who are used to funding tosh anyway.
Let's finish on a high note:
A snip at nearly £1m. No need to comment on the abstract, it speaks for itself.
So, where does investment in this kind of research leave us? A bit stuffed really. A researcher who has spent five years searching for the Higg's boson is pretty much skilled up to do vast array of other things, regardless of whether or not he/she found the boson. But what of some hapless researcher who has spend years carrying out "in-depth qualitative research", aka asking people "how does it feel to etc. etc.". That leaves them pretty much qualified to do more of the same, and not much else.
Note, a number of real scientists do end up doing this fluff. But then the research councils are throwing the cash in those directions, so if they want to stay employed... Sad thing is that, after a while, many of them go native and start to believe in the banalities they offer to funding councils etc.
Me? I'd rather my cash went to the boson than the bozo.
PS. Seriously, someone with some influence should look over what the EPSRC are funding nowadays.

However, despite being an academic, JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme is not very bright.

Some of the comments he posted on blogs carried the following information:

Author : frunobulax (IP: , proxy2.dmu.ac.uk)

John Mardaljevic,
De Montfort University
This revealed that they had been posted from a computer at De Montfort University in Leicester. At De Montfort, there is an academic of Serbian extraction who also writes under the initials ‘-JM’ (his initials, and the first two letters of his university email address). His name is Dr John Mardaljevic, a Reader in Daylight Modelling at De Montfort University’s Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (http://www.iesd.dmu.ac.uk/):

There are a number of remarkable similarities between JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme and John Mardaljevic. Both are British academics of Serbian origin working at middle- or lower-ranking British universities. When someone once accused ‘Frunobulax’ of working at ‘the local burger joint’, he replied, in a reference to Hoare’s Kingston University, By the way, judging by the 2008 RAE, if I’m in a “local burger joint” then Dr [Marko Attila] Hoare is in an even more downmarket KFC (but you’ll have to take my word for that, I’m afraid).’

JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme and John Mardaljevic share other things as well: a knowledge of astrophysics; an interest in classical music; a love of film; a tendency to quote Tom Lehrer; and a highly idiosyncratic writing style, involving the use of the words ‘crikey’, ‘cheerio’ and ‘duh’. Mardaljevic is himself on record as expressing, under his own name, his admiration of an extreme Serb-nationalist movement – the anti-Semitic, Nazi-collaborationist Chetniks of WW2:

Further information that we have gathered, involving confidential sources that we won’t reveal here, has proven conclusively that JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme is indeed John Mardaljevic.

Mardaljevic is someone who suffers from a severe identity crisis, and hides his extreme, bitter Serb chauvinism behind an affable, respectable English veneer. He seethes, in his provincial isolation, at the injustices of the world media’s negative coverage of Serb atrocities, while being too embarrassed and cowardly to express his real opinions openly. On one occasion, Kemal Pervanic, a survivor of the Serb concentration camp Omarska, apparently gave a talk at De Montfort University which Mardaljevic attended; afterwards, the two of them and others apparently went for a meal together, and all the while, Mardaljevic kept his true views hidden from Pervanic. Meanwhile, he was scribbling pseudonymous comments, denying the reality of Serb concentration camps and the suffering of camp inmates like Pervanic. All rather creepy. It is entirely possible that, torn as he was between his two personas, Mardaljevic subconsciously wanted to be caught and revealed.

One person who appears to have worked out JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme’s real identity is the British academic Marko Attila Hoare of Kingston University – the target of JMJMJM’s own personal obsession and a sustained campaign of online hate-mail over a period of years. At 3.47pm on 15 June 2011, a comment was posted by Hoare on the Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ website, asking ‘JMJMJM’ what his opinion was of John Mardaljevic, given the apparent similarity of their views. The comment was deleted within minutes, at JMJMJM’s own request.

JMJMJM then posted the following comment in response, at 4.28pm:

Well, I followed the link - and I don't see any "similarity" with what is being discussed here. In fact, I was expecting an august historian rather than a 'who he' in an at risk university. He does sound Balkan, I'll give you that. But other than that, I hope your history skills are better than your sleuthing! [You might be hearing from him as I sent him an email before reporting you].’
Did ‘JMJMJM’ know Mardaljevic well enough to predict correctly that Hoare would indeed be hearing from him ? Be this as it may, all comments relating to John Mardaljevic were subsequently deleted from the Guardian thread, apparently at JMJMJM’s initiation, but they initially appeared here:
The present author was, by contrast, not expecting ‘an august historian’, but precisely – to use ‘JMJMJM’s’ own words - a ‘”who he” at an at risk university’. It was always incongruous that anyone with such ill-informed, superficial, Serbian-taxi-driver-type views of the Balkan conflicts could be an academic; nobody in the humanities or social sciences could have had so little idea about the use of sources, or about what constitutes documentary evidence. Now the mystery is solved: JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme is a scientist; someone with no training or expertise that would qualify him to write about the Bosnian genocide.
Mardaljevic apparently thought that he could smear and tell lies about others while his own reputation was safe behind his pseudonymity. Now that the liar and poison-pen writer has been exposed, people can judge his real self by the comments he has made about others.

JMJMJM/Frunobulax/mistyforme’s comments on the ‘The Guardian - Comment is Free’ website can be found here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/user-comments/JMJMJM . And here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/user-comments/mistyforme .

His comments were also posted on the following websites: The Spectator (www.spectator.co.uk); Harry’s Place (http://hurryupharry.org/); Aaronovitch Watch (http://aaronovitch.blogspot.com/); Shiraz Socialist (http://shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/); Modernity Blog (http://modernityblog.wordpress.com/); Neil Clark (http://neilclark66.blogspot.com/); Tendance Coatesy (http://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/); B92 (http://www.b92.net/); Café Turco (http://cafeturco.wordpress.com/); A Slice of Serbian Politics (http://asliceofserbianpolitics.wordpress.com/); Splintered Sunrise (http://splinteredsunrise.wordpress.com/) .